Thursday, July 13, 2017

Today's Best Mansion: It's lavish. It's huge. It's grand. It's expensive.

#1       3020 W Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, CA 96145 with 7 bedrooms, 7 baths 
and 11,734 sq.ft. is listed for sale at $25,000,000.

No expense was spared in creating the most exceptional lakefront home on Tahoe's West Shore. Utilizing irreplaceable materials and space, BaseCamp Lake Tahoe brings to life the finest elements of mountain living. Uniquely sourced Chinese elm gilds the interior and guest house through precision milling creating a canvas of warmth and comfort. Situated within easy walking distance to Sunnyside Resort and Marina with over 100' feet of lakefront complimented by a 189' multi-function pier. Completed in 2010

Today's Top LA Luxury Estate 

The median home value in Los Angeles County is $566,400. Los Angeles County home values have gone up 6.7% over the past year, Zillow predicts hey will decrease (-2.2%) within the next year.

The median home value in Brentwood, 90049 is $2,425,700. Brentwood home values have gone up 3.0% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will decrease (- 3.0%) within the next year

The median home value in Malibu is $2,885,000.  Malibu home values have gone up 4.6% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will decrease (-2.7%) within the year.

The median home value in Bel Air, 90077 is $3,264,800  Bel  Air home values have gone up 0.5% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will go down  (-3.8%) within the year.

The median home value in Beverly Hills 90210 is $4,893,900.  Beverly Hills home values have gone up 0.4% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will decrease (-2.4%)  within the next year. 

#1         1601 Blue Jay Way, Los Angeles, CA 90069 with 3 bedrooms, 4 baths 
and 2,658 sq.ft. is listed at value of land for $5,850,000.

Extraordinary development opportunity to build a one-of-a-kind estate on the front row of Blue Jay Way in the highly coveted "THE BIRD STREETS" with uninhibited jetliner views from downtown Los Angeles to the Pacific Ocean without any rooftop obstructions. Property Sold "AS IS " include: Geo + Soils + Survey, Structural Engineering and full set of Architectural plans and due to restrictions imposed in march 2017 regarding LA Hillside developments proposed home of this size would no longer be permitted on this land. As plans for this home have already been submitted, old zoning rules still apply.

Existing structure:

Today's 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 $421,200. Scottsdale home values have gone up 2.8% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will decrease (-2.7%) within the next year. 

The median home value in Carefree is $751,100. Carefree home values have gone up 3.6% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will decrease (-1.7%) within the next year.

The median home value in Paradise Valley is $1,611,700.  Paradise home values have gone up 1.0% over the past year. Zillow predicts they will decrease (-2.8%) within the next year.

#1         35 Garnet Hill Drive, Sedona, AZ 86336 with 5 bedrooms, 6 baths 
and 7,341 sq.ft. is listed for sale at $3,975,000.
Premier contemporary home located in exclusive West Sedona location on an prime estate lot bordering National Forest. Designed by NY based firm Sanba Int. and Sedona Design Group team, this radius inspired composition of glass, metal and wood highlights clean lines and complements the imposing Red Rocks of the Upper Sonoran Desert. Overlooking the negative edge pool, walls of glass open to some of the most dramatic and sweeping Red Rock views Sedona has to offer - from Lizard Head and Thunder Mountain to the nearby Seven Canyons Resort and Luxury Estates. This home is truly a work or art and is perfect for entertaining with its spa-like outdoor space, detached casita, home theater, and spotless garage for Jeeps to explore the trails that wind through the nearby forest.

Today's Top San Diego Luxury Estate 

The median home value in San Diego County is $543,400. San Diego County home values have gone up 5.7% over the past year. Zillow predicts they will remain even 2.4% within the next year.

The median home value in La Jolla, 92037 is $1,476,600. La Jolla, 92037 home values have gone up 1.1% this past year.  Zillow predicts they will decrease (1.2%) within the next year.

The median home value in Solana Beach 92075 is $1,284,100. 
Solana Beach 92075 home values have gone up 5.3% this past year. Zillow predicts they will rise 1.6%% within the next year.

The median home value in Del Mar 92014 is $1,615,300 Del Mar home values have gone up 3.2% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will decrease (0.6%) within the next year.

The median home value in Rancho Santa Fe is $2,593,300. Rancho Santa Fe home values have declined -(2.9)% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will decline -(3.7)% within the next year.

#1         6605 La Valle Plateada, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067 with 6 bedrooms, 10 baths and 12,254 sq.ft. is listed for sale at $7,850,000.

Rancho Santa Fe's esteemed Covenant enclave creates the ideal canvas on which to display this refined and unparalleled masterpiece. Nestled on 5+ stunning acres where a lily pond, rolling lawn, gorgeous orchard, flowering vines and towering trees provide an idyllic backdrop for gracious living, the sprawling estate reveals a warm and inviting single-level main home with 5 ensuite bedrooms, a 1,600-square-foot 1-bedroom apartment, with an attached multi-purpose room with bath. Sophisticated finishes and appointments are led by high ceilings, rich herringbone wood flooring throughout, impressive crown and base molding, wainscoting, custom window treatments, lighted art niches, and a formal dining room with spectacular chandelier and muted damask Venetian plaster walls that give the room a glow both night and day. A fashionable master bedroom retreat complete with a true spa-inspired bath with dry sauna, steam shower and massage area offers an adjacent private patio where the fragrance of gardenia and jasmine fill the air. Grand public rooms, including an impressive formal living room, a walnut-paneled library, children's playroom, and a welcoming great room with beamed ceiling, provide the appropriate scale for elegant entertaining and intimate family gatherings. The estate's homesite on a quiet cul-de-sac showcases a recently reconstructed outdoor loggia, a built-in outdoor kitchen with pizza oven, a separate fireplace-warmed patio, and a stunning new pool. Equestrian enthusiasts will appreciate world-class facilities that include an 8-stall barn with center breezeway, large pasture areas, a tack room, full bath and hot walker. Outdoor enrichments are strategically placed in such a way as to complement and enhance the main residence while offering the perfect amenities for year-round outdoor living that is so popular in the San Diego climate.


Today's Top San Francisco Luxury Estate

Image result for San Francisco skyline pictures

The median home value in San Francisco is $1,194,500. San Francisco 
home values have gone up 4.0% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will decrease by 1.0% within the year.

The median home value in Sausalito is $1,256,800. Sausalito home values have gone up 2.6% over the past year. Zillow predicts they will rise 1.5% within the next year. 

The median home value in Tiburon is $2,479,000. Tiburon home values 
have gone up 2.1% over the past year.   Zillow predicts they will rise decrease by (2.2%) within the next year. 

The medium home value in Saratoga is $2,453,600.  Saratoga home values have gone up 2.8% this past year.  Zillow predicts they will decrease (- 2.4%) within the next year. 

The median home value in Atherton is $6,343,800. Atherton home values have gone up 7.3% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will decrease ( -1.8%) within the next year.

#1        14820 Mendelsohn Lane, Saratoga, CA 95070 with 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, 
and 3,256 sq.ft. is listed for sale at $3,860,000.

Beautiful custom home completely refurbished in 2001. Separate living and family rooms each with it's own fireplace. Stainless Steel KitchenAid appliances and wine fridge in open kitchen with island. Refinished hardwood floors throughout and new carpet in 3 of the bedrooms. Large master suite with fireplace, walk in closet and marble bathroom with dual sinks, sunken tub and large shower stall. Two other bedrooms with full bathrooms attached. Large entryway with tall ceilings and powder room. Additional front bedroom and another bonus room. 522 square foot loft above 2 car garage (not included in living square footage). AC ready. Large private park-like back yard with patio and deck.

Today's Top Seattle Luxury Estate

Image result for Seattle 
The median home value in King County is $566,900. King County home values have gone up 15.7% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will rise 3.2% within the next year.

The median home value in Kirkland is $645,900.  Kirkland home values have gone up 17.8% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will rise 3.7% within the next year.

The median home value in Seattle is $670,300. Seattle home values have gone up 14.5% over the past year. Zillow predicts they will rise 3.1% within the next year.

The median home value in Bellevue is $819,700. Bellevue home values have gone up 15.6% over the past year. Zillow predicts they will rise 3.2% within the next year. 

The median home value in Mercer Island is $1,401,000, Mercer island home values have gone up 10.7% over the past year.  Zillow predicts they will rise 2.6% with the next year.

The median home value in Clyde Hill is $2,425,000. Clyde Hill home values have gone up 13.0% over the past year. Zillow predicts they will rise 2.6% within the next year.

The median home value in Medina is $2,545,200. Medina home values have gone up 13.5% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 2.8% within the next year.

#1       3654 Fairweather Lane, Medina, WA 98039 with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths 
and 2,560 sq.ft. is listed for sale at $5,000,000.

Waterfront estate tucked away on Evergreen Point.The large lot with 76 ft of waterfront offers outdoor living at it's best with beach, fire pit, view deck, hot tub, boat house and covered dock with lifts.The 1934 Tudor style home was updated in 2006 retaining the quality and  charm of the original home.The layout captures the lake views with formal and casual living areas, elegant kitchen, dining room, den, master suite with fireplace, balcony and sitting area. Private setting with abundant wildlife.

Today's Top Real Estate News

This is America's Top State for Business in 2017

By Scott Cohn 

With the nation's fastest-growing economy and an all-star business roster of household names and up-and-comers, Washington — the Evergreen State — soars above the competition as America's Top State for Business in 2017.

Image result for seattle photos

The home of Amazon (AMZN) and Costco (COST), Boeing (BA) and Expedia, as well as rising stars like Adaptive Biotechnologies, online marketplace OfferUp and space company Blue Origin, Washington has the old and new economies covered — as well as pretty much everything in between.

But the success story does not end there. At a time when the best workforce rules, Washington boasts the nation's largest concentration of STEM (science, technology, education and math) workers. Nearly 1 in every 10 Washington workers is in those professions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The University of Washington's computer science school — recently named for one of the university's most famous alumni, Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder Paul Allen — is world class. There is no brain drain here; no state does better at hanging on to its college graduates. And the state is consistently a magnet for investment capital. Washington businesses attracted nearly $1.6 billion in venture capital last year, the sixth-highest total in the nation. 

Washington climbs to the top of our rankings this year with 1,621 out of 2,500 points, including top 10 finishes in five of our 10 categories of competitiveness. As always, we score all 50 states using 66 metrics across those 10 categories. Using our tried-and-true methodology, we assign a weight to each category based on how frequently the states use them as selling points in their economic development marketing pitches.

This year's categories and point totals are:

- Workforce: 425 points
- Infrastructure: 400 points
- Cost of Doing Business: 350 points
- Economy: 300 points
- Quality of Life: 300 points
- Technology & Innovation: 225 points
- Education: 200
- Business Friendliness: 150 points
- Access to Capital: 100 points
- Cost of Living: 50 points

Washington's first-place finish culminates a steady ascent since the state first cracked our top 10 in 2014 — the same year the Seattle Seahawks won their first and only Super Bowl. Also that year, Gov. Jay Inslee told legislators, "Washington's outstanding workforce is our state's greatest asset."

Since then, that workforce has been outdoing itself.  Washington's economy grew 3.7 percent in 2016, the largest increase of any state and nearly two and a half times the national rate. That, along with solid job growth and one of the hottest housing markets in the country, wins the state a No. 3 finish in our Economy category.

Washington also finishes No. 3 in Technology & Innovation. Only Californians received more patents last year, and Washington institutions were among the largest recipients of medical research grants. All those smart workers help the state finish No. 5 in the important Workforce category. The state also finishes No. 5 for Quality of Life and No. 8 for Access to Capital.

Education a sore spot

But all is not perfect here. The state is under orders from its own Supreme Court to adequately fund its 19th-ranked education system. The state has been paying fines of $100,000 per day for every day without a plan that complies with the state constitution. The fines began in 2015.

Washington is also notoriously expensive. Even though the state has no individual or corporate income tax, it finishes No. 37 for Cost of Living and No. 32 for Cost of Doing Business. With the average worker earning $26.83 an hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington wages are the eighth highest in the country. And with office space going for more than $26 per square foot, according to the CoStar Group, rent is the sixth highest.

More for America's Top States for Business

In the increasingly important Infrastructure category, Washington lands in 32nd place. Two-thirds of the state's roads are in mediocre or poor condition, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

All of the failings prove that despite Washington's strong competitive position, it is not immune to the polarization gripping the rest of the country. State government in Washington is about as divided as can be. Gov. Inslee is a Democrat, and Democrats narrowly control the House of Representatives, 50–48. But Republicans control the state Senate by a single vote, 25–24. No wonder that it took three special sessions for Gov. Inslee and the legislature  to reach an agreement on a new budget, narrowly averting a government shutdown on July 
1. The new budget relies primarily on higher property taxes to increase school funding, raising more than $7 billion over four years and, the legislature hopes, finally complying with the Supreme Court order.

An even bigger concern for the state is whether the recent pace of growth is sustainable. The state's largest employer, Boeing, has cut more than 8,400 jobs in Washington in the past year. That has prompted "I told you so's" from critics of the generous subsidies the state has provided the company, as well as broader concerns about whether Washington's competitive position has peaked.

A rise to the top

Our 2017 field of Top States is our most competitive since we began ranking the states more than a decade ago. Washington outranks its nearest competitor by a mere five points. And second-place Georgia outscores third-place Minnesota by a single point.
Georgia and Minnesota illustrate a running theme in our study year after year: There is no exclusive path to competitiveness.

Georgia follows a more traditional route, the one typically favored by business, emphasizing lower taxes and fewer regulations. The state has come roaring back from the Great Recession, which hit Georgia hard. Now it has the best all-around economy in the nation, according to our study. But it falls seriously short in two categories that often benefit from more state support: Education, where it finishes No. 33, and Quality of Life, where it finishes No. 28.

By contrast, Minnesota takes the position that you get what you pay for. The North Star State finishes No. 2 for Education and No. 3 for Quality of Life. And the state is no slouch in the Economy category, finishing No. 6 with the help of a solid housing market and strong state finances. But the state finishes No. 36 for Cost of Doing Business and No. 31 for Cost of Living. State taxes — at least as far as the top brackets go — are among the highest in the country.

Culture clash

Our 2017 study marks the first time since our rankings began in 2007 that Texas has fallen below second place, dropping to No. 4 this year. In that sense, it is a remarkable drop for a three-time Top State (2008, 2010 and 2012).

The biggest factor in Texas' slippage is its economy, which plummets to No. 25 this year from No. 1 last year. And the biggest factor in the Texas economy is the price of oil.
While prices have bounced back somewhat, they are still well off of their 2014 highs and roughly 70 percent below their peak before the 2008 financial crisis. That has led to some difficult budget decisions in Austin. The blow is cushioned somewhat by the state's strong reserves, a decades-long push to diversify and a tentative return to Texas-style GDP growth at the beginning of 2017.

But Texas gets low marks when it comes to Quality of Life, where it repeats at No. 37 this year. The state has the lowest percentage of people without health insurance—17.1 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau—a fact that state policymakers ascribe to personal freedom, but one that affects Texas residents or would-be residents nonetheless.
And despite widespread outcry from business groups, Texas remains 1 of only 5 states with no statewide antidiscrimination protections for non-disabled residents. Inclusiveness counts in our study, where we consider it a factor in Quality of Life. This year's biennial session of the state legislature has been marked by multiple proposals aimed at making the state even less inclusive.

Another state without such protections is North Carolina, which finishes No. 5 overall for a second straight year. In the face of a nationwide business backlash, the Tar Heel state this year repealed its so-called bathroom bill, which restricted transgender people's use of public facilities. But even as it repealed the law, the state affirmed its prohibition of local antidiscrimination ordinances.

Some businesses and events that had boycotted the state over H.B.2 — like the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament — decided to return anyway, and North Carolina does improve to No. 28 from No. 30 last year in Quality of Life. But the state remains among the least inclusive in the nation. That partially cancels out some of North Carolina's big advantages, including its No. 7 Workforce and its No. 6 finish for Technology & Innovation.
Indeed, for a second year in a row, both North Carolina and Texas might have finished at or nearer to the top of our rankings had either state decided to be a bit more welcoming to workers.

Changing state dynamics

This year's most improved states — a three-way tie — are all in the Northeast, each jumping 10 spots in our overall rankings this year. But beyond the numbers, the stories of Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Connecticut are very different.

Massachusetts' jump lands the Bay State in the Top 10 for the first time since 2011. The state logs solid improvement in Quality of Life (tied for No. 10 vs. No. 17 last year), Economy (No. 14, up from No. 18) and Access to Capital (No. 7, up from No. 19). The state is a perennial leader for Education and Technology & Innovation, but high costs and poor infrastructure ultimately hold Massachusetts back from true Top State status.

Pennsylvania, which moves into the top half at No. 23, posts the best all-around improvement. The Keystone State moves higher in five categories: Workforce (up 8 spots to No. 21), Economy (up 8 spots to No. 34), Education (up 11 spots to No. 10), Business Friendliness (up 7 spots to No. 28) and Access to Capital (up 7 spots to No. 5). It is the state's best overall ranking in six years.

Connecticut's 10-place move takes it out of the bottom 10, but the Constitution State still finishes a disappointing 33rd. Connecticut owes much of its improvement to a big jump in its Education ranking, climbing to No. 3 from No. 18, due largely to better high school test scores. But the state is in a budget crisis, with school funding a central issue as Gov. Dannel Malloy seeks to overhaul the state formula to redistribute money to districts in need.

Meanwhile, Connecticut does poorly in Infrastructure (No. 47), Cost of Doing Business (No. 43) and Cost of Living (No. 45). With a number of high-profile companies leaving or thinking of leaving the state, a No. 33 finish in our Top States rankings is what passes for good news in Connecticut these days.

The biggest move in the other direction is Wyoming, which plunges 14 spots to No. 27 after the state's resource-rich economy practically ground to a halt last year amid low commodity prices.

That also helps explain a new Bottom State for 2017. Suffocating under the weight of declining coal production, West Virginia falls to No. 50 from No. 47 last year. Other states bringing up the rear are No. 46 Maine, No. 47 Alaska, No. 48 Mississippi and No. 49. Hawaii.

Notice something missing from the bottom five? That would be Rhode Island — just barely.

The state is still something of a mess, with high taxes, sky-high utility bills and America's worst infrastructure. But efforts by the Ocean State to improve itself are paying off in a stronger economy. Rhode Island's 45th-place finish is the best it has ever done in our study

Each year, our Top States for Business study sparks plenty of debate and important conversations about what it takes to make a state competitive. Register your comments here, and on social media using the hashtag #TopStates.

Today's Mortgage Rates
Mortgage Rates at 2-Week Lows After Yellen
Jul 12 2017, 4:26PM

Mortgage rates had been holding in a narrow range near their highest levels in roughly 3 months over the past few days.  Despite some stability in underlying bond markets, lenders had hesitated to make meaningful adjustments to rate sheets (in their defense, there wasn't much to work with).  That all changed today after Fed Chair Yellen's congressional testimony.

In fact, it was the prepared remarks for the testimony, released at 8:30am ET this morning that did the trick for bond markets (which underlie interest rate movement).  Market participants were eager to see if Yellen would strike a similarly soft tone to some of the recent speeches from other members of the Fed.  Indeed, that was the case as Yellen said the Fed doesn't need to hike much more in order to reach a neutral Fed Funds Rate.  
Although the Fed Funds Rate doesn't directly affect 30yr-fixed mortgage rates, the latter tend to respond to changes in the Fed's rate hike outlook.  In other words, if investors see the Fed as being less likely to hike in the future, longer-term interest rates can fall in the present.  That's essentially what happened today.  

The improvements are big enough to entice risk-averse borrowers to lock in the gains.  From a momentum perspective, more risk-tolerant borrowers might feel a bit more optimistic about interest rates generally finding a ceiling at recent highs, but risks remain, both from the rest of this week's data as well as next week's European Central Bank announcement.  Bottom line: there's slightly more reason to be optimistic, but it's not quite time to abandon caution in light of the recent rate spike.

30 Yr FRM4.07%4.12%-0.053.37%4.39%
15 Yr FRM3.34%3.37%-0.032.72%3.61%
FHA 30 Year Fixed3.75%3.75%--3.15%4.10%
Jumbo 30 Year Fixed4.35%4.39%-0.043.47%4.60%
5/1 Yr ARM3.20%3.22%-0.022.80%3.25%
Updated: 7/12/17 2:10 PM

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: