As another year draws to a close, it’s time to look ahead at what 2018 may hold in store. We checked in with our industry experts, from Sherman Oaks to Turks and Caicos, to get the scoop on their plans and predictions for the New Year.
Santiago Arana, Managing Partner
"My prediction is that the year ahead will be very much like 2017—demand will increase, prices and total sales will climb, and homes will spend less time on the market. As foreign buyers continue to set their sights on Los Angeles, the demand has never been greater for exceptional luxury properties across the Westside, and I look forward to helping meet this demand with increased marketing efforts and a top-notch team.”
Michael Grady, Managing Partner, Venice
“While I don’t expect the 8%+ increases in home values we’ve been seeing year over year in places like Venice and Manhattan Beach, I believe prices will remain strong. The beach cities will continue to be a very tight market in 2018 especially under the $2 million category as rates remain low, inventory is scarce, and there is a high demand of homebuyers trying to enter these markets.
On a personal note, I’m excited to be bringing a few new homes to market in Venice in collaboration with an innovative developer, a partnership built on shared values and mutual respect for the arts in the community. I’m also looking forward to continuing my push within the local tech and entertainment sectors of Venice and Manhattan Beach, offering full white-glove service to clients relocating here. Given my background in commercial real estate, I understand how business growth drives the housing needs of employees and I look forward to serving these growing markets.”
Michelle Schwartz, Managing Partner, Sherman Oaks
“The east Valley is growing like crazy. We still have so much land available for development and new construction is constantly on the rise—and I don’t see this ceasing anytime soon. Meanwhile, our land values are still increasing, as are the demand and value of new construction homes.
My objective and goal is to up the ante and grow my team in 2018. We will be spending a great deal on social media, not only to promote listings but to attract and acquire new buyers and sellers. In 2017, more than any other year prior, buyers and sellers were conducting countless hours of research online on their own before choosing their representative of choice. The Agency’s in-house creative division, The Agency Creates, provides agents with the tools to stand apart from the pack. I’m so excited to promote my business and the growing Sherman Oaks office in the New Year."
Andrew McDonald, Director of Luxury Properties, Orange County
“Many coastal view, new construction projects in Orange County will be coming to market in 2018. Quality homes with designs that incorporate seamless indoor-outdoor living, gracious master suites, elevators and designer finishes will sell before completion. Oceanfront properties on the Newport Beach Balboa Peninsula will be in especially high demand. Encouraged by increased values from new custom home sales, many homeowners are ready to list their homes, creating opportunities for local buyers who want to upgrade to beachfront homes, as well as out-of-state buyers who purchase rental income properties and vacation homes. As for design, buyers will continue to look for a balance of traditional and modern architecture; warmth through a thoughtful selection of materials and lots of natural light is key. Neolithic slabs and black and gold accents are very trendy.
In addition to spearheading culture-driven community events and direct marketing campaigns in 2018, my team will focus on creating video trailers for properties that entice buyers to see an offering in person. Trailers offer nice, bite-sized snippets that increase the frequency of a brand and property exposure, and I look forward to utilizing this tool in the new year.”
Rachel Swann, Managing Partner, Noe Valley
“Brass and bronze are back and Cryptocurrency is just beginning! While Bitcoin may not be as formulaic, look for a rise in local purchases in 2018!
When it comes to design, finishes are warm and gorgeous and have a glow all their own. Many wonder what the difference is: brass is copper and zinc, while bronze is copper and tin.”
Justin Fichelson, Managing Director of Estates Division, San Francisco
“I’m seeing an increase in properties being built or remodeled to be more sustainable. Not only are developers building properties that are LEED certified and more energy efficient, but they’re pushing the norm now and bridging the gap between green and luxury. I have clients who are currently building four new construction condos that will be among the first Passive buildings in CA, meaning it will generate zero emissions. These condos will be both energy efficient and ultra-luxurious, and I’ll be bringing them to market after the New Year.
Another trend in the Bay Area’s ultra-luxury market is that of buying your neighbor’s home. Many of my high-profile clients (especially those in tech) have either expressed interest in or have bought their neighbor’s homes on either side of their own for increased lot size and privacy. It has become a sign of status that you have arrived. Lastly, I have more and more clients living between NYC, SF and LA. SF is the center of tech and these clients generally want a place in NYC and a place in LA to enjoy the sunshine, as it’s barely an hour flight away. All three locales are great investments.”
Janet Jensen, Partner, Los Cabos
“There is only so much oceanfront in Los Cabos—and it’s coveted. Older, beachfront homes will continue to be desirable for rebuilds and remodels in 2018, as these oceanfront homes are becoming a rarity and many of them are in the very best locations. I also foresee the East Cape, which is, for the most part off the grid, becoming more popular for oceanfront purchase. Private, resort real estate located at Maravilla, Chileno Bay Club, The Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Querencia and El Dorado Beach Club will increase in value as they continue to set the standard in the ultra high-end luxury market. I also see modern, green homes becoming the new industry standard, with larger, improved outdoor areas and smaller interior living spaces. It’s all about the outdoor lifestyle—larger garages and storage space for off-road vehicles, surf, kite, and biking equipment will be in high demand.
From a business standpoint, I’ll continue to work on building relationships with my Agency family stateside and hope more will come and experience Los Cabos firsthand. I will also be writing more and doing live feeds through social media to share the Los Cabos lifestyle and help guide foreigners through the buying process.”
Ian Hurdle, Managing Partner, Turks and Caicos
“We were obviously very nervous as to what effect the hurricanes would have on our real estate market, however, I am relieved to report that aside from the obvious decline in transaction activity in September and October, we actually had a solid month in November in accordance with historical sales data—and that trend is continuing into December. Given that our flights are full of new visitors to the Islands and the number of luxury resort developments forecasted to break ground in 2018, I predict sales activity increasing in the luxury market and specifically the luxury condo sector. I think we have shown that, compared to our regional competition, we still offer the best beach product and have that ‘it’ factor that drives celebrities and high-profile athletes to our shores.
In terms of home and design trends, one of the biggest things I am seeing is the conversion to renewable energy. The recent storms have really driven home the importance of conversion to photovoltaic energy systems with a battery backup component. In meeting with developers I see more emphasis being placed on producing a sustainable, “green” product in keeping with the contemporary stylings that show so well in the Caribbean.
As a brokerage, our plan for 2018 is to really educate potential customer’s on the value of our product. To date, our focus has been to achieve this digitally, but starting as early as January, I will be flying to key cities in the U.S. and Canada and making presentations to the top brokerages within each hub offering direct flights to Turks and Caicos. This strategy will eventually expand to include visits to England, India and China before the year is out.”