Million Dollar Homes Sales Drop in California

February 16, 2010 Real Estate News No Comments
Million Dollar Homes Sales Drop in California

The number of California homes that sold for $1 million-plus declined for the fourth consecutive year in 2009, the result of buyer reticence, a difficult mortgage market and several years of price drops that tugged the value of many homes below the million-dollar threshold, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 18,621 Golden State homes sold for a million dollars or more last year. That was down 23.8 percent from 24,436 in 2008. In 2007 it was 42,506; in 2006 it was 50,010; and in 2005 it peaked at 54,773. Last year was the lowest sales count since 2002, when 15,703 were sold, according to San Diego-based MDA DataQuick.

Total California home sales – including all price levels -increased 16.9 percent last year, to 460,166 from 393,703 in 2008. One in 25 homes sold for a million dollars or more last year, while the year before it was one in 16, and in 2006 it was one in nine.

“Prestige home sales are a unique sub-category of the real estate market. The buyers and sellers respond to a different set of motivations. In the multi-million-dollar price ranges, decisions are largely discretionary and aren’t as dependent upon jobs, prices and interest rates the way they are for most buyers and sellers,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

“Traditional million-dollar markets are holding up relatively well, while expensive markets that emerged four or five years ago are not,” he said. That puts Menlo Park real estate, Atherton luxury homes, Palo Alto mansions, Los Altos Hills real estate and other SF Peninsula real estate in a decent position.

Million-dollar home sales in Riverside County dropped 48.6 percent last year, while they dropped 13.3 percent in Los Angeles County.

Statewide, there were 332 sales for more than $5 million last year, 228 sales were in the $4-$5 million range, 590 in the $3 million range, 1,902 sales in the $2 million range, and the rest – 83 percent – between $1 million and $2 million.

About 1,900 of the homes that sold statewide last year for less than $1 million had previously sold for $1 million or more. The median date of the prior sale was April 2006; the median price decline between the 2009 sale and the previously $1 million-plus sale was about $420,000. The median percentage decline was about 35 percent.

Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen Buy in Brentwood

February 3, 2010 Celebrity Homes No Comments
Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen Buy in Brentwood

Husband-and-wife actors Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen have paid $3,110,000 to purchase a four-bedroom house in Los Angeles’ Brentwood neighborhood.

Front of Danson House

According to Big Time Listings, the couple’s recent purchase was made under the radar screen through a trust. Ted and Mary are one of Hollywood’s highest-profile acting couples (even more so now, given the split of Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon). Recall that the Steenburgens had gone into something of a real-estate ownership vacuum (in L.A., at least) since selling their oceanfront, Cape Cod-style house at 23610 Malibu Colony Road (also known as 58 Malibu Colony Road) in the Malibu Colony in Malibu, Calif. in May 2008 for $15,500,000.  Hey, the economy is tough on all of us, even celebrities.

The couple’s purchase of their new house, which measures 4,076 square feet. Built in 1930, the house has three and a half baths, a formal dining room, a spacious kitchen, a breakfast area, and a warm living room, according to public records and listing information. Outdoor features on the 0.26-acre property include a treehouse and a detached office and studio, according to public records and listing information. The house had been listed for $2,999,000.

Danson's New Dining Room

The seller is noted screenwriter Channing Gibson, who has been a story editor and producer on TV’s “St. Elsewhere,” a writer and co-executive producer of “NYPD Blue,” and the screenwriter of several films, including “Lethal Weapon 4.”

In case you don’t follow them, Danson and Steenburgen own other properties, including in Ojai, Calif. and in Chilmark, Mass. on Martha’s Vineyard.  Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen have both starred in many awards winning tv movies, theatrical movies, and theatre.  For most of you reading this article, Ted is most famous for his leading role in the long running tv series Cheers playing the lovable but airheaded bartender Sam Malone.

Mortgage Update: Government Backing Out!

February 2, 2010 Real Estate News No Comments

News Not Good For Interest Rates

Government Bailing?

The Fed kept mortgage rates low in 2009 by acting as a buyer of securities issued by or backed by three government-controlled entities: the Government National Mortgage Association (known as Ginnie Mae), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These so-called agency securities provide funding for more than half of all U.S. home loans outstanding.  The government announced that they want to reduce their buying and let the banks step up and own them.  This may cause mortgage rates to rise as we all know banks are more than happy to pass along any incremental risks on a loan to the consumer in the form of higher rates.

So, expect rates to rise in 2010.  The anticipated economic recovery along with the Fed mortgage back security purchase program ending at the end of the first quarter will be catalyst that will drive rates higher as the year progresses.

This potentially has a big effect on the real estate market as a rise in the interest rates on a jumbo loan can equate to highly monthly payments to the consumer and the difference between qualifying for a loan or not. Real Estate in Menlo Park, Atherton, Palo Alto  as well as our surrounding luxury real estate markets are affected as a small change in interest has  a major effect on the monthly payment due to the high loan amounts.

I’ll keep an eye on this and we’ll see what happens in the next couple of months with interest rates.

My Contact Information

Gary Kurtz
BRE# 01710776

Kathy Kurtz
BRE# 01876966

HOM Sotheby's International Realty
1200 Newport Center Drive, # 100
Newport Beach, CA 92660

949.565.5201 (cell)
949.478.7769 (office)
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Contact me now with any questions:

Kurtz Real Estate Group

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