edited by Jodi Summers
You’re lucky to live in Santa Monica. We all are. 2011 estimates show that Santa Monica has 90,377 fortunate residents. Tourists, workers, and beachgoers can increase the city’s daytime population to between 250,000 and 450,000 people. That’s a lot of humanity in 8.3 square miles, which is why, in 2009, Santa Monica reported 106 accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians.
The Santa Monica Police Department would like to share these pedestrian safety tips with you.
* Stop, look and listen before crossing. Just like when you were a kid, look right and left over your shoulder before crossing, look for cars and bicycles, bicycles are required to obey the rules just like the cars.
* Allow vehicles enough time to stop. Don’t assert the right of way with a fast moving vehicle, you could lose.
* Make eye contact with drivers. But don’t assume they will yield.
*Cross at intersections. Crossing mid-block is unsafe; never cross from between two parked cars…drivers can’t see you and aren’t expecting you. When crossing at a signal controlled intersection, cross only on a green light OR when the “walk” sign is activated; the walk sign may change but the light is timed to give you enough time to continue on safely before opposing traffic approaches.
* Unplug from your IPod and listen to what’s going on.
* Use the same rules of caution in a parking lot. Parking lots can be just as dangerous as the street.
Santa Monica leads the state in pedestrian accidents, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). In 2009, Santa Monica ranked first for pedestrian accidents out of 104 California cities of similar size. The top 10 most dangerous Santa Monica intersections for pedestrians, according to the Santa Monica Police Department, based on collision statistics from February 2006 to February 2011 are:
- 1. Main St and Ocean Park Blvd
- 2. 4th St and Santa Monica Blvd
- 3. Lincoln Blvd and Pico Blvd
- 4. 28th St and Pico Blvd
- 5. 17th St and Pico Blvd
- 6. 4th St and Wilshire Blvd
- 7. 2nd St and Colorado Ave
- 8. 4th St and Broadway
- 9. 11th St and Pearl St
- 10. Main St and Pier Ave
The proportion of vehicle vs. pedestrian accidents resulting in injuries is 94%. The vehicle pedestrian accidents resulting in death has hovered between 2-4% between 2002 and 2009.
Stay safe. Be a defensive walker. Watch where you are going. Expect the unexpected. Don’t let cars surprise you… even if the motorist is wrong. Better to be safe than dead right.
Santa Monicans are being targeted by real estate agents representing developers looking to turn small homes in desirable neighborhoods into mini-mansions that can be sold for double the original asking price.
The agents tend to single out older homes, often taking up a relatively small portion of the parcel on which they sit, offering a cash purchase and a promise by the buyer to take care of normal closing costs, provided the homeowner does not broadcast their intent to sell.
Residents report notes left on their doors, direct mail bearing a picture of their own home and even direct phone calls soliciting sales.
That practice is called by many names, including off-market listing, pocket listing or quiet listing, and while it is completely legal, it often is a bad deal for sellers in hot markets like Santa Monica, said Don Faught, president of the California Association of Realtors.
It has its uses, particularly when the seller is a celebrity or other high-profile individual who wants to keep the sale of their home on the down-low, but average homeowners tend to get more for their properties when they advertise them widely, Faught said.
Home prices across Southern California hit a 56-month high in March, rising 23.4 percent from March 2012, according to DataQuick, a real estate news site. Despite rising prices, the unsold inventory index — the number of months it would take to sell the current supply of homes on the market at the current sales pace — is 2.7 months for Los Angeles County.
Six to seven months is considered “normal,” said Lotus Lou, media relations manager for the California Association of Realtors.
In Santa Monica alone, the assessed value of residential real estate jumped by $1.121 billion in 2011, according to a report released in September by the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office.
That’s partially a result of the recovering economy, rising home prices and record number of cash purchases as well-capitalized buyers negotiate a market in which it’s difficult to get a mortgage, according to the site.
Thomas Magiar, a realtor with the WSA Partnership-Coldwell Banker on Montana Avenue, represents several such buyers — developers promising cash for homes in the north of Montana neighborhood.
Magiar dropped off letters at homes in the area that were “under-improved for the extreme value” of their location, usually one-story houses on a property that could accommodate a larger structure.
He believes that quiet listings offer some benefit to the seller like avoiding the circus of promoting their homes to outside buyers. It’s not right for all sellers, but for the small homes north of Montana Avenue, they could get a better deal than they would if they put money into their homes to fix any existing problems and then went out on the open market, he said.
Developers can buy up an old property for a couple million dollars, demolish the existing home and build a two-story luxury home where an old Craftsman once was. Those can sell for $4 to $5 million, even higher if it’s near the beach, Magiar said.
That’s not much of a selling point for Doris Sosin, one of the founders of the North of Montana Neighborhood Association, who lives on 12th Street.
Sosin received one of Magiar’s flyers, and she’s also received phone calls and mail, all of which have picked up since the economy began to improve.
At least one Sunset Park resident has also received a request for a sale which appeared to be a handwritten note that turned out to be a computer-generated form on closer inspection.
Sosin led the charge in the late 1990s against “McMansions,” homes built to the margins of their property lines. They overshadowed neighboring properties, and led to the death of many mature trees that had to be removed so that the home could be built out.
Her work resulted in new rules around single-family homes, requiring set backs and imposing controls over how much of a parcel can be covered.
The attempts to build to even those restricted maximums are unwelcome, she said, because they only succeed in making neighborhoods more expensive to move in to and replace quaint, well-loved homes with larger versions.
You don’t need six bathrooms for two people, she said.
“My goal is to make the quality of life that I’m living right now, the quality for me and my neighbors, better,” Sosin said. “That’s what I care about.”
All the residential real estate news this month is about recovery. The optimism spreads across business sectors and is sprawled across all kinds of specialized news mediums. Check out the headlines and the highlights…
Median Home Prices in SoCal Continue Upward Climb – DQ Real Estate News and Information Services
The median price paid for a Southern California home hit a 56-month high in March, rising 23.4% from a year earlier as the impact of foreclosures continued to fade and sales of mid- to high-end homes shot up. Total sales were the highest in six years for a March. In Los Angeles County, the median price increased by 24.2% over the year in March to $380,000. (FYI, for Santa Monica + Venice residences the median sale price was $1,350,000.)
Responses to Redfin’s Real-Time Seller Survey indicated a dramatic shift in the confidence of home sellers in the second quarter—45% of sellers believe now is a good time to sell, up from just 22% in the first quarter and 15% in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, 44% of sellers believe now is a good time to buy. Nearly a third of sellers have no major concerns about selling, up from just 19% in the first quarter.
Survey Finds Appraisers Finding Hope in Rebounding Housing Market – National Mortgage Professional
A recently completed survey conducted by United States Appraisals found appraisers mildly encouraged by the current housing market. When asked, “What is your current level of confidence in the housing market,” 54.7% of respondents answered mildly or moderately strong, while 24.9% were neutral. The survey was completed by United States Appraisals’ nationwide panel of residential appraisers. United States Appraisals plans to conduct this survey quarterly to monitor trends and opin
“Appraisers tend to be realistic, focused on their local markets and unmoved by news stories and national numbers,” said Aaron Fowler, president of United States Appraisals. “We believe they provide a good gauge of the status of the housing market. After the last few years, a mildly strong level of confidence shows some definite improvement in appraiser attitudes.”
The broadening housing recovery has firmed up home prices around the country, with the potential to restore many underwater mortgages to a position of positive equity, according to Fannie Mae’s Economic and Strategic Research group.
Citing data from CoreLogic, Orawin Velz, Fannie Mae’s director of economic and strategic research, notes that 1.7 million properties moved from negative to positive equity last year. Provided the home price gains seen so far this year continue, Velz anticipates another 1.8 million properties will rise out of their underwater positions by the end of 2013.
NAHB Offers Reasons for Optimism About Housing’s Full Recovery – National Association of Home Builders
The nation’s growth “is finally being driven by housing again,” proclaimed David Crowe, the National Association of Home Builders chief economist. Home prices have been rising, partly the result of tightening inventory of completed new homes, which in turn is stimulating demand. Employment—a major factor in home-buying decisions—continues to strengthen, albeit incrementally. And housing’s recovery is now national in scope.
However, that recovery has not taken full flight yet. Housing still only accounts for 3% of the total economy, or about half its historical level. Single-family home starts are at 47% of the 1.3-million-unit annual level that’s considered “normal” to meet anticipated demographic and population trends.
The good news rose like a phoenix from the bleakness of winter. In February, the median sale price on existing California homes ascended 24.2% to $333,880 < marking a full year price gains. The California Association of Realtors added that sales of homes priced above $500,000 increased by nearly 31% over the year (our neck of the woods) compared with sales of homes priced below $300,000 which declined by 27% over the same period…basically homes priced below $300,000 are disappearing. Lack of inventory is creating fierce competition for available homes > elevating the median sale price.
Have you had the chance to experience the frenzied bidding wars taking place on properties north of Montana Ave.? Well-priced homes for sale in the areas of much-coveted Franklin and McKinley elementary schools and near the beach can go for $500,000 above asking price. Some of our sellers with strategically located and priced properties are getting close to two dozen offers. Big cash offers are often the winners.
Didja know, in Santa Monica, our median sold price for residential properties can vary greatly depending up if more houses or condos are sold in any given month. According to Clarus Market Metrics – In February, the median sold price was way up @ $1,040,000…more houses. In March 2013, the median sold price may be down -3% year-over-year, but down 23% for the month to $795,000 < more condos sold than houses last month.
A slow mile does not lose a marathon. If we look at a three-year picture for Santa Monica sold properties, Median Sold Price by quarter is up 20% from Q1 2011. Sellers take note – prices are beginning to approach previous highs. The median price of for sale properties is up 34% from 3 years ago. We’re about to hit the busy buying season for beach lovers and families with kids…just think of how great our sales numbers will look in June!
Looking at the region, the median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the six-county Southland was $320,000 last month, down 0.3% from $321,000 in January and up 20.9% from $264,750 in February 2012. We hit a high of $330,000 in August 2008.
“March and April will offer a better view of how broader market trends are shaping up this year. One of the real wild cards will be how many more homes go up for sale,” offers DataQuick president John Walsh. “More people who’ve long been thinking of selling will be tempted to list their homes at today’s higher prices. Fewer people will be underwater and therefore could at least break even on a sale. Some investors who’ve held for a while will consider cashing in. A meaningful rise in the supply of homes on the market should at least tame price appreciation.”
Demand for homes is strong, but the lack of inventory is having a negative impact on sales. The inventory of unsold single-family detached homes in California declined last month to a 3.6 month supply < compared with 5.4 months a year ago. Los Angeles County had a 3.3-month supply of single-family homes in February, down from 5.7 months during the same period of 2012. Homes are also selling fast, with the median time on the market for single-family home in California was 34.2 days in February < versus 57.4 days a year ago.
Sellers, where are you? Demand is exceeding supply in Santa Monica with less than 1.5 months of inventory on the market in Santa Monica < an inventory drop of -63% from March 2012.
A bigger perspective. Here is a year-over-year summary of sales and price activity in Southern California by county:
- Los Angeles County: unit sales declined by 5.2% over the year to February, but the median price shot up by 23.8% to $337,630.
- Orange County: sales edged up by 1.0% last month, while the median price soared by 25.1% to $607,230.
- Riverside County: sales of existing homes contracted by 12.0%, but the median price increased by 22.5% to $245,830.
- San Bernardino County: sales declined by 12.7%, while the median price rose by 18.0% to $156,360.
- San Diego County: unit sales ticked up by 0.5% and the median price increased by 12.3% to $407,220.
- Ventura County: existing home sales were up by 2.4% and the median price rose by 17.7% to $461,960.
We’re here to help you with your real estate needs. Please contact Jodi Summers and the SoCal Investment Real Estate Group @ Sotheby’s International Realty – email@example.com or 310.392.1211, and let us move forward together.
by Jodi Summers
Finally, we have some inventory in Ocean Park, Santa Monica. There are currently nine properties for sale in our dynamic walkable neighborhood at the beach, just north of Venice. Every day feels like a holiday in Ocean Park. Here’s what we can help you buy today, courtesy of Jodi Summers and the SoCal Investment Real Estate Group @ Sotheby’s International Realty – firstname.lastname@example.org or 310.392.1211, and let us move forward together.
asking price: $499,000
1 Bedroom, 1 Bathroom
IF YOU LIKE QUALITY & LOCATION, THIS RARE CORNER UNIT, OCEAN PARK, BEACH PAD IS FOR YOU. NICELY UPDATED & READY TO GO. LARGE NEW WINDOWS LOOKING OUT TO GREEN GRASS LOCATIONS. CROWN MOLDING THROUGHOUT. GATED, 2 CAR TANDEM PARKING (RARE FOR 1 BR UNIT). BEAUTIFUL FLOORS. GREAT NATURAL LIGHT & OCEAN BREEZE. OPEN FLOOR PLAN. SECURED COMPLEX.
asking price: $649,000
2 Bedrooms, 2.00 Bathrooms
AN ABSOLUTE DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH IN A SENSATIONAL LOCATION! THIS IS A WONDERFUL CRAFTSMAN COTTAGE SITTING ATOP THE HILL, IN OCEAN PARK, WITH OCEAN VIEWS AND A BEAUTIFUL FRONT GARDEN AREA WHICH WITH A LITTLE IMAGINATION COULD BE SENSATIONAL! NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART, THIS EXTREMELY PRECIOUS TURN-OF-THE-CENTURY 2 BEDROOM, 2 BATHROOM COTTAGE IS READY TO BE REMODELED AND RE-IMAGINED!
asking price: $690,000
1 Bedroom, 1.50 Bathrooms
GORGEOUS CORNER UNIT WITH LARGE PATIO TO TAKE IN GREEN BELT VIEWS AND WONDERFUL OCEAN BREEZES AT PRESTIGIOUS SEA COLONY II. ENJOY ALL THIS LOCATION HAS TO OFFER. CLOSE TO THE OCEAN AND MAIN STREET SHOPS AND RESTAURANTS. SIDE-BY-SIDE PARKING AND 24 HOUR SECURITY.
asking price: $1,295,000
# Units: 1, Lot Size: 4,652
FANTASTIC OPPORTUNITY ON HIGH TRAFFIC LINCOLN BLVD. CORNER LOT – LINCOLN AND NAVY. SMALL IMPROVEMENT ON PROPERTY. CURRENT TENANT IS CAR DEALER. 2003 PHASE ONE ON FILE. ZONED SMC4.
asking price: $1,395,000
# Units: 2, Lot Size: 4,796
WELL MAINTAINED DUPLEX NEAR THE CORNER OF BICKNELL AND MAIN. C2 ZONING. GATED ENTRANCE, WITH AMPLE PRIVATE PARKING FOR MANY CARS… TENANT OCCUPIED, PROPERTY SHOWN WITH ACCEPTED OFFER.
652 KENSINGTON RD
asking price: $1,395,000
3 Bedrooms, 1 Bathroom
BUNGALOW-INFLUENCED 1927 HOME IS LOCATED IN A QUIET NEIGHBORHOOD BLOCKS TO THE BEACH. INTERIOR REQUIRES YOUR ATTENTION WITH KITCHEN & BATHS IN NEED OF REMODELING. 3 BEDS 1 BATH ON FIRST FLOOR. 2ND FLOOR IS LARGE OPEN SPACE. ZONED FOR 2-3 UNITS. DETACHED NEWER 2 CAR GARAGE.
3009 2ND ST
asking price: $1,550,000
3 Bedrooms, 2.50 Bathrooms
THIS IS ONE OF THE LAST LOTS OF ITS KIND IN THE BEST SANTA MONICA LOCATION. TURN OF THE CENTURY HOME AND GUEST HOUSE JUST SECONDS TO MAIN STREET AND OCEAN PARK. SUN PORCH ENTRY, BRIGHT CHARM FILLED INTERIORS WITH ORIGINAL FIR FLOORS AND VINTAGE MOLDINGS. COOK’S KITCHEN WITH SERVICE PORCH, SECLUDED FRONT AND BACK YARDS. GUEST UNIT 1+1. TOTAL PRIVACY FROM MAIN HOUSE.
asking price: $1,795,000
2 Bedrooms, 2.50 Bathrooms
TURNKEY OCEAN VIEW TOWNHOUSE AT THE EXCLUSIVE 24 HOUR GUARD GATED SEA COLONY I AND JUST STEPS FROM THE BEACH. FEATURING HARDWOOD FLOORS THROUGHOUT. ALSO OFFERED FOR LEASE AT $6,850 PER MONTH.
asking price: $1,999,000
4 Bedrooms, 5.00 Bathrooms
AMAZING OPPORTUNITY TO BUY THIS UNIQUE LOT W/ PLANS & PERMITS READY TO BE PULLED TO BUILD A MODERN STYLE HOME APPROXIMATELY 6000 SQ FEET, COST OF CONSTRUCTION $1.5M PLUS $230K FOR POOL.18 MONTHS CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE. PERMIT IS READY AND MUST BE PULLED BY APRIL 14, 2013. DEMO MUST START OCT 14.
Do let us know how we can move forward together in meeting your real estate goals 310.392.1211 or email@example.com.
The SoCal Investment Real Estate Group
Sotheby’s International Realty
License # – 01343854
Things do not change, we change. – Henry David Thoreau
p.s. a. This is not intended as a solicitation if your property is already listed with another agent.
b. We are not the listing agent on this property.
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With the light rail coming down Olympic Blvd. and then switching over to Colorado, you know there ‘s a whole lot of new construction going on in downtown Santa Monica. All this new construction means a whole lot of old buildings have to come down before the new buildings can be built and with all our deconstruction that means a while lot of waste.
As of 2011, the Cal Green Building Codes requires all structures built in California recycle 50% of the waste generated by construction. Santa Monica, green haven that we be, requires 65% of waste from construction and demolition sites to be diverted from landfills. That will move to 70% in the near future.
For the records, waste includes anything you discard from the site; wood scraps, cardboard, flashing, paint and finishing products, tools, drywall, concrete, asphalt, plastic bags, remnants of insulation, etc.
Key to repurposing old materials is the concept of “embodied energy,” or maintaining the resources needed to make the product in the first place, offers Brenden McEneaney, a green building program advisor with the Office of Sustainability and the Environment. “If you make a brick, clay had to get dug out of the ground and brought to a manufacturing facility kiln,” he elaborates. “A lot of carbon was expended to make that product in the first place, and a lot would be expended to make a new product.”
Reuse is a vital new business model, employing nearly 170,000 workers at an annual payroll of $2.7 billion and generates $14.1 billion in revenue, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Failure to achieve the CalGreen recycling goals could result in delays in receiving Final Inspection Approval and a penalty equal to 2% of your project’s value. All penalties must be paid before Final Building Inspector Approval, so there’s no way around it.
In Santa Monica, one can find recycling solutions at locations like Bourget Brothers and the Reuse People’s program > who claim to be able to get between 80 and 90% of the construction and demolition waste diverted.
The Reuse People reach their recycling numbers by working with contractors to carefully take apart buildings to reclaim as much of the original materials as possible. They then transport them to local warehouses where they sell the products below market costs.
Locally, Bourget Brothers Building Materials has gotten into the business of selling recycled materials > be they doors, cabinets, or even old railroad ties. John Bourget has taken to scavenging the building site for desirable recyclables, like old bricks or railroad times.
Didja know A reclaimed brick can be resold for almost the same price as a new one, somewhere between 80 cents and $1.25 in Bourget’s estimation, and it prevents a brand new structural brick from being used unnecessarily.
What with the light rail under construction on the West Side, there is surplus material around everywhere. As city like Santa Monica as a prime market for recycling because builders, homeowners and other businesses have embraced the idea of adaptive reuse.
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