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Oct16

Spotlight: Villa Capistrano

By Benjamin Sidon for Sellebrity | Read the original article here

With a history dating to 1776, the California city of San Juan Capistrano – perched between Los Angeles and San Diego – is one of the state’s oldest, most beautiful and most diverse communities. Many of the city’s homes pay architectural homage to Mission San Juan Capistrano, the city’s namesake…but none more dramatically or luxuriously than Villa Capistrano, located at 26162 Calle Roberto.

Purchased by Hollywood screenwriter Steve Oedekerk (whose credits include the Ace Ventura films, Evan Almighty and Jimmy Neutron) and his wife Tonie in 1997, the lush two-acre estate features an impeccably detailed 10,400 sq ft main home filled to the brim with unique amenities. A Spanish courtyard-themed home theater (complete with a star-filled night sky), a vaulted game room with raised karaoke stage and a soaring, 2-story living room that recalls a 5-star hotel lobby solidify Villa Capistrano as one of the state’s most distinctive and luxurious homes.

But it’s what’s outside the main house that truly amazes. Towards the back of the property sits The Clubhouse, a soaring, airy 3,222 sq ft live/work space that wouldn’t be out of place on a tech campus. Designed for film/television collaboration, The Clubhouse’s work space (with twin 25-ft desks) blends with a meeting area, a lounge, a kitchen, a dining space and a game room….all with tranquil views of Villa Capistrano’s resort-like outdoor space.

There’s no better place to enjoy San Juan Capistrano’s famed Southern California weather than  the estate’s 2+ acres of relaxation. Covered, arched patios extend from the main home and encompass romantic seating areas and an outdoor kitchen with pizza oven; beyond them you’ll find a breathtaking, brick-lined Spanish pool & spa, dramatically accented with flaming terra cotta bowls.

But that’s not all. Between the wings of the main home is a private, tree-lined courtyard with a peaceful fountain….perfect for large-scale entertaining. But your guests needn’t feel confined to one space; wandering the beautifully landscaped grounds reveals a picturesque fire pit, as well as a stately, heated gazebo.  And should the need for exercise arise, your own lighted tennis court and basketball court await…to say nothing of the property’s two workout rooms.

Villa Capistrano is truly one-of-a-kind, and its luxury and sophistication are unparalleled. The estate is offered at $9,995,000 by Kofi Nartey of Compass and Tracy Weintraub of Surterre Properties.

Oct13

Neighborhood Spotlight: West Adams lures with its architecture, small-town vibe

By Scott Garner for Los Angeles Times | Read the original article here

No discussion of the history of West Adams can be complete without drawing a distinction between the district of mansions that make up the heart of Historic West Adams, and the relatively newly designated neighborhood to its west that shares its name.

Whereas Historic West Adams is a close-in suburb dating from the 1880s, the bulk of the “new” West Adams neighborhood was developed in the 1920s, on a wide swath of land between two major east-west streetcar routes: the Los Angeles Railway West Adams Boulevard line and the Pacific Electric Santa Monica Air Line (the Expo Line’s predecessor).

The lines traversed an agricultural no man's land. It wasn’t a destination, just a series of farms and marshes on the way to Culver City or the beach resorts of Santa Monica and Venice of America.

But as the city expanded westward in the 1920s, the lima bean fields were plowed under and the swampland drained to make room for homes. The new arrivals were drawn to the city by plentiful work in the region’s booming manufacturing, petroleum and construction industries.

The dream of homeownership for Angelenos of more modest means was born here in West Adams and the other neighborhoods built across the city in the 1920s. The old model of homeownership — one that depended on enormous wealth, as typified by Historic West Adams and its baroque palaces — was swept away.

Affordable land and the cheaper, more easily replicated design of tract homes made it possible for almost anyone to buy a home and still have enough left over to purchase a car to go in its driveway. The boom of the 1920s became the template for all succeeding booms, save the current explosion in high-rise residential developments.

That template and the dream it represented forever changed L.A. The streetcar lines were ripped up, and entire neighborhoods were bulldozed to make way for freeways as the city expanded further and further out in the pursuit of more cheap land to build more subdivisions.

The housing bust put an end to that era, as the development of the far-flung suburbs of Riverside County was swamped by a wave of foreclosures. Close-in homes are again in demand, and West Adams seems poised to be the next L.A. neighborhood to watch as those horizontal flipper fences go up, and prices follow.

Neighborhood highlights
Culver City-adjacent: West Adams offers relatively reasonable prices right next door to this booming tech hub, and the Expo Line makes commuting a breeze.

Parks and rec: With easy access to Kenneth Hahn Park, the Ballona Creek Bike Path and the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, West Adams is a great choice for outdoors enthusiasts.

Culinary delights: Whether you crave soul food, down-home barbecue, pupusas or tacos, there is a place in West Adams for you.

Neighborhood challenge
A boom for some, a bust for others: The neighborhood seems certain to change as commercial development at its margins increases, making it more attractive to new buyers.

Expert insight
David Raposa of City Living Realty has been working in West Adams for 32 years and said the beautiful architecture brings people in, and the small-town neighborly vibe makes them stay.

“The homes and streets here have context; they’re more than just a box of square footage,” Raposa said. “But at the same time, the people here know each other’s names.”

During the last half decade, new restaurants have been slowly popping up alongside historic neighborhood staples, but Raposa said there’s enough room for all to coexist. He said desirable properties usually net multiple offers, so prospective buyers need to be in a strong financial position to land a home.

“Sometimes, even writing a letter to the seller can be a good idea,” Raposa said. “Prove your dedication to the house and the neighborhood.”

Market snapshot
In the 90016 ZIP Code, based on 21 sales, the median sales price in July for single-family homes was $645,000, according to CoreLogic. That was a 2.4% increase in median sales price year over year.

Report card
Schools inside the West Adams boundary include Marvin Elementary and Cienega Elementary, which scored 794 and 792, respectively, in the 2013 Academic Performance Index.

Bright spots in the area include Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies, which scored 897, and Baldwin Hills Elementary, which scored 864. Alta Loma Elementary scored 763.

Oct11

Manhattan Beach mall makeover finally moving forward

mbmall

By Elijah Chiland for Curbed Los Angeles | Read the original article here

In the works for over a decade, a major overhaul planned for the 44-acre Manhattan Village Shopping Center in Manhattan Beach may be on its way to fruition.

The Daily Breeze reports that a lawsuit filed by opponents of the project in 2014 was settled earlier this month, after the city approved alternate construction plans in June. A separate appeal of the project from neighboring businesses was rejected by the Manhattan Beach City Council last week.

With these challenges out of the way, the redevelopment—which is expected to be complete by 2020—can get underway.

The planned renovations will transform the northern and central portions of the shopping mall, razing more than 70,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space to make way for 194,644 square feet of new construction.

Developer RREEF plans to give the mall a more free-flowing feel, with a “village” of open-air shops connecting visitors to the enclosed portion of the mall. Major updates include an expansion of the Macy’s store on site and the demolition and relocation of a California Pizza Kitchen.

Plans also call for a lot more parking, with new on-site lots providing between 463 and 749 new spaces.

The Manhattan Beach City Council initially approved the project three years ago, but appeals and other delays have held up work on the mall’s big update.

Oct9

Neighborhood Spotlight: Glassell Park’s future looks greener and livelier

glassell

By Scott Garner for Los Angeles Times | Read the original article here

The massive, 36,000-acre Rancho San Rafael — a gift from the Spanish governor of California to Jose Maria Verdugo in 1784 — can fairly be called the mother of Northeast Los Angeles.

The neighborhoods that were carved from the hilly, scenic expanse of land to the east of the L.A. River include Atwater Village, Highland Park, Eagle Rock and Glassell Park.

Lost by the Verdugo family in foreclosure proceedings and snapped up by Andrew Glassell and Alfred Chapman — two Southern lawyers who had made their way west in the years before the Civil War — the rancho was then split by the men into 31 separate tracts in the Great Partition of 1871.

Glassell and Chapman ended up with fewer than 6,000 acres on the eastern banks of the rio, where the narrow alluvial plains of the Elysian Valley give way to the rolling landscape of the San Rafael Hills. Glassell built a hilltop home for himself and his family on the current site of Washington Irving Middle School and in 1888 founded the agricultural city of Orange.

When Glassell died in 1901, his family began selling off chunks of his holdings (in the 1920s they would sell the land that would become Forest Lawn), and as investors snapped up the acres they began to develop the tract that would bear his name.

Modest Craftsman bungalows began to sprout up along winding streets named after Glassell’s children, and in 1912 the burgeoning hillside community was annexed by the city of Los Angeles.

Because it was served by the Los Angeles Railway’s Eagle Rock line, the neighborhood was a convenient location for commuters who worked downtown or in the rail yards just north of the city. In 1923, the opening of the Southern Pacific Railroad’s Taylor Yard boosted growth in Glassell Park and further reinforced the neighborhood’s ties to the railroad.

Construction of the 2 Freeway, which cut the neighborhood in two in the early 1950s, signaled a shift to the suburbs that was taking place across the city. As many earlier residents followed the freeways out into the valleys (San Fernando and San Gabriel), Glassell Park became a popular destination for newly arrived immigrants from Latin America.

Today, Glassell Park is facing the demographic changes that come in the wake of increased property values and redevelopment of its historic homes and commercial corridors.

Neighborhood highlights
Bungalow heaven: Glassell Park’s charming bungalows and hillside vistas are a big draw for home buyers looking for historic character and classic California living.

Riverside: The old Taylor Yard has been transformed into Rio de Los Angeles State Park, and the city’s river revitalization project aims to reclaim even more land for green space.

Good eats: In keeping with its rustic roots, Glassell Park is home to a number of eateries that serve hearty, unpretentious offerings of everything from tamales to pub fare.

Neighborhood challenge
Managing change: As the Glassell Park real estate market heats up, the neighborhood could become the latest to wrestle with managing the effects of gentrification.

Expert insight
Alyssa Valentine, a listing agent with Courtney + Kurt Real Estate, has been working in Glassell Park for 11 years. She said she has recently noticed excitement brewing in the community.

“Glassell Park lacks some of the big commercial corridors of its neighbors like Highland Park and Mount Washington, so it’s traditionally been a sleepier area with a residential vibe,” Valentine said. “But as of late, there are more and more restaurants and cafes popping up.”

Valentine noted that there’s a wide variety of housing stock in the area. Because the value is a little better than in the surrounding neighborhoods, the market is hot.

“Glassell Park has a few pockets people aren’t as familiar with, so buyers should seek those out and be prepared to make plenty of offers,” she said.

Market snapshot
In the 90065 ZIP Code, based on 26 sales, the median sales price in July for single-family homes was $705,000, according to CoreLogic. That was a 2.8% increase in median sales price year over year.

Report card
Schools inside the boundaries include Fletcher Drive Elementary and Glassell Park Elementary, which scored 746 and 742, respectively, in the 2013 Academic Performance Index.

Bright spots in the area include Delevan Drive Elementary, which scored 915. Mount Washington Elementary scored 915, and Cerritos Elementary scored 874.

Oct6

Rams stadium could have the priciest tickets in NFL history

By Elijah Chiland for Curbed Los Angeles | Read the original article here

The new Los Angeles Rams stadium, soon to be the largest in the NFL, could also be its most expensive, according to documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Still under construction in Inglewood, the stadium won’t open until 2020, but the Rams organization is already studying possible ticket prices, as well as fees associated with season ticket purchases.

According to the Times, the team is considering charging between $175,000 and $225,000 per seat for the stadium’s most expensive personal seat licenses—one-time deposits that allow fans to purchase season tickets in the future.

Those would be the highest-priced personal seat licenses in NFL history, though they would eventually be refundable—50 years from the date of purchase.

After purchasing the license, buyers would be able to acquire season tickets for between $350 and $400 per game.

Rams fans looking to spend a little less than the price of a Ferrari on season tickets won’t be out of options. Under the proposed pricing scheme, personal seat licenses for the most economical tickets would start at $500—with the actual tickets costing $50 per game.

It’s not clear yet whether Chargers fans will face similar costs. The team, which moved from San Diego to Los Angeles this year, will share the new stadium once it opens, but team executives haven’t figured out a pricing plan yet.

Plans initially called for the new stadium to open in 2019, but construction delays pushed the date back to 2020. Because of the delay, NFL team owners voted to bring the 2022 Super Bowl to Los Angeles—rather than the 2021 game, as originally planned.

Once complete, the stadium will be nearly 3 million square feet in size, with seating for 70,240 fans—and up to 100,000 people in standing-room only scenarios.

Oct4

When it comes to extravagant housing, traditional mortgage rules don’t apply

By Tiffany Hsu for Los Angeles Times | Read the original article here

Paying for an average home is a rough process — a hefty down payment can wipe out savings, the paperwork feels endless and the mortgage often lasts decades.

In the upper echelons of the Southland residential real estate market, financing isn’t much easier — it just involves more eager-to-please private bankers, vast reserves of cash and massive, multimillion-dollar loans.

Los Angeles is the fifth most important center of wealth in the world, based on the current and projected population of well-heeled residents, the value of property investments and connectivity to other global hubs, according to the most recent wealth report from British consultancy Knight Frank. Only London, New York, Hong Kong and Shanghai rank higher.

Prices in the city’s luxury residential market ballooned 5.3% from 2015 to 2016 — the largest increase in the U.S. behind Seattle’s 9.7% upswing, according to the report.

Nationwide, the median price for a luxury home at the end of July was $1.6 million, according to the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. In Los Angeles, it’s nearly $4.1 million.

Most high-end buyers in Southern California are locally based, although many hail from abroad.

“The buyer of the $10-million-plus property comes from everywhere,” said Stan Smith, managing director of Teles Properties, a Beverly Hills-based luxury real estate brokerage. “Aside from the occasional headline-grabbing uber-celebrity, most purchasers are people you’ve never heard of.”

In this market, cash is king. So far this year in Los Angeles County, excluding Beverly Hills and West Los Angeles, 35% of homes priced $2 million or higher were purchased using all cash, according to Multiple Listing Service data provided by the California Assn. of Realtors. 

But when rich home buyers don’t have the liquidity to purchase their homes outright, many turn to massive mortgages known as jumbo loans.

The average borrower commonly uses a so-called conforming loan, which is backed and capped by the government. For most of the country, the limit is $424,100, but in pricey Los Angeles County, the maximum is $636,150, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Jumbo loans exceed the mortgage amount that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will purchase from lenders. Many experts blame the financing tactic for helping to enable the housing bubble by encouraging extravagant property purchases.

But in recent years, interest rates for jumbo mortgages have bucked expectations, said Lynn Fisher, vice president of research and economics for the Mortgage Bankers Assn.

“Historically, conforming loans are more liquid and are backed by government agencies, so from a supply-side point of view, they’re easier loans to make,” she said. “But since the crisis, we’ve seen a phenomenon where jumbo rates are as low and sometimes lower than conforming.”

Lenders have loosened the spigot for jumbo borrowers. Credit supply for jumbo loans surged 2.7% in July from the previous month, compared with 0.3% for conforming loans, according to a credit availability index from Fisher’s group.

High-net-worth home buyers are attractive to lenders because their substantial income and assets make them appear to be less of a default risk. And many banks offer the loans to entice premium clients.

“There’s a lot of advertising, a lot of competition to provide these loans right now,” Fisher said.

Still, from origination to payout, the jumbo-loan process can be vexing, especially for borrowers whose wealth is spread across different types of income, investments, inheritance and assets. Documentation is often extremely complicated.

“A lot of these borrowers can’t walk into a traditional bank and get a $5-million loan,” said Brandon Boyd, an executive mortgage consultant with Encinitas lender Drop Mortgage. “It’s hard for a bank lender to pull back and understand that income.”

Boyd said his company uses a more specialized approach, considering financial factors that might elude a bank relying on an automated screening system. In addition to common mortgage products, Drop also offers customized jumbo loans of up to $15 million.

Many clients — including entrepreneurs, film producers and athletes — aren’t focused on their day-to-day financials, resulting in less-than-stellar credit scores, Boyd said. Or they’re willing to pay a premium to protect their privacy by closing a sale through a limited liability company, which is prohibited for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae mortgages.

Drop’s loans — most of which fall between $800,000 and $2.5 million — comply with government regulations and have yet to result in a default, Boyd said.

“It’s not irresponsible lending at all — it’s an alternative space, but it’s not the subprime of the past, not by a long shot,” he said.

Sep19

The Hollywood Reporter: Kofi is one of Hollywood’s top 30 real estate agents

Hollywood Reporter

By Peter Kiefe | Read the original article here

Ten years ago, Nartey asked his former college teammate, star NFL tight end Tony Gonzalez, to do him a solid. "He was one of the first people I reached out to, and he gave me a shot at selling his house in Manhattan Beach," says Nartey, himself a ex-standout wide receiver at Cal who has emerged as the "go-to" broker for a growing pool of pro athletes seeking to buy or sell in L.A. Last year, the 3-year-old Compass poached Nartey from The Agency and tasked the Pepperdine MBA with launching a sports and entertainment division, which now has more than $100 million in active pocket listings. Having worked as an actor for nearly a decade after college (he's appeared on True Blood and Modern Family), the father of two brings an understanding of both Hollywood and sports.

In August, he sold NBA player Nick Young's six-bedroom Tarzana home for $3.2 million, and he's in escrow on former Laker Derek Fisher's Hidden Hills six-bedroom for $6.2 million. He also holds the listing for comedian Steve Oedekerk's $10 million home in San Juan Capistrano. "The thing you want when dealing with a broker is inside information, and Kofi's knowledge of pocket listings and off-the-market properties is second to none," says Black-ish showrunner Kenya Barris, who hired Nartey to help him lease a home previously owned by Golden State Warriors star Andre Iguodala. "He's also a cool-ass dude."

With the arrival of two NFL franchises, a stadium rising in Inglewood and the recent deal for L.A. to host the 2028 Summer Olympics, more sports figures are looking to buy here. But in addition to "baller pads," athletes need proximity to training facilities, which has Nartey and his team studying markets that range from Calabasas to the South Bay. "We now have a collective of 40-plus agents who are sharing ideas and best practices on how we can service clients and work better with business managers," says Nartey. "We just get it better than everyone else because we've built a specialization around it."

Sep18

LA Times: Former Laker Derek Fisher scores a $6-million home sale in Hidden Hills

hidden

By Neal J. Leitereg

Derek Fisher, the former Lakers point guard and five-time NBA champion, has sold his home in gated Hidden Hills for $5.95 million.

The Traditional-style estate, built in 2007 and customized during Fisher’s ownership, features such personal touches as Venetian plaster walls and hickory wood floors. Modern chandeliers create visual interest in the two-story foyer and living and dining rooms.

A wood-paneled den, executive office, screening room, six bedrooms and eight bathrooms also lie within more than 9,400 square feet of living space. An over-the-top kitchen large enough for a pickup game is equipped with two islands, marble countertops and warming and cooling drawers. An elevator services both floors.

French doors open to a flagstone patio that surrounds the swimming pool and spa. A guesthouse, outdoor fireplace, lawns and formal landscaping fill out the backyard. Elsewhere on the acre-plus property is a two-stall barn.

Kofi Nartey of Compass and Jordan Cohen of RE/MAX Olson & Assoc. were the listing agents. Nartey represented the buyer in the sale.

Fisher, 43, paired with Kobe Bryant in the Lakers backcourt on multiple championship teams coached by Phil Jackson. After retiring in 2014, the former point guard reunited with Jackson, then the president of the Knicks, when he was named head coach of the New York franchise. He was let go from his position last year.

He bought the house in 2009 for $5.5 million, The Times previously reported.

Sep18

TRD forum: The state of LA’s luxury market, according to top brokers who live and breathe it

TRDLA-600

By Natalie Hoberman | Read the original article here

Angelenos are no stranger to high price tags, but with the Chartwell home listing for a record $350 million, has the bar been raised cartoonishly high?

Talk of Mr. Gucci, clients demanding bulletproof windows and the record-breaking Playboy mansion sale were among the topics that bounced around the Bank of America Plaza auditorium at The Real Deal’s first Los Angeles forum, where residential industry leaders came together to discuss the state of the market.

With a massive influx of global capital flowing into L.A., the city has become a luxury destination to rival the likes of New York and London, brokers said. But how much is too much, and how can brokers and developers stay realistic?

“The agents are telling developers what they want to hear and not what the reality is,” said Mauricio Umansky, co-founder of the Agency. Umansky said that when there was such a disconnect between asking prices and what buyers will pay, even a massive sale will end up looking like a defeat.

“When you hear that a $300 million house ends up selling for $100 million, the news is that you sold it for $200 million less,” he said.

“The luxury market is very fickle,” said Ben Bacal of Rodeo Realty, who said buyers want an increasingly demanding list of home features that includes bulletproof windows. “Los Angeles is coming up, but it’s slow.”

Rather than selling the “tangible value” of a property, listings are “selling the sizzle of L.A.,” said Kofi Nartey, who heads Compass’ sports and entertainment division. “We’re seeing a lot of these properties being priced [high] as a marketing strategy.”

Read the full article here

Sep18

Kofi quoted in Private Wealth Magazine

penthouse

By Leila Bouton | Read the original article here

A Penthouse Too Far? Manhattan’s iconic “Billionaires’ Row” is known for establishing new benchmarks in both the luxury and price of real estate. Now, the toniest residential area in New York City—with its ultra-exclusive condominium towers offering breathtaking views of Central Park—is experiencing its first-ever foreclosures.

Two recent lender suits against defaulting owners at luxury high-rise One57 (157 West 57th Street) have stirred concerns about the outlook for the Big Apple’s luxury residential real estate market. Are these foreclosures early warning signs of a bubble, perhaps global in scope, that could soon burst?

Donna Olshan, president of high-end Manhattan brokerage Olshan Realty, doesn’t think so. She says the recent foreclosures at One57 are isolated incidents involving borrowers who got into trouble, not indications of a coming market meltdown.

Instead, Olshan says current soft prices are partly the result of excess inventory caused by the overbuilding of expensive condos. “At $10 million and above, inventory is growing. We had too much building on the uber-luxury end of the market. Things under $1 million fly and things over $10 million are sitting,” she says.

Overpricing by sellers of luxury properties is largely responsible for stalling transactions at the top of the market, says Olshan, a 37-year veteran of the New York real estate market. “Real estate is an efficient market. If it’s not priced correctly, it won’t sell. People either remove their property from the market or they lower the price and sell it.”

Click to read entire article at fa-mag.com

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