South Bay Real Estate Blog

Our real estate blog examines relevant market trendsrecord sales, design ideas and other insights from our team of expert realtors. 
A discussion of trends and community events in Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Palos Verdes and the surrounding South Bay cities.

The Caskey & Caskey State of the Market 2018 Outlook

For Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Palos Verdes and the greater South Bay real estate markets

We've culled highlights from multiple resources to provide you with a quick overview of what to expect from the 2018 real estate market. Of course, the South Bay market will follow many of these expected trends however, because our local market fluctuates slightly differently due to a special set of economic and community influences, there will be some variations. 


No end in sight: Housing market still has legs, economists say

Source: The Orange County Register

After nearly six years of rising home prices, what’s next?

Will 2018 be the seventh year home prices go up? Or the year the market stalls? Will this be the year that tenants get the upper hand over landlords? Or will rent hikes just keep coming?

In other words, will the seller’s market of the past 69 months continue in 2018?

10 economists were interviewed nine forecasts reviewed to find an answer to that question. It can be summed up in one word.

Yes.

Yes, home prices and home sales are projected to keep rising in the year ahead, although the gains will be smaller. Yes, the supply of homes for sale will fail to keep pace with demand, fueling more cutthroat bidding wars. And yes, rents will keep rising while apartment vacancies stay near all-time lows.

The economists all cite the same reason: “As long as the economy keeps growing, that’s going to give a push to the housing market,” said Anil Puri, director of the Woods Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting at Cal State Fullerton.

Southern California home prices are expected to rise at about the same pace as California: 4.2 percent, according to the California Association of Realtors. That would put next November’s median price of an existing house at about $525,000

Southern California single-family home prices have risen $239,000 or 91 percent over the past 69 months, according to CAR.

How much longer can this go on? How soon will prices start falling? Is it safe to buy a home today?

Most economists say this bull market still has some legs, lasting a year or two more at least, if not five.

“It’s debatable whether we’re in a bubble,” said Chapman economist Doti. “(But) is it a bubble that’s about to burst? No.”

Jerry Nickelsburg, director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast, put it this way: “When you have increases in employment, you have increases in household formation, and that increases demand for housing. That’s what we’ve been seeing.”

To get a grip on the year ahead, economists examined five topics: Prices, sales, mortgage rates, number of homes for sale and rent. The picture that emerges shows a market that still has more room to grow.


Home prices still rising

Los Angeles County home prices will rise 3.1 percent, according to Metrostudy. UC Riverside’s Center for Economic Forecasting and Development has a more optimistic forecast, predicting gains of 5 percent to 10 percent. CAR reported L.A. County house prices up 9 percent in the year ending in November.

Home price gains will continue in the year ahead, just not as fast as in 2017, economists said.


Sales flattening out

Sales have plateaued across the state and region, said California Association of Realtors Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. Which is a bit of a mystery, given the state’s robust job growth and still-low mortgage rates in 2017.

"You have to wonder why aren’t we seeing more sales activity,” said Robert Kleinhenz, executive director of research at the UC Riverside Center for Economic Forecasting and Development. “The population is much bigger, and all else being equal, you would expect to see a larger number of sales.”

The answer to that riddle, said CAR’s Appleton-Young, is a lack of inventory and prices starting to get out of reach for some.


Headwinds from rising mortgage rates

Mortgage rates have average 3.8 percent over the past three years, with just two brief periods when rates got above 4 percent.

Now, economists say, rates are heading up again, and likely will stay above 4 percent for the coming year.


Buyers will have too few homes to choose from

With just 30,000 Southern California homes for sale, 2018 will start with the lowest for-sale inventory in five years.

Why are there so few homes?

People are staying put longer between sales — 11 years, twice the 2009 average, according to CAR. Homeowners also are reluctant to sell because they can’t find another home in which to move.

Homeowners also stay put to avoid capital gains taxes or higher property taxes on a new home. Those who got mortgages when 30-year rates averaged 3.5 percent also are “locked in” because they don’t want to give up their lower house payments.

Because of the newly passed tax legislation, homeowners with home loans greater than $750,000 will stay put to keep their mortgage interest tax deductions.

“For-sale inventory will stay lean because homeowners are not going to move, (and) that’s going to limit the inventory that’s for sale,” CoreLogic’s Nothaft said.


Renters to pay more, too

Los Angeles County apartment rent will rise 3 percent, forecasts show.

Low vacancy rates will keep apartment rents high, economists said.

“As long as the buildings are full and the new development fills up, that’s going to allow rent growth to continue,” said Greg Willett, RealPage chief economist.

When will rent go down?

“We don’t have that in the near-term forecast in the Southern California market,” Willett said. “Usually, you’re talking about a recession and big job cuts for rents to go down.”


For a closer look at how the 2018 market may affect you individually, please do not hestiate to contact our office direct for a confidential, no-obligation consulation. 310-374-1800 or info@caskeyandcaskey.com


Highlights of the New Tax Law

  • The seven Income-tax brackets were adjusted downward, and tax rates were correspondingly reduced to 10%, 12%, 22%, 32%, 35%, and 37%, creating a short-term tax savings for all taxpayers.
  • The standard deduction was nearly doubled to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for joint returns.
  • But the personal and dependent exemptions, which are $4,150 per person this year, have been eliminated.
  • A deduction of no more than $10,000 is allowed for state and local taxes (SALT), which include state taxes on income, personal property, and real estate. There was no cap under prior law.
  • The mortgage interest deduction (MID) is limited to $750,000 for new loans taken out after December 15, 2017. The MID of $1 million is grandfathered in for existing loans. The MID is retained for second homes and refinances (but not beyond the amount being refinanced). The MID on home equity debt has been eliminated (unless the proceeds are used to substantially improve the property).
  • 20% deduction of qualified business income for pass throughs including independent contractors and sole proprietors up to $157,500 (or double for joint filers). This deduction is even available for non-itemizers.

All of the above changes are temporary and are scheduled to expire at the end of 2025.

Sale of Principal Residence – Exclusion of Gain
TCJA does not change the $250,000 for single filers and $500,000 for joint returns exclusions from capital gains tax for the sale of a principal residence when the homeowner has owned and lived in the home for two of the last five years. 


Capital Gains
TCJA retains the current long-term capital gains rate of 15% generally but 20% on those in the highest tax bracket. Depreciation recapture for real property remains at 25%.


Like Kind Exchanges
Tax deferred IRC section 1031 like kind exchanges for real property will be retained in the TCJA. Personal property 1031 exchanges are no longer allowed.


Other Provisions
Moving expenses will no longer be deductible except for those in the military. Certain certified historic structures will still receive a tax credit. The child tax credit will be increased from $1,000 to $2,000. Casualty loses will be deductible only in a presidentially-declared disaster.

Disclaimer
As with any tax law, the specifics of the taxpayer’s situation make a great deal of difference in the outcome. This summary is general in nature and you are advised to speak to your own tax advisor.

Cited from the National Association of Realtors.

When you think of the National Association of Realtors, you probably don't think the organization has anything to do with you unless you are a licensed Realtor. Think again. Real Estate professionals are your advocates, both in transactions and on the sidelines. As the Tax Reform bill heats up in the public eye, representatives from N.A.R. have been diligently working behind the scenes in favor of the public sector, lobbying with a passion in order to protect and preserve important key elements of the tax code. Our individual agent association fees and donations helped support the efforts of the N.A.R. 

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) worked throughout the tax reform process to preserve the existing tax benefits of homeownership and real estate investment. Many of the changes reflected in the final bill were the result of the engagement of NAR and its members, not only in the last three months, but over several years. Here are some key items:



  • In the sale of real property, the capital gains tax exclusion period has been retained. To qualify for the exclusion from capital gains tax for the sale of real property, homeowners must have lived in their home as a principal residence for any 2 of the last 5 years. Without NAR’s efforts, the residency requirement exclusion period would have surely been lengthened to 5 of the last 8 years.
  • Permitting the SALT (State and Local Tax) deduction to include income and sales taxes as well as real property up to $10,000. While clearly less beneficial than the current law, it represents a significant improvement over the bills as first introduced which would have entirely eliminated the SALT deductions.
  • The MID was reduced only to $750,000 and was retained for second homes. The House version would have reduced it to $500,000 and eliminated it for second homes.
  • The final law retains current law regarding Mortgage Credit Certificates (MCCs). The house version would have repealed MCCs.
  • 1031 like-kind exchanges retained for real property.
  • The law provides a deduction for casualty losses if attributable to a presidentially-declared disaster. The House bill would have eliminated the deduction for casualty losses with limited exceptions.
  • The Historic Rehabilitation Credit was retained, but would have been entirely eliminated under the House bill.

Cited from the National Association of Realtors, 2017.

Real Estate Investing 101

September 29, 2017

MAKE YOUR MARK WITH REAL ESTATE INVESTING

For some people who are trying to expand their financial portfolio, one of the most dependable methods is real estate investing. That’s not to say it doesn’t come with its own set of risks (as does any type of major investing), but for those who have the means, being the owner or manager of a second property is a fruitful idea. There are different types of properties that someone can ultimately purchase, and how they use it will help determine what sort of return they make on that investment.

HAVE A GOAL IN MIND

Any type of real estate purchase shouldn’t be made on a whim. Given the amount of capital required, you want to have a pretty good idea of your short and long term goals with the investment. Working closely with a financial advisor, create a plan and know what sort of transaction you can actually make. Are you just looking to own a vacation home in another state? Do you want to become the owner of a larger property like a apartment complex or an office building? Each of these ventures is going to to be slightly different in terms of the monetary requirements, tax laws, property laws, and so more more. This is also all going to vary depending on which state you make the investment. This goes back to the the early planning stages, and thinking of all these different angles prior to making those commitments.

RENTING IS AN OPTION

If you’re someone who is simply looking to own another property in another state, you have some flexibility in terms of how it’s used. Once you own it, and fill it out enough to be liveable, you should strongly consider renting it out during the months when you’re not there. If the second-home is in a warmer state like California that has nice weather year round, there is going to be a demand for people to use that space.

However, you should have a well mapped out schedule of when you know you’ll be taking trips to that property, and then you can start advertising to rent it out during those other times. This way, besides just owning a property that can be sold at a later date, you can also get income from renters during their vacation. You obviously need to be mindful of maintenance costs, and how much utilities will be when you’re visiting, and when others are renting. Managing a property like a second home is quite involved, so make sure you know what you’re getting into.

LARGER PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

Another investment opportunity that you see some people taking advantage of is becoming the owner (or partial owner with other investors) of a larger property. This can be an apartment complex, a warehouse space, or an office building. The management of these types of properties is going to be different than just renting out your home for a few times a year when you’re not there. Essentially, you’re also becoming a landlord. This is a far more involved investment, but you can get more consistent return from those who are renting.

Los Angeles is a sprawling city, with a bustling economy, and makes major contributions to entertainment, culture, fashion, science, sports, technology, education, and medicine. It’s also contains very diverse geography, property, and real estate opportunities. One of the most sought after property hubs in Los Angeles is the Greater South Bay area. Found here are some of the most beautiful homes available to buyers today.

LEARNING MORE ABOUT SOUTH BAY REAL ESTATE

The cities in the Greater South Bay are very representative of what many people might consider to be “Classic Californian”. There is a lot of surfing, sprawling beaches, and incredible views. However, there is much more to these cities than simply how beautiful they are on a daily basis.

MANHATTAN BEACH

Known by many as the “Pearl of The South Bay”, Manhattan Beach is an affluent beach down with a variety of real estate options available to homeowners and investors. There are miles of white sandy beaches, well-kept tree-lined streets, all contained within a charming small town feel. If you’re simply visiting, this is a great vacation destination, since there are plenty of award-winning restaurants, and a surprisingly fun nightlife! Manhattan Beach is also well known in the beach volleyball community, since this is the city that started it all.

In terms available real estate, there are 5 different areas of the city: East Manhattan, Manhattan Village, The Hill Section, The Sand Section, and The Tree Section. Each presents a unique style of homes and surrounding local attractions. The entire city of Manhattan Beach has nationally recognized schools, meaning your children will get an outstanding education attending around here. Manhattan Beach has certainly aged well, making it a very modern beach city.

HERMOSA BEACH

Just south of Manhattan Beach, you’ll find the quaint Hermosa Beach. Accommodating to both families and singles, this area of Los Angeles is a hidden pocket that not many people know about. Even during the summer months, you’d be surprised at how open and spacious the city feels, and this is partly due to the very large, clean and accessible beaches.

If you’re looking to purchase real estate here, you’ll be hard pressed to find something that isn’t lovely. You can find a number of properties right along the beach, and even further inland, along the ‘greenbelt’ walking trail, there are homes and apartments that anyone would be impressed by.

THE STRAND

Separating Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Redondo Beach property from the beach is the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, which is more commonly known as The Strand. This pedestrian and bicycle path runs directly alongside the beach, and the property on the opposite side is some of the most beautiful (but high-priced) in all of Los Angeles. The Strand helps unify the Greater South Bay beach cities, and lets tourists and residents safely commute between them without needing to worry at all about cars or motorcycles.

FIND THE REAL ESTATE OF YOUR DREAMS

If you’re interested in exploring real estate throughout the South Bay, make sure you reach out to an experienced real estate agent who can show you the area. This is a very desirable market, so you want to find an agent with years of experience and local connections that can help you find the house of your dreams.

HOW A REAL ESTATE AGENT CAN HELP WITH ANY LOS ANGELES RELOCATION

Moving to a new city, especially one that’s so far away from your current home, is definitely difficult. Not only do you have to think about what you’re doing with your current home (selling, renting, or even keeping it and preparing to be away), but you need to start exploring where you will be buying a house. Here are a few different ways an experienced real estate agent can make the relocation easier.

STAYING INFORMED ABOUT THE CHANGING REAL ESTATE MARKET

Los Angeles is one of the most fluid real estate markets in the country, and it has a wide range of properties available. With so much information to keep track of, it’s important to have a real estate agent who is well informed about what’s going on, and keeps all their reports in an accessible housing market watch. They’ll keep you up to date about any relevant shifts or new properties that become available.

BUYING A HOUSE IN LOS ANGELES DOESN’T NEED TO BE DIFFICULT

When moving to Los Angeles, there are quite a few different areas that you’ll be looking at for a house. Where you want to buy property will depend on a few different factors, such as your price range, your ideal commute, whether or not you have kids who need to attend school, and any other personal preferences. An experienced real estate agent will take all of this into consideration when you contact them, and help you to find the ideal house based on your specifications.

A REALTOR CAN BE AN INVALUABLE RESOURCE DURING RELOCATION

Besides providing a number of valuable realtor services, a real estate agent can also act as a general guide for your new city! Want to know more about the schools, or where are fun places to take your kids? They’ll happily point out family friendly areas. If you’re moving without a family or are single, they’ll be able to point out a number of great restaurants and recommend different ways to pass the time. Los Angeles is one of the most exciting cities in the country, and there is a lot to take advantage of, from the bustling entertainment scene, to the beautiful beaches, and so much more.


MAKE YOUR LOS ANGELES RELOCATION A BREEZE WITH A REAL ESTATE AGENT

Regardless of your situation, we know that moving can seem overwhelming. However, an experienced real estate agent will take you through the whole process, and answer any questions you might have while helping to find your next dream home in sunny Los Angeles.

When recently asked by DIGS Magazine what we have seen as the latest trends in the South Bay market and how things have shifted in recent years, we reported that we believe that two major contributing factors have impacted our area in the past few years: lifestyle and education. The quality of life in the South Bay and the outstanding performance of the public schools here have made this area one of the most attractive places to live in the U.S.  People enjoy the close knit neighborhood feel while being conveniently located within a short distance to major commerce and industry in the nearby metropolitan area of Los Angeles. This continues to draw new residents from key markets across the nation. The increase demand and the strength of the annual average household income in the area have both had a profound impact on local real estate values. 

Some of the first questions we encounter when working with new buyers from out of the area is, “Where can I find information on Manhattan Beach Schools?” and  “How are the schools in the area?” This particular post will focus on Robinson Elementary School by taking a closer look at the neighborhoods the school offers as well as the programs that make the school stand out. We also have similar posts on Grandview Elementary and Mira Costa High School to help get to know these schools more closely. This elementary school, the smallest of the five elementary schools within the Manhattan Beach Unified School District holds a special place in our family as Jennifer Caskey, who was born and raised here in Manhattan Beach, attended Robinson; the three Caskey boys all attended the school as well.

Jennifer Caskey points out the tile made by one of her three sons who attended Robinson Elementary School.

Jennifer Caskey points out the tile made by one of her three sons who attended Robinson Elementary School.

Parents are very involved in school programs from high PTA participation to volunteering in the classroom, , and the staff works very closely with parents on a regular basis. The “Tuesday Tide” is a weekly newsletter that supports effective communication between the classroom and home. Students also enjoy the very popular Halloween Parade, Book Fair and Spring Talent Show program. Like it’s sister school, Grandview Elementary (also located in the Sand Section), Robinson Elementary also offers a Walking School Bus program as well as other enriching programs.

Because our public schools are so sought after, homes in this area are in high demand, and this is only one of the reasons why Manhattan Beach real estate is such a great investment.

A NATIONALLY TOP RANKED PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL

Mira Costa High School was established in 1950 and serves both Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach students. (Hermosa Beach students have the option of attending Mira Costa High School or nearby rival, Redondo Union High School). The school services grades 9 through 12 and has an average enrollment of 2,500 students, with a teaching and administrative staff of about 110. 

The school is located in East Manhattan Beach; this is the real estate area East of Sepulveda Boulevard known as MLS area 147, “Manhattan Beach Mira Costa”. Homes here are very popular with growing families as they typically sit on 6,000-7,500 sf lots or larger, and offer a common floor plan adopted by various builders through the years that features 4 to 5 bedrooms at an average of 2,800 square feet or larger, and almost all homes have generous yard space—some even have pools. Homes in this area are about 1 mile from the beach, and are also very conveniently located to major commuter routes within the South Bay and beyond. Thanks to the ongoing efforts of the non-profit Manhattan Beach Education Foundation, which supports our local schools by raising much needed additional funding to preserve the standard of education in the District, the High School proudly offers one of the most comprehensive curriculum catalogs in the State of California. With over 20 AP programs, CIF championship level athletics programs, a STEM program that prepares students for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, as well as award winning music, drama and fine arts programs, Mira Costa offers a top-notch experience for all students in attendance. Over 95% of Mira Costa High graduates enter institutions of higher learning, many with scholarships to the Top 10 Universities in the nation. 

Not only is the school ranked in the Top 1% in the State, its API score typically ranks in the 900 range and Forbes Magazine has named the Manhattan Beach School District as the sixth overall district in the nation. Among earned accolades, the school has been recently named one of three Grammy Signature Schools Gold Recipients for excellence in music education programs.  The school boasts award winning Choral, Orchestral, and Drama programs, along with its championship level sports teams and its nationally recognized Model UN and Journalism programs. 

There are over 50 clubs and organizations on campus. Among some of the most successful athletics programs in the country, Mira Costa offers Football, Volleyball, Baseball, Softball, Basketball, Lacrosse, Water Polo, Swimming, Soccer, Cross Country and Track and Field teams. The Phys Ed department offers yoga courses, Surf PE, dance and weight training. The athletics department and physical education programs receive additional support of the MBX Foundation which funds hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant monies to important facility and equipment improvements and more. 

Integral to the school’s mission to maximize the unique potential of each student, the school’s advanced science programs offer labs in AP Bio, Chemistry, Earth and Space science, Environmental Science, Marine Science, Physics, and Physiology. Currently, there are 23 AP courses offered as well as expanded college prep classes in areas such as Film Noir, Women’s Literature, and Intro to Law. Computer Science and Robotics Programs are also part of Mira Costa’s expanded curriculum. The quality of education in our community provides a consistent demand for homes in the local market, which in turn helps to preserve home values and protect home equity. 

Mira Costa High School clearly offers an established and esteemed tradition of excellence to its Student Body which prepares them for a successful future, which is why real estate in Manhattan Beach is such an attractive draw for those moving into the area.   

MORE INFORMATION & RESOURCES Mira Costa PTSA MBX Foundation Manhattan Beach Ed Foundation (MBEF) Manhattan Beach Unified School District LaVista School Journalism Site Mira Costa Football Schedule Mira Costa Girls’ Volleyball Mira Costa Boys’ Volleyball Mira Costa Basketball

Hermosa: SP, adjective: (1) beautiful; (2) attractive; (3) lovely

This beach town just south of Manhattan Beach wasn’t named “Hermosa” by accident. Hermosa Beach boats beautiful beaches, a great downtown area, and award winning schools, but still has that small town charm. Its getting harder and harder to find a quaint little beach city near Los Angeles these days. Cities such as Santa Monica, Venice and even Manhattan Beach have seen growth in population, home sizes, retail and restaurants. There is another option, however, a little secret spot where you can still find that laid back beach environment…its Hermosa Beach.

Although Hermosa has that small town charm, you still can find amazing, gorgeous homes, and that’s what is found at 123 28th St. This house is spectacular, and the perfect DREAM home. With off the chart ocean views, gourmet kitchen, 4 bedrooms, including an expansive master suite, and entertaining space galore, you can live in luxury and still be a block away from the sand. This house is nestled in the NORTH Hermosa Beach sand section, and you don’t get a better location than this. A block from everything you need: the Strand, fun hometown bars, amazing restaurants, and a couple cute mom and pop groceries to boot. Want to watch a sports game? Take a short walk to the North End Bar and Grill – which happens to be the local hang out for many LA Kings Hockey players. Looking for a romantic dinner? The Bottle Inn is old school Italian, that has been around for decades.

And need a quick grocery trip? Nothing’s better than popping into the Green Store or Boccato’s Grocery…all just steps away from this location. Hermosa Beach is also home to award winning schools. Hermosa View and Hermosa Valley Elementary and Middle Schools provide the finest education. Your teens also can choose between Mira Costa High School or Redondo Union High School – both schools are top notch and the best in Southern California. This Hermosa Beach home has EVERYTHING you ever wanted…and more. 

Look for these key things in the market over the next 3-5 years:

a. Total volume in sales to increase dramatically

b. Price appreciation to be closer to 3-5%: closer to the inflation rate. Although the signs of an improving economy will be dampened by an increase in interest rates, demographic shifts are bringing strong demand to the area. Select, prime locations should see a much higher appreciation rate.

c. As the market stabilizes, the average days on market should trend back to its historical norm which would be 4-6 months for the South Bay area.

d. Supply will remain tighter in the more affordable ranges, making it important for buyers to be pre-approved with finances in order ready for strong offers in order to compete. Boomers are not moving as often as in previous years and generally, those are the homes most sought after by young families, thereby keeping inventory low and that built up demand urging pricing.

e. While 62% of homes in California saw multiple offers in 2016, the number of offers a home is expected to receive is likely to decrease as the market settles into “the new normal”. Homes closer to the average affordability index should still see multiple offers as this is the largest gap in available inventory and where the pent up demand will most readily show itself. Homes priced right, in excellent showing condition and in top rated school districts are still expected to see a great buyer response.

1. An improving economy will create more buyer demand. The U.S. Economic Outlook projects a 2.2% increase in the GDP with individuals in California expecting to see a 3.5% gain in real disposable income.

2. A national energy policy to provide lower cost fuel which will further boost the economy and American companies’ ability to compete internationally. This should result in even more demand for housing.

3. FED credit regulations should ease, making it easier for qualified borrowers to obtain financing and in turn causing the pendulum to start to swing the other way. The government’s over reaction to lending standards has created a credit crunch. If lending standards ease to common sense levels, the market will react positively.

4. Many “baby boomers” are nearing the age of retirement and may be selling their current homes and looking at other options.

5. First time buyers, many of whom were on the sidelines the past few years, most likely will beat their historic average of being 40% of the market.

Four things motivating local buyers to act in 2017

In addition to traditional market demand, there are several key market forces at play:

  1. Massive pent up demand(Locally in the Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach Market).

There is a wave of activity on the horizon in 2017.

The lack of inventory is holding back market volume, not pricing. For most of the past four years, any time a great home hit the market, there were multiple offers and typically several all cash offers. This made it impossible for buyers who need to sell their current home to be competitive. Due to the huge annual appreciation, many owners opted to delay their selling plans to be able to enjoy the appreciation. As the huge annual appreciation we have experienced over the last four years has been tamped down to a flicker from a flame, more and more owners will take this opportunity to liquidate real estate. This will allow a lot of move up buyers to get into the game. Buyers that need to sell their home to buy their next property will bring more inventory to the market which in turn will spur even more sales.

In the past 9 months, the market seems to have slowed down. While the average time on market dramatically increased, the amount of inventory actually shrank. It is the lack of quality listings that has really slowed the market.

My forecast for 2017 will be that as more listings come on the market, it will spur more buyers who need to sell their current home first, to list their homes for sale.  This will create more inventory and more options for the move-up buyer. One of the byproducts of the new normal will be a rather healthy trend in inventory rebalancing.  So while the MSI (or months’ supply of inventory), may still remain tilted towards sellers, it would be surprising to see less than 60 days’ supply on hand.

  1. Fear of rising interest rates

Many of the buyers who have been waiting out the election uncertainty will be motivated to make a move soon in order to take advantage of the still low interest rates before they start trending upwards. The FED’s publicly stated intention to increase rates will be buoyed by the strength of the stock market. As the stock market takes off, bond pricing will be affected.

  1. A robust economy 

A strengthening economy will lead to a buyer’s ability to take some profit out of the stock market and put that profit into investments that are better hedges against future inflation – such as real estate. This is especially true for the demographic in the South Bay. The economic factors that are drawing more and more companies into our Silicon Beach economy will give an overall boost to the area. This will lead to more cash being drawn into local real estate.

  1. The promise of lower tax rates

Should lower tax rates come into effect, more money will fall into the hands of the public. Overall, the local real estate market should continue to stabilize. The dramatic price increases have slowed, bringing ease to the fears of another housing bubble. This will continue to bring normalcy back to the market and will encourage consistent movement in real estate.

 

The lack of inventory is holding back market volume, not pricing. For most of the past four years, any time a great home hit the market, there were multiple offers and typically several all cash offers. This made it impossible for buyers who need to sell their current home to be competitive. Due to the huge annual appreciation, many owners opted to delay their selling plans to be able to enjoy the appreciation. As the huge annual appreciation we have experienced over the last four years has been tamped down to a flicker from a flame, more and more owners will take this opportunity to liquidate real estate. This will allow a lot of move up buyers to get into the game. Buyers that need to sell their home to buy their next property will bring more inventory to the market which in turn will spur even more sales.

In the past 9 months, the market seems to have slowed down. While the average time on market dramatically increased, the amount of inventory actually shrank. It is the lack of quality listings that has really slowed the market.

At times, up to 80% of local purchases are made by buyers who live in the immediate area. Buyers who a looking for more space, bigger bedrooms, a location closer to the beach or just trying to get into a better school district. There are buyers who have decided it is better to move up than remodel, buyers who now need a bigger home with a yard for the kids, or empty nesters who now can afford moving closer to the beach while downsizing the home. Due to the extremely high housing prices at the beach, the average South Bay home owner moves every 4-6 years.  Steady job growth and public school performance here in the South Bay continues to drive demand across all price points.

Generally speaking, the closer a property is to the water, there we will see the most stability in housing values.  Although the signs of an improving economy will be damped by an increase in interest rates, demographic shifts are bringing strong demand to the area and that consistency in the local markets. The affordability factor of Los Angeles County alone has seen mass migrations of average and first time home buyers moving out of LA towards the Inland Empire, Orange County, San Diego and Ventura. South Bay homes will continue to increase in value as jobs that support the affordability range in our area continue to flow into the expanding industries that surround the Beach Cities and Palos Verdes.

Our forecast for 2017 will be that as more listings come on the market, it will spur more buyers who need to sell their current home first, to list their homes for sale.  This will create more inventory and more options for the move-up buyer.

Starting in 2017, what we’ll most likely see is a unique alignment of economic and market forces with jobs and wage growth, low oil prices, and low interest rates. With the California economy outperforming the rest of the nation, California’s housing market is in a better position than most other states. Those in the Beach Cities are in a better position than most other cities in the State. 2017 should bring a modest increase in pricing with a growth in sales activity. This equates to more money in consumer’s pockets and higher confidence in spending. The housing market will enter an expansion phase nationally and a wave of new construction will slowly replace the aging housing stock locally.

It is interesting to note as we look back on our market forecast for 2016, how our analysis ended up when compared against actual market performance for the year. Read our 2016 forecast and breakdown here

The New Normal

As we move out of the housing recovery mode into a more stable period, many economists are referring to these market conditions as “the new normal”.Most likely, while we will still see prices increase, it will not be at the pace of the past 18 months but will be more moderated in the 4-5% range. Of course, considering the average price of homes in the South Bay, that still means some nice price gains. The high end is projected to turn over at a discretionary rate, while in the moderate price range, demand should continue unabated. Economists are also predicting that prices will rise faster than overall incomes. So if you are thinking of buying, there’s really no reason to wait. 2017 Market Predictions: the buyer perspective

One of the byproducts of “the new normal” will be a rather healthy trend in inventory rebalancing.  So while the MSI or months’ supply of inventory, may still remain tilted towards sellers, it would be surprising to see less than 30 days’ supply on hand as we have previously at a few junctures.

According to The Conference Board, national consumer confidence is at a 9 year high with jobs in California growing faster than anywhere else in the nation, with reported job gains being the highest in the Southern California region. Sustained job growth within the tech and engineering firms in Silicon Beach, the Downtown financial district and the entertainment and sports industries will continue to attract buyers to the South Bay due to the quality of both lifestyle and education. In turn, the market stability we projected in early 2016 should continue the trend, thereby avoiding an unhealthy “bubble”.

In summary, 2017 should see the following:

  • Pent up demand for inventory
  • Increase in unit sales
  • An almost overwhelming need for new construction
  • Local industry growth leading demand
  • Moderate, steady appreciation
  • Lack of affordability in the average price points as a continued challenge
  • Changing interest rates as an almost daily topic
  • Economists keeping a close watch on global markets

Manhattan Beach/Hermosa Beach micro-market forecast for 2017:

There is a wave of activity on the horizon in 2017.

The lack of inventory is holding back market volume, not pricing. For most of the past four years, any time a great home hit the market, there were multiple offers and typically several all cash offers. This made it impossible for buyers who need to sell their current home to be competitive. Due to the huge annual appreciation, many owners opted to delay their selling plans to be able to enjoy the appreciation. As the huge annual appreciation we have experienced over the last four years has been tamped down to a flicker from a flame, more and more owners will take this opportunity to liquidate real estate. This will allow a lot of move up buyers to get into the game. Buyers that need to sell their home to buy their next property will bring more inventory to the market which in turn will spur even more sales.

 

In the past 9 months, the market seems to have slowed down. While the average time on market dramatically increased, the amount of inventory actually shrank. It is the lack of quality listings that has really slowed the market.

At times, up to 80% of local purchases are made by buyers who live in the immediate area. Buyers who a looking for more space, bigger bedrooms, a location closer to the beach or just trying to get into a better school district. There are buyers who have decided it is better to move up than remodel, buyers who now need a bigger home with a yard for the kids, or empty nesters who now can afford moving closer to the beach while downsizing the home. Due to the extremely high housing prices at the beach, the average South Bay home owner moves every 4-6 years.  Steady job growth and public school performance here in the South Bay continues to drive demand across all price points.

Generally speaking, the closer a property is to the water, there we will see the most stability in housing values.  Although the signs of an improving economy will be damped by an increase in interest rates, demographic shifts are bringing strong demand to the area and that consistency in the local markets. The affordability factor of Los Angeles County alone has seen mass migrations of average and first time home buyers moving out of LA towards the Inland Empire, Orange County, San Diego and Ventura. South Bay homes will continue to increase in value as jobs that support the affordability range in our area continue to flow into the expanding industries that surround the Beach Cities and Palos Verdes.

My forecast for 2017 will be that as more listings come on the market, it will spur more buyers who need to sell their current home first, to list their homes for sale.  This will create more inventory and more options for the move-up buyer.

Long Term Predictions Overall

Look for these key things in over the next 3-5 years:

    1. Total volume in sales to increase dramatically
    2. Price appreciation to be closer to 3-5%: closer to the inflation rate. Although the signs of an improving economy will be dampened by an increase in interest rates, demographic shifts are bringing strong demand to the area. Select, prime locations should see a much higher appreciation rate.
    3. As the market stabilizes, the average days on market should trend back to its historical norm which would be 4-6 months for the South Bay area.
    4. Supply will remain tighter in the more affordable ranges, making it important for buyers to be pre-approved with finances in order ready for strong offers in order to compete. Boomers are not moving as often as in previous years and generally, those are the homes most sought after by young families, thereby keeping inventory low and that built up demand urging pricing.
    5. While 62% of homes in California saw multiple offers in 2016, the number of offers a home is expected to receive is likely to decrease as the market settles into “the new normal”. Homes closer to the average affordability index should still see multiple offers as this is the largest gap in available inventory and where the pent up demand will most readily show itself. Homes priced right, in excellent showing condition and in top rated school districts are still expected to see a great buyer response.

Factors that will help support the housing market over the next four years

  1. An improving economy will create more buyer demand. The U.S. Economic Outlook projects a 2.2% increase in the GDP with individuals in California expecting to see a 3.5% gain in real disposable income.
  2. A national energy policy to provide lower cost fuel which will further boost the economy and American companies’ ability to compete internationally. This should result in even more demand for housing.
  3. FED credit regulations should ease, making it easier for qualified borrowers to obtain financing and in turn causing the pendulum to start to swing the other way. The government’s over reaction to lending standards has created a credit crunch. If lending standards ease to common sense levels, the market will react positively.
  4. Many “baby boomers” are nearing the age of retirement and may be selling their current homes and looking at other options.
  5. First time buyers, many of whom were on the sidelines the past few years, most likely will beat their historic average of being 40% of the market

Sometimes there isn’t much control over the timing of when you need to sell your home. Jobs change, events happen, and life takes over.  If you are considering selling your home over the holidays, Caskey & Caskey will offer some important information on how to successfully sell your Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach or Redondo Beach property for maximum profit before the end of the year. 

Real Estate 


Holiday buyers can be the best buyers 

Year over year we have learned that though some may think the holidays are not a good time to sell because people are busy and distracted by Thanksgiving, Hanukka, Christmas and New Year’s, in reality the holidays actually couldn’t be a better time to sell. Anyone house hunting during the holiday season must have a good reason for doing so. Due to a decline in inventory (competition) over the holidays, you can still effectively sell your home without open houses. The serious buyers will have their agents closely at their sides ready to write an offer when the perfect home is found. Work with your agent to target buyers on a deadline, including people relocating for jobs in your area and investors on tax deadlines. Make sure your agent is highly invested in networking so they are aware of who is making moves and what active buyers in the community are serious about locking in before the year is over. 

Like Santa, your agent should be able to span the globe quickly to get the job done                                                                                

 An agent highly versed in the latest tech tools knows that family vacation plans don’t necessarily get in the way of doing what needs done, even when you are on the other side of the country visiting extended family. When interviewing your agent, be sure to ask what tools they use to remain in constant communication and if they have subscriptions to the latest electronic platforms in order to legally, securely and efficiently get an offer presented and accepted even if you are travelling. 

Make sure your agent’s holiday plans include working  to sell your home 

That means interviewing agents and finding out who won’t disappear during Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s. Ask your friends and family if they can recommend a listing agent who will go above and beyond to get your home sold. Agents with teams are often very reliable over the holidays as they work together to make sure family time and work are both properly covered. This will ensure that you are not missing out on showings or offers because you can count on your agent to answer the phone, open the door, keep up on advertising and make sure some of the most motivated buyers of the year aren’t missing your home. 

Tis the season to sell – Decorate with your selling strategy in mind

The holidays can be so much fun especially since it is the one time of the year you can really go all out and transform your home with just about all design rules thrown to the wind, but if your home is on the market this season be careful not to overdo it on the decor. Adornments that are too large or too many can crowd your home and distract buyers. Also, it’s important to consider potentially offending buyers by decorating with religious themes and instead opt for general fall and winter decorations for this one year. 

Wrap it up with a great price 

No matter what time of year, a home that’s priced correctly for the market will make buyers feel merry. Rather than gradually making small price reductions over the season and lingering on the market, many experienced agents will advise sellers to closely examine the comps and develop a pricing strategy to attract the most buyers and obtain offers quickly in order to achieve the highest possible price. This also locks the home up into escrow so showings can slow down and the family can return to “normal” while working through the escrow process over the holidays instead of open houses and daily cleaning for optimal showings. 

Dress up nicely 

When autumn rolls around and the trees and shrubs start to lose their leaves and flowers, maintaining the exterior of your home becomes even more important. Bare trees equal a more exposed home, so touch up the paint, clean the gutters and spruce up the yard so it remains cheery and approachable during the winter months, especially with the California drought issue starting to impact green lawns and seasonal flowers in our area. 

Attract those online holiday shoppers 

When the weather outside is frightful, buyers are more likely than ever  to start their house hunt from the comfort of their homes by browsing new listings online. Make sure your agent has a track record for investing in professional, high-quality photos of your home so it shows in the best light. Holiday home buying

Get your home into their living room and onto their couch 

It’s true that over the holidays there is less foot traffic thanks to vacation and party plans and sometimes weather.  Hire an agent that includes a professional high definition video tour as part of their marketing plan for your home. YouTube is owned by the #1 search engine company in the world and agents who know how to manage great video content know how to make sure your home comes up in the most online searches. Your listing video may attract house hunters who don’t have time to physically see your home or those who would rather stay curled up on the couch under a blanket than go out in the rain. 

Offer a bit of cheer to visiting home buyers 

Rather than making buyers feel like they are imposing on you during the holidays, make them feel like welcome guests by making your home feel cozy and inviting during showing. Turn on the fire, play mellow, catchy holiday tunes in the background and leave an offering of holiday treats. Encouraging buyers to spend more time in your home gives them more time to see themselves creating their own holiday traditions in the home and mentally making it their own. 

If you are considering taking advantage of minimized competition and highly qualified, serious buyers in November, December and January, be sure to contact us direct at 310-374-1800 so we can develop a strategy that works for you and your family over the holidays. If you’d like to discuss the pros and cons of selling now or after the New Year, we are here to help you consider all options and make the best plan to realize your goals.

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now? 

 “Timing the Market” is a catch phrase commonly used by savvy real estate analysts, investors, and agents. Its what every seller and buyer strives to do: hit the market at the optimal time where the opportunity couldn’t be any better to get in or get out. In reality, guessing right once is a 50/50 proposition. The real estate market throughout the South Bay’s Beach Cities continues to ring in historic sales prices for local real estate making it very tempting for some to just capitalize on the current market conditions then make a move later. But the million dollar question is, once one sells, where does one go? If leaving the area is not an option, is it worth it to rent? Is it time to sell and rent? Let’s look at some pros and cons . . .   

Pros for Selling and Renting Well, the financial windfall is the obvious positive for selling now, with the state of the market as it is. While there may be a myriad of reasons why your property wouldn’t get top dollar in another market, in the current environment, many of those so-called negatives about your house can be dismissed. In a more “typical” market, negatives such as B- locations, smaller lots, and the need for updating can heavily affect buyer reaction to a property. A huge positive of our current market condition is that selling today gives you the ability to attract buyers that normally would have more “issue” with the negatives. Low inventory also means quick sales. Another positive for selling now is that homes are selling FAST. Some have been lucky enough to not even have to deal with several open houses, looky-loos, or scheduled showings, which many say can be the most stressful part about the selling process. In many cases a buyer may need to sell his/her house before buying their upleg, but current market conditions are seeing buyers’ homes selling quickly once on the market. This means there is less risk for houses sold with the contingency of the sale of the buyer’s current home. 

 On the Plus Side of Renting  First of all, you can wait to buy, take your time, and possibly see the market settle a bit.  Thereafter, you will be in the best position to purchase a home quickly because you have your finances ready to go. Having those finances ready to go also helps you appear as the stronger buyer if and when you enter a bidding war. Renting is also a way to test the waters. You can try out different areas of the South Bay and see what neighborhood best fits you and your family. Plus, it can be a nice break from home maintenance issues. In most cases the landlord takes care of landscaping, appliances that may fail, property insurance and the like. The landlord definitely takes care of the property taxes! Here’s an entertaining read on one ex-homeowner’s experience of renting vs. buying

 The Cost of Renting vs. Holding Let’s look at a very simplified example. Let’s say you purchased your current home for $1 million, and you are entertaining an offer from a buyer who is willing to pay you $2 million today. Let’s then assume you can walk away with $1 million. If you can then rent a home for $7,000 a month for one year that amounts to $84,000; in comparison, you would have paid $36,000 in mortgage payments on your home for that same year. You are looking at spending possibly $48,000 of your $1 million in gains to rent leaving you with plenty to spend on a down payment down the line. Of course this is a VERY simplified scenario . . . but $1 million in profit from your home gives you a lot of options in the long run. Try this engaging set of calculators set up to help you determine if renting or buying is a better option for you right now.   

The Other Side of Selling Then Renting The process of selling your home can be daunting. It can be hard to predict if it’s the right thing for you and your family. First, are you ready to give up this property that has become your home? There may be a lot of emotional attachment to a home. You may be settled, like your neighborhood, and all your furniture fits. Second, you may be really comfortable with the mortgage payment and/or tax base you currently have, which, in many cases, is less than some rents in this area. Third, you have children that you would like to have stay in a specific school district or zone that is based on where you live. There is no guarantee that you will find a suitable rental in the same school district, and many landlords do not accept pets; those that do may charge hefty pet deposits. These are all negatives that somewhat play on your emotions; nevertheless they are very real things to consider. What about the market? Will it really ever settle down? Will you be able to “get back in” and find another home to buy at some point? Again this is hard to predict. What we do know is that mortgage rates will likely go up in the future, and as a natural consequence, home prices should balance out. The real estate market is notorious for being cyclical, and therefore, there should always be a dip in home prices, however statistics are not absolutes, so there is always risk to consider. Reader’s Digest published 5 Hidden Costs of Renting which is a good, quick read on the subject. Timing always comes down to what is right for you, and that timing could be very different for you, your neighbors or your friends. The best way to go through these pros and cons is with a professional. Ask us to evaluate your home and help you to weigh all the positives and negatives of selling and renting.      

The Importance of Your Agent’s Pre-Market Plan for Your Property 

When considering selling, research tells us you will most likely begin your search for an agent on the internet. In doing so, you will most likely come across similar advice in many subjects from different agents. One of the most common things you will hear is an urging to pay attention to the showing condition of your home. The DIYers may take this advice and start sprucing up the front yard; adding flowers, trimming back overgrown trees, etc. Some will turn their attention inside; deep cleaning the home, jamming closets and the garage full of clutter to deal with later, cleaning the carpets and windows and more. 

A practice that has become almost code for many top producing agents is to hire a professional stager. The stager can act in many capacities; some will come and provide a lengthy list of “to-do” items and leave the homeowners with the list and a deadline. This is often the least costly way of incorporating a stager. Many agents offer to pay for this consultation service as part of their marketing plan for your home. (Always ask your agent, if they are suggesting staging, who is paying for what.) Other stagers can come in, roll up sleeves, and get down to helping you move furniture around, remove family photos, de-clutter and add color; some will even shop for accessories for you. Most commonly, stagers have crews at the ready to move heavy items, paint, pack and more. All of this comes at a cost, of course, but the return is well worth it. Statistics show that staged homes sell faster and for more money than homes that were not prepared in advance for marketing. Staging is one thing that works for certain and is highly recommended. But what do you do with a home that was tenant occupied for years by occupants that did not care for it as if it were their own? 

The time has come to consider selling because the market is proving some great equity returns and you want to maximize your profits; you are left staring at an overwhelming project and aren’t sure where to start. You start interviewing agents and asking for market comparables to establish your value. Everything that is presented to you is coming in under what you had hoped for. You have to decide to rent again or sell, but either way there is work to be done in order to get the most money out of the investment. What is your strategy?? Let’s look at a recent case study here in Manhattan Beach: a Manhattan Beach top agent helped a seller maximize equity in a tough case study which resulted in a Cinderella story. 

The subject property was vacated by long-term tenants and left in terrible condition. There was writing on the walls, badly stained carpets, staining on the walls & ceilings, old, sticky kitchen cabinets, holes in the walls, dead/brown landscape, wood damage and more to deal with. To sell this house, as-is, was a definite possibility. Most likely a builder would offer to pay lot value and scrape the lot for a new build, or an investor would offer to pick it up at a value and then do the work and flip it. To re-rent this house for top dollar and attract a higher end renter, there was still much work to be done. The owner wanted to maximize their equity in the home but was faced with a daunting task. 

By hiring a seasoned, experienced market specialist, the agent went right to work for him. Armed with a vast network of qualified and cost-effective vendors, the agent’s team went to work establishing a game plan that would attract the most buyers while also spending as little as possible on the rehabilitation of the home. The agent helped the seller determine where to spend and where to save. Quickly gathering estimates, working with a rehabilitation designer/project manager, and establishing a working timeline, the agent and his team set about transforming the property into an attractive starter home for re-sale. 

One of the major decisions was whether or not to go through the home and “iron-out” the kinks or leave it as is and just to corrective cosmetic work. The older tract homes, typically built in the 1940’s or 50’s, started with a typical 3 bedroom, 2 bath floorplan with about 1100 sf in the original footprint. Smaller galley kitchens were common, and larger yards were found than what is available in newer homes today. As families grew and changed over the years, many of these homes were remodeled, added on to, and altered (some not permitted) and this began to create what was functional living space 30 years ago, into what is now “odd” configurations for the wants and needs of today’s family. 

This home in particular had the benefit of an add-on that was done in the 1970’s which created a large, spacious family room. It was added on to the back of the home, so it took away the back wall of one of the original bedrooms; it also absorbed the window wall of the family bathroom, which had been glass bricks. The addition also created another bedroom that was accessed by way of the new family room. There was a large closet in the new family room that actually passed through to the new bedroom closet by way of adjoining space. Needless to say, this was odd. Also, a great deal of the yard area was absorbed by the new family room, reducing the outdoor space. Other quirks were an electrical switch to the exhaust fan in a bathroom being located in the hallway; a tiny closet door in the master bedroom that banged into the door to the master bathroom; a large hole in a master bedroom wall where the tenants had cut into the drywall to create a shelf for their large TV; an orphaned closet door what was the 3rd bedroom, but what became the “den” that passed through to the new family room, and a quirky laundry space in the kitchen. 

 The pluses were that the home had both formal and family spaces, a newer roof, limited termite damage, and the structure was sound. The addition expanded the house to a 1700+ sf footprint and it was located in a desirable neighborhood near outstanding schools. Working with the project manager and the agent, the owner was able to determine some important changes to the home that would help make sense of the floorplan by “smoothing it out”. The changes, the agent explained, would help a buyer mentally add value rather than detract from it as they walked through the home. Instead of looking at what needed to be done to make the home work for a young family and mentally calculating the costs of what would need to be done to the home after purchase, buyers would be able to walk through the home and agree that this home could work for them for many years before any additional funds would need to be put into it, thus maximizing the potential profit on the property for the seller. 

In about six weeks time, the home received brand new interior and exterior paint and brand new landscaping; all the hardwood floors were re-surfaced and re-stained and came out beautifully, new tile was laid over the floors in the kitchen; the low ceiling in the kitchen was opened up, creating height and space; the doors to the laundry area were removed, a butcher’s block folding shelf installed and the area opened up to create more depth to the kitchen; new hardware, fixtures and appliances were installed. The strange glass blocks in the family room (from the back wall of the bathroom) were removed and the area patched in. A medicine cabinet was installed where the glass blocks once were.

Old Kitchen/Laundry area

Old Kitchen/Laundry area

New kitchen/laundry area

New kitchen/laundry area

In the living room, the dated solid oak around the brick fireplace was painted a crisp white, while a ceiling fan was removed from the small dining area and was replaced with a new, modern chandelier. Old speakers in the ceiling were patched over, and new trim was installed in the dated recessed lighting. An electrician came through and tested out all the outlets and switches, then removed obsolete switches to clean up the circuits and make sense of the switches throughout the house. The weird switch in the hallway was moved into the bathroom where it belonged.     

The 3rd bedroom that once was, became a proper den, by walling up the closet in that room and giving the space to the master bedroom on the other side of that shared wall. By absorbing that little closet, it was possible to create a new large closet in the master; the tiny door near the bathroom became a set of sliding doors to the new closet and a second set of sliding doors was added at the other end for easy access. The area between was pre-wired for a future wall mount TV. This then gave 2 closets—a “his” and “hers” closet in the proper master bedroom. A utility closet on the outside of the home was absorbed and allowed the newer 3rd bedroom off the family room to be expanded. The two closets on that end of the house were separated and proper space was created. In addition, all bedrooms received brand new ceiling fans, as this is a great draw in the summer months in older homes. The agent also assisted in communications with neighbors to each side and helped negotiate for a new addition to an existing fence to detract from neighboring views. 

Finally, the end product resulted in a clean, fresh home loaded with original charm, that would function very well for an entry level buyer for many years. The home sold with multiple offers and established a new record for similar homes in the area, closing at over $1 million. It wasn’t staged and it wasn’t flipped. It was considered for the seller’s end game and a broad cross section of buyer’s needs. You’ll note that once complete, the seller did not stage the home, that’s because the issues that staging normally helps a buyer gets past were answered in the rehab project results. So, one might say the rehab was the staging perhaps . . . If this home had been truly “flipped” about another $30k to $50k would have gone into it, with deep updates to the kitchen, baths, windows, heating and more. So it wasn’t really either one, and that was a collective decision between the seller and the agent.  

Had the owners sold it “as-is”, the market price would have been between $920,000 and $940,000. By spending appx. $25,000 to make the corrections to the property, the home sold at $1,010,000, netting the sellers an additional $45,000 (at least). Had the agent recommended a sale in “as-is” condition, the sellers might have only broken even on their original investment. With the correct guidance, teamwork and plan in place, this home was instead a true Cinderella story. This is an extreme case, but an important one, because not everyone wants to sell to a builder, and there are plenty of entry level buyers in the Beach Cities looking for homes like this one and don’t want to/can’t pay a premium for a flip. 

A great agent will know what the hot points are for buyers and what the work-arounds are in order to bring a property around to its best performance level . They will have a trusted team of vendors at hand to employ and coordinate in order to achieve a timely result in a cost-conscious manner. They will know when it’s appropriate to employ a stager and when the job might be bigger than that. They will have your best interests at heart, will be committed to your real estate goals, and will help prepare your property for market, regardless of the size of the job. 

When beginning your search for your agent, make sure to have a lengthy discussion about their pre-market practices, the experience of their vendor network, how much they can assist in the process up-front, and be sure to get referrals from past clients if you can. There are many, many things to consider when selecting the agent to work for you, but pre-market preparation planning is one of the most important, especially in a fast-paced,competitive real estate market like the one here in Manhattan Beach. [Disclaimer: The Caskey & Caskey Team listed & sold this property in Manhattan Beach, CA in Fall of 2014] To discuss our pre-market strategy, please call Dave direct at 310-374-1800 or drop him a line by emailing info@caskeyandcaskey.com.

Big Tide Hitting the South Bay from Silicon Beach Expansion 

The local economy and housing market are sure to benefit from the rising tide of expansion in the area now know as “Silicon Beach”. Silicon Beach in is the Westside region of the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area generally centered around Playa Vista, and is home to over 500 tech start-up companies. By most accounts, this rapidly growing tech hub is the second largest in the world and has unlimited potential for growth. 

  It looks like the tech boom that hit LA is off and running. There is tremendous future growth potential as the tech industry evolves and becomes more integrated with other sectors such as entertainment, advertising, banking and virtually every other industry. More recently, Google’s major expansion plans with the purchase of 12 vacant acres in Playa Vista next to the historic hangar where Howard Hughes built the Spruce Goose. As Technology and Entertainment continue to merge and expand at a lightning pace, Playa Vista has emerged as a major hub. Facebook, Microsoft, Google, You Tube, and Yahoo are not alone in their expansion to this area as many other entrepreneurs are drawn to this new, vibrant community.  Engineers are being courted by the thousands as more media agencies, new start-up companies and established mega players converge. Silicon Beach is currently home to several start up incubators and a huge influx of funding. In 2013 over $500 million was raised for 94 new start-ups and 9 acquisitions. facebook, google, youtube, microsoft, yahoo 

The main impetus behind the rapid growth in LA’s tech sectors was the explosive merging of technology, with nearby Hollywood giving rise to a multitude of opportunities. Southern California undoubtedly possesses one of the most skilled local talent pools in the nation.  Playa Vista had the physical room for the corporations to nest together into this new hub of innovation while being adjacent to major freeways and major airports like LAX. These factors  greatly enhance the value to companies trying to attract the best talent to a large suburban area. This new trend will have a major impact on the Los Angeles area economy and with this new influx of investment, housing prices in the South Bay are surely to be directly affected. 

The South Bay will continue to be a strong draw to those considering advancement and new opportunities within the surge of business erupting in Silicon Beach. The proximity makes for a comfortable commute, award winning local schools provide top-notch public education for families, and the casual Southern California lifestyle is a huge draw for recreation and other past-times. Due to proximity, homes in the North End Sand Section, Tree Section, Manhattan Village and Liberty Village areas of Manhattan Beach, as well as North Redondo Beach, the Holly Glen/Del Aire sections of Hawthorne and homes in El Segundo are sure to be high on the interest list of those moving into the area riding the tide that’s hitting Silicon Beach. [metaslider id=5056] For more details, follow this link to a detailed article in the Los Angeles Times:  http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-playa-property-sale-20141203-story.html#page=1 Find out if your home is a good candidate for an incoming Silicon Beach home buyer by reaching out to a top real estate agent at Caskey and Caskey of Strand Hill Properties by connecting with us at info@caskeyandcaskey.com.

 For more information about Silicon Beach in LA, job postings, events, and more: SILICON BEACH LA — bringing together Entrepreneurs, Investors, Developers, Surfers, and all members of the “SiliconBeach” tech startup community SILICON BEACH FEST — LA’s original festival celebrating LA tech, entertainment & startups with panels, keynotes, workshops, mixers, and more SILICON BEACH ON FACEBOOK — Your Personal Tour Guide And The Home Of The LA Tech & Startup Community SILICON BEACH STARTUPS — Silicon Beach Start-ups ensures people within the local tech community stay connected, have the opportunity to showcase their products and get answers to their most pressing questions      

THE WESTERN GARDEN COLLECTION AT THE 2014 SUNSET IDEA HOUSE

The owners and master gardeners of Masterpeace Gardens from Redondo Beach, CA gave Caskey & Caskey a detailed tour of the gardens featured at the 2014 Sunset Magazine Idea House in Manhattan Beach, CA. Read on to learn about the challenges of the project, their proudest moments, and what makes the Sunset Western Garden Collection special.

Chris Canaday, one of the owners of Masterpeace Gardens, works on the standing garden in one of the gabion planters at the Idea House.

The signature on any of Sunset’s Idea Houses comes in the form of their gardens. With a monthly readership of nearly 5 million people and over 30 million copies of the Sunset Western Garden Bookin circulation, Sunset is without a doubt the “Godfather of Gardens”.  Millions look to the publication for landscape design ideas and new trends in styling outdoor spaces. The Western Garden Collection is specifically designed for gardens in the Western region of the U.S. 

Illumination ‘Flame’ Digiplexis of the 2014 Collection

Being selected by Sunset Magazine to not only have one’s designs highlighted, but to ultimately be responsible for the first public appearance of the brand new plants produced for the 2014 Western Garden Collection is a high honor for any landscape architect and/or designer. Local owners of Masterpeace Gardens, based right here in the South Bay, were awarded the task of bringing the gardens at the Idea House in Manhattan Beach to life. The husband/wife team of master gardeners Howard Huckeba and Chris Canaday has been in the business of landscape architecture and design for over 20 years and has been featured on HGTV. 

When approached by Sunset Magazine with the opportunity to join in on the project as the landscape design team, Chris and Howard were not only faced with a monumental task, they had to reach completion for the public Home Tour launch on August 1, 2014 having come into the project three months behind everyone else involved, because they weren’t on the initial contractor list.

They quickly had to familiarize themselves with a brand new product line as Sunset‘s own growers develop each year brand new varieties of plants exclusive to Sunset, and this was to be the first ever installation of the 2014 collection. They then had to take into regard all of the standards set forth by Sunset for the project: the project had to include raised planters and edibles and needed to be a sustaining landscape. “They wanted us to accomplish a sustainable design, that wouldn’t overgrow, with a thought-out aesthetic.” As they went to work creating the landscape design, Chris said a wall of their office looked like a crime scene investigation, with a storyboard laid out of photos connecting to photos, connecting to plans, connecting to stone finish, connected to hardscape layouts and more, so they could quickly move parts and bring the final plan to drawing. “We committed 100% to the palate set forth by Sunset“, says Howard Huckeba. “We had worked with Phormium before, of course, but never a black one. It was helpful having these deeper colors to work with complimenting the darkness of the pool, but also being able to offset that by bursts of color from the ‘Everillo’ Carex oshimensis. It really is a dynamic collection to work with.”  

CLICK HERE TO VIEW the entire Sunset Western Garden Collection

The landscape plan was designed to compliment the contrast of the dark pool.

The biggest consideration in the landscape design was the custom pool that had already been constructed by Dynamic Pool & Spa Construction of Redondo Beach. The pool is outstanding in its original design, but prior to the Masterpeace Gardens landscape design, it was hard to envision the yard without being dominated by the massive pool. Chris and Howard’s ultimate design compliments the large, dark, square, above-ground pool design by anchoring it with two gabion planters on the north side of the yard. These planters serve to achieve the Sunset standard for standing planters as well as balancing the visible weight of the pool structure. The gabions are decorative and functional, filled with dark river rock to tie in the river rock that was planned by the pool designer to edge the water feature portion of the pool. The same stones also carry over into the sunken conversation area by the gas fire-pit.

To Chris Canaday, the gabions were her favorite thing that Masterpeace Gardens had brought to the Sunset House. They were her big idea, contributing to the many ideas presented in the Idea House. She has used gabions before and knows that it is hard for clients to wrap their head around until they see them assembled and in person. With that in mind, she had to move fast upon installation so as not to throw the builder off guard. “We had to get these in, get them filled and planted ASAP so when the designers and other sub-contractors on site saw them for the first time, it was an ‘Ahhh!‘ moment, rather than an ‘ehhh??’ moment. Having visited the property many times now and under all different settings, these gabions always come to mind when asked what one of the favorite features of the home is for us as Realtors. They execute exactly what Chris had planned for in her original concept; they tie in the composition of the landscape as well as balancing weight of the massive pool. They also gracefully echo all the strength of the wood, steel and glass the home is made of, while softening the boldness with movement and color. 

A pair of custom gabion planters are the brainchild of landscape designer, Chris Canaday who built them to off-set the large pool while also functioning as standing gardens.

Sunset had required that Chris and Howard also utilize the Woollypockets (living wall planters) that are seen hanging from the wall on the south side of the yard. These were sponsored planters provided to the Idea House and had to be incorporated into the overall plan. Masterpeace Gardens wanted to fully utilize the product line to its full potential to really compliment the sponsor. Chris has planted three clusters of Woollypockets, each with a different theme. The one closest to the outdoor kitchen area is chock full of herbs, with some exotic varieties such as chocolate mint and tarragon. The one in the center bursts with color, texture and life as it brings the eye up past the conversation pit to follow the sight lines that lead to either the pool or the outdoor kitchen. The splash of color ties in beautifully with the low laying plants, grasses and shrubs. The final cluster of Woollypockets is designed to mimic the movement of the water over the edge of the pool and hint at the entry point to the pool area. 

Tending to the herbs in the living garden planters

One citrus tree bears six different varieties of fruit!

Even cleverer of a use of space was the use of edibles along the southwest corner of the lot, where you will find three citrus trees, each bearing over five different varieties of citrus on a single tree! On one tree you will find Valencia Oranges, Meyer Lemons, Bearss Limes, Minneola Tangelos and Washington Navel Oranges! Opposite the pool are two single citrus trees that bear grapefruit. 

As they worked with their hardscape plan, Masterpeace continued to compliment the clean, bold lines of the house as they created a backyard that was more of an entire outdoor living room than a “yard”. When Dynamic Pools and Mike Davis Custom Homes moved forward with their unique pool design, it allowed them to move the pool equipment underground, thus pushing the back edge of the pool only 5 feet from the rear property line. Masterpeace Gardens then came in and designed decks to flank both sides of the pool, each with different elevations, and they then created a pathway that naturally leads to the covered patio areas, which in turn sends a subtle invitation to relax in the sunken fire pit area.  What they all accomplished as a team was developing a setting that fully utilizes the potential use of the lot. Every inch of the backyard participates in function of one form or another.  

Red fescue is a type of grass that only requires water once a week

In front of the gabions is a large area of lush red fescue, which Chris and Howard refer to as the “no mow” lawn. The grass grows in lovely wave patterns and requires minimal trimming, only if you desire. It feels like a cool carpet when walking barefoot on it and it only needs deep watering once a week. In fact, we were told that the entire backyard is designed to only require a once a week deep watering in order to stay lush, thus fulfilling the sustainability requirement set forth by Sunset. It’s a very water conservative design, with virtually every bed on a drip or bubbler system.

You may realize that with any new construction project, the landscape team comes in at the very end to ice the cake. With an accelerated deadline on the Idea House, everyone involved was working at top speed to reach completion, and the Masterpeace crew had to accomplish their entire installation in just 4 days. When asked to compare this to a normal installation, Howard told us that for the soft-scaping only it would be a three week process; include hardscape and a project of this scale typically takes 6-8 weeks. “It was an ‘all hands on deck’ project to pull this off on deadline”, says Chris. “We had hundreds of plants in the front and back yards and worked from sun up to sun down to get them all in.” 

In the end, Chris and Howard are not only personally pleased with the outcome of this challenge; the biggest compliment they could receive came in the form of all the positive feedback from the sponsors, interior designers and, most importantly, from the people at Sunset Magazine in the application of the product lines. “It was just flattering.” 

A second Woollypocket erupts with color and texture on the wall

“We took this project on with the ultimate goal of creating a landscape that enhanced the property without detracting from the house. We had to take their [Sunset Magazine] idea, make it our idea and then bring it to life.”  After hearing Masterpeace describe the process, we equate it to a “Top Chef” challenge, where you are given a box of mystery ingredients and one hour to come up with a full course meal of 5-star quality.

If you see and love the plants at the Sunset Idea House in Manhattan Beach and want to incorporate them into your own landscape design, The SunsetWestern Garden Collectioncan be found at local retailers here in the South Bay. Home Depot, OSH and Armstrong Garden Centers all come up on the zip code search on the Sunset website.

Come experience the gardens for yourself on the Sunset Home Tour which is going on each Friday, Saturday and Sunday between now and September 7 (ticket revenue will go to charity). Tickets are available via the Sunset website or you can enter to win a complimentary pair from Caskey & Caskey by CLICKING HERE.

MEET THE BUILDER: THE BIG IDEAS BEHIND THE 2014 IDEA HOUSE

This week, the Caskey & Caskey Team was graciously invited on a systems tour of the Sunset Magazine2014 Idea Housein Manhattan Beach by the general contractor and project manager, Mike Davis of Mike Davis Custom Homes. Mike was the builder of the 2014 Idea House in Manhattan Beach. We had the excellent opportunity to learn about the nuances of this special home from the perspective of those closest to it.

Mike Davis of Mike Davis Custom Homes

Caskey & Caskey is giving away FREE tickets to Tour the fabulous Sunset Idea House. CLICK HERE TO ENTER. Mike Davis has been building custom homes in our community of Manhattan Beach for 30 years. He has built some of the most prominent homes in the area, 116 Terraza Pl being one of the landmark properties completed by Mike Davis. In fact, the Sunset Idea House, located  at 111 S. Meadows in East Manhattan Beach, abuts the secluded estate homes along Terraza Pl; many selling recently as high as $6,500,000. Directly behind the Idea House sits the former home of USC coach Lane Kiffin which was recently purchased by actor Vince Vaughn. Mike is also currently finishing a custom home in Manhattan Beach for another USC coach amongst some new projects on the horizon in the Sand Section and on The Strand. The entryway and garage of the Idea House may face Meadows Ave, but the house itself really encompasses that exclusive, resort lifestyle of the very special Terraza Place landscape. Mike told us that Sunset Magazine approached him about a new construction project he was just underway on and inquired about the possibility of adopting the site as the 2014 Idea House; the first ever in Southern California. Mike took on the challenge which accelerated his typical construction timeline of one year up to an 8 month completion deadline. With his deep ties to the community and the experience he brought to the project, he was able to fast track the project through the City, manage an overwhelming team of 80+ vendors, designers, and tradespeople, and to quickly and successfully navigate obstacles as they reared up in order to meet the Grand Opening deadline. With crews bustling about up until the very last second, the doors opened to the public on Friday, August 1, with an overwhelming response of about 350+ visitors through on the first weekend. 

Drone Pilot and freelance photographer Tyler Mason showed us how he helps Sunbrella capture images of the solar energy panels on the roof of the 2014 Idea House.

Photographers working with Sunbrella were on site when we toured through with Mike Davis and that in itself was an event to witness.  With food stylists putting the perfect touches on a shot, lighting experts setting the exact tone of a room, and state of the art video streaming from the drone taking aerial footage of the property, witnessing the production made one realize how truly special it is for those involved to have put their own touches on this unique, benchmark home. It is clear that Mike Davis Custom Homes has raised the bar for custom new construction in Manhattan Beach to another level. A PROBLEM SOLVING POOL From our sunny perch on the generous master bedroom deck overlooking the magnificent yard, we learned from Mike Davis that the innovative pool design was his idea. Months prior, when he and his right hand man, Craig Patton, were breaking for lunch sitting up in the studs of the home overlooking the plain dirt lot, Mike pondered a thought and bounced an idea off of Craig. Two things presented themselves to Mike when looking at this space. It seemed a shame to sink a pool into the yard and lose the depth of the lot. Also, there was the practical issue of where to haul the dirt off to if they did dig for a pool. The Dirt Yard in Redondo Beach has recently closed, posing a problem to builders as to where to off load excavated soil from construction sites. From here the inspiration was born to Mike Davis to elevate the pool and make it an essential feature of the property. Sitting only 4.5” down into the lot, the pool is outstanding in its concept. Functioning as both a recreational piece and an artful water feature, this salt-water pool commands attention while anchoring the concept of marrying the indoor and outdoor spaces. The pool was built by another fantastic local contractor, Kevin Cobabe of Dynamic Pool & Spa Construction, whose business is based in Redondo Beach.

The elevated pool was designed based on a collaborative concept between builder Mike Davis and custom pool contractor, Kevin Cobabe. Built by Dynamic Pool & Spa Construction of Redondo Beach.

AN INTEGRATED AND INTUITIVE HOME One obstacle to overcome was the lack of space planned for a HVAC system and ducting in the original plans. As General Contractor, Mike had to quickly devise a unique solution and in doing so, discovered a ground breaking system brand new to the residential market provided by Mitsubishi Electric (at the tune of $70k for the intuitive system). Like nothing we’ve ever seen in a custom home before, every single room has its own heating and air system. This integrated yet independent system has a monitor sensor in each room that marks entry and exit of rooms, combined body temperatures/occupancy in a given room, moisture in the air, time of day, etc. and makes automatic adjustments to provide flawless control of heating and air throughout the home. The system will stop air conditioning or heating in a room that is not being used and only focus on those rooms currently in use. Its an amazing application of technology that will only result in the most efficient home! You may notice small, horizontal, black cut outs in certain rooms of the home; they are the home’s linear diffuser system that act as output zones for the HVAC system. The linear design streamlines the output of air in the room, quickly bringing it to desired temperature and more efficiently regulating steady temperatures. To understand the impact of this system, let’s quickly talk about SEER ratings. SEER ratings are much like “miles to the gallon” in your car; the higher the number, the more efficient the system. The minimum rating allowed by the government is 13, and Mike Davis told us most homes are typically rated at 14. This system operates more around a SEER rating of 28. Wow. The energy savings of a unit with a SEER rating of 13 is about 38%; at 16 the savings amount to about 50%.  Imagine the savings at a rating of 28! 

The state of the art HVAC system in the Idea House can operate at a SEER rating of 28!

Mike Davis Custom Homes not only sourced the solution to a major obstacle in the building process, they also employed the specialized expertise of local HVAC contractors, B-Radiant in neighboring Redondo Beach to install the complex system. With 30 years in local custom building, Mike Davis knew right where to turn for assistance from the best in the business and kept it local. In fact, bringing on as many local vendors as he could to participate in the project was of utmost importance to Mike, who saw this as an opportunity not only to put another feather in the cap of the city of Manhattan Beach, but to highlight some of the truly outstanding work of so many local businesses and craftsmen right here in our neighborhood. To compliment the advanced HVAC system, builder Mike Davis then applied the Vantage Controls Home Automation for Luxury Spaces system: A 7” LCD touch screen control with unique widget environment  interfaces with your smart phone and/or tablet to mindfully and intelligently operate the home’s major systems.  The environmental experience is controlled by small motion sensors built-in throughout the home which allow the system to automatically adjust lighting (and music) room by room as one moves throughout the house. A quick touch on an iPhone can adjust the living room to ramp down the lighting to an optimal setting for watching TV or provide perfect lighting for just reading. Take it as far as setting the system to automatically start the dishwasher as soon as nighttime power rates apply, so as to take advantage of every energy saving capability of the home. CLICK HEREfor a self-guided tour through a Vantage home.SOLAR POWERED HOME EFFICIENCY Moving on to the roof, this home has a 40+ year metal roof that absorbs the heat of the sun and additionally transfers the energy to the solar panels hidden within the roof. The solar panels are difficult to detect visuallyfrom the ground level as they are tucked into the roof itself. Mike Davis showed us on the solar monitoring equipment how at that moment, the temperature on the roof was at 156 degrees; this heat was automatically being transferred to the tankless hot water system, which reads the incoming temperature and immediately adds cold water to the tank to bring the hot water down to a safe temperature for home usage. Not only that, we were then taken to the meter panel where we could literally see the amount of power being generated by the solar panels on the house that was transferring back into the grid right then and there. The home operates three distinct solar energy systems which are owned (not leased): One for the pool, which is located in the pool equipment area, and two others for the internal systems of the home. There is a backup system which allows for 12 hours of emergency power, and the refrigerator outlet is programmed to continually run off of the emergency power as the primary source in order to preserve food items in the event of a major outage. Clients of ours that have converted to solar report that they are running full air conditioning in the summer months with bills as low as $49 (as opposed to hundreds and hundreds of dollars). 

Mike Davis showcases the solar energy systems at the 2014 Idea House

 THE [DOOR] BELLS AND WHISTLES Another really cool feature of the home were the Stealth speakers whose company mission is to “put aesthetics over technology”. The speakers are out of sight, completely embedded behind the drywall, yet provide a crystal clear sound environment. Look all around the dining and living area and you will not be able to locate the source of the music. Something else you can’t see but you must know about to appreciate in this home is the application of mold resistant, anti-fungal drywall in every room. CertainTeed gypsum board achieves the best possible score of 10 for mold resistance and is GREENGUARD certified. It absorbs less than 5% water by weight after 2-hour immersion (as per ASTM C 473 testing methods). The acoustical drywall used in the ceilings adds even more efficiency to the home as well as helping to balance noise in the room. 

Look closely at the doorway and you will see the subtle design touch that shadow molding adds

One feature that really caught our eye was the application of what is called “shadow molding” throughout the home’s interior. As applied by Mike Davis in the 2014 Sunset Idea House, the shadow molding was laser measured and cut as exact “echoes” of the doorways, hallways, and window casings. Look closely at the doorways and you will see this design feature as an indent between the wall and the jamb. The effect adds a true touch of elevated luxury to something as simple as the walls. And who would believe something as simple as a doorbell would captivate the attention? The doorbell senses if someone is at the door and if the front door is NOT opened by the homeowner, it quickly snaps a photo of the person who is at the door, sends it via iPhone and stores it for later review by the homeowner. 

Mike Davis points out that the doorbell captures a photo of people at the door!

CONTACT THE BUILDER As Mike says when asked what is on the horizon for new home building in Manhattan Beach, “everything you see here, right here in this very house, is the future.” Whoever ultimately takes ownership of this cutting-edge property is not only going to have what is arguably the best backyard at the beach, but will really be able to stretch the limits of the benefits provided by all of the “green” features of this home. We were honored to have spent so much time with Mike Davis who we hold in very high esteem. To connect with Mike Davis with questions about the Idea House and/or to explore developing a home of your own with Mike Davis Custom Homes, contact his office at 310-796-5655 or send an email to info@mikedavishomes.com. Learn more about the locals who helped make the Idea House a reality; read our follow up post about the local sub contractors HERE

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach,The South Bay

A FIRST LOOK INSIDE THE SUNSET MAGAZINE  2014 IDEA HOUSEWe typically post on Fridays what we think are some cool things to do in the area over the weekend. This weekend the local real estate buzz is all about the opening of the Sunset Magazine 2014 Idea House in Manhattan Beach. We think this is a definite “MUST SEE” item this weekend if you are in the area looking for something to do! #sunsetideahouse

The first in Los Angeles/Southern California, this year’s Sunset Magazine Idea House is located at 111 S. Meadows in Manhattan Beach and features the latest interior design themes and landscape design. Masterfully built by local builders at Mike Davis Custom Homes, the Idea House is available to tour every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm now through Sept. 7, 2014. The Sunset Magazine 2014 Idea House: A First Look — Caskey & Caskey toured the Sunset Magazine 2014 Idea House in Manhattan Beach. Here’s our feedback. There’s something for everyone here: the DIY-ers, real estate buffs, current home buyers in the market, current home sellers reviewing competitive features in homes, garden enthusiasts, new home owners seeking remodel ideas, home fashionistas, real estate stagers, and more . . . The Caskey & Caskey Team was able to take a tour today of the Sunset Magazine 2014 Idea House in East Manhattan Beach, as today was the Opening Day of tours to the public. As local Realtors, we could recognize right away the signature design characteristics that local architect Louis Tomaro of the Tomaro Design Group brings to his concepts. Boldly stated lines, mixed with both the soft textures of wood and light, blend with the strong presence of concrete and steel to present an overwhelmingly welcoming yet commanding entryway.  The large lot allows for the home to be set back enough to provide ample space for the landscape architects at Masterpeace Gardens to create an inviting entryway setting that’s simple yet complex, and lush, yet drought resistant. A tall natural stone water feature gently sets the tone for the residential retreat that waits inside. What we can summarize into one thought is that the Idea House is a house of contrasts; a harmonious blend of light and dark complimented by form and function that is both formal and casual. The over two-story tall entryway is filled with height and natural light, immediately setting the tone for what you hope to find inside this impressive home.  Gorgeous white oak floors stretch throughout the home providing durable, fashionable flooring that enhances the open feel of the floorplan. When we asked if we should remove our shoes, we were told the floors could endure the worst wear and invited to tour on through with shoes on. Realtors in Manhattan Beach get to tour some spectacular properties throughout Manhattan Beach on a regular basis, so certain things about the Idea House definitely stood out in different ways to us than they might to the general public. What was most striking to us on this tour was how the interior designers at DISC have literally re-assigned how we use spaces that are typically found in floor plans commonly built here in Manhattan Beach over the last 10-12 years. What we noted was how the space that very commonly is used as the formal living room was transformed into a dining area, and taken even one step further past the traditional, formal dining rooms of customary Thanksgiving dinners past–creating instead a “social house” setting with a beautiful, long artesian table as a focal point for elegant communal dining, yet paired with humble, casual seating. A pair of simple but statuesque windows embraces the area where traditionally a fireplace would anchor as a focal point in a formal living room.http://2ny0uh1expbz2v8yd336ktkt.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Dining1-300x225.jpg The lofty dining area flows right into the space to the West that has often been used in the past as the formal dining area; completely flip-flopping how these rooms are generally used here in the area. The DISC designers have carried the conversation out of the dining area into a cozy and functional gathering space. What we love is the blend of textures between these rooms, which connects them while also establishing very distinct rooms of the house. On the main level of the home is one of the bedroom suites which the designers have staged as a home office that opens to the rest of the house by way of generous, white barn doors. The kitchen and what we normally utilize as the family room naturally gives way to the resort styled backyard area by way of a giant wall of disappearing doors in both the living space and the kitchen area.  Not only does this invite the outdoors in, but we all shared the same reaction when experiencing this space: it most definitely gives the impression of utilizing the ENTIRE lot as living space. Easily transitioning between indoors and outdoors, the two spaces complement each other from every vantage point. Re-visiting the indoors for a moment: the designers have placed the emphasis on the formal entertaining here in what we are apt to call the family room. We could now call this area the “formal living room”. Though outside of what we are accustomed to, it makes perfect sense in the Idea House; the outdoor space could easily accommodate a proper cocktail party as well as it could be downshifted to a low-key birthday celebration, thus utilizing the “formal space” on a day to day basis more regularly than we tend to do now in similar floor plans. The kitchen seems to have been quietly put away in this home, with appliances blending seamlessly into the backdrop and the focus being on the kitchen playing an essential role in the overall design with less attention on its true function as a workspace. Don’t confuse the thought: the dual dishwashers, fully extending soft-close drawers and what the designers are calling a “mixology room” [formally known as the butler’s pantry], along with energy saving state of the art appliances (and more) lend to nothing but an ultra-modern, cutting edge culinary environment. [metaslider id=3833] The designers at Sunset and Masterpeace Gardens have truly created a private oasis right here in the heart of the LA Beach scene. In a beach town, land is a coveted commodity and the use of space in the yard cannot be overlooked. Combining shaded seating and dining areas with a sunken social center accented by living gardens truly lends to calling the entire yard space an “outdoor living room”. Sunset Magazine Idea House 2014 PoolWhat we were most dazzled by was the pool area. As beautiful a setting as any luxury resort, and again offering a lesson in contrasts; rather than being sunken down into the lot, this pool not only functions as recreation, but as a giant, artistic water feature that commands attention. The infinity edge pool stands elevated above ground skirted by a recirculating water trough that allows the pool to act also as a waterfall.  Step right into the shallow sundeck area where you can sunbathe in the cool water or take a direct plunge into the depths of the pool. The designers opted to create an experiential space by changing the elevations throughout the backyard, giving it the feeling of acting as the grounds of a sprawling estate style home. SEARCH NEW HOMES FOR SALE SIMILAR TO THE IDEA HOUSE

The elevated planters not only maximize lot sq. ftg., they provide an artistic and ergonomic way to display a living, working garden.

The elevated planters not only maximize lot sq. ftg., they provide an artistic and ergonomic way to display a living,working garden.

There was even more to talk about on the upper level, but we truly believe you need to experience this homein person to get a sense for what is on the horizon in the 2015 home design and décor scene. We enjoyed the designers’ choices in layering colors, textures and textiles throughout, as well as how they blended high end collector pieces with convertible accents. The Sunset Idea House Staff is encouraging photos of the home and are asking visitors to post their photos to their social media sites with the hashtag #sunsetideahouse for a chance to win some cool prizes! TEN THINGS WE LOVED ABOUT THE 2014 IDEA HOUSE

  1. The entire entryway experience
  2. The re-assigning of room space
  3. The wall of disappearing doors
  4. The raised living gardens and drought resistant landscape
  5. The luxurious, elevated pool area
  6. The blend of textures and finishes throughout
  7. The state of the art home venting system
  8. The numerous skylights & natural light
  9. The hidden appliances and fully extending cabinet drawers
  10. The master bathroom floor tiles


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach

WHAT EXACTLY IS THE MANHATTAN BEACH SUNSET MAGAZINE 2014 IDEA HOUSE?Sunset Magazinehas just completed the newly constructed and designed 2014 Idea House, the first ever to be based in Los Angeles, right here in our community of Manhattan Beach. Read more for all the info on getting inside of this home and even a chance to get FREE tour tickets, compliments of Caskey & Caskey. 

Tours start this Friday August 1, 2014 for the Manhattan Beach Sunset Magazine 2014 Idea House. Purchase tickets online or enter to win our giveaway.

The talk of the town in Manhattan Beach home design and concept is the unveiling of the Sunset Magazine 2014 Idea House, and the City of Manhattan Beach couldn’t be more proud than to be home to this state-of-the-art, unique show piece.  Newly constructed and just completed last week, this showcase home will open to the public this coming weekend for self-guided tours that will allow visitors to explore the very latest in home design, concept, and innovation. This year’s home was designed by DISC Interiors in Los Angeles. Designers Krista Schrock and David John Dick have been teaming together since 2011 and their work has quickly become recognized by publications such as Dwell on Design, House & Garden Magazine and more. We are excited to see what their vision unfolds for us here in the 2014 Sunset Idea House, as Manhattan Beach is consistently on the forefront of developing luxury and eco-conscious design concepts both inside and outside of the home. Built from the ground up, the 2014 Idea Home incorporates the latest “ideas” in architectural concepts, garden and landscaping, exterior finishes and of course, what’s hot in the interior design world today based on the experts at Sunset. Sunset Magazine has been building and displaying their exclusive and creative Idea House concept for many years now and you can explore all of their Idea Houses from the past by clicking here. By touring the Idea House, you will be able to see the latest in color palates incorporated with texture and textiles along with state of the art appliances and home gadgets as well as drought resistant landscape ideas, and space saving living garden concepts. Especially exciting for those in the neighborhood who have been watching the home take shape, tours will open this Friday, August 1 and will continue through September 7, 2014. The home is located off of Meadows Ave in what is known as East Manhattan Beach. It is within walking distance to Mira Costa High School and Pennykamp Elementary School. The home is not, at this time, for sale.FIRST IN LOS ANGELES In years past, the Idea House has typically been located in Northern California, so for Manhattan Beach to be selected as this year’s location is not only a tribute to fabulous Southern California living, but an honor to have been considered and chosen as the first Idea House to be completed in Los Angeles by the prestigious publication.  The Manhattan Beach Idea House was designed by our very own local, renowned architect, Louis Tomaro of the Tomaro Design Groupright here in Manhattan Beach. The home was constructed by Mike Davis Custom Homes, also of Manhattan Beach. The gardens and landscape were designed and installed by South Bay landscape Designers, Masterpeace Gardens. The Caskey & Caskey team has been utilizing the design skills of the people at Masterpeace Gardens, for quite some time. We count on the talents of their crew to aid in preparing our listings to meet the market with a competitive edge. We are pleased to see that they were chosen for this very special project and are delighted that the community will be able to preview the work of the vendors we enjoy partnering with on a daily basis. Caskey & Caskey has also had the pleasure of showcasing numerous homes designed by Louis Tomaro and Mike Davis as they have listed and sold in our community over the years. KTLA Channel 5 has been following the unveiling of the completed Idea House and have posted online a series of preview videos. CLICK HERE to be redirected to KTLA’s website and their video series on the 2014 Sunset Magazine Idea House. The LA Times featured this home as the “Home of the Week” on September 14th, 2014. 

Caskey and Caskey

The South Bay

“Given that the national   averages are less than 10 closed transactions and less than $1.2 million in   closed volume per agent or team, these results speak to the extraordinary   success of The Thousand. Being ranked in the REAL Trends The Thousand, in   short, is an incredible accomplishment.” — Real Trends, Inc.
Dave Caskey ranked #63 in the nation for sales volume in 2013
Dave Caskey ranked   #63 in the nation for sales volume in 2013
DAVE CASKEY NAMED BY WALL   STREET JOURNAL AS ONE OF THE TOP REALTORS IN THE NATION In both 2012 and 2013, top   Manhattan Beach Realtor, Dave Caskey was recognized as one of The   Wall Street Journal Top 250 Real Estate agents in the nation. In   2013, Dave Caskey closed 70 transactions and $114,299,784.00 in   sales volume, with 95% of the business transacted in the South Bay’s Beach   Cities of Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach. Because of his   performance in 2013, Dave Caskey was awarded the #63 position of the Top 250 agents in the United States for Top Sales   Professional by Volume by Real Trends in   conjunction with The Wall Street Journal.   Manhattan Beach continues to gain notoriety as more and more publications   include the city, its beaches, schools, and restaurants on   their “Top 10” lists; the most recent by LA Weekly that cited Manhattan Beach   as the #1 L.A. neighborhood for number of homes sold over   $1million. Dave Caskey gives a lot of credit to the Manhattan Beach Ed   Foundation and the teachers in the Manhattan Beach Unified School   District for providing a top notch public education which continues to draw   new buyers to the area every year.Here are the highlights from   this year’s national press release:Ninth annual real estate ranking published in conjunction with   The Wall Street Journal REAL Trends, Inc, in conjunction with The Wall Street Journal, published its 9th annual   “The Thousand” list of America’s top 1,000 real estate sales professionals   and teams. REAL Trends The Thousand, as   advertised in The Wall Street Journal, is   an annual national awards ranking sponsored by the two respected   publications. Designees are recognized as the top one half of one percent of   more than 963,000 licensed REALTORS® nationwide. The Thousand is divided into   four categories, each listing their top 250 designees: Individual Agent—Sales   Volume; Individual Agent—Transaction Sides; Agent Team—Sales Volume and Agent   Team—Transaction Sides.
Real Trends/WSJ Post Top 1000 Agents in America. Dave Caskey is #63 by Sales Volume
Real Trends/WSJ   Post Top 1000 Agents in America. Dave Caskey is #63 by Sales Volume
Dave Caskey was listed in the   Indivdual Agent–Sales Volume rankings and earned the position of 63 in the   nation. The high end markets in greater Los Angeles and New York   dominated the list topped by an agent working out of the Dallas area of   Texas. “These leading real estate sales professionals averaged more than 300   closed transactions and more than $116 million in closed sales volume last   year,” said Steve Murray, publisher of REAL Trends The   Thousand. “Given that the national averages are less than 10 closed   transactions and less than $1.2 million in closed volume per agent or team,   these results speak to the extraordinary success of The Thousand. Being   ranked in the REAL Trends The   Thousand, in short, is an incredible accomplishment.” “In total, this year’s The Thousand professionals closed 155,193   sides and more than $58 billion in sales volume in 2013—a new record for this   group,” said Murray.  “It is incredible to consider that 1,000 sales   professionals and teams could accomplish so much in an industry that is still   recovering.”  METHODOLOGY REAL Trends The Thousand awards program was developed   jointly by WSJ. Custom Studios and REAL Trends, a leading   source of analysis and information for the residential real estate brokerage   industry. The rankings are compiled based on surveys from virtually every   national branded network, many state and local associations of Realtors®,   Multiple Listing Services, all applicants from past years’ rankings, and the   900 largest brokerage firms in the United States. Verification from an independent source is required for all   submissions. In addition, REAL Trends senior staff reviews each and every   submission for completeness and accuracy. ABOUT REAL TRENDS REAL Trends has been the trusted source of news,   analysis and information on the residential brokerage industry since 1987.   The privately-held publishing, consulting and communications company is based   in Castle Rock, Colorado. Residential real estate leaders look to REAL Trends for timely and trusted information and   analysis through its monthly newsletter, news updates, conferences and   publications. Dave Caskey was joined by two fellow Shorewood Realtors agents   on the rankings list, making Shorewood home to the Top 3 agents in Manhattan   Beach.


The South Bay is a special part of Southern California that lies along the part of coastline beginning at the base of the Palos Verdes Peninsula and running north through Torrance Beach, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and El Segundo stopping at the runways of LAX. There is such a draw to the area because of it’s convenient location to the airport, the top-rated public schools, and the special combination of a laid-back costal community element paired with a sophisticated, upscale lifestyle. It is home to many top end execs, professional athletes and coaches, those in the entertainment and aerospace industries and even the specialized military sector. Homes in this area have topped out at an average price per square foot of $1,014.00 so far in 2014. Inventory simply cannot keep up with demand and multiple offers have been the norm for close to a year now. Conventional buyers compete with cash buyers and millions of dollars are moved in this market on a daily basis. While most have been calling this a Seller’s Market, an interesting phenomenon has been taking shape recently that may point to this point in time as an actual concurrent Seller’s and Buyer’s Market. Typically, a seller’s market would play all in favor of the seller; with sale price exceeding expectations, little to no repairs requested and inspections/contingencies removed quickly without much hesitation. In a buyer’s market, the opposite trend is noted; value priced acquisitions, a detailed repair request process and/or large ticket credit request, and normal to lengthy contingency periods (often times even extended).   Seller’s Market

  • Demand larger than supply
  • High sale prices
  • Multiple offers
  • Off market sales and 0-10 DOM is typical
  • Shortened contingency periods
  • Buyers tend to be reserved with repair requests to avoid disrupting seller and keep deal moving towards closing

Buyer’s Market

  • Supply is larger than demand
  • Fewer offers
  • Lingering days on market
  • Possible price reductions
  • Longer contingency periods
  • Buyers have more flexibility in requesting repairs and other credits; sellers are willing to consider more repairs to keep buyers in the deal

 It has often been considered the norm to shape up before marketing a home when in a buyers market, because you are competing against so many other homes. The multiple-offer scenario paired with good ‘ol cash has driven this market past modest recovery to historic, record-setting sale prices. The natural assumption is that the sellers are in control of the market, where in reality, what is happening here in our market is that buyers are holding their own against sellers based on their buying power. The seller wants to obtain the very best price to maximize their profits and buyers want to “get what they paid for”. Buyers that are spending $100,000 to $200,000 over asking price are flexing their muscle to get repairs done, to extend their inspection and contingency periods in order to satisfy all considerations, and to obtain the best financing available. Sellers are commonly having to work with demands of the buyers in order to secure the deal and to avoid going back on the market and the stigma that comes with that action. When working with sellers in this market, consider having the termite inspection and a home inspection done prior to listing so the seller is aware of what may come down in the repair request and are prepared for it early, thereby dampening the emotions early on so that the repair request process moves smoothly.  


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