Los Angeles remains a very attractive market for those who can afford it. The California Association of Realtors reports that home prices in Los Angeles have increased 6.1 percent this year to date and are projected to show a 6.5 percent gain for all of 2015. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles County, prices are reported to have shot up 5.4 percent so far this year. These figures include detached and attached single family homes and duplexes. Century City Real Estate Report says that some L.A. luxury neighborhoods have already passed the 2007 peak. This situation makes a wonderful market for hard money lenders, since many investors are rearing to buy, but they are leashed by miserable credit ratings and credit histories. Shunned borrowers turn to hard money lenders in their area who hand them the funds based on their collateral.
Here is the Los Angeles real estate data for 2015-2016
The California Association of Realtors projects sales figures of 407,500 single family homes by the end of 2015. This will be an increase of 6.3 percent over the homes sold in 2014. Projections for 2016 are also for a 6.3 percent increase to a predicted 433,000 units next year.
In Los Angeles, some data sources, such as the California Association of Realtors, show that the median sales prices for single family homes and condos shot up 8.1 percent to $950,000 for the 2015 third quarter; a record high for the Greater L.A. area. Regions include Westside, Downtown and coastal cities like Malibu, but omit low-priced areas such as South L.A..
One way to understand real estate price cycles is to look at the building permit numbers. If developers are investing in new properties, as has been happening in the general Los Angeles area, it is a good sign that demand, and prices, are rising or keeping steady. Statistics shows a growth of 2.4 percent in building projects.
Observers are concerned that Los Angeles may be approaching another housing bubble, but William Yu, Economist for the UCLA Anderson School of Business strongly negated this prediction in a recent UCLA Anderson Forecast. Prices have shot (he said) in an already expensive L.A market only because of excessive demand and limited supply. This is no housing bubble but a hugely pricey and unaffordable situation where those with money either do, or would like to, invest. In fact, the market is mostly catering to the very wealthy. Typical reports show that builders and investors are looking to the high-end luxury market where potential profits far exceed the profit that an investor can realize from the average priced home. This kind of high-end residential development needs investors who have the right kinds of funds. Some individuals go to the banks for their loans. Other approach alternate traditional lending institutions.
What about those without money? Or with poor credit who are unable to procure a loan?
This is where hard money lenders come in.
Los Angeles hard money lenders
The Los Angeles money lending directory shows 56 hard money lenders and the listing grows all the time. Experts in the field know that there are many more who are listed in other places or remain unlisted. These (and other) brokers lend their personal funds to residential and commercial borrowers. The hard money lenders ignore the credit history and FICO scores of these borrowers focusing instead on the value of their collateral. If the borrower defaults, the lender sells his property as repayment.
Many investors rush to hard money lenders for their speedy turn-around (typically less than a week) and for the simple and easy procedure (merely a few papers and a handshake). They detest the high interest rates (double to those of the banks) and the low ratio-to-value loans (sometimes as low as 60%-50%). Many borrowers tend to get hard money loans for the immediate short-term future and then repay with bank loans or cover the rest with alternate funding. Hard money loans are expensive so most borrowers try to use them for as short a time as possible.
The Los Angeles hard money brokerage is diverse and vast. You will find lenders dabbling in all sorts of deals and lending to a variety of investors. Lenders also offer varying sums and for varying amounts of time. Since lenders work independently – after all, it is their own funds that we are speaking about – they set their own terms and schedules. If you go that route, make sure your lender is certified by the L.A. regulatory real estate Board and by the National Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS). Also look into his credentials and borrowing history. And best of all: have an attorney review all agreements before signing.
The bottom line is this…
The Los Angeles rising prices and tight inventory have driven more investors to the high-end market. Investors have run out of flips but there is a wider market for the higher-paying population or for wealthy foreigners. This type of inventory drives prices higher and is expected to shoot them higher still over the coming years as there is scanty new construction in the pipeline to meet demand.
For those in LA who want to make the most of this luxury market but lack the funds to do so, employing a hard money lending broker may be a feasible solution. This type of broker ignores the credit history and focuses on the asset. Luxury assets seem to have high potential. If the borrower can show the broker his ability of repaying and convince him of the value of his property, the borrower may be able to find an alternate means of landing a spot in LA’s luxury market.
The California Association of Realtors predicts that home prices will likely “grow steadily” in the end of 2015 into 2016. Many investors in Los Angeles are approaching hard money brokers to fund their immediate needs. How does this solutions sound to you? Feasible?