7. December 2012 14:46
San Diego’s legacy neighborhoods, including La Jolla, Mission Hills, Kensington, Talmadge and Coronado, feature some fine specimens of architect Cliff May. The homes are sought after by architectural enthusiasts. Fantastic curb appeal and vintage charm define these structures built between 1932 to 1980.
A decision early in May’s life may not have afforded thousands of southern California homeowners the joy of living in a Cliff May home. He started out with a love of music, and played the saxophone. He had a band that was formed when he was in high school, the Cliff May Orchestra. They were quite popular, and landed gigs at the El Cortez Hotel, the Hotel del Coronado and the Cocoanut Grove in LA. In 1927 the Cliff May Orchestra played at the Hotel del Coronado for Charles Lindbergh at a celebration of the aviators solo flight across the Atlantic. What appeared to be an obvious career path changed drastically when his father encouraged him to enroll in college and give up the band. He only lasted 2 years in college, but in that brief time he designed and built furniture. May married the daughter of a prominent San Diego builder, Roy C. Lichty. It was Lichty the builder that helped May transition into the master architect that would define an iconic California style in home design.
May’s signature design stroke was the birth of the California ranch house, with a large entry courtyard complimenting a U-shaped house. Essentially, all the rooms of the house had direct access to the courtyard. Other highlights: red tiles haphazardly placed one on top of the other on the roof, a terra cota pot on top of the chimneys, wooden window grilles, rough hewn wood lintels over windows and doors both inside and out, and thick wooden garage doors. Cliff May was offered a business collaborative based in Los Angeles, which he accepted and in 1938 his home building business was born and thrived for decades. He passed away in 1989 but his vision will live on for years to come.
16. November 2012 15:31
The 1920’s saw the development of San Diego’s metropolitan neighborhoods. Kensington was one of these, and offered buyers an “ideal climatic condition” that was far enough from the ocean to avoid the heavy fog that comes with beach area living. The Kensington tract was primarily land sales. You would chose your lot and then decide which local builder to hire and construct your home. Architect Richard Requa, the famed San Diego designer whose work flourished from 1910 to 1940, helped promote the neighborhood by writing a weekly advertising column for a prominent builder in Kensington. Located 8 minutes from downtown and 10 minutes from the coast, the neighborhood has a cohesive, manicured look highlighted by Spanish-style homes with red clay tile roofs. I have a new listing, a romantic 1929 Spanish home in Kensington Heights. The Heights section was the last to develop and offers arguably the best of the neighborhood for location. This home has been tastefully remodeled and ready for a buyer to move in. There is wonderful natural light throughout. The entertainer's kitchen features a 6-burner stovetop, oversized GE Monogram refrigerator & 5'x7' island. The house has volume 12-ft ceilings, and hardwood & tile floors. The master bedroom & guest bedroom have double french doors which open to the backyard. The front bedroom has a beautiful wood beamed ceiling. The 7,200 s.f. lot offers a large inviting pool the sparkles in the sunshine, a fireplace, stone covered patios and a trellis-covered outdoor dining room. The 3 bedroom, 2 bath home is 1,516 square feet and is listed at $795,000. Give me a call to take a look!
6. November 2012 14:17
There are milestone events in our lives that reveal the tenuous nature of of our existence. The destruction in New Jersey and New York from last week’s superstorm Sandy has brought this observation to the limelight. I had been back in San Diego a week when the storm hit. I was in those devastated areas the week before. I walked the boardwalks, beaches and dunes in Bayhead, Point Pleasant, Ocean Grove and Atlantic City. I dreamed for a moment, standing by the waves in salt-spray sunlight, of owning an oceanfront home on the Jersey shore. Today, many residents on the East Coast are still without power, or clean water, and their neighborhoods will take months if not years to rebuild. Of course, today is Election Day in America and the President will be decided, among so many other important issues. We have the luxury of getting out to vote, with nothing to complain about (except the 80-degree weather). We have so much in our lives to be thankful for. I say ‘enjoy today, as tomorrow is not promised’. Get home and VOTE. Enjoy the freedoms and blessings in our lives.
25. October 2012 12:35
I have been sharing the ongoing story of San Diego’s market recovery by virtue of thin inventory and multiple offers in several neighborhoods in the county. Turns out this trend is also evident in other markets as well. The biggest issue for San Diego: we are essentially out of developable land. Aside from purchasing existing real estate and tearing it down and building new, there are limited opportunities to build and meet the housing demands of a growing population. This equates to price appreciation. Great for current homeowners, and not so great for buyers. On the plus for buyers: We still have record low interest rates, so I encourage clients to put this to their advantage.
Of the 252 housing markets in the United States, 183 of those have rebounded from the lows of the Great Recession. A study from AOL Real Estate, which utilized a new housing report from Zillow.com, identified the best of those markets. Here are the top 5: L.A., Miami-Fort Lauderdale, San Francisco, San Jose, CA, Sacramento, CA. These market areas are projected to rise the most in value in the next 12 months.
2. October 2012 11:20
San Diego County has seen real estate values stabilize and appreciate in value over the last 12 to 18 months. This is fantastic news for homeowners. Inventory is thin and buyer competition is thick. Refinancing mortgages at record low interest rates will be more likely with an increase in value. The down side? The county tax assessor may come knocking on your door asking for more money. Proposition 13 limits California property tax increases to 2% annually, HOWEVER, Proposition 8 (also passed in 1978 and not associated in any way with the gay marriage ban), allows for temporary decreases when values drop. It also allows increases of greater than 2% when values go back up. So, while most everyone knows about the 2% cap annually thanks to Prop 13, that 2% limit does NOT apply until the property’s value reaches the level it would have hit if the real estate market never dropped. A bit like a tongue twister if you read it too fast….The bottom line: as property values rise, ergo property taxes.