December 1, 2014 on 5:11 pm | In Curious, Economy, Experts Say, Fascinating Information, Green, Money Saving Opportunities, Uncategorized, Utilities | 1 Comment

edited by Jodi Summers

National Geographic has come up with a very entertaining app that takes you through your weekly water usage.

By plugging information about your home, yard, diet, energy, and consumer choices the app calculates your water usage compared to the average American. Know this: The average American lifestyle is kept afloat by about 2,000 gallons of H2O a day—twice the global average.

Take your water footprint test. We use 25% less water than the average American. How about you?



November 1, 2014 on 9:21 am | In Charts + Statistics, Experts Say, Fascinating Information, For Your Purchasing Pleasure, Investment Opportunities, Market Snapshot, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

by Jodi Summers

Recently, Sotheby’s International Realty invited the California Association of Realtors’ Vice President and Chief Economist, Leslie Appleton-Young, to give us an update on the Los Angeles area real estate market. With multifamily vacancy rates hovering just above 3%, apartment properties in and around Los Angeles remain a strong investment.

Los Angeles Meto Commercial Vancancy Rates 2Q 2014

For more information please contact Jodi Summers and team @ Sotheby’s International Realty Santa Monica – or 310.392.1211, and let us move forward together.



October 15, 2014 on 4:40 pm | In Buyers, Charts + Statistics, Curious, Experts Say, Fascinating Information, Market Snapshot, Trends, Uncategorized, WOW | 1 Comment

by Jodi Summers

Fascinating facts and boring charts on owners and renters, according to the 2012 American Community Survey:


The typical owner-occupied household is headed by an individual between 45 to 54 years of age.  The median household income in 2012 was $65,514. The average household size was 2.7 occupants with the most common household type being married.


The typical renter-occupied household is headed by an individual between 25 to 34 years.  The median household income in 2012 was $31,888. The average household size was 2.53 occupants with the most common household type being single.



Nearly 17 million or 22.7% percent of all owners are between 45 to 54 years.  The largest share of renters falls within the age bracket between 25 to 34 years. Just over 11 million of 26.4% of all renters are between 25 to 34 years.


The median income for rent-occupied households was $31,888. The median income for owner-occupied households was more than twice that amount at $65,514.

A large share of renter-occupied units is single-income households. Nearly ten million or 26.1% percent of all renter-occupied units are single-income households. Only 13.3% of owner-occupied units are single-income households. The largest share of owner-occupied units is married households at 60.1%.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2012 Consumer Expenditure Survey, average income for married couples with children was $98,104. The average income for all married couples was $90,393 in 2012.



September 30, 2014 on 9:31 pm | In Buyers, Charts + Statistics, Curious, Economy, Experts Say, Fascinating Information, fUNNY...mONEY, Government, Market Snapshot, Of Local Importance, Sellers, Trends, Uncategorized, WOW | No Comments

by Jodi Summers

Word in from the Los Angeles County Office of the Assessor is that the value of the taxable property in city of Los Angeles rose by 6% over last year’s figures. Woohoo to all property owners!

The aggregate value of property in Los Angeles County totaled $1 trillion > $62 billion increase from the prior year, and the 2014 assessment roll is the largest in County history.

“While the largest factor for the increase this year was residential real estate, international investors are also pouring money into large mixed use projects in downtown L.A., including projects like the Wilshire Grand Tower and Metropolis,” observes Anthony Crump, Special Assistant of Communications at the County Office of the Assessor.

These super-charged numbers reflect four consecutive year of growth. Clarus Market Metrics charts two year’s growth of apartment buildings in the County; examining August 2012-August 2014, concluding that the median price of for sale properties is up 18% and the median price of sold properties is up 95%.

Breaking it down, the aggregate value of property in the City of Los Angeles was $467 billion. Long Beach had the second-highest property valuation, coming in at $49 billion, followed by Santa Monica at $29 billion, Santa Clarita at $26 billion and Torrance at $26 billion.

Bradbury, a city of about 1,200 about 22 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles, experienced the greatest percentage increase in assessed value, rising 12% year over year. Lancaster came in second with a 10% increase, and Claremont, Palmdale and Arcadia followed closely, each with 8% increases. Five of the 10 cities with the largest increases in assessed valuations were in the San Gabriel Valley, pointing to increased investment in the area.

The assessed values are the foundation of the property tax system and are used to divvy up tax revenue.

For more information please contact Jodi Summers and the SoCal Investment Real Estate Group @ Sotheby’s International Realty – or 310.392.1211, and let us move forward together.



September 15, 2014 on 10:06 am | In Fascinating Information, Green, Historic Properties, New Developments, Of Local Importance, Trends, Uncategorized, WOW | 2 Comments

by Jodi Summers

Bet you didn’t know that the ancient Sumerian city of Uruk was one of the first master-planned cities. Uruk was situated on an ancient channel of the Euphrates River, some 30 km east of modern As-Samawah, Al-Muthannā, Iraq, The city was the main force of urbanization during the Uruk period (4000–3200 BC).

Like history? The Uruk epoch saw a shift from small, agricultural villages to a larger urban center with a full-time bureaucracy, military, and stratified society. Uruk period culture, exported by Sumerian traders and colonists, had an effect on all surrounding peoples, who gradually evolved their own comparable, competing economies and cultures.

Millennia has passed since the days of ancient Uruk, as well as other early planned cities such as Harappa, Lothal, and Mohenjo-daro in the Indus Valley Civilization (in modern-day northwestern India and Pakistan). The ruins of these antiquated cities display the earliest examples of deliberately planned and managed cities. Streets were paved and laid out at right angles in a grid pattern, with a hierarchy of streets from major boulevards to residential alleys. Archaeological evidence suggests that many Harrapan houses were laid out to protect from noise and enhance residential privacy; many also had their own water wells. These ancient cities were unique in that they often had drainage systems, seemingly tied to a well-developed ideal of urban sanitation.

The earliest multifamily dwellings date back to ancient Rome and the first century BC. The insulae (singular insula) were large apartment buildings where the lower and middle classes of Romans (the plebs) dwelled. The floor at ground level was used for tabernas, shops and businesses with living space on the higher floors. Ancient Roman insulae in Rome and other imperial cities reached up to 10 and more stories, some with more than 200 stairs.

Essentially, some elements of smart urban planning and harmonious living are thousands of years old. Today, as urban planners rethink livable cities and green communities, we borrow many elements of these early civilizations.

Look Backward

The past is a great source of ideas that work. “Density and adjacency increase sociability,” observes , says Donald Powers, principal of Union Studio Architecture & Community Design.

Time-tested elements like mid-block alleys – a staple of residential planning from the 1920s and ‘30s – lessen emphasis on the car. Small setbacks and stoops help houses relate to the sidewalk. Courtyards encourage interaction. Corners are important; houses built on them should play to the street. “Give 5 more feet to the corner lot and let the porch wrap,” affirms says Carson Looney, principal of Looney Ricks Kiss. “The house is just one element, not the element.”

Build for History

“Built with craft and care, well-designed places that people want to spend time in never lose their luster. They remain vital and continue to appreciate in value,” offers Stefanos Polyzoides, principal of Moule and Polyzoides. A big part of is ensuring that there’s interest and variety in the streetscape.

Appealing neighborhoods are a long-term proposition. Forest Hills in Queens, N.Y.—widely seen as one of the most successful master planned communities ever—started 100 years ago; it earned that inviting patina over time. “Once upon a time, the trees were little twigs,” Powers offers. “Fifty years from now, people will say Kentlands was the Forest Hills of its time,” says Powers of the Gaithersburg, Md., community developed in the late ’80s. “One of the goals is to create a pattern that will be picked up on and connects the new with the old,” as opposed to erecting buffers between them.

Social Sidewalks

“Four-foot sidewalks aren’t wide enough for couples to stroll, or for people to stop and talk and a baby carriage to pass by,” Looney says. “Four and a half feet is good, and 5 feet is better.”

“Each place is different,” says Speck, but “home builders who are interested in long-term value will insist that all streets are lined on both sides by trees approximately 30 feet on center.”

Experts agree, street trees should be as many and as big as the budget allows. Choose variations that are in full glory in the fall while others are blooming in the spring.

Encourage Interaction

Design public spaces as outdoor rooms with a sense of enclosure. Configure them so storefronts face each other. At home, large front porches to encourage neighborhood interaction while providing a buffer for private living spaces. Special care needs to be taken for porches that are very close to the sidewalk. Savvy urban planners elevate these types of porches 3 feet or 4 feet to help homeowners feel comfortable with instead of vulnerable to action from the street.

Be Wise with Commercial Tenants

“If you take the first tenant who comes along, you might end up with a cell phone store, a dollar store, and a liquor store,” instead of a coffee shop, a bookstore, a clothing store, and a restaurant, Powers advises. “Pick tenants that contribute to each other and to the public realm.”


Next Page »

Powered by Digital Shake LLC with WordPress