Monday, February 27, 2017

Yes on S

If you live in L.A., you probably know about Measure S. It’s the proposition that limits development in the city for two years. Obviously, as a Realtor, I stand to gain everything from this measure going down in flames.  There will be lots of new properties to sell – yay! However, perhaps surprisingly, I support passage of Measure S.

Before I get into why I support this, here is a quote from a column in yesterday’s L.A. Times from none other than Richard Riordan. Mr. Riordan was the L.A. Mayor for two terms.  He says, “The current political environment is rife with corruption and backroom deals servicing land speculatiors and luxury housing developers over the needs of citizens.  If passed, Measure S. will give the decision-making process back to the people.  It will make City Hall work for us, not for the developers, special interests and lobbyists.” Remember, Mr. Riordan has already served his term with the city, seen this up close, and has no dog in this hunt.

Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal is a member of the L.A. Tenants Union and she wrote a column for yesterday’s L.A. Times opinion page as well. Here’s a quote from Ms. Rosenthal: “The housing market doesn’t produce homes; it produces opportunities for investment.  The goals of maximizing profit and making the city livable are at odds.”

I support Measure S for the following reasons.  In my work, I have seen L.A.'s development up close in many neighborhoods.

First, “affordable housing” is anything but.  Builders aren’t building it.  Instead, they are building either McMansions in expensive private neighborhoods or luxury apartments close to transit stops. Developers are not in business out of the goodness of their hearts.  As Ms. Rosenthal indicates, developers need to make a profit.  And they make it by putting maximum-saleable square footage in the most expensive neighborhoods possible.  If the city truly wants affordable housing, it will need to subsidize it in the neighborhoods where people need it. At the risk of stating the obvious, the so-called “housing crisis” is not helped by luxury units or McMansions.

Second, I think high-density proponents need to rethink their support for density, and their opposition to Measure S.  Again, small units in high rises in expensive neighborhoods are a developer’s dream, but not necessarily anybody else’s. There are several other ways to achieve more density in existing L.A. neighborhoods.  Look at the P.U.D.s in Van Nuys, for example. These are single family houses that are next to each other but have limited yard space.  And allowing more granny flats or guest houses in single family neighborhoods with ample lots increases density and helps solve needs of multi-generational families.

Let’s not even get started on traffic.

Finally, developers are running amok. See my blog post from November about my client’s wall being knocked down without their permission. By developers. The clients complained to the city inspector who issued the permit; he never called back.  Let’s keep developers and city officials accountable for their actions.

Whew! That’s it. If you have read this far, thank you.  And please don’t forget to vote on March 7.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Eagle Rock is no longer affordable, as if you didn't know

This A-frame in Eagle Rock just sold for $969k in a bidding war.  Almost a million Eagle Rock.  Let that sink in for a minute.  Yes, it's pretty, but this is just another nail in the coffin of affordable L.A. areas.
Photo courtesy of Deasy/Penner & Partners.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

What a Realtor conference is like and predictions for 2017

I just came back from the National Association of Realtors Broker Summit in San Diego.  Everybody has been to at least one convention in their lives, right? If not, and in case you are wondering what these are like, here's the skinny.

It was held at the Grand Del Mar Fairmont in northern San Diego.  This is a triple luxury hotel that looks like an Italian palace.  Miles from anything and super-expensive, so I didn't stay there.  Nice cocktail parties, though.  The pic above is the lobby centerpiece.

As with all conventions, there is music over the public address system between speakers.  I always expect hits of the '80s but this time it was hits of the late '60s and early '70s -- Doors, Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Creedence...seemed a little weird to me, to be honest.  But then the average age of  the Realtors there was about 55. Perhaps the convention organizers thought it was age-appropriate, but there is something incongruous about hearing "Bad Moon Rising" just before an economist takes the stage.

The speakers were excellent and I learned a a lot.  Here are my take-aways for you.
- 2017 is going to be about the same as 2016 for real estate.
- However, prices will show a slight rise.  So will interest rates, but we knew that.
- Shortness of inventory is a major problem all over the country. (You knew that.)
- Affordability is a major issue, too. (You knew that too.)
- Student debt is stopping many millenials from buying homes.
- Home ownership is down across the country, and expected to go lower.  We may soon become a nation of renters.
- Our recent election and its aftermath has caused uncertainty in all sectors, but not enough to hurt the economy in the long run.

Here's the deal on crystal ball predictions -- they are just predictions.  We won't know what's really happening until it happens. In the meantime, I will continue to give my own predictions and also real stats to keep you engaged and aware.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Glamorous downtown Burbank condo listing tomorrow

Wanna live close to all the action in downtown Burbank? I have a gorgeous, redone, top-floor condo coming on the market tomorrow.  The address is 427 E. Orange Grove, #308.  It features 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, redone kitchen and bathrooms, high ceilings, balcony/patio, 2 side-by-side parking spaces, and a view of the mountains.  Even better: it will list for $490,000 and the HOA is only $325/month.  It is walking distance to restaurants, movies, the public library, shopping, gyms and more.  On Saturdays, the Burbank Farmers Market is right across the street.  It will be open for brokers on Thursday and open for the public from 1:00 to 4:00 on Sunday. Check out more pics and details at