sandy beachSouth Bay News

The South Bay is a collection of 13 cities that offer a vibrant Southern California lifestyle along the coast.

There's always something to do that is fun, entertaining, healthy, and close by. We'll keep you updated on a variety of events going on in our community

Nov. 27, 2020

Is Buying a Home Today a Good Financial Move?

One of the most positive outcomes of this challenging year of 2020, is that many families have reconsidered the meaning of “home”. The appreciation of a place equipped to fill personal needs coupled with historically-low mortgage rates, has found the demand for home purchases to have skyrocketed.

This increase in demand combined with the shortage of homes for sale at this time has caused more bidding wars, which has resulted in a rather dramatic rise in home prices. Understandably, many are cautious about buying a home at the moment.

The truth is actually this – while home prices have in fact appreciated by a startling 6.7% over the last 12 months, the cost to buy a home has actually dropped. This is largely due to mortgage interest rates falling by a full percentage point.

Consider this graph’s example of comparing a mortgage payment one year ago to the home’s appreciated value today. The savings of $87/month equates to over $1000/year.

Strange as it may seem, the economy is actually still in a recession and, that might make it the perfect time to buy a first home or upgrade to a larger one.

Per Tom Gil, Harvard-trained negotiator and real estate investor:

“When volatile assets are facing recessions, hard assets such as gold and real estate, thrive. Historically speaking, residential real estate has done better compared to other markets during and after recessions.”

Homeowners also have 40 times the net worth of renters. Top economists remind that homeownership leads to greater wealth accumulation compared to renting. Renters neither benefit from wealth generated from home price appreciation, nor equity gains from monthly mortgage payments; equity investment naturally becomes a forced form of savings for homeowners.

In the near future, mortgage interest rates are perhaps poised to rise slightly while home prices continue to increase. These two reasons alone make buying a home at this time quite the sensible choice after all.

Posted in Market Updates
Nov. 25, 2020

V-Shaped Economic Recovery in Progress

.Notice what economic experts were saying about economic downturn and recovery in the first, second, and third quarter of 2020.

The second image shows what has actually happened now that economists have shared the initial-advanced estimate of GDP for 3Q2020 (end of October).

Their forecasts for a V-shaped recovery were relatively spot-on.

While there is much uncertainty in the world, it is difficult to understand and have confidence about making decisions regarding real estate, especially with so many mixed messages in the media. Is it the right time to buy? To sell?

This news ought to create a little more certainty where needed, about how the economy is recovering, and where it’s likely to be headed. 

Posted in Market Updates
Nov. 24, 2020

Winter will Bring a Flurry of Activity to the Market

This second half of 2020 has found the housing market surging with activity.

At this hour, real estate experts are looking ahead to the winter season and are forecasting anything but chilly. In fact, it is suggested that this coming December through February will be one of the best winter sales years ever.

While today’s record-low mortgage rates are not expected to be this low for much longer, this marks a golden opportunity for buyers to secure such low rates and make a move. The possibility of rates dropping to 2.5% - which was considered likely earlier this year – has faded as the US economy is rebounding.

Hopeful buyers on the hunt for their dream homes will continue to be the story, and it is said that more homes will be sold overall in 2020 than in 2019. With low interest rates and some continuance of job recovery, more transactions are expected in the near future.

Lack of homes available for sale remains the challenge in the market, however. Realtor.com reports that buyers are remaining in the market much later than is typical for the autumn. If this trend continues, there will be more buyers in the market this winter as well.

It is recommended that sellers capitalize on this moment sooner than later, as spring is typically the season for more homes to come available on the market. With so many buyers active this winter, sellers who want to close a deal on the best possible terms would do well to put their homes on the market at this time.

Experts are predicting that the winter housing market could potentially be bigger than ever. Those ready to buy or sell are wise to jump into the game now; there’s a fantastic chance they could be in their dream home sooner than they’d ever believed possible.

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pixabay

Posted in Market Updates
Nov. 20, 2020

Homeownership is a Key to Building Wealth

According to the 2019 Survey of Consumer Finance Data from the Federal Reserve, for the average homeowner:

“…a primary home accounts for 90% of the total wealth of a family in the U.S.” 

Since households gain net worth through homeownership, wealth increases over time unlike ownership of large purchases (cars, appliances, etc.) which depreciate in value as they age.

In a simple equation, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains how the combination of paying a mortgage and home price appreciation grow overall wealth:

Principal Payments + Price Appreciation Gains = Housing Wealth Gain

As home values increase and owners make payments toward their home loan, wealth is gained through equity. NAR addresses how wealth gains tend to play out over time:

“Housing wealth accumulation takes time and is built up by paying off the mortgage debt and by price appreciation. And while home prices can fall, home prices tend to recover and go up over the longer term. As of September 2020, the median sales price of existing home sales was $311,800, a 35% gain since July 2006 when prices peaked at $230,000.”

This graph indicates how equity has grown for the typical homeowner, noting clearly that real estate is a sound long-term investment.

Homeownership will always be a sound opportunity to build net worth and overall growth, both for current homeowners planning to put equity toward a new home and for those who are looking to be first-time buyers. Owning a home is truly an investment in one’s financial future.

Posted in Market Updates
Nov. 18, 2020

Rising Mortgage Rates Forecasted into 2023

Today there are very valid reasons why homeowners in a strong financial position – and with desire to move - are resistant to selling their home. While the housing market thrives amidst  so much uncertainty right now, the current climate in real estate could yield sellers the best price for their property.

The surge of buyers out looking can surely take advantage of historically-low mortgage interest rates, as can sellers who are looking to upgrade to a nicer home (trade-up).

There is a mild caveat to waiting, however. According to Jeff Tucker, Senior Economist for Zillow  -

“Homeowners who feel life is uncertain right now may think they can still get a strong price if they delay selling until they have more clarity. The catch is that waiting to sell may raise the cost of a trade-up. This fall’s record low mortgage rates, which make a trade-up more affordable on a monthly basis, are not guaranteed to last.

Posted in Market Updates
Nov. 17, 2020

Is it safe to sell a home today?

The buzz in the residential real estate market right now is all about it being a great time to sell a home. Buyer demand is high and inventory of available homes is low, so sellers are more likely than ever to close a deal on their ideal terms.

In addition, even with the affordability of trade-up homes being better than it’s ever been, homeowners have very real and understandable concerns that are motivating them to not put their homes on the market right now.

According to Zillow these are the three top – and very valid - reasons homeowners are tentative about selling their home at this point in time:

·         34% – Life is too uncertain right now

·         31% – Financial uncertainty

·         25% – COVID-19 health concerns

While just about everything feels different this autumn than it did a year ago, the good news is that real estate professionals have spent the majority of 2020 figuring out how to sell homes safely, and it’s paying off for those who are choosing to move this year.

There are two things in particular that agents are doing extremely well at this hour, to make selling a home safe and efficient:

Technology is being implemented into the process in very effective ways.

With state and local regulations as a top priority, technology is being leveraged to assist in making sales happen safely with customer needs top of mind. Digital steps that have proven to be most helpful to help buyers make a decision include the following:

·         Virtual tours

·         Accurate and detailed listing information

·         Detailed neighborhood information

·         High-quality listing photos

·         Agent-led video chats

Clients have concerns about being inside a home and agents know this. By inviting buyers to take an initial look at a home digitally helps reduce the number of people physically entering the home, so only those who are very seriously interested need to take the next step: in-person showings.

Agents are facilitating safe and effective in-person showings.

Once a serious buyer shows interest via digital viewings, in-person showings at this time strictly adhere to guidelines set by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), utilizing safe ways to proceed. Following state and local restrictions first, these are a few of the protocols firmly in place at this time:

·         Limiting in-person activity

·         R­­­equiring guests to wash their hands or use an alcohol-based sanitizer

·         Removing shoes or covering them with booties

·         Following CDC guidance on social distancing and wearing face coverings

Trusting an experienced professional to guide both buyers and sellers at this time has never been more important. They are well-versed in the modern-era safety standards and are committed to clients’ safety and well-being.

In this new era of life, virtual strategies are helping open doors to new approaches that are proving to be game-changers. Combined with market conditions being so favorable right now, sellers are wise to consider a move sooner than later with a trusted agent by their side who can safely guide them and everyone involved throughout the entire process.

Nov. 13, 2020

In the Community - November-December 2020

This Friday the 13th, South Baked is having a Pop-Up Bake Sale at Aloha Bungalow in Redondo’s Riviera Village, from 3-6pm. Drop by to purchase their signatures like newly-released Spiced Cookie Butter cookies, brownies, and more. They’ll be taking pre-orders for Thanksgiving and Christmas, offering free South Bay delivery ($25 min order required for free delivery outside South Bay).

Holiday snow flurries will be blowing around the central grassy area at The Point in El Segundo, starting on Friday, November 27 through December 23. Gentle “snow” falling every 30 minutes on Friday and Saturday nights from 6-8pm will feel like a holiday miracle to enjoy, while shopping and dining.

Through January 10, 2021, the South Bay Botanic Garden invites guests to GLOW, an extraordinary after-dark experience. This stunning art installation transforms the Garden into an oceanic adventure with thousands of lights and a curated musical soundtrack.

Soroptomists International of Manhattan Beach offers a Dream Raffle with monthly prizes being awarded January-June 2021. Funds raised will support programs for teen girls and female heads of households.

November 28 is Small Business Saturday! The South Bay has a fantastic variety of independently-owned-and-operated shops and boutique businesses that deserve your consideration for holiday – and anytime – shopping. It is said that 83 cents of every dollar spent locally stays in the community, so when we shop small there is a big impact on our neighborhood.

In addition to 5-star dining and spa treatments, Terranea Resort offers special December events for day guests on select December dates, including Mandala Ornament Decorating and Private Falconry Experiences. Families are invited for the festive daily search for Terra, the Elf on the Shelf. Kayaking, archery and other adventures also available throughout the holiday season.  

Posted in South Bay Events
Nov. 12, 2020

Clever Decorating Hacks for your Holiday Home

This year has been demanding enough so understandably, some may just forego the chore of traditional holiday decorating this season. Perhaps trying out one or more of these simple, low-cost, and quick ways to create a no-fuss winter wonderland can keep the holiday spirit alive after all.

Gift wrapping rolls can take on a very messy life of their own. Corral them into a small inexpensive hamper, trash bin, or storage container that is spray-painted gold or silver. Now the classy, metallic piece can stay within sight and not cause distress or sore eyes.

Children of all ages will love transforming ordinary coffee filters into special snowflakes. Flatten and fold unused (round) coffee filters and cut them into snowflake patterns. Everyone’s lacy creations will be round and symmetrical yet no two will ever be alike!

Brown paper packages tied up with string may become your favorite thing. Use brown paper bags or even brown butcher paper for gift wrap. Add baker’s twine for ribbon and alphabet monogram gift tags for rustic charm and a personal touch.

Decking the halls with boughs of holly is way too much work. Take a few minutes and wrap the front door with a large bow of wide velvet ribbon, or festive organza fabric. Secure with staples and don a unique, stunning entryway.

To infuse your home with the unforgettable aroma of festive foods, simply fill a pot of fresh cranberries and cut-up oranges with cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg and cloves. Let it simmer on the stove and fill your home with the fragrance of sweet spiced potpourri.

Lighten up on the tree topper! Pipe cleaners can be crafted to spell JOY and PEACE or to create any other unique design. Pieces easily fit and attach any size tree or even house plants.

Give new, special meaning to December with a family Advent calendar. On a foam board (or even wooden board if you can drill holes), poke 24 holes. Cut out colorful paper trees, number them 1 to 24, tape each to a wooden skewer or toothpick. On the back write family-oriented activities for movie night, cookie baking, board games, etc. to inspire quality family time together all month long. 

Find more details and inspiration, visit this page and also this one.

Nov. 11, 2020

Making a Home for the Brave Possible

For eligible individuals, options associated with VA Loans can help make the dream of homeownership a reality.

VA Home Loans provide unique opportunities for Veterans, active-duty personnel, and their families in recognition of their service to our Nation.

Please contact me if you or someone you know may benefit from a VA loan.

Nov. 10, 2020

Buyer Interest Growing Among Younger Generations

Quite surprisingly, the demand for homes this year is extraordinary. Record-breaking numbers of hopeful buyers continue to shop for homes at this hour, when normally the peak of the season starts wrapping up by early fall. 

2020 has been anything but a normal year, and the housing market’s behavior is no exception. Autumn home sales surged so far beyond what is typical for the season. This jump is attributed to record-low interest rates. There have also been many buyers of vacation homes, now given the greater flexibility to work from home. 

While historically-low interest rates are drawing buyers to the market in general, today’s affordability seems especially attractive to younger buyers who wish to build weath through homeownership. There has been a notable increase in the percentage of those in younger generations searching for homes.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) noted that between summer 2019 and summer 2020, the share of Gen Z adults planning a home purchase rose three points to 14%, and millennials are the generation most considering homeownership, at 22%.

This graph shows year-over-year increase in homebuying interest by generation.

It is believed that millennials are reaching their prime home-buying years combined with current mortgage rates, is driving this demand. Their biggest challenge, like that for all generations looking for homes, remains a lack of housing supply.

Now it is more important than ever to work with a trusted professional to navigate today’s market. Having an experienced agent  help with pre-approval, bidding wars, and down payment assistance may very much make the difference in landing one’s dream home.

Posted in Market Updates