Friday, December 23, 2016

Today's Best Mansion and Top  Luxury Estates in Los Angeles, Phoenix, 
San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle Listed For Sale.

The exact definition of the word "mansion" varies but in U.S. real estate terms, it generally defined as single family residence of more than 6,000 square feet. Mansion derives through Old French from the Latin word "mansio". The English word "manse" originally defined a property large enough for the parish priest to maintain himself. The word "manor" comes from the same root territorial holdings granted to a lord who would remain there. Therefore, it is easy to see how a "mansion" came to have its meaning.

Today's Best Celebrity Mansion Listed For Sale  

#1      Santa's House, The North Pole  is "pocket listed" for $35,000,000.  The main estate residence includes 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, and over 4,000 sq.ft.  with numerous out buildings including workshop and guest house.  Seller requires life estate leaseback.

As featured on Zillow, this toy-lover's paradise nestled on 25 idyllic acres at the North Pole   is perfect for spirited reindeer games. The home, constructed in the 1800s of gorgeous old-growth timber logged on site, is steeped in Old World charm but offers modern-day amenities, thanks to a 2013 renovation.

A welcoming entryway leads to the living room with a floor-to-ceiling river rock fireplace for roasting chestnuts. The gourmet kitchen is a baker's dream, boasting an oven with 12 different cookie settings.
 Cookies are served directly from oven to table in the adjoining dining room.

Boughs of holly deck the hall leading to the master bedroom, which features sprawling mountain views. Jingle all the way to two charming guest rooms that guarantee visitors are never left out in the cold. Cuddle close to the wood-burning stove in the queen suite. Or bunk up in the cozy loft. The more, the merrier.

Tiptoe down the hall to Santa's quiet study. An impressive writing desk is flanked by the same sewing table Santa used to make the original teddy bear. Substantial built-in shelving stores toy prototypes.

Over the river and through the woods is a state-of-the-art toy-making facility with workstations for 50 diminutive craftsmen. Nearby are a garage, with space for Santa's all-weather sleigh, and stables that board eight live-in reindeer, plus a bonus stall for red-nosed company, eagerly awaiting Christmas Eve. 

Image result for Santa's House

Today's Best Mansion Listed For Sale

#1     38 Mathews Road Wainscott-East Hampton, New York, 11975 with 8 bedrooms, 15 baths and 18,000 sq.ft. is now listed for sale at $75,000,000


On an ultra-private, approx. 25-acre peninsula on Georgica Pond with spectacular sweeping water views on 3 sides, this world-class estate is built to the highest standard with every luxury amenity. Main house, self-contained guest wing, waterside pool with spa, tennis court, dock. Sold fully designer furnished. Minutes to ocean and East Hampton airport.

Built in 2000 and published in Architectural Digest, the house was custom designed by architect Francis Fleetwood with interior architecture by Brian O’Keefe and interior design by Marjorie Shushan. Built with steel frame construction,the house features a double-height entry hall, 200-year-old antique flooring and wide water views from almost every room. Five principal bedroom suites plus additional 3-bedroom self-contained guest wing. 
This awesome estate is now reduced from $95,000,000 to $75,000,000.

Today's Top Real Estate News
2016 Best Year in a Decade for Housing; 2017 is a Wild Card
Dec 22 2016, 11:19AM

By Jann Swanson
Mortgage News Daily

This year, with less than two weeks left to go, is shaping up to be the best year for housing in a decade according to Freddie Mac's Economic & Housing Research Group. Their year-end wrap up and forecast however, sees a more mixed picture for 2017.

This  year saw home sales through November at the highest level since 2007 and construction, as measured by housing starts, were at the fastest pace since 2008.  Home prices finally erased all of the losses experienced during the downturn.  Economic growth appears to be accelerating in the latter half of 2016 and the labor market remains at full employment, but rising interest rates threaten to slow and possibly turn back housing's momentum.  The group restates its belief expressed in November that housing will stall a bit in 2017 as higher rates reduce home sales, curb the pace of growth in housing starts, and slow house price growth.

Still the fundamentals favor improvement in housing markets. Population and income growth should support housing demand going forward. Once housing absorbs the shock of higher interest rates, growth will resume.  They see 2018 as being a strong year for housing markets despite the mortgage rate forecasts.

Looking back over the past year the economists see the biggest surprise was the decline in interest rates that almost coincided with the New Year.  Despite the first hike in the federal funds rate in nine years in December 2015, concerns about overseas economic growth, particularly in Europe, started a decline in mortgage rates in January and they continued to drift down through early summer. Then the Brexit vote in late June sent the 10-year Treasury to its lowest-ever yield and pushed 30-year fixed mortgage rates below 3.5 percent.

Rates remained low throughout the rest of the summer and into early fall. At the beginning of September, rates drifted upward until they stood at 3.54 percent on the Tuesday before the U.S. election. After the election they increased by more than 0.5 percentage points in just a few weeks back to where they started the year.  As of early December, they are the highest they've been since October of 2014.

The decline in interest rates early in the year helped support housing, but the economists say that was merely the icing on the cake.  They had forecast, based on labor market strength and pent up demand for housing, that the market would perform well even with modestly higher rates. The surprising drop helped to spur housing activity to the highest levels in a decade.

Yet despite low mortgage rates and strong demand, new home construction did not pick up as fast as was forecasted last year.  Housing starts for much of 2016 remained essentially unchanged from a year earlier and well below long-term averages with the lack of available skilled labor appearing to be a primary culprit. The rate of new home construction is contributing to supply-constrained markets and making it difficult for prospective buyers to find a home.

Tight supply and robust demand, buttressed by strengthening labor markets and low mortgage rates, have kept the pressure on home values.  House prices are rising by about 6 percent on a year-over-year basis, with few signs of slowing and, according to many reports, house prices are back to their pre-recession peaks on a nationwide basis. But Freddie Mac points to two additional factors; after adjusting for inflation house prices are still about 20 percent below their real (inflation-adjusted) peak and, while national house prices have recovered there's wide variation across geography. Some states, like North Dakota declined very little during the bust and are substantially above their pre-recession peak. Other states, such as Nevada, have experienced rapid double digit house price growth, but are still more than 10 percent below their pre-recession peak.

Rising prices have improved the value of the housing stock substantially in the last five years while mortgage debt has declined.  This has increased home equity by about $7 trillion, to $13 trillion since the low water mark in the first quarter of 2009.  Freddie Mac says this improved equity position leaves American households primed to expand borrowing in coming years.

Increased equity along with near historic low interest rates led many homeowners to refinance this year.  Over the 12 months ended in September Freddie Mac facilitated about 823,000 refinancings, saving homeowners an average of $2,400 in interest payments the first year. Their current forecast is $1 trillion in single-family mortgage refinance originations by year's end, the highest total since 2012. Borrowers also are starting to take advantage of their increased equity through cash-out refinances. An estimated $42 billion was cashed out in the first three quarters of 2016, up $10 billion over the same period in 2015.

Freddie Mac extended its year-end forecast to include 2018. Over the next two years, they anticipate that economy will keep growing at a modest pace, inflation will pick up and the labor market will stay at full employment. Interest rates will gradually rise as the Federal Reserve continues on its path of policy normalization. Housing markets will slow a bit in 2017, but they will recover after they absorb the initial shock of higher interest rates.

Mortgage origination activity will slow significantly in 2017 as refinance activity withers. In 2018, mortgage origination activity will increase slightly, but the composition will shift to a purchase-dominated market-unlike any mix seen since the 1990s.
The key themes for 2017 and beyond will be:
  • Homebuyer affordability pinch. As mortgage rates rise and home price growth remains positive, homebuyer affordability will be a growing challenge in many markets. Though it is starting to show signs of picking up, the growth rate in personal income is still well below house price appreciation.  While the forecast is for home price growth to slow from 5.9 percent this year to 4.7 and 3.8 percent over the next two years, income growth probably won't keep up with those gains.  This means homebuyer affordability will challenge prospective homebuyers in many markets.
  • Construction picks up, but only gradually. The estimate is that long-run fundamental demand for housing is about 1.7 million units annually.  Construction this year will supply about 1.16 million units.  Completions should increase to 1.26 and 1.36 million units in 2016 and 2017, still below long-run demand.
  • Mortgage market shifts to a purchase mix. Refinance waves end swiftly when mortgage rates rise, and Freddie Mac expects to see that happen now. Mortgage refinance activity will drop to very low levels, and the refinance of mortgage originations will drop to 28 and 20 percent in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Increased purchases will partially offset this drop, but in 2017 Freddie Mac forecasts about a 25 percent reduction in mortgage originations. The market will stabilize in 2018, with purchase gains nearly offsetting refinance declines that yea
Today's Top LA Luxury  Estate Listed For Sale 

The median home value in Los Angeles County is $542,600. Los Angeles County home values have gone up 7.1% over the past year, Zillow predicts they will rise 1.8% within the next year.

The median home value in Brentwood is $2,420,000. Brentwood home values have gone up 8.4% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will rise 1.7% with the next year.

The median home value in Malibu  is $2,782,400.  Malibu home values have gone u[p 3.5% 
over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will rise 0.6 % with the year.

The median home value in Beverly Hills is $2,930,800.  Beverly Hills hhome values have gone up 1.9% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will rise 0.4% with the next year.

The median home value in Bel Air is $3,258,800. Bel  Air home values have gone up 4.1% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will rise 0.8% within the next year.

#1     100 Summit Drive, Beverly Hils, CA 90210 with 7 bedrooms, 10 baths, 
and 11,845 sq.ft. is listed for sale at $35,000,000.

An extraordinary estate, it is  literally beyond description. Situated in a 24-hour guard gated community with its own gates and private drive, this home is a modern architectural masterpiece of size and scale. The photos tell only part of the story, but some of the amenities include a large pool, tennis court, professional gym, theater, views, privacy, outdoor kitchen and living areas, and multiple fireplaces. A sumptuous master suite with head-on views plus two large baths and closets. Additionally, there are 6 more over-sized bedrooms ensuite, executive and house manager offices, TV room, and a guest house. Nothing has been forgotten. Interiors by Kelly Wearstler. Almost every room opens to the outdoors to make this the perfect Southern California estate.

Today's Top Phoenix Luxury Estate Listed For Sale 
A photo showing the skyline of Phoenix, looking north.  It shows the various buildings of the downtown area, as well as Sunnyslope Mountain in the background
The median home value in Scottsdale is $413,200. Scottsdale home values have gone up 3.6% over the past year. Zillow predicts they will rise 1.8% withiin the next year.

The median home value in Carefree is $729,000. Carefree home values have gone up 3.6% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will rise 1.7% within the next year.

The median home value in Paradise Valley is $1,590,000. Paradise Valley home values have gone up 1.8% over the past year. Zillow predicts they will 1.4% with the next year.

#1     6525 N 37th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85018 with 4 bedrooms, 6 baths, 
and 7,896 sq.ft. is listed for sale at $4,495,000.

6525 N 37th St, Phoenix, AZ 85018

Perched above city lights and mountain views, this remarkable contemporary, multi-level residence was recently remodeled with beautiful finishes. The elegant entry features a sculptured water feature, floating stairway and access to the elevator, guest retreat and garage. Large glass walls frame the views in the great room and kitchen with waterfall island, cooking island, casual dining area and wet bar. The adjacent formal dining room has a built-in table for 12 made of stainless and in-laid granite with a modern chandelier. A walk-in movie theater is just off the great room with padded acoustic walls, wild animal carpeting and seating for 8. The master level offers a spacious bedroom with sitting area, balcony and fireplace into the spa-style master bath, workout room and custom closet.

6525 N 37th St, Phoenix, AZ 85018

6525 N 37th St, Phoenix, AZ 85018

6525 N 37th St, Phoenix, AZ 85018

6525 N 37th St, Phoenix, AZ 85018

6525 N 37th St, Phoenix, AZ 85018

6525 N 37th St, Phoenix, AZ 85018

6525 N 37th St, Phoenix, AZ 85018

6525 N 37th St, Phoenix, AZ 85018

6525 N 37th St, Phoenix, AZ 85018

Today's Top San Diego Luxury Estate Listed For Sale

The median home value in San Diego County is $524,900. San Diego County home values have gone up 6.4% over the past year. Zillow predicts they will rise 2.1% within the next year.

The median home value in La Jolla, 92037 is $1,464,200. La Jolla, 92037 home values have gone up 2.6% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will rise 1.4% within the next year.

The median home value in Solana Beach 92075 is $1,326,500. Solana Beach 92075 home values have gone up 10.8% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will rise 3.0% within the next year.

The median home value in Del Mar is $1,598,800. Del Mar home values have gone up 
6.2% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will rise 2.3% with then next year.

The median home value in Rancho Santa Fe is $2,639,500. Rancho Santa Fe home values have declined -5.2% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will fall -1.7% within the next year.

#1      16738 Zumaque, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067 with 8 bedrooms,
7 baths and 6,105 sq.ft. is listed for sale at $2,495,000.

16738 Zumaque, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067

Drastic Price Drop! Originally over $3,000,000. Sprawling Mediterranean masterpiece perched upon quiet lot offers privacy,luxury. Picture windows and high wood-beamed ceilings frame lush panoramic views.Chef's kitchen off family room inspires entertaining.Grand master retreat.Castle-like doors and arches offer true European charm.Experience indoor/outdoor living at it's finest w/ resort style pool and multiple patios overlooking adjacent canyon. Plus there is a 700 SqFt. 1Bd/1Ba GuestHouse and second garage for boat/RV. 

16738 Zumaque, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067

16738 Zumaque, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067

16738 Zumaque, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067

16738 Zumaque, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067

16738 Zumaque, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067

16738 Zumaque, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067

16738 Zumaque, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067

Today's Top San Francisco Bay Area Luxury Estate Listed For Sale

Image result for San Francisco skyline pictures
The median home value in San Francisco is $1,116,300. San Francisco home values have gone up 0.8% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will fall -0.0% within the next year.

The median home value in Sausalito is $1,217,500. Sausalito home values have gone up 3.0% over the past year. Zillow predicts they will rise 1.3% within the next year. 

The median home value in Tiburon is $2,383,000. Tiburon home values have declined -0.1% over the past year. Zillow predicts they will rise 1.2% within the next year. 

The median home value in Saratoga is $2,367,600. Saratoga home values have gone up 1.3% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will fall -0.3% within the next year.

#1     475 Bridgeway Boulevard, Sausalito, CA 94965 with 4 bedrooms, 
6 baths, and 6,116 sq.ft. is listed for sale at $8,990,000.

Luxurious contemporary home completely renovated and updated in 2014 with panoramic views of San Francisco Bay. Top floor with stunning master suite, state of the art bathroom, study, viewing decks, and addtitional ensuite. Main level boasts gourmet kitchen, formal dining rm, spacious living rm, 1 f/p, bar and family rm, 1 ensuite, powder rm, 2 large decks. Entry level has au pair suite, second family room, laundry rm, 4 car garage and elevator for all levels.

Today's Top Seattle Luxury Estate Listed For Sale

Image result for Seattle

The median home value in Kirkland is $593,000.  Kirkland home values have gone up 15.6% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will rise 6.6% within the next year.

The median home value in Seattle is $611,500. Seattle home values have gone up 14.4% over the past year. Zillow predicts they will rise 6.3% within the next year.

The median home value in Bellevue is $743,500. Bellevue home values have gone up 13.9% over the past year. Zillow predicts they will rise 5.9% within the next year. 

The median home value in Clyde Hill is $2,301,000. Clyde Hill home values have gone up 12.3% over the past year. Zillow predicts they will rise 6.0% within the next year 

The median home value in Medina is $2,311,900. Medina home values have gone up 

10.4% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 4.8% within the next year.

Tranquility, Seclusion, and most importantly, LOCATION. This brand-new modern home boasts  2-fireplaces, high-end appliances (including W&D), high-efficiency heating & cooling, radiant polished concrete slab, multiple decks to enjoy the peaceful surroundings, pre-wired for TV and internet in every room (as well as 7.1-surround and projector on the 3rd floor) - and that's just the  house! The community has a dedicated beach access, easy access to I-90, and top-ranked schools!

30 Yr FRM4.35%4.35%--3.34%4.38%
15 Yr FRM3.54%3.54%--2.69%3.58%
FHA 30 Year Fixed3.90%3.95%-0.053.15%4.10%
Jumbo 30 Year Fixed4.37%4.38%-0.013.41%4.40%
5/1 Yr ARM3.19%3.20%-0.012.80%3.25%
Rates Close to Capping Calmest Week in Years
Dec 22 2016, 3:24PM

Mortgage rates did nothing today.  They did less than nothing.  This week is already easily on track to be the calmest since the election.  And if tomorrow is similarly lifeless, it will be one of the calmest weeks ever.

Oftentimes, I'll note that it's the AVERAGE effective rate that's "unchanged."  Indeed, it's quite uncommon for almost every single rate sheet in our ongoing study to be the same as the previous day.  But that's exactly what happened today.  In fact, this week's rate sheets have seen less change  overall than any other week this year.

This is to-be-expected, to some extent, due to seasonal considerations.  The fact that underlying bond markets have been holding steadier than normal accounts for the extra stability in mortgage rate sheets. 

Stability may be worth something, but it's not the greatest thing in the world when rates are staying stable near the highest levels in more than 2 years.  4.375% remains the most prevalent conventional 30yr fixed quote for top tier scenarios.  Several lenders still up at 4.5% and a few are down at 4.25%.

Barring the unforeseen, lenders will have little incentive to make meaningful adjustments to rates between now and the end of the year, thus decreasing the risk and reward associated with a "lock vs float" decision.  

Loan Originator Perspective

Weaker inflation data was the highlight of the morning.  As Matt Graham has been writing for days now there is limited activity in trading as most people are focused on the holidays.  That being said, locking in makes the most sense.  Avoiding any unpredictable volatility that may be coming our way.  Defense wins championships.  -Gus Floropoulos, VP, The Federal Savings Bank

Today's Best-Execution Rates

  • 30YR FIXED - 4.375-4.5%
  • FHA/VA - 4.0%
  • 15 YEAR FIXED - 3.375-3.5%
  • 5 YEAR ARMS -  3.0 - 3.5% depending on the lender

Ongoing Lock/Float Considerations

  • Rates had been trending higher since hitting all-time lows in early July, and exploded higher following the presidential election
  • Some investors are increasingly worried/convinced that the decades-long trend toward lower rates has been permanently reversed, but such a conclusion would require YEARS to truly confirm
  • With the incoming administration's policies driving a large portion of upward rate momentum, mortgage rates will be hard-pressed to make significant improvements until after Trump takes office.  Rates can move for other reasons, but it would take something big and unexpected for rates to move appreciably lower.
  • We'd need to see a sustained push back toward lower rates (something that lasts more than 3 days) before anything less than a cautious, lock-biased approach makes sense for all but the most risk-tolerant borrowers.
  • As always, please keep in mind that the rates discussed generally refer to what we've termed 'best-execution(that is, the most frequently quoted, conforming, conventional 30yr fixed rate for top tier borrowers, based not only on the outright price, but also 'bang-for-the-buck.'  Generally speaking, our best-execution rate tends to connote no origination or discount points--though this can vary--and tends to predict Freddie Mac's weekly survey with high accuracy.  It's safe to assume that our best-ex rate is the more timely and accurate of the two due to Freddie's once-a-week polling method). 
Today's Real Estate Humor

Image result for christmas real estate cartoons.
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  Tom Furino