Flipping Over L.A.: Out With the Old, In With the New

On March 10th, the Los Angeles Times printed an article by Alejandro Lazo titled, “Investors Flip over Highland Park Homes.”  This article details how investors are purchasing physically and/or financially distressed homes in Highland Park at severely discounted values, and renovating both the interior and exteriors of the homes.  Once the homes are upgraded, the investors put them back onto the market, where they are quickly snatched up by young hipsters and urbanites, yielding great returns for the investors. 

While Lazo’s article does a good job of summarizing the L.A. flip story, his article only begins to illustrate the dramatic home flip activity in the denser, urban areas of Los Angeles. 

In the last 24 months, the Land Advisors Organization Urban Infill Team (Richard Byrd, Tim Barden and Chris Gomez-Ortigoza) has utilized a proprietary method to create a “Flip Analysis” in areas including Hollywood, Silver Lake, Mid-City, Echo Park, Eagle Rock and Pasadena.  In completing each Flip Analysis, the Team is able to draw conclusions and provide concrete information regarding the values that new home buyers place on turnkey homes in a specific neighborhood.  Providing the Flip Analysis creates a level of comfort for builders and developers assessing values, as it illustrates the tremendous demand each flip creates.  More importantly, it shows land buyers the range of values they can expect for a new development in neighborhoods that have little to no recently built, comparable projects. 

The chart below illustrates average values associated with a handful of “Flip Analyses” that we have run during 2011-2012.

The data above represents only averages associated with flips in each neighborhood.  The value increase for individual flips varies with the amount of work done on the home.  Homes with minimal improvements, such as new sod and paint may command a 10-20% increase in value.  Completely gutted and remodeled homes regularly command 50-100% increases in value and more than double in value in some instances. 

As a final snapshot of the Los Angeles infill market, a recent flip analysis illustrated that approximately 18% of flipped homes in Eagle Rock sold for 3% or more above their flipped asking price.  With multiple offers for each property, the turnkey home values are being bid up above asking prices and are creating higher values that positively affect the entire neighborhood.  In today’s market, this is a great sign of what is to come and shows the demand for both new and turnkey homes is alive and well in Los Angeles. 

If you are interested in hearing more about the L.A. Flip Analyses, please contact Land Advisors’ L.A. Urban Infill Team.

Source: Chris Gomez-Ortigoza, Marketing Consultant, (626) 376-9840 ext. 14; Richard Byrd, Senior Marketing Consultant, (626) 376-9840 ext. 13; and Tim Barden, Marketing Consultant, (949) 852-8288 ext. 30

PFAR MLS was used to source all resale information.

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Los Angeles’ Big Idea: the Small Lot Subdivision

Angelenos are faced with many tough questions when deciding to buy a home.  Most will ask…  How bad is the commute to work?  What amenities are close by?  Is the HOA affordable?

According to the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, more than half of a million people commute more than 60 minutes each way to jobs in Los Angeles County every day.  This includes commuters traveling into Los Angeles from Ventura, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.  Many of these commuters work in areas with high job concentrations, including Downtown, Long Beach and West L.A.  For a long time, a large supply of new and affordable single family homes could be found only in the peripheral areas, far from the Los Angeles job centers. 

In 2005, the City of Los Angeles adopted the Small Lot Subdivision Ordinance, which allows for a new style of dense, fee simple homes, closer to the jobs and amenities of the Los Angeles core. 

Land Advisors’ L.A. Basin Urban Infill Team is currently involved in several small lot subdivision projects throughout Los Angeles and sees a tremendous increase in interest from builders, developers and home buyers for the product.  The projects vary in style from Spanish style contemporary to sleek, modern designs.  In addition to the variety of product, many subdivisions are located within 15 minutes of Downtown, Hollywood, Dodger Stadium, Staples Center, job centers and other entertainment venues. 

Echo Park Small Lot Subdivision

A somewhat unnoticed, but extremely beneficial aspect of the small lot subdivision is the lack of a Homeowners Association.  Many HOA fees in Los Angeles exceed $300 per month, while a typical small lot subdivision project has no fee or a maintenance fee under $100 per month.  This is an additional $200+ per month which could translate to more than $40,000 during the course of a 30-year mortgage. 

As the Small Lot Subdivision popularity gains momentum, Land Advisors continues to track newly permitted projects and sales data for active communities.  For more details about the small lot subdivision ordinance, developable sites and how active projects are selling, please contact Land Advisors’ L.A. Basin Urban Infill Team.

Source: Chris Gomez-Ortigoza, Marketing Consultant, (626) 376-9840 ext. 14