Monday, January 31, 2005

Mortgage Banker Association reports mortgage loan applications decrease

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reports that for the week ending January 21, 2005, "The Market Composite Index - a measure of mortgage loan application volume - was 658.1, a decrease of 3.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from 682.9 one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 10.7 percent compared with last week and was down 26.2 percent compared with the same week one year earlier."

To read more about mortgage home loans, go here.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reports on December home prices

Record home sales have resulted in strong home prices in California. The C.A.R. states "The median price of an existing home in California in December increased 18.1 percent and sales increased 1.4 percent compared with the same period a year ago."

C.A.R. attributes this home buying frenzy to low interest rates and concern that interest rates might rise.

"The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California during December 2004 was $474,480, an 18.1 percent increase over the revised $401,720 median for December 2003, C.A.R. reported. The December 2004 median price increased 0.5 percent compared with a revised $471,980 median price in November."

Want to know where the most expensive homes are in California? C.A.R. has the data:
"Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the highest median home prices in California during December 2004 were: Los Altos, $1,485,000; Burlingame, $1,417,750; Beverly Hills, $1,275,000; Manhattan Beach, $1,250,000; Palos Verdes Estates, $1,117,500; Saratoga, $1,000,000; Hermosa Beach, $976,500; Newport Beach, $925,000; Calabasas, $915,000; Rancho Palos Verdes, $900,000."

And, C.A.R. reports the greatest median home price increases:
"Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the greatest median home price increases in December 2004 compared with the same period a year ago were: Adelanto, 72.6 percent; Hesperia, 63.2 percent; Inglewood, 55.9 percent; Port Hueneme, 52.7 percent; Hercules, 49.3 percent; West Sacramento, 49.1 percent; Bellflower, 48.9 percent; San Bernardino, 48 percent; Victorville, 46.9 percent, Los Banos, 46.4 percent."

To read more, read the online press release here.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

California Housing Affordability Index

"The percentage of households in California able to afford a median-priced home stood at 19 percent in November, a 6 percentage-point decrease compared with the same period a year ago when the Index was at 25 percent, according to a report ... by the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.). The November Housing Affordability Index (HAI) was unchanged from October, when it also stood at 19 percent."

As far as what areas are the most expensive in California, Santa Barbara was at the top! The second most expensive area was the Monterey region. For affordable areas, the High Desert region was number one, and the Central Valley region was second.

To read more, go here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The numbers are in!

The year end statistics are now in. You'll be interested to know how much appreciation happened during 2004. Based on information provided by Data-Quick Information Systems in La Jolla (, you can find out the number of homes and condos sold during 2004, and the percent of price change of the median house and condo price during 2004.

Let's take a look at some cities, and the percent change for the median house price:

Azusa - 33.6%
Canoga Park - 19.7%
La Canada - 16.1%
La Crescenta - 22.4%
Monrovia - 24.7%
Montrose - 25.6%
Pacific Palisades - 16.8%
Sunland - 27.7%

For more information, visit the Data-Quick site.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Thinking of selling in 2005?

Are you thinking of selling your home this year? Well, now's the time to start!
We advise you to contact your realtor and ask her/him to come by to give you ideas on any repairs or improvements that might help you in the sale of your property.

Now's a good time to schedule any work to be done ... before all the other sellers start the process (usually in the spring). You can also use this advance time to clear the property of debris, pack extra belongings, have the garage sale, donate items, etc.

Doing it now will save stress in the future!

Even if you are not selling your home this year, annual maintenance will help in keeping your property in good working order!

Thursday, January 20, 2005

What's up with interest rates? .... They're down!

For the third week in a row, the interest rate for a 30 year fixed mortgage has gone down. The rate on a one year adjustable loan remains the same.

The article states:
"Since late June, the Fed has raised short-term rates five times by a quarter-point each time. The prime rate has gone from 4 percent to 5.25 percent. Yet rates on one-year adjustable-rate mortgages fell until autumn, when they began marching upward gradually. Long-term rates haven't seen such a turnaround. Yet. Economists are confident that long-term rates will rise this year."

According to the online article, many borrowers are opting for 3/1 arm or a 5/1 arm, where the interest rate is fixed for 3 (or 5) years, then it starts adjusting.

To learn more about interest rates, go here.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Research communities BEFORE you buy!

Considering a move? There are many factors you may want to consider when deciding where you want to buy a home, and what community you will become a part of.

This relocation website allows you to input an address and learn a lot of information about the surrounding community. Crime, climate, schools, recent home sales ... and much, much more. We think you'll find this a helpful resource!

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Mortgage Bankers Association reports on loans

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reports that loans for the week ending January 7 were down slightly.

"The Market Composite Index - a measure of mortgage loan application volume - was 587.8, a decrease of 3.0 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from 605.7 one week earlier" according to the MBA.

This is not unexpected over the holidays. With our recent rainy weather, we expect that loan applications for January will be affected. Certainly the housing market in our area has been affected, as buyers canceled their appointments (not wanting to go out and look at property in the rain) and sellers held off (as they dried out and fix any problems that turned up as a result of the rain).

To read the press release, go here.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Rental market "Out of Reach" in California

The National Low Income Housing Coalition has released a study that ranks California at the top of the list of the "Least Affordable States" for people who wish to rent and spend no more than 30% of their income on housing (that list is here).

The study, titled "Out of Reach" compares wages and rents, and affordability. It is very interesting and detailed.

To read the online study, which provides a lot of information from around the United States, please go here. The Press Release about the study is here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

National Association of Homebuilders shows off new products and trends for 2005

Wonder what's new the way of products and materials for home building and remodeling? The 2005 International Builders’ Show (IBS) is where many manufacturers showcase their latest offerings! From new appliances to updated building materials, it's going to be in Orlando, Florida from January 13 to 16.

To read more, go here.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

California statistics ... interesting!

Think California is crowded with expensive housing? Well, you're right!

According to the California Coalition for Rural Housing:

. "One of every nine Americans is a Californian; at current rates of population growth, one of every eight Americans will live in California by the year 2006."

. "California has the second-highest ratio of persons to housing units in the country at 2.77:1 (only Utah's ratio is higher)."

. "California currently ranks 48th among the 50 states in rate of homeownership; whereas the nation in 2002 reached an historic high of 67.9 percent, the state's rate is 58 percent."

. "California has six of the 10 least affordable, metropolitan rental housing markets based on the "housing wage" needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment at 30 percent of income. Statewide, the housing wage is $19.69, second only to Massachusetts."

To read other interesting facts, read the online information here.

Friday, January 07, 2005

2004 Survey of California Home Sellers

The California Association of Realtors Survey key findings include "The percentage of sellers who used the Internet as a significant part of the home selling process nearly quadrupled from 12 percent in 2003 to 47 percent in 2004, and is fast approaching the 56 percent usage rate by homebuyers."

Wow! We would have to agree, as the readership of our real estate blog has grown significantly in 2004.

The Survey goes on to state "While use of the Internet was up, most found that the information they received from the Internet was less useful than the information they received from their agent."

We can see that home buyers and home sellers are finding that the internet is a valuable tool in gaining information, certain aspects of buying or selling can only be done on a personal level. Marketing strategies, pricing, staging, etc. are unique to each property while matching a buyer to a property is also an art.

To read the article online, go here.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Federal Trade Commission posts identity theft information

As one of the fastest growing crimes, we are all exposed to identity theft. From a simple use of your ATM card, a to stolen wallet, to nonsecure website use, we must exercise extreme care to protect ourself.

The FTC has collected information about identity theft. Their helpful site has information about preventing identity theft and what to do if you do experience identity theft.

Visit and bookmark this important site here.

Monday, January 03, 2005

National Association of Home Builders reports on November new home sales

The NAHB reports that "New single-family home sales for November came off a record October buying surge, dropping to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.125 million units, the U.S. Commerce Department reported today. Despite a 12.0 percent decline from October’s record sales pace, the November rate was 3.6 percent above the sales pace of November 2003." (note the report was done December 23, 2004)

NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders states "The fundamentals supporting housing demand still are quite solid. Mortgage rates are historically low, job growth is moving ahead and household income is rising. Sales of new single-family homes will hit a record in 2004 despite the surprising decline reported for November."

To read the report online, go here.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Wondering what happened to interest rates during 2004? reports that long-term interest rates ended 2004 where they began the year! Yes, they went up and down throughout the year.

The December 30 report states "In the last week, the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 8 basis points to 5.83 percent, according to the national survey of large lenders. A basis point is one-hundredth of 1 percentage point. The mortgages in this week's survey had an average total of 0.35 discount and origination points. One year ago, the mortgage index was 5.88 percent."

To read the article online, go here.