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COLDWELL BANKER PREVIEWS INTERNATIONAL REPRESENTS

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage has done it again! We are extremely pleased to share that Coldwell Banker Previews International has proven itself, once again, to be the leader in luxury home real estate, this time representing the highest known residential real estate brokerage sale in the history of Los Angeles.

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Late last week, our very own Sally Forster Jones with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Beverly Hills, co-brokered the sales transaction for the Spelling Manor.

As I’m sure you know, The Manor (as it is known), was built by entertainment royalty Candy and Aaron Spelling and is widely recognized as one of the most famous mansions in U.S. history.

While the details of the transaction itself are closed, more information is available by reading Friday’s Forbes Magazine story.

Time and again, the world’s most affluent call upon Coldwell Banker Previews International to represent them in the sale of their discerning properties. Just consider this:

  • Coldwell Banker Previews International property specialists participated in nearly 13,547 transaction sides of homes priced at $1 million or more in 2010 with a total sales volume of $25 billion

  • On average, Previews handles $68.9 million in luxury home sales every day*

  • In 2010, Coldwell Banker was the only brand to sell one of the Top 10 most expensive homes in the United States – “Le Belvedere” originally listed for $85 million

Previews has a track record of being selected to represent some of the world’s most equisite properties, including 3 out of 5 of the priciest homes in the U.S.**

A mistake that Coldwell Banker sees from time to time is that some consumers think that we’re a bank. Our agents have even shared some funny stories about it on our Facebook page! So we thought it was time to deal with this in a humorous way…

We have partnered with popular comedy website FunnyorDie.com to create new a video series called The Truth! Hosted by comedic actor Alan Thicke and filmed like an “Unsolved Mysteries” episode, The Truth! reveals a common misconception in today’s society and then explains the reality behind the myth – then subtly mentions the fact that Coldwell Banker is not a bank.

The first episode deals with a common mistake about bulls and the color red. There are three episodes in total and one will be released every Monday for the next two weeks. Click here to view the video and be educated by The Truth!

Do you feel now is a good time to buy?

For those who have good credit, a secure job and financial viability, there is no denying that today is the smartest time in my 36 years in real estate to purchase a home. It’s all about I.I.I.P. Inventory, interest rates, incentives and price. In most markets around the nation, home inventory has increased giving buyers a greater choice. At the same time, mortgage rates remain at near historic lows and home prices have seemingly stabilized. 2010 saw median prices increase slightly by 0.2% to $172,900. Prices dropped about 2% in 2007, 9.3% in 2008 and 12.4% in 2009 according to the National Association of Realtors, the first time in history we saw price declines. This has made home affordability the best since at least 1973 and maybe ever.

Still, not everyone should buy a home. Those who are not financially secure or fear job loss, along with those who envision moving within a few years likely should not buy today. Also those who have a lower monthly payment via renting and enjoy having that discretionary income for a variety of reasons like traveling and entertainment should not buy today. But obviously there is a tradeoff and they may not benefit from long-term positive impacts of homeownership.

Are you concerned that first-time homebuyers are no longer in the market since they have propped up housing for back-to-back tax credits?

Absolutely not. There is plenty of pent up demand and there is interest in homeownership. There are currently more than 16 million renters in the U.S. according to NAR, up from more than 11 million in the early 2000s.

Also, household creation is lower meaning that many have put off homeownership.

In fact the 2009 & 2010 federal tax credits did their job and brought first-time homebuyers back into the market. First-time homebuyers in May accounted for 35 percent of all homes purchased. This group bought 46 percent of the homes a year ago at this time during the height of the federal tax credt.

The message has gotten through that now is a smart time to buy because of I.I.I.P. – interest rates are at historical lows, inventory levels are generally high, tax incentives have value and prices decreases seemed to have leveled off in many markets.

But there is still that obvious challenge of consumer confidence and personal financial viability. People need to have jobs and the confidence that they will maintain those jobs.

Do you think people still value the benefits of homeownership?

Homeownership is in our DNA; People don’t say, “When I grow up I want to rent…” We have to understand that home ownership is emotional. While it is an investment, it is an investment in our lifestyle.

Homeownership will also likely return to an investment in our lifestyle. The mid-2000s saw a shift in how we viewed our homes. While my parents never uttered the phrase “home appreciation,” that changed with the housing boom. We became fascinated with the paper gains our homes had made. Today, those who do not have to move are equally disappointed with the paper loss our homes may have taken since then. So while a home is an investment in our lifestyle, I’m not naïve enough to believe that we will ever forget that it does have financial implications. But we will not expect our homes to become winning lottery tickets and serve as “piggy banks.”

How does the current economic downturn affect the real estate market?

There remains a consumer confidence challenge impacting housing. Job loss – and fear of job loss – is keeping people from engaging in the process even as mortgage rates remain at near historic levels.

Today, the large number of homes available for sale provides home buyers with a wide range of choices. Interest rates remain low. Affordability has improved in many markets and is at historically strong levels. This is the smartest time to buy a home in my 36 years in real estate. While many might understand that, they are being influenced by the economic downturn and their decisions reflect this concern.

It’s clear that the housing market will play a role in our economic recovery and the good news is that price declines seem to have stabilized nationally. Yet we still have some challenges including a relatively high amount of homes on the market.

What real estate indicators are you following on a national level?

The key indicator in market conditions is always inventory. I would like to see us march back towards the six-month levels which normally indicate a balanced market between buyer and seller. Today we are at 9.3 months nationally according to NAR, up from a 9.2 month supply last month. This seems natural as more homes come on the market for the Spring market. Total inventory is 3.72 million homes, down more than 20 percent from record levels of 4.58 million in July 2008.

March saw the median home decrease in price to $166,500, down 4.6 percent from a year ago. While we have been seeing more stability each month +/- a percentage point or two, this month was impacted by an increase in distressed home sales. We must remember that last year at this time we were in the midst of the Federal homebuyer credit.

It is critical to remember that median price is heavily impacted by 31 percent of all May sales being of distressed homes and these types of homes usually sell for about 20% less than traditional homes.

Investors have returned to the real estate market as evidenced by the large amount of distressed properties being sold and the fact that 30 percent of all sales are cash deals, up from 25 percent a year ago. Investors accounted for 19 percent of all May sales.

NAR, in its first quarter report, showed that 34 of their 153 surveyed markets showed an increase in median price from a year ago.

For all of 2009, the median price was $173,200, down 11.9 percent from 2008. 2010 saw median prices increase slightly by 0.2% to $172,900. This has made home affordability the best since at least 1973 and maybe ever.

When will the real estate market turn?

I don’t have a crystal ball, but we have some positives. The first is that the market downturn has brought home affordability levels to the best in many, many years – at least to levels not seen since 1973 and maybe ever. The unsustainable increases we had in 1995-2005 have leveled off. Sellers have become much more reasonable in setting prices and as consumers begin to gain more confidence that prices have leveled off they will return to the market.

Real estate is positioned well for the future.

  • Baby boomers are in their prime real estate buying years and are 78 million strong.
  • The Pew Research Center reports minority homeownership levels still have room for improvement. The gaps between white and minority households remain significant with homeownership rates for Asians (59.1 percent), African-Americans (47.5 percent) and Latinos (48.9 percent) well below the 74.9 percent among whites.
  • Immigrants are moving to the U.S. by the tune of 1.1-1.5 million a year depending on the source. These are legal immigrants who add value to our country and society. They need housing.
  • Echo boomers will likely have similar economic impact in coming years that their baby boomers parents have had through their lives. Echo boomers are born between 1977 and 1994 and are 73 million strong and according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, 4 million turn 21 each year.
  • Household formation is also an important statistic. The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University projects at least 1.25 million households will be created annually from 2010-2020 and will be led by the echo boomers.
  • Between 2010 and 2020, the Census Bureau projects U.S. household growth to be in the range of 1.25 to 1.5 million per year, which will create an additional demand for housing. This should equate to a demand for 12.5 -15 million total new households during this decade.
  • People move for lifestyle. There have been 4 million marriages and a record more than 8 million babies born in the last two years indicating there is demand for housing. Many of these growing families have not bought a home and are either renting or living with family as they save for a down payment. We know there is pent up demand.

Why is now a smart time to buy?

I.I.I.P. Inventory, interest rates, incentives and price. In most markets around the nation, home inventory has increased giving buyers a greater choice. At the same time, mortgage rates remain at near historic lows and home prices have seemingly stabilized. 2010 saw median prices increase slightly by 0.2% to $172,900. This has made home affordability the best since at least 1973 and maybe ever. Prices dropped about 2% in 2007, 9.3% in 2008 and 12.4% in 2009 according to the National Association of Realtors. These were the first price declines in history.

We must remember that Americans move for lifestyle. They moved yesterday, are moving today and will move in the future. What has confused the real estate consumer is the ancillary activity surrounding the real estate market like the subprime mortgage issues impact on Wall Street, and stock prices of home builders. For the most part, these stories do not impact the everyday consumer although it will take some time to the subprime lending fallout to calm.

Remember most people will not sell their home for a loss unless there is catastrophic illness, injuries, loss of a loved one, sustained job loss or other major economic challenge. Yet because those who purchased in the last seven years may not have made money on their home, they are understandably hesitant to sell for a loss and move up even though lifestyle changes might dictate the time is right.

  • HOMES ARE MORE AFFORDABLE – Current housing prices are down 27% on average across the nation from peak values five years ago, and national housing affordability index continues to hover at record levels.
  • RATES ARE LOW – At 4.6%, 30-year fixed mortgage interest rates remain near historical lows.
  • TIMING IS EVERYTHING – Conforming loan limits will be reduced on Oct. 1, 2011, which will decrease the availability and affordability of mortgage credit for many home buyers in 42 states.
  • HOMEOWNERSHIP IS STILL THE AMERICAN DREAM – Nearly 9 in 10 Americans say homeownership is an important part of the American Dream.
  • FINANCING IS AVAILABLE – Today’s borrower needs to have stable employment of at least two years; sufficient income to cover monthly mortgage payment and living expenses; adequate savings to make at least a 3.5% down payment; and, in general, a credit score of at least 620. Buyers that meet these basic requirements and plan to live in the home are well on their way.

 NOW IS THE TIME TO MAKE A MOVE

“As an artist and a homemaker i love creating comfortable and artistically Inspired environments. Environments that speak uniquely to the individual And express their sense of style. Art is my passion especially as that art translates into beautiful design.”
 
Jane Seymour has inspired millions of fans throughout the world not only with her on-screen performances but with her grace and style off-screen. Known for her dramatic talents, she is also drawn to drama in design. She recently launched her signature Hollywood Swank furniture and décor collection which evokes pure glamour in high style. An accomplished author, Jane Seymour has written numerous books, including “Making Yourself at Home”, a style book featuring her home and lifestyle tips. Throughout her illustrious career, she has been recognized for her work with 2 Golden Globes and an EMMY Award. Television viewers across the country welcomed her into their home every week on the hit network series “Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman” and she charmed film audiences with memorable performances including “Somewhere in Time” with the late Christopher Reeve. Her most recent role was a truly unique one: She just returned from London where she stepped into the international spotlight as a special celebrity correspondent for Entertainment Tonight alongside Mary Hart, providing television audiences around the world with VIP access to the Royal Wedding.

Q. What makes an entrance to a home truly memorable in your eyes?

A. An entry hall that reflects the personalities of the people who inhabit the home.

Q. What style of architecture do you find most suits your taste?

A. I like homes that have a timeless feel and I am partial towards a stone finish. I like homes with wood, stone and elements of nature.

Q. What is your favorite room in a home and why?

A. The kitchen, because that is the room that the family invariably gravitates towards; it is the heart of the home.

Q. What inspired you to create Hollywood Swank?

A. We wanted something glamorous and contemporary which reflected the old and new Hollywood. The faux animal textures such as the crystal croc and leopard add some drama and excitement. The collection evokes pure drama that is striking and show-stopping.

Q. What is the first thing that you always notice when you walk into a room?

A. The atmosphere and combination of the energy of the people who inhabit the space. Whether it is ultra modern or cozy and eclectic it speaks volumes about the people who live there.

Q. What does a room need to have in order to capture and hold your attention?

A. A sense of drama. A great focal point whether it is art or dramatic furniture or colors. Lighting is probably one of the most important elements. The collection is described as “Casablanca” meets “An American In Paris” and celebrates the rich history of Hollywood cinema.
Q. What movies in your own career or in your experience most inspired and influenced your design sensibility?

A. I have worked with so many art directors from so many eras. I am constantly inspired. Most of the movies I have been in were period pieces.
Q. The collection embodies the glamour of Oscar night – What red carpet moment or Oscars memory played a role in inspiring the design?

A. I suppose Oscar night for “Walk the Line” when it was nominated for best picture. Our collection reminds me of that night and the glamour of that evening when everyone pulls out all the stops. It’s a red carpet Hollywood moment.

Forty of metro Denver’s leading luxury home experts met recently to review and analyze the state of the region’s upper-end housing market.  The meeting was held for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Previews Property Specialists at the Buell Mansion in Denver.  The Previews program is recognized as the premier marketing program for luxury homes worldwide.

Headed by Jill Croteau, Colorado regional Previews coordinator for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, the gathering was a continuation of the company’s focus on utilizing the recently enhanced Previews program to its maximum potential.  Attendees reviewed luxury home inventory in the Denver area, as well as market trends and activity. 

According to recent statistics for the first five months of 2011, Coldwell Banker residential Brokerage enjoyed a 9.1 percent market share in the luxury home market with 140 transactions with an average sales price of $769,000.  The company posted a total of 142 closed transactions for single-family homes, condominiums and townhomes priced from $500,000 to $1 million for the same period, which placed Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage number one among area real estate brokerages. 

“We had a great turnout for our latest Previews marketing meeting, and the networking among our luxury home experts was exceptional,” said Croteau.  “Following the meeting, we toured some of the finest luxury homes in the area.  During a challenging real estate market, the Previews program provides Coldwell Banker agents and their clients with a distinct advantage because of its comprehensive features and benefits.  The exposure for our luxury listings is unmatched in the industry and our marketing meetings help us utilize the Previews program on the highest level possible.”

Colorado’s new and improved Previews program is specifically designed to market homes priced at $500,000 and higher.  The program includes a luxury home marquee sign, high-gloss brochures and neighborhood announcements, and text-based electronic brochures.  Luxury homes are showcased on Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Trulia.com and YahooRealEstate.com, in addition to ColoradoHomes.com, ColdwellBanker.com and Previews.com.

For more information on the newly improved Previews marketing program, please visit ColoradoHomes.com, ColdwellBanker.com, and Previews.com. 

The Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage office in Greenwood Village is located at 8490 East Crescent Parkway, Suite 100 and can be reached at 303.409.1300.  Croteau may be reached directly at 303.882.9700, e-mail at jill.croteau@coloradohomes.com.

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