U.S. consumer confidence rose in May. The Conference Board reported that its index of consumer attitudes rose to 83 in May from 81.7 in April. This was the second highest level seen since 2008. However the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index fell more than analysts were expecting ending at 81.9 in May from 84.9 in April. Economists had expected 82.8.
The Commerce Department reported that U.S. consumer spending fell in April by a seasonally adjusted -0.1% from March, below the 0.1% growth expected by economists. March’s growth was revised up by 1% from the 0.9% previously reported. Personal income rose 0.3% in April, down from a 0.5% growth rate in March and wage growth slowed to 0.2%. Many are predicting wider economic gains in the second quarter.
The 10 year Treasury bond yield ended the week at 2.48%. It was 2.54% last Friday, 2.67% at the end of last month, and 2.13% a year ago.
The Freddie Mac Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed that the 30-year-fixed rate hit another new low for the year, falling to 4.12% from 4.14% last week. The 15-year-fixed fell to 3.21% from last week’s 3.25%. The 30-year-fixed rate was 4.33% at the end of last month and the 15-year-fixed was at 3.39%. A year ago the 30-year fixed was at 3.81% and the 15-year was at 2.98%. Rates on loans over $417,000 are running around 4.5% for 30 year fixed and 3.5% for 15 year terms. These are the lowest rates of the year and the lowest since last May! I really think rates are going up. I would lock in now!!
It was another strong week for the stock market. The Dow closed at 16,717.17 up 0.67% from last week’s close of 16,606.27. It was up 0.82% from last month’s close of 16,580.84. The Nasdaq also had another strong week, closing at 4,242.62 up 1.36% from last week’s close of 4,185.81. It was up 1.04% from last month’s close of 4,198.99. The S&P 500 ended the week by closing above the record-setting 1,900 mark for the second week in a row, closing at 1,923.57, up 1.21% from last week’s 1,900.53. It was up 2.1%from last month’s close of 1,883.95.
Realtor.com® released its monthly trend report which showed that the national median list price rose to $207,500, 6.5% higher than the previous year and 3.8% higher than the previous month. The median age of inventory was 86 days, 6.2% higher than the year before. The amount of inventory was up 14.2% compared with April 2013 and up 8.6% from March 2014, according to realtor.com® data. For the Los Angeles-Long Beach MSA, the median price was $472,000, up 8.5% from one year ago and up 2.6% from the previous month. The number of listings on the market was 22,652, up 38.2% from one year ago and up 7.5% from the previous month. The median age of inventory was 61 days, up 29.8% from the one year ago and up 3.4% from the previous month. Once again these are national figures. It hardly seems necessary to talk about medium prices in our market. Never the less we are seeing large price gains in our area!
According to the Southland Regional Association of Realtors®, the median price of a home in the San Fernando Valley rose 13% year over year in April to $519,000. This was only a 0.8% increase over March’s median. Sales rose strongly, up 32% from March but down -2.5% from one year ago. The number of properties on the market, rose 43% year over year to 1,599. However this is only a little more than a two-month supply meaning that housing inventory is very, very low.
The National Association of Realtors® saw its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index rise 0.4% to 97.8 last month. The index is -9.2% below the level it was a year ago. The index in the West declined -2.9% in April to 88.4 and is -15.0% below April 2013.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index for March showed that home prices in 20 U.S. cities increased 12.4% from March 2013. Los Angeles alone saw a year-over-year change of 16.9% and a rise of 1.2% between February and March. The S&P/Case Shiller report also included quarterly figures showing that prices for all of the U.S. rose 10.3% in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2013 and rose 0.2% over the fourth quarter of 2013.
Redfin released a report showing that sales of the priciest 1% of homes have risen 21.1% so far this year, after a gain of 35.7% in 2013. In Los Angeles the 1% starts at $3.65 million and 43.9% of buyers in this market are all cash buyers. The top three most expensive neighborhoods were Beverly Glen ($11,856,000), Holmby Hills ($9,910,000) and Malibu Road ($9,513,000). Westlake Village was the most expensive neighborhood in Ventura with an average of $2,548,000 for a home in the 1%.
Memorial Day marked the opening of the Los Angeles River Recreation Zone. The Los Angeles River Recreation Program runs from May 26 through September 1 from sunrise to sunset daily during safe conditions. The public can now walk, fish and kayak on two designated stretches of the Los Angeles River–the 2.5 mile Elysian Valley River Recreation Zone and the 2-mile Sepulveda Basin River Recreation Zone. Visiting the river is free but there are also private vendors who offer guided trips at each of the location.
Things you can do in the Recreation Zone:
Guided Tours: L.A. River Kayak Safari–http://www.lariverkayaksafari.org/ and L.A. River Expeditions http://lariverexpeditions.org/
Kayak Rentals: L.A. River Kayaks–http://lariverkayaks.com/
The highly anticipated Superba Food and Bread has opened in Venice. The restaurant serves artisan breads and handcrafted comfort foods for breakfast, lunch & dinner. The head baker, Jonathan Eng, formerly at Le Pain Quotidien bakes up fresh bread while Lincoln Carson, formerly Michael Mina’s corporate pastry chef, provides the sweet treats. Get a peek at the Superba Food and Bread Instagram account.
Inspired by his legendary award-winning grilled cheese sandwich filled with taleggio cheese, apricot caper puree, and short ribs on raisin walnut bread, chef ErickGreenspan has created a new restaurant dedicated to the art of the grilled cheese. Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese serves a variety of sandwiches, alongside healthy salad options, hand crafted sodas and Americana desserts including the Elvis– white bread, banana, peanut butter, and goat cheese (bacon optional).
Sherman Oaks is home to a new oyster bar named Tipple & Brine which takes over in the former spot of the Spitting Chicken Cantina on Ventura Boulevard. The restaurant, from Vantage Restaurant Group, serves a seasonal menu divided into vegetable, sea, and land choices with an emphasis on sustainable options. The casual restaurant also has craft cocktails, local beers, and small production wines.
Popular Eagle Rock sandwich joint The Oinkster has a new Hollywood outpost with seating for about 110 inside and out on the dog-friendly patio. The new restaurant will have an expanded menu that includes even more of the restaurant’s legendary sandwiches.
Building on the trend of healthy food bowls is The Harvest Bar, a new “superfoods café,” open at 15030 Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, the former location of Tutti Frutti. The Harvest Bar focuses mostly on acai bowls but also include quinoa and pitaya (dragonfruit) bowls. Bowls are customizable with granola, fruit toppings, and healthy sweeteners. Learn more at http://www.theharvestbar.com/
Dinner and a movie just got a little fancier with Tanzy, a new artisan Italian restaurant opened at the iPic Theaters in Westwood. The menu combines Italian imports with local fare and has a raw bar, a selection of artisanal salumi, and assorted cheeses. The restaurant also includes fresh-squeezed fruit and vegetable juices as well as handcrafted cocktails and a complete wine list. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner and has a separate late-night menu that includes crispy ravioli as well as cheese and salumi plates. There is also a weekend brunch with Tuscan kale salad, brioche French toast and chicken and sourdough waffles. Visit http://www.tanzyrestaurant.com/westwood for details.
Street Food Cinema combines two of our favorite things about Los Angeles–great food trucks and watching movies outdoors. The company hosts events at parks across the city from West Hollywood all the way to Pomona. The 18-week schedule runs from May 24th through September 27 (along with some October dates).
The events also include a live music performance as well as the movies. Participating food trucks include some of the city’s most beloved including Kogi BBQ, the Grilled Cheese Truck, and Cousins Maine Lobster. All events are dog friendly. This year’s schedule includes everything from 1980s nostalgia such as “Revenge of the Nerds” to newer favorites including “Mean Girls” and last year’s award nominee “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Check out the full schedule on the Street Cinema website.
Home mortgage rates dropped this week to the lowest levels of the year! This was due to a combination of some lower than expected profits on Wall Street, worries that the stock market may be topping out, and an influx of foreign money looking for safety. Money moving to treasury bonds rather than stocks drives rates down.
California reported that the economy added 56,100 jobs in April. This far exceeded the 14,600 added in March! The state unemployment rate dropped to 7.8%, a 6 year low!
In a positive sign for the economy, the number of Americans filing first-time jobless benefits fell last week to a seven-year low. Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 297,000 in the week ended May 10, making this the lowest reading since May 2007. The number of continuing unemployment benefits also hit a new low, it fell by 9,000 to 2,667,000 in the week ending May 3 which marked the lowest level since December 2007.
However, a preliminary gauge of U.S. consumer sentiment showed a loss. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s preliminary May reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment came in at 81.8, down from 84.1 in the previous month and below expectations of economists who predicted an 84.5 reading. 58% of consumers did say the economy had improved, up from 49% in April.
The Freddie Mac Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed that the 30-year-fixed rate hit a new low for the year, falling to 4.20% from 4.21% last week. The 15-year-fixed fell to 3.29% from last week’s 3.32%. A year ago the 30-year fixed was at 3.51% and the 15-year was at 2.69%. Loans over $417,000 are a little higher: 4.5% for 30 year fixed and 3.6% for 15 year fixed
The 10 year Treasury bond yield ended the week at 2.52%. It was 2.61% last Friday and 1.87% a year ago. Last May and June is when we saw a spike in interest rates last year, so the year over year increase will be gone by June. We will even see a year over year drop if rates stay stable or even rise slightly!
After a volatile week of ups and downs, the closing numbers on Friday showed little change. The Dow closed at 16,491.31 down -0.55% from last week’s close of 16,583.34. The Nasdaq closed at 4,090.59 up .46% from last week’s close of 4,071.87. The S&P 500 ended the week at 1,877.86, down -0.03% from last week’s 1,878.48.
DataQuick reported that the median sales price in the six-county Southland region rose 1% from March to $404,000 and up 13.2% from $357,000 in April 2013. The median price has risen on a year-over-year basis for 25 consecutive months. A total of 20,008 new and resale houses and condos sold in the Southland, up 13.4% from 17,638 sales in March but down -6.6% from 21,415 sales in April of last year. On average sales generally increased 1.4% between March and April since 1988 when DataQuick started counting these statistics. Southland sales have fallen on a year-over-year basis for seven consecutive months but last month’s was the smallest decline since last October and although April 2014 sales were lower than April 2013 sales they were higher than the amount of homes sold in both April 2012 and April 2011. In Los Angeles County alone, sales were down -7.0% year over year from 7,140 to 6,642 while the median price rose 11.6% from $395,000 to $441,000.
Respondents to Fannie Mae’s April 2014 National Housing Survey continued to express positive feelings about the real estate market. The amount of respondents who believe it is a good time to sell a house rose to an all-time high of 42%. The percentage of respondents who say it is a good time to buy a home held steady at 69%. Consumers are less optimistic about their ability to get a mortgage, 45% of respondents said it would be easy to get a mortgage today, down -7% from last month. Those who believe prices will rise was up to 50% from 48% and the expected price increase rose from 2.7% to 2.9%, Also, 52% expect mortgage rates will continue their rise, while only 7% believe mortgage rates will go down. Consumers who feel that the economy is on the right track was also up by 3% to 35%.
Data released by the National Association of Realtors® showed that the median price for an existing single-family home was up 8.6% year over year in the first quarter to a median price of $191,600.This was down from a 10.1% year-over-year increase in the fourth quarter. The median rose annually in 74% of the metropolitan areas tracked by the NAR and 22% saw double-digit price jumps. In the first quarter of 2013, 89% of all the tracked metros saw year-over-year price gains. For the first quarter of 2014 monthly inventory was at 1.99 million homes, a five-month supply and 3.1% higher than the first quarter of 2013. Existing-home sales fell -6.6% year over year for the quarter to a seasonally adjusted 4.6 million. The West saw a drop of -12.4% year over year in existing home sales and had the highest regional price increase, up 14% for the quarter to $282,100. The Los Angeles-Long-Beach-Santa-Ana region saw a median price increase year over year of 17.6% to $406,200.
The CoreLogic Case-Shiller indexes show that home prices rose 11.3% in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to the same time period a year ago. Overall home prices were up 20% over the low point reached in the fourth quarter of 2011 but were still -21% below the peak reached in the first quarter of 2006. It is predicted that price appreciation will slow to 5.3% annually for 2014 which is above the long-term annual average of 4.5% recorded since 1975. (I am not buying this! Even though its a national number.) For Los Angeles the fourth quarter change was 20.3% higher than the previous year and a 5.2% ( we have already far exceeded this, so I’m not buying it either!) overall price increase is predicted for the year. CoreLogic a source used to track foreclosure properties, which are no longer prevalent in the marketplace. They didn’t predict that too well either, as we never say the flood of shadow inventory they predicted. Nor did we see the years and years of foreclosures they predicted. Nor did the “new normal” where prices don’t rise come to fruition. I don’t know how long I am going to include them in my report!
U.S. homebuilders are less confident in the short term this month. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index was down to 45 from the revised reading of 46 in April. This is the lowest level in 12 months and indicates more builders view conditions as poor rather than favorable. Builders are optimistic about prospects for the next six months, that index rose 1 point to 57.
The National Association of Realtors® delivered its predictions for 2014 during the Realtor Party Convention & Trade Expo. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist said existing home sales will probably be around -3% less than last year to just over 4.9 million but should rise to over 5.2 million in 2014.
The California Association of Realtors® reported that the statewide median price reached its highest level since December 2007. It was $449,360, up 3.2% from the March figure and up 11.6%over last April’s $402,830. The statewide median price has increased year over year for the past 26 months.
Closed sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 394,070 units in April, up 7.4% from 367,020 in March but down -7% from a revised 423,690 in April 2013.This was the ninth straight decline on a year-over-year basis.
Inventory was down to 3.5 months from March’s 4 months but still up from 2.8 months in April 2013. The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home fell to 33.8 days in April, down from 35 days in March but up from 27.9 days in April 2013. We really need to reach a 6 month supply to be in a normal market where prices stabilize.
For Los Angeles County the median sold price in April 2014 was $406,750, up 2.8% from March’s $395,660 and up 12.5% from April 2013’s $361,630. Sales were up 23.3% from March but down-6.3% compared to April 2013. The average amount of inventory was 3.5 months, down from 3.9 months in March but up from 2.6 months in April 2013. The median days on market was 39.5 days, up from March’s 39 days and from April 2013’s 29.2 days.
The Commerce Department reported that U.S. housing starts rose strongly in April and building permits hit their highest point in nearly six years. Starts rose 13.2% month over month to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.07 million units which is the highest level since November 2013 and up26.4% over last April. Starts for single-family homes rose 0.8% but the real movement was in multi-family homes which rose 39.6% to a 423,000 unit rate. Groundbreaking for buildings with more than five units hit the highest level since January 2006. Permits to build homes rose 8% month over month and 3.8% year over year to a 1.08 million unit pace which is the highest since June 2008. Permits for single-family homes were up 0.3% while permits for multi-family homes rose 19.5%. Permits for buildings were up 21.8%.
We are still seeing rapid gains in prices in our marketplace. It’s hard to predict when these gains will begin to taper off. Many areas have exceeded their 2007 highs. Keep in mind that adjusted for inflation the same price in 2007 is about 19% lower today! We still have room to run! Eventually prices will need to stabilize. I would think we will begin seeing the gains start to taper in a way that appreciation is more in line with inflation in 2015 or 2016! Until then we are still going to have an inventory problem in which demand exceeds supply and drives prices up. Although we are off our lows in inventory, anyone on the street knows that there is a lot of homes that are severely overpriced. These people that would not waste their time in previous markets have an “who knows, I’ll sell if I get stupid money” attitude. Well priced homes are going quickly. Many with multiple offers! We will know that price gains are tapering when the multiple offers are less common, and well priced homes begin to take a little time to sell.
It’s not summer yet but you’d never know it by the thermometer. We’ve all got pools on our minds including Los Angeles Confidential which recently chose the Rodeo Realty listing at Bellagio Terrace as one of the most spectacular pools in Los Angeles.
This newer privately gated Tuscan villa was built by Aulert Development and offers luxury on a grand scale. It features a screening room, office, game room, temperate controlled wine room, family room and has both indoor and outdoor kitchens. There are numerous verandas and balconies to enjoy the ultimate California lifestyle by the beautiful pool and spa. The home is outfitted with Crestron Smart Home technology and has a seven car garage. It is listed for $9.45 million with Joyce Butler of Rodeo Realty Beverly Hills.
Zillow chose the historic Rosenheim mansion as the house of the week. This home is recognizable to fans all across the country as the “Murder House” in the first season of “American Horror Story” but the home’s real history is much less scary. The six-bedroom home in the Country Club Park area of Los Angeles was built in 1907 by architect Alfred F. Rosenheim as a private residence. It was later owned by the Catholic Church which constructed a chapel on the property that has since been turned into a recording studio.
There is not another property like this in Los Angeles. Tiffany stained-glass windows, custom woodwork, Batchelder tile fireplaces, and the formal dining room with handpainted ceiling speak to the home’s past. Updates makes this a highly liveable home for the discerning buyer who wants to own a legend.
The home has since had star turns on many television shows including: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Spider-Man,” “CSI Miami,” “Law & Order,” “The Mentalist,” “Criminal Minds,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Californication.”
Rodeo Realty’s Joe Babajian has just listed it for $5 million, marketing it as “an enormous private palace with an appearance as intriguing as its history.”
Check out the April 2014 Westside Local Market report by Rodeo Realty
The Los Angeles Film Festival takes place this year from June 11 to June 19 at the Regal Cinemas at L.A. Live. This year’s event will include the premiere of “Jersey Boys,” Clint Eastwood’s big-screen adaptation of the popular musical, on closing night. The three gala screenings are: “Love Is Strange,” starring John Lithgow and Alfred Molina; “Dear White People,” a comedy about racial politics that centers on four black students at an Ivy League college; and “The Two Faces of January,” a thriller set in Greece and Turkey in 1962. Bong Joon-ho’s post-apocalyptic sci-fi film “Snowpiercer” will be the opening film.
The fest will screen more than 200 feature films, shorts and music videos in the nine days the festival runs. This year in celebration of the festival’s 20th anniversary, there are several free screenings including Amy Heckerling’s “Clueless,” Luis Valdez’s “La Bamba,” Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker’s I Am Big Bird, Buster Keaton’s “Cops” and “Sherlock Jr.” and Thomas Miller‘s “Limited Partnership.” Union Station will host the Dance-A-Long screening of “La Bamba” and Luis Valdez, actors Lou Diamond Phillips and Elizabeth Peña will be in attendance for a special Q+A before the film. The documentary “I Am Big Bird” directed by Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker will be screened at California Plaza. “I Am Big Bird” profiles Caroll Spinney, the 80-year-old puppeteer who has been behind Sesame Street’s Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since the show’s first season.
Passes and ticket packages are now on sale and individual tickets to screenings and events go on sale to the general public on Tuesday, May 20, with a Film Independent Member pre-sale beginning May 15. Contact the Festival Ticket Office for passes, tickets and event information by calling 866.FILM.FEST (866.345.6337) or visit LAFilmFest.com.
The Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games has been hard at work on a comprehensive plan to bid for Los Angeles to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games. Seven cities in the U.S. (L.A., Boston, Dallas, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington DC) are in the running. The United States hasn’t hosted the Summer Games since Atlanta in 1996.
The plan calls for a cluster of events to be held in downtown Los Angeles with additional events at three satellite hubs: Westside, Avalon, and Harbor. The Olympic Park would include an updated Los Angeles Coliseum that would hold 80,000 spectators. A 20,000-seat soccer stadium on the site would be used as a temporary aquatics venue. The plan also includes an expansion LA Metro rail system in order to deliver on a promise of having the bulk of spectators use public transit. To keep track of the plan’s progress visit:http://www.sccog.org/