Real Estate Experts Tackle ”New Urbanism” Issues at BIS

Yahoo News Alert Monday October 31, 12:00 pm ET -Panels at BIS Conference This Week Offer Strategies for Understanding High-Rise Development, Wrap Insurance and Condo Conversions

LONG BEACH, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Oct. 31, 2005–Among the most prominent current concepts in city planning and real estate development is “new urbanism,” typically considered the creation of diverse, walk-able and compact communities, as seen in various stages of development in such locales as San Diego’s “Little Italy,” Anaheim’s “Platinum Triangle” and Long Beach’s “Pine Avenue.” Along with opportunities, developers are also discovering construction risk issues that differ from those in more familiar suburban communities.

Three panels at the Building Industry Show (BIS), taking place on Thursday and Friday at the Long Beach Convention Center, will address strategies for meeting the challenges of development in the context of new urbanism.

Moderated by Don Neff, construction risk management expert and president of La Jolla Pacific, Ltd. of Irvine, Calif., the following three panels will address such issues as: “High-Rise Development — The Real Story: Solutions to the Lessons Learned,” scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 3, from 2:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.; “Wrap Insurance Updates (SFD vs. SFA… Townhomes & Condos),” on Friday, Nov. 4, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; and also on Friday, “Condo Conversions — Look at Risks Before You Leap,” from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Addressing the challenges unique to mid- and high-rise development, including construction, risk exposure and maintenance, will be: Bob Gilmore, an official with the California Department of Real Estate; Matt Montgomery, director, real estate development, Opus West Corp., a prominent developer of high-rise projects; J. David Rauch, president, ProTec Building Services, a leading maintenance-engineering company; and real-estate attorney Nancy Scull with Luce Forward Hamilton & Scripps.

What are the latest strategies involving “wrap” insurance (one policy covers all participants in a project), and how do they differ between single-family residential and multi-story developments? Panelists are: Paul Bryan, principal with DBH Resources, a national provider of risk management services; Robert Gore, senior vice president with insurer AON Risk Services, and Mike McMichael, senior risk consultant/manager for Zurich Risk Engineering.

Anyone considering converting an apartment to condominiums will want to hear about legal, liability and construction issues from panelists Greg Dillion, co-founder and litigation partner in Newmeyer & Dillion LLP; David Jacobson, senior vice president, Regis Homes, among the West Coast’s largest builders; and Suzanne Xiros, executive vice president, AON Risk Services.

Designed as a one-stop, working show for homebuilders and remodelers, the 2005 Building Industry Show is sponsored by the Building Industry Association of Southern California and the Los Angeles Times. More information is available online at www.buildingindustryshow.com, or by calling the Building Industry Association of Southern California, BIS department, at 909-396-9993.

La Jolla Pacific, Ltd. provides third-party peer review and construction quality services to single-family, multi-family and commercial builders in seven offices throughout the Western U.S. For more information, please visit www.lajollapacificltd.com.
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Contact:
For La Jolla Pacific, Ltd.
Ann Romano, 949-496-1076
annromano@bigplanet.com

Last Week in the News – Economic Update!

Shaking off headwinds from hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the U.S. economy grew at a faster-than-expected 3.8% annual rate in the third quarter, the Commerce Department reported October 28. Wall Street economists had forecast that the gross domestic product — the measure of all goods and services produced within U.S. borders — would advance at a 3.6% rate. The economy has now expanded at rates exceeding 3% for 10 straight quarters.

Sales of previously owned homes held steady in September at the second-highest level on record, the National Association of Realtors said October 25. Sales of existing homes were unchanged at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 7.28 million, the same as August.

Sales of new U.S. homes rose more slowly than expected in September, while the number of new houses on the market hit a record and median prices fell, the Commerce Department reported October 27. New single-family home sales rose 2.1% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.2 million units. The supply of new homes for sale shot up to a record 493,000 at the end of September, surpassing August’s high of 478,000. Meanwhile, the median home sales price fell 5.7% to $215,700.

On October 24, President Bush nominated Ben Bernanke, current head of his Council of Economic Advisers, to succeed Alan Greenspan as chairman of the Federal Reserve. Bernanke, 51, said that if confirmed by the Senate his “first priority will be to maintain continuity with the policies and policy strategies established during the Greenspan years.”

Next week look for updates on personal income on October 31.

San Diego office market a tempting target for out-of-town investors, money!

Yahoo News Alert- San Diego is currently in its best commercial real estate market ever, according to Mark Read, senior managing director of CB Richard Ellis.

Read made his comments during a RealShare San Diego real estate conference at the Estancia Hotel Thursday. The program was produced by Real Estate Media.

Stephen Corea, senior vice president of acquisitions for Santa Ana-based Triple Net Properties LLC, said San Diego should continue to be in great demand by investors around the country and beyond.

Corea should know. Last year, Triple Net paid $274.5 million to acquire three downtown San Diego office towers: the 30-story, 356,901-square-foot Emerald Plaza office building (minus the Wyndham Hotel); the 24-story, 336,049-square-foot Comerica Bank Building at 600 B St.; and the 22-story, 427,988-square-foot Golden Eagle Plaza at 525 B St.

There have been no shortage of lenders willing to pour capital into acquisitions such as these, notwithstanding concerns about the ability to charge rents more than $3 a square foot.

Tony Thompson, Triple Net CEO, said it is now time for office rents to climb.

“We have some of the lowest office rents in the world,” Thompson said.

Rising rents will be needed to keep the investors coming, and come they have. The funding sources include pension funds, real estate investment trusts and traditional financial services firms.

San Diego continues to draw investors paying top dollar for Class A office buildings such as Emerald Plaza and Wells Fargo Plaza, purchased by The Irvine Co. for $148.27 million in November 2004. The Irvine Co. has since also acquired the SBC Building at 101 West Broadway and the NBC Building at 225 Broadway. The Irvine Co. also acquired the 570,383-square-foot Symphony Towers in March 2003 for $134.25 million.

Louay Alsadek, a Grubb & Ellis|BRE Commercial office and industrial sales specialist, said that recent office sales have been higher than the $300 per square foot range, and that 11 downtown Class A office buildings have changed hands, some more than once, since 2002.

The prices for these buildings already were approaching replacement costs; however, with construction and material fees soaring they may be an even better deal today.

Lars Platt, a Cushman & Wakefield director involved in the $167 million sale of the First National Bank building to the Paramount Group, recalls that in 1991, in the middle of the recession, office buildings were selling for as little as $100 per square foot downtown.

“Southwest Value Partners bought here and brought its buildings up to Class A status,” Platt said.

Emerald Plaza was already at that level, but Golden Eagle Plaza and later the Comerica Bank Building needed upgrades.

Craig Davey of the San Francisco-based Rreef Funds, which has invested in a wide range of projects here such as Bernardo Gateway and Olympia Plaza in Murphy Canyon, said his firm has invested in 50 markets around the country, and San Diego is among the most active.

“Every time we have a property in San Diego we get inundated with calls,” Davey said. “The key element for investors is scarcity, and you have scarcity here that you don’t have in other markets. Not many CBDs (commercial business districts) can say (except for Lankford & Associates’ Broadway 655) that they haven’t put up a major office building in 14 years.”

Although rising rents will help landlords, Davey concedes he is very nervous about how higher interest rates and a two- to three-year backlog of money coming in might affect pricing on existing structures.

“We’re starting to bump up against replacement cost,” he said.

HP Awards Real Estate Professionals Who Use Technology to Improve Client Service

Yahoo News Alert-SAN DIEGO-A gathering of the top real estate players in the San Diego area held court yesterday at the Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa. More than 200 commercial real estate experts and insiders convened for the second annual RealShare San Diego conference.

Pan Pacific revenue rises to $78.2 million in third quarter

Yahoo News Alert-Pan Pacific Retail Properties Inc. (NYSE: PNP, News), the largest neighborhood shopping center real estate investment trust focused exclusively on the West Coast, announced results for the third quarter ended Sep. 30 on Thursday, as well as regular quarterly dividend of $0.59 per share, payable on Dec. 15.

San Diego’s median home price rises in September!

The median price of an existing home in San Diego increased 6.8 percent in September, but sales fell 1.6 percent over September 2004, the California Association of REALTORS (C.A.R.) reported Tuesday.

The median home price in San Diego declined 0.8 percent from August. Sales fell 9.1 percent in the same period.

Statewide, the median price of an existing home in California increased 17.3 percent in September and sales increased 3.9 percent compared with the same period a year ago.

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 650,780 in September at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR(R) associations statewide. Statewide home resale activity increased 3.9 percent from the 626,210 sales pace recorded in September 2004.

The statewide sales figure represents what the total number of homes sold during 2005 would be if sales maintained the September pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California during September 2005 was $543,980, a 17.3 percent increase over the revised $463,630 median for September 2004, C.A.R. reported. The September 2005 median price decreased 4.4 percent compared with August’s revised $568,730 median price.

“The September median home price compared with August has fallen every year since 1993, and in 20 of the last 26 years,” said C.A.R. President Jim Hamilton. “This year is no exception and is part of the seasonal shift to an off-peak period in the real estate market as we approach year’s end.

“Despite the seasonal slow down for the market as a whole, the median price in the High Desert, Riverside/San Bernardino, Santa Barbara South Coast and San Luis Obispo regions hit record highs last month,” he said.

“Year-to-date sales are on track with our expectation that the market in 2005 will set new records for both statewide sales and median price,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “Entry level and mid-range homes are showing more strength in year-over-year price gains compared with the high end of the market. But all tiers of the market are appreciating more slowly than they did a year ago.”

— C.A.R.’s Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes in September 2005 was 3.3 months, compared with 3 months (revised) for the same period a year ago. The index indicates the number of months needed to deplete the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.

— Thirty-year fixed mortgage interest rates averaged 5.77 percent during September 2005, compared with 5.75 percent in September 2004, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable mortgage interest rates averaged 4.51 percent in September 2005 compared with 3.99 percent in September 2004.

— The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 32 days in September 2005, compared with 29 days (revised) for the same period a year ago.

Regional MLS sales and price information is contained in the tables that accompany this press release. Regional sales data are not adjusted to account for seasonal factors that can influence home sales. The MLS median price and sales data for detached homes are generated from a survey of more than 90 associations of REALTORS(R) throughout the state. MLS median price and sales data for condominiums are based on a survey of more than 60 associations. The median price for both detached homes and condominiums represents closed escrow sales.

In a separate report covering more localized statistics generated by C.A.R. and DataQuick Information Systems, 95.2 percent or 394 of 414 cities and communities showed an increase in their respective median home prices from a year ago. DataQuick statistics are based on county records data rather than MLS information. DataQuick Information Systems is a subsidiary of Vancouver-based MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates. (The top 10 lists are generated for incorporated cities with a minimum of 30 recorded sales in the month.)

— Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the highest median home prices in California during September 2005 were: Palos Verdes Estate, $1,600,000; Manhattan Beach, $1,578,000; Burlingame, $1,419,000; Los Altos, $1,410,500; Newport Beach, $1,399,000; Coronado, $1,350,000; Saratoga, $1,314,000; Calabasas, $1,218,000; Carmel, $1,200,000; Hermosa Beach, $1,200,000.

— Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the greatest median home price increases in September 2005 compared with the same period a year ago were: Reedley, 89 percent; Twentynine Palms, 81 percent; Sanger, 79 percent; Laguna Hills, 60 percent; Barstow, 57 percent; Upland, 53 percent; Adelanto, 52 percent; Ripon, 52 percent; Merced, 50 percent; Taft, 48 percent.

Realtors Conference & Expo, October 28 – 31 in San Francisco!

It all starts this week!

The Real Estate industry’s premier event begins this Friday in San Francisco…The REALTORS® Conference & Expo, October 28 – 31, at Moscone Center. Don’t miss this opportunity to see new innovations, learn about new trends and network with industry leaders from around the nation and the globe!

Greatest Show on Earth
The REALTORS® Expo opens at 5pm Friday, October 28, with a complimentary California Wine Party sponsored by Systems Engineering!

So much for you to see and experience this week! The Expo is sold out with more than 600 exhibitors filling the North & South Halls, featuring tools you need to build your business and master your market.

Lots of fun, great giveaways, cash and prizes, too! We’re giving away $1,000 in five drawings….you could win $1,000 just for visiting sponsoring exhibitors at the show. Other great prizes and giveaways, too, including home electronics and much more!

Convenient daily hours of the REALTORS® Expo are
Friday, October 28, 5pm to 8pm;
Saturday, October 29, 9am to 5pm;
Sunday; October 30, 10am to 5pm; and
Monday, October 31, 9am to 2pm.

For JUST $25, you can visit the Expo ALL FOUR DAYS and receive the complete Expo Directory…a great products and service resource to use throughout the year.

Comprehensive Conference Program
The REALTORS Conference & Expo offers the most comprehensive education program for brokers and agents on topics from small business management to online security to working with victims of natural disasters.

Conference programs begin Friday, October 28, at 8:00 a.m. with an action-packed Rev Up session to help you get the most enjoyment and career benefit from this value-packed 4-day meeting. The Conference continues over the next four days, with 200 programs in all to expand your knowledge and sharpen your skills.

You can take advantage of all four days of programming for just $310; or select one day for only $125. Whichever registration option you choose, you’re sure to find great value!

San Diego Siege acquire first game day sponsor

10/24/05 -Yahoo News Alert!

National Women’s Basketball League (NWBL) San Diego Siege
The San Diego Siege announced the signing of their first Game Day Sponsor for the upcoming National Women’s Basketball League’s pro season in San Diego in 2006.
From the New York Yankees, to the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, to the NWBL’s San Diego Siege, all sports franchises depend on the help from corporate and individual sponsorships. Linda Chase, a real estate agent in San Diego for the last five years, approached the Siege about becoming a sponsor through her ties as a listing agent for Siege Charter Sponsor, EquiTrust Reality, Incorporated.

“We were thrilled to have Linda on board with the Siege,” said team General Manager David McElwee. “She is well-known and respected in the community and her sponsorship of the Siege is a win-win for everyone involved.”

Linda Chase has been a strong member of the community since moving to San Diego in 1970. After Chase completed her B.S. in Sociology with a minor in Criminology from National University and UCSD, she spent her graduate work focused on crisis intervention and eventually as a case worker with troubled teens.

Since joining ReMax Realtors in 2001, and then finding her way to EquiTrust Realty in 2004, she has kept her same spirit and dedication to those in need. Today she is an advocate for homeowner’s rights and works diligently in the community through her volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity and City Works, a lower income mortgage qualifying company. Her care, compassion, and commitment to San Diego and its people, makes her the perfect sponsor to kick off the Siege’s inaugural season, the only professional basketball team in San Diego.

“There’s no doubt, in that a majority of teams are owned and operated by men, we think it is important that women entrepreneurs/business owners become sponsors and owners in professional women’s sports”, stated NWBL President and Co-Founder Patrick Alexander. “It is no secret that professional women’s sports need as much support as possible to continue to grow. Therefore, we are actively pursuing sponsorships, but indeed hope that like many of our male-owned counterparts, many more female owned and operated businesses will step up and support the NWBL and the Siege, like Linda Chase has done.”

Through her Game Day Sponsorship, Linda will receive 50 sets of season tickets, which will be distributed to local schools, charities and youth organizations in her name through the Siege. Linda is also set to receive two full-page ads in Siege programs, reserved center court seating, an arena banner, announcements at the game, a party with the Siege, and more. The Siege offer 10 levels of sponsorships starting at $100 up to $10,000, all offering varying levels of branding and exposure.

The Siege will include a Game Day Sponsor for each of its 9 home games, beginning play in February, 2006. For sponsorship information contact Patrick Alexander at 858.829.2539. For ticket information visit our website at www.nwbl.com .

Last Week in the News – Economic Update!

Reflecting the surge in energy costs that occurred following the Gulf Coast hurricanes, wholesale prices jumped 1.9% in September, the largest amount in 15 years, the Labor Department reported October 18. Excluding the volatile energy and food sectors, the core rate of inflation still posted a 0.3% increase.

The Index of Leading Economic Indicators, a widely watched gauge that measures the likely performance of the U.S. economy in the next three to six months, fell a greater-than-expected 0.7% after declining 0.1% in August and 0.1% in July, the Conference Board said October 20.

Housing starts, however, unexpectedly rose 3.4% in September for an annual rate of 2.108 million units, the Commerce Department reported October 19. The government report showed that neither Hurricane Katrina, nor higher prices for construction material could put a dent in the white-hot home building market. Building permits also rose to an annual rate of 2.19 million from 2.14 million in August, the largest increase since February 1973.

Moreover, U.S. applications for home purchases jumped 6.1% last week, even as interest rates on 30-year home loans climbed to their highest levels in 2005, the Mortgage Bankers Association said October 19. The rise reversed a month-long decline in mortgage applications.

The Labor Department reported 355,000 initial jobless claims for the week ending October 15, down from a revised 390,000 the prior week.

Next week look for updates on durable orders and new home sales on October 27.