Wednesday, March 30, 2005

HUD has online information for home buyers

Looking for a HUD home? The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has an extensive online manual for homebuyers here:

There is a special section for first-time homebuyers, and on many special programs for homebuyers.

If you are in the market to buy a home, you should check it out!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reports decline in mortgage applications

For the week ending March 18, mortgage applications showed a decrease of more than 9% over the previous week. Refinance applications were down more than 60% over last year.

Is this yet another indicator pointing to a change in the real estate market?

To read more, go here.

Friday, March 25, 2005

National Association of Realtors® (NAR) reports on February 2005 home sales and prices

The NAR reports that existing home sales have declined and prices have risen.

The report states "Total existing-home sales, including single-family, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, were down 0.4 percent in February, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.79 million from an upwardly revised pace of 6.82 million in January. Last month's sales activity was 6.1 percent above the 6.40 million-unit pace in February 2004."

As to prices, the National Association of Realtors® states that "The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $191,000 in February, up 11.0 percent from February 2004 when the median price was $172,000. The median is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less."

To read the online article, go here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Feds raise rates

The Federal Reserve raised the fed funds rate (the rate charged banks on over-night loans) a quarter percentage point to 2.75 percent on Tuesday. This is the seventh consecutive rise. We have also seen a rise in mortgage interest rates recently, perhaps in anticipation of this move.

And the National Association of Realtors® make predictions

The National Association of Realtors® is predicting an upward trend in mortgage interest rates, and a strong housing market.

According to David Lereah, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors®, "After setting four consecutive record years, the housing market is due for a breather," he says. "As mortgage interest rates creep up and home sales slow a bit, we should see a better balance between home buyers and sellers—that will take some of the pressure off of home prices."

To read more, go here.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Megan's Law Database now online

You can now access California's sex offender registry online.

Taken directly from the California Dept. of Justice website:
"Welcome to the California Department of Justice's Internet web site, which lists designated registered sex offenders in California.

"As a result of a new law, this site will provide you with access to information on more than 63,000 persons required to register in California as sex offenders. Specific home addresses are displayed on more than 33,500 offenders in the California communities; as to these persons, the site displays the last registered address reported by the offender. An additional 30,500 offenders are included on the site with listing by ZIP Code, city, and county. Information on approximately 22,000 other offenders is not included on this site, but is known to law enforcement personnel."

The database is here.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

New Real Estate Talk Radio Show!

While this author generally does not use the Southern California Real Estate Blog as an advertisement, there are sometimes when it is appropriate. Now is one of those times.

We are pleased to announce our new weekly radio show - "Fran and Rowena Talk Real Estate", heard Sunday mornings at 11 am on KRLA radio station am 870.

Not in earshot? You can hear the program live here. Tune in, and let us know what you think! Email us with your comments, suggestions, or questions. We will be answering email questions on the air, along with people who call into the station.

You can also read about the program here.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Foreclosure Rates Up in Three Midwest States

The states of Ohio, Michigan and Indiana experienced higher foreclosure rates in January. The online article states that it is possible that the number of foreclosures might increase in midwest states and property value may decline.

To read more about this, go to the online article here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Freddie Mac reports on home sale prices

Freddie Mac reports that "its quarterly Conventional Mortgage Home Price Index (CMHPI) rose 10.7 percent, on an annual basis, from the fourth quarter of 2003 through the fourth quarter of 2004, up from an 8.4 percent growth rate for the prior year (fourth quarter of 2002 to fourth quarter of 2003)."

Further, "Nationally, home values increased by an annualized rate of almost nine percent in the fourth quarter of 2004. The annualized growth rate in the third quarter of 2004 was revised upward to 17.5 percent."

Coastal areas enjoyed especially high appreciation.

To read the entire online article, go here.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Europeans buying U.S. real estate

Led by the declining dollar value and facilitated by cheaper air fares, a growing number of Europeans are investing in real estate in the United States. No official numbers are kept on this segment of the market, however.

To read more, go here.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

California Building Industry Association reports weather influenced January new home construction

In Southern California we are well aware of the rainy weather! Now, the effect on our housing market is being measured.

The California Building Industry Association reports that "The bad weather resulted in California housing starts dropping significantly in January compared to the extremely high totals recorded in December 2004".

To read more, go here.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

House Staging - does it work?

We went on a listing appointment today to meet with sellers who are contemplating a move. In meeting with them, they were surprised to hear our recommendations for "staging" their home. They love the comfort of their home, and what we were suggesting is not at all in keeping with their lifestyle.

Well, that really is the name of the game in staging a home! We like to say that the way you LIVE in a home is not the way you SELL a home. Really, making simply changes to furniture placement, removing personal items, clearing the clutter --- these things will make you money in the long run!

To read more tips on staging your home, you can read what we wrote in our website here.

If you have specific questions, we'd love to hear from you! Send us an email. We will share your question (your name will not be published) and our answer on this real estate blog.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Start Cleaning NOW for selling this spring!

That's right! Are you thinking of selling your home this spring? How about any time during 2005? Well, if you are then start cleaning now!

We're getting an increased number of calls from potential sellers. What is the universal comment we have to make to these sellers? It would be that before putting your home on the market ... clear the house and make it shine! That's right. It's time to remove clutter, go through closets, freshen up paint and make your home shine!

And, now's the time to do it. Don't wait until the week before you want to put your home on the market. Start NOW! Give yourself enough time to do the work, without the added pressure of an upcoming open house, etc.

We have a lot of tips for you on our website here.

And, when in doubt, call your realtor for a pre-marketing consultation.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

"Flipping" real estate - can it still be done?

Many clients ask us to help them find properties to "flip" - buy at a low price, fix them up, and sell them ... rather quickly, and at a profit. Can it still be done?

Well, in some real estate markets the answer is "yes". In the current Southern California real estate market, it has become harder and harder to accomplish this.

There's an interesting article online from ABC News on the subject here. It also provides some tips for those who are considering such an investment in real estate to make money.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Listing inventory ... low

As of this moment, there are 36 properties listed for sale in La Canada Flintridge. This number has remained pretty steady throughout the past few months.

We are anticipating that inventory will climb over the traditional spring/summer season.

What's happening in your area? Let us know!


CLUE database - insurance, or not?

You will remember that we have previously brought up the subject of insurance companies and the CLUE report.

There's a good refresher article today in MSN Money here.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reports median price of California home up 20%

Wow! The C.A.R. reports that "The median price of an existing home in California in January increased 20.1 percent and sales increased 7.1 percent compared with the same period a year ago, the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reported today."

With demand still outpacing supply, C.A.R. also reports that "Statewide home resale activity increased 7.1 percent from the 615,660 sales pace recorded in January 2004."

This sets new records for both sales and the median price of a home in California.

To read more about what's going on in the real estate market throughout the state of California, including interesting charts on sales and prices, go here.