More Trouble For AirBnB

More Trouble For AirBnB

  AirBnB is making headlines again in California as cities continue to roll out new legislation restricting both the site and homeowners.   It’s been a tough week for AirBnB in California.  The San Francisco-based startup sued its hometown this week over the city’s new rental restrictions.  Meanwhile, in Southern California, Anaheim has banned short-term rentals altogether.   SAN FRANCISCO San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors unanimously approved new legislation in June that requires short-term rental sites, such as AirBnB to police their own listings for properties that violate city regulations.  Specifically, San Francisco requires homeowners to register their rental unit...Read more
Frogtown Fights Gentrification

Frogtown Fights Gentrification

  Residents of Elysian Valley in Los Angeles are campaigning against developers who they say are changing the landscape of the community.   Elysian Valley, also known as “frogtown,” is a neighborhood of over 7,700 residents in Central Los Angeles.  With the announcement of the $1 billion restoration project for the Los Angeles River, many residents felt the pressure of new investment and development in the community, causing them to organize for lower density. Activists are renewing the drive for neighborhood preservation with the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, a ballot measure that fights overdevelopment and it’s dramatic negative effects.  The citizen...Read more
New Mortgage Servicing Rule Results in Victory For Homeowner

New Mortgage Servicing Rule Results in Victory For Homeowner

  The Dodd-Frank Act is proving to be a ally for homeowners and giving individuals a voice against big banks. New mortgage servicing rules took effect in 2014, implementing provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, which impose significant obligations on mortgage servicers, including the obligation to conduct reasonable investigation upon receipt of a notice of error, and to respond to the notice within certain time frames and with certain information.  In May of 2016, the 11th Circuit United States Court of Appeals addressed the new mortgage servicing rules in a case between a homeowner and a mortgage servicer. In this case,...Read more
Reversal of Countrywide Verdict

Reversal of Countrywide Verdict

  “When the story of the lack of prosecutions from the financial crisis is finally written, the most important issue will be how difficult it turned out to be to prove fraud” The New York Times.   Shoddy mortgage practices were largely to blame for the Great Recession of 2007-2009.  One of the key players identified in contributing to the housing bubble and financial crisis is Countrywide, a mortgage lender acquired by Bank of America in 2008. Countrywide was running a program known as the High-Speed Swim Lane, or “hustle” which resulted in mortgages that did not meet the requirements...Read more
The LUVE Initiative Will Hit The Ballot This November

The LUVE Initiative Will Hit The Ballot This November

  Santa Monica residents will be voting on the Land Use Voter Empowerment (LUVE) initiative in the next election that would place severe restrictions on new development projects.   Santa Monica is well known for its opposition to tall, dense buildings and rapid growth.  SaMo councilmembers have a strong reign on development in the area – commercial, residential, and otherwise.  But a new ballot measure proposed by the extreme no-growth group Residocracy has even the most conservative councilmembers concerned. The Land Use Voter Empowerment (LUVE) initiative proposed by Residocracy would require almost all projects taller than 32 feet to be...Read more
Women Buy More Houses Than Men

Women Buy More Houses Than Men

  The numbers don’t lie.  Women are buying more houses than men and dominating the real estate market.   Let’s hear if for all the single ladies!  Single women are a force to be reckoned with in today’s real estate market.  According to the National Association of Realtors®, single women make up the largest demographic of home buyers after married couples, purchasing 60% more homes than single men this year. A variety of factors are contributing to women’s rise in real estate.  Most notably, women’s wages have been on the rise as the pay gap gradually decreases, leading to increased...Read more
New Rules For AirBnB in San Francisco

New Rules For AirBnB in San Francisco

  San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors unanimously approved tough new legislation that will require short-term rental sites to police their own listings for properties that violate city regulations.   San Francisco is rolling out new legislation aimed at reigning in AirBnB rentals.  This week, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted 10-0 to toughen short-term rental laws with provisions similar to those Los Angeles is also considering.  Following the election of Aaron Peskin, who campaigned on housing affordability, the board decided it needed to crack down harder on short-term rental regulations.  Advocates for stricter policies argue property owners are removing viable...Read more
Starter Homes Are Making A Comeback

Starter Homes Are Making A Comeback

  Starter homes were declared “nearly extinct” in 2015.  This year, building is on the rise.   Home prices are high and inventory is low as we head into the summer months.  Competition for median-range homes has been fierce, with many would-be homeowners being edged out by bidding wars.  But help may be on the way. According to a recent analysis by Builder, a national home building magazine, the number of homebuilders offering entry-level housing is on the rise, over 25% from last year.  This segment of the market has been floundering since the recession.  A 2015 report by California’s...Read more
The Urban Exodus

The Urban Exodus

  Are megatropolises creating a geographical boundary of inequality?   In case you haven’t heard enough griping about California’s over-priced real estate market recently, here is a little more fuel for the fire.  As cities become more popular and affluent, particularly with the attraction of high-paying jobs, the divide between the upper class and the middle and lower classes becomes more apparent and geographically based. Cities are becoming high-income districts unto themselves, with the poor and less affluent moving into the suburbs or as far as affordable transport permits.  As the price of living in America’s most expensive urban areas...Read more
May 2016 Market Update

May 2016 Market Update

  California continues to top the charts in real estate.   California dominated the nation’s top 20 hottest real estate markets for May 2016, claiming half of the most popular real estate markets.  Four out of five of the most active real estate markets are from California, with Vallejo topping the charts this month. Asking prices for homes hit record highs in May, and homes flew off the market as fast as we’ve seen since the housing recovery began.  The median home price for May is about 9% higher than it was one year ago, and 2% higher than in...Read more