This newly remodeled 4,200-square-foot home in the Hollywood Hills has been home to many different celebrities for almost 100 years.
In 1931, Bela Lugosi, famous for playing the original “Count Dracula”, purchased the home. Ten years later, in the 1940’s Martha O’Driscoll, coincidentally also known for a Dracula movie, “House of Dracula”, moved into the home. She sold it in 1950 to Frank Sinatra shortly after his marriage to Ava Gardner who made it their first home together.
Located in the gated community of Outpost Estates, the home has just been remodeled and neighbors with residents just as famous as the past owners, Charlize Theron, Salma Hayek, and Ben Stiller to name a few.
Some of the features of the home include a brand new kitchen, pocket sliding doors between the living room and patio to make it one giant living space, and gray-stained French oak floors.
The master bedroom on the third floor has a patio and is accompanied by two other bedrooms. The lower level is a full guest suite.
This historic Hollywood home with 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms is listed for $4.95 million by our own Joe Babajian.
Interest rates dropped slightly this week following a disappointing 1st quarter GDP Report. Q1 experienced a record size shrink in economy. The government had predicted a -1% decline, but the real number ended up being -2.9%. This is the largest shrink in the economy since the recession in the Q1 of 2009, when the economy shrunk by 5.4%. The blame of this economic shrink is being put on an unforgiving winter season that shut down factories, caused major disruptions in shipping, and kept American’s away from malls and car dealerships. Housing construction also slumped. Most analysts believe the economy will bounce back and expand at a healthy annual rate of about 3% during the second half of this year.
The Freddie Mac Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed that the 30-year-fixed rate fell slightly, coming in at 4.14% down from 4.17% last week. The 15-year-fixed also dropped, down to 3.22% from last week’s 3.30%. A year ago the 30-year fixed was at 4.46% and the 15-year was at 3.50%. Mortgages for loans over $417,000 are more like 4.25% for 30 year and 3.375% for 15 year terms.
The 10-year Treasury note yield rate ended the week at 2.54% after ending last week at 2.63%. It was 2.49% a year ago.
The Dow closed at 16,851.84 down -0.56% from last week’s close of 16,947.08 The Nasdaq had another strong week, closing at 4,397.93 up 0.68% from last week’s close of 4,368.04. The S&P 500 closed at 1,960.96, down -0.10% from last week’s 1,962.87.
The unemployment rate in Los Angeles County fell to 8.2% in May from 8.3% in April. it was 10% one year ago. A total of 2,400 net new jobs were added in the county. Countywide around 11,000 more people entered the workface in May and 15,000 reported finding jobs. The state unemployment rate dropped to 7.6% from 7.8%.
The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index rose to 85.2 from 83.5 in May, the highest reading since January 2008. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected a reading of 83.5. Consumers are optimistic about current conditions. The number of those who stated business conditions are good rose to 23% from 21.1% while those saying conditions are bad fell to 22.8% from 24.6%. More consumers also believe jobs are becoming easier to get. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey’s consumer sentiment index for June was also up, rising to 82.5 from 81.9 in May.
Fannie Mae’s monthly economic outlook predicts that home sales will likely fall this year for the first time in four years. Existing home sales fell for the first quarter of the year but were up in both April and May. However for the first four months of the year existing home sales were down -7% year over year and new home sales were down -3%. Fannie Mae is predicting that total home sales in 2014 will be down -1.4% with new home sales up 11.3% and existing home sales down -2.4%. They are predicting mortgage rates will rise only slightly to around 4.3% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.
The National Association of Realtors® reported that all four regions of the country experienced sales gains compared to a month earlier. Total existing home sales rose 4.9% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.89 million in May, up from 4.66 million in April but still -5% below the 5.15 million reported in May 2013. The 4.9% monthly gain was the highest seen since August 2011.Total housing inventory is also on the rise, up 2.2% to 2.28 million, a 5.6 month supply which is 6% higher than a year ago when 2.15 million existing homes were available.
The median existing home price was $213,400, which is 5.1% above May 2013. Distressed homes accounted for 11% of May sales, down from 18% in May 2013. The median time on market for all homes was 47 days in May, down from 48 days in April; it was 41 days on market in May 2013. Existing-home sales in the West rose 0.9% to an annual rate of 1.09 million in May, and are -11.4% below a year ago. The median price in the West was $297,500, which is 8.4% above May 2013.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development sales of new single-family houses in May 2014 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000. This is 18.6% above the revised April rate of 425,000 and is 16.9% above the May 2013 estimate of 431,000. The median sales price of new houses sold in May 2014 was $282,000. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of May was 189,000. This represents a supply of 4.5 months at the current sales rate
The California Association of Realtors® reported that the share of equity sales – or non-distressed property sales – rose in May to 89.2% up from 88.4% in April and from 78% in May 2103. May is the 11th straight month that equity sales have been more than 80% of total sales.
California pending home sales fell in May, with the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI)* dropping -3.4% from a revised 114.1 in April to 110.1 in May, based on signed contracts and down -10.6% from the revised 123.2 index recorded in May 2013. The year-over-year decline in the PHSI was the first double-digit decline in three months. In Los Angeles County, distressed sales made up 11% of all sales, down from 12% in April and from 23% in May 2013.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home 20-City Composite Index for April saw a gain of 10.8% year over year and 0.2% from the previous month. Both of these numbers were below what was predicted. Los Angeles saw prices rise 14% year over year and 0.7% from March.
We are now seeing some flattening of prices across the region. While prices are substantially higher than they were a year ago we are seeing homes priced at or below the very highest sales beginning to sit. It is time to pay more attention to pricing! We have seen virtually every sale be a record price for a couple of years. At least for now that appears to be ending! This will be a relief to buyers. Get in contact with the buyers that lost out on so many homes due to multiple offers. Some have given up. Now it may be their time!
Rodeo Realty agents named to top national real estate agents list by The Wall Street Journal and Real Trends
Rodeo Realty once again has a strong presence on The Wall Street Journal and Real Trends Top Real Estate Professionals list, a prestigious national awards ranking. These agents are in the top one half of 1 percent of the more than 1 million real estate agents in the country. The report ranks America’s top 250 residential real estate agents and teams based on 2013 annual sales volume and transaction sides
“On behalf of Rodeo Realty I wish to offer my congratulations and deepest admiration to Ben Bacal, Joe Babajian, Jordana Leigh, Peter Maurice and Tregg Rustad.”, said Rodeo Realty Founder and President Syd Leibovitch.
Rodeo Realty agents named to the Top Individual Agents by Sales Volume:
#35 – Ben Bacal – $152M+
#50 – Joe Babajian – $131M+
#60 – Jordana Leigh – $119M+
Rodeo Realty team named to the Top Teams by Sales Volume:
#173- Peter Maurice and Tregg Rustad – $90M+
The Wall Street Journal and REAL Trends also recently recognized Rodeo Realty as the 25th largest real estate company nationwide by volume. Making it, by far, the largest most productive independent in it’s marketplace!
We are lucky in Los Angeles, we have many places all around the area to watch fireworks on July 4. Below is a list of just some of the major destinations with the biggest celebrations.
Pacific Palisades-This year Rodeo Realty Pacific Palisades is taking part in the 66th Annual Pacific Palisades Fourth of July Parade! It is one of the best parades in the area. After the parade enjoy the family-friendly concert at Palisades Charter High School’s Stadium by the Sea and the annual fireworks pageant!
Pasadena–The Rose Bowl: The Rose Bowl in Pasadena hosts one of the biggest celebrations in the area. This year’s event features live motorcycle stunts and special musical performances by Grammy Nominated Liverpool Legends (Louise Harrison’s hand picked Ultimate Beatles Experience) and Teen Idol singing star Ian Thomas. At 9 p.m. the largest fireworks show in Southern California begins (produced by Pyrospectaculars by Souza). Buy tickets to the experience or watch from a hillside or the Colorado Street Bridge nearby.
Hollywood Bowl–Celebrate the Fourth at the Hollywood Bowl’s annual party. This year’s spectacular includes Steve Martin, Edie Brickell, Te Steep Canyon Rangers, patriotic music from the U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West and breathaking fireworks.
DTLA–Downtown LA will have its own rooftop fireworks display this year. Grand Park is launching the biggest rooftop fireworks display in DTLA and expanding festivities from Temple to Second Streets, with doors opening at 1 p.m. (no prior admittance) stages going live at 4 p.m. and fireworks at 9 p.m.
Exposition Park–Exposition Park hosts fireworks and a community festival. The California Science Center and California African American Museum are open during this time period.
Carson--Soccer and fireworks–watch the LA Galaxy take on the Portland Timbers at the StubHub center in Carson and stay for the fireworks display.
Culver City–This year the Exchange Club of Culver City, in conjunction with City of Culver City, the County of Los Angeles and West Los Angeles College will be presenting the annual Fourth of July Fireworks Show on the West LA College grounds. Gates open at 4 p.m. and in addition to fireworks there will be live music by Rob Canove & Playback, food trucks, and a kid-friendly midway.
Marina Del Rey–The traditional fireworks extravaganza over Marina del Rey takes place annually on July 4th at 9 p.m., and lasts approximately 20 minutes. Fireworks are shot off from a barge in the main channel.
Studio City–The Fourth of July Fireworks Festival is held at CBS Studio Center 4024 Radford Ave. Studio City, CA 91604 from 4:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. This year’s entertainment includes music from a Beatles tribute band, a car show from the Television and Motion Picture Car Club, magicians from the Magic Castle, roaming pirates, a business expo, delicious food and of course an amazing fireworks display. Adult tickets start at $20.
Porter Ranch–The 16th Annual Fourth of July Spectacular at Shepherd Church in Porter Ranch is a free, family-friendly event with a 21-minute fireworks finale just after sundown. The event includes inflatable jumps and face painting for kids.
Huntington Beach--Huntington Beach has a long tradition of celebrating July 4 in style. The 2014 celebration theme is Waves of Freedom. Events include a 5K run, parade, and fireworks over the ocean.
Redondo Beach–The Fireworks show will feature stirring patriotic music and a wide variety of fireworks perfectly matched and timed to the music. There are kids activities all through the day at the Seaside Lagoon including paddleboarding, parade, and a puppet show.
San Fernando Valley–For the best fireworks in the San Fernando Valley, head to Hansen Dam Recreation Area! This fireworks show includes live entertainment and food. If you are there during the day, bring your trunks because you can swim in the 1.5 acre lake.
Woodland Hills–Warner Park, off of Topanga Canyon Boulevard, will be hosting a great fireworks show with lots of entertainment. Among the play zone and food vendors, there will be a free concert from 6:00-8:00pm.
The Freddie Mac Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed that the 30-year-fixed rate fell slightly, coming in at 4.17% down from 4.20% last week. The 15-year-fixed moved just a little, down to 3.30% from last week’s 3.31%. A year ago the 30-year fixed was at 3.93% and the 15-year was at 3.04%. After The release of the CPI report rates finished the week slightly higher. Rates are more like 4.25 for 30 year fixed conforming and about the same for jumbo. 15 year are around 3.375%.
The 10 year Treasury bond yield ended the week at 2.63%. It was 2.61% last Friday and 2.41% a year ago.
The best indicator of inflation the CPI Index for May was released earlier in the week. May’s rise in consumer prices showed 0.3 percent increase from April. This was double what was expected and the largest monthly increase since February 2013. With tensions escalating in Iraq, a major world oil producer, inflation is likely to push higher in the coming months. In the 12 months through May, consumer prices increased 2.1 percent, the biggest gain since October 2012. That followed a 2.0 percent rise in the period through April, marking the first back-to-back months in which the year-on-year CPI had risen at least 2 percent since early 2012. Stripping out food and energy prices, the so-called core CPI rose 0.3 percent, the largest increase since August 2011.
The Federal Open Market Committee met this week and the Fed announced that it plans to continue thetaper of the bond-buying program, cutting back by another $10 billion. This program known asQE3 has been tapered down significantly and The Fed plans to end all Treasury Bond and Mortgage purchases by the end of the year. This program brought down long term interest rates. The Fed also announced that they plan to on keeping the federal fund rates near zero until mid 2015. This will keep down short term rates. Fed Chair Janet Yellen has indicated that interest rates will remain low even after the Fed completely winds down its stimulus program. In remarks this week, Yellen pointed out that unemployment is still high and many are underemployed. She also shrugged off the CPI index increase as “noise” due to tensions in Iraq causing a rise in energy costs. She stated that real inflation is still below the 2% objective rate.
All three major stock indexes had a great week with the Dow and S&P 500 hitting records and the Nasdaq reaching a 14-year high. The Dow closed at 16,947.08 up 1.02% from last week’s close of 16,775.74. The Nasdaq also finished strong, closing at 4,368.04 up 1.33% from last week’s close of 4,310.65. The S&P 500 closed at 1,962.87, up 1.38% from last week’s 1,936.16.
Homebuilder confidence appears to be gaining ground again. The latest numbers from the National Association of Home Builder/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index rose to 49 in June, the highest since January and up from 45 in May. Readings below 50 indicate that builders see sales conditions as poor rather than good but builder are now the most confident they have been since January as they see more potential buyers shopping for new homes. This time last year, the index rose above 50 for the first time since the beginning of the housing recession. For the West alone, the June reading is at53, indicating that builders see good sales conditions for new homes.
The latest report from the Census Bureau showed that housing starts were down in May from the previous month but were higher than the year before. Single-family housing starts were down -5.9% from April but were up 4.7% from a year ago. Single-family housing completions in May were at a rate of 618,000; this is 2.1% above the revised April rate of 605,000.
The California Association of Realtors® reported closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 391,030 units in May which was -0.6% below the revised 393,480 in April and down -9.5% from a revised 432,140 in May 2013. This was the tenth straight decline on a month-over-month basis.
May’s median price increased 3.7% from April’s median price of $449,360 to $465,960 and was up11.7 % from the revised $417,140 recorded in May 2013. The statewide median home price has increased year over year for the previous 27 months. Housing inventory was unchanged in May, with the available supply of existing, single-family detached homes for sale holding steady at 3.6 months. The index was 2.6 months in May 2013. The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home fell to 31.6 days in May, down from 33.8 days in April but up from 27.1 days in May 2013.
For Los Angeles County alone the median price rose to $411,640 up 1.2% from the previous month’s $406,750, and up 12.5% from May 2013’s $365,990. Sales were up 6.9% from April but down -12.2% from May 2013. In Los Angeles County, the amount of inventory was 3.6 months up from 3.5 months in April and 2.5 months in May 2013. The median time on market was 38.7 days, down from 39.5 days in April but up from 27.9 months last April.
We are beginning to see some flattening of prices in many areas after a large run up so far this year. It is not unusual to see prices begin to flatten this time of year. We usually see the largest price gains in the Spring and I’d expect to see large gains again beginning next February lasting through May or June. Nevertheless we are seeing some price pressure in many areas where some homes are just too high and are beginning to sit. Don’t get me wrong we are still seeing plenty of multiple offers on well priced homes! However, on homes that are priced above previous sales or at the price of the very highest sale we are seeing those homes sit!
The smell of smoke in your hair, the taste of freshly roasted marshmallows, the singalongs with friends and family, summer is a great time to gather around a campfire or bonfire. Here in Los Angeles, because of our risk of wildfires, caution must always be observed but following the rules doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time. Below are some ideas for campfire and bonfire evenings in Los Angeles.
Park Campfire Events:
During the summer Santa Monica Conservancy hosts evening campfires in several local parks around Los Angeles including Franklin Canyon Park. Vista Hermosa Natural Park, and Temescal Gateway Park. These events are great fun for kids and include campfire songs, marshmallow roasting and a nature program. For more information visit: LAMountains.com.
Dockweiler Beach Fire Pits:
Per the County, no barbecues or bonfires are allowed on any of the Los Angeles County Beaches (or parking lots) except in the fire pits at Dockweiler Beach. The fire rings are open from dawn until 10 p.m. and even though there are over 50 of them they get crowded so you may have to go early to find a spot. Several beaches in Orange County and San Diego counties also allow beach bonfires–BeachCalifornia has a list of sites to try.
Campfires in Local Parks:
Campfire Permits are required for open fires, such as campfire, barbecues and portable stoves on federally controlled lands. You can obtain a printable campfire permit online. It is important to do this because some of our large fires were started from illegal campfires. The only type of fire allowed outside designated Forest Service campgrounds and picnic areas at this time is a portable stove using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel.
Restaurants with Fire Pits:
You don’t have to go rustic to enjoy a fire pit. If you don’t have a friend with a backyard firepit, fear not, many local restaurants have great fire pits. Some local favorites include A-Frame and the Rooftop on Wilshire which offers a rooftop firepit with an amazing view. Check out more ideas on this list from Citysearch.
Summer is here and the eating is great! Here are some of the most interesting new restaurants opening in Los Angeles:
Playa Provisions is more than a restaurant. It’s actually a four-in-one concept composed of four separate spots in one space: Dockside (a seafood house), King Beach (a café), Small Batch (a creamery), and Grain (a whisky bar). The owners are former Top Chef contestant Brook Williamson and her husband chef Nick Roberts. The space is decorated with a rustic beachy vibe including plenty of wood paneling. Each space within the restaurant has a slightly different look. For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/PlayaProvisions/
Fans of Mastro’s Steakhouse have a new place to get their steaks in Malibu. Mastro’s Ocean Club serves a similar menu to the popular Mastro’s Steakhouse restaurant. Mastro’s Ocean Club restaurants have a deeper focus on seafood and also offer sushi. There are existing Mastro’s Ocean Club locations in Las Vegas, Newport Beach, and Scottsdale. Mastro’s Ocean Club Malibu takes over the former Chart House location on Pacific Coast Highway which is directly on the beach and offers beautiful ocean views. For more information visit: www.mastrosrestaurants.com.
Saint Martha’s, a new restaurant near the Wiltern in Koreatown, offers an astounding 50 wines by the glass. The restaurant, located in a strip mall on Western Ave., has an understated exterior but a charming interior and a unique menu. Intriguing options include a steak and oyster tartare with champagne sabayon and bone marrow beignets; sautéed spot prawn with cream of wheat, almond-red curry broth and garden herbs; and crispy chicken thigh with steelcut oats, carrots, pickled dates, and Moorish spices
Burbank is home to the first Los Angeles iteration of Asian Box, a restaurant from the Bay Area that serves bowl-based meals with a base of rice, noodles, or salad topped with meats, sauces, and add-ons such as fresh herbs and bean sprouts for around $10. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and a second location is planned for Figueroa Street downtown later this summer. Visit www.asianbox.com to see menu options.
Is the hot dog the new burger? Hot dog restaurants are on the rise including one of the most popular in the area, Dog Haus, which recently opened their latest restaurant in Canoga Park. The restaurant serves gourmet hot dogs and sausages many of which have cute names such as the Scott Baioli with smoked bacon and garlic aioli or the Big Lebowski which combines a garlic herb kielbasa with cheese sauce, pickled jalapenos, and crispy onions. Burgers are also available as well as shakes and malts. Other Dog Haus restaurants are located in Pasadena, Old Pasadena, and Alhambra. To view the menu visit: www.doghaus.com.
The Tipsy Cow has taken over the former spot of La Pergola on Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks. The casual neighborhood restaurant is open from 3 p.m. to 1 1p.m. daily and serves craft beers as well as a menu of bar snacks that includes short-rib poutine fries and organic grass-fed burgers. The Tipsy Cow takes its name from the tempting milkshakes with alcohol that are part of the cocktail menu.
The fourth annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival, presented by Food & Wine, runs August 21-24 in Los Angeles. The event is three nights and four days of culinary indulgence including tastings, cooking demonstrations, live entertainment, and events involving celebrity chefs. The Ultimate Bites of L.A. challenge will showcase competitions between chefs including Graham Eliot andFabio Vivani, to benefit charities. The Power Lunch series offers a chance to dine in some of the most exclusive hotels in Beverly Hills with some of the city’s legendary talent including Nancy Silverton, Jonathan Waxman, and Scott Conant. Iron Chef Morimoto hosts an Asian Night Market on August 23rd. On Sunday the Lexus Grand Tasting will feature over 300 wines with tasting samples from 25 celebrity chefs. Tickets range from $50 to $350, with full weekend packages at approximately $1,000 and are available at www.lafw.com. .
In a step to make sure that home buyers are more informed when obtaining their first mortgage, the Federal Housing Administration recently proposed a four-year pilot program “HAWK for New Homebuyers.” HAWK stands for Homeowners Armed With Knowledge and is a new program designed to integrate HUD’s Housing Counseling program with FHA-insured mortgage origination and servicing.
One of the most interesting features of the HAWK for New Homebuyers plan is that it will provide FHA insurance pricing incentives to first-time homebuyers who participate in housing counseling and education. The classes cover topics such as how to evaluate housing affordability and understand mortgage alternatives, financial planning, and the rights and responsibilities of homeownership. The program is based on the premise that educated consumers will be more likely to budget effectively and pay their mortgages in a timely fashion as well as be aware of resources that are available if trouble strikes. According to HUD figures,delinquency rates for borrowers who have received counseling are 29 % lower for first-time homebuyers and 15% lower overall.
The savings can be substantial. The FHA proposes to give homeowners who complete housing counseling before signing a contract to purchase a home and who complete additional pre-closing housing counseling a 50 basis point reduction in the upfront FHA mortgage insurance premium (MIP) and a 10 basis point reduction in the annual FHA MIP. Those who participate in post-closing counseling and pay their mortgage in a timely fashion can save even more. After two years with no serious delinquencies, participants receive an additional 15 basis point reduction in annual MIP. The FHA estimates that pn the average FHA loan balance of $180,000, these reductions can add up to nearly $9,800 in savings over the life of the loan.