Westside beat…thank you Google: Ever since Google has announced they will be opening an office campus in Venice, other tech companies are following suit and providing a set of new buyers for the Westside market. When you combine that with quite a few foreigners looking to invest in Westside real estate, a strong crop of buyers is coming out of the woodwork. Activity at our open houses has been strong and we have noticed quite a few people coming in from San Francisco, New York, China and Japan.

Another good thing for current seller is that inventory, especially in the single family market, is not very good on the local level. The market does not have a lot of well priced properties in move-in condition. A savvy seller who prices their home at true market value will move a property quickly and also get a very important thing in this market: strong escrow terms! Strong escrow terms are often forgotten but very important during a bumpy economic time.

Sellers need to beware though! The current crop of buyers is picky and will not jump on something unless they feel they are getting a strong value. When the market was on fire in 2005, buyers had absolutely no patience…now, we are on the other end of the pendulum and they will wait a seller out if they have to. The practice of pricing a property is vitally crucial in these uncertain times. Buyers are more than willing to wait and let an overpriced seller try and catch a falling knife with no handle and it can get nasty…

Oops…those damn realtor groups: The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is working on a benchmark revision for existing home sales numbers. This benchmarking is expected to result in significant downward revisions to sales estimates for the last few years – perhaps as much as 10% to 15% for 2009 and 2010. I am a member of NAR and appreciate the lobbying they do for those of us in our profession but I am usually very skeptical of numbers they put out. Of course, they want everyone to think all is okay in the world of real estate but you should never believe a specific trade group’s numbers. Plus, a serious real estate aficionado rarely looks at national numbers when you deal with the micro markets of the Westside and South Bay…at least NAR is trying to get it right and not playing the game of charades.

Million Dollar home sales in California increase: Sales in homes costing more than $1 million increased last year for the first time since 2005, reports DataQuick Information Systems. 22,529 homes sold for $1 million or more in 2010, up 21 percent from 2009. Million-dollar home sales peaked in 2005 at 54,773, but have steadily declined every year through 2009.

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