Foreign Buyers on the Rise in California

Real estate sales to foreign buyers and new immigrants surged to new highs in the last year, according to a study released Tuesday by the National Assn. of Realtors, with the Southland being a prime destination.

Overseas buyers and newcomers to the U.S. accounted for $92 billion in home sales in the 12 months ending in March, NAR said. That’s up 35% from the prior 12-month period, and higher than the previous record of $82.5 billion set in 2012. These buyers made up roughly 7% of all U.S. home sales, by dollar value.

The increase was fueled by a 50% jump in activity from Chinese buyers, who bought $22 billion worth of U.S. real estate last year. Experts say many Chinese buyers see U.S. real estate as a better investment opportunity than is often available in China, and in some cases as a safe haven for cash. Many also buy homes here to put their children in U.S. schools.

And Chinese buyers, in particular, have an eye for Southern California. Los Angeles and Irvine were two of their top three destinations, according to the survey, with San Francisco ranking second. Chinese buyers have long been a factor in some parts of Southern California, particularly the San Gabriel Valley; as more come here, they’re spreading to new areas as well.

Los Angeles is the top choice for buyers of several other nationalities, too, according to data tracking searches of Realtor.com. Buyers from India, the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland and Russia were also most likely to search here. For Mexican buyers, San Diego was the top choice.

The Realtors Assn. said it expects foreign interest in U.S. real estate will continue to grow as the economy grows ever more global.

“We live in an international marketplace, so while all real estate is local, that does not mean that all property buyers are,” said NAR president Steve Brown. “Foreign buyers are being enticed to U.S. real estate because of what they recognize as attractive prices, economic stability and an incredible opportunity for investment in their future.”

Source: LA Times Online

Technology for a Smarter Home: 5 ways to make your home smart for under $1,000 bucks!

Nowadays all you hear about is new technology, from electric cars that park themselves to commercial flights bound for space. Well in real estate, Smart Homes are the “new thing”! Smart-home systems start at around $2,000 and top out at more than $1 million, offering homeowners remote-controlled lighting, window shades, swimming pools, door locks, thermostats and security cameras – not to mention cutting-edge sound systems and home theaters. I’ve even seen a system that turns a regular TV room into a nightclub with the touch of a button on your iPad. Innovation is the key to growth and from my experience as a Realtor; it pays to trick your house or business out with the latest gadgets.Don’t just do it to impress friends, family, and customers, but think of potential buyers, as well! In working with clients of all budgets, all over Los Angeles, and in both commercial and residential real estate, I’ve come across some interesting technology and trends. Some of these trends and gadgets are unimaginably expensive, others I find useless, while some are pretty impressive and tangible for home and business owners. Below are some of the smart home trends I’ve seen, which are useful and affordable, and will increase the value and “It Factor” of your property almost instantly!

1. NEST: The smart version of your everyday thermostat, designed to learn the temperatures you prefer while switching to energy efficient settings while you’re away. The more I look at homes, in all price ranges, but mainly those that have been recently updated, the more I see this Nest feature that sellers and agents are always bragging about or pointing out. Essentially it gives new life and sleekness to the boxy, outdated, boring old thermostats you see and throws in a feature that allows you to control the temperature of your home while you’re away, learns what you like, and helps you save a few bucks on your energy bill. Nest runs about $250 and seems to be worth every penny from what I hear.

Nest

2. Cyber Rain Sprinkler System: This is a sprinkler controller with a brain. It uses the internet to check the weather and automatically adjusts run times. This system is ideal for the homeowner who wants to conserve water and be alerted to problems with their landscape. The Cyber Rain Pro checks your controller status every time it waters and emails if it detects a problem. If an optional flow meter is attached, the Cyber Rain Pro will also email you if you have a broken sprinkler head or a leak in your irrigation pipes. The system can also be remotely accessed by your landscape professional. Considering the costs of water and the serious drought problems in CA, this sounds like a smart investment. I’m surprised more people aren’t using technology like this to conserve water and save cash! It’ll run you about $700 bucks, but I’ve seen some of my clients’ water bills and trust me…it’s worth it!

Cyber Rain

3. Phillip Hue: Combines brilliant LED light with intuitive technology. Puts both in the palm of your hand. According to the company site: “Together, the bulbs, the bridge, and the app will change the way you use light. Forever. Experiment with shades of white, from invigorating blue to soothing yellow. Or play with all the colors in the hue spectrum. Hue can wake you up. Help protect your home. Relive your favorite memories, and even improve your mood.” This is a smart LED lighting product that you control from you iOS device. Basically this system takes your home’s or business’ mood lighting to the 21st century. So when you’re putting your home on the market or planning a big restaurant opening, consider “setting the mood” and see what transpires! Costs $200 and you can buy it at the Apple Store.

Phillip Hue

4. Yale Smart Locks: Sleek Motorized Z-Wave Touchscreen Deadbolt for Remote and Automated Access Control. Runs about $250 and combines a highly secure lockset with an illuminated 12-button touchscreen keypad, which allows users to lock and unlock their home via manual control or Z-Wave compatible home controllers. The lock stores up to 25 custom entry codes for easy manual locking and unlocking, plus an automatic deadbolt lock function. It’s designed for seamless integration with any Z-Wave product or central home controller to allow for monitoring of the lock’s status and remote lock/unlocking of your doors. An upcoming Yale lock will feature NFC (near-field communication) tech that will allow you to open it by waving your smart phone over it Jedi-style. With devices like this, you’ll never get locked out again!

Yale

5. The iSmartAlarm System: The system is modular, letting you buy the pieces you need in order to put together the perfect system for your home. You’ll need a CubeOne, which is the brain of the system, and then you can add sensors for doors and windows, cameras, motion detectors and remote control keyfobs. If any alarms come up, you’ll get an alert on your phone, and you can see what’s happening through the app in order to respond appropriately. You can also use iSmartAlarm to see if your family is home — even when you’re working late — and check that all of the doors and windows are closed and locked before heading to bed. Starts at $199, while safety and peace of mind are definitely priceless!

ISMARTALARM-CAM

These days, you can automate just about everything, depending on your budget and needs. The smart home & business trend is something new today, but soon it’ll become the norm and be expected, so get ahead of the game and turn your home or business into a smart one! We may not be living quite like the Jetsons yet, but we’re getting there! If you’re looking for tips or recommendations for home automation, please contact me.

As always, if you or someone you know is in need of real estate assistance, commercial or residential, I am happy to help! Please contact me direct or pass my information along!

Julie Kryukova
Tel: 310.402.8181
Email: jkryukova@gmail.com

Real Estate Investors Can Defer Taxes with a 1031 Exchange

Beverly Hills real estate

Paying taxes on capital gains for property transactions has always been a hindrance to those involved in real estate investment. Why should investors pay taxes on profit from real estate transactions if they’re putting the profit right back into some other real estate transaction?

The answer: They shouldn’t.

That’s exactly why the IRS created 1031 exchanges: to allow for tax deferment on profit that is reinvested immediately. Notice it’s a deferment, not a credit or a reduction. It does have to be paid eventually, just not at the time of sale and not until the money is taken out of the property, at which point it is taxable. Eager to learn more, I found some info on 1031 exchanges at 1031.org.

What Is a 1031 Exchange?

Simply put, a 1031 exchange is a method of deferring the tax on capital gains until some point in the future, according to 1031.org. They’re called Section 1031 exchanges because Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code states that “no gain or loss shall be recognized on the exchange of property held for productive use in a trade or business, or for investment.”

Section 1031 was created to encourage reinvestment of sale proceeds of property into similar property. Obviously this stimulates business and growth. As long as the investor continues to put profit back into more property, taxes are not owed.

This all makes pretty good sense. Let’s say I invest in a house in Beverly Hills that costs me $100,000 (I WISH!). I put $50,000 into the house and put it on the market. It sells for $250,000. My $100,000 profit, or capital gain, is then put into another property that I buy to fix up and sell. This continues, and all of my capital gains are deferred with a 1031 exchange UNTIL I sell my last property and enjoy my profit. At that point, I pay all taxes owed.

Frequently Asked Questions About 1031 Exchanges

What is the benefit of a 1031 exchange versus just selling property?

A Section 1031 exchange is one of the few ways investors can defer taxes due on the sale of property (assuming it qualifies for a 1031 exchange). Deferring taxes allows investors access to the money that would otherwise be paid in taxes, allowing them to invest in another property.

What are the general guidelines to follow in order to defer all the taxable gain?

The IRS is very clear on this. The value, equity in and debt on the new property must be equal to or greater than the value of the property being sold for an exchange to be valid. This is even more important – ALL of the profit from the property sale MUST be used to buy the new property. If even a tiny percentage of the profit is used for something else, the 1031 exchange is not valid.

If there is already a contract to sell the property, is it too late to start a tax-deferred exchange?
No, as long as there has not been a transfer of title or a closing on the sale of the property, a tax-deferred exchange can still be arranged. Once the closing occurs, it is too late.

Can the replacement property eventually become the investor’s primary residence or vacation home?
Yes, but Section 1031 has holding requirements (minimum length of time the new property must be owned) that must be met prior to changing the primary use of the property. According to 1031.org, the IRS has no specific regulations on holding periods (though a minimum of a year is recommended), and “if the owner later on wants to take advantage of the home owner’s exemption (up to $250,000 or $500,000 for a couple), there is now a five year holding period requirement.”

Finally, remember that if you’re a real estate investor or considering becoming one, now is still a great time to do so. Mortgage rates are still very low and property values, though trending up, are also still very low in many parts of the country. As always, please let me know if you have any questions.Happy investing!

If you’re looking to buy, sell, or lease residential or commercial real estate in Los Angeles, please contact me direct at jkryukova@gmail.com or 310.402.8181.

US home prices rose at solid pace in January

U.S. home prices rose in January after three months of declines as a tight supply of properties likely supported prices despite slower sales.

Real estate data provider CoreLogic said Tuesday that prices rose 0.9 percent in January after dipping 0.1 percent in December. Over the past 12 months, home prices have risen 12 percent, the biggest year-over-year gain in more than eight years.

Such outsize price gains might not continue much longer, however. Paul Diggle, an economist at Capital Economics, notes that January’s price gains reflect conditions several months ago, when buyers first made offers. The supply of available homes was smaller than it is now, and it helped lift prices. The sales were completed in January.

Since then, more homes have come on the market while sales have slowed. That trend has modestly boosted the supply of homes and “points to a slowdown in price gains later this year,” Diggle said.

Diggle, like most other economists, foresees year-over-year price gains of below 10 percent in the coming months.

CoreLogic’s price figures aren’t adjusted for seasonal patterns, such as winter weather, which can depress sales. Snowstorms and low temperatures contributed to a sharp drop in sales of existing homes in January. The National Association of Realtors said sales plunged to their lowest level in 18 months.

The harsh winter weather has discouraged many Americans from house-hunting. And the average rate on a 30-year mortgage is about a percentage point higher than it was last spring, which means buying costs have risen.

Those factors have weighed on the housing market. Economists think the housing recovery could pick up once the spring buying season begins, though likely at a slower pace than last year.

A measure of signed contracts was unchanged in February, a sign that sales won’t immediately recover from January’s sharp fall. Signed contracts usually lead to a finished sale in one to two months.

And builders broke ground on 16 percent fewer homes in January than in December, the government said last month. That was the second straight decline.

Other price gauges are falling. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index dipped in December, the latest period for which data are available, and its year-over-year gain slowed.

Nationwide, home prices are still 17 percent lower than at the peak of the housing bubble in April 2006, according to CoreLogic. Prices have set highs in three states: Louisiana, Nebraska and Texas. They are within 10 percent of their peaks in 19 additional states.

The five states with the biggest price gains in January, compared with a year earlier, were Nevada, where prices rose 22.2 percent; California, 20.3 percent; Oregon, 14.3 percent; Michigan, 13.7 percent; and Georgia, 13.4 percent. Mississippi was the only state to report a price decline.

If you’re looking for residential or commercial real estate assistance please contact me direct at (310)402-8181 or jkryukova@gmail.com.

source: SF Gate

Credit standards going easy on jumbo mortgages

home_money

Demand for non-government loans keeps growing!

Despite overall originations hitting the lowest level since 2010, the past year witnessed a significant increase in the volume of home equity loans and lines of credit, in addition to originating the best-performing mortgages on record, the first report from Black Knight Financial Services, previously known as Lender Processing Services, found. For jumbo mortgages, however, it’s a completely different story.

Two key points about the November numbers stand out according to Herb Blecher, senior vice president of Black Knight Financial Services’ data & analytics division.

“First is that heightened credit standards have resulted in this year being the best-performing vintage on record. Even adjusting for some of these changes, such as credit scores and loan-to-values, we are seeing total delinquencies for 2013 loans at extremely low levels across every product category,” Blecher said.

The second point Blecher emphasized was that overall volumes are down. “We are seeing an increased proportion of the market being supported by non-agency (vs. government) lending – with the share nearly doubling as compared to 2010,” Blecher added.

However, increasing home prices have helped offset some of the drop in originations with demand for home equity loans increasing.

“While first mortgage originations are almost half the levels as one year ago, total home equity lending, including loans and lines, has increased by 70%, and originations of second lien home equity loans have more than doubled,” Blecher said.

In addition, the market also observed a 75% year-over-year increase in the share of non-agency jumbo prime lending.

“Notably, nearly all of these jumbo loans have been originated with no mortgage insurance, which may indicate an increased appetite for risk, as well as an opportunity to expand credit criteria, for originations within the private market,” Blecher explained.

The November data revealed that the population of “refi” mortgages has decreased by about 4 million loans since the end of 2012.

In comparison, just 5.9 million loans meet broad-based refinance criteria. But loosening the credit standards to just a 700 FICO increases the refinance population by almost 17%, or an additional 1 million loans.

If you’re looking to lease, purchase, or sell residential or commercial property, please contact me direct at (310)402-8181 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (310)402-8181 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting or jkryukova@gmail.com

Source: Housingwire

Americans build larger, more costly homes

construction_home

Newly built single-family homes in the United States are getting bigger, costlier to build and more expensive, according to the National Association of Homebuilders. This news comes on the heels of news that home prices climbed 11.8% between November 2012 and November 2013.

In fact the only thing shrinking for new construction is the size of the lot they’re built upon, according to NAHB’s most recent construction cost survey of 3,019 builders. The survey was conducted in August and September of 2013.

The survey shows that this trend is happening across all levels of homebuilding. That is to say, the increase in the average price, cost and size is not a result of high-end homes gains pulling the average up or lower-cost and mid-level homes gains pushing upward.

“It’s an across the board gain,” says Heather Taylor at the economics and housing policy department at NAHB. “In fact we factor out the high end market since it can skew the results.”

The cost to build a single-family home was $246,453 in 2013, which is the highest cost since 1998. Newly constructed home prices jumped 25% to $399,532. That is below the peak of $454,906 in 2007.

While the cost of building a new single-family home in 2013 represented a 34% increase from the cost, profits jumped to 9.3% from their 2011 all-time low of 6.8%.

The average size of the home in the 2013 construction cost survey was 2,607 square feet, which is about 300 square feet more than the average size of the homes reported in the 2011 construction cost survey, but still about 100 square feet less than the peak reported in the 2009 survey.

The average home in the NAHB survey was built on a one-third acre lot, as opposed to a half-acre lot average found in the 2011 NAHB survey.

By type and percentage of construction costs, interior finishes accounted for 29.3% of construction cost, with the balance spread among framing (19.1%), exterior finishes (14.4%) and the combination of plumbing, electrical and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (13.4%).

The average share of the home’s sales price which goes to construction cost jumped from 59% in both 2009 and 2011 to 61.7% in 2013. Finished lot costs, accounting for the second largest share of the sales price, dropped from 22% in 2011 to 19% in 2013.

Although the cost of construction per square foot remained relatively stable in 2009 and 2011 ($82 per square foot, and $80 per square foot, respectively), it jumped to $95 per square foot in 2013.

These results, NAHB reiterate, are national averages; the survey sample is not large enough for a geographic breakdown. Building practices, the cost of labor, the cost of land, and to some extent the cost of the materials can vary from place to place and depend on the nature of the particular home being built.

If you’re looking for real estate assistance, both commercial and residential, please contact me directly at (310)402-8181 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (310)402-8181 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting or jkryukova@gmail.com

www.juliekproperties.com
www.laluxegroup.com

Source: housingwire

U.S. postpones 2014 hike in mortgage fees

West hollywood real estate

It’s a Christmas miracle!

Planned fee increases that would have added to the cost of millions of mortgages will be postponed. Currently, borrowers seeking loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are set to pay higher upfront fees starting April 1.

The fees, ordered by the Federal Housing Finance Agency earlier this month, are meant to help safeguard banks against risky borrowers who might default.
But housing experts say they will add thousands of dollars to the cost of all mortgages insured by Fannie and Freddie, with the biggest hits taken by borrowers with less than perfect credit histories.

On Friday, the incoming chief of the FHFA, Mel Watt, said he intends to postpone the fees — and perhaps even cancel them — until more analysis is done. The FHFA oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Watt, a former Democratic member of Congress, has been confirmed to his post by the Senate and takes office on January 6.

In a statement, Watt said he intends to “evaluate fully the rationale” for the fees and their impact on Fannie and Freddie and the “availability of credit.”

The mortgage industry has been bracing for substantial increases in the price of loans in 2014.
“If these [policies] had been implemented, it would have increased borrowing costs dramatically,” said David Stevens, CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The hit for individual borrowers would depend on the amount of the home purchase being financed, according to Brian Koss, executive vice president at Massachusetts-based lender Mortgage Network.
Borrowers would have paid a fee when they took out the loan, or they could have effectively rolled the higher fees into their interest rate, raising monthly mortgage payments by as much as a quarter percentage point.

Even with the reversal, however, mortgages will probably get more expensive over the next few months anyway as the Federal Reserve cuts back on its purchases of mortgage backed securities, a program designed to keep interest rates low.

Stevens, the mortgage industry representative, said the proposed increases made little sense. Defaults on mortgages made in recent years have been much lower than on those made before the housing crash.

As a result, Fannie and Freddie are flush with profits, so much so that they have already returned almost all of their $187 billion taxpayer-funded bailout.

“The GSEs are making a lot of money,” said Stevens. “There’s no rationale for the increases.”

If you’re looking for commercial or residential real estate assistance, please contact me at
jkryukova@gmail.com or (310)402-8181 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (310)402-8181 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

Source: http://money.cnn.com