August 20, 2014 on 4:27 pm | In Buyers, Curious, Experts Say, Fascinating Information, For Your Purchasing Pleasure, Investment Opportunities, Of Local Importance, Uncategorized, WOW | 2 Comments

by Jodi Summers

Looking for your fantasy Beverly Hills mixed use development project? One of the most desirable pieces of real estate in the country —9900 Wilshire Blvd., is for sale again. Price in the mid-$300-million range for the 8-acre parcel.

“A truly rare circumstance in the highly regulated and supply-constrained city of Beverly Hills,” note the experts.

The site of the former Robinsons-May department store in Beverly Hills has been vacant for more than a decade and has changed hands a number of times. The current sellers, Hong Kong private equity firm Joint Treasure International, intended to complete an existing plan to build 235 condos on the site.

They had already navigated Beverly Hills’ arduous city planning process and were successful is getting approval on a mixed use complex design by Richard Meier, architect of the Getty Center.

“Upon transfer of ownership, the incoming buyer will leverage the value already created and be able to immediately commence construction — a truly rare circumstance in the highly regulated and supply-constrained city of Beverly Hills,” the selling brokers said in a statement.

The Meier plan includes 876 underground parking spaces and almost 21,000 square feet designated for office space, shops and restaurants.

The property at 9900 Wilshire Blvd. is, “one of the most desirable pieces of real estate in the country,” the L.A. Times writes. The paper notes that the property, located along Merv Griffin way, “has seen multiple owners who have so far been unable to bring a condominium complex designed by a famous architect to life.”

In 2010, Hong Kong private equity firm Joint Treasure International bought the parcel for $148 million. In 2007 the parcel sold for $500 million in one of the largest transactions in the history of Los Angeles County. The company that purchased it subsequently went bankrupt, which is how Joint Treasure International acquired the property.

Will you be the next owner developer for 9900 Wilshire?

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













August 5, 2014 on 9:52 am | In Buyers, Charts + Statistics, Economy, Experts Say, Fascinating Information, Investment Opportunities, New Developments, Of Local Importance, Rents, Sellers, Trends, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

by Jodi Summers

“Developers are saying that as they look forward to 2016 and 2017, they see no let up in this demand, so they’re out looking at new projects to build even more multi-family housing in the county of Los Angeles,” proclaims Senior Economist Jerry Nickelsburg in the 2014 midyear UCLA Anderson Forecast.

Here’s the hypothesis: the demand for multi-family housing stems from household formation. The rate of household formation in California was decimated by the Great Recession of 2008-09. The recent growth of jobs in the State (employment is now above pre-recession levels) induces new household formation as the kids are able to move out of their parents homes, friends out of friends homes, and Mom and Dad out of their children’s homes into their own space. An increase in the rate of household formation increases the demand for rental housing, particularly multifamily housing, thereby driving up occupancy and rents.

The Los Angeles multifamily market is regionalized. The Valley differs from Downtown, which differs from Mid-Cities, the South Bay and the West Side. Marcus and Millichap have done a grand job together compiling statistics from all areas…and here are some noteworthy highlights…

Housing and Demographics

■ In the first quarter, average rents at 2000s-vintage apartments were $41 less than the monthly mortgage obligation on a median-priced home. One year ago, effective rents were $370 per month higher.

■ The median home price soared 15% during the past 12 months to $418,900, while median household income inched up a modest 2% to $55,800.

Vacancy + Rents

■ The strongest rent growth over the past year was observed in 1990s-vintage apartments, where rents climbed 4.5% to $1,684 per month. At apartments constructed in the 1970s, effective rents advanced 3.9% over the last 12 months to $1,473 per month. Rental rates on new units have stalled. Rents rose 3.4% nationally for the 12-month period ending in June, according to the Wall St. Journal.

■ Over the past 12 months, vacancy declined across every vintage of unit, with the exception of those properties constructed since 2000. At 2000s-vintage assets, vacancy inched up to 4.3% as a combination of new construction and tenant resistance to higher rents impacted operations.

■ One-bedrooms are preferred – One-bedroom apartment vacancy was flat over the past year while the rate declined in both two-bedroom and three-bedroom units. Although the decline was modest, early signs that renters are “doubling up” are emerging.

■ Outlook: The impact of heightened competition will keep rent growth modest this year. Effective rents are projected to climb to $1,750 per month in 2014, up 2.3% from the end of 2013. Last year, effective rents advanced 2.8%.

Sales Trends

■ Average cap rates in Los Angeles County are in the mid-5% range, though first-year returns vary significantly by region. In the coastal communities, first-year returns are close to 4%.

■ Outlook: In Los Angeles County, buyers outnumber sellers by a large factor. Treasury yields are low, reducing the attractiveness of purchasing government bonds.


■ The construction pipeline has swollen to 14,500 rental units, including 12,200 market-rate units. At the end of the first quarter, nearly 29,000 rentals were planned in the county, which is roughly 50% higher than the number of units on the drawing board the year prior.

■ Outlook: “There’s going to be a very severe housing-shortage problem,” Moody’s Chief Economist Mark Zandi told WSJ. “People are going to be in very difficult situations. This is a problem that’s going to be increasingly severe over the next few years.”

Conditions in the Los Angeles apartment market have tightened significantly during the past few years, which would typically usher in a period of elevated rent growth. However, development activity will bring 2014 construction to 11,000 new units – the highest level in more than a decade. (Last year, builders completed 5,600 units in the county.) Subsequently, this will keep operators at existing properties cautious when considering lifting rents.

Buyers will outnumber sellers through the end of 2014 as low interest rates keep financing obtainable and equity remains prevalent.

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










July 14, 2014 on 1:28 am | In Government, Green, Lenders + Vendors, Of Local Importance, Problem Solving, Trends, Uncategorized, Utilities, WOW | 3 Comments

by Jodi Summers

Didja know > about a quarter of U.S. households live in multifamily housing units. This group of apartment dwellers spends about $40 billion on energy costs each year. The Better Buildings Challenge > Multifamily Edition < estimates that making multiunit housing units 20% more energy efficient would save more than $7 billion per year and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 430 million tons.

As part of the Better Buildings Challenge, DOE and the HUD are partnering with leading private and affordable buildings owners and public housing agencies to cut energy waste and help families save money. Better Building Challenge multifamily Partners are leaders in market rate multifamily housing, public housing authorities, and affordable housing.

Challenge renovation areas include:

Save Water

2013 saw record little rainfall in Southern California. Water is precious and expensive. Fixtures like the new low-flow toilets work better and save dramatically more water than models that just a few years old. According to the Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) the savings may pay for the cost of the fixtures in a year to 18 months.

Expert Installation

Some companies can now install water-saving technology for you, with little or no up-front cost. Companies like eConserve and Minol do such work in exchange for taking a cut on future savings in the future.

Designate an Energy Manager

A leaky sprinkler system or a mistake by a utility company can go unnoticed until someone finds the problem. Landlords, do yourselves a favor and designate person on staff to read the property’s energy bills. Software tools such as EnergyScoreCards, Portfolio Manager, or WegoWise track and compare utility usage.

Utility Rebate Programs

Periodically, utility companies offer rebates for things like installing energy-saving lighting. The T12 fluorescent lighting rebates are gone, but there’s always going to be another incentive. Call the number on your bill and ask how they can save you money.

Energy Star Appliances

Many appliances with the federal Energy Star label for energy efficiency are priced in line with conventional products. Like flat screen TVs, a product whose up-front cost was too pricey last year, might be affordable this year.

Reconsider Solar Panels

If you’ve decided in the past not to install solar panels because the panels were relatively expensive, revisit the numbers. The cost of panels has come down, and more utilities are allowing buildings to use the solar energy they produce themselves during the day to offset the electricity used by residents at night. Depending upon roof space, some new companies will offer “solar-power purchase agreements.” At little or no cost, the companies will install solar equipment at a multifamily property. In exchange, the property agrees to buy a certain amount of the power produced by the solar panels.













June 29, 2014 on 1:28 am | In Government, Green, Investment Opportunities, New Developments, Of Local Importance, Problem Solving, Trends, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

by Jodi Summers

In 2014, the Better Buildings Challenge has expanded to include multifamily properties.

“The expansion of the Better Buildings Challenge to include multifamily housing represents an important step toward achieving the goals laid out in the President’s Climate Action Plan,” Observes HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.

The goal of the Better Buildings Challenge when it was launched in 2011 was to make America’s commercial buildings 20% more energy efficient by 2020. The challenge asked corporate chief executive officers, university presidents, and state and local leaders to make a public commitment to energy efficiency. Through the Better Buildings Challenge, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is highlighting leaders that have committed to upgrading buildings across their portfolio, and providing their energy savings data and strategies as models for others to follow.

“More than 50 multifamily owners from across the nation have committed to the Better Buildings Challenge,” shares Donovan. “These housing leaders understand that it represents an opportunity for them to reduce their long-term energy costs, support innovative technologies, create good jobs, and help shape healthier communities and neighborhoods,”

The City of Los Angeles has set a goal to achieve 20% energy savings across 30 million square feet of existing buildings by 2020 as part of the Better Buildings Challenge, a national leadership initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, which calls on public and private sector leaders to take action and demonstrate the benefits of modernizing America’s existing buildings.

Achieving this goal will significantly reduce operating costs while freeing up capital for more productive uses, enhancing tenant comfort and productivity, boosting market competitiveness, creating over 7,000 high-quality local jobs, and averting annual CO2 emissions equivalent to taking over 18,000 cars off the road.

“Over the last two years, President Obama’s Better Buildings Challenge has helped drive greater energy efficiency further and faster, save families money and give U.S. businesses an edge in the global market,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “By partnering with the multifamily housing industry as well as state and local governments, utilities and manufacturers, we can continue this progress – cutting carbon pollution, fostering economic growth and building a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.”












June 16, 2014 on 11:48 am | In Buyers, Charts + Statistics, Curious, Economy, Fascinating Information, Investment Opportunities, Market Snapshot, Of Local Importance, Trends, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

from Jodi Summers

Housing affordability is why you can never go wrong with multifamily properties in Los Angeles – only 23% of homes for sale are affordable to the middle class.

And our affordability is rather peachy compared to our sister city, San Francisco. Trulia notes that only 14% of homes for sale in San Francisco are affordable to the middle class, -even though median household income is higher in San Francisco than almost anywhere else in the country.

Notice that 7 of the 10 least affordable markets are in California. We are rounded out by New York, neighboring Fairfield County, CT, and Honolulu. As you might expect, in our coastal markets – Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County, and San Diego – less than one-third of homes are within reach of the middle class. But, everyone has to live somewhere – it might as well be in one of your buildings.




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