Monday, September 15, 2014

During drought, pool construction at five-year high

Source: The Business Journal
Written by Hannah Esqueda

Water is the topic on everyone’s minds this summer. Where to get it, how to conserve it and how much is left are common questions residents and municipalities are asking each other. But as the statewide drought deepens, some have begun asking another question — are swimming pools in poor taste? For some communities the answer has been yes, and dozens of cities and water districts throughout the California have increased regulations on pool construction and maintenance. Some communities have even placed an outright ban on building new pools. Local pool construction companies, however, don't believe their products are wasteful and say business is booming despite the drought. “It takes less water to fill a pool than to keep a lawn green,” said Brian Smart, owner of Dreamscape Pools in Clovis. Smart has been in the pool construction business for 40 years and said he has seen several droughts. “The drought hasn't done anything to my business. We've seen others before and it's never been a problem,” Smart said. Dreamscape Pools has done 25 construction jobs this summer, the ideal workload for his small business and a recent high compared to the past few years. Despite the drought, pool construction businesses throughout the Central Valley have seen a busy summer and records indicate that there have been more pool construction permits issued this year than any other time in the last five years. So far this year, 605 permits have been issued for residential swimming pool and spa construction jobs in Madera, Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties. All together, those permits represent more than $19.9 million in construction work. That's a $4 million increase compared to the 538 permits issued last year during the same time period. In 2010, before the drought began, those numbers were even lower, with only 399 permits issued between January and September. While this trend flies in the face of the drought, it makes sense economically, said Ben Bogdanof. Bogdanof co-owns Vineyard Pools in Clovis with his brother Jeff. The two said the market is finally starting to recover from the recession and people are once again spending their money. “People have just been holding on to their money year after year and now’s the time when they're finally feeling confident,” Ben Bogdanof said. “It also helps that the banks are kind of lightening up their [loan] regulations too.” Before this year, most pool customers couldn't get a loan from the bank and had to have the cash upfront, he said. According to permit records, most pool construction jobs carried out this year range between $23,000 to $65,000. Spring and summer are the busiest times of year for pool construction and Vineyard Pools is on-track to complete more construction jobs than last year, Ben Bogdanof said. “You always get a lot of people calling in after the first heat wave of summer. It usually decreases a little after the Fourth of July,” he said. Despite the steady work pace, Jeff Bogdanof said the company has been keeping a close eye on the drought this summer and is wary of any regulations the local governments might take in response. “We're trying to get [jobs] as we can because we're aware something might happen further down the line,” he said, referring to actions taken by dozens of local governments throughout the state. In August, the Santa Margarita Water District announced it would no longer allow customers to fill or even top-off swimming pools saying water is needed elsewhere. Months before that ban, the southern California town of Montecito put a moratorium on new pool developments until the lake where the community gets its water is back to a normal level. Fresno County has not enacted any sort of ban on pool construction but could decide to do so if the drought worsens, said Will Kettler, manager of development services. “There are instances in emergencies,” he said. “It would need to be vetted publicly with a [Fresno County Board of Supervisors] vote before we did anything.” So far, Kettler said his department had not received any direction on pool construction bans. He said he did not know whether or not pools use more water than average lawn maintenance practices. But business owners like the Bogdanofs and Smart said most people overestimate the amount of water pools actually need and the fear of wasting excessive amounts of water is unfounded. “After the initial fill, [pools] actually take less water than a lawn,” Ben Bogdanof said. When people build a pool in their backyard they frequently choose to lay down concrete and build a patio as well, he said. That cuts down on the surface area of their lawn and reduces the amount of water used for outdoor yard maintenance. Jeff Bogdanof agreed and said that the industry is trying to combat the image of pools being a huge waste of water. People see an open body of water and it seems like a lot, he said. “I think a lot of it's just in the mind.” To help reassure their customers, Ben Bogdanof said Vineyard Pools has been using additional waterproofing techniques to help make sure there are no leaks and encouraging customers to invest in pool covers. “Pool covers are a huge way to conserve water. The evaporation is significantly reduced meaning less topping off,” Ben Bogdanof said. But, if local communities placed a moratorium on new pool construction, the brothers said it would mean the end of Vineyard Pools and the dozens of other businesses in the area. “We would have to shut our doors and close down. Our employees would have no work,” he said.

URL to original article: http://thebusinessjournal.com/news/construction/13807-during-drought-pool-construction-at-five-year-high 

 For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Friday, September 5, 2014

Construction begins on luxury apartments for seniors

Source: The Business Journal

 Oakmont Senior Living broke ground on a 75,000-square-foot luxury retirement community in Fresno on Sept. 3. The center is located at 5606 N. Gates Avenue and will cater to active seniors in search of resort-style amenities. Reservations are now being accepted for the 56 assisted living and 23 memory care apartments. Construction is expected to be completed by spring 2015. "We like to say that we will be the region's luxury cruise liner of retirement communities with highly skilled chefs, an endless list of fitness and entertainment activities, and a comprehensive catalog of quality care options," Oakmont Executive Director Valerie Epps said in a prepared statement. "Oakmont of Fresno will be a place where seniors can still enjoy the best that life has to offer." The community will offer gourmet dining, on- and off-site recreational and social activities, a library, movie theater, fitness center, salon and day spa, gardens and chauffeured transportation services. Oakmont of Fresno will also offer customized care services like medication management, housekeeping, grooming assistance, dietary guidance escort services for off-site appointments and in-home care. The center specializes in memory care and will offer services specifically for individuals with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Headquartered in Santa Rosa, Oakmont Senior Living is family-owned and operated.

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/construction/13727-construction-begins-on-luxury-apartments-for-seniors 

 For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

CoreLogic: Valley homes prices rose in July

Source: The Business Journal

 Home prices in Fresno were up 7.6 percent in July compared to last year, according to a new report from CoreLogic. Month over month, home prices decreased by 0.6 percent in Fresno. Excluding distressed sales in Fresno, year-over-year prices increased by 7.9 percent, while they dipped month-over-month by 0.3 percent.

 In Madera in July, home prices increased by 10 percent. Month over month, prices increased by 0.7 percent. Excluding distressed sales, year-over-year prices increased by 15.8 percent, while they increased by 6.1 percent month over month.

In the Hanford-Corcoran area, home prices for July increased by 6.5 percent, while month-over-month prices fell by 0.2 percent. Excluding distressed sales, year-over-year prices rose by 13.6 percent, while month-over-month prices increased by 0.3 percent.

In the Visalia-Porterville area, home prices increased by 11.5 percent in July, while month-over-month prices increased by 1.4 percent. Excluding distressed sales, year-over-year prices increased by 13.2 percent, while month-over-month prices increased by 2.5 percent. Home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased 7.4 percent in July 2014 compared to July 2013. In California, prices increased by 10.5 percent in July, or 8.7 percent excluding distressed properties.

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/real-estate/13665-corelogic-valley-homes-prices-rose-in-july

 For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fresno shopping center sells for $8.05M

Source: The Business Journal

The Mission Village Shopping Center near Fashion Fair Mall in Fresno was sold to a Southern California investment company for $8.05 million. The 52,950 square-foot shopping center, located at the southwest corner of Shaw Avenue and Fresno Street, was purchased by MCS Guardian Properties LLC of Solana Beach, Calif at a sale price of $152 per square foot after 90 days on the market. The seller, who chose to remain private, was represented by Hanley Investment Group of Irvine, Calif. The 5.2-acre property is 83 percent occupied. "Mission Village is located at one of the busiest intersections in Fresno, drawing more than 75,000 car per day," said Eric P. Wohl, senior vice president of Hanley Investment Group, in a release. "The property benefits from close proximity to California State University, Fresno and the newly renovated Fashion Fair Mall, the largest mall in Fresno with over 950,000 square feet of retail space." Built in 1979, the Mission Village Shopping Center is anchored by a new CVS pharmacy. Other tenants in the shopping center include a Fotech Photo Imaging Lab, Samos Kitchen, Toledo's Mexican restaurant, the Korea Mart grocery store, a Curves fitness center and Life Uniform.

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/real-estate/13571-fresno-shopping-center-sells-for-8-05m 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Local bike shop named one of nation's best

Source: The Business Journal

Fresno's Sunnyside Bicycles has been named one of America's Best Bike Shops for 2014 by the National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA). According to a press release, the award seeks to honor retailers that offer a great shopping experience, demonstrate exceptional customer support, and give back to their community. The NBDA also looks for stores that promote bicycle advocacy on both the local and national level, a feat Sunnyside Bicycles has achieved through its work with PeopleForBikes Retail Roundup. Sunnyside Bicycles launched the donation program in 2013 and has so far raised nearly $4,000 for the national advocacy organization. This is not the first time Sunnyside Bicycles has been honored by the NBDA, it previously won the award in 2013 and was given a Top 100 Retailer Award in 2012. Store owner Vanessa McCraken said she is still excited. "This award is a huge honor," she said in a statement. "We are extremely grateful to be recognized and thankful to have such a wonderful team who shares our vision and passion for bicycles." Sunnyside Bicycles opened in 2010 and is located in the Sunnyside Marketplace at Kings Canyon Road and Fowler Avenue.

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/retail/13559-local-bike-shop-named-one-of-nation-s-best 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate please check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Valley home sales fall in July

Source: The Business Journal

Home sales slipped throughout the Valley in July, even as housing inventory continued to grow. According to a new report from the California Association of Realtors, home sales in Fresno County declined 1.7 percent from June to July and 12.6 percent compared to July 2013. The price of a median home in Fresno County stood at $201,530 in July, up 0.2 percent from $201,080 the prior month and up 9.6 percent from $183,870 a year ago. Sales in Tulare County fell 0.7 percent during the month but increased 3.1 percent in the year-over-year comparison. The county's median home price fell 1 percent in July to $174,670 from June's price of $176,520. That's still up 11.2 percent from $157,140 a year ago. Kings County saw its home sales come down 12.7 percent from June, still up 1.5 percent from last year. The median price of a home in the county stood at $175,450 in the month, down 9.8 percent from $194,440 but up 1.2 percent from $173,330 a year ago. Home sales in Madera County were down 15.4 percent compared to June and 43.6 percent year-over-year. The county's median home price was up 2.4 percent in the month, going from $206,250 in June to $211,110 in July. That's also 20.1 percent higher than $175,710 last year. Home sales may have dropped in July but the available supply of houses was on the rise. Fresno County's unsold inventory index, or number of months to deplete the supply of homes at the current sales rate, stood at 4.8 months in July, up from 4.5 months in June and 3.5 months in July 2013. Tulare County's index was up to 4.1 months in July compared to 3.9 months in June and 3.5 months a year ago. Kings County's index stood at 3.8 months in July, up from 3.5 months in both the month and year before. Madera County's index increased to 4.8 months compared to 3.9 months in June and 2.2 months last year. Statewide, home sales totaled 398,940 units in July, up 1.2 percent from 394,250 in June but down 10 percent from 443,500 in July 2013. "It's encouraging that home sales have risen in the past two months, but low housing affordability and stringent underwriting standards are still holding back sales," said C.A.R. President Kevin Brown. "However, recent news of changes to how credit scores are determined should make it easier for first-time buyers who are on the cusp of qualifying and others who are having a difficult time getting a loan because their credit scores are less than satisfactory."

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/real-estate/13474-valley-home-sales-fall-in-july 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Q&A on changes coming to FICO credit scores

Source: The Business Journal
Written by 
MARLEY JAY, AP Business Writer

 (AP) — There are changes coming to FICO, a broadly used credit score, that may mean higher credit scores for many consumers. Banks, credit card issuers, auto lenders and other businesses use those scores to decide whether to lend to consumers and how much interest to charge them. A higher score could get you better terms on loans for cars and homes.
WHAT ARE THE CHANGES? Fair Isaac Corp., the company behind FICO, says there are three significant changes to its metric, which it says is used in 90 percent of U.S. consumer lending decisions. — Debts that go to collections agencies and get repaid won't count against a consumer's FICO score. — Medical debts will have a smaller effect on the score. If your only major bad mark comes from unpaid medical debts, FICO says it expects your credit score to go up by 25 points. (Scores range from 300 to 850.) — A technique to analyze people's creditworthiness if they don't have much of a credit history. __

WHY ARE THE CHANGES HAPPENING? Regulators have focused on health care debts. In May the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a government agency, said consumers may be penalized too harshly for medical debt. The CFPB said medical bills are different from some other types of debts because they can be more expensive, unpredictable and caused by disputes between medical providers and insurers instead of bills consumers simply didn't pay. The CFPB said that consumers who owe medical debt may have their credit scores underestimated by about 10 points. __

WHO WILL BE MOST AFFECTED? Greg McBride, the chief financial analyst for financial services company Bankrate, says the change will help many consumers, but it won't make a big difference if you already have bad credit or very good credit. For consumers with medical debt, this could be the difference between a decent score of around 675 and a good one around 700, or a good score and a great one around 725. According to a study by the Urban Institute, 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills reported to collection agencies. The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals says health care-related bills account for about 38 percent of the debt that gets collected. As for the new technique focused on those with little or no credit history, McBride says its effect remains to be seen. He says lenders want to get a better read on such consumers because they see them as potential customers and want to know which are likeliest to repay loans. The technique will help lenders evaluate people who don't have a bank account, mortgage or credit card — often those with lower incomes, including young people and retirees. __

WHEN DO THESE CHANGES GO INTO EFFECT? Fair Isaac hopes lenders will use the newest version of FICO, which will be available in the fall. But lenders don't have to buy the updated version.

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/en/news/national/13356-a-q-a-on-changes-coming-to-fico-credit-scores 

 For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

CoreLogic: Year-over-year home prices still rising

Source: The Business Journal

CoreLogic, a global property information, analytics and data-enabled services provider, today released its June CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI) report showing that in Fresno and nationally, home prices continue to rise year over year. Month-over-month prices were up slightly from May to June. Home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased 7.5 percent in June compared to June 2013. The change represents 28 months of consecutive year-over-year increases in home prices nationally. On a month-over-month basis, home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased 1.0 percent in June compared to May. In Fresno, home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 9.8 percent in June compared to June 2013. On a month-over-month basis, home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 0.6 percent in June compared to May. Excluding distressed sales, Fresno’s year-over-year prices increased by 10.3 percent in June compared to June 2013. On a month-over-month basis, excluding distressed sales, Fresno home prices increased by 1.2 percent in June compared to May.

Madera
In Madera, home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 13.2 percent in June compared to June 2013. On a month-over-month basis, home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 2.5 percent in June compared to May. Excluding distressed sales, year-over-year prices in Madera increased by 9.8 percent in June compared to June 2013. On a month-over-month basis, excluding distressed sales, the CoreLogic HPI shows Madera home prices increased by 3.6 percent in June compared to May.

Visalia-Porterville
 In Visalia-Porterville, home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 13.2 percent in June compared to June 2013. On a month-over-month basis, home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 0.6 percent in June compared to May. Excluding distressed sales, year-over-year prices increased by 13.1 percent in June compared to June 2013. On a month-over-month basis, excluding distressed sales, the Visalia-Porterville home prices increased by 1.9 percent in June compared to May.

 Hanford-Corcoran
 In Hanford-Corcoran, home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 8.5 percent in June compared to June 2013. On a month-over-month basis, home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 1.3 percent in June compared to May. Excluding distressed sales, year-over-year prices increased by 16.6 percent in June compared to June 2013. On a month-over-month basis, excluding distressed sales, Hanford-Corcoran home prices increased by 1.3 percent in June compared to May.

URL to original article: http://thebusinessjournal.com/en/news/real-estate/13282-corelogic-year-over-year-home-prices-still-rising 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Friday, August 1, 2014

De Young introduces new Mira Bella community in foothills

Source: The Fresno Bee

 De Young Properties will soon be building in the Sierra foothills. The Clovis builder will have a pre-grand opening event on Saturday for its De Young at Mira Bella neighborhood, a master-planned community with 41 homesites on Millerton Road, east of Friant Avenue. The houses, which start in the low $300,000s, will be built on large sites up to 43,000 square feet with views of Millerton Lake. The 1,890- to 3,899-square-foot floor plans will have enough garage space to park a boat, the builder said. The community already has tennis and basketball courts. A swimming pool and clubhouse are planned. The pre-grand opening will be held from noon to 6 p.m. at the Clovis Welcome Center on Armstrong Avenue, south of Gettysburg Avenue. For more information, visit De Young Properties or call (559) 323-6004 or (559) 434-2000.

 URL to original article: http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/07/24/4038563/de-young-introduces-new-mira-bella.html 

 For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Thursday, July 31, 2014

In San Francisco real estate, $1M won't buy much

Source: The Business Journal
Written by 
LISA LEFF, Associated Press

(AP) — San Francisco Association of Realtors President Betty Taisch has two words of advice for those who want to live here and think $1 million will buy them their dream house: think again. In the souped-up world of San Francisco real estate, where the median selling price for houses and condominiums last month hit seven figures for the first time, the cool million that would fetch a mansion on a few acres elsewhere will now barely cover the cost of an 800-square foot starter home that needs work and may or may not include private parking. Taisch, a veteran broker who is used to managing her clients' expectations, has experienced first-hand the heartbreak and hair-pulling inherent to house-hunting in what she considers one of the world's "most desirable, fabulous cities." She put her professional skills to work this summer on behalf of her adult son and his family, who had outgrown their one-bedroom apartment. After three unsuccessful offers, they ended up paying $913,000 for a two-bedroom, one-bath house with an outdated kitchen, a yard that can charitably be called overgrown, and a big basement that Taisch counts as its most attractive feature. "It certainly is a milestone. It's like, 'Wow!'''," she said of the city's new million-dollar median. "Everybody thinks San Francisco is all Pacific Heights Victorians, and it's not. There are many areas of the city that are just normal, single-family homes that are small and not posh at all." The technology's industry's rapid growth coupled with 49-square-mile San Francisco's constrained supply of housing is a big part of the story behind the city's ascension to a rarified real estate bracket already occupied by New York City, but Silicon Valley wealth also is stoking the market in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, according to Andrew LePage, an analyst with CoreLogic DataQuick, a real estate research firm in Irvine, California. Between April and June, the Bay Area saw a record number of homes and condos going for $1 million and above, and they accounted for one-quarter of all sales in the region, CoreLogic DataQuick said in a report released Thursday. During the same three-month period, six of the Bay Area's nine counties set records for the number of homes and condos selling for over $2 million, as did California as a whole, the report said. "The robust tech economy and the overall economy mean the Bay Area has been doing better than most for years now," LePage said. "It already was expensive, and a lot of these high-end markets weren't hammered as hard during the downturn because they weren't exposed to subprime mortgages, so they had less ground to recover in the first place." George Limperis, an agent with Paragon Real Estate Group in San Francisco, agrees that freshly minted technology millionaires who can afford to bid up a property until they win it with an all-cash offer are helping to drive up demand. But unlike during the city's first tech boom in the late 1990s, the buyers prepared to lay down more than $1 million on a fixer-upper in a neighborhood within walking distance of shops and restaurants also include Asian investors and retirees from other major cities who already are accustomed to skyscraper prices for shoebox dwellings, Limperis said. "It feels like a very different city than it certainly did even 15 years ago. There is money coming from so many places now," he said. "So many of these buyers today, they have lived in London, they have lived in Hong Kong, they have lived in New York, and to them these prices are parallel. We can't compare San Francisco with median housing prices even elsewhere in California because this is an international level we are dealing with." Limperis this month represented the sellers of a 1,200-square-foot, two-bedroom home "in poor condition" that had been in their family for generations. Located on a commercial street in San Francisco's Noe Valley neighborhood, an area prized for its modest Victorians, the home was listed for a little under $1.2 million. By the end of its first week on the market, 10 people had submitted all-cash offers. The house sold for $1.8 million to a developer who plans to convert it into condos. "Everyone is aghast at what these things sell for, but as long as the economy keeps going it like it does, these numbers do make sense," Limperis said. Being prepared to go well over a home's asking price and willing to sacrifice style or a second bathroom are some of the pointers that Kelly Kang, a colleague of Limperis' at Paragon, gives to buyers. Kang just represented a young couple with a child who were interested in a 756-square-foot, two-bedroom, one-bath row house built in 1950 in a newly hot neighborhood near a park and public transit that was listed at a little more than $1 million after having sold for $710,000 five years ago. The couple offered $1.2 million and wrote a "love letter" about the house explaining why it was just right for their family. They got the house. "People that want to stay in San Francisco really love the city, so what they are buying is the city more than the property," Kang said.

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/state/13240-in-san-francisco-real-estate-1m-won-t-buy-much 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com