By Neal J. Leitereg
Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times
October 25, 2016
Songwriters and musicians John Trivers and Liz Myers have sold their home in Hermosa Beach for $8.35 million — the most expensive residential sale this year in the South Bay community, according to the Multiple Listing Service.
The custom three-story home along the Strand in the North Hermosa Beach area was designed by architect Marc Appel and completed in 1990.
The roughly 2,750-square-foot contemporary evokes an urban loft with its unbridled floor plan, vaulted ceilings and two-story atrium. Red steel I-beams lend an industrial note to the living and dining areas.
Other features include walls of ocean-facing windows, a gym/media room and a European-inspired kitchen with a wrap-around countertop. The master suite — one of three bedrooms and 3.25 bathrooms — takes in views extending from Catalina Island up toward Malibu.
Two terrace balconies and a lower-level patio with gate leading to the Strand are among the exterior features. There’s also a two-car garage and a small carport.
The house was most recently listed for $8.795 million, records show.
Kristen Novoa of Vista Sotheby’s Realty was the listing agent. Lynne Lear of Strand Hill Properties represented the buyer.
To date there have been seven sales of $6 million or more in the Hermosa Beach area this year. In August, based on 14 sales, the median sale price for the area was $1.562 million, according to CoreLogic.
Trivers has collaborated on songs for such artists as Tina Turner and Eric Bloom of Blue Oyster Cult. Myers co-wrote the song “Shakin’” from Eddie Money’s 1982 album “No Control” and has orchestrated ballets for Agnes de Mille and the Joffrey Ballet.
The couple’s commercial music business has produced scores used by the “CBS Evening News” and Apple marketing campaigns, among others.
Courtesy of the California Association of Realtors
By: Ian Salisbury @iansalisbury
Courtesy of Money Magazine
April 19, 2016
Rates are again low and banks are loosening up, but sterling credit still pays.
After the housing crisis, mortgage lending standards became unreasonably tight for many. In 2014, only 51% of refi applications went through, according to mortgage-software company Ellie Mae, and one that didn’t gained notoriety: That year Ben Bernanke said he was turned down when he tried to refinance the mortgage on his Washington, D.C., home shortly after stepping down as chairman of the Federal Reserve. While he didn’t say why, one theory was that his post-Fed income as a consultant was irregular.
Today, 66% of refis are approved, and that’s not the only good sign for borrowers in search of a plain-vanilla mortgage—that is, a 20% down fixed- or adjustable-rate loan guaranteed by the government-sponsored agencies Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. As the graphic below shows, the average FICO credit score on a 30-year loan to buy a home has dropped from a high of 765 in 2010 to a recent 755, the real estate data firm CoreLogic reports. Borrowers with the average score of 695 might be able to get a conforming mortgage (loans for less than $417,000 in most of the country) for the first time in years, says Trulia chief economist Ralph McLaughlin.
Get off the bubble
The very best rates are still reserved for borrowers with top scores of 800-plus. The good news is that the difference between the rate you’ll get with an excellent score of 800 and what you’ll get with a very good score between 750 and 800 has narrowed to almost zero, says McLaughlin. “The big gap is between people in the 750 range and those in the low 700s and high 600s,” he says. With weaker credit, you could pay nearly a quarter of a point more. On a $200,000 mortgage, that’s $10,000 more over the 30-year life of the loan.
While you should be able to get a top rate with a 740 credit score, lenders don’t follow uniform cutoffs. That score might get you lumped in with borrowers in the 700 to 750 range at one bank but the 740 to 800 range at another. The more quotes you get, the more likely you are to land the best rate you can.
Revisit your refi
Banks have gotten even more relaxed about refinancing. Once you have a record of paying your mortgage, banks typically assume you’ll pay it in the future.
Even if you already hit the refi table—say when rates fell well below 5% in 2010—check back. The Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates in December, raising worries of higher consumer loan rates, and it may do so again in June. But mortgages typically track 10-year Treasury bond rates. Investors, uneasy about the economy’s long-term prospects, have been snapping up these bonds, pushing prices up and rates down. The upshot: The average rate on a 30-year mortgage is 3.9%, lower than at almost any time since early 2013. But with the Fed still committed to raising rates in 2016, that low rate will eventually rise. Don’t dally.
Calculator: Should I refinance my mortgage?
One way to profit now: Switch from a 30-year to a 15-year loan. If you last refinanced in 2010, your rate is probably around 4.7%, the average that year. On a $200,000 mortgage, that monthly bill is $1,036. By swapping your mortgage for a 15-year loan, you should be able to lock in 3.1%. That will bump your payment to $1,229 but let you retire the loan nearly a decade sooner and save $77,000 in interest.
Let yourself go big
In some high-cost areas, home prices have surged: Median home prices in San Jose have doubled off their housing-crisis lows. Prices are up 60% in Seattle and 45% in Washington, D.C. That can be a problem. Loans for more than $625,500 in high-cost areas and $417,000 in the rest of the country don’t qualify for guarantees from Fannie or Freddie, making them harder to get.
While overall caps haven’t changed in more than a decade, limits in 39 counties across the country, including areas near Boston and Seattle, were raised last year. If your home failed to qualify for a Fannie- and Freddie-eligible loan before, check again. (For limits by county, go to the data section of fhfa.gov.)
What’s more, banks are starting to warm to customers who need these bigger loans, known as jumbos, though they are still skittish when it comes to credit. The average FICO score on a jumbo loan is 770 for purchases and only slightly lower for refinancings. But if you can meet that criteria, you’ll pay a rate of just 3.8%.
Read Next: How to Master Shopping for a Mortgage Online
Finally, there’s one jumbo option to be leery of. You may be offered an interest-only loan, which is initially more affordable because you don’t pay principal until years later. Stay away: “These are one of the products that led to the downturn,” says HSH‘s Tim Manni. “Now we are starting to see them surface. It’s risky business.”
If you were a seller, the Southern California housing market was a good one last year.
The economy improved. Sales jumped after a lethargic 2014. And prices climbed even higher, making an already expensive region even more so. By the end of November, the median home price for the six-county market was $438,000, up 6.8% from the same month a year earlier, according to the data from CoreLogic.
Still, the real estate frenzy cooled through late summer and fall. To what extent the slowdown could be blamed on the typical seasonality of home sales or to the price hikes that have made housing increasingly unaffordable is unclear. A better picture of the market’s health should emerge during the busy spring buying season.
Economists generally expect further improvement in the market, though they predict that the price increases will slow as fewer families are able to buy into it — a trend that started in 2013.