New Orleans Real Estate News

March 22, 2017

Hottest Neighborhoods of Metro New Orleans in 2017

City Business New Orleans recently published an article with Realtors predictions on what neighborhoods will be hot in 2017. Craig Mirambell, of Mirambell Realty had a great write up on Maple Ridge in Old Metairie and Buccaneer Villa North, a new development by Corne Construction in St Bernard Parish.

 

Craig Mirambell Jr.

Broker/owner 

Mirambell Realty

“One neighborhood that jumps out immediately to me is Maple Ridge in Old Metairie.  Maple Ridge is a one entry neighborhood off of Airline that is sandwiched between the gated Metairie Club Estate, Pontiff Playground and South Beverly Knoll.  The reason I see this small subdivision exploding is the new construction. Years ago when this neighborhood was built, there were hundreds of small cottages, but since Katrina the neighborhood has seen great progression.  Several of the homes received water during Katrina and either sold or tore down.  One by one, there are new mega- homes popping up.  There are always at least two to three homes in the subdivision being constructed, and there are still several lots with the potential to break ground at any moment.  The conveniences and luxuries of Old Metairie are obvious, including living in Jefferson Parish and being only five minutes from Orleans Parish.  We continue to see prices increase with each new home being sold. The slow and steady growth has really benefited those who have bought in, versus a market that explodes in a quick amount of time.

Additionally, we are seeing tons of new development in St. Bernard Parish. Our agent, Andrea Corne, is listing 21 properties that are being developed by Corne Construction in Buccaneer Villa North.  The prices can’t be touched for new construction in this area, and we are seeing plenty of homebuyers returning to the area they once called home.”

 

The entire article can be seen below. 

 

Hottest neighborhoods for 2017

Where’s the action in this year’s local real estate market?

If you listen to the real estate brokerage firm Redfin, it’s in the Treme. The firm has named that neighborhood No. 10 on its list of “Hottest Neighborhoods of 2017.” (The Bushrod neighborhood in Oakland, California topped the list.)

This restored three-bedroom, three-bath cottage at 437 Vallette St. in Algiers is on the market for $469,000. Photo courtesy Michael Verderosa

This restored three-bedroom, three-bath cottage at 437 Vallette St. in Algiers is on the market for $469,000.

Redfin agent Caren Morgan said the Treme is somewhat less expensive and “historically not as trendy,” with turn-of-the-century homes that lure out-of-state buyers. The nearby St. Claude-Rampart streetcar line offers a new way to get to other neighborhoods, she said.

“Many of the buyers moving to Treme are in search of more affordable city living and don’t want to give up amenities like walkability, great nightlife and superb restaurants,” she said.

The median sale price of a home in the Treme is $199,200 and spends 261 days on the market, according to Redfin. The firm also names Algiers Point and Milan as popular neighborhoods.

Michael Verderosa, a realtor with Latter & Blum, said that while residential single-family home listings in the Treme are up 28 percent over last year, sales haven’t increased substantially. Multi-family listings remained almost the same from 2015 to 2016, he said.

He said that Redfin, a newbie to the New Orleans real estate scene, could be basing its projections on the number of page views the properties have received. But those “don’t necessarily reflect the patterns or projections of actual legitimate buyers in our historic downtown market.”

Meanwhile the Mid-City area surrounding the new University Medical Center and Veterans Affairs Hospital is ripe for an increase in renovation and sales in 2017, he said.

Available housing stock and properties that have not yet been renovated remain very accessible as the hospitals continue to staff up, and demand in the surrounding blocks –as well as values- are expected to increase accordingly.

Latter & Blum’s Historic Districts Office has also seen a “substantial uptick” in sales and values in Algiers Point, he said. The neighborhood “remains one of the last bastions of an affordable and relatively safe neighborhood with easy access to downtown,” he said.

The average sold price in December showed a 16.9 percent increase in Algiers Point over what the average sold price was just one year before.

Condos at Union Lofts, a complex in the former Western Union Telegraph Building in the Central Business District, start at just over $250,000.

Condos at Union Lofts, a complex in the former Western Union Telegraph Building in the Central Business District, start at just over $250,000.

The area is attractive to buyers priced out of other historic East Bank neighborhoods, like Uptown, the Irish Channel and the Lower Garden District, and Bywater.

“While the market in these other neighborhoods might slow or even plateau eventually, I won’t be at all surprised to see values in the Point continue to rise at a faster rate than most other historic New Orleans neighborhoods,” he said.

Other areas to watch in 2017, according to New Orleans-area realtors:

 

GiGi Gaubert Burk

owner

Burk Brokerage

“St Roch.  The historic homes and the location just across from Marigny/Bywater.  The spillover effect started just after the St Roch market was built.”

 

Tangie Stephens

Broker associate

Seller representative specialist

Keller William Realty

Surely, Holy Cross, Mid City, Bywater, Marigny will continue their appeal.  However, I think Old Jeff is going to flourish.”

 

Craig Mirambell Jr.

Broker/owner 

Mirambell Realty

“One neighborhood that jumps out immediately to me is Maple Ridge in Old Metairie.  Maple Ridge is a one entry neighborhood off of Airline that is sandwiched between the gated Metairie Club Estate, Pontiff Playground and South Beverly Knoll.  The reason I see this small subdivision exploding is the new construction. Years ago when this neighborhood was built, there were hundreds of small cottages, but since Katrina the neighborhood has seen great progression.  Several of the homes received water during Katrina and either sold or tore down.  One by one, there are new mega- homes popping up.  There are always at least two to three homes in the subdivision being constructed, and there are still several lots with the potential to break ground at any moment.  The conveniences and luxuries of Old Metairie are obvious, including living in Jefferson Parish and being only five minutes from Orleans Parish.  We continue to see prices increase with each new home being sold. The slow and steady growth has really benefited those who have bought in, versus a market that explodes in a quick amount of time.

Additionally, we are seeing tons of new development in St. Bernard Parish. Our agent, Andrea Corne, is listing 21 properties that are being developed by Corne Construction in Buccaneer Villa North.  The prices can’t be touched for new construction in this area, and we are seeing plenty of homebuyers returning to the area they once called home.”

 

Martha Eager Allen

Associate

Re/Max N.O. Properties

“I think Bayou St. John will continue to be a hot market in the upcoming year. There continues to be development and new renovations hitting the market under $500,000.  The new infrastructure in Mid-City has added a lot of appeal and also contributed to the walkability of the neighborhood. The proximity to City Park and the bayou appeal to a generation who enjoys exercise and outdoor activity. Homebuyers can find historic homes that have New Orleans charm, but new interiors and little maintenance required. The area is very appealing to first-time homebuyers looking to grow into a home, as well as empty nesters who have grown tired of large homes.”

 

Tom Giroir

Broker/owner

RE/MAX Real Estate Partners

“I feel that perhaps the hottest neighborhoods and type of property will be the condo market in the Warehouse District as well as the CBD. I am basing this opinion on the influx of millennials and young professionals moving into New Orleans for employment in the technology companies as well as the new medical complex in New Orleans. Recent history shows that these young professionals do shun the traditional suburb type of living arrangement, but prefer more of a limited maintenance environment that is convenient to restaurants, shopping and nightlife.”

  • Valerie Huntley contributed to this report.
Posted in In the News
March 17, 2017

For Sale 625 Pine St, New Orleans, LA 70125 $799,000.00 Virtual Open House

Mirambell Realty & Craig Mirambell Present:

2625 Pine St

New Orleans, LA 70125

$799,000.00

4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths

4,765 Living Sq Ft & 5,047 Total Sq Ft

Contact Craig Mirambell for more information. 504-908-6777

Take a 3D Virtual Tour Right Now, our homes are always having an Open House , Virtually!

 

Posted in In the News
March 14, 2017

For Sale & Virtual Open House Now 1720 Missouri $185,000 3 Beds 2 Baths

Mirambell Realty & Christopher Cazenave Present:

1720 Missouri Ave

Kenner, LA 70062

185,000.00

3 bedrooms, 2 baths

1,182 Living Sq Ft & 1,447 Total Sq Ft

Contact Christopher Cazenave for more information. 504-296-3812

Take a 3D Virtual Tour Right Now, our homes are always having an Open House Virtually!

Posted in In the News
Feb. 22, 2017

For Sale 6805 Catina St, New Orleans, LA 70124 $299,000

Mirambell Realty & Craig Mirambell Present:

6805 Catina Street

New Orleans, LA 70124

$299,000.00

3 Bedrooms, 2 Bath

1,807 Living Sq Ft  1,860 Total Sq ft

 

Take a 3D Virtual Tour Right Now,

Always holding an OPEN HOUSE here, 

3D Virtual Tour of 6805 Catina St

Posted in News
Feb. 22, 2017

For Sale 58 E. Chalmette Circle, Chalmette, LA 70043 $238,000

Mirambell Realty & Craig Mirambell Present:

58 E. Chalmette Circle

Chalmette. LA. 70043

$238,000.00

3 Bedrooms, 2 Bath

1,535 Living Sq Ft  1,701 Total Sq ft

Brand New Home Built in 2017!

 

Take a 3D Virtual Tour Right Now,

Always holding an OPEN HOUSE here, 

3D Virtual Tour of 58 E. Chalmette Circle

Posted in News
Feb. 22, 2017

The real cost of the free Jefferson Parish down payment assistance

Down payment grants advertised as “free money” by local finance authorities often carry a hefty price: thousands of dollars in higher interest.

In exchange for a down payment grant of anywhere from 3 to 5 percent of the price of the home, the finance authorities require lenders to charge above-market-rate interest, forcing hungry home buyers to saddle themselves with higher mortgage notes over the life of the loan.

“We don't twist anybody's arm to take it,” said Terry McCarthy, Executive Director of the Jefferson Parish Finance Authority. He went on to say, “They either use it or they don't get a house.”

The Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD, has been investigating, through a series of audits, for four years whether the down payment assistance programs rise to the level of predatory lending.

 

 

 

Jeremy and Johanna Ross found their dream home right away.

“My wife and I had been renting a condo and we were expecting our first child and you know, it's the American dream. You want the house. You want the yard. We had a dog that had nowhere to run,” Jeremy Ross said.
Their dream home is in Kenner. While the Rosses had good credit, they didn’t have enough money for a down payment to make their American dream a reality.   

Ross said his loan officer told the couple about the down payment assistance grants offered by the Jefferson Parish Finance Authority, or JPFA.

“Based on the fact that it would really help us on closing costs, we weighed the options and it was definitely worth it to go through with it,” Ross said.

 “Free” money

“It's a grant. It doesn't have to be repaid either,” said McCarthy said. Local finance authorities market the grants as ‘free’ money that doesn’t have to be repaid. While that’s true, the money doesn’t have to be repaid by the borrower, there is an added cost to them.

Home buyers getting a Jefferson Parish Finance Authority grant pay a higher interest rate.

“If they qualify, they agree to pay whatever rate the lender has. We tack on a little bit for the down payment assistance,” McCarthy said.

For example, someone buying a $150,000 house could end up paying $27,000 more in interest over the life of a 30-year loan. So, they are paying $27,000 more in interest to receive $4,500 from the JPFA.

While the finance authority doesn’t directly get paid the interest, they get reimbursed the amount of the grant by the loan servicer and they get paid fees.

“All the disclosures are in the documents,” McCarthy said.

The premium interest rate is no secret, but it could be easily missed if borrowers don’t closely read the fine print.

The finance authority's most recent disclosure form that's used by third party lenders when they sign people up says "…the interest rate on a mortgage loan may be higher."

For JPFA grants, and grants from many similarly-structured housing authorities across the country, the interest rate is always higher.

Jeremy Ross said he and his wife had an informative lender.

“She explained that it was through Jefferson Parish and it would give us a percentage of what we borrowed. It wouldn't require payback but it would give us a little higher interest rate,” Ross said.

Three other grant recipients we talked to said they didn't realize they were paying a higher rate.

Only public entities can do it

After the housing financial crisis in 2008, Congress banned private banks from giving money to home buyers for a down payment.

“It prevents someone who has an incentive to encourage a bad-quality loan from going ahead,” said Mark Humphery-Jenner, a visiting professor of finance with the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University.

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, prohibited everyone but quasi-governmental agencies, like the Jefferson Parish Finance Authority, from doling out down payment grants.

Traditional home mortgages typically require people to put down 10 to 20 percent in order to buy a home.

Loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration only require buyers to put 3 to 4 percent down. That’s why JPFA and other finance authorities offer 3 to 4 percent down payment assistance.

The different down payment programs vary in their requirements, but most have income limitations and limit the price of the home. Additionally, home buyers have to meet a certain credit score in order to qualify.

Because so many of the loans generated using down payment assistance grants are FHA loans, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, plays a significant role in regulating the programs.

HUD’s inspector general started looking at the premium interest rates and fees that are charged in a 2015 audit of similar programs in Arizona.

HUD Inspector General David Montoya found the loans didn’t always comply with HUD FHA rules.

"The gifts were not true gifts as defined by HUD. They were indirectly repaid by the borrowers through the premium rate in combination with the development authorities' funding mechanism," Montoya writes.

It's because people who get a few thousand to put down end up paying the banks tens of thousands more in interest over the life of the loan.

“Every state in the United States does exactly what we used to do as well as about 1200 finance authorities. So, we don't do anything different than anybody else,” McCarthy said about the JPFA program.

The down payment assistance programs offered by finance authorities around Louisiana all use that similar funding structure, including the Finance Authority of New Orleans and The Capital Area Finance Authority.

“I think depending on who's in office in Washington, every now and then this puppy sticks its head out of the basket,” McCarthy said about the concerns raised about asking borrowers to pay higher interest to get the down payment grants.

HUD has not fully responded to its office of inspector general, but they did issue some guidance to FHA that essentially found the rates weren’t premium interest rates because most down payment assistance programs charge the same higher rates.

HUD’s OIG disagrees, however, and Montoya took his push for reform directly to members of Congress last fall.

In a letter to the chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services, Montoya warns, "The costs to the borrower far exceeds the down payment, negatively affects the borrower and makes these loans a risk."
Montoya’s office estimates some 60,000 loans a year are initiated using down payment assistance grants. Not all of them are risky, but with home buyers not having the money saved to put down, the chances are higher they could default.

“No one really benefits from giving out loans that people can't actually afford,” said Humphery-Jenner.
The inspector general also had a problem with the fees that change hands after people close on their loans.

The finance authorities get paid back the entire cost of the down payment grant and they sometimes receive fees from the professionals that service the loan.
 

Fees and spending for JPFA

The JPFA down payment assistance program, called the Southern Mortgage Assistance Program, is funded largely through the fees it collects, and by revenue from past bond issues.

“We can never catch up by making $1,000 fee on these houses helping people move to Jefferson,” said JPFA Trustee Sam Schudmak at a recent meeting of the Board of Trustees that oversees the authority.

A budget breakdown provided by the authority shows the agency spent $185,000 more than it took in last year.

It’s why some trustees, like Schudmak, are questioning payments to professionals like Rob Konrad.

Konrad is the general counsel for the JPFA. He's paid a retainer of $3,500 a month.

“Whenever there's an issue that I need to write an opinion on, I charge an additional fee for that and that's always been the case with the authority going back to 1979,” Konrad said at a recent trustee meeting.

“That's not included in your contract?” asked Trustee Marcy Planer. “That's correct,” Konrad replied. Konrad’s contract specifically states his retainer covers opinions. Yet invoices show in the past three years he's made an additional $30,000 in fees.

When asked whether paying Konrad fees over and above his retainer was a necessary expense, McCarthy responded, “It's not a decision I make. It's up to the Board of Trustees and it has been in place for 39 years.”
Konrad issued a statement about the added fees saying, "when issuing such an opinion on behalf of the authority, the general counsel incurs significant liability.  As a result of the assumed liability, the authority has always compensated its general counsel, including all of my predecessors, for that increased exposure."

Jefferson Parish Council Member Jennifer Van Vrancken has also questioned some of the JPFA’s spending on a high vehicle and cell phone allowance for McCarthy and per diems paid to trustees who attend free luncheons.

“Certainly if somebody is being paid to be on retainer and be at the beckon call of the board but then getting additional money to do the things that the board is asking, that would seem above and beyond what they should be paid,” Van Vrancken said.

Despite the questions raised about spending and about the funding structure that puts an added burden on the people the authority is designed to help, some of the leaders of the JPFA maintained the authority is meeting its mission, with no changes needed.

“This is costing the parish nothing. There's nothing coming out of the parish funds. We're creating the opportunity for young people to afford a home in Jefferson Parish. Tell me what's wrong with that,” asked JPFA Trustee Dennis DiMarco.

It still begs the question, how much is the program costing people like the Rosses? Four months after they moved in to the home they bought with the grant, Johanna was diagnosed with cancer.     

She's currently waging a war on lymphoma.

“It could be worse. We're fortunate to have decent insurance. It still has its out-of-pocket burden,” Jeremy Ross said about their medical expenses.

Despite that added financial burden Ross says he doesn't regret taking the money. “Worth it… No regrets,” he said.

He said he also doesn’t regret paying higher interest, but should he have to?

The Jefferson Parish Finance Authority’s Southern Mortgage Assistance Program offers 3 to 4% down payment grants in three parishes: Jefferson, St Tammany and St Charles. Until last June, JPFA was also running the program in Calcasieu Parish.

“We gave it up because it wasn't making any money and I couldn't justify the expense. We were breaking even,” McCarthy said.

Whether or not HUD takes action on its inspector general’s recommendations will likely depend on the position taken by the incoming HUD Secretary.

President Donald Trump has nominated neurosurgeon Ben Carson for the post, but the US Senate has yet to confirm him.

 

Sources: wwltv.com 

 

Posted in In the News
Feb. 15, 2017

Craig Mirambell of Mirambell Realty Makes 2016 List of New Orleans' City Business Top 200 Producer

Mirambell Realty proudly recognizes Craig Mirambell for earning a top spot in the New Orleans City Business Top Real Estate Producers for 2016. Craig finished in the top 3% of nearly 6,000 Realtors in the New Orleans Region.

Posted in In the News
Feb. 13, 2017

Zillow Group Plans to Appeal $8M Photo Copyright Verdict

A jury has ordered the popular real estate website Zillow to pay $8.24 million in statutory damages for infringing photo company VHT’s copyright on images displayed on Zillow Digs, according to a Feb. 9 Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Zillow intends to immediately appeal the decision.

The background

VHT filed a federal copyright infringement suit against Zillow Group in July 2015. The photography company alleged that Zillow Group had been stealing tens of thousands of VHT’s photos and illegally using them for its own profit and gain.

The parties squared off on that issue at a Seattle jury trial starting Jan. 23., with the verdict returned Feb. 9. The verdict also awards VHT $79,875 in actual damages.

“We have persistently maintained our belief that this suit was without merit,” Zillow Group spokeswoman Amanda Woolley said in a statement to Inman. “While we are pleased that the majority of original claims were dismissed in this case, we regret that the jury did not find for us completely on those that remained, and will vigorously pursue all options to overturn their verdict.”

(In January 2016, VHT filed an amended complaint alleging copyright infringement of VHT’s images on Zillow.com, as well as Zillow Digs. In December 2016, the Court granted a motion for partial summary judgment that dismissed VHT’s claims with respect to Zillow.com.)

Woolley added: “We take copyright protection and enforcement seriously and will continue to respect copyright permissions across our platforms.”

Zillow noted in the SEC filing: “The Company intends to file motions in the district court seeking judgment for the Company on certain claims that are the subject of the verdict, and for a new trial on others.

“We intend to appeal any judgment that the court may enter on the verdict to the extent the district court does not set it aside as a result of these motions. The Company is seeking coverage from its insurance carrier for reimbursement of all recoverable legal expenses and any damages underlying the verdict that are not vacated.”

VHT retains copyright for all photos taken by photographers on its behalf. It licenses the photos to listing agents and brokers solely for marketing the specific pictured property or the company or agent representing the property — and only while that property is on the market.

VHT did not name any brokers or MLSs as defendants in this case, but that’s not to say that they should consider themselves off the hook in the future.

“[I]f the brokers or MLSs are purporting to license these photos to Zillow after the listings go off-market, VHT might also have claims against them; but it may view it as strategically unwise to make such claims,” attorneys Brian Larson and Mitchell Skinner wrote in their 2016 book Real Estate Listings & Copyright.

This case highlights how real estate agents and brokers may want to keep track of what happens to the photos they send to portal giant Zillow — and the terms under which they are sent.

Source: Caroline Feeney, inman.com

Andrea V. Brambila contributed to reporting to this story

Posted in In the News
Feb. 9, 2017

Inside Lady Gaga's $20 Million Super Bowl Airbnb

Source: @ladygaga on Instagram.com "Thank you @airbnb for the gorgeous home in Houston for #SB51"

The $10,000-per-night mansion, with private theater and game room, took four years to build. Construction took longer than usual because it used rare materials from all around the world, and included all sorts of artisan details.

The home sleeps 10 an in environment that feels like a mini hotel, with a resort-like pool surrounded by bluestone terraces as well as outdoor living and dining.

For the superstar of the stay — even if you're not Lady Gaga, you probably know who you are — a first-floor master wing has an onyx and marble-clad bath.

Other features of the home include high-end wood cabinetry, honed limestone and walnut floors, ginormous fireplaces, and an exercise room.

This home was built for family and entertainment.

Think chef's kitchen with limestone fireplace, terrace featuring Viking barbecue with wood-fired pizza oven, movie theater with popcorn machine, indoor game room, bocce court, wine cellar, and more. Plus, naturally, it's gated and fully secure for star guests.

It currently goes for about $10,000 per night on Airbnb.

By the way, if you're still surprised that the biggest stars in the world stay at Airbnbs... you shouldn't be. As part of the booking site's high-profile celebrity marketing strategy, the company regularly dishes out over-the-top listings for free, like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's $30 million NYC listing,Mariah Carey’s $60 million rental in Italy, or Britney Spears’ $30 million place in Malibu

 

 

Source: bravotv.com, Alesandra Dubin, "Lady Gaga's $20 Million Super Bowl Home: Inside the Epic Houston Mansion She Got for Free"

 

Posted in In the News
Feb. 8, 2017

For Sale 10412 Alan St, River Ridge, LA 70123 $228,000

Mirambell Realty & Craig Mirambell Present:

10412 Alan St.

River Ridge. LA. 70123

$228,000.00

3 Bedrooms, 1 Bath

1,181 Living Sq Ft  1,240 Total Sq ft

 

Take a 3D Virtual Tour Right Now,

Always holding an OPEN HOUSE here, 

 

 

 

Posted in News