WESTSIDE’S CURRENT REAL ESTATE SITUATION, at WVRC on August 13th
AL BELLANCA led the Pledge. CLARK McQUAY gave the Invocation, entitled Have You Planted Your Garden? “First, plant 5 rows of Peas Preparedness, Promptness, Perserverance, Politeness and Prayer. Next, Plant 3 rows of Squash Squash Gossip, Squash Criticism and Squash Indifference. Then, Plant 5 rows of Lettuce let us be Faithful, Let us be Trustful, Let us be Unselfish, Let us be Loyal, and Let us Love One Another. No garden is complete without Turnips Turn up for Work, Turn up with a new Idea, Turn up with a Smile, Turn up with real Determination, Turn up with Enthusiasm and last but not least, Turn up for Meetings of Westwood Village Rotary!” CLARK, good words Thanks. LENNY, as we all know, has always been concerned about his appearance when conducting. When Liberace was at his height, LENNY even thought of emulating Liberace, but then thought better of it. And even with this intro, he then led us in You Are My Sunshine, and topped it off by kissing his wife, Sunny!
As noted above, SUNNY was with LENNY. Our Speaker, MARK ROGO, brought not only his wife, Lynn, but his Mother, Maxine, and his assistant, Marina. Prexy ED then provided some nice comments about the lovely August Moon Festival Party at the home of the MORE’S and I’d like to add that this was the first Chinese music I really enjoyed!
Looking ahead, the Literacy Breakfast is set for Friday, August 28th, at 0730 at Lawry’s. The Speaker will be Daniel Armstrong, who will outline a solution to the dropout crisis and low achievement in our schools,
PLUS how to turn gang members around! The Continental Breakfast is free. Contact Olivia Patterson at (323) 295-9045, OliviaP@WestsideRC.org.
And jumping to September, our Auxiliary will be moving downtown to the Music Center on Tuesday the 29th, for a rare backstage tour of life at the Opera (limited to 40, please). We will gather to form carpools at the Westwood United Methodist Church at 0930. An overview, by Rupert Hemmings, Director of Productions, begins our tour, followed by a backstage visit to both the Ring set, which will be in place onstage, and the Elixir set backstage. Mr. Hemmings will be assisted as Tour Leader by Paul Floyd, Rehearsal Pianist for the LA Opera. A visit to the wig make-up shop follows, and depending upon rehearsal schedules, a singer or two may serenade the Rotary group, according to Joy Bennett Wolfe, who is coordinating the visit. Lunch will be served in a private room of the Kendall Restaurant at the Music Center, and the group will return to Westwood about 3 pm. Cost is $25, checks to Margie Downie at 633 Burlingame, LA 90049. For those who wish, a brief visit afterward to the new Belmont Village adjacent to the Westwood church, will also be available.
Lest we forget, the Head Table was introduced. Those present included PP ERIC LOBERG, who was asked by Prexy ED if it was true that he (Eric) had sculled seven million miles in his lifetime? Our subject was apparently sleeping at the time of the inquiry, the routine being almost more than he could stand, and thus his only reply was, “Has the meeting started yet?” PP STEVE DAY, however, was indeed alert, and launched into his annual spiel about the coming Paul Harris Dinner, which is set for October 3rd at the Carson Community Center. Cost is $75 pp, and we received our packets of raffle tickets and other information today. Don’t forget that all the money collected for raffle tickets goes directly to R.I. for their many fine projects, so let’s all be sure to sign up, please. PP MIKE NEWMAN allowed as how he was the Altar Boy at the wedding of Prexy ED and Kathy at St. Paul the Apostle Church in 1951, and that this was one of only two times when he wasn’t tipped! There was hardly a dry eye in the house, as you can imagine. And this effusion of emotion was undoubtedly the reason why Prexy ED totally failed to call on JOHN HEIDT, who was perched on the very edge of his chair, waiting to speak, so to speak…
These many dramatic events, chronicled here as best they can be, were, of course, moving to everyone present, but Prexy ED still managed a long and touching story, which follows: (I point out these explanations in case others may have followed PP ERIC into the Land of Nod, so upon awakening, they will know where the hell we are) You will not be surprised that one of the three subjects involved in this tale was an actuary, the other two being a doctor and a priest, all of whom had been playing a round of golf. (Perhaps round is not the proper term, since it was terribly slow, but I’ll leave that to your judgment after you have all the facts to consider.) Moving right along, our threesome (a golf term, referring to the total membership of a given group pursuing that little white ball) repaired to the bar after finishing. The Club Captain, not having seen these new members before, welcomes them and asks them how their game went. They say how enjoyable it was but not really wanting to criticize, they do comment on how long the four in front took. (Note that I could have used the term ‘foursome’ here, but knowing your superior powers of concentration and understanding, I felt you would remember my previous parenthesis anyway). The Club Captain explains the story that they are four firemen, who in a tragic accident at a fire at the golf club house were blinded rescuing players from the bar. They are now Honorary Members, allowed to play whenever they want but they do, understandably, take a while to complete a round (see previous explanation).The doctor apologizes and says he will get a friend who is a professor in eye surgery to have a full look to see if anything at all can be done. The priest says all his congregation will pray for them at church. The actuary thinks for a while and asks, “Couldn’t they play at night?” In case you are in doubt, that’s the end of the story, OK?
In the spirit of good and hearty humor thus created, I now offer the first of what could be a future series of quotable sayings, I think they are called. It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust Samuel Johnson. And, Laughter is an instant vacation Milton Berle. Lemme know if these should continue, please.
John Heidt introduced our Speaker, Mark Rogo. Mark is with Coldwell Banker in Beverly Hills, and he and his wife, Lynn, specialize in high end residential property. While most of us knew that, we now learn that Mark went to USC! As he did last year, he will provide us with an overview of local real estate conditions.
Mark began by reminding us that there are two real estate markets. One includes Manhattan, WLA, Beverly Hills & parts of Orange County, and SFO. The other includes the rest of the United States, and the two have almost nothing to do with each other! One comparison Lancaster, with 50,000 properties, had 3500 foreclosures in the same period that our Beverly Hills, etc, with 9,000 properties had 94 foreclosures. Actually, even our area was doing OK until the real meltdown last October, which devastated Wall Street. And yet, we must remember that the huge losses claimed only applied if you sold otherwise they were just paper losses. Mark then used a series of 40 slides to help his verbal presentation. It should also be noted that several prominent WVRC members were featured as part of the visuals.
Where have we been? The number of houses sold declined greatly from 2007 to 2008, but in our area, prices remained high. Looking at days on the market a significant barometer of sales we find that even on the Westside, properties are staying on the market longer. So, where are we now? During the period 2007 to 2009, the LA Times got it right by pointing out that “prices across the state will continue to drop even as sales…keep rising”. During this time, the number of properties for lease increased this, because when they were unable to be sold, their owners offered an alternative. The charts showed that from March 08 until this March was the bottom of the market. Yet, sales in the Inland Valley, or South Central, are improving why? Because there are values out there, finally. Investors see this, and banks are eager to get rid of these toxic assets, which they have had to take over by foreclosure.
Looking just at Beverly Hills, in the 2 to 5 million dollar category, inventory finally began to grow starting this past March. Westwood property in the same price range is similar to BH. The Brentwood area is doing better than WW and BH,, showing strengthening sales and less inventory addition. But anytime you have big inventory increases, that tends to hold prices down. The Westside condominium market, meanwhile, is showing almost no sales, while days on the market are increasing consistently. Mark strongly feels that the days of annual 20% increases in prices are gone that simply won’t happen.
He provided some specific examples of problems in the condo market. The Carlyle has only 12 deposits on their 72 units if they do open, remember that the costs of operating will only be spread among those 12, and they will be very high. Beverly West Residences parent company is in bankruptcy. RobertsonMay is on hold, and the Beverly Hilton has changed their mix of condos and rentals, which will affect condo prices.
So, what should you do? Don’t be a seller, unless you have to, at this time. And if you must, be sure to replace your real estate proceeds with another property that offers more upside in future equity. Remember, your sale will take longer than it would have before the roller-coaster ride began. The sales period now ranges between four and twelve months! And the old rule about first impressions applies even more strongly now spend some money before you offer your property for sale it will always pay off. Remember, 50% of properties that go into escrow fall out! Condominiums follow homes they are the second choice of most buyers. Their price range, by the way, is between one and three million dollars. An example, at the Blair House a lease was offered for sixteen thousand dollars, and all that could be had was nine thousand!
Mark, thanks for all your information. One suggestions on those slides that show details, the print is almost always too small to be read by the audience. However, as you pointed out, we can contact your office for specific sheets, if you want the details.