Luxury Insider: A Magazine for Intero’s Premier Properties

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This month marks the release of the 11th issue of The Intero Prestigio Magazine.  Composed of some of the finest luxury estates Intero has to offer, this Prestigio Virtual Magazine gives you a glimpse into the world of high-end properties.  Since it is an online piece, feel free to enjoy it at your leisure, whenever you can take the time to relax and open your eyes to an album of beautiful homes. This also allows you to instantly share it with friends and family through social media, websites, or email.  Browse through the gorgeous photos and find the property information and unique qualities of each one of the exceptional properties featured.

Prestigio is a division of Intero Real Estate Services specializing in the marketing of high end homes and estates in all relevant markets, whether local, regional, state-wide, national and international. We offer the widest scope of marketing coverage to multiply the opportunities to reach out to the most qualified buyers.

It is wonderful to see how this global high-end marketing program has become the reference in the industry for this type of publication and the standard by which others are judged. The release of our eleventh issue attests of the mark that Intero has established in this prestigious market.  Take a look at the beautiful homes that are the finest in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond… you just might find your next home!

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View the virtual magazine for yourself here.


Intero Insider: Housing Roundup: A Second Chance, High Earners and Precious Affordability

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With the busiest home-buying season of the year upon us, we thought we’d do a roundup of interesting housing news from the week.

This time of year, it can be easy to stick our heads in the sand and move forward without stopping to get a bird’s eye view of the state of things. Here are some items that point to specific points of the housing spectrum that are worth keeping an eye on.

FHA program gives former homeowners chance to buy sooner

Homeowners who lost their homes to a short sale or foreclosure typically are required to wait three years before being able to purchase a home again with a Federal Housing Administration loan. That number is more like seven years for a conventional loan, though it can vary with special documentation and circumstances.

But FHA’s Back to Work Program allows buyers to purchase a primary home much sooner – potentially as soon as 12 months after a short sale, foreclosure or deed in lieu of foreclosure.

To qualify, buyers will need to document the financial problem that caused their short sale or foreclosure, and show that that they’ve taken steps to re-establish income and credit.

The program is slated to run through September 30, 2016. Details are at the FHA website.

Cities where homeowners have the highest incomes

The metro area of San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, Calif., is home to some of the nation’s highest-earning homeowners, with median incomes at $115,297, according to a recent analysis from the National Association of Home Builders.

To compare, the median household income of owner-occupied housing nationwide is $65,514.

The full list of top 10 metros where homeowners have the highest incomes includes:

  1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.: $115,297
  2. Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, Md.: $114,444
  3. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C./Va./Md./W.Va.: $111,816
  4. San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif.: $110,663
  5. Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, Mass.: $105,786
  6. Bridgeport-Stanford-Norwalk, Conn.: $104,790
  7. Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y.: $102,632
  8. Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, Calif.: $101,124
  9. Newark-Union, N.J./Pa.: $100,067
  10. Boulder, Colo.: $97,690

The builders group also notes that many of the metros with the highest homeowner incomes are also in metros that have some of the highest median home values. Makes sense.

Affordability drops from last year

As home prices continue to rise in many markets and wages stay mostly stagnant, housing affordability has waned a bit compared to last year.

Housing affordability rose from January to February, according to NAR’s latest Housing Affordability Index, but it remains lower year-over-year. Affordability is calculated considering median home prices, family incomes and average mortgage interest rates.

The median single-family home price is $189,200, up 9% from a year ago. Mortgage rates are up a full percentage point from last year, and incomes have climbed only 1.9% in the past year.

Conclusion

See why it’s important to check a lot of news to get a sense of the market? We’re reminded that even as the world becomes more global, housing remains very much tied to local economies and family-level situations. As one segment booms, another reaches for recovery. Overall, things are holding steady in 2014.


Prestigio Magazine Makes The News!

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Check out RisMedia’s article on our newest Intero Prestigio digital magazine.  You’re sure to be wowed with what’s inside.

Top Luxury Estates from Intero Presented in a Mobile Friendly Digital Magazine


Top Luxury Estates from Intero Presented in a Mobile Friendly Digital Magazine

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A new way to experience Intero Prestigio International homes

  Intero Real Estate Services, Inc. is releasing another issue of their Intero Prestigio digital magazine. The digital magazine is a combination of the innovative, tech savvy power of the Silicon Valley real estate company and their division specializing in high-end real estate, Intero Prestigio International. This issue gives you a taste of Pebble Beach living, shows off multiple Atherton estates, entices you with city living in San Francisco and so much more.

The magazine offers enhanced and global promotion for Intero’s most exclusive homes and estates. Designed with ease of circulation in mind, it can instantly be shared through social media websites and email.  As if reading a handheld magazine, online viewers can browse through gorgeous pictures and enjoy articles written by the luxury real estate icon, Alain Pinel.  The digital magazine aims not only to raise awareness of properties offered in the Prestigio collection, but also to exhibit their finest qualities.  This piece only touches the surface of what is offered through the Prestigio marketing program.

Renowned real estate entrepreneur Alain Pinel, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Intero Prestigio International, is the primary mastermind who pioneered and launched Intero Prestigio as part of his goal of expanding Intero’s luxury brand.  From local print advertising to international display, properties in the Intero Prestigio collection have an elevated level of exposure to help them sell quickly and efficiently.

“Technology has linked all corners of the world together on an unprecedented level and it is clear that we are only going to grow more connected,” states Alain Pinel. “We no longer have high-end buyers confining their search for luxury homes to their neighborhood––or even to their own country. Nor are people searching in the conventional ways of decades past. Globalization has been the buzzword for some time now, yet nowhere is it as real and apparent as in the high-end real estate market. We, at Intero, put the puzzle pieces together. That’s why, among a host of innovative tools and services, we created this online magazine to reach the worldwide audience using the digital means that connect us together.”

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View the digital magazine for yourself here.


Luxury Insider: If You Missed The Train, Take The Next One

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The best time to buy a home was in 2012. Too late! That’s OK.

The best time to sell was in 2013. Too late! That’s OK.

There is always another day! Today for instance. Mortgage money is still in record-low territory and, even though sales are slowing a bit, prices are still edging upward. Not a bad situation for either buyers or sellers. Stabilization is a welcome omen. It beats suffering from a drought or from a flood. It’s a win-win.

The first Quarter of the year is gone. The early observations we can make after those short three months differ greatly depending on where you place the magnifying glass on the national map. The main reason for the spotty and erratic business activity in the US, so far, has been…the weather. It seems like every year we blame Winter for messing up business activity. This year though, it has been “unusually unusual”, as much of the country has been frozen in place.

The North-East, in particular, is only now about to start the year – as far as real estate is concerned! With the notable exception of snow-plowing, most businesses took a big hit. Totally different picture on the West Coast, especially in California. There, the snow is behaving in a more respectful way; it falls only where it is supposed to: on the ski slopes! The sun has been generous and the real estate activity has been relatively steady, from the start of January to the end of March.

The saving grace, though, has been a sizeable price appreciation. It kept the sales volume from dipping. The Silicon Valley is a pretty good example of the phenomenon. The analysis of the first Quarter of the year gives a conflicting image. The market is dancing the tango: one step backward (number of sales), and one step forward (price jump), one nearly offsetting the impact of the other….

Look at the stats for Santa Clara County: the closed sales (Single Family Homes + Condos) from 01/01 to 03/31 are down a significant 16.4% from Q1 2013. BUT the average sales price jumped 12.9%! Result? The total volume of sales, from one year to the next, is pretty close.

Same photo in San Mateo County, home to the priciest homes in the country. The unit sales dropped 15.7%, BUT the average sales price took off 19.6%, going from $968,468 to $1,158,460. When you run the totals, you end up with a slightly bigger volume of sales this year, in spite of a drastic loss of sales.

I am not going to surprise anyone by saying that the listings drought we have been suffering from for well over a year, and which is today more acute than ever, is largely responsible for the surrealistic market picture described above. The Silicon Valley inventory of active listings is pitiful. Don’t ask me why, I would get angry. In any case, the bidding wars, with multiple offers over the asking price, are still the name of the game for the strong-hearted buyers.

The only segment of the market where the supply matches –and perhaps exceeds- the demand is the high-end. More listings & more sales. Buyers actually have a choice. Values are up but modestly. The supply & demand mechanism is challenging sellers’ price expectations. The best properties, in prime locations, in top condition and construction, are moving fast. Others are not.

As we noted time & again, the cream of the cream of luxury real estate in the Silicon Valley is very much sought after by foreign nationals, mostly Asian buyers. Their impact is so significant that it can be said that they are the reason why the average sales price, pulled by the top end, has jumped so high and so quickly.

It is another way to say that, more than ever, in a market where listings are down and sales are scarce, real estate brokerages which are looking to keep on growing (or stay afloat) must focus on increasing their share of the high-end market. Those which successfully do it will grow. For those which don’t or can’t, 2014 is going to be a long year.


Intero Insider: Vacation Home Sales Pick Up Steam

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In the market for a vacation home? As many of the nation’s housing markets have recovered and are even booming, we’re now seeing more significant growth in this secondary niche market.

shutterstock_54154945 smallVacation home sales jumped 29.7% to an estimated 717,000 in 2013, up from 553,000 in 2012, according to a new survey from the National Association of Realtors. NAR bases its estimates on responses from households and excludes institutional investment activity.

The numbers show vacation homes as a niche housing market that’s been growing and still has room to boom even more. NAR economists note that vacation home sales are indeed strong, but still about a third below peak levels seen in 2006.

Sales of vacation homes accounted for 13% of all transactions last year, their highest market share since 2006.

People buy vacation homes for a number of reasons, which tend to include lifestyle (i.e., actually vacationing in the home), potential retirement avenue and income opportunity. NAR’s survey highlighted lifestyle as the primary motivation.

While the vacation niche is booming, the investment niche is shrinking. As vacation home sales increased, pure investment sales fell in 2013. NAR’s analysis showed investment sales were down 8.5% to an estimated 1.1 million last year from 1.21 million in 2012. And owner-occupied purchases climbed 13.1% to 3.7 million from 3.27 million in 2012.

Meanwhile, the portion of overall sales that were investments fell to 20% in 2013 from 24% in 2012.

Market conditions certainly point to a continued rise in vacation home purchases in 2014 with a continued slowdown of investment purchases. Depending on local dynamics, this may be a stellar year for finally buying that home near the lake you’ve always wanted.


Alain Pinel Gives insight into buyers in Monterey

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Last month, Alain Pinel gave a presentation on where buyers are coming from at Pasadera Country Club in Monterey. Check out what he had to say in the below article:

Monterey County real estate market preps for Chinese buyers


Intero Real Estate Services Named Broker for Winchester Community

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New Intero Winchester office to manage launch of homesites and home sales at Winchester Country Club.

Intero’s Sacramento region Area Developer of Intero Franchise Services Inc., a company affiliated with Intero Real Estate Services, Inc. (“Intero”), ranked 13th largest real estate brokerage in the US on the 2012 REAL Trends 500 list, is pleased to be named the listing and managing brokerage for the launch and subsequent sales of homesites and home sales of Winchester Country Club.

Re-launched in 2013 as one of Northern California’s foremost golf resort communities located mid-way between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, Winchester Country Club is comprised of 409 home sites, 162 of which are resident-occupied and 247 of which have been purchased but not yet built upon. Six spec homes will be built in the coming year by two area architectural firms: Ward-Young Architecture and Planning and Chris Heinritz Architecture.

“We are thrilled to add the home sites and homes of Winchester Country Club to our sales portfolio,” says David Bicknell, Area Developer for Intero in Sacramento, El Dorado and Placer Counties. “Sacramento was just named one of the top ten markets where home equity has improved the greatest since 2010 and buyers are taking advantage of this.”

David Bennett, Managing Director of Winchester Country Club adds, “The area has a natural beauty, spectacular golf and skiing only 45 minutes away.  It offers a lifestyle endemic to Northern California at a much more attractive price point than Silicon Valley, the greater San Francisco Bay Area or Tahoe. That coupled with the award-winning architects working on the project, our club will provide something for every Northern California buyer.”

Winchester Country Club first opened in 2000 with a golf course designed by famed golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr. The club was then purchased by Colorado-based, Real Capital Solutions (RCS) in spring of 2013.  RSC has infused nearly a million dollars in capital improvements including a refurbished clubhouse, refinements of the golf course, landscaping and social programs for the 80 new members and 285 total memberships. The refinement of all 18 greens is scheduled to be completed in the beginning of June 2014.  Home site prices will begins at $200,000 while homes will range from $1 million to $1.5 million (TBD).

Intero Real Estate Services will have an onsite sales office at Winchester Country Club and will begin sales April 1, 2014.

For information on available homes and land, please contact Sales@WinchesterCountryClub.com.

For more information on Winchester Country Club please visit www.WinchesterCountryClub.com.

For more information on Intero Real Estate Services please visit www.InteroRealEstate.com.


Luxury Insider: The Impact of the “Young Affluents” on Real Estate

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Don’t know if indeed the rich are getting richer, but what I do know for observing the trend year after year, is that the number of rich people is growing and the rich are getting younger! To put it another way, a rising number of young people qualify for the label “rich” these days. I suppose it’s good, considering the alternative.

Pretty exciting news really if you are very young, rich (and beautiful perhaps…). You “own” the world and did not have to pay for it…yet. In any case, this phenomenon has a considerable impact on real estate. Not only on sales units, but also on the type of homes this emerging group is looking for.

Our global high-end marketing partner, Luxury Portfolio International, is an authority in luxury trends and tracking. They study all aspects of the affluent consumer with a laser focus, to see how the market is evolving. They anticipate on the needs.

With this objective in mind, they just produced, together with the Harrison Group, a White Paper on “The Young Affluents in a Digital World”. In this paper, they explored the influence that technology has on the purchasing habits, mindsets and preferences of young affluent consumers with household discretionary income of $100,000+ (gross income minus mortgage, real estate taxes, etc.).

The following income strata was used as references: “Upper Middle Class” ($100k to $149k in discretionary income), “Core Affluent” ($150k in d.i. to $450k in household income), and “One Percenters” (over $450k in household income).

Here are some of the key lessons we learn from the study:

  • Young Affluents value home ownership just as much as do older consumers (over 50). 90% of them are homeowners and are very active in the market. Case in point: 21% of them bought a primary residence in the past 3 years, compared to only 9% of those 50 or older. Also, 12% of them plan to purchase a second home over the next 1 to 3 years, compared to 7% of the 50+.
  • Even though the economic recovery has been anemic, the affluent & wealthy are confident they can manage no matter what, thanks to the reserves of wealth they built around themselves. A mindset of self-reliance and resourcefulness has become the “new ordinary”.
  • For many Young Affluents, digital research includes social media. Over 1 in 3 of the 69% who use Facebook, have made purchase decisions in part from research or feedback they got on Facebook.
  • Heads up for real estate professionals: Three quarters of the affluent say they rely less on salespeople than in the past. They feel they can get quality information on the internet. The proliferation of online listings made it possible for consumers to find info at the same rate and even sometimes faster than industry insiders.
  • The above evolution does not mean that real estate agents are wasting their time working with younger consumers, quite the opposite in fact, it means that those buyers or sellers want to speak with an agent that knows the market and the home intimately. In a world where quality of life is the goal, no website can address the myriad lifestyle considerations of a consumer.
  • Engaging in online research for preliminary footwork prior to conversations with Realtors, helps ensure that interactions with agents are both efficient -saving time- and effective. Agents become “lifestyle concierges” of sort, focusing on distinctive details of a property, a neighborhood, and unique attributes that meet the needs of home buyers, from a perspective only an insider could know.
  • As the study goes, Young Affluents react positively (and often with their wallet) to great sales experiences. They choose where to take their business based on the quality of sales professionals. The key is the content of the conversation. They look to an agent for value-added information that reveals details and nuances they could not get on their own.
  • What personal main characteristics are the Young Affluents looking for in a professional?  Someone who treats them with respect, takes the time to understand their wants & needs, understands the product in detail, looks professional and has a passion for his/her work.

If you are a Realtor, I hope you recognize yourself in these traits! If not, time to prepare your next career move…


Intero Insider: Pending Sales Show Housing Market Stabilizing

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All the evidence suggests that at the national level the housing market is trending a bit slower this year than it did last year. But activity varies across regions.

The National Association of Realtors’ latest Pending Home Sales Index released late last week showed declines in pending home sales in the Northeast and South with modest increases in the Midwest and West. Pending sales were below a year ago across all regions.

The Pending Home Sales Index dipped 0.8% to 93.9 in February from a downwardly revised 94.7 in January. It was 10.5% below February 2013 when it was 104.9. The index is a highly watched indicator of the housing market because it tracks contract signings, which gives us a glimpse into home sales over the next month or two.

NAR’s economists say the slight change in contract signings in February implies the market is stabilizing.

If signed contracts are an indicator, it looks like sales in the Northeast will see the biggest declines this spring. The Pending Sales Index in that region fell 2.4% to 77.1 in February and was 7.4% below a year ago. Pending sales in the South fell 4% to 106.3 in February, and were 9.3% below a year ago.

Meanwhile, pending sales in the Midwest rose 2.8% to 95.3 in February, but were 8.5% lower than the same month in 2013. The index in the West climbed 2.3% in February to 86.1, but was 16.5% below the same month a year ago.

All in all, NAR forecasts total existing home sales to finish the year around 5 million in 2014, just below the 5.1 million in 2013. Housing starts, which indicate new construction, are projected to rise almost 19% and reach about 1.1 million this year.

As for values, the increase in construction should reduce some of the pressure on prices. NAR expects the national median existing-home price to climb 5.5-6% this year, compared with an 11.5% jump in 2013.

What we’re seeing now is a housing market that is stabilizing. Some markets will see slower growth this year than last, but overall we’ll see healthy movement in both sales and values.