Category Archives: Laguna Beach Real Estate

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March’s Sizzling Stats for Laguna Beach

March’s Sizzling Stats for Laguna Beach

Pretty impressive highlights:

  • 86 Pending (in escrow) Sales, the highest EVER
  • 241 Active Listings, the lowest number in more than four years and only a 3% increase since the first of the year (the average increase from January to April is more than 15%)
  • 88 closed sales in the first quarter of 2012, the highest first quarter in as far back as my data goes!!!  39 closed sales in March – 15 were less than $1m Client Short Page , 16 were between $1m and $2m Client Short Page , 6 were between $2m and $3m and 2 were over $3m Client Short Page

There continues to be 2 markets – Below $2m which is a seller’s market and above $2m is a buyer’s market. Half the active listings (119) are above $2m and there were only 6 sales (all in gated communities) in this price range.

(Click Here to view reports for Active, Pending & Closed)
Interesting Info on Orange County Foreclosures, Inventory and Demand
Wave of Foreclosures (NOT):

Since the end of 2008 there has been barely a ripple, let alone a wave, of new foreclosures. For those that have been banking on a wave of foreclosures to hit the market, it is time to face reality and put that surfboard away, there simply is not going to be a new wave of foreclosure activity. According to Sean O”Toole of, 89% of the properties that were set to go to sale at courthouse steps across California, also known as the Trustee’s Deed Upon Sale, were either postponed or cancelled over the last month. 7% were taken back by the bank to be sold as foreclosure sales listed through a REALTOR and 4% were sold to third party investors.

Lenders are slowly absorbing their non-performing assets at a methodical rate. At the current rate, we are looking at another four years of foreclosures, short sales and loan modifications.

Distressed Market:

Only 6% of the active listing inventory is a foreclosure but there are only 392 active listings that are foreclosures in all of Orange County. The total for all distressed listings, both foreclosures and short sales had shed an additional 174 homes in the past couple of weeks and now totals 1,830.  Last year at this time there were 3,858 total, that’s 2,028 additional home or more than double. The short sale active inventory has dropped 1,079 homes since the beginning of the year and now totals 1,438, levels not seen since the distressed inventory was just beginning to build back in 2007. The expected market time for short sales is 1 month.

The Active Listing Inventory

The active listing inventory dropped to levels not seen since July 2005. To date in 2012, the inventory has dropped nearly 1,500 homes.


In the past month demand has increased by another 8%. Overall, Orange County demand, the number of new pending sales over the past month, increased by 102 homes in the past two weeks and now totals 3,840. That’s 16% stronger than one year ago today. For homes priced below $750,000, demand is HOT and the expected market time is 1.3 months. From $750k to $1 million, the expected market time is 2.7 months.  From $1 million to $1.5 million, the expected market time is 3.5 months. For all homes priced above $1.5 million, the expected market time is 9.3 months, a sharp contrast to the lower ranges.

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32013 Point Place, Laguna Beach CA

Modern/Contemporary Home Week in Laguna Beach

It’s Modern/Contemporary Home Week in Laguna Beach

When people think of Laguna, most of the time they think of cottages, bungalows and craftsman style houses.
Well, Laguna is also the home to many contemporary style homes, which gives Laguna a unique combination of traditional and leading edge architecture.

Ever since the great fire in 1993, which hit Mystic Hills, Top of the World and Emerald Bay especially hard, many of the destroyed homes were replaced by concrete contemporary/modern homes.

While there were contemporary homes built throughout Laguna Beach in the 1980’s the fire presented an opportunity to develop whole streets of contemporary homes.

This 2 minute video shows contemporary

homes on the streets of Laguna:

(Click Here or Click Image To Play Video)

I have to say that I had the typical ‘knee jerk’ negative reaction to seeing these contemporary homes for the first time, but I have to say they really grow on you. They’re many different contemporary types that some of the well known local architects, such as Horst, Singer, and Parker, designed.  Some are the minimalist stark homes, while others have a much more homey feel. Whatever the style they all take advantage of the surroundings with huge views and a certain flow with the natural environment.

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Mortgage Interest Rates March 15 2012

Should You Pay Points When Getting a Mortgage?

From my Rick Cirelli, President RTC Mortgage

With interest rates at or near record lows and so many people buying or refinancing, the question always arises: “Is it worth it to pay points in return for a lower interest rate or to accept a lender credit to apply toward closing costs”?

The answer isn’t the same for each borrower and your mortgage professional should present the options to each borrower to demonstrate the difference and guide them to the best decision.

Here’s what you should know:

  • Paying points enables a borrower to “buy down” the interest rate on a mortgage in exchange for an upfront fee.  More (put in link to rest of article and mortgage rates and then put in loan workshop info here)
  • A point equals 1 percent of the loan amount, so paying one point on a $400,000 refinancing costs an extra $4,000 at closing.  Paying a point usually reduces the interest rate by 0.25% over its term, so for instance, instead of 4 percent, the rate is 3.75 percent.
  • The average points paid in the last 3 years according to a Freddie Mac survey, was 0.7
  • To decide if paying points is worthwhile, borrowers should consider two key decisions: How long they plan to live in the home, and how much they can afford in closing costs.
  • In most cases, if the borrower plans to live in the home for at least five years, paying points will help the homeowner to reap savings in the long run.
  • Lenders also offer a rebate or credit in exchange for accepting a slightly higher interest rate. The lender agrees to give the borrower a credit, which is used to pay for closing costs. As with points, a credit of 1 point will typically result in an interest rate .25% higher.

Loan Workshop in Laguna

The real estate market is heating up and more and more people are interested in buying a home but are concerned about getting a loan.

Join us on Meet Up:

This loan workshop will have three (3) different lenders who between them offer a full spectrum of traditional and ‘creative’ loans up to $10m.

Presentations will be made by traditional lender (RTC Mortgage), a nontraditional private equity lender (Collateral Group) and an institutional lender (Morgan Stanley).

The workshop starts at 6:30 pm on Thursday, March 22nd at the DeBilzan Gallery, 224 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach.

There is no charge for this event.

For more information and to rsvp please go to Laguna Friends of Real Estate on or Facebook or email

Mortgage Rates This Week:

Mortgages Rates moved higher this week at their fastest pace in months.

There are several layers of causality.  A “perfect storm” of events drove rates higher: Greece’s bailout; a slightly more upbeat outlook announced by the Fed; slightly stronger Retail Sales, and the general trading dynamics that left bond markets “susceptible” to the weakness.

If you weren’t already locked and have been waiting to do so, rates are STILL close enough to historic lows that floating doesn’t make much sense. And, so far this morning rates have stabilized and even improved a little.

Watch the Daily Rate Lock Advisory on my website for the events that influence the day-to-day movement of mortgage rates and Mortgage-Backed Securities pricing:

Mortgage Intrest Rates
Rates as of Thursday, 15th March, 2012:

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Review of 2 home purchases I put together this last month

31726 4th St, South Laguna

  • Foreclosure – move in ready, with indoor/outdoor living, ocean views, on a swall and super private
  • $595k ($524 sqft) – anything starting with a 5 is very good.
  • Closed in 20 days
  • Client Short Page


272 Beverly, North Laguna

  • Income property Duplex with big ocean views
  • $941k – very few properties sell for less than $1m in North Laguna
  • Great street to ally lot with great future expansion potential
  • Client Short Page

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3 Interesting Developments in February

The less than a million market is ‘on fire’

1. Multiple offers on homes less than $1m – I put offers this month on 4 places that had multiple offers. One foreclosure had 12 offers.  This requires a different mindset when going through the buying process. Let’s discuss.

2. There were 30 sales in February, which is the highest in 6 years for the month of February. Also, 68 homes in escrow is the highest number in February ever. 18 were less than a million CMA Page Printable Map 7 were between $1m – $2m CMA Page Printable Map 5 were over $2m CMA Page

3. New listings have been slow to come on the market, especially for the spring season. Inventory is Really low.  There are 236 properties for sale. The lowest since 2006. 56 are less than $1m Client Short Page, 69 are between $1m and $2m Client Short Page, 112 over $2m Client Short Page

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Big Ocean View Dana Point/Laguna Niguel home for $630k

This single family house not only has gorgeous ocean views but its also single level.

3 bdm, 2 bth, 1650 sqft. – needs updating
Indoor/outdoor living.
Single loaded streets.

Reasonable HOA dues for a well maintained, quiet and sought after Monarch Summit

10 minutes to Laguna and Dana Point – I drove from the house to the intersection of Crown Valley and Coast Hwy in 5 minutes. Laguna and Dana Point Harbor is only another 5 minutes North and South.

Let me know if you’d like to see it.

Client Full Report with Photo/Map

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New ‘Almost on the Sand’ Victoria Beach Listing for $1.699m

I almost like having a beach house perched on a cliff above the beach versus being on the beach.

Better panoramic views, not as much sand in the house and you still have great beach access.

While I haven’t been in this house (no showings till this weekend hence no videos) I’ve been in houses on the same street and the view down Victoria Beach is spectacular. The beach view is framed like art.

It’s going for less than $1,000 a sqft which is very hard to find for any house on the ocean side of the Coast Hwy.

The seller’s are expecting multiple offers which is happening these days.

It’s an open house this weekend from 1 to 5 and offers will be submitted on Thursday.

Tell ‘em Sean sent you and if you’re interested we can draw up an offer.

If you’d like me to meet you there let me know.

Client Full Report with Photo/Map

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The Laguna Village, Laguna Beach, California

The Laguna Village is made up of 3 areas –

  • the area close to downtown Laguna downtown
  • the Coastal Beachfront area
  • the Oak Village area.  Oak Village is the 6 block radius around Oak St including Brooks St.  Its borders are Thalia, Temple Terrace, Calliope and the Coast Hwy.

The Oak Village – “Aren’t we lucky to be here”

This super popular community is almost more about the neighbors than the neighborhood.  Not to say the neighborhood isn’t super cool.

The neighborhood starts off the first few blocks with mostly bungalows, condos and multi residential apartments. As you go further up the sloping street there are larger family homes that populate the wide non- curbed streets. They typically have more ocean views.

But the thing that catches your eye is the number of people walking the streets.  There are dog walkers, cottage viewing strollers on the way to the shops or beach, to skate boarders and the numerous surfers and skimmers going to the beach.

It’s truly the California Dream with everyone knowing each other and wishing each other a ‘great day’ with the breathtaking views of the ocean in the background.
On the Coast Hwy there is the HIP district which is an extension of the downtown village proper. It is truly ‘Laguna’, with many of the older, familiar restaurants and surf shops of the town.


The village is made up of diverse houses from small 1930 cottages to ‘taken down to the studs’ remodels.

Laguna Village – Oak Village
Homes for sale or lease Click Here