The Ransom-McKenzie Team

Riverside’s Sister Cities

The city of Riverside has had International Connections since we established our first sister city relationship with Sendai, Japan over 60 years ago.  Riverside has been a leader in Sister City programs ever since. Sister Cities are not unique to Riverside, cities throughout the world have been partnering together since President Eisenhower created the Sister Cities International organization in 1956 which he envisioned being a “hub of peace and prosperity by creating bonds between people from different cities around the world.”

This Sister City sign is in front of White Park Downtown

Riverside was one of the first cities to participate with our relationship with Sendai which started in 1957and is the second longest sister city relationship in the United States. Since then, we have established relationships with 8 additional cities which are Cuautla, Mexico (1968), Ensenada, Mexico (1976), Jiangmen, People’s Republic of China (1997), Gangnam, Republic of Korea (1998), Hyderabad, India (2000), Obuasi, Ghana (2008), Erlangen, Germany (2011), and Can Tho, Vietnam (2015).

Through our sister city relationships, the City of Riverside has shared ideas, experiences, and exchanges. Everything from Art Exchange programs with Ensenada, Student exchanges with Erlangen, and marathon runner exchanges with Sendai have been offered through the sister city program. In fact, one of our popular downtown festivals, The Long Night of Arts and Innovation was inspired by a similar festival in Erlangen.

One of our favorite sister city projects is the Yuishin Tei Japanese garden in White Park. This traditional Japanese garden was designed and installed by Japanese master gardeners from Sendai with help of local volunteers from Riverside.

Yuishin Tei Garden Gate

The garden is a wonderful reminder of the strong ties our city has with other countries around the world. The International Relations Council of Riverside, which oversees our sister city relationships, is a great way to get involved and be a part of Riverside’s international connections. For more details, check out ircriverside.org where you can join the IRC as an individual member, or become a corporate sponsor of the programs.

HISTORIC QUEEN ANN VICTORIAN

THE STEPHEN MAGEE HOUSE

4529 Sunnyside Drive

PALM HEIGHTS HISTORIC DISTRICT

In 1888 the Inland Empire was a sprawling region laid out with groves of Washington Navel orange trees. The newly connected Santa Fe Railroad was delivering boxcars full of fruit all over the nation. Acres of orange groves were creating a citrus boom that would soon make Riverside the richest per capita region in the country.  The groves were peppered with Queen Ann Victorians, stately California Craftsman Bungalows, and grand Farmhouses, the residences of the grove owners. Times have changed since 1888, the groves have faded away but many of the grand old homes still stand. What were once homes nestled within rows of navel oranges are now celebrated reminders of our region’s history.

Period details make this home a unique example of Victorian architectural style.

One of these grand old ladies is currently listed for sale by The Ransom-McKenzie Team with Coldwell Banker Realty. The Stephen Magee House, built in 1888 by Riverside pioneer Dr. Stephen Magee, sits in the Palm Heights Historic District of Riverside. It is one of the two remaining original Victorian homes in the neighborhood. When the Magee family built the home, it was situated on a 20-acre orange grove and faced Palm Avenue. The surrounding groves were owned by prominent Riverside founders including the Tibbets family who introduced the Washington navel orange to the region. In fact, the Parent Navel Orange Tree still stands just blocks away from the home. In the late 1920’s the post war population boom hit Riverside and the city experienced large scale residential development as a result. It was during this time that the Magee House was aligned with a new streetscape on Sunnyside Drive. The development of this neighborhood continued over the 1930’s & 40’s as Tudor, Spanish Colonial, Craftsman, Classical Revival, and Minimal Traditional homes filled in to create a typical Southern California suburban neighborhood. Today this neighborhood has been designated as the Palm Heights Historic District.

THE HOME’S RESTORATION

In the heart of this historic district the Magee House stands proud as a lovely reminder of days gone by. Since purchasing it in 2007, the current owners have taken care to lovingly restore every inch of this beautiful home. Over the years they have found period hardware, wallpaper, fixtures, and paint colors to bring this lovely Queen Ann back to its original glory. As you approach the home, take a moment to appreciate the intricate spindle work, and design detail of the home’s exterior from the ship wheel corner brackets on the front porch to the rising sun above the second story balcony.

Original interior features abound, including ceramic tiles, balustrade work on the staircase, multiple pocket doors, and hardwood flooring.

Upon entering the home, you will be presented with true Victorian style and décor. The high ceilings and prominent baseboards, together with white oak hardwood floors and multiple pocket doors dividing each room are all features that have not changed over time. Even the pocket doors’ push button hardware has been painstakingly restored so that each set of doors works perfectly. Looking up, you’ll notice several original Edison light fixtures, (converted to electric, of course) as well as period balustrade work on the staircase. Multiple fireplaces in the home feature incredibly detailed surrounds which incorporate custom glazed tile and detailed carved wood mantels. The downstairs fireplaces have been converted to gas for convenience of use.

There are six bedrooms and three bathrooms in the Magee home including a full bathroom and bedroom downstairs. The second-floor features four spacious bedrooms and a large common bathroom. The main bedroom boasts, oversized sash windows and a full walk-in closet. All the other bedrooms on this floor are large with high ceilings and oversized windows. The front bedroom has a fireplace and access to the second-floor balcony through a unique sash window style door.   The third floor has been converted to a complete en-suite apartment / studio (Many Victorians do not have a finished 3rd floors). This is the perfect attic retreat for your office, art studio, teenager hang out or whatever else you can dream of. There is a whole house fan in this space, as well as supplemental air conditioning to keep the space comfortable in the summer.

MODERN UPGRADES ABOUND

While the home has been restored to reflect its rich history, there are modern amenities that have been added to bring this home into the twenty-first century. The kitchen has a 6 burner Viking cook top & hood, a Bosch dishwasher, refrigerator, and an oversized farmhouse double sink, and custom cabinetry with soft close hinges.

There are 2 separate HVAC systems, one for the first floor of the home and an additional system to control the upper two floors. The entire HVAC system, including the ducting, has been updated in the past 10 years. A whole house fan on the top floor works to help cool the entire house down on summer evenings. The electrical panel was updated to accommodate an electric car charging station as well. The home got a new roof in 2018, which included reflective insulation over the attic room. The exterior paint was also completed in 2018.

Situated on a double lot, this home offers multiple amenities for outdoor enjoyment.

The exterior of the home offers room for numerous activities from patio dining to swimming, and gardening. The back yard has multiple sitting areas, including an outdoor living room shaded by a wood gazebo. An above ground pool offers relief from the warm summer days and a custom spa on the west side of the house is the perfect place to enjoy evening sunsets. The long side driveway offers room for multiple cars, and the carriage garage has been enhanced with interior features such as updated electrical, and lighting.

CALL US TODAY TO VIEW THIS BEAUTIFUL HOME

Located close to all that the lovely city of Riverside has to offer, you’ll be able to enjoy easy access to the Riverside Plaza, as well as Downtown Riverside’s museums, entertainment, and restaurants. Come see all Riverside and the Stephen Magee house has to offer by giving The Ransom-McKenzie Team a call today. We live in Riverside, We love Riverside, and we sell Riverside.


THE RANSOM-MCKENZIE TEAM | 951.237.2044 |CalBRE #01721257

The Cost of a Home is More Important Than the Price

Housing inventory is at an all-time low. There are 39% fewer homes for sale today than at this time last year, and buyer demand continues to set records. Zillow recently reported:

“Newly pending sales are up 25.5% compared to the same week last year, the highest year-over-year increase in the weekly Zillow database.”

Whenever there is a shortage in supply of an item that’s in high demand, the price of that item increases. That’s exactly what’s happening in the real estate market right now. CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that values have increased by 5.5% over the last year.

This is great news if you’re planning to sell your house; on the other hand, as either a first-time or repeat buyer, this may instead seem like troubling news. However, purchasers should realize that the price of a house is not as important as the cost. Let’s break it down.

There are several factors that influence the cost of a home. The two major ones are the price of the home and the interest rate at which a buyer can borrow the funds necessary to purchase the home.

Last week, Freddie Mac announced that the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 2.87%. At this time last year, the rate was 3.73%. Let’s use an example to see how that difference impacts the true cost of a home.

Assume you purchased a home last year and took out a $250,000 mortgage. As mentioned above, home values have increased by 5.5% over the last year. To buy that same home this year, you would need to take out a mortgage of $263,750.

How will your monthly mortgage payment change based on today’s lower mortgage rate?

The Cost of a Home Is Far More Important than the Price | Keeping Current Matters

This table calculates the difference in your monthly payment:That’s a savings of $61 monthly, which adds up to $732 annually and $21,960 over the life of the loan.

Bottom Line

Even though home values have appreciated, it’s a great time to buy a home because mortgage rates are at historic lows. The Ransom-McKenzie Team can help you find your next home. Working with a local real estate agent is the most effective way to search for a home. Especially in a market where there is a tight inventory. Call us today to find out why.

Housing Continues to Show Immunity to COVID

Where Are Home Values Headed Over the Next 12 Months?

As shelter-in-place orders were implemented earlier this year, many questioned what the shutdown would mean to the real estate market. Specifically, there was concern about home values. After years of rising home prices, would 2020 be the year this appreciation trend would come to a screeching halt? Even worse, would home values begin to depreciate?

Original forecasts modeled this uncertainty, and they ranged anywhere from home values gaining 3% (Zelman & Associates) to home values depreciating by more than 6% (CoreLogic).

However, as the year unfolded, it became clear that there would be little negative impact on the housing market. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, recently revealed:

“The only major industry to display immunity to the economic impacts of the coronavirus is the housing market.”

Have prices continued to appreciate so far this year?

Late last month, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released its latest Home Price Index. The report showed home prices actually rose 6.5% from the same time last year. FHFA also noted that price appreciation accelerated to record levels over the summer months:

“Between May & July 2020, national prices increased by over 2%, which represents the largest two-month price increase observed since the start of the index in 1991.”

What are the experts forecasting for home prices going forward?

Below is a graph of home price projections for the next year. Since the market has changed dramatically over the last few months, this graph shows forecasts that have been published since September 1st.

Where Are Home Values Headed Over the Next 12 Months? | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

The numbers show that home values have weathered the storm of the pandemic. We are certainly seeing home prices rise here in the Inland Empire. There is still very low inventory and it is a seller’s market. If you want to know what your home is currently worth and how that may enable you to make a move this year, contact the Ransom-McKenzie Team today to see how we can help.

Home Buyer Demand is Far Above Last Year’s Pace

Buyers are Actively Purchasing Homes Today!

Homebuying has been on the rise over the past few months, with record-breaking sales powering through the market in June and July. Buyers are actively purchasing homes, and the momentum is continuing into the fall. It is, however, becoming harder for buyers to find homes to purchase. If you’ve been thinking about selling your house, the coming weeks might just be the timing you’ve been waiting for.

According to the Pending Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

Pending home sales in July achieved another month of positive contract activity, marking three consecutive months of growth.

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings, rose 5.9% to 122.1 in July. Year-over-year, contract signings rose 15.5%. An index of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001.”

This means that for the past several months, buyers have signed an increasing number of contracts to purchase homes – well above where the market was at this time last year. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR notes:

“We are witnessing a true V-shaped sales recovery as homebuyers continue their strong return to the housing market…Home sellers are seeing their homes go under contract in record time, with nine new contracts for every 10 new listings.”

Homebuyer Demand Is Far Above Last Year’s Pace | Keeping Current Matters

Below is a graph that shows the impressive recovery of homes sales compared to previous years. The deep blue v marks the slowdown from this spring that turned into an exponential jump in sales that followed through the summer, skyrocketing above years past:

What Does This Mean for Sellers?

If you were thinking about putting your house on the market in the spring, but decided to wait due to the health crisis, it may be time to make your move. Buyers are in the market right now. With so few homes available to purchase, homeowners today are experiencing more bidding wars, creating an optimal time to sell.

Is This Trend Going to Continue?

As CNBC notes, there are no signs of slowing buyer demand this fall:

The usual summer slowdown in the housing market is not happening this year. Buyers continue to show strong demand, spurred by the new stay-at-home world of the coronavirus and by record low mortgage rates.”

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, concurred:

“In a typical year in the housing market, buyer interest begins to wane before seller interest causing the usual seasonal slowdown as we move into the fall. Due to a delayed spring season and low mortgage rates, we could see buyer interest extend longer than usual into the typically quieter fall. Whether this means more home sales will depend on whether sellers participate or decide to stay on the sidelines.”

As Hale mentioned, homeowners who are willing to sell their houses right now will play a big role in whether the trend continues. The market needs more homes to satisfy ongoing buyer demand. Maybe it’s time to leverage your equity and move up while eager home shoppers are ready to purchase a house just like yours.

Are You Thinking of Selling?

If your current home doesn’t meet your family’s changing needs, contact The Ransom-McKenzie Team, your local specialists, to help you sell your house and make the move you’ve been waiting for all year.

Just How Strong Is The Housing Market?

Buyers are ready!

The residential real estate market has definitely been the shining light in this country’s current economic situation. All-time low mortgage rates coupled with a new appreciation of what a home truly means has caused the housing market to push forward through this major health crisis. Let’s look at two measures that explain the resilience of the real estate market.

Purchase Mortgages

Just How Strong Is the Housing Recovery? | Keeping Current Matters

The number of buyers getting a mortgage to purchase a home is a strong indicator of the strength of a housing market. Below is a graph of the week-over-week percent change in that number, as reported by the Mortgage Bankers’ Association:The number dropped dramatically in March and mid-April when the economy was shut down in response to COVID. It increased substantially from later in April through the middle of June. The strong increase in May and June was the result of the pent-up demand from earlier in the spring along with the normal business that would have been done during that time.

Since July, the market has remained consistent on a weekly basis, but still reflects a double-digit increase from the levels one year ago. The August 12 report shows a whopping 22% increase over last year.

Pending Contracts

Just How Strong Is the Housing Recovery? | Keeping Current Matters

Like purchase mortgages, pending contracts are also a powerful indicator of the strength of the real estate market. Zillow reports each week on the percent change in the number of homes going into contract. Here’s a graph of their data:The graph mirrors the one above, showing a drop in early spring followed by a strong recovery in late spring and early summer. Then, in July, it settles into a consistent level of deals. That level, like the one for purchase mortgages, is well ahead of the level seen last year. The last report revealed that pending deals were 16.9% greater than the same time last year.

Bottom Line

Both indicators prove the housing market recovered quickly from the early setback caused by the shelter-in-home orders. They also show that Americans have realized the importance of their homes during this time and are buying more houses than they did prior to the pandemic. We are seeing record sales in the Inland Empire too. Give the Ransom-McKenzie Team a call today to see how we can help you.

What About the Rest of 2020?

What Are Experts Saying About the Rest of 2020?

One of the biggest questions on everyone’s minds these days is: What’s going to happen to the housing market in the second half of the year? Based on recent data on the economy, unemployment, real estate, and more, many economists are revising their forecasts for the remainder of 2020 – and the outlook is extremely encouraging. Here’s a look at what some experts have to say about key areas that will power the industry and the economy forward this year.

Mortgage Purchase Originations: Joel Kan, Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry ForecastingMortgage Bankers Association

“The recovery in housing is happening faster than expected. We anticipated a drop off in Q3. But, we don’t think that’s the case anymore. We revised our Q3 numbers higher. Before, we predicted a 2 percent decline in purchase originations in 2020, now we think there will be 2 percent growth this year.”

Home Sales: Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, National Association of Realtors

“Sales completed in May reflect contract signings in March and April – during the strictest times of the pandemic lock down and hence the cyclical low point…Home sales will surely rise in the upcoming months with the economy reopening, and could even surpass one-year-ago figures in the second half of the year.”

Inventory: George Ratiu, Senior Economist, realtor.com

“We can project that the next few months will see a slow-yet-steady improvement in new inventory…we projected a stepped improvement for the May through August months, followed by a return to historical trend for the September through December time frame.”

Mortgage Rates: Freddie Mac

“Going forward, we forecast the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to remain low, falling to a yearly average of 3.4% in 2020 and 3.2% in 2021.”

New Construction: Doug Duncan, Chief Economist, Fannie Mae

“The weaker-than-expected single-family starts number may be a matter of timing, as single-family permits jumped by a stronger 11.9 percent. In addition, the number of authorized single-family units not yet started rose 5.4 percent to the second-highest level since 2008. This suggests that a significant acceleration in new construction will likely occur.”

Bottom Line

The experts are optimistic about the second half of the year. If you paused your 2020 real estate plans this spring, reach out to The Ransom-McKenzie Team today to determine how you can re-engage in the process.. We have details regarding our local Inland Empire market that will help you determine the best course of action.

Summer 2020: This Year’s Real Estate Season

With stay-at-home orders starting to gradually lift throughout parts of the country, data indicates homebuyers are jumping back into the market. After many families put their plans on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what we once called the busy spring real estate season is shifting into the summer. In 2020, summer is the new spring for real estate.

Mark your calendar for a hot summer real estate season!

Joel KanEconomist at The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) notes:

“Applications for home purchases continue to recover from April’s sizable drop and have now increased for five consecutive weeks…Government purchase applications, which include FHA, VA, and USDA loans, are now 5 percent higher than a year ago, which is an encouraging turnaround after the weakness seen over the past two months.”

Additionally, according to Google Trends, which scores search terms online, searches for real estate increased from 68 points the week of March 15th to 92 points last week. As we can see, more potential home buyers are looking for homes virtually. Our website is a great place to start looking for your new home.

What’s the Opportunity for Buyers?

Another reason buyers are coming back to the market, even with forced unemployment and stay-at-home orders, is historically low mortgage rates. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac indicates:

“For the fourth consecutive week, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has been below 3.30 percent, giving potential buyers a good reason to continue shopping even amid the pandemic…As states reopen, we’re seeing purchase demand improve remarkably fast, now essentially flat relative to a year ago.”

With mortgage rates at such low levels and states gradually beginning to reopen, there’s more incentive than ever to buy a home this summer.

What’s the Opportunity for Sellers?

Finding a home to buy, however, is still a challenge, as this spring sellers removed many listings from the market. Though more people are now putting their houses up for sale this month as compared to last month, current inventory is still well below last year’s level.

According to last week’s Weekly Economic and Housing Market Update from realtor.com:

“Weekly Housing Inventory showed continued tightening. New Listings declined 28% compared with a year ago, as sellers grappled with uncertainty and hesitated bringing homes to market. Total Listings dropped 20% YoY, a faster rate than in prior weeks, leaving very few homes available for sale. As Time on Market was 15 days slower YoY, asking prices moved up 1.5% YoY.”

If you’re thinking of selling your house this summer, now may be your best opportunity. With so few homes on the market for buyers to purchase, this season may be the time for your house to stand out from the crowd. Trusted real estate professionals can help you list safely and effectively keeping your family’s needs top of mind. Buyers are looking, and your house may be at the top of their list. Contact The Ransom-McKenzie Team today to find out about the resources we have to sell your home in this new environment.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of selling, many buyers may be eager to find a home just like yours. Reach out to The Ransom-McKenzie Team today to make sure you can get your house in on the action this summer.

Confused about the Economic Recovery?

Math ImageHere’s why. As we continue to work through the health crisis that plagues this country, more and more conversations are turning to economic recovery. While we look for signs that we’ve reached a plateau in cases of COVID-19, the concern and fear of what will happen as businesses open up again is on all of our minds. This causes confusion about what an economic recovery will look like. With this in mind, it’s important to understand how economists are using three types of sciences to formulate their forecasts and to work toward clearer answers.

  1. Business Science – How has the economy rebounded from similar slowdowns in the past?
  2. Health Science – When will COVID-19 be under control? Will there be another flareup of the virus this fall?
  3. People Science – After businesses are fully operational, how long will it take American consumers to return to normal consumption patterns? (Ex: going to the movies, attending a sporting event, or flying).

Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, says:

“Although the uncertainty of the crisis means forecasts of economic activity are more unclear than usual, we expect that most of the economic damage from the virus will be contained to the first half of the year. Going forward, we should see a recovery starting in the second half of 2020.”

This past week, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released the advanced estimate for Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the first quarter of 2020. That estimate came in at -4.8%. It was a clear indicator showing how the U.S. economy slowed as businesses shut down and consumers retreated to their homes in fear of the health crisis and of contracting COVID-19.

Confused About the Economic Recovery? Here’s Why. | Keeping Current Matters

Experts agree that the second quarter of 2020 will be an even greater slowdown, a sign more businesses are feeling the effects of this health crisis. The same experts, however, project businesses will rebound, and a recovery will start to happen in the second half of this year.

What Does This All Mean?

As time goes on, we’ll have more clarity around what the true economic recovery will look like, and we’ll have more information on the sciences that will affect it. As the nation’s economy comes back to life and businesses embrace new waves of innovation to serve their customers, the American spirit of grit, growth, and prosperity will be alive and well. Give The Ransom-McKenzie Team a call if you have questions about our local real estate market as we work through this time.

Don’t Forget the Census

You should have already received your 2020 United States Census notification paperwork in the mail. They were sent out in mid-January and all households have been asked to report in so that we have an accurate count for your community.

Our Congressman, Mark Takano, who represents the 41st District which includes the City of Riverside, recently met with Italia Garcia from the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice to discuss the importance of an accurate Census count. Here is the video, in case you missed it. Garcia brings up some important issues, that are directly affected by our Census numbers.

Takano Interview

The Census results will help the government determine how much funding our community will receive to improve services and infrastructure. This includes everything from schools and hospitals to roads and transportation. In Southern California, and the Inland Empire especially, population numbers are increasing annually. Since the last Census 10 years ago, our region has experienced a lot of change. Because of this, we need to do everything we can to make sure we are all counted.

Our level of participation in the 2020 Census is vital to assuring that we have fair representation for the next 10 years for our community. Participating is easy, you can fill out the forms online. If you have questions or issues filling out your census, call 844-330-2020 for more details or to complete the Census survey via phone.