January 1, 2014 on 10:41 pm | In Fascinating Information, For Your Purchasing Pleasure, Market Snapshot, Market Trends, Of Local Importance, Sellers, Statistics, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

by Jodi Summers

Two+ years ago, Google ditched their digs in downtown Santa Monica and expanded into Venice. They took over the landmark binocular building on Main St., leasing 100,000 square feet in three buildings for hundreds of employees.

Other technology monsters and puppies followed, and our neighborhood took on the name Silicon Beach. From Microsoft’s new office at Playa Vista to the scores of start-up accelerator programs and incubator programs that followed, techies seem pleased to be away from aggressive Silicon Valley and settled on our peaceful Westside.

As the tech community swell in number, housing prices are climbing. The Los Angeles Times report that 25-year-old Snapchat co-founder Bobby Murphy recently bought a new two-bedroom house in Venice for $2.1 million, more than 25% higher than Venice median December home price of $1,600,000.

Our burgeoning tech community is inciting a Westside housing grab that has enabled landlords to push sky-high rents even higher and helped send home prices above their pre-recession highs.

“There are 8.5 million people on the planet; 8 million of them would like to live at Venice Beach,” notes decade-long resident Brian. “I’ve been living here for years, but since Google moved in, Venice has become the place.”

Here’s a curious statistic, as fabulously hot as Venice might be, between Dec-2012 vs. Dec-2013 the median
asking price of for sale properties dropped -8%. In December the median asking price for the 43 homes had fallen to $1,678,000, from a media price of $1,822,000 for 46 properties the year before. Meantime the median price
of sold properties is up 22% to $1,600,000 – with 23 properties sold. Expect asking prices to rise again in the spring.

Silicon Beach sister city Santa Monica is quite a different story. In 2013, the median sold price for a home in Santa Monica is down -37%. In December, 2012, the median sale price was $2,398,350 – with 25 homes sold, while December 2013 saw a 19 homes closing price of $1,510,000 – a drop of $888,350. Meantime, median asking prices have risen 16% to $ 2,440,000.

Condo prices for each beach were similar, with Santa Monica logging in a 9% increase to a median sale price of $720,000 and the minimal Venice condo seeing 11% growth to $ 1,082,500.

Combine property types and locations and Santa Monica and Venice sold prices were cumulatively up 15% for all property types.

Around the rest of town 2013 saw residential real estate prices rise Los Angeles by more than 20%.

For more information please contact Jodi Summers and the SoCal Investment Real Estate Group @ Sotheby’s International Realty – or 310.392.1211, and let us move forward together.



December 28, 2013 on 8:26 pm | In Buyers, Fascinating Information, Federal Government, fUNNY...mONEY, Lenders + Vendors, Market Trends, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

edited by Jodi Summers

Now that getting a loan has finally returned to a more comfortable process, the new Qualified Mortgage (QM) rules happening January 10, 2014 add a new twist to the lending game.

QM is a newly created set of restrictions on lending guidelines and the products that are available in the secondary market. For example, there will be no more:

- Interest Only

- Prepayment penalties

- Loan terms longer than 30 yrs

- Generally no debt ratios over 43%

“The effect of QM will be that many qualified borrowers will have more difficulty in obtaining financing,” reveals Caroline McPherson, Senior Mortgage Consultant @ RPM Mortgage.

Fitch Ratings believes that after the Qualified Mortgage rule goes into effect, it will help to protect investors and provide incentives to originators and issuers to maintain high-quality originations while upholding guideline compliance.

Borrowers are still able to apply for Non-QM loans. Most mortgage brokers will continue to offer Non-QM loans, including interest only, higher debt ratios and other unique programs.

The forthcoming ability-to-repay and qualified mortgage rule will have direct consequences for the primary and secondary mortgage markets. Experts say processes will need to be developed to satisfy secondary market participants, including loan aggregators and residential mortgage-backed securities investors.

For borrowers with a debt ratio is over 43%, solutions include paying down debt so that they can qualify under the new debt ratio guidelines. Another option is FHA Loans. Mortgages insured by the federal government will have somewhat looser restrictions.



December 15, 2013 on 5:15 pm | In Fascinating Information, fUNNY...mONEY, Uncategorized, WOW | 2 Comments

By Jodi Summers

While trolling through pages and pages of information and statistics, we came across this really cool graph of the top 1% of money earners vs. the average American > check it out….

Thanks to the Big Picture –


December 1, 2013 on 10:52 pm | In Buyers, Fascinating Information, fUNNY...mONEY, Market Snapshot, Market Trends, Of Local Importance, Sellers, Statistics, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

by Jodi Summers

The residential real estate trends of the Silicon Beach cities Santa Monica and Venice that of their great mother, Los Angeles, only exponentially more intense.

Affordable housing for sale is a precious commodity. Around SoCal, inventory-starved, lower-cost markets lag well behind 2012 levels, as prices throughout the Southland are  nearly 22% higher than last year, reports DQ news.

The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the six-county SoCal region last month was $383,750, up 0.5% from $382,000 in September and 21.8% from $315,000 in October 2012. The $385,000 median this June, July and August was the highest in more than five years.

Los Angeles County median price rose by 22.6% to $477,130 over the year, while unit sales declined by 5.2%.

In Santa Monica and Venice the median sold price in October 2013  was $1,167,000. The 80 properties sold averaged 46 days on the market. The recent high for the two Silicon Beach Cities was Sep. 2013 at $1,307,000. The 89 properties sold averaged 51 days on the market. The most recent stats have us in the winter lull, as November prices had fallen to $1,120,000 when 79 units sold in an average of 45 days.

“Our read on the market is that after playing some rapid catch-up, home prices hit a bit of a mid-summer wall. It took a very specific set of circumstances to trigger price gains of 20% or more over the course of a year. We had a pitifully low number of homes for sale, incredibly low mortgage rates and unusually high levels of investor purchases. In recent months each of those drivers has reversed somewhat,” deduced John Walsh, DataQuick president.

Walsh revealed that the experts still do not understand how much the housing market was affected by October’s partial shutdown of the federal government and fears of a default on the national debt.

It appears that almost all of October’s 21.8% year-over-year increase in the Southland median sale price reflects rising home prices, while a small portion reflects a change in market mix. And any mix shift has been in the wrong direction, with an increase in mid- to high-end sales, and  a big decline in sales of lower-cost distressed properties.

In October, the lowest-cost third of the region’s housing stock saw a 20.0% year-over-year rise in the median price paid per square foot for resale houses. The annual gain was 20.9% for the middle third of the market and 20.2% for the top, most-expensive third.

Sales activity in the middle and upper price ranges continued to outpace sales in more affordable markets. Last month the number of homes sold from $300,000 through $800,000 – a range that includes many move-up buyers – rose 15.5% year-over-year. The number that sold for $500,000 or more jumped 28.5% from one year earlier, while $800,000-plus sales rose 32.9%.

Santa Monica and Venice saw a rise in the median price of for sale properties is up 25% to $1,600,000, while the median price of sold properties is down -3% to $1,120,000.

Investors and second-home purchasers bought 26.5% of the Southland homes sold in October, which is the lowest share since it was 25.1% in November 2011. Buyers paying cash accounted for 27.5% of home sales, down from an all-time peak of 36.9% this February. Now cash buyers make up the lowest part of the market since Sep. 2010.

In October 12.0% of Southland home purchase loans were adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs).  Jumbo loans, mortgages above the old conforming limit of $417,000, accounted for 26.3% of last month’s Southland purchase lending. FHA loans accounted for 19.7% of all purchase mortgages last month.

The typical monthly mortgage payment Southland buyers committed to paying in October was $1,499, down from $1,547 the month before and up from $1,115 a year earlier. Adjusted for inflation, it’s 48.8% below the current cycle’s peak in July 2007.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.19%, up from the year-ago rate of 3.38%.

As mortgage rates move up, some economists speculate home prices may have peaked for the time being. “The increase in house prices already seen is bringing hesitant and previously sidelined sellers back to the market, helping to drive a loosening in supply conditions,” said Paul Diggle at Capital Economics. “Meanwhile, the recent sales activity data have come in fairly weak, which will further add to the loosening in the balance between supply and demand.”

And what of affordable housing for purchase in the Los Angeles area? Let’s let the kittle of fish stew a while longer.

For more information please contact Jodi Summers and the SoCal Investment Real Estate Group @ Sotheby’s International Realty – or 310.392.1211, and let us move forward together.




November 11, 2013 on 9:54 pm | In Buyers, Fascinating Information, Historic Properties, Of Local Importance, Santa Monica Landmarks, Uncategorized, WOW | 4 Comments

by Jodi Summers

The world loves the Santa Monica Pier. It’s top 10 in popularity for Instagram locations. The view of the Pier from the balcony is one of the many selling points for the new multimillion dollar Waverly and Seychelle condos at the Village @ Santa Monica.  We enjoy the Santa Monica Pier in many ways for many reasons. Next time you walk down the Pier, put on your goggles and duster, and travel back in time to a different millennium…the Santa Monica Pier is laden with local lore and savory history….start at the top and work your way to the end….

According to the Los Angeles Times, the first passenger train reached Santa Monica in January 1889. Entertainment entrepreneurs saw an opportunity. Abbot Kinney, a gentleman from a well-to-do New Brunswick, New Jersey family, became interested in land development along the Los Angeles coast. In 1891 Kinney and his partner Francis Ryan bought controlling interest in the Ocean Park Casino and the surrounding tract of land.
They built a beach resort called Ocean Park. Ocean Park Pier in the center of their resort at Pier Avenue opened in 1898.

1. THE SANTA MONICA PIER – Noticing the success of the Ocean Park Pier, the City of Santa Monica got the vision of doing a municipal pier.  After 16 months of construction, on September 9, 1909, the Santa Monica Municipal Pier opened to the public. (The City wrote it into the budget by making its primary use to carry sewer pipes beyond the breakers.) The 1,600-foot-long wooden pier unfurled before you opened with festivities and gala hoopla that included band concerts, swimming races and the novelty of walking above the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Clean and austere, the pier had no amenities.

2. THE SANTAMONICA PIER SIGN – In 1940, a new bridge to the Pier was constructed. During the grade project, the road down the Pier was cut off from traffic, and business suffered.  The Pier’s business community installed the iconic arched blue neon sign to re-confirm the Pier’s location and access to motor traffic. The city-designated historic landmark and registered trademark frequently appears in movies and TV shows.

3. The LOOFF HIPPODROME – Opened in June, 1916 on what was then called the Looff Pleasure Pier, the Santa Monica Looff Hippodrome is located on what is now known as the Newcomb Pier, adjacent to the Santa Monica Pier. The Hippodrome is a nationally landmarked structure that might best be described as “a California-Byzantine-Moorish-style fantasy” that sits at the shore end of Santa Monica Pier. This unique structure has been home to a succession of vintage merry-go-rounds and Wurlitzer organs. Back in the early days, the hippodrome was accompanied by the Blue Streak Racer wooden roller coaster and the Whip and Aeroscope thrill rides.

A success on the East Coast amusement scene, Looff moved to Long Beach in 1911 to focus on the West Coast amusement movement. He was aware of the Santa Monica Pier’s success, and in 1916 reached an agreement with the City of Santa Monica to purchase the northern 200 feet of beachfront property for $50,000 to build a pier alongside the Municipal Pier.

It has been reported that Looff chose Santa Monica to build his amusement pier because, “the bathing beach at Santa Monica is well-known as one of the finest on the Pacific Coast, it attracts the highest class of people, and
transportation facilities afforded are unequaled.”

Looff, the man responsible for the hippodrome, is one of this country’s most noted carousel builders. His legacy is the innovations he made to the carousel horse. The moving horses were slender and graceful and inferred motion. The manes featured “cut through” openings, which looked dramatic, but where very time consuming to carve. Around 1905, Looff designed a saddle that resembled a scoop, a design that is still found on carousel horses today.

The hippodrome currently houses the 1922 PHILADELPHIA TOBOGGAN COMPANY CAROUSEL with 44 hand-carved horses and a Wurlitzer band organ.

4. If you notice, there is a yellow beam connecting the two piers that make up the Santa Monica Pier. The Municipal Pier was built in 1909 to carry a pipeline for disposal of treated sewage out to the ocean – a practice that ended in the 1920s. It became two piers when Charles Looff built the wider “pleasure pier” along the south side for his amusement park.

5. THE BOWLING & BILLIARD BUILDING (1917), now houses Piazza Al Mare and Rusty’s Surf Ranch. The surf broke beneath this building until 1933, when the addition of the breakwater changed the currents, inadvertently creating the super-wide beaches for which Santa Monica is now famous.

6. In popular folklore, ROUTE 66 stops or starts here—depending on whether you’re heading west or east—2,448 miles from Chicago. In reality, the official terminus is at Olympic and Lincoln boulevards, but since that’s a freeway intersection, this is a safer location.

7. PLAYLAND ARCADE opened in 1950 and is the Pier’s longest-running enterprise, still owned and managed by the family that started it.

Gone but not forgotten…SINBAD’S (1955-73) was housed in a bright-red building that once defined the Pier’s profile. Built next to The Bowling & Billiards Building, it opened in 1918 as a banquet hall. It was moved next to THE LA MONICA BALLROOM in 1925, and ultimately became legend as Sinbad’s.

More than 50,000 people attended the July 23, 1924 grand opening of the La Monica Ballroom, enough to cause the first traffic jam recorded in Santa Monica History. The LaMonica boasted a 15,000-square-foot maple dance floor and drew thousands of dancers and celebrity orchestras until the Depression ended its reign. In 1948, Spade Cooley, a country swing music star, televised his weekly TV show in the ballroom, making that the first time that a musical show was televised live. The grand ballroom became a roller skating rink in 1958. Due to overuse and exposure to the elements the ballroom was showing its age when it was demolished in 1963.

6. PACIFIC PARK has been in operation at the Pier since 1996 -, the first full-scale amusement park on Santa Monica Pier since the 1930s.  The park looks directly out on the Pacific Ocean, in the direction of Catalina Island. It is the only amusement park on the West Coast of the United States located on a pier. There are a total of thirteen rides in Pacific Park, including the world’s only solar powered Ferris wheel and a roller coaster that circles the majority of the park.

In 1974, the City acquired ownership of the adjacent privately owned pier, and saved both structures from demolition. In the 1980s the pier was almost destroyed by winter storms. In 1983 the city formed a Pier Restoration and Development Task Force (now the Pier Restoration Corporation), with the goal of returning the pier to its former glory.

In 1989 the Pier Restoration Corporation elected to “make the pier a year-round commercial development with amusement rides, gift shops, nightclubs with live entertainment and restaurants” that would be “reminiscent of its heyday in the 1920s and 1930s”. The 2-acre Pacific Park opened in 1996 as a full-scale family amusement park.

7. THE YACHT HARBOR – is under water. Do you notice how the Santa Monica Pier sign says yacht harbor on it, yet there is not a yacht or a mooring in site? That dream began in the 1920s, when entrepreneurs like retired sailor named Olaf C. Olsen created fleets of recreational fishing boats. Olsen was a local hero, fought to keep large-scale commercial net fishing out of the bay, and during the Great Depression legend has it donated part of his own catch to needy families.   All the locals knew Olsen and admired him. One pier visitor, Elzie C. Segar – the author of a popular comic strip called Thimble Theater – met Olsen, and he inspired him. He created the cartoon character Popeye after Olsen.

In 1933 a bond issue was passed allowing the city to build a breakwater and create a yacht harbor so boats could be safely moored and to also protect the pier. Construction on the breakwater was completed on July 30, 1934, just in time for the highly publicized Santa Monica Regatta. A collection of yachts, including Charlie Chaplin’s, as well as fishing boats and a cruise liner to Catalina made the yacht harbor their home base.

Unfortunately the breakwater was poorly engineered and began to sink into the sandy ocean bottom and is now almost completely submerged. When Marina del Rey, then the worlds’ largest man-made pleasure boat harbor, opened in 1965 just a few miles south of the pier, it signaled the end of boating activities at the Santa Monica Pier.

8. Paddle boarding was imported to Santa Monica from the Hawaiian Islands in the 1930s. Inside the safe protection of the harbor paddleboard racing thrived. Two clubs, the Santa Monica Paddle Board Club and the Manoa Paddleboard Club called the Pier their home. The sports thrived until the 1950s, when competitive surfing become the favorite. The recently re inaugurated annual PADDLEBOARD RACE AND OCEAN FESTIVAL commemorates the Pier’s long connection to ocean sports and lifeguarding.

9. THE FISHING DECK – The Santa Monica Pier has long been a favorite among the fishing community. People have great stories about fishing on the Santa Monica Pier – not just the folktales of the 500 pounders that got away (referring to the giant black sea bass which were once prominent in the area).

Teenagers tell tales of fishing at night along with a number of Chinese fishermen who made a regular habit of snagging crabs with large treble hooks. They kept a fire going under a large pot filled with seawater. As they caught a crab it went into the pot and it became a sort of communal crab feast.

When this pier, like many, was damaged by the 1983 storms, its future was debated, debated, and finally debated some more before the $30,000,000 renovation was begun. On April 5, 1990, one phase of the work was finished and a reconstructed Municipal Pier celebrated its rebirth. Today, the end of the pier has special sections designed for anglers and it is one of the most attractive piers in the state.

Drop a line you might catch the occasional 22-37″ halibut, but “More common than halibut are white croaker (tom cod), queenfish (herring), sardines, walleye surfperch, salema, sargo, scorpionfish (sculpin), kelp bass (calico bass), sand bass, Pacific mackerel, jack mackerel (Spanish mackerel), and bonito (on live bait or bubbles with a feather). Occasionally, barracuda, white seabass or even yellowtail will show up – most often out at the end of the pier in deeper water.”




October 25, 2013 on 2:55 pm | In Buyers, Fascinating Information, fUNNY...mONEY, Historic Properties, Market Snapshot, Market Trends, Of Local Importance, Uncategorized, WOW | 1 Comment

by Jodi Summers

We’ve all laughed at the postcard of multimillion California homes….but the scary thing is that is becoming reality. In Santa Monica, the million-dollar “shack “is a century-old bungalow by the beach in need of rehabbing. This has become the bottom of the seaside single family residential home market.

In Ocean Park, the ideal Santa Monica Beach community, pricing chaos began on October 11th. A newly remodeled 1-bedroom +1-bathroom
bungalow less than 600 total square feet, on a well-designed lot came on the market at $825,000 and promptly went into escrow in multiple offers.

Now, three vintage bungalows are on the market at prices the neighbors consider “shocking…”

411 OCEAN PARK – What the advertising doesn’t tell you is that this $895,000 2-bed + 1 bath 1920 bungalow on a hill on a boulevard.

It will be open on Tuesday 10/29/2013 – 11:00AM-2:00PM. Lot is slightly under 3,000 sf. Carport.


666 NAVY ST ,  a 2-bed + 1 bath 1914 probate in need of a remodel on a 4,000-sf lot, is now on the market $949,000.


2635 6TH ST, “Adorable California bungalow on huge 6,000 SF lot in Ocean Park.” is selling for $1,150,000. With OP2 zoning, you can build two units.

That’s open on 10/29/2013, if you’re interested.


If you’re looking for a move-in condition house bottom end of the market is 727 OZONE ST a 3+2 priced at $1,200,000 – also open Tuesday.

And prices go up from there. According to the MLS, the current high price for a home in Santa Monica is 1525 SAN VICENTE BLVD – a 22,794sf home on a 58,806sf lot for $29,995,000 – it has
13 bathrooms. Showings upon request.

The current low price for a condo is 1621 CENTINELA AVE #B a 1+1 for $370,000.

Showings upon request.

The starting prices on 1-bedroom condos in Ocean Park is $449,000 – 1/3 of the $1,225,000 starting  price of the new condos down Main St. … so…value is all relative.

For more information please contact Jodi Summers and the SoCal Investment Real Estate Group @ Sotheby’s International Realty – or 310.392.1211, and let us move forward together.


We are not the listing agent on these properties Information is from the


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