Gorgeous 1950's "Ralph's House" (Grocery Store Fame)

1350 Linda Ridge Rd, Pasadena, CA 91103

Designed by Gregory Ain, this 1950's Mid Century Mansion has just gone on the market for the first time in 60 years. Once home to the infamous Walter Ralphs of the Ralph's Super Market super chain, this classic home was recently awarded a historic landmark status by the city of Pasadena in 2014. 

Boasting six-bedrooms, and four-baths, the original built-ins and the abundance of original wood paneling truly makes this home a blast from the past. This is one of the very few Mid-Century Modern homes that seems to blend seamlessly with today's contemporary designs. As modern generational styles infuse with the old, many aspects of older homes may seem dated or lackluster, but this carefully crafted mansion is a true work of art. 

Listed at $2,999,999 the 3,678 Sq. Ft. mansion features spanning views of the hillside, overlooking the pool. Tall old-oaks tower over a perfectly manicured lawn- reminiscent of a quaint countryside escape, frozen in time. 

 

The Historic Development of Downtown LA- At a Glance

 

1928: Braly Building- The Beginning

Throughout the rise and development of Downtown Los Angeles, many have been able to witness the dynamic transformation of the rich; geographical diversification that has occurred over the last few decades. Most of which that came to pass in the form of towering edifices, swallowing whole some of the busiest streets of Los Angeles, dating all the way back to the 1900's. 

 

The Braly Building - Also known as the Continental Building was the first high-rise building in LA. Standing at 13-stories high, at 408 Spring St, in the Historic Core of Los Angeles, The Braley remained the tallest for three years. Shortly after the building was completed, The LA City Council enacted a 150 ft. height restriction on future buildings that remained until the 1950's.

The Braly Building - Also known as the Continental Building was the first high-rise building in LA. Standing at 13-stories high, at 408 Spring St, in the Historic Core of Los Angeles, The Braley remained the tallest for three years. Shortly after the building was completed, The LA City Council enacted a 150 ft. height restriction on future buildings that remained until the 1950's.

It all began in 1903, before the start of World War II. The Braly Building (the Los Angeles's first high-rise) was erected. For the next two decades, the tallest buildings would only be 13 or 14 stories (due to restrictions that were put in place after the completion of the Braly during the Golden Age). In 1928 City Hall was completed and was considered to be LA's first skyscraper holding the title of the city's tallest building for 36 years. 

Fast-forward 100 years and we arrive at the colossal- Wilshire Grand Center. Built and completed in June 2017, the skyscraper that is located in the Financial District, is currently the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. Outside of New York and Chicago, the Wilshire Grand Center building would be the 9th tallest building in the United States, and some would even refer to it as the "Times Square of the West." In light of such a significant benchmark, Commercial Cafe (A Commercial Real Estate Blog) has put together a video of the evolution of Downtown LA, "from the very first skyscraper, to its latest." 

 

In advance of its official opening on June 23, the 73-story Wilshire Grand showed off the full potential of its LED-adorned crown yesterday evening. The video, captured by architectural photographer Hunter Kerhart, shows numerous graphics floating up the tower's spine and around its rooftop sail.

New Wrist-Band Design For LA Metro in lieu of TAP Cards

The Metro committee has announced on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, that they would be implementing a new swipe-able wristband that would replace the current Metrolink TAP cards. Designed by Oberthur Technologies, the new wristbands are now currently being tested by a group of 20 to 25 passengers with disabilities. 

Famous "Hollywood" Landmark Closing

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The Hollyridge Trail, perched on top of a hill at the end of Beachwood Canyon, has been a popular destination for Angelinos and tourists for many years. Throughout the ages, thousands have made the pilgramage to this iconic site, to soak up the rich history and culture of the sprawling suberb. Unfortunately, the city of Los Angeles has declared to close down the Hollyridge Trail, which will come into effect on April 18th, 2017. 

Why is it Closing?

Sunset Ranch Hollywood Stables, a horse ranch in Beachwood Canyon, has sued the city of Los Angeles for impeding, and blocking access to their stables. Hikers must pass through a gate and hike onto the stable's driveway in order to access the Hollyridge Trail. Due to the constant blockade of the driveway caused by hikers and tourists, the Los Angeles Superior Court judge ordered the city to refrain from "precluding ingress or egress of vehicles relating to Sunset Ranch." 

Though for now, the trail is scheduled to close, there are other ways to access the sign. Read about alternative routes here. 

Rental prices In LA Soaring To An Increase Of 3% Since Last Month

Los Angeles -

As the housing markets continue to sustain at peak prices, the rental prices are seeing a big jump from last month, with an increase of 3%, according to a report from Zumper.  Los Angeles remains the sixth most expensive city for apartment rentals, trailing behind San Francisco and New York, with a 4.6% increase since spring of 2016. 

Read more about the news here.

Morgan Stanley - Bullish Housing Market Showing Signs of Weakness

According to analysts at Morgan Stanley, The commercial real estate market is showing signs of cracks and weakness that will peak this year.

As commercial real estate is leaning towards a bearish market, the bullish trend for residential housing continues. Many experts believe that the demand for housing will surge in the coming years, especially with commercial real estate on a downtrend.

"We expect 2017 to mark the end of the bull cycle for US CRE," they said in a note on Wednesday. 

The possibility for slow decay, in the growth of net operating income, could be a primary risk factor that would contribute to the decline in the commercial real estate market. 

 

 

Silver Lake Reservoir to be Filled


As the brutal bouts of storms pummeled along the coast of California throughout the months of January & February, The Golden State was proud to announce a lift on the drought advisory that clutched the region for what seemed like an eternity. The once barren peaks of the Eastern Sierra's, now packed with record snow levels, bear a promising return to the city of L.A., in the form of a raging water runoff. Though the unexpected amounts of water edged towards dangerously high capacities, there was one particular town that seemed to benefit from the aftermath- Silver Lake.

Silver Lake Reservoir - at full capacity

Silver Lake Reservoir - at full capacity

With the surplus of water in the L.A. Aqueduct system, it was a great opportunity for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to announce the refilling of the Silver Lake Reservoir- which would begin in mid-April. 

L.A. City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell wrote, "This overflow is a gift,” but “we need to continue to be vigilant in our conservation efforts for water use.” 

“With the above-average snowpack, we have a surplus of water in the L.A. Aqueduct system and with it the opportunity to refill Silver Lake Reservoir ahead of schedule,” said Richard Harasick, the agency’s senior assistant general manager of water.

For the residences of Silver Lake, as well as the Angelinos who frequent the lake on occasions, this promising news could not have come at a better time (especially with summer around the corner). 

Read more about the announcement here.

Real Estate May Be A Time Bomb

Summary

  • Relative to history, housing remains affordable but consumers remain squeezed and incomes are falling.
  • Housing demand is weak but supply is low causing price to remain remarkably stable for now.
  • Rising interest rates dramatically impact housing affordability; and rates have been rising.
  • I believe the consumer will continue to get weaker as incomes continue to fall causing the housing market to take a down turn over the next year.

Where We Stand

After bottoming in 2009, home prices showed strong growth through 2013, and has since cooled off slightly. Over the last 2 years, home price growth has been remarkably flat due to an interesting tug of war between supply and demand.

Focusing on the growth rate of housing as opposed to the nominal price of housing is important. For example, if home prices are growing at 10% year over year and then falls to 5% growth year over year, home prices are still going up, although at a slower pace. Although prices are still moving upwards. Measuring housing in this fashion often allows you to front run real estate moves because the growth rate has to fall before becoming negative and waiting until the growth rate is negative (or home prices falling in nominal terms) is often to late. Studying the change in growth rate allows you to stay ahead of the curve.

Currently the growth in home prices has been very flat at around ~5% year over year. Since the growth rate is flat, this provides little insight into the direction of the next move in the real estate market. It is now even more important to understand what is causing home price growth to remain so stable.

Supply is very low, putting upward pressure on prices, while demand is weak putting downward pressure on prices; the result being home price growth that has been flat for almost 2 years.

What Are Experts Saying about Mortgage Rates?

Mortgage interest rates have risen over the last few months and projections are that they will continue their upswing throughout 2017. What impact will this have on the housing market? Here is what the experts are saying:

Laurie Goodman, Co-director of the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center:

“In 1984, 1994, 2000, and 2013, every time we have rate increases, we have increases in nominal home prices. We expect this to be more pronounced, as there is a big demand-and-supply gap at the present time.”

Scott Anderson, Chief Economist for Bank of the West:

“The tightening labor market, rising wage growth, high levels of consumer confidence and a millennial generation with a pent-up demand for housing should allow the housing market to weather the storm of gradually rising interest rates.”

Ivy Zelman in her latest “Z” Report:

“Although we strongly believe that the housing supply-demand imbalance for single-family homes will continue to drive above-average home price appreciation, just as falling mortgage rates aided pricing power on the margin in recent months, we expect the opposite effect to become evident in the coming months. As such, we project year-end home price inflation of 4.8% for 2017 and 4.1% for 2018.”

Bob Walters, President & COO of retail mortgage lender Quicken Loans:

“A modest increase in mortgage rates won’t have much of an effect on home purchases. A buyer may need to slightly re-evaluate which homes they can afford, but it’s not likely to make an impact on qualifying, in most cases.”

First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming:

"Our survey data shows that mortgage rates would have to be significantly higher to have any meaningful impact. The house buying power that borrowers have, even with rates below five percent, still remains historically strong."

The Housing Market - LA County Median Price On Homes Rising

As we kick off the New Years, Los Angeles County is seeing a median price jump of $525,000 in January, according to a new report from CoreLogic. This increase equates to a 7.1 percent increase over the last year of 2016, when prices in January 2015 were only $520,000. It seems that the rising sales numbers were due in part, as a result of consumers looking to purchase before the interest increase after the election, Andrew Le Page, (CoreLogic analyst), hypothesizes. Throughout the nearing counties of Los Angeles, a six percent increase has been seen since last year. With the increasing market prices, a high demand in properties, and not enough inventory to sustain it,  it is difficult to say whether this may or may not be a trend.

Read more about it here, on the Orange County Register.

Home Prices are still rising in parts of LA