Home prices are on the rise!

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New Listing at 1719 Schilling Ct. in Torrance

Lovely Torrance single family home with 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and 3 car garage. This spacious home features new carpet, new flooring in bathroom and kitchen with fresh paint throughout. The eat in kitchen has plenty of space with sliding glass door that leads to patio. This home is nice sized with huge master, lots of closets and great storage. One side of the garage is a tandem 2 car with rear door leading to backyard and concrete pad. Great for storing a camper, boat, jet-skis, etc. New copper plumbing throughout this home. Move in condition, just waiting for new buyers.


Redondo Beach Home Prices Hit New Highs

I am happy to report some good news with respect to home values and sales of homes in Southern California and the state as a whole.  Take a look at the following market update and give me a call with questions or to talk about your real estate needs.


In April, California median home price reached their highest level since December 2007; home sales registered largest monthly gain since January 2011

Indeed it does appear that the housing market is showing true signs of improvement as home prices and the number of homes sold both increased month to month.  The number of homes that sold was not up year over year, but the fact that it is up month to month is encouraging.

Here are the stats:

  • Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 394,070 units in April, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide.

  • The Number of homes that sold in April increased 7.4 percent from a revised 367,020 in March but were down 7 percent from a revised 423,690 in April 2013.

  • The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2014 if sales maintained the April pace throughout the year.  It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

Why are numbers down Y-Y?

“With home prices increasing by double-digits in 2013, many investors have decided to leave the market which is adversely affecting home sales as a whole,” said C.A.R. President Kevin Brown.

“While the number of homes sold continued to decline from a year ago, the better-than normal surge in sales activities in April is encouraging and could be an indication that we will see further improvement in the housing market in the next few months.”

The Good News

The statewide median price of an existing, single-family detached home rose 3.2 percent to $449,360 in April compared with March, reaching its highest level since December 2007.

April’s price was 11.6 percent higher than the revised $402,830 recorded in April 2013, marking the second straight month that the median price increased both month to month and year to year.

The statewide median home price has increased year over year for the previous 26 months. The median sales price is the point at which half of homes sold for more and half sold for less; it is influenced by the types of homes selling as well as a general change in values.

“Looking forward, it is likely that we will see a more moderate level of price increase throughout the rest of the year, and further improvements in sales in the spring home buying season,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young.

The Challenge

“Increasing home prices, relatively higher interest rates, and tight lending standards, however, will continue to present challenges to home buyers who are facing affordability issues.  Primary home buyers may no longer have to compete with investors in 2014, but instead they need to worry about increased borrowing costs.”

Other key facts from C.A.R.’s April 2014 resale housing report include:

  • Housing inventory remained tight in April, with the supply of existing, single-family detached homes for sale slipping last month to 3.5 months, down from March’s Unsold Inventory Index of 4 months, but up from 2.8 months in April 2013.

  • The index indicates the number of months needed to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.  A six- to seven-month supply is considered typical in a normal market.

  • The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home fell to 33.8 days in April, down from 35 days in March but up from 27.9 days in April 2013.

  • Mortgage rates remained flat in April, with the 30-year, fixed-mortgage interest rate averaging 4.34 percent, the same rate recorded in March, but up from 3.45 percent in April 2013, according to Freddie Mac.  Adjustable-mortgage interest rates in April averaged 2.44 percent, down from 2.48 in March and down from 2.63 percent in April 2013.

Confused?  Have questions? Interested in receiving a free home valuation?  Give me a call!

– Lesley Siegel
RE/MAX Estate Properties, South Bay

310 418-4235

About the numbers
Note:  The County MLS median price and sales data in the tables are generated from a survey of more than 90 associations of REALTORS® throughout the state, and represent statistics of existing single-family detached homes only.  County sales data are not adjusted to account for seasonal factors that can influence home sales.  Movements in sales prices should not be interpreted as changes in the cost of a standard home.  The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical than average prices, which are skewed by a relatively small share of transactions at either the lower-end or the upper-end. Median prices can be influenced by changes in cost, as well as changes in the characteristics and the size of homes sold.  Due to the low sales volume in some areas, median price changes may exhibit unusual fluctuation. The change in median prices should not be construed as actual price changes in specific homes.

Don’t Over-price Your Home For Sale

for-saleMany home sellers are kicking off the spring real estate season with what I considered to be a risky pricing strategy: 40.3 percent say they plan to price their homes above market value, according to the latest Real-Time Seller Survey from Redfin (www.redfin.com).

I warn against this pricing strategy, as it usually doesn’t pay off for sellers!   I’ve seen it myself and have heard many other Realtors speak about how their sellers have demanded that the listing price be above the comps, and then when the home has not sold, the sellers blamed the Realtors!

The better strategy is to price the home accurately and focus getting the right buyers in to see it quickly.  Since supply of homes for sale continues to be constrained, it is likely that you will get multiple offers and may sell your home above the asking price. 

“Buyers this year are far less tolerant of overpricing, and homes that aren’t priced appropriately are likely to sit on the market until the seller is forced to reduce the price,” said Riverside area agent Paul Reid. “Buyers often interpret a price drop as a sign there is something wrong with the home, leading some to negotiate even more aggressively or lose interest altogether.”

More than half (51.3%) of home sellers surveyed said they plan to price their home in the middle of the range based on local comparable sales, which is wise considering that a home listing gets nearly four times more visits on real estate websites during the first week on the market than it does a month later.

Pricing a home correctly from the start is a critical component my strategy, and I use the very latest local comparable sales to create my pricing recommendations.

Call me to discuss your home’s value and to talk about a pricing strategy that will result in the highest return for you!

– Lesley Siegel
RE/MAX Estate Properties, South Bay
Lesley Siegel Real Estate



Redondo Beach Real Estate: Recovery Shifting to Owner-Occupants

I found this article from DSNews well worth reading and thought you might find it interesting too.  It speaks about national trends but relates directly to Redondo Beach real estate and other Beach Cities real estate as well.

It’s a long piece so I’ve highlighted a few things I found insightful.

–Lesley Siegel
RE/MAX Estate Properties, South Bay
Lesley Siegel Real Estate


Market Analysts Expect Slowdown in Housing Recovery in 2014

The housing market recovery is entering a new phase, according to the analysts at Capital Economics. They say the rapid bounce in home prices seen this year, which was driven by investors and tight supply conditions, will soon start to moderate, and the next stage of the recovery will be characterized by strengthening activity among owner-occupants and mortgage-dependent buyers, as well as a much more moderate pace of house price inflation.

Overall economic growth, on the other hand, will accelerate in 2014, according to Capital Economics, from around 1.8 percent in 2013 to 2.5 percent this year. The firm notes in its outlook report that monthly employment gains have already climbed back to the 200,000 mark. As the economy’s fiscal drag fades, it should more than offset the impact of rising long-term interest rates, the company’s analysts contend.

The Federal Reserve announced in mid-December that it will begin tapering its asset purchase program this month, but Capital Economics says any further increase in long-term interest rates that results will be “modest.” After all, the Fed is trimming its monthly buys of mortgage securities and Treasuries by just $10 billion. Officials strengthened the central bank’s forward guidance to emphasize rates are not likely to rise for at least another couple of years.

“And even if mortgage interest rates edge a little higher, the recovery in housing market activity should also continue,” Capital Economics said in its report.

Higher mortgage interest rates have taken a toll on housing market activity already, but further rate increases will see the recovery slow rather than reverse, its analysts stressed. Sales activity initially dropped when rates spiked, but the latest data suggest this was a period of adjustment rather than the start of a weaker trend, which fits with the fact that housing remains very affordable, they explained.

“We envisage 30-year fixed mortgage rates ending 2014 at 5 percent and 2015 at 5.5 percent,” they share in the report. There may ultimately be an upside to higher rates, according to Capital Economics’ analysts. This upside would come in the form of a quicker loosening in mortgage credit conditions now that lenders cannot rely on the refinancing boom to boost their profits, they suggested.

The supply of homes for sale is now increasing, Capital Economics noted in its report. In addition, rising prices and a reduction in negative equity are bringing willing sellers back to the market. Alongside a reduction in the number of heavily-discounted distressed homes for sale, the firm says this will drive a seachange in the composition of supply and trigger a loosening in overall market conditions as buyer demand increases, according to Capital Economics.

The rapid run up in house prices means that housing affordability has deteriorated over the past three months. But even though valuation and affordability metrics are becoming less favorable, the overall picture is still that housing is a good value and “on the cheap side,” the firm said in its report.

The National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) affordability index suggests that the typical U.S. household now has 166 percent of the income required to qualify for a mortgage on the typical home, down from 180 percent in Q3 2013. This deterioration in mortgage affordability means that average mortgage costs are once again above average rental costs, which may deter some households from leaving the rental market for homeownership, according to Capital Economics. Still, the firm notes that “[o]ther than the past four years, at no point during the 40-year history of the NAR figures has housing been as affordable as it is now.”

Similar conclusions hold in terms of housing valuations, Capital Economics explained, adding that the simplest valuation measure compares real house prices to their long-run trend level. On this basis, housing is 12 percent below fair value, according to the firm’s analysts. That figure is down from 21 percent below fair value two years ago, but the analysts say even now, prices still have room to increase before worries about overvaluation become pressing.

A second method compares house prices to disposable incomes per capita, and it suggests that housing was 14 percent undervalued in Q3. A third valuation measure paints a slightly different picture—the house price-to-rent ratio. On this measure, housing is at the fair-value mark. As the firm’s analysts already noted, mortgage costs come in above average rental costs now.

They say it looks like home prices will be up by 11 percent for 2013 as a whole. “We expect this year to mark the peak for house price gains, and anticipate that price rises will slow to around 4 percent per annum in 2014 and thereafter,” Capital Economics’ analysts predicted.

Read the article at its original source.

10 Reasons to List During the Holidays

Logic may tell you that listing a home after November 1st is a bad idea.  But logic isn’t always right!  As it turns out, there are a number of very compelling reasons to put a house on the market before the end of the year and here are 10 to get you thinking.  Feel free to share this with friends who may be on the fence.

Holiday Wreath10 Reasons to List Your Home During The Holidays

  1. While there may be fewer buyers in general, people who are looking for a home during the holidays are serious and are ready to buy.
  2. There are fewer homes for buyers to look at during the holidays which means that there is less competition for you as a seller.  Less competition means more money.
  3. After the holidays, the supply of listings increases substantially which lowers the demand for your home.  More competition means less money.
  4. Your home will show beautifully if you decorate for the holidays.
  5. Many buyers have more time to look for property during the holidays.
  6. We can control when your home is shown during the holidays to the times when it is convenient for you which means you remain in control and can enjoy the time of the year too!
  7. You don’t have to physically move until next year… we’ll focus on selling now, moving in the new year when everyone else is trying to sell.
  8. Buyers think that there is less competition from other buyers during the holidays.
  9. Companies are not overly concerned about holiday time when they are relocating employees…Relocation buyers are motivated to get the deal done.
  10. Your virtual tour will be even more beautiful this time of year.

If you have been thinking about listing your property, please give me a call so we can talk about timing.  It may make sense to get started now so that you are poised to sell when motivated buyers are anxious to get the deal done.

–Lesley Siegel

RE/MAX Estate Properties South Bay

Childproofing Your Property

Of the top five causes of death for children under four years old, most of them happen outside but near your home! Here are some tips on how to make the outdoors child-safe. [Read more...]

Home Values: A Happy Thought!

As a whole, people are thinking very positively about home values right now and recent statistics back that optimism up.  Look at these numbers from Zillow.com.

  • Home values Redondo Beach – up 21.1 %
  • Home values Hermosa Beach – up 31.5%
  • Home values Manhattan Beach – up 26.1%
  • Home Values Torrance = up 14.4%
  • Home values Rancho Palos Verdes – up 15.4%

Call me if you’d like to have a valuation of your home.   It may be a good time to sell, refinance, or just have optimistic thoughts!



Lesley Siegel, RE/MAX Estate Properties, South Bay
Lesley Siegel Real Estate

Real Estate: Rent Vs Buy

I field the “should I rent or should I buy?” question almost every week. Guess what?  My answer is inevitably, “it depends”!

There are a number of factors to consider:
  • the monthly cost and the projected increase you will face over time if you rent.
  • the down payment required, interest rate, and property taxes you will pay if you buy.
  • the amount of time you plan to live in the home

I found a handy calculator recently that may help you or someone you know see the pros and cons of each decision.  Click the image below to take a look and see if it helps clarify things.

Rent vs Buy calculator

If the calculator indicates that buying is your better option, I’d be happy to help you find the right property in Torrance, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach or any city in your target area.  I am also happy to introduce you to lenders in the area who can assist with financing.  

If the calculator indicates that renting is your best option for now, I’ll share my “rental property finder” tools so you can search and find rental properties in your desired area at your desired price.

Either way, let’s talk!


Lesley Siegel, RE/MAX Estate Properties

QR Codes – All you Need to Know!

What the Heck is a QR Code?

qr-codeThis is a Q R Code!  Recognize it?  It’s how you can download my free Real Estate Ap!  Try it right now!  Scan the code and see what you get!

What does it do?

When scanned by a smart phone using a free QR Code Reader Ap, this funny-looking icon will take you to a web page, dial a phone number, send you a text, or bring up contact information… [Read more...]