NOW OPEN: Marina del Rey Hotel & Salt

Marina del Rey Hotel

Image Source: Pacifica Hotels

The Marina del Rey Hotel has just reopened after recently completing their $25 million renovation to modernize the historic waterfront hotel.

The revived 164-room hotel now boasts the following upgraded 4-star amenities, among many others:

  • Full-service restaurant
  • 24-hour room service
  • Concierge assistance
  • Outdoor, marina-facing pool and sundeck
  • Outdoor wedding venue

Image Source: Pacifica Hotels

The hotel, which originally opened in 1964, completed their renovation just in time for the hotel’s 50th Anniversary. Marina del Rey Hotel has served as the central meeting point for local yacht clubs, fashion shows, and high-profile Los Angeles functions over the past half-century. The hotel provides easy access to a multitude of local attractions including Venice Beach, Fisherman’s Village, Ballona Wetlands and Santa Monica Pier. Nearby water activities include kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing and sailing.

Be one of the first to experience the new Marina del Rey Hotel. We know we will be trying it out soon. As well as their new restaurant. (Scroll down for details on that!)

SALT Restaurant

Image Source: Pacifica Hotels

SALT’s California Cuisine will consist of seasonally inspired and locally sourced dishes. Ingredients are sourced from local farmer’s markets to create an incredible Marina del Rey dining experience. SALT’s own rendition of Californian cuisine explores simple favorites with a contemporary twist. We can’t wait to try their new creations. Creamy hummus, which is complemented with a touch of California avocado and served with crisp grilled pita and fresh vegetables. Delicious lobster pasta featuring Maine lobster and Udon noodles in a succulent brown butter sauce.

Image Source: Pacifica Hotels

Check out their menus here and call 424.289.8223 to make a reservation.

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Southern California Home Buyers Face International Competition

Home buyers in Southern California markets have been seeing more and more  competition lately. We have seen several listings sell with multiple offers, which is not a rare occurrence in our market. However, 27 offers on a single property is a bit out of the norm for us!

Recent research from the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) has provided some insight into this interesting phenomenon. According to C.A.R. survey, “U.S. ranks as top destination for international home buyers, specifically the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara.” 

Viewing the country as a safe place to put their money, international home buyers preferred purchasing properties in the United States over other countries, according to the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®’ (C.A.R.) “2013 International Clients Survey.”

85 percent of international buyers said they only considered purchasing a home in the U.S., citing that the stable government and financial system would guarantee their home investment. International buyers also chose to purchase in the U.S. for its desirable location and climate (20%), to be closer to family and friends (20%), investment opportunities (9%), changes in work and employment (9%), educational opportunities (6%), and affordable prices (4%).

International buyers purchased a property in the U.S. primarily for investment purposes or tax advantages (18%) or to rent out (14%), contrary to traditional home buyers, who purchased primarily because they were tired of renting (23%).

Looking at California specifically, Los Angeles County was the top location where international buyers purchased properties (35%).  International buyers also purchased homes in Orange (22%), San Diego (20%), Riverside (14%), Contra Costa (7%), and Santa Clara (7%) counties.

Additional findings from C.A.R.’s 2013 International Clients Survey include:

• Sixty-nine percent of international buyers paid all cash for their properties, compared to 27 percent of traditional buyers who paid all cash.
• Thirty-two percent of international buyers purchased the home as a primary residence, compared to 75 percent for traditional buyers, and 33 percent purchased the home as an investment or a rental property, compared to 19 percent of traditional buyers.
• While the primary language of many international buyers was Chinese (36%), 70 percent communicated in English, illustrating a highly educated international clientele.
• International buyers typically spent five weeks looking for properties, compared to 10 weeks for traditional buyers.
• Forty-four percent of international home buyers purchased homes with designer kitchens, 26 percent purchased homes with a wine cellar, and 9 percent purchased homes with a sauna.  Other home amenities that international buyers wanted include private beach, putting green, heated floors, and outdoor kitchens.

The International Clients Survey was conducted via email to a random sample of REALTORS® statewide who worked with international home buyers. Eligible respondents all closed escrow on their homes within the 12 months prior to October 2013.  Access the full report on the survey findings here: http://www.car.org/marketdata/surveys/other/ and view the webinar presentation here: http://www.car.org/marketdata/videos.

According to the Wall Street Journal, these are 10 countries racing to buy American Homes:

  1. United Arab Emirates (UAE) – 352.2% (Growth in prospective homebuyers from 2009)
  2. Switzerland – 269.7%
  3. Hong Kong and China – 254.2%
  4. France – 190.0%
  5. Italy – 178.4%
  6. United Kingdom – 153.8%
  7. Australia – 121.9%
  8. Canada – 107.7%
  9. Sweden – 100.0%
  10. Germany – 95.2%

U.S. Home Sellers Return for Spring 2014

Last year we experienced an extremely low inventory for listings in our area. However, the properties that were up for sale had such high demand that the values of these few listings skyrocketed. Now, as the market’s busiest season approaches, those increasing values are spurring more listings as homeowners regain equity lost in the crash. The supply increase is poised to damp price gains while high mortgage rates cut into demand.

According to Jed Kolko of SF-Based Trulia, “prices won’t be rising as much as they were rising last spring. It will be a less frantic market with more inventory and fewer investors.”

Inventory rose most in some of the tightest areas, from Arizona and California and Georgia to Florida, where leaps in prices erased negative equity and encourage homeowners to lock in profits. (Realtor.com)

Paul Diggle of Capital Economics Ltd. has stated that prices nationwide will climb 4 percent this year compared to 2013’s expected 11 percent gain. Increasing mortgage rates also will weigh on prices because the higher costs will push some buyers out of the market, while forcing others to look for cheaper deals.

Capital Economics Ltd. projects 30-year fixed mortgage rates of 5 percent by the end of the year. (Compare that to 4.31%, which is this week’s national average.) Rates will climb as the Federal Reserve scales back bond purchases that have bolstered the housing recovering by holding borrowing costs down.

We saw an uncharacteristic increase in listings at the beginning of the year, due to the fact that homeowners are getting a jump on the spring selling season and listing their properties earlier than usual. According to an agent from Redfin, Paul Reid, sellers are “nervous about what the spring is going to bring. They don’t know if everybody will list this spring then you’ll have a big counterbalance toward too much inventory, or if there’ll be a crunch again.

First time buyers accounted for 27 percent of completed home purchases in December, down from 30 percent a year earlier. This may be due to the fact that adjustable-rate mortgages may not be an option because of stricter lending standards adopted after the housing crash.

 An increase in supply would indicate the housing market is moving toward more normal conditions as it rebounds from the five-year slump that started to turn around in 2012.

Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics Inc., states “inventories had been very, very low and still are despite this turnaround. It’s part of the process toward normalization, although the weakening in demand needs to be watched very carefully if demand does not pick up in the spring, that’s going to call into question the strength of any recovery.”

Buyers of existing homes will face less competition from investors, who have caused shortages in many areas. Bulk purchases will start to slow as the foreclosure crisis fades and bargains disappear.

 

Using Your Phone To Get A Ride

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Hailing a tax may be child’s play in New York City, but in L.A. the taxicabs are few and far between. Not to mention they are never where you need them to be. But don’t fret, services like Uber, Flywheel, Lyft, and Sidecar make it much more manageable. Not to mention you can do it all from your smartphone.

Flywheel – An app for iPhones and Android smartphones that lets you hail a cab, watch as your cab approaches, and pay for your cab ride using your smartphone.

Flywheel is a start-up based out of San Francisco that has partnered with Bell Cab Company. The company has around 300 green-colored cabs that roam all over the Westside. The app allows you select your pick up location using your phone’s GPS or the app’s drop-down menu that includes various businesses, music venues, shops, and hotels around Los Angeles. Once you have selected your “location” you will then see icons of all the available cabs in the area. At this point, you can “hail” a taxi and the closest driver will be notified and come pick you up. You will then be notified of estimated wait time and can actually track the taxi using GPS. You are alerted when the taxi has arrived and you’re pretty much set to use the cab just like you would if you flagged them down on the street. The app also has a feature where you can pay for the fare through your phone.

This is the only service of the three that allows you to hail actual taxis.

Uber – “Friendly Service and Clean Cars”

Uber provides two services at this point Uber and UberX. Uber is the higher cost version where you will be picked up in either a town car of SUV. UberX on the other hand involves a Toyota Prius, which can make the longer rides be more cost effective than a normal taxi.

Similarly to Flywheel, both Uber and UberX cars can be requested via a smartphone application. The app will show you which cars are in your vicinity as well as the estimated wait time for one of them to pick you up. Unlike the Flywheel app, Uber’s applications feature a fare calculator so you know approximately how much the ride will cost you from point A to point B.

Currently, my favorite option…

Lyft and Sidecar – Ride Sharing Apps

Lyft and Sidecar are in a class of their own; these are apps that promote ride sharing. You may have seen the abundance of cars with pink mustaches driving around and wondered to yourself why would anyone put that on their car…?

The mustaches are there to let you know which cars/drivers have been given the companies approval. Both of these services do background checks on their drivers to make sure that passengers feel safe and have a enjoyable ride experience.

Lyft and sidecar promote “fun and social” rides. Like the other two companies both these ride-sharing services have their own apps which work in very similar ways. They both suggest voluntary ride “donations”.

 

 

Marina Del Rey Hotel Finally Has Renovation In The Works

The Marina Del Rey Hotel was the first ever hotel built in Marina Del Rey and will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year. With that large milestone just around the corner, Pacifica Hotels has announced that they have closed the doors (As of August 2013) in anticipation of a 20 million dollar renovation giving the hotel a complete “face lift”.

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Pacifica Hotels, California’s largest owner and operator of boutique hotels, announced Aug. 26 that the Marina Del Rey Hotel will reopen in early Spring 2014.

Matt Marquis, president of Irvine-based Pacifica Hotels stated further that “our intention with this renovation is to revitalize the Marina Del Rey Hotel, while maintaining its classic reputation. We have put significant resources into the Marina Del Rey community and want the Marina Del Rey Hotel to be a shining example of Pacifica’s investment in the area’s hospitality landscape.”

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After the improvements, 160-room Marina Del Rey Hotel will boast four-star amenities, including a full-service restaurant, 24-hour room service, concierge assistance, an outdoor, marina-facing pool and sundeck, an outdoor wedding venue, and other offerings, according to a Pacifica spokesman.

The Marina del Rey Hotel is one of five Pacifica hotels in the marina area, the company said. The others are Jamaica Bay Inn, Hilton Garden Inn Marina del Rey, Inn at Marina del Rey and Inn at Venice Beach.

Marina del Rey Hotel is at 13534 Bali Way, Marina del Rey. Information (800) 720-0223 or http://www.pacificahotels.com.