Saturday, February 6, 2016

Manhattan Beach Home Price Index | Slow Start to 2016

Based on some of my most recent blog post titles you might reasonably conclude that I am short on Manhattan Beach Real Estate. Not at all, I am actually quite bullish and think, if anything, Manhattan Beach home prices are still low for luxury coastal CA Real Estate. More on that later. Let's first talk about the feeble sales recorded during January of 2016 and the environment in which we were operating.

Since we all forget rather quickly, let me refresh your memory. January was not the greatest weather and the stock market started off very poorly to say the least. This greatly affected the $3-5M market because in that price range what we most often see are buyers with a significant down payment that is often sourced from the proceeds of a stock sale or other business transaction. The all cash and Powerball buyers typically are over $5M. Basically, if you could afford a mortgage of $5M or more based on your income, most likely you have the cash to just buy the house without a loan.

Sales across the board in the beach Cities including North and South Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Manhattan Beach were depressed (or depressing) in January. In Manhattan Beach there were 15, not a misprint, fifteen closed escrows. That is down form 21 during the same period of 2015 (-29%) and down from 27 in the prior month of December (-45%). Ouch.

Here's the sales from lowest to highest.

Manhattan Beach Sales Jan 2016

By comparison there were 31 closed escrows in North Redondo Beach, 27 in South Redondo Beach, and 10 in Hermosa Beach CA.

Sold prices ranged from $910,000 to $4,375,000. The average selling price was $2,115,333 and the median was $1,770,000. The oldest house was built in 1930 and the newest 2015. Six of the listings sold for over the asking price and 8 below with one at the MLS price.

The three highest priced listings sold were all new construction with 2 being in the Tree Section and one in East Manhattan. Unfortunately one was sold at $1M under the original list price. Possibly listed too high to start but sold for too little at the end. But what do I know.

Here's what I do know.

Great time to be in the market to buy a house in Manhattan Beach CA because as I wrote earlier, compared to other luxury markets and coastal markets, these homes are underpriced. Yes, underpriced.

Here's why.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Manhattan Beach Real Estate Prices | Jumping the Shark

I was just looking at some new Manhattan Beach Real Estate listings that hit the market this week and I have to ask, "Are we jumping the shark"? If you are not familiar with that phrase, it comes from an episode on the TV show "Happy Days" from back in the 70s when Fonzie (aka The Fonze) was water skiing and jumped over a shark.  Wearing a leather jacket. Really. Watch the video. This is bad TV.  I guess that's why I was never a fan of that show or probably even watched.

So maybe we haven't jumped the shark in Manhattan Beach Real Estate prices but I can't help but think maybe we missed a step somewhere in what has been some rather rapid price appreciation over the past few years.

We're now seeing increments that I don't see supported by any recent sales and have to wonder if the prices are now moving up in multiple million dollar increments and if so, can that be supported.

Let me preface the rest of my comments with I am not implying that these homes are not worth the asking prices, only question how we got here so quickly. Maybe we didn't jump a shark but sure seems like a big leap to me.

The first one that caught my attention was 125 2nd St which is a pretty amazing property on a South End walk street listed for $10,300,000 by Shorewood Realtors. That equates to $2419 SqFt for the estimated 4258 SqFt house. Yes, the home is exquisite and yes it has amazing views and being on a walk street definitely somewhat more private than on The Strand.  You can see pictures of 125 2nd St here. Following is a screenshot of the MLS listing.

125 2nd St MLS Screenshot

Just when I was digesting that one, along comes 108 The Strand, even larger, newer, and of course better views. For $19,985,000. Here the MLS screenshot for that one.

108 The Strand MLS Screenshot

Friday, January 15, 2016

Manhattan Beach CA Neighborhood Guide | Sand Section Homes

For a relatively small city Manhattan Beach CA has a number of very distinct neighborhoods each with their own unique flavor and charm.

Starting furthest west, at the Pacific Ocean we have the "Sand Section". This includes the Strand and all the walk streets. There are both Single Family Residences and Townhomes. Many properties have ocean views. 

The Sand Section is further broken up into "El Porto" which is the northern most tip north of Rosecrans. Actually, once upon a time, El Porto was part of El Segundo but Manhattan Beach annexed it. Then you have the "North End" which is basically north of Marine Ave but south of Rosecrans. And that makes anything South of Manhattan Beach Blvd until you get to Hermosa Beach "South End". There is also the Gas Lamp District. We tend to call the stores around Manhattan Beach Blvd "Downtown". And you will hear lots of people talking about "in town" which covers to all.

Homes in the Manhattan Beach Sand Section are expensive, very expensive. If your budget is less than $1.8M chances are you should look elsewhere. A good alternative is the Hermosa Beach Sand Section which is slightly less expensive and offers a very similar lifestyle.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Market Update 2015 Manhattan Beach Sales Decline in Volume Year over Year

Well now that 2015 is over and we're not that far along into 2016 yet, let's take a quick look at how Manhattan Beach  Real Estate performed last year.

There were 357 closed sales in Manhattan Beach CA during 2015. That compares with 223 in Hermosa Beach, North Redondo Beach 534, and South Redondo Beach 421 sales.

Here's what many readers may be surprised to find considering that we are supposedly in a housing recover: year over Year Sales declined in Manhattan Beach compared to 2014 when there were 422 closed escrows in 2014. That 65 unit decrease is equivalent to about a 15.5% drop off in total sales.

In fact, Zillow considers the Manhattan Beach Market to be "cool" even though their calculations show a 14.4% price increase with another 5.21 predicted for this year. My calculations indicate a 30% increase from the market bottom for some properties.

So, what's going on? Great question and I'm glad you asked.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

For Sale By Owner Manhattan Beach FSBO Homes

"FSBO" Manhattan Beach

You probably haven't run across many "FSBO"s in Manhattan Beach and there's a good reason why: according to data from a recent National Association of Realtors (NAR) study less than 10% of them actually sell. And far less at the "luxury" price point found in 90266 from my perspective. So, why is that. A bunch of reasons but let's look at the top 5.

1) FSBOs usually price their homes incorrectly. That's a polite way of saying too high. I get the part about not wanting to pay real estate commissions. Yes, it is a lot of many and the public often doesn't get exactly what it is that Realtors do so wanting to save tens of thousands of dollars (or more) is just human nature. But what happens to most "for sale by owners" is that they then add to the list price. So you have buyers thinking they are going to get a deal buying directly from an owner with no agent involved and owners often thinking they can pocket even more than a standard listing. Good luck with that one.

2) FSBOs don't understand the real estate transaction process. This covers everything from the actual contract paperwork to handling escrow, to appraisals, closing, showings and more. It takes most agents a few years and at least a half dozen transactions to figure things out. There's a ton of moving parts pulling all of them together successfully takes an awful lot.

3) FSBOs can't properly expose their property. Sure maybe they can put it on Craigslist and even a few real estate portals but there is no way that a FSBO can get the benefits of syndication from the MLS and be on hundreds of websites and exposed to thousands of agents.

4) FSBOs do not know how to properly present their home for sale. This includes everything from professional photos, flyers, floor plans, property descriptions, single property websites to staging, repairs and painting.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Manhattan Beach Realtors, Real Estate Agents and Brokers

Ellis Posner is a local Zillow Premier 5 Star Rated Real Estate Agent, Trulia VIP and Top Producer with over 70 posted reviews from Buyers and Sellers just like you. Here's what his clients have to say.

Client Testimonials as seen on Zillow

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Manhattan Beach Design Trends 2016

Manhattan Beach Design Trends 2016

Interior design, floor plans, and finish work seems to be in a constant state of evolution and what looked great when your house was built 10 years ago (or longer) may just look dated today. Really.

Here's eight design trends I see that can affect the resale value of your Manhattan Beach home in 2016. These are my opinions and primarily based on observations of how my clients (and my wife and I) are remodeling their homes, new construction, and some of my favorite websites and magazines such as Houzz and Dwell.

Here goes.

Farmhouse Style replacing more formal decor. Look for the Farmhouse or Apron sink which is making a big comeback. Typically a white ceramic, deep, single bowl. You'll also see sliding sliding wood barn style doors inside often used in front of a washer dryer previously covered with a bi-fold door or other closet space. Very cool. And expect to see white, lots of white. Another part of this look is more "rustic" wood floors. These could be the gray or distressed wide plank white oak or close variations. Another similar style I also see in Manhattan Beach is "Plantation Style" which a lot of builders are going with.

Mixed and Match finish materials instead of let's say the same wood cabinets in the bathrooms and kitchens. This expresses itself in many ways such as two tone kitchen cabinets, ie upper cabinets being white and the lower cabinets being a darker tone such as gray or brown.This can also be expressed as unique combinations of backsplash and counters instead of let's say having granite for both. Another expression of this is lets say the blending of styles in the photo above where we see a traditional great room combined with more contemporary doors.

Living Space Bathrooms. This trend started with statement mirrors replacing medicine cabinets and flat mirrors fastened to the wall and has continued to include lighting fixtures including chandeliers and furniture like pieces.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Stage Your Manhattan Beach Home to Sell for a Higher Price

Staged Manhattan Beach Homes Sell for Higher Prices

Realtors won't always share this with you but basically when you decide to list, you have control over some things and not over others. Whether interest rates go up or down and the general state of the economy is out of your control. Buyer's or Seller's market? Out of your control. Competition, likewise. Time of the year, maybe we're getting warmer. So here's what you can control: Price and Presentation.

If you've been following my blogs, you should know that in most instances, I recommend pricing properties just at or slightly below the market in order to get multiple offers quickly. But that's not what this post is about. What I want to discuss is presentation. And for the sake of discussion let's assume that you have hired a local Manhattan Beach Realtor who will spend the money on professional hi resolution photos, videos and 3 D home tours.

That leaves us with how does your home look when someone initially walks in and there's no doubt about it: professionally staged homes sell for higher prices and usually faster as well.

Here's why.
  • Your listing must look inviting and be presented in the best possible manner. Many buyers have toured new construction homes that have been staged, well maybe not in Manhattan Beach, but other areas and associate staged with new. And we all know everyone would prefer new.
  • Staging, when properly done, evokes an emotional response. Your stuff, or mine for that matter may also get an emotional response but maybe not the one we want!
  • The home will photograph better as well as appear more inviting in videos, 3D Tours, and other promotional material. 
  • Staged homes appeal to the widest range of buyers.

Think about it. Have you ever purchased new clothes for a job interview, first date, or other important event? Had you hair cut? Gone on a diet? Sure you have. And you did that because you had one chance to make a first impression. Same with your house.

Learn more about my FREE staging offer.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Manhattan Beach CA Real Estate Listing Prices

Manhattan Beach CA Real Estate is Highly Desirable

So how much does it cost to live in Manhattan Beach CA? The best way to tell is by actual current home listings which you can see on the map below. Manny of these properties will sell close, at or above the MLS list price.

These are all the currently active listings from all the Real Estate Brokers, Agents, and Realty companies listing and selling homes in Manhattan Beach CA 90266. The map and results will also update in real time whenever you visit this page and display Open Houses when available. Single Family Residences (SFRs), Townhomes, and Condos. Houses in the Sand Section, Hill Section, Tree Section, Manhattan Village and East Manhattan Beach.

When you click on any of the listings, you will be taken to our sister website but don't worry, you are always welcome back here!

If you are not familiar with these neighborhoods, here's a quick guide.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Painting Your Manhattan Beach House | Make the Right Choices!

Simply White is the new White

So you've decided that its time to give your house a new coat of paint. Great choice because it is by far one of the most cost effective ways to either boost your resale value or just enjoy where you are living more. But be forewarned, it's not always like it seems on HGTV.

Unless you are going to DIY and paint it yourself (not recommended) you are left with 2 choices to make: what color and what painter?

Let's start with color first.

The most common Benjamin Moore color right now is "Simply White". Yes, as white as you can imagine. They call it the color of the year for 2016. I'm all on board with that and in fact recently had my home painted so white that when the painting crew was done they said they had never painted a house quite that white previously. The good news is that when this trend is over, it may not require a lot of primer to paint on the next color that becomes trendy.

After white, I am finding that many of my clients are opting for gray, which of actual colors is probably my favorite in general.

But whatever color you decide to go with, best to go to a few paint stores and get the samples for yourself and try them out on your walls and live with the results for a few days or weeks. Just remember that the paint stores will give you eggshell as a sample and if you go with flat it will look somewhat different.

The major tip here is do not pick a color for your home just based on a swatch at the paint store. You need to see the color on your walls.

What you will find is that there really is a difference between brands. While most of the painters and painting companies seem to like Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams, best to go with a brand that you think looks good on the wall. And don't necessarily listen to the painters when they tell you that your favorite color can be matched to their favorite brand. I don't buy it.

Which leads me to picking a painter or company that will do the work.