First-Quarter SoCal Real Estate Market Update

While I am immersed in the busiest spring season for this realtor’s real estate career in years, I thought it pertinent to share with you a 1st quarter housing market update for Southern California. It’s good news indeed for you vigilant housing market watchers especially in the Ventura County area. Real estate numbers are on the up-tick and apparently not just for yours truly! Profit margins, new development, buying and selling— a majority of analysts report—is all on the incline. And although many naysayers feared another “housing bubble” debacle, the numbers remain consistently positive as does the future forecast.

Following are just a few analysts’ findings as they pertain to, specifically Southern California and Ventura County housing market numbers for this, the first quarter of 2014.

Positive Real Estate Market Numbers in SoCal

According to The Press Enterprise, KB Home, an LA based home builder discussed first quarter market results for 2014. KB Home President and CEO Jeffrey Mezger said in a conference call with analysts, “There is a strong indication that new home development in California will rise – and coastal communities will dominate the sales scene.” KB’s profits are at $10.6 million profit for the period ending Feb. 28. And he stressed that this is a profit margin milestone that hasn’t been achieved in the first quarter since back in 2007. Metzger went on to say:

Total revenues grew 11 percent to $405.2 million from the company’s delivery of 1,442 homes compared to 1,485 in the first quarter of 2013… California has some of the most dramatic examples of reposition strategy. We expect positive cross-over to positive unit sales in California at some point in the same year.

Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village Home Sales – HOT!

A February 2014 article in Ventura County Star said while some of Ventura County and parts of Southern California are experiencing a slump, the numbers emerging from the end of 2013 and now in this first quarter, indicate that luxury property sales are doing remarkably well. The Starsays some the best reports are coming from my “neck-of-the-woods” and I can vouch for that. The report says:

Homes selling in 2013 for at least $1 million in the county leapt nearly 43 percent to 780 sales up from 547 in 2012, according to San Diego-based DataQuick. Hot areas were the Thousand Oaks-Westlake Village area.

Additionally, at least according to the forecast for Ventura County as projected by Zillow, these numbers over the next year are likely to continue a steady incline. Says the Zillow forecast of current home values, expected home prices, and the Ventura County housing market overview, it’s all moving upwards:

Ventura County home values have gone up 15.3% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 4.9% within the next year.

Ventura County Market Overview
(Data through Feb 28, 2014)

  • $474,700 ZHVI
  • 4.9% 1-yr forecast (Feb 28, 2015)
  • $559,000 Median listing price
  • $454,000 Median sale price

Where Luxury Steps Up to Greet You

Where luxury steps up to greet you – this is the focus for Westlake Village Realty. Beautiful homes are listed for sale now in the exquisite communities of Westlake Village, Lake Sherwood, and Thousand Oaks and Agoura Hills. If you are a potential home buyer or seller, I can help you find the perfect fit for your luxury lifestyle. For questions on any topic covered on this article or to set up a consultation to view or sell fine homes in the Conejo Valley, contact Lydia Gable today.


Reality TV on Real Estate: Is it Worth Watching?

Real estate is sprouting up as the central character on so many reality TV shows these days. No one could have predicted this kind of success! Who would have thought reality TV shows about real estate and home buying would become so wildly popular? But some of these reality shows such as the ones featured on HGTV and TLC are supporting entire networks!

As a realtor, I thought you’d find it interesting to hear my unique perspective and reviews of some of the most popular real estate reality shows. Are they realistic representations? Is the home buying process actually as it is portrayed?

‘Real Estate Reality Shows are Like a Mini Course’

A recent article on US News & World Report titled Real Estate Reality TV Shows: Fact vs. Fiction got me thinking about real estate reality television. The article’s author, Susan Johnston, calls out some of these so-called “reality” shows for depicting real life situations that simply are not, but instead are staged representations of what would likely happen. While I agree that reality TV is not always real—how could it be in a 22 minute condensed version—there are some very accurate and practical aspects of putting the home buying process on TV. In Johnston’s article, according to Herman Chan, a San Francisco real estate broker who’s appeared on HGTV’s “House Hunters” and “My Home is Worth What?” he points out that despite the condensed nature of reality TV he believes that these shows can serve a purpose. Says Chan:

Before the proliferation of reality TV, your only information as a consumer was what your real estate agent was telling you and friend’s anecdotal experience. The real estate reality shows are almost like a mini course: Ask about the foundation, or this is how to act at an open house.

I agree with Mr. Chan. Below are my top three reviews of what I consider to be the top “reality” real estate-based TV shows currently on the air.

For the Fun Factor…

Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing NY is a hoot. It makes real estate much more about drama than it actually is, at least from this realtor’s point of view. But I like the show and apparently so do the viewers. According to an article in TV By the Numbers, it had its best premiere ratings ever last week. But the show also gives a glimpse into the world of the realtor. What one has to do get a listing sold at the seller’s asking price and some of the challenges that come along with that – even if a bit staged. But from a purely fun point of view, I give it a B+!

Real Estate with a Twist

For its “interesting twist” factor, The Property Brothers on HGTV is a best bet. The two Scott brothers, Drew and Jonathan—realtor and contractor respectively—sell the dream to couples who want their dream home but can’t actually afford to buy it as-is. So the Scott brothers sell clients fixer-uppers instead and ask the couples to reimagine the possibilities. Then they bid, purchase, and fix it up. The cool factor on the show is that Jonathan presents CGI designs to show the clients what it could look like! The Property Brothers gets an A for its cool twists and use of advanced design technology.

HGTV HouseHunters

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a wee bit biased with this particular choice because not only do I love HouseHunters, but I was a featured realtor on an episode titled New Parents Look for A Home With Good Feng Shui in LA. But honestly, HGTV HouseHunters earns my highest rating of A+, for two reasons. First I love that they show couples who have opposing ideas of what they want and then have to compromise. That is reality. I also love that they show the process of showing and buying – it really is a ‘mini course’ as described earlier. And lastly I like that HGTV features real estate all over the country.

Reality v. Entertainment

Reality TV definitely gives you an encapsulated version of the buying process. For instance, people on TV look at two or three homes before they buy when in reality it’s more like 10 or more. And it can sometimes be a very long process, much longer than is portrayed. But if in addition to entertaining, it inspires nervous or edgy first-time buyers to stick their toes in the housing market, I’m all for it.

For more information on anything covered in this article or to view or list a home, contact Lydia Gable for a consultation.


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