December 18th, 2014

California November home sales slowest since November 2007: Year-over-year sales are down 8 percent and market grinds to low volume as year closes.

Apparently home buyers didn’t get the memo about buying California real estate.  November home sales tumbled to their lowest November showing dating back to 2007.  When real estate markets turn, you will always see sales volume dry up first before any price changes.  We are already seeing marginal areas throwing out some properties with lower prices.  The drop in sales volume was to be expected given that investors are largely pulling away from California and regular families simply do not have the income to support current prices.  If buying real estate was a no brainer you would expect that sales volume would be running at a healthy clip.  It isn’t.  In fact, this was the slowest November going back to 2007.  Not a lot of good things were happening in 2007 but sales were dropping year-over-year yet year-over-year home prices were up.

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December 15th, 2014

Real Homes of Genius: $100k homes in Compton. Time to shop for deals in L.A. County if you don’t mind brown lawns and a touch of metal bars on the windows.

Who doesn’t like a good deal when it comes to buying real estate? Since some people believe every area in L.A. County is undergoing ubiquitous gentrification I wanted to throw some good deals your way. Now some of you might balk at the city and the bars on the window but you still get the benefit of the sun, the weather, access to beaches, all the “fun” things to do, proximity to employment, and you will be within the county itself. So what city are we talking about? Compton people! I love browsing the listings and seeing what is happening across all areas of Southern California. Over the last couple of weeks, I noticed lower priced properties popping up. End of the year cleaning. $100k for SoCal housing? This can’t be! Don’t expect HGTV perfection here but you do get bars on the windows and deferred maintenance. But with these price tags, you have a lot of room to upgrade and make this into your new gentrified palace.

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December 11th, 2014

Why Millennials are stuck living at home with parents: The impact on first time home buying, renting, and the 2015 housing market. Big jump in foreign EB-5 visas.

The Federal Reserve conducted a study on Millennials and tried to ascertain why so many of them are living at home. Is it too much student debt? Lower incomes? Or is it that home prices are simply unaffordable? The study finds that all of these factors have a big impact on why many Millennials are living at home and why the first time home buyer market is performing so badly. It also gives us insight into the shifting building demand of new construction. Many builders are focusing their energies on multi-unit structures to cater to an audience that will look for rentals or lower priced condos. There is a heavy renting trend undertaking this country. We are seeing a record numbers of young people living at home with mom and dad heading directly back into their childhood rooms to rock out the NES and attempting to pass Super Mario Brothers once again. There are major implications for housing because of this new structural change. First time home buying is down dramatically. Construction is catering to a lower income cohort. Let us look at what the Fed found in their report.

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December 8th, 2014

Flipping and gentrifying: The art of flipping homes in lower income areas. If you remodel it, will the people come? A case study in Inglewood.

Flipping is only lucrative on a large scale when you have a strong uptrend in real estate. It is hard to make a sizable profit when markets are more fluid especially when appreciation rates are tied to more historical standards. But California is destined for at least our lifetimes to be a boom and bust state. Given the harder to find deals and the blocks of $700,000 crap shacks in pseudo wealth areas, many would be flippers are inching deeper into the inner city. Time to make those profits in Compton. I’ve noticed that flippers have pulled back for the most part but we still have those chasing profits in many areas across the Southland. I’m sure you have many Friskies eating boomers living in these old areas saying “you are willing to pay what for this place?!” Some are likely to take the golden ticket. Most will live out their days eating gruel and looking at their 30-something or 40-something kids counting the days until they kick the bucket and finally can afford a piece of California housing via inheritance. Yet housing is a live action market. You are either paying rent or buying a place. That is it. So let us look at Inglewood today and a flip that is happening right now.

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December 4th, 2014

Let the serfs pay their rent: Rental income held steady from 2000 to 2007 but has now risen a whopping 240 percent since the Great Recession hit.

Being a landlord is no easy task. In the long run owning a rental property can be a nice addition to your investment portfolio but there is nothing sexy about it. Many small time landlords only start to see the benefits many years into holding the property. For the most part, this is why Wall Street and large hedge funds have avoided owning single family homes in their portfolios. That of course changed in 2007 when the market went into full on implosion mode and the mantra of the day was “chase yield anywhere you can find it.” There is this odd notion that somehow all the great deals went to other families that timed the market perfectly. The excellent deals of 2008 to 2011 were happening at a time when the economy was in crisis mode. Some of the best deals to be had were done via auctions and you needed to have a cashier’s check to play so many regular people had no access to this. 7 million foreclosures and many of these are now in the hands of investors. The homeownership rate is a clear indication of this. It should also be no surprise that we’ve added 7 million renting households. How big of a change have we seen? Rental income which held steady between 2000 and 2007 at roughly $200 billion per year is now up 240 percent coming in at $640 billion. Since few people actually own rentals, this is money flowing into a concentrated group.

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