Like many sellers, Fran Sarro and David Waite were initially reluctant to stage their apartment. Their agent, Anna Kahn, an associate broker at Halstead Property, had already helped them declutter and identify home improvements for their two-bedroom ground-floor co-op at 134 West 82nd Street. Following Ms. Kahn’s advice, the couple had spent about $45,000 tearing out carpets, installing hardwood flooring and new light fixtures, painting, repointing brick and replacing siding on a wall in the rear garden. But they stopped short of hiring a professional stager to swap out their furniture and art. “I was extremely skeptical,” Ms. Sarro said. “I couldn’t see why things that I had collected over my life, sparsely placed, would be a problem.” They listed the apartment for $1.85 million in June 2014. Then they watched, dismayed, as it sat on the market for six months, while they gradually cut the asking price to $1.65 million. “I had over a hundred showings, and could not sell it,” Ms. Kahn said. “Not one offer.” Shelley Linde with Pacific Sotheby's International Realty in Rancho Santa Fe believes that staging even if minimal makes a huge difference in making the home appear 'newer' and helps buyer's to get past someone else's possessions. I do not force the issue if a seller doesn't want to stage their property. In many cases the owner's have beautiful furnishings and sometimes just small changes make an impact by directing the eye where I want my buyer to look. Most of my clients are very receptive to the idea when they read my reviews and how quickly and professionally the outcome is. When this New York couple relisted the staged property last April for $1,495 million the place was mobbed and a bidding war ensured. The home sold for $1.8 million. The practice of home staging has long elicited strong reactions. Agents and professional stagers point to examples like the Sarro-Waite apartment, and say staging can usually help a home sell faster, and for a higher price, offering a larger return on the investment. Homeowners, reluctant to spend the money or admit that their decorating choices might not be catnip to buyers, are often loath to pay strangers to impose their tastes on their premises. Rancho Santa Fe's Linde Properties offers complementary staging. Staging has evolved over the past decade, many real estate professionals say it has become more important — and more sophisticated — than ever. “It always makes a difference, and is essential in this market,” said Richard Balzano, an associate broker at Douglas Elliman Real Estate in New York. “It’s not just about solving a problem now, but much more about presenting a lifestyle to prospective buyers,” said Jane Saidenberg, the design director of Studio D, a staging company with offices in New York and San Francisco. “People want it to look like a shelter magazine, or like something they’ve seen on TV. It’s more elevated than it has been in the past.”
2510 Rosemary Court, Encinitas 92024 MLS# 150054659. 4 bedrooms plus office, 5 bath. New Listing in Encinitas California with Views from every room! Located on a private cul de sac street this luxury Spanish style home is just 10 minutes from beaches and shopping. 2510 Rosemary Court has a long private driveway and balconies off every room with an infinity swimming pool and Jacuzzi. Located o On a quiet Cul-De-Sac with just a few homes this beauty has very artistic architectual elements, spacious bedrooms and high ceilings. The Views are not to go unnoticed from every room in the home. Approximate 4,479 SF. For more information please contact me for a private showing!
Change Language: The Economics Of Water Betty J. Talbert H2O woes could impact much-needed developments The California drought is taking its toll, made evident by dystopian scenes of dry, craggy riverbeds, the economic impacts of rising water prices, and Gov. Brown’s mandatory 25 percent water cuts for the state’s urban water suppliers. Statistics released in May from the U. S. Drought Monitor reinforced that most of California remains in a severe drought—the driest on record since 1895, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. California is the nation’s most populous state at 38.8 million. About 87 percent of those residents live in urban areas. Furthermore, 2014 U.S. Census figures reveal seven out of 10 of the nation’s most densely populated urban areas are in California as well. The state population increases by about 1 percent yearly (1.5 million). Clearly, these figures suggest that existing home sales condensed into urban areas will remain crucial to the California real estate industry. That means, however, that supply needs to be steady. The California State Legislative Analyst’s Office recently called for building another 100,000 houses and apartments in order to make California real estate more affordable in a state where, according to CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® estimates, only 29 percent can afford a median price home. Because water supply is not equal in all California’s regions and different markets respond in varying ways to a drought, we will first look at the home building industry, and then at California agricultural and urban areas to evaluate the drought’s effects. Overall, home builders have taken the last four years of water regulations in stride despite obstacles that include growth controls, hefty environmental reviews and land scarcity. Real estate consultant Mark Boud, principal of Real Estate Economics, described how the drought might affect California home builders. “The drought has kept demand per development relatively high and prices fairly high,” Boud explained. “It will eventually affect the demand side of real estate if it is really elongated. But, as of now, it is cutting short developments that may otherwise go forward if water was more plentiful.” California has greater restrictions on development than most states, but as Boud described, the drought has levied even more restrictions upon builders over the years, which include greater water efficiency standards. “State regulations also make it harder to build, as do city fees,” he said. “As fees go up, it becomes harder for builders to offer new homes. Many of these new fees are associated with water.” The good news is that because of low-flow fixtures and appliances, along with investment in drought-tolerant landscaping, new homes use about 50 percent less water now than homes built before the 1980s. Cities could also trend toward smaller lots, as the Sacramento Bee reported in January 2014. However, the president of the California Building Association, Dave Cogdill, hasn’t seen this happen, “As far as land-use issues, there is a lot of talk but nothing concrete. Even buzz of moratoriums or water meter limits hasn’t been more than that so far,” Cogdill suggested. “Usually, policymakers analyze the issue and see that new homes aren’t the problem. They are the solution to water conservation. New housing is needed, so the policymakers don’t move forward with restricting land-use issues.” The upshot is that regulations and delays can add 40 percent to housing costs, as a San Diego Point Loma Nazarene University Institute study found. The drought has slowed California’s building industry, impacting potential real estate sales and putting new homes further out of reach for many Californians. The Central Valley is a California jewel, dusty though it may be at times from crop lands lying fallow over drought years in order to save on water. The Central Valley is a world-class agricultural mecca, producing almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, raisins, kiwifruit, olives, persimmons, pistachios, prunes, and walnuts. Agriculture has doubled its water efficiency over the last 43 years but still accounts for 80 percent of water use in the state, according to the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California. California Water Today, a California Water Plan website publication, documents that “81,700 farms and ranches received a record $37.5 billion for their output in 2010,” which is 11.9 percent of the U. S. output. At least $100 billion in agriculture-related economic activity is generated yearly. If agriculture hits hard times, so will the Central Valley economy. Bill Enns, senior vice president of Farm Lands Department, is a farmer turned REALTOR® for Pearson Commercial Realty’s Fresno office. Pearson Realty represents clients in the acquisition and sale of farm properties throughout the Central Valley. “The drought’s effects are not uniform across the Central Valley or the state. Probably the hardest hit areas are the eastern part of Tulare, Kern, and Fresno counties,” Enns noted. “We had enough water early in 2015 but the question is what will the situation be further out? We don’t know how much groundwater remains or how much we will be charged for water going forward.” Without rain, groundwater becomes critical for the Central Valley crops. From January 2014 to March 25 of this year, 976 wells had run dry in Tulare County. When the water gets too low, it becomes too contaminated with nitrates, arsenic and bacteria to use. Drilling deeper becomes the only recourse. So much water had been drawn out of the San Joaquin Valley through over pumping that the ground has measurably sunk, according to a Los Angeles Times report. Still, water remains, but it may become prohibitive for all but the largest farms to drill. If this happens, land values could decline. Dealing with property rights and water rights issues, including suits, could inhibit real estate sales. Enns told us how the market has changed over the years. The residential market drove pricing in 2006 when 20 acres of land paced with that market. In 2008 demand for nut crops property and resale of nut properties began. When growers wanted to expand, they looked for 100-acre lots or hundreds of acres of land. “However, now it doesn’t pay to buy hundreds of acres if there is no water.People are still placing bets for next year and buying now. They may be okay three years out while trees are young but grown trees require more water. Will there be enough water for fully grown groves of trees? We will see,” Enns added. As of late spring, parts of Central Valley were grappling with the state of the local economy, but overall a seller’s market still prevailed, as in most of California. However, a University of California, Davis 2014 drought analysis cited $2.2 billion in lost revenue and 17,100 (seasonal and full time) jobs lost. In 2009, during the last economic downturn, CNN/money reported that Central Valley “foreclosures weren’t just a big share of the housing market, they were the entire housing market.” Most of California’s population lies within its urban bustle, where the drought’s economic impact will be widely felt. However, a 25 percent cut by water suppliers isn’t really that much in the grand scheme because only about 11 percent of yearly water use in the state supports urban use, which includes residential, commercial and industry uses. Water rates may rise. However, the April 20 ruling Capistrano Taxpayers Association Inc. v. City of San Juan Capistrano effectively limits high-tiered rates levied as “penalties” on homeowners by local government water suppliers, because they violate Proposition 218 which requires a vote on newly proposed or increased tax assessments. Levies must instead be proportional to the cost of providing water. High levies on water may dissuade home buyers in certain areas but some legal limits are being set as we go. Some cities have already implemented growth controls like “envisioning the Monterey Bay Area.” Consequently, costs for new sewer and water hookups rose in the area. Desalination is seen as too expensive and as emitting too much carbon dioxide to be an option, revealing dueling economic and environmental approaches to water planning. Montecito, near Santa Barbara, discontinued new water hookups to the Montecito Water District last year. How are homeowners dealing with the drought? Rodeo Realty Fine Estates associate manager and REALTOR® Diane S. Sydell, whose territory spans from the San Fernando Valley to L.A. urban areas and beyond to the beaches, has observed a trend of smarter buyers where the drought is concerned. “My clients are looking to conserve by installing drought-tolerant landscaping and hardscaping, buying smaller lots, using fake turf grass, and removing time-control sprinklers to save on water. As water prices rise, fewer home buyers want pools,” she said. “Homeowners also work with Turf Terminator to install California friendly gardens prior to putting the house on the market to get rebates. Installing these lower water-consuming landscape alternatives has been embraced especially in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley. A percentage of people buying homes intentionally buy homes that don’t require as much water. It also is popular now to put in pondless waterfalls rather than ponds for decoration so water recycles into the system instead of evaporating and refilling the pond.” The housing and real estate industry is a complex ecosystem in its own right. It cannot be defined solely by drought effects. However, if home prices, refurbishing, and water costs escalate, then new home sales, home trade ups and first time buying could suffer and property values could be affected. The state, however, has bounced back from droughts before, and continued conservation as well as other means of water supply, including desalinization plants, rainwater-capture programs and water-reuse technology could be helpful to ensure a healthy supply for California’s future. ®
C.A.R. analysis finds significant disparity between home prices and what buyers can truly afford Dearth of housing supply at affordable prices exacerbates housing affordability issue. - Only seven of 32 reporting counties in California had a home price that a typical median-income household in the counties can afford. - Less than one-third of the state’s housing inventory was at or below the home price a typical household earning the median income can afford. - San Francisco’s second quarter median home price was 225 percent higher than what a typical median-income household in that county can purchase. LOS ANGELES (Aug. 20) – Only seven of California’s counties are affordable to home buyers who earn the areas’ median household income, while homes in 25 counties were out of reach for the typical household, according to analysis by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.). Furthermore, less than a third of the state’s inventory of available single-family homes, condominiums, and townhomes for sale was at or below the home price that a household earning the California median income of $60,244 can afford. “The significant disparity between what home buyers can realistically afford and actual home price is discouraging, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area,” said C.A.R. President Chris Kutzkey. “While housing is affordable in some regions of the state, California lacks an adequate supply and mix of affordable housing in locations where the majority of the state’s workforce resides.” In the second quarter of 2015, the statewide median price of $446,980 was nearly 50 percent higher than what a California household with the median income of $60,244 could afford to purchase. Twenty-five of the 32 reporting California counties had a higher median price than the actual home price that a household earning a median income could afford. As expected, San Francisco was the least affordable county where households earning the median income of $75,910, were only able to afford a $383,670 home – a difference of $863,900 or 225 percent, compared to the actual second quarter 2015 median home price of $1,247,570. San Mateo County was the second least affordable county, with the typical median-income household able to afford a $452,020 home, compared to the actual median-priced home of $1,075,390 – a difference of $623,370 or 138 percent. Only seven California counties – primarily in the Central Valley and Northern California – had homes that a median-income household could afford, with Kings County being the most affordable in terms of the price differential. In Kings County, a median-income household could afford to purchase a home priced at $243,730, or $57,400 more than the actual median home price of $186,330. Merced, San Bernardino, Tulare, Shasta, Fresno, and Madera counties rounded out the remaining affordable counties, with median-income buyers able to afford a home more than the actual median home price of those counties. Further exacerbating high housing costs is the lack of supply of homes that a household earning the median income can afford. Statewide, less than a third (29 percent) of the available homes, including single-family, condos, and townhomes, were at or below the $304,490 price that a household earning the median income can afford – $142,490 less than the actual California median price of $446,980. For the Bay Area, the picture is even bleaker, with San Francisco and San Mateo counties having available, affordable inventory of only 2.1 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively. Seven of the 32 counties reported by C.A.R. had an inventory of 10 percent or below the corresponding home price that a median-income household can afford, with two counties (San Francisco and San Mateo) having affordable inventory of less than 4 percent. Only Kings, San Bernardino, and Merced counties had inventory near 50 percent or higher at or below the price that a typical household can afford. Methodology: By calculating how much home a median-income household can afford, C.A.R. demonstrates whether a typical household earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a median-priced home at the state and the county levels based on most recent home prices and income data. Median prices were calculated based on sales data on existing single-family homes, condos, and townhomes collected by C.A.R. The typical household is defined as one earning the median household income, estimated based on statistics released by the U.S. Bureau of the Census. The analysis assumes a down payment of 20 percent of the median home price and a 30 year fixed-rate mortgage with a rate set on the prevailing mortgage interest rate. The prevailing mortgage interest rate is the effective rate on loans closed on existing homes from the Federal Housing Finance Board. It is also assumes the monthly PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance) can be no more than 30 percent of a household's income. Leading the way...® in California real estate for 110 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (www.car.org) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States with 175,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.