Monday, May 8, 2017

Today's Best Mansions: They’re lavish. They’re huge. They're grand. They're expensive

#1     450 Mountain Road, Woodside, CA with 6 bedrooms, 8 baths, and 8,000 sq.ft.
is listed for sale at $24,500,000.  

One of Woodside's finest properties with expansive views of the western hills. French farmhouse completed in 2005 on 3 beautifully landscaped acres featured in Garden Design Magazine and the esteemed American Garden Conservancy's California garden tours. Towering ceilings, modern custom lighting, hardwood floors, and Venetian plaster walls. 6-bedroom main residence and self-sufficient 2-bedroom guesthouse, plus barn currently used as an art studio. Library, playroom, theatre, gym, and wine cellar. Magnificent country setting has stonewall fountains, tucked away lap pool and spa, numerous terraces with fireplace, fire pit, and barbecue center, custom chicken coop, vegetable garden, roses, and fruit trees. Well for irrigation. Acclaimed Woodside School. The best of California living on Woodside's most prestigious scenic corridor.

Today's Top Real Estate News

These Cities Are the 10 Biggest Comeback Stories in U.S. Real Estate
By Yuqing Pan 


Everyone loves a great comeback story.

And there are plenty to go around. Rocky. Steve Jobs. The Chicago Cubs. Jesus. Lil Bub (Google her!). And, with apologies to Jesus, perhaps the most impressive comeback of all, the one that hits us exactly where we live: the housing industry.

After all, the 2007 real estate crash was a trauma that cut a wide swath of destruction through the ranks of home buyers, sellers and owners—and just about everyone affected by the bleak recession that followed. Although it has taken several agonizing years, the housing market is finally looking good again in much of America. A classic comeback! Cue the Rocky theme...
But wait, there's a twist to this tale: The path to housing recovery has not run smoothly across the United States. Some cities have rebuilt and recovered. Some are back even stronger than they were in their heady, pre-crash salad days. And yet others continue to flounder, plagued by swaths of bank-owned homes.

The median home price bounded back to $227,000 nationally last year, already higher than the market peak of $220,400 back in 2005. Compared to the rock-bottom level in 2011, home prices have improved by 26%. (Adjusted for inflation, the current prices have recouped about 80% of their peak value.)

"Nationally, median home prices have more than fully recovered," says Joe Kirchner, senior economist at®. "But at the local level, some markets have not yet followed suit."

The post-crash haves and have-nots

So the data team at® decided to figure out which parts of the country have recovered the best from the housing bust: the true comeback kids! We took the150 biggest metros around the country, factored in their highest, pre-recession home-price heights, their lowest lows of the crash—and which ones rebounded best through 2016. We measured the recovery by measuring home prices, the amount of new home construction, foreclosure and unemployment rates and the household income of local residents in 2016.

(Metropolitan statistical areas, as defined by the federal Office of Management and Budget, are highly populated, geographical areas made up of one or more city cores surrounded by suburban and rural communities closely tied to that core.)

To ensure a fair comparison, we excluded markets that didn't experience much hardship. After all, to compare the recovery in Austin, TX (which barely had a blip), with Las Vegas (famously choked by foreclosures), would be comparing apples to oranges—or maybe Craisins.

So what did we find? The cities that achieved some of the speediest and most definitive recoveries have been the knowledge hubs—places clogged with colleges, research centers and young brainiacs, where a nimble, educated workforce helped attract new businesses. And cities that have done a good job diversifying their economy have also been big real estate winners in the past decade.

Ready? Let's go back to the future and celebrate some of the best comeback stories around.

1. San Jose, CA

Post-crash price growth (since the trough in 2011): 57%
Median home price in 2016: $835,200

Santana Row in San Jose, CA         

California experienced one of the nation’s worst foreclosure crises after consecutive years of skyrocketing home prices, greedy speculation, and go-go building frenzy. Silicon Valley, up north, fared better than Southern California, but home prices still tumbled 24% from their peak, more than the national average of 18%. And as layoffs piled up in the San Jose metro starting in 2008, the unemployment rate shot up from 6.1% to 11% in just one year (2008 to 2009). It was a lousy year.

But Silicon Valley was among the first to shake off the economic malaise, fueled by a new and even more frenetic tech boom. High-profile IPOs like those of Tesla (2010) and Facebook (2012) increased morale as venture capital money poured in—and new startups just kept popping up. For each new software company, the city needed more engineers, more designers, more receptionists, more cleaners, More of everything. So the job market heated up faster than a circa 2005 PowerBook.

In the post-recession era, the San Jose metro holds tightly on to its position as one of the hottest housing markets in the country. Foreclosures are virtually nonexistent—less than 1% of homes filed last year. And new home construction has also picked up ahead of the country.

2. San Francisco, CA

Post-crash price growth (since 2011): 53%
Median home price in 2016: $754,500

The recovery in the tech industry bolstered the market in San Francisco.         

As in San Jose, the housing collapse magnified the recession in the San Francisco metro, because prices were unreasonably inflated in the bubble. This was one big bubble! At the lowest point, in 2011, home prices slipped to $493,100, down 30% from the peak in 2007.
The job market cratered, with the unemployment rate surging to 9.9% in 2010, slightly worse than the atrocious national average of 9.6%. Macy's eliminated its 1,400-person Macy's West division in San Francisco, the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper almost went bankrupt, and hundreds of stores and restaurants shuttered their doors.

However, young techies tried to embrace the situation with humor. "Funemployment" became a common buzzword, as they used their jobless time to travel, enjoy long, boozy lunches, and chill with friends. They knew the tech business wasn't vanishing, even if their current jobs had.

The optimism kept talent from leaving San Francisco, which helped speed up the tech biz recovery. Now-successful companies like Uber and Pinterest were founded during the worst time, and startup ideas were bubbling up all over. The local powerhouses Twitter and Yelp went public in 2012, helping to accelerate the growth.

"Those IPOs created many new millionaires. One moment you were living in a studio apartment, eating takeout food; the next moment, you are rich," says Patrick Carlisle, chief market analyst of Paragon Real Estate Group. "When people become newly wealthy, the first thing they think of is, 'Hey I want to own my own home,' or 'I want a bigger home.'"

3. Portland, OR

Post-crash price growth (since 2011): 43%
Median home price in 2016: $335,400

Back in the 2004-07 housing run-up, Portland's Kruse Way was known as "Mortgage Row," because it was packed with real estate companies and mortgage firms. After the crash, many of those companies closed up shop, and the same street was dotted with ads for cheap office space. Indications of the depression ranged from foreclosed signs outside suburban homes to empty storefronts on the famous 23rd Avenue shopping strip.
In 2009, the city had a scary-high unemployment rate of 10.9%. A deepwater port on the Columbia River, Portland's economy relied largely on global trade. But the crash hit those businesses hard. Trade was squeezed, stevedores and warehouse workers were out of jobs, and manufacturing slowed to a crawl.

The good news was that people never stopped moving here. Since the 1990s, people had been lured by the city's tolerant, offbeat, bicycle-powered lifestyle, and the great outdoors. That population growth kept the local economy afloat.

And then high-tech companies spearheaded the recovery. Young firms like Puppet Labs and Jama Software grew rapidly after the recession. Portland's own homegrown corporate powers, like Nike and Columbia Sportswear, regained strength, while maintaining competitive wages. In 2017, the Portland metro has the nation's fastest-growing economy, according to the real estate firm HFF.

4. Grand Rapids, MI

Post-crash price growth (since 2011): 30%
Median home price in 2016: $162,500

Some rapids on the Grand River in Grand Rapids, MI         

This manufacturing hub long touted its nickname of "Furniture City," for making fine office desks and other furniture. But who the heck needs office desks when the country is in a deep recession? Thousands of gigs were moved overseas. Big companies like Herman Miller announced major layoffs, smaller ones like Klingman's closed doors under towering debt. In 2009, 1 in 9 workers in Grand Rapids was out of a job.

But the city snapped back, with a newfound emphasis on the health care industry. The world-class oncology research center the Van Andel Institute and Michigan State University's brand-new biomedical research center led the charge. Manufacturing expanded beyond furniture making to medical devices, aerospace and defense, and information technology.

"When you don't put all your eggs in one basket, you recover a lot faster," says Tim Mroz, vice president of the Right Place, which helps local business development.
Since 2011, housing prices have been booming, with 5% growth each year.

5. Provo, UT

Post-crash price growth (since 2009): 38%
Median home price in 2016: $285,200

Downtown Provo, UT         

Brigham Young University largely shielded Provo, just outside Salt Lake City, from disastrous unemployment during the recession, but it couldn't save the real estate market. It only took two years (from 2007 to 2009) for home prices to crash 26% from their peak to the bottom. A sharp decline in construction also left the housing market lifeless.

But things turned around quickly. As early as 2010, cranes were back at work on a new convention center downtown, and then on the expansion of the headquarters of NuSkin, the maker of dietary supplements. The sound of trucks and jackhammers resurfaced in the suburbs as well, signaling more single-family homes, as well as a job revival in the construction industry.

The low cost of living and affordable homes also encouraged millennials into homeownership. In 2015, Provo was one of the top markets for first-time buyers to take out a mortgage.

6. Colorado Springs, CO

Post-crash price growth (since 2009): 26%
Median home price in 2016: $250,000

In the recent recession, Colorado Springs got a new motto: "Do-it-yourself government." Volunteers could adopt a street light, because one-third of the city's street lights were turned off to save money, or adopt a trash can so that the city could afford to collect trash from parks. As city mottos go, this one left something to be desired.

Household income in Colorado Springs shrank to $51,700 at the bottom of the recession, $7,200 less than at its highest point, in 2008.

But proximity helped. Just an hour south of recession-proof Denver, and shielded from the downturn by a booming energy sector, Colorado Springs boasted homes about one-third cheaper, making it a great deal for commuters. New home construction is now booming, especially in the northern part of town.

"We were languishing behind the rest of Colorado, but that's really reversed in the last several years," says Daphne Greenwood, an economics professor at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.

7. North Port, FL

Post-crash price growth (since 2011): 51%
Median home price in 2016: $238,700

North Port, FL, development         

Southern Florida was the poster child of the subprime mortgage crisis. The skyrocketing prices in the early 2000s housing run-up were fueled by debt and starry-eyed investors, rather than those who could actually afford the homes. Then prices crashed fast and hard.
Among the hardest-hit was the North Port-Sarasota metro area, a collection of mostly retirement communities an hour south of Tampa. Home values vaporized by 40% from 2006 to 2011, as many potential buyers' savings and retirement funds took a hit. At the very worst point, 1 in 4 homes filed for foreclosure. From there, a hard slog back began.

"We have had a lot of gains since then, because we were so far behind," says Dan Heschmeyer, a broker at Gulf Coast Realty Team. "But the market has been on fire again. The baby boomers are in full retirement years, and we are still one of the best destinations for retirement."

Unlike sprawling Tampa, the North Port metro consists of smaller, more friendly communities for retirees. Sarasota and Venice, with vibrant cultural arts scenes, white-sand beaches, and historical downtowns, are famous for well-heeled residents. Since the market bottomed out in 2011, home prices have recorded an 8% annual price growth.

8. Charlotte, NC

Post-crash price growth (since 2009): 33%
Median home price in 2016: $217,600

America's financial hub was also at the center of an economic slowdown in the recession. From Wells Fargo to BB&T, Charlotte's financial world was struck by massive layoffs. The unemployment rate swelled to a whopping 12% in 2009.

The road to recovery started with an expanding local economy—extending beyond the financial sector. The city has won thousands of jobs by persuading companies to relocate with the promise of tax breaks. The home-appliance manufacturer Electrolux moved in its North American headquarters, and the insurance company MetLife put its retail business in Charlotte.

Business and population expansion jump-started the stalled construction industry. Condos and apartments sprouted in and around downtown, including luxury buildings with pet- washing stations and HGTV-inspired kitchens. And home prices came back.

9. Boise, ID

Post-crash price growth (since 2011): 48%
Median home price in 2016: $218,500

Downtown Boise, ID         

At the lowest point of the Great Recession, virtually the only sector in Boise that was holding on was the government. Barely. The semiconductor producer Micron Technology, once Idaho's largest private employer, slashed 2,000 jobs. Years of overbuilding in the suburbs resulted in more homes for sale than buyers—causing home prices to fall 35%.

To pull itself out of the downturn, Boise poached from the tech industry to diversify its economy, marketing itself as an affordable launching pad for startups. Today, the Boise Valley is home to more than 400 tech companies, from Hewlett-Packard to startups like GenZ, which develops agricultural technology.

As the economy turned around, house prices have marked a five-year streak of steady growth since 2011.

10. Reno, NV

Post-crash price growth (since 2011): 77%
Median home price in 2016: $300,100

The lovely Truckee River and Wingfield Park in Reno         

The recession walloped Reno's gambling industry, leaving the city with empty casinos and scores of vacant, bank-owned homes. More than 40% of local homes were foreclosed on in 2009, and hundreds of homeless people set up an encampment downtown. The free fall of home prices didn't stop until 2011. By then, many homes had lost half the value they had in 2005.

"The recession made people aware that we need a diversified economy. Relying entirely on the gambling and tourism industry is not a durable strategy," says Mehmet Serkan Tosun, an economics professor at the University of Nevada-Reno. The new strategy? Making Reno a haven for doing business: offering cheap real estate, virtually no corporate taxes and no personal income taxes, and investing in higher education to supply more skilled workers.
Reno has since scored big names like Tesla, Apple and the data security company Switch. And those casinos? They're filling up again. Put your chips on black. Trust us.

* For each metric, we ruled out the metros that ranked in the top 20% of performers. Metrics include housing prices, new construction, foreclosure rate, unemployment rate, and household income. All annual numbers cited in the article are the median of 12-month data, to even out seasonality.  

Data source:®, U.S. Census Bureau, Moody's Analytics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Today's Mortgage Rates                                                                                   52 Week

30 Yr FRM4.09%4.10%-0.013.34%4.39%
15 Yr FRM3.34%3.35%-0.012.69%3.61%
FHA 30 Year Fixed3.85%3.85%--3.15%4.10%
Jumbo 30 Year Fixed4.36%4.37%-0.013.42%4.60%
5/1 Yr ARM3.08%3.09%-0.012.80%3.25%
Updated: 5/5/17 4:51 PM

The Top Luxury Estates in Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco 
and Seattle Listed For Sale.

Today's Top LA Luxury Estate 

The median home value in Los Angeles County is $560,500. Los Angeles County home values have gone up 1.6% over the past year, Zillow predicts they will rise 0.5% within the next year.

The median home value in Brentwood, 90049 is $2,471,800. Brentwood home values have gone up 5.1% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will rise 1.3% within the next year

The median home value in Malibu is $2,866,500.  Malibu home values have gone up 4.8% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will rise 0.7 % within the year.

The median home value in Bel Air, 90077 is $3,243,500. Bel  Air home values have gone up 0.2% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will remain even -(0.5)% within the next year.

The median home value in Beverly Hills 90210 is $4,834,000.  Beverly Hills home values have gone up 3.5% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will rise 0.6% with the next year.

#1     64 Ritz Cove Road, Monarch Bay, CA 92629 with 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, 
and 5,588 sq.ft. is listed for sale at $7,798,000.

Walk to the sea from the most exquisite, magnificent custom home living in the south of France overlooking one of the world's most beautiful beaches. The whitewater ocean views are incredible. The garden overlooking the ocean has won landscape design awards. A bubbling spa of onyx is situated amongst climbing roses and age-old olive trees. The Interior courtyard and front entry is lined with flower trellises and roses. Limestone slab floors and slab counters, incredible hand-carved & waxed cabinetry and bronze & iron detailing are found everywhere in this exquisite home. Hand-troweled plaster walls are done is a soft, waxed tone of ivory, keeping the home light and bright. Fabulous cabinetry resides in the kitchen complete with carvings, gourmet fixtures and an authentic La Cornue stove and oven. The solid mahogany windows have incredible bronze features, and highlight the climbing jasmine, fragrant flowers and bushes beyond. There are stunning authentic touches at every turn: French limestone fireplaces, beautiful beamed ceilings, and a hand-wrought iron staircase railing that is a work of art. Glass and forged iron doors open to an interior courtyard and the back lovely outdoor loggia has an authentic wood burning fireplace. The side yard encompasses a flower sink & built-in barbecue. Ritz Cove is only community nestled between the Ritz Carlton and Monarch Beach Resort Hotels. Walk to either hotel on the beach path. 24 Hour Guard Gated community. 

Top Phoenix Luxury Estate  

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 $416,900. Scottsdale home values have gone up 2.5% over the past year. Zillow predicts they will rise 0.2% withiin the next year. 

The median home value in Carefree is $746,800. Carfree home values have gone up 
4.2% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will rise 1.4% within the next year.  

The median home value in Paradise Valley is $1,594,100.  Paradise home values have gone up 1.6% over the past year. Zillow predicts they will rise 0.5% within the next year.

 #1     6168 N Las Brisas Drive, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253 with 3 bedrooms, 4 baths, and 3,615 sq.ft. is listed for sale at $2,250,000.

Luxury New Villa with iconic Camelback Mountain views in Mountain Shadows Resort Paradise Valley location. Enjoy resort living w/ full amenities at adjacent resort combined with distinct architectural designs and indoor living extending to 800+ sq.ft. outdoor deck by 9 ft high bi-fold doors. Enjoy views of Camelback Mountain and Piestawa Mtn while looking over the golf course. This Villa has 20 ft high entry with private elevator/stairs to living level. Luxurious designer features include, Wolf combo dual fuel range oven, steam oven and microwave, Sub Zero refrigerator, wine storage cabinet, 2 Asko dishwashers, 48'' Zephyr hood,10 ft high ceilings,Restoration Hardware fixtures, indoor/outdoor fireplaces, 3 bedroom, 3.5 bathroom, 2 car driveway, 2 car garage 24 hr guarded entry, and more! 

Top San Diego Luxury Estate 

The median home value in San Diego County is $532,000. San Diego County home values have gone up 5.2% over the past year. Zillow predicts they will remain even 0.9% within the next year.

The median home value in La Jolla, 92037 is $1,473,100. La Jolla, 92037 home values have gone up 4.4% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will rise 0.5% within the next year.

The median home value in Solana Beach 92075 is $1,265,700. Solana Beach 92075 home values have gone up 5.1% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will rise 0.3%% within the next year.

The median home value in Del Mar 92014 is $1,649,900 Del Mar home values have gone up 8.1% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will rise 1.9% within the next year.

The median home value in Rancho Santa Fe is $2,542,200. Rancho Santa Fe home values have declined -(5.2)% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will decline -(2.4)% within the next year.

#1     6722 Calle Ponte Bella, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92091 with 6 bedrooms, 7 baths, and 9,609 sq.ft. is listed for sale at $6,149,000.

6722 Calle Ponte Bella, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92091

Located in Rancho Santa Fe's exclusive golf course community, the Bridges, is a genuine architectural masterpiece. Throughout this 6 bedroom, 6.5 bath home, luxury abounds. A designer kitchen blends timeless style and today's state of the art appointments to create a culinary showplace. The home was freshly painted throughout. Media room, oversized rooms, wine cellar and sun-drenched pool with spectacular views, overlooking the award winning golf course and the main clubhouse, are an entertainer's dream.

6722 Calle Ponte Bella, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92091

6722 Calle Ponte Bella, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92091

6722 Calle Ponte Bella, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92091

6722 Calle Ponte Bella, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92091

6722 Calle Ponte Bella, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92091

6722 Calle Ponte Bella, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92091

6722 Calle Ponte Bella, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92091

Top San Francisco Luxury Estate 

Image result for San Francisco skyline pictures

The median home value in San Francisco is $1,167,700. San Francisco home values have gone up 1.5% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will decrease by 0.1% within the next year.

The median home value in Sausalito is $1,272,400. Sausalito home values have gone up 3.6% over the past year. Zillow predicts they will rise 0.7% within the next year. 

The median home value in Tiburon is $2,497,100. Tiburon home values have gone up 1.9% over the past year.   Zillow predicts they will rise 0.2% within the next year. 

The median home value in Saratoga is $2,406,500. Saratoga home values have gone up 0.4% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will rise 0.2% within the next year. 

The median home value in Atherton is $6,147,100. Atherton home values have gone up 3.0% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 0.7% within the next year.

#1     121 New Road, Hillsborough, CA 94010 with 6 bedrooms, 9 baths, 
and 8,000 sq.ft. is listed for sale at $22,000,000.

Country estate of unrivaled grandeur in Hillsborough's most premier location. Formal grounds overlook 8th fairway of the Burlingame Country Club. Main residence plus caretaker's aptartment and guest house with adjacent fitness studio. library, 2 offices, lower level recreation room as well as  temperature controlled wine cellar. Enjoy the grand terrace with pool, spa and lounge pavilion. Comprising 2 separate parcels totaling almost 3.27 acres the manicured grounds and amazing foliage afford the ultimate setting for outdoor living including a fully fenced tennis court. Close to excellent public and private schools. Located in a prime Peninsula location midway between SF and Silicon Valley 

Top Seattle Luxury Estate 

Image result for Seattle 
The median home value in King County is $540,400. King County home values have gone up 13.1% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will rise 5.3% within the next year.

The median home value in Kirkland is $626,600.  Kirkland home values have gone up 14.7% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will rise 3.8% within the next year.

The median home value in Seattle is $638,100. Seattle home values have gone up 12.2% over the past year. Zillow predicts they will rise 5.1% within the next year.

The median home value in Bellevue is $783,000. Bellevue home values have gone up 13.9% over the past year. Zillow predicts they will rise 5.2% within the next year. 

The median home value in Mercer Island, WA is $1,363,600, Mercer island home values have gone up 10.3% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will rise 5.1% with the next year.

The median home value in Clyde Hill is $2,298,400. Clyde Hill home values have gone up 10.8% over the past year. Zillow predicts they will rise 4.5% within the next year.

The median home value in Medina is $2,403,000. Medina home values have gone up 10.2% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 4.8% within the next year.

 #1     8493 W Mercer Way, Mercer Island, WA 98040 with 5 bedrooms, 5 baths, 
and 5,370 sq.ft. is listed for sale at $7,600,000.

Southpointe, 1 of 10 such tips on Lk Washington. Custom contemporary 2009 home is over 100 wide, opportunistically capturing light and vistas dawn to dusk. Mt Rainier in every conceivable color, framed up dramatically in two story walls of glass. Exquisite fully appointed kitchen befitting the culinary artist. 5 full suites. Extensive guest parking. 145+ of no bank waterfront, expertly designed grounds with multiple destinations. Exclusive dock, covered moorage, multiple lifts. Brilliance!

Thanks for reading "Today's Best Mansions"

Looking for more information?  Have a comment?  Need a Realtor referral?  Please call, text or email me at 619-944-8749 or  Most importantly, have a great day


Tom Furino

PS.     Check out "Today's Best Mansions" and "Top Luxury Estates" in Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle listed for sale anytime at: