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The OC market

The Orange County housing behaves differently depending upon the price range.

Different Markets: The entry market is HOT while luxury is not.

A nicely upgraded detached home comes on the market in mint condition listed FOR SALE at $650,000. During the initial weekend, the open house is a total success with buyers bumping into each other to see the home. By Monday morning, the listing agent is sorting through five offers to purchase the home. By the week’s end, the seller is able to come to an agreement and accepts a full price offer that closes in 30-days.

A beautiful upgraded luxury homes comes on the market with an entertainer’s yard listed FOR SALE at $1.6 million. Seven different buyers tour the home in the initial week. Quite a few people come through the weekend open house. The first week’s activity is solid, yet there are no offers generated. It is not until nearly hitting the three-month mark on the market when the sellers are entertaining their first offer. There had been some interest prior, but nobody was willing to step up and write an offer to purchase. A few days later, after back and forth negotiations, the seller comes to an agreement and accepts an offer for $30,000 less than what they were asking and closes in 60-days.

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These two scenarios are both taking place right here in Orange County and are typical for their specific price ranges. Yes, the market is HOT, but the higher the range, the longer it takes to sell a home. The “FLAVOR” of the market really depends upon the price point of a home.

The market is sizzling hot for homes priced below $750,000. That price range gets the most press and it is what everybody is talking about in discussing Orange County housing. When you hear about multiple offers within days and lines of people touring the open house, chances are it is a home in the lower end of the market. The lion’s share of all closed sales in 2017, two-thirds took place below $750,000. It is a majority of today’s market, yet there are not enough on the market today. It currently accounts for only 37% of the active listing inventory.

The $750,000 to $1 million price range is still hot, but, on average, it takes a couple of more weeks to negotiate a deal compared to the lower ranges. Condominiums in this range need to price carefully. There just are not as many buyers looking to purchase an attached home priced above three-quarters of a million dollars.

Above $1 million, the market decelerates quite a bit. The expected market time is still less than 90-days for homes priced between $1 million to $1.5 million, but they are not flying off the market with buyers tripping over themselves to purchase. Above $1.5 million, it’s a totally different ballgame, ranging from an expected market time of 4 months to nearly a year. There simply are not enough luxury buyers, but there are certainly plenty of competing sellers.

Regardless of the price range, from now through August, there will be a lot more homes coming on the market and the active inventory will continue to grow. As the supply of homes grows and demand stays relatively the same, the expected market time will grow as well. More homes coming on the market means more competition. In order to find success at ALL price points, it is imperative that sellers carefully price their homes according to their Fair Market Values. Stretching the asking price results in wasted market time and sitting on the market with no success. Many sellers will fall victim to overpricing and will not achieve their objective until they correct their asking price with a reduction more in alignment with their true Fair Market Value

Active Inventory: The active inventory increased by 5% in the past couple of weeks and is growing at a fast clip.

After a very slow start, the active inventory is rapidly increasing, adding an additional 547 homes in the past month, a 12% increase, and now sits at 5,263. This is the time of the year when many homes come on the market, but it’s at a much faster pace right now. That may be partially due to the lack of new homeowners coming on the market for the first two-and-a-half months. It’s as if somebody flipped the “ON” switch at the end of March. The inventory has been rapidly increasing ever since.

From here we can expect the active inventory to continue to increase through mid-August where it will peak. With more competition, the market will cool a bit as it transitions into the Summer Market.

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Last year at this time, there were 5,862 homes on the market, 11% more.

Demand:  Demand is off by 6% compared to last year at this time.

Demand, the number of homes placed into escrow within the prior month, only grew by 24 pending sales in the past couple of weeks, or 1%, and now totals 2,981. It is just about to surpass the 3,000 pending sale mark within the next couple of weeks; yet, that should have occurred by now. Part of the issue is that there are still not enough FOR SALE signs below $500,000 compared to last year.

Last year at this time, there were 202 more pending sales totaling 3,183. Current demand is off by 6% compared to last year. The expected market time increased from 51 to 53 days in the past couple of weeks. Last year it was at 55 days, very similar to today.

Luxury EndThe luxury range is HOT with demand up 19% compared to last year.

Demand may be flat for Orange County as a whole, but it is much stronger for luxury homes compared to 2016. For all homes priced above $1 million, luxury demand is strong with 96 additional pending sales compared to last year at this time, 19% higher. Today’s luxury inventory is nearly the same as last year, with 8 fewer homes on the market. The overall expected market time for all homes priced above $1 million is 117 days compared to 140 days last year.

In the past two weeks, demand for homes above $1 million increased from 573 to 597 pending sales, a 4% rise, and its highest level ever. The luxury home inventory increased from 2,229 homes to 2,338, up 5%.

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For homes priced between $1 million to $1.5 million, the expected market time in the past couple of weeks increased from 81 days to 84 days. For homes priced between $1.5 million to $2 million, the expected market time increased from 110 to 116 days. In addition, for homes priced above $2 million, the expected market time decreased from 202 days to 189 days. At 189 days, a seller would be looking at placing their home in escrow around the end of October.

An ‘off market’ North Laguna duplex for my clients only

Move in the top ocean view unit and use the downstairs rent for help covering mortgage and property taxes or buy for investment.

Upper unit – 1,100 sqft, 2 bdm, 1 bath, recently upgraded

Lower unit – 1,100 sqft, 2 bdm, 2 bath

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Click here for video of upper and lower units and more pictures


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A Hilarious Laguna Story – The Saga of Melvin Miller

A Peoria, Ill tractor foreman becomes a U.S. fascination in Laguna Beach

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‘OK, who took my car?’ said a more than tipsy Marine Captain Joe Geston.

Joe was finishing up his Friday night’s/early Saturday morning’s ‘end of the week fun time’ at the Marine pilot’s favorite hangout, the Sandpiper, aka The Dirty Bird.

During the 50’s and early 60’s the club was the ‘Mecca’ for the local Marines wanting to blow off steam. As a matter of fact, to this day the Sand Piper still has the Marine badges from those troops displayed on their wall (see photo).

Well on this particular night, Joe went out to find his car to no avail. Perplexed and inebriated he stumbled back into the bar and confronted his comrades who all denied taking it.

He then asked ‘then who did’?’

Well they went on to the White House a well know eatry in Laguna to sop up the alchol and Joe decided to call a fellow Marine in Washington D.C. and jokingly asked him to look for his car around the White house. The guy thinking it was the D.C. White House actually looked for him. The guys got a kick out of this a said lets call some random common name in a common US town and tell the guy again they lost the car and would he look at a street that every town has, ‘5th and 6th St.’?

The came up with Melvin Miller in Peoria, Ill and called the operator who said ‘yes’ there is such a person.
Now while its 1 am in the morning in Laguna its 4am in the morning in Peoria and Marvin picks up the phone from a dead sleep and says ‘Hello’.

Captain Geston, in a very liquid voice, says ‘Have you seen my car?, I lost it at 4th and 5th St.’

Melvin, who’s a ‘salt of the earth mellow’ guy and a salesman with Caterpillar tractor, goes along with it and he learns that Joe is in some place called Laguna Beach and that Joe lost his car and he thinks Melvin took it and he should bring it back.

The other Marines listening in were going nuts and Melvin patiently explains they are 2,000 miles apart and it would have been quite difficult for him to drive back his car even if he did have it.

Well the Marine comes back the following day and sees his car in the exact place he left it. He also comes across Melvin’s number and after a few ‘eye openers’ he gives him a call again and they continue this non seneschal conversation.

In fact, the word gets out about Melvin and other marines start calling him as well and they even sent him Christmas cards from the different cities the pilots went to around the world.  It would be nothing for someone at a party to call Melvin to pick up some ice.

Again Melvin in his Midwestern dry humor goes along with it and the word about him spreads throughout the Corp.
One Marine even visited him at his house and got his picture which was promptly displayed behind the Sandpiper bar.

This inspired one Marine to say ‘let’s bring Melvin out’.

They put a howitzer shell on the bar and the pilots start throwing their change in it.  Next they make tee shirts and hats and the word gets out in Laguna about the loveable Melvin.  In a matter of a week they’ve come up with $300 and they invited Melvin and his wife out, though she declines for ‘The Melvin Miller Week’.

So the next thing you know the word on Melvin gets out throughout Southern California and the U.S. and everyone wants to participate.

The Marines charter a bus to pick him up at the Los Angeles airport, he has lunch with Jayne Mansfield, he goes on the Tonight show, and he’s in the papers nationwide as well as Time magazine.

Finally when he gets to Laguna Beach they hold a ‘Melvin Miller parade’ where he went down the Coast Hwy in the back of a convertible Cadillac which is preceded by a miniature tractor that his employer, Caterpillar, sent.

After a couple nights of ceremonies at the Sandpiper and sunning himself in his own personalized chair and umbrella he’s whisked off again for more adventures.

The Del Mar horse track holds a ‘Melvin Miller Sweepstakes’ and in Mexico they name a bull after him for one of the fights.

But to top things off the whole Marine base gathers for a farewell ‘fully dressed’ inspection for him.

And finally as their escorting back to the airport after a whirl wind week of adventure they ask him what he thinks and he calmly responds ‘I got to get back, I got work tomorrow’.

Long live Melvin.

 

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Retrospect of Aubrey St. Clair – A Tuscan ‘long table’ lunch at one of his designs – currently Taverna

This was a great event with about 50 people attending a great meal in a beautiful restaurant, Taverna, originally the Laguna Federal Savings and Loan. Good food, great people, great surrounding, a few libations and a great talk by Ted Wells, a published architectural historian. We hope you can join us at the next event.

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Video of Ted Wells talk:

 








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More development in Dana Point

Developer Breaks Ground on Dana Point Community

The condo development will feature 168 luxury residences near the beach.

By Jennifer Goodman

Marking its first foray into Orange County, Zephyr – a San Diego-based real estate development company – has broken ground today on South Cove, a condominium community featuring 168 luxury residences at Del Obispo and Pacific Coast Highway in the heart of Dana Point, directly across the street from Doheny State Beach.

The company acquired the choice nine-acre land parcel for $50 million in July of 2015. Completion of the community is slated for 2019. Pre-sales begin in early spring 2017, and the models are slated to open in late summer 2017.

According to Zephyr Chief Operating Officer Chris Beucler, the community will feature three models: “Aliso” flats, “Trestles” townhomes and “Strands” twin homes – each ranging from one to three bedrooms with 883 to 2,341 square feet. Ten residences will feature live/work space, with commercial opportunities fronting Pacific Coast Highway. Seventeen homes will be offered as affordable housing. All homes will have attached garages and top notch interior finishes and accents, with select residences featuring indoor/outdoor floor plans, balconies, porches, rooftop decks, idea spaces and options for beach rinses, dens and more.

“South Cove is the first project of its kind to be built in Dana Point in more than 25 years,” said Beucler. “We’re thrilled to announce the groundbreaking of this luxurious, barefoot community that will offer residents immediate access to Doheny State Beach and Dana Point Harbor’s restaurants and shops via a short stroll on the San Juan Creek Bike Trail, or the Pacific Coast Highway Pedestrian Bridge.”

In addition to the area’s abundant natural beauty, South Cove residents will enjoy a multitude of amenities, including a resort-style swimming pool with cabanas and common areas throughout the community, and outdoor enthusiasts will have access to miles of walking/bike paths, plus ocean sports like surfing, paddle boarding, fishing and more.

Founded in 2008, Zephyr is a San Diego-based real estate development and investment company committed to building high-quality attached and detached homes, condominiums and luxury apartments. The company, co-founded by Brad Termini and Dane Chapin, has successfully completed and sold developments throughout San Diego County. Currently, Zephyr manages projects in Coronado, San Diego, La Jolla, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Escondido, Mira Mesa and Dana Point. Over the last eight years, the team has completed more than $750 million worth of residential developments.


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The Postman Always Rings Twice – Filmed in Wood Cove

From “The First 100 Years in Laguna Beach 1876-1976″ by Merle and Mabel Ramsey

The Postman Always RIngs Twice, 1946 version, was partially filmed in Laguna Beach. Director Tay Garnett wanted to shoot in as many actual locations as possible for the movie, a rarity for MGM at the time. For the seaside love scenes, he took the cast and crew to Laguna Beach, where a fog made shooting impossible for days. After a few days, they moved to San Clemente in search of clearer skies, only to have fog roll in there as well. Then word got to them that the fog had lifted at Laguna Beach. By the time they got back there, however, it had returned.

The strain of waiting for the fog to lift caused the director, who had suffered from drinking problems in the past, to fall off the wagon. Garnett holed himself up in his hotel room, where nobody could get him to stop drinking. Concerned about rumors that he was going to be replaced, Garfield and Turner decided to visit him on their own. Garfield could get nowhere with him, but Turner managed to convince him to go back to Los Angeles for treatment. When he returned a week later, the fog lifted, and they all went back to work.

Another result of the location delays was a brief affair between Garfield and Turner, according to Garfield’s friend, Warner Bros. director Vincent Sherman. He said Turner was the only co-star with whom Garfield ever became romantically involved. There had been sparks between the two since the first day of shooting, and the delays had sparked a close friendship. Finally, they shared a moonlit tryst on the beach but that was their only night together. The two realized that whatever was happening on-screen, off-screen they had no sexual chemistry together. They remained friends nonetheless.
*TCM Frank Miller

Lana Turner and John Garfield with unknown soldier, in Laguna. Photo possibly by Ed Hobart (LB lifeguard, Police Officer, Journalist) and father to Carolyn Hobert Fisch.

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