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Foreign Investors More in Tune With the U.S. Real Estate Market

Foreign buyers have accounted for $92.2 billion in sales in the last year which is the highest sales number in the last four years.  Wow, why are so many buying in the States, and where are they buying?

First of all the majority were Chinese buyers, they accounted for $22 billion which is 24 percent of the total, apparently that number has doubled in the last year.

In regards to where they are purchasing, there are four states which made up the majority, those were: Florida (23 percent of purchases), California (14 percent), Texas (12 percent) and Arizona (6 percent).

The National Association of Realtors analyzed data on international client purchases of U.S. homes between April 2013 and March 2014. International clients were those who either had a permanent residence outside of the U.S. or were recent immigrants who had been in the U.S. less than two years.

“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 in a statement.


Five countries accounted for 54 percent of international sales: Canada, China, Mexico, India and the United Kingdom. While Canadian buyers continued to be the top source of international sales by transaction volume, Chinese buyers accounted for the largest sales volume by far: $22 billion compared with Canadian buyers’ $13.8 billion.

Surprisingly 2014 inventory is fairly high for San Diego real estate, with the increase in the interest rate from last year we are up roughly 3,000 homes on the market giving us a smaller buyer pool and larger inventory of homes compared with a year ago which is not ideal for sellers.

So why are the international buyers purchasing so rapidly this year?

“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.”

Now let’s hope that our fellow countrymen can also take advantage of the rates and price tags and have an opportunity to invest in their futures.

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Prudential California Realty Welcomes Warren Buffett

Americans are quite familiar with the names of billionaire Warren Buffett, one of the world’s richest men, and his investment company,BHHS Berkshire Hathaway.

Now, the Berkshire Hathaway name will be even more visible in San Diego County, and throughout the United States, as it will be found on real estate “for sale” signs.

As of Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, an established California real estate firm took on the prestigious company’s name. Prudential California Realty was purchased by Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway.

“We’re the first ones to be able to use that brand name in the real estate world. It’s quite an honor,” said David Cabot, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. “It’s a unique opportunity.”

With its headquarters in Carmel Valley, the company has a network of 62 offices and 3,200 agents in Southern California and the Central Coast. Many of those agents have been with the company for a substantial portion of its 20-year existence under Prudential California Realty.

California Properties focuses on the luxury market in such areas as Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar, La Jolla, Newport Beach, Beverly Hills, Palisades and Brentwood, said Cabot.

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Why Is There No New Construction?

constructionThere needs to be new home construction in San Diego to counter the pent up buyer demand, yet we are seeing only a bit of building of new homes.

Recent employment reports indicate that construction industry jobs are lagging while the housing industry recovers. Market uncertainty has left some companies cautious about adding workers since they were forced to cut staff during the recession. High costs for raw materials as well as developers’ fees are also likely factors. There has been a particularly big drop in public construction.

Countywide, the number of private residential-construction jobs has been more than halved since the peak of the housing market in 2005, according to job figures from the state.

Contractors who do manage to snag quality workers are struggling to retain them.

In certain trades, some companies have been trying to lure competitors’ workers by offering cash. Cash is attractive because workers tend not to pay the required taxes on that income, so they’re bagging more money.

Contractors in some cases have asked builders to pony up to $3 more an hour per worker so they can keep more from going to cash-only contractors.

The bottom line is that with the interest rate increase the market has cooled a bit however our inventory is still very low and we need builders to continue building so that we can have homes for buyers.

Happy Easter

Happy Easter!

Ever wondered what the Easter Bunny has to do with Easter?

There’s no story in the Bible about a long-eared, cotton-tailed creature known as the Easter Bunny. Neither is there a passage about young children painting eggs or hunting for baskets overflowing with scrumptious Easter goodies.

And real rabbits certainly don’t lay eggs, right?

Why are these traditions so ingrained in Easter Sunday? And what do they have to do with the resurrection of Jesus?

Apparently nothing.

Bunnies, eggs, Easter gifts and fluffy, yellow chicks in gardening hats all stem from pagan roots. They were incorporated into the celebration of Easter separately from the Christian tradition of honoring the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

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How to Find Out if There is a Lot of Crime Before You Buy Your Home

The list of questions every buyer asks about the various properties during a house hunt can change with each person.  Color of granite?  How much landscaping?  Where can I put the doggy door?

Agents in San Diego are prohibited from discussing this and will refer you to law enforcement sites.  As buyers, we  assume that neighborhoods are either “good” or “bad.”  The truth unfortunately is never black and white. Looking at details a little closer helps, which in turn allows us to make smarter decisions about which home we buy and how we live in it, once we buy it.

Here is a quick list of the right questions to ask about crime before buying a home.

1.  What sorts of crimes happen in the area? Where and when do they happen? Crime truly happens everywhere. But the details of crime patterns vary widely in various neighborhoods especially San Diego because we have such diverse pockets within one zip code and the next.  Some areas may have more stay at home workers or entrepreneurs and more break ins during the night and other areas may have day time workers and more day time crime.

This sort of information can be highly useful to a buyer-to-be, as it can help you make decisions not just about whether or not to buy, but also about whether to park your car outside (or not), whether to get an alarm and where in a given neighborhood you might prefer your home to be (interior cul-de-sac vs. thoroughfare in the same area).

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Are the Foreclosures Playing Hide and Seek?

“House hunters looking for bargain properties in the new year
will probably be disappointed.” – Los Angeles Times

A new report by CoreLogic shows that shadow inventory fell 12.3%
from the year prior to stand at 2.6 million units nationwide.  Split among 50 states that does not
constitute a large number.

The housing recovery that began last year was dominated  by tight inventory and strong demand from cash
investors and buyers capitalizing on record interest rates.

Those factors have pushed up prices in recent months.

According to CoreLogic
analysts, the strong demand from investors means that  the current shadow supply is unlikely to drag
down the market in 2013.

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Find Out If You Owe More Taxes Than You Thought on Your Real Estate

The Mortgage Debt Relief Act was passed by the U.S. Senate early this morning to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. This is a  programs important to real estate that would impact household wealth.

The “American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012’’ passed on a bipartisan 89-9 vote in the middle of the night and extends current tax rates for all households earning less than $450,000, and $400,000 for individual filers. For households earning above these limits, tax rates would revert to where they were in 2003, when taxes were reduced across the board. That means taxpayers in the highest bracket would pay taxes on ordinary income at a rate of 39.6 percent, up from 35 percent.

The tax rate on capital gains would also remain the same, at 15 percent, for most households, but for those earning above the $400,000-$450,000 threshold, the rate would rise to 20 percent.

Importantly from NAR’s perspective, the exclusion from taxes for gains on the sale of a principal residence of up to $500,000 ($250,000 for individuals) remains in effect, so only home sellers whose income is $450,000 or above and the gain on the sale of their house is above $500,000 would pay taxes on the excess capital gains at the higher rate (with corresponding numbers for individual filers).

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Would You Name Your Home Ugly Betty?

 It happens sometimes, it’s not intentional, I mean let’s say that you inherited an old house in a distant location and want to put it on the market. You may not have the time, resources or energy to make it perfect and just want a quick sale.


Or, maybe you had renters at your property who did substantial damage and you don’t have the money to make necessary renovations.


Fear not. Just because the house needs work doesn’t mean you can’t sell it.

Many homebuyers today are shopping for deals and want to see the potential in your home. In that case, leave brochures for new cabinets in the kitchen, color palates around the bedrooms and even create computerized images of what updates could look like.


In addition, secure bids from licensed contractors on necessary fixes and provide them to your potential buyers. People may overestimate the cost of a new roof, shower stall or drywall repair and fresh paint. Estimates will bring the home into clearer perspective.

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Would You Like to Buy This House?

I thought I would share this morning’s great find while looking through properties for my clients.   Out of 4 photos, this was one of them, and possibly one of the worst I’ve seen in awhile.  Would you buy this house?

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Top 7 Things To Do In San Diego This Week

The brave die never, though they sleep in dust:
Their courage nerves a thousand living men.
~Minot J. Savage


Happy Memorial Day!!

1. Sunday, May 27- Memorial Day Pool Party with DJ Dan

Fortune’s Holiday Pool Party series is back again for 2012 and building off the amazing energy of last summer! We’ll be celebrating all our holiday Sundays six stories high on the Ivy Rooftop at the Andaz Hotel again this year. Read the rest of this entry »

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