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Sept. 15, 2008

Pasadena California: South Lake Avenue District Neighborhood

South Lake Avenue in Pasadena stretches from Coroado Boulevard at its northernmost end and winds all the way through Shoppers Lane before culminating at California Boulevard. There's no longer a real lake near this 10 block shopping district packed with hundreds of shops, restaurants and offices. The lake dried up long ago.

South Lake Collage

South Lake Avenue's rich shopping heritage was born in the late 1940s with a department store built to look and feel like a country club. Bullocks, now Macy's (currently under construction though December 2008) became the foundation of South Lake Avenue's reputation as a cosmopolitan shopping destination. More department stores followed, making the area one of Pasadena's finest shopping districts.

Today, antique English phone booths complete the district's European ambiance, where shoppers sample fresh lunch cuisine at the various open air eateries. Shopping boutiques, European-style patio cafes and upscale business lofts polish off the chic setting.



Stores on South Lake Avenue run the gamut. Mall-shopping big names like Macy's and Borders complement niche stores like Anthropologie and Rangoni Firenze Soes, where shoppers can find high-end Italian footwear. The food here is the same way: familiar favorites like Coffee & Lea Leaf, Starbucks and Pete's Coffee rub elbows with lesser-known but still delicious locales such as teh original Corcodile Cafe and the Rose Tea Cottage, Pasadena's first English Tea House.

South Lake Avenue Pasadena real estate has been doing extremely well. The luxurious condo complexes like The Prado, Pasadena Collection and the newly built exclusive residences at The Granite Park have been in demand by investors, corporate housing and consumers looking for a car-free urban living.

If you are ready to start your Pasadena home search, this website offers FREE MLS access and Pasadena real estate market reports to help you with your research. Of course, please do not hesitate to call Irina at 626.629.8439 for personal assistance in finding the right home for you.

General description gathered from Pasadena Official Visitors Guide 2007/2008.

READ MORE: South Lake District - Luxury Residences: Granite Park

Sept. 15, 2008

Alhambra California Real Estate Market Housing Report - August 2008

Alhambra real estate market key indicators for the months of June 2008 through August 2008 are below for your review.

Alhambra SFR highlights for August 2008:

It's interesting to note that Alhambra Single Family Residence (SFR) average sales price dropped for the first time in months to $484,967, but the average price per square foot went up slightly from $350 to $363. The number of Alhambra homes that closed escrow in August increased by 40%. Not surprising since most escrows now run 30 to 45 days and these Alhambra homes went under contract most likely in the height of the summer season, sometime in July.

Overall inventory for Alhambra homes is increasing slightly month after month, with the total listings reaching 67. Only 9 Alhambra homes went under contract last month. Even though the absorption rate is showing as 19.4 weeks, it will most likely be a lot higher in September since it's based on August's sales. September sales will be significantly lower due to the minimal number of homes in escrow.

More inventory means more buyer deals. Prognosis for Alhambra home buyers is good. Alhambra real estate market is leaning in the buyer's favor.

If you are an Alhambra seller, be aware that inventory is increasing and Alhambra home prices will need to decrease accordingly. There will be more homes competing for sale. Alhambra homes that will sell will be priced aggressively and will show better than their competitors.

Having said that, August has been good to Alhambra sellers. Out of 21 closed sales, 3 sales went over asking price and 3 Alhambra homes sold at asking price.

The lowest priced Alhambra home is listed at $360,000. It's located at 2116 Winthrop Drive and has 2 bedrooms and 1 bath.

The highest priced Alhambra home is listed at $998,000. This home is located at 318 North Curtis Avenue and has 6 bedrooms and 4 baths.

READ MORE: Alhambra Real Estate Market Report for September 2008

Alhambra Condo and Townhome Highlights for August 2008:

There were 34% less condos and townhomes sold in August 2008 as compared to July 2008. It also took a lot longer to sell these condos and townhomes. On average, it took 103 days - that's almost 3 weeks longer than in July.

Alhambra condos/townhome price per square foot has dropped to $296 and the average sales priced dropped to $364,944.

If you are a buyer looking to buy a condo or a townhome in Alhambra, there are some deals to be had in the low $300,000 range. There are even some condo/townhomes under $300,000.

Single Family Residence Jun-08 Jul-08 Aug-08
New Listings 12 21 18
Total Listings 54 61 67
Sales Pending 14 17 9
Homes Sold 13 15 21
Listings Expired 9 8 9
Average Days on the Market 112 62 82
Average Price Per Sq. Ft. $414 $350 $363
Average Selling Price $511,692 $505,133 $484,967
Absorption Rate (# of weeks to sell current inventory at present rate of sales) 18.0 20.3 19.4
Condos and Townhomes Jun-08 Jul-08 Aug-08
New Listings 14 11 11
Total Listings 45 39 36
Sales Pending 11 11 10
Homes Sold 8 12 8
Listings Expired 7 7 7
Average Days on the Market 66 84 103
Average Price Per Sq. Ft. $280 $305 $296
Average Selling Price $373,238 $406,708 $364,944
Absorption Rate (# of weeks to sell current inventory at present rate of sales) 19.5 21.1 13.0

Data compiled from ITEC (Pasadena Foothill Association Multiple Listing Service)

I invite you to request Alhambra's real estate market updated reports by clicking here. These reports are compiled by Altos Research and the analysis is emailed to you weekly. I also offer real estate market reports for San Gabriel, San Marino, South Pasadena, Pasadena, Arcadia, Altadena, Monterey Hills and more. These reports can be ordered at the same time.

If you would like to search for homes in Alhambra, please visit the free home search here on this site.

For a private consultation about buying or selling your Alhambra home, or if you have other real estate related questions, I'd love to hear from you at 626.627.7107.

Irina :-)

Sept. 13, 2008

Monterey Hills Jazz Festival

What a fun day in Monterey Hills today. It was the 14th annual Monterey Hills Jazz Festival.

Monterey Hills Jazz Festival 2008

Performances by Luis Conte, Lori Andrews JazHarp Quartet and Pasadena Jazz Institute Youth All Stars kept everyone enthralled. The festival featured several food and non-food vendors representing many different interests and cultures.

This 14th year of Monterey Hills Jazz Festival was anticipated by many Monterey Hills residents. Since it's inception, the Jazz Festival has been sponsored by Monterey Hills Federation with the support of the Los Angeles City Council's 14th District Councilmember Jose Huizar, the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council and the Community Redevelopment Agency. Many local merchants and artisans have participated each year as well.

It was a lot of fun being out and meeting Monterey Hills residents. I had an opportunity to speak with Jim Henderson and Ginger Cole. Both Jim and Ginger were on the Monterey Hills Jazz Festival Committee chaired by Debra A. Evans. I also spoke with Carlos Alvarado from CRA/LA who was telling me about an upcoming relandscaping project that will be most likely take place within the next 12 months or so. Committees will be forming within the next several months and will work hand in hand with CRA/LA to decide where and what kind of landscaping will be gracing Monterey Hills.

Monterey Hills is a community of condos and townhomes located in the city and county of Los Angeles. It is bordered by South Pasadena to the North, El Sereno to the South, and Highland Park to the West. It is conveniently located just off of Via Marisol exit of the 110 Freeway and is 15 minutes to Downtown Los Angeles or Old Town Pasadena.

A little history on Monterey Hills. The Monterey Hills Redevelopment Project was adopted by City Council on July 29, 1971. The CRA LA (Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles) project contained 211 acres of land. The principal thrust of the project outlined in the Redevelopment Plan included the development of a well planned residential community that provided a variety of housing opportunities for families and individuals from all income levels and the preservation of the physical integrity of the site.

Monterey Hills Predevelopment photo 1976

At the time of Monterey Hills project adoption, 90% of the area was underdeveloped due to its sloping configuration and improperly platted terrain. The entire area had been subdivided in 1902 according to a coordinated grid system with lots and streets laid out at right angles to each other.

Because of the terrain, there was no possible way to develop any significant portion of the area as it was platted. The streets were substandard and in most cases unimproved. Land ownership was extremely complex, precluding private enterprises from assembling the stie and re-subdividing in a proper manner. Approximately 1/3 of the area was owned by the City of Los Angeles as a result of property tax defaults by former owners. Many structures were obsolte, public utilities were inadequate, there was a lack of usable open space, the value of land and properties was depreciated and private investments were seriously impaired.

Today, some 37 years later, Monterey Hills is a thriving community. "The Hill", as its known to its residents, currently has 21 condominiums with a total of 1,781 housing units that have been built to date.

ALSO READ: Monterey Hill Real Estate Market Report and Monterey Hills Condo Buying Tips

It is sought by first time buyers and investors alike. It offers beautiful condominiums and townhomes with excellent amenities at reasonable prices. Monterey Hills is always alive with residents walking its streets, using the Bud Weiner park and just enjoying the fresh air.

Living in Monterey Hills is like being on Top of the World! Check it out for yourself.

If you are interested in finding a Monterey Hills condo or townhome for sale, this site offers a free home search for your convenience.

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Sept. 13, 2008

Pasadena Mortgage Rates Report: September 12, 2008

by Brian Brady

The MBS market has improved dramatically since the new FHFA seized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. An implicit government backing of mortgage bonds became explicit with that single event. The rate difference, or spread as we call it, between gov?t bonds and mortgage bonds, has narrowed from abnormally high margins. This means that mortgage rates dropped as much as .375% since the gov?t takeover. Alas, I think that party is a bit short-lived. The exuberance appears to be a bit irrational and the reality of impending bank failures has worried the MBS market again. Short-term, I?m advising clients to lock-in these low rates and be done with it.

For Pasadena home buyers who are in escrow with a 30 day time period until closing, I?m advising that they lock as well. Rates may spike up and come back down ,to these below 6% levels, but I don?t see a great opportunity for the medium-term to improve upon today?s already low rates.

Longer-term, mortgage applicants may find mortgage rates higher than they are today. The realization that SOMEONE has to pay for this bailout will hit everyone, after the election, and treasury bond yields should rise, pushing the MBS yields, and mortgage rates, higher as well. Not a rosy picture.

So, lock those loans at application. While the current 30-year fixed rate loan offering, with 1% origination fee, is 5.75%, for a conforming loan (6.02% apr), the risk of those rates popping up to the 6% level far outweighs the reward of holding out for 5.625%.

Originally posted at

PS- Please check out Brian's references on LinkedIn

Sept. 10, 2008

Pasadena Luxury Private Residences coming to South Lake District

This evening, I attended the grand opening of the Granite Park luxury private residence sales office in Pasadena. Many Pasadena real estate agents visited the sales office to get an inside look at the urban living, luxury condos being built on the corner of Lake and California, right behind where Jennifer Lopez had her Madre restaurant.


These luxury residences were inspired by the work of Irving Gill (1870-1936.) There's a elegance to Granite Park, with an emphasis on simplicity. While rooted in the California modern style of the 30's, its effect is not one of a bygone era. It's timeless.

This luxury complex pays homage to Irving Gill's signature style, while at the same time updating it. It's a look that emphasizes arches and clean lines. Indoor and outdoor spaces interact and flow effortlessly into one another. Open areas and secret gardens make Granite Park a private oasis. It's a design we believe will stand the test of time. Much like he man whose work inspired it.

Pasadena's Granite Park will offer 71 exclusive private residences with two to three bedrooms. Each one of these luxury Pasadena condos will have a large private terrace, some as large as 1,400 sq. ft. Each luxury residence is unique and no two are alike.

These exclusive private residences will feature:

  • Concierge Services with 24 hour security
  • Viking Professional Series Appliances - and boy were they beautiful!
  • Premium Kohler fixtures
  • Secure Underground side-by-side Parking
  • Irving Gill Inspired Architecture
  • Dennis Hopper curated photography gallery in the lobby
  • Lush & Evocative Old California Style Landscaping
  • Private Walkways, Meditation Areas, and Gardens
  • Resort-Style Pool & Spa
  • Barbeque Area
  • Putting Green


The model struck me as being very dramatic and spacious. Kitchen featured quartz counter-tops and stainless steel Viking appliances. And, of course, this luxurious complex is centrally located in South Lake shopping district.

Prices have not been set yet, but I was told that the Pasadena buyers will need to pay somewhere between $1 million to over $2 million for one of these luxurious residences.

If you are interested in getting more information about reserving one of these luxury condos, please call me at 626-627-7107 or email me at and we will schedule a tour of the Granite Park Pasadena Showroom. At this point, reservations only are being taken, but Granite Park will be ready to go under contract in January 2009.

Sept. 6, 2008

Pasadena Luxury Homes for sale over $1 Million

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Posted in Buyers, Pasadena
Sept. 6, 2008

Pasadena Homes for Sale over $1 Million

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Sept. 6, 2008

San Marino Luxury Real Estate - August Million Dollar Sales

Currently there are 30 San Marino single family homes listed for $1,000,000 or above and only three homes under $1,000,000.

The highest listing is for $8,900,000 located at 1385 Old Mill Road near Lacy Park. It's 8 bedrooms and 7 baths with over 7,000 sq. ft.

The lowest San Marino home for sale now is priced in a range between $899,999 and $968,000. This San Marino home is located at 632 Plymouth Road in the San Marino Mission District.

There are 10 San Marino luxury properties over $1,000,000 under contract (in escrow) now.

In August, there were 12 closed luxury sales in San Marino:

1. 1470 Lorain Road, San Marino - listed for $1,450,000 and sold for $1,498,000 OVER ASKING

2. 1480 Rubio Drive, San Marino - listed for $1,549,000 and sold for $1,458,000

3. 1525 Bradbury Road, San Marino - listed for $1,188,000 and sold for $1,165,000

4. 1775 Sharon Place, San Marion - listed for $1,296,000 and sold for $1,380,000 OVER ASKING

5. 1814 Lorain Road, San Marino - listed for $1,985,000 and sold for $2,000,000 OVER ASKING

6. 1870 Carlisle Drive, San Marino - listed for $1,175,000 and sold for $1,100,000

7. 2133 Lorain Road, San Marino - listed for $1,699,000 and sold for $1,695,000

8. 2280 Sherwood Road, San Marino - listed for $1,498,000 and sold for $1,500,000 OVER ASKING

9. 2315 Ridgeway Road, San Marino - listed for $1,525,000 and sold for $1,558,000 OVER ASKING

10. 2345 Ridgeway Road, San Marino - listed for $1,388,000 and sold for $1,325,000

11. 2437 Cumberland Road, San Marino - listed for $1,425,000 and sold for $1,365,000

12. 2905 Gainsborough Drive, San Marino - listed for $2,683,000 and sold for $2,520,000

Information gathered from ITEC (Pasadena Foothill Association of Realtors)

If you are ready to start your San Marino luxury home search or thinking of relocating to San Marino and would like more information, please visit our San Marino website here.

READ MORE: San Marino Schools are #1 in California again!

Posted in San Marino
Sept. 6, 2008

Pasadena Luxury Real Estate - August Million Dollar Sales

My friend and one of the top realtors in Miami Beach luxury real estate market place, Ines Hegedus Garcia does a fabulous monthly post focusing on Million dollar luxury homes. Following in Ines's footsteps, Pasadena Real Estate blog will be doing a monthly post featuring Pasadena luxury properties. So without further ado, here's the August Million Dollar Sales for Pasadena.

Currently there are 94 Pasadena single family properties currently listed for $1,000,000 or above.

The highest listing is for $19,000,000 in the beautiful Oak Knoll neighborhood of Pasadena. Located at 2 Oak Knoll Terrace next to Langham Pasadena Hotel (formerly Pasadena Ritz Carlton.)

The lowest listing over $1,000,000 is listed for $1,058,000 - a 3 bedroom/3 bath home in North East Pasadena at 3145 San Pasqual. It is situated on 2.45 acres and has its own private art gallery.

There are 23 Pasadena luxury properties over $1,000,000 under contract (in escrow) now.


In August, there were 19 closed sales:


1. 3610 Shadow Grove, Pasadena - listed for $1,099,000 and sold for $1,075,000

2. 203 Columbia Street, Pasadena - listed for $1,650,000 and sold for $1,560,000

3. 435 Woodward Blvd, Pasadena - listed for $3,600,000 and sold for $3,250,000

4. 455 South San Rafael, Pasadena - listed for $5,750,000 and sold for $5,750,000

5. 466 Fillmore Street, Pasadena - listed for $1,349,000 and sold for $1,300,000

6. 430 Laguna Road, Pasadena - listed for $2,195,000 and sold for $2,305,500

7. 715 Lakewood Place, Pasadena - listed for $1,299,000 and sold for $1,299,000

8. 717 Heatherside Road, Pasadena - listed for $1,098,000 and sold for $1,033,000

9. 736 Arden Street, Pasadena - listed for $1,100,000 and sold for $1,035,000

10. 568 Rosemont Street, Pasadena - listed for $1,999,999 and sold for $1,900,000

11. 856 Vallombrosa Drive, Pasadena - listed for $1,175,000 and sold for $1,300,000

12. 965 Arden Road, Pasadena - listed for $2,795,000 and sold for $2,600,000

13. 1064 Linda Vista, Pasadena - listed for $2,095,000 and sold for $2,020,000

14. 835 Chula Vista Avenue, Pasadena - listed for $1,350,000 and sold for $1,230,000

15. 1220 Charles Street, Pasadena - listed for $1,350,000 and sold for $1,350,000

16. 1438 Ontario Avenue, Pasadena - listed for $1,100,000 and sold for $1,050,000

17. 1525 Glen Oaks Blvde, Pasadena - listed for $3,900,000 and sold for $3,500,000

18. 1645 Homet Road, Pasadena - listed for $1,249,000 and sold for $1,205,000

19. 1419 Edgehill Place, Pasadena - listed for $1,295,000 and sold for $1,200,000

If you are interested in Pasadena luxury million dollar condos and townhomes, there are 7 current condos for sale over $1,000,000 and one townhome that sold for over $1,000,000.


2023 Rosemont Avenue #4 in Pasadena sold this month for $1,050,000. This townhome was originally listed for sale at $1,100,000.

If you are ready to start your Pasadena luxury home search or would like to find a million dollar condo or townhome, please visit our home search page.

Sept. 6, 2008

One Sure Way to Know when Real Estate Market Hits Bottom

In this post, Pasadena California Real Estate blog will reveal the secret and answer the question that every real estate home buyer has been asking recently.

How do I know when the Pasadena real estate market hits bottom?

Ladies and gentlmen, the answer is very simple:

There is only one way to know that the real estate market has bottomed out and that is when the real estate prices start going up!

Simple, isn't it?

There's no way, none what so ever, to time the real estate market. Many have tried and some lucked into buying at the right time at the bottom of the market.

Take a look at the graph below. It shows how difficult it is to time the real estate market because it's not consistently linear.

Gary Keller, the author of "The Shift" explains it as the real estate buyers being in the lucky or unlucky zones or purchasing a home in the "safe" zone.

Gary says "You know the market has bottomed out when it starts back up and you know the market has peaked when it starts back down. The safe zone is where smart people plan to buy an dsell. Anyone who buys at the top of a real estate market is just unlucky and anyone who buys at the bottom of a market is just lucky."

Gary goes on to say that "people who buy in a buyers' market are the smart ones. They're buying in the safe zone and living in the area of certainty. They're not unrealistic and they're not greedy. They know they can't predict the end of a bust, but they can see when a market has fallen consdierably."

So if you are interested in buying a home in Pasadena and are wondering if the Pasadena market has bottomed out, ask yourself:

Has the market dropped enough to make a sensible purchase?

To help you answer that question, track the Pasadena real estate monthly statistics report that are available on this Pasadena Real Estate Blog and sign up for Pasadena real estate market weekly statistics that I make available to you from Altos Research. I'd love to hear your thoughts on whether or not we're close to seeing Pasadena real estate market bottom out.