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Olson News

Compass Walk's Final Phase Release This Saturday!

May 30th, 2014


Final phase release at Compass Walk is this Saturday, May 31st. This final phase will include Compass Walk’s beautiful model home. The model home offers 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths in 1,752 square feet of living space with amazing upgrades throughout the home. Time is running out to own a new home in Placentia. Stop by today!

Sales of new single-family homes jump 6.4% in April

May 28th, 2014

The housing market may be in for a spring bounce.

Sales of newly built single-family homes surged 6.4% in April from a month earlier, jumping to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000, the Commerce Department said Friday. Economists were expecting monthly sales to reach an annual pace of about 420,000.

The report provided another sign that the housing market could be emerging from months of weakness.

“Buyers are gradually moving off the fence,” said Brad Hunter, chief economist at researcher Metrostudy.

It’s not just buyers of new homes. Sales of previously owned homes — the largest piece of the market — rose 1.3% in April from March, the National Assn. of Realtors said Thursday. And last week, the Commerce Department reported that housing starts soared 13.2% last month.

“I am cautiously optimistic,” economist Stephanie Karol of IHS Global Insight said. “I do expect things to get better.”

Although Wall Street cheered Friday’s new-home sales data — the Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed to a record — it’s unclear whether it represents a one-month anomaly. Furthermore, new home sales, based on contracts signed, are often revised sharply.

The housing market cooled last summer and this winter after a robust recovery in the first half of 2013. As mortgage rates rose and prices surged, would-be buyers struggled to afford a home. Severe weather across much of the country further depressed winter sales. The slowdown tempered the outlook for the spring selling season and dampened hopes that the housing market would supercharge the larger economic recovery.

But a turnaround may be coming. The country added 288,000 new jobs last month, the most in more than two years. The number of homes for sale is on the rise and mortgage rates have stabilized. Rates fell this week with lenders, on average, offering a 30-year-fixed mortgage at 4.14% — the lowest rate since October, according to mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac.

That could entice more buyers off the sidelines who are likely to find homes that aren’t appreciating in value as fast as last spring.

That’s already happening, said Amber Dolle, a San Fernando Valley real estate agent. She said she’s getting calls from people who had wanted to purchase a house last year but decided to wait out the frenzy. “The phone is ringing a little bit more,” she said.

Scott Laurie, chief executive of Southern California home builder Olson Co., says he’s seeing strong demand for new homes as well. An improving economy, tight inventory and falling mortgage rates have buyers touring Olson’s model homes, he said.

Last week, the Seal Beach firm held a grand opening for a new 21-home community in Claremont, 33 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. Laurie said 82 families visited and four purchased houses.

“Things are looking good,” Laurie said.

The national increase in new-home sales last month came largely from the Midwest, where sales surged 47.4%. Sales dropped 26.7% in the Northeast. They rose 3.1% in the South, and remained flat in the West, a major home building region.

There are still signs of underlying weakness in the market, economists said. In an indication that affordability remains a problem, sales of previously owned single-family homes barely rose in April. Most of the month’s gains came from less expensive condos and co-ops. Single-family home builders remain pessimistic, and sales of new and previously owned homes are still down from a year earlier.

“I don’t get the sense we’ve got our groove back,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.

There’s still too few first-time buyers able to purchase a home, Zandi said. Many of those would-be buyers are struggling with student debt and their inaction is holding down sales as investors pull back.

Karol of IHS Global Insight said too many people are still struggling economically, preventing a quick turnaround, but predicted that the housing market will slowly improve from the recent slowdown.

“The driver here on out is going to be job growth and income growth,” she said.

Linden Walk is Coming Soon to Temple City!

May 23rd, 2014

Colliers Arranges Land Deal for The Olson Company, New Residential Development Set-up in Temple City
By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

A parcel of land that formerly housed an industrial facility in Temple City in the San Gabriel Valley is set to be transformed into a new housing community by Orange County-based The Olson Company. The home builder recently acquired the land with the help of real estate firm Colliers International.

The brokerage worked on behalf of both Olson and selling entity, Ramshorn Corp., during the transaction. Colliers was also responsible for holding the transaction together through the process of getting plans for the housing development approved by local authorities. Senior Vice President Wayne Lambert, Executive Vice President Scott Heaton and Associate Joe Williams comprised the Colliers team in charge of the deal.

According to Colliers, the developer will now look to build 74 new homes in Temple City. Olson Company is set to create a new gated community with a combination of single-family attached and detached homes that will be named “Linden Walk.” The neighborhood will include on-site recreational amenities for future residents, as well as a sound wall meant to minimize the amount of sonic pollution coming from the nearby Union Pacific Railroad line. The project is being referred to as a “walk,” given the developer’s focus on bringing resident amenities that are within walking distance of the new homes it builds. The amenities include mass transit hubs, shopping centers, schools and entertainment options.

Acquiring the former lumber yard site is no one-time deal for The Olson Company as the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Scott Laurie recently revealed. “We really like the San Gabriel Valley market and we continue to look for additional opportunities there,” Laurie said, focusing on the lack of inventory in the area and the existing demand for new housing projects as main reasons for the developer’s current strategy.

US Home Sales to Boost This Summer

May 16th, 2014

U.S. homebuilders are feeling less confident this month in their near-term sales prospects, reflecting doubts stirred by a sluggish start to the annual spring home-selling season.

Even so, builders are more optimistic that sales will perk up later this year. That would bode well for home construction, which slowed early this year as severe winter weather dampened sales in many markets.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Thursday fell to 45. That’s down one point from a revised reading of 46 in April and the lowest level in 12 months.

Readings below 50 indicate that more builders view sales conditions as poor rather than good. The overall index has been below 50 since February.

“Builders are waiting for consumers to feel more secure about their financial situation,” said David Crowe, the NAHB’s chief economist. “Once job growth becomes more consistent, consumers will return to the market in larger numbers and that will boost builder confidence.”

Many analysts have been expecting an improving economy and job market to lift the housing market, which has been recovering the past two years. But housing has struggled to maintain momentum.

The spring home-selling season, which typically sets the pattern for residential hiring and building construction in the ensuing months, got off to a lackluster start this year.

U.S. sales of new homes are running 13 percent below last year’s pace. They slowed in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000, down from 443,000 a year earlier. The March figure represents the lowest rate since last July, when sales cratered after mortgage interest rates spiked.

Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes also fell in March, sliding to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million, the lowest level since July 2012.

Several of the nation’s biggest homebuilders have said that sales were held back in the first three months of the year by the severe winter weather that battered much of the U.S. Rising prices and higher mortgage interest rates also have deterred some homebuyers, particularly first-time buyers. Others have had trouble qualifying for mortgages.

Still, many builders also saw demand accelerating last month, stoking expectations that sales will rebound this summer.

That optimism is reflected in the latest NAHB index, which is based on responses from 278 builders.

While builders’ view of current sales conditions for single-family homes fell two points to 48, the lowest level in 12 months, a measure of traffic by prospective buyers increased two points to 33. And builders’ outlook for sales of single-family homes over the next six months rose one point to 57.

Some builders are already seeing sales perk up this year.

Sales at The Olson Co., which builds homes in Southern California priced at an average of $500,000, are up 60 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, said CEO Scott Laurie.

A tight supply of available homes for sale in the counties of Los Angeles and Orange has helped stoke demand. That has Olson in expansion mode. The builder is now planning to double the company’s number of open communities to eight.

“Last year was a good year, but this year has been even stronger,” Laurie said. “The demand is there.”

Ivy Walk's Model Grand Opening!

May 13th, 2014

Join us this Saturday for the Ivy Walk Model Grand Opening in Claremont! These spacious homes feature up to 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and up to 1,770 square feet of living space and are the perfect place to call home. Ivy Walk is walking distance to Claremont Village. Come view this charming collection of new residences that will take you back to a place and time where you can experience the good life at home. For more information on Ivy Walk please call 562-370-9500.