Saturday, September 22, 2007

Aroma in Studio City gets even more kudos

Aroma, that fab Studio City coffee house and cafe where husband Steve hangs out every day, has received even more kudos. Check out the review in

Fannie Mae to increase limits?

This article from September 21's L.A. Times Business section is great. This could be HUGE for the local lending markets, as most Southern California loans are "jumbo" loans. Right now, the conforming loan limit is $417,000.
Regulators cautious on housing fix
They acknowledge potential benefits of letting Fannie and Freddie buy bigger loans but also urge restraint.
From Reuters
September 21, 2007
WASHINGTON -- -- The top two U.S. economic policymakers told a House panel on Thursday that allowing the biggest home finance companies to buy larger loans could ease mortgage market strains but the move should be coupled with tighter regulation of the firms.Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. dropped some of their resistance to expanding the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and said the companies could help restore funding for the largest home loans, which has dried up.Paulson told the House Financial Services Committee that he could support letting the two government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs, temporarily invest in so-called jumbo loans, or those above their current $417,000 limit, as part of a broader regulatory overhaul."There is little question that allowing the GSEs to securitize jumbo mortgages would give a short-term lift, which would be helpful to a segment of the housing market," he said.Rising defaults on sub-prime mortgages that had been extended to risky U.S. borrowers have set off a global chain reaction of tightening credit, and jumbo mortgages, even to prime borrowers, have been among the casualties....The chief executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have the support of numerous congressional allies, also appeared before the committee and repeated their calls for more freedom to invest in jumbo loans. Rates on new jumbo mortgages have risen sharply in recent weeks as lenders have found few investors willing to take them off their hands...Fannie and Freddie's regulator, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, on Wednesday loosened some limits on the companies' investment holdings in the hope they could do more to provide liquidity in the sub-prime market...Frank and the companies' other supporters on Capitol Hill have suggested that lifting the cap on GSE investment holdings and raising the loan limit size could ease market strains.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Filming in Toluca Lake?

Does anybody know what was being filmed in Toluca Lake around Forman last week? Lotsa big production trucks.

How Bad Is the Real Estate Market, Really?

Well, it's not good now here in Burbank, Toluca Lake, Studio City, et al. Buyers are waiting it out on the sidelines. It was a bad August and it's a bad September -- showings are way down (like, to zero on some properties), sales are non-existent and jumbo loans are hard to come by. I have been educated and entertained by the comments on the L.A. Times real estate blog, L.A. Land, and highly recommend it for a pulse-taking of what buyers (or at least buyer-bloggers) are thinking. But all real estate is local, and just as we think we've got it figured out, it changes. "Inventory" (homes coming on the market) has begun to shorten. The Fed just reduced rates. And there's talk on Capitol Hill about letting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy up jumbo loans. So stay tuned, folks -- October should bring yet more shadings and changes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Cool, new gossipy real estate blog

I've just discovered Realestalker. It's been out there in the blogosphere, for, like, two years. I know I'm late to the party, but this is Burbank, after all. It's wonderfully gossipy about your favorite celebs and their real estate.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Today's L.A. Times Headline

Okay, about today's LAT article: the graphic doesn't match the text. The article talks about August's slow sales and dropping prices, but the graphic actually shows several areas that have had dramatic price increases. If I had to sum it up, I'd say that the outlying areas of the county are dropping, but the wealthier areas at the core are not. Yet. Or another way to look at it: there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Two more reasons to feel smug...

Here are two more reasons we Burbankians have to feel we've got it all over city folks (okay, I'm reaching): 1. We didn't lose power during the recent Labor Day weekend heat wave. Check out Steve Lopez's LAT column or Here inVanNuys to see how bad it got. 2. My new fave neighborhood place, Krust, bakes it's own croissants. Every day. Along with all sorts of other stuff that's delicious, too. And you can park your car close to the door. It's on Verdugo. Take that, westsiders.

More on Evergreen and Magnolia; Meeting on the 25th

Friend-and-Evergreen-resident Ellen writes about the Evergreen burger stand: "FYI they shot on Tuesday at the burger stand and were so very informative and respectful of our neighborhood as they crammed up the street with all kinds of trucks and cars and trailers! I came home at 7:30 and it felt like they had SWEPT the street!! I guess word around town is that Evergreen is not a neighborhood to mess with!!! We've won small concessions, I guess. BUT, if the amount of traffic for ONE day of shooting is anything like the construction crews to dig out _3_ levels of underground parking for months on end....YIKES!!! And you KNOW they'll be twice as many vehicles...I imagine our little street littered and battered every day of the week once that [building] starts...We've got a city council meeting on the 25th to see if the council will restrict the construction worker's parking along our little street...pray we succeed!!"

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Make Burgers, Not Buildings

Those of you who have been following the progress of the building plans for the Evergreen and Magnolia lot may have been delighted to see a burger stand going up instead. We certainly were -- Keller Burgers (could that be the Keller, as in Thomas Keller fame?) is being constructed on that very controversial spot.

Alas, however, it was too good to be true. It's a set for an HBO show (don't know which one). Thanks, friend Ellen, for dashing our dreams. However, Ellen tells us that she's heard that the building the Burbank City Council approved may be too expensive to build anyway. Has anybody else heard anything?