Friday, December 30, 2005

Mortgage rates drop! Thinking about refinancing?

Bankrate.com reports for the week ending 12/28, "The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell 5 basis points to 6.28 percent. One year ago, the mortgage index was 5.83 percent; four weeks ago, it was 6.36 percent."


To read more, go here: Mortgage rates

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

End of year ... and house buying

Yes, there is house buying and selling going on over the holidays! The sellers who have kept their home on the market during the holidays are finding that there are buyers out looking for that giant holiday present ... a home!

We say that the best time to buy or sell a home is when it fits in with your plans!


Tax planning ... start now!

If you've bought or sold a home during 2005, you will want to have a copy of your closing statement to use in preparing your income tax return. If you cannot locate a copy, contact your realtor or escrow officer to get a copy. You'll be glad you did!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Mortgage rates steady

Bankrate.com reports that for the week ending December 21, mortgage interest rates have remained relatively steady. "The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell 1 basis point to 6.33 percent ... One year ago, the mortgage index was 5.75 percent, and four weeks ago it was 6.32 percent."

To read more: Mortgage interest rates

Saturday, December 24, 2005

C.A.R. reports on November 2005 prices

The California Association of Realtors® (C.A.R.) reports that "Median price of a home in California at $548,400 in November, up 16.2 percent from year ago; sales decrease 11.2 percent."

Again sounding the slowing of the market, "While year-to-date sales in November were 1.7 percent above last year’s pace, we are starting to see the ‘soft landing’ we have been expecting. The year-to-year decline in sales is not surprising, given the market was so strong in November 2004. Additionally, rising mortgage interest rates, which have moved above 6 percent over the last few months, contributed to the slowdown in sales," " said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young.


To read more: November 2005 home prices

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Another 2006 housing market prediction

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) economists predict that "Following strong growth over the past three years, home sales and housing production will ease back next year to around 2004’s historically healthy levels."

Remodeling is also expected to experience growth, and the NAHB cites the hurricane as a contributing factor.

Their prediction on appreciation is that "The pace of home price appreciation will be cut about in half over the next year, from an estimated average of 10.7 percent for 2005 as a whole (according to the OFHEO house price index for home purchases) to 6.5 percent in 2006 and about 4.4 percent in 2007."

To read more: NAHB 2006 housing market prediction

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Real Estate Blog interview

Our internet interview with Dustin of The Rain City Guide, a Seattle real estate blog, can be read here:
Real Estate Blog interview.

Thanks, Dustin, for the real estate insight your blog provides!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Home Safety over the Holidays

At this time of year, we would like to take time to remind you about safety in your home over the holidays.

The U.S. Fire Administration has tips on Holiday Fire Prevention, including Holiday Tree Fire Hazards.

The National Safety Council also has Christmas Tree Tips.

The U.S. Product Safety Commission has released their Holiday Season Decorating Safety Tips.

SMOKE DETECTORS make a great holiday gift! And, make sure you have adequate, working smoke detectors in your home.

Be safe ... and enjoy the holidays!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Holiday Real Estate Market

We are asked about the real estate market during the holidays. Some of our thoughts:

There are fewer homes on the market at this time. Most people would say that they would prefer not to have their home on the market while trying to enjoy the holidays. And, there are fewer buyers at this time. Their attention is elsewhere.

So, what does this mean? For sellers and buyers, less competition.

We always say ... it doesn't matter what time of year it is, if the right home for you comes on the market, then buy it. And, if your plans are to sell at this time of year, go ahead and put your home on the market. The holidays can be a win-win time of year for all!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Prediction for 2006 Housing Market

The National Association of Realtors® is predicting that 2006 will again be a strong year for housing, second only to record-setting levels of 2005.

David Lereah, NAR's chief economist, said that market conditions are still favorable for housing. "The slowdown amounts to a tapping of the brakes on a hot market. Home sales are coming down from the mountain peak, but they will level-out at a high plateau – a plateau that is higher than previous peaks in the housing cycle. This transition to a more normal and balanced market is a good thing."

To read more: 2006 housing market forecast

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Make your home safe in the winter months

Preparing for the winter months includes making sure your home is a safe place to live. The Home Safety Council has good tips for winter with regard to fires in your home, carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and power outages.

There are also a lot of good home safety tips on their website. Check it out!

To read more: home safety tips for winter

And, if you are shoveling snow this winter, the National Safety Council has tips here: snow shoveling

Sunday, December 11, 2005

California Association of Realtors 2005 Survey of Home Sellers

The CAR has released the results of their 2005 Survey of Home Sellers, which was conducted in the second quarter of 2005.

Some key findings:
". The share of sellers using the Internet surpassed 50 percent for the first time ever, rising from 47 percent in 2004 to 57 percent in 2005.

. Sellers used the Internet mainly to research comparable prices, get current information on the neighborhood, and to find an agent. However, 97 percent of all sellers used an agent to assist them in the home selling process.

. Sellers sold their home primarily because they wanted a larger home or a better location. However, market conditions influenced their decision to sell, especially low interest rates.

. While sellers increasingly obtained information about the market from the Internet, they continued to rely on the experience and expertise of real estate agents who guided them through the home transaction."

To read more: Survey of Home Sellers

Friday, December 09, 2005

Luxury Home Values increase

The third quarter of 2005 saw a double digit rise - leading to record all time highs in the value of properties over one million dollars in the California areas of Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego according to the First Republic Prestige Home Index™.

The Prestige Home Index™ found that:
1. "Los Angeles values jumped 8.6% from the second quarter of 2005 to the third quarter of 2005 and rose 17% from the third quarter a year ago."
Los Angeles average luxury home value - $2.28 million.
2. "San Diego values increased 2.9% from the second quarter of 2005 to the third quarter of 2005, and were up 11.6% from the third quarter a year ago."
San Diego average luxury home value - $2.07 million.
3. "San Francisco Bay Area values rose 1.8% from the second quarter of 2005 to the third quarter of 2005 and gained 12.9% from a year ago."
San Francisco average luxury home value - $2.85 million.

To read more: Luxury Home Values

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Cost vs Value - to remodel or not?

Remodeling magazine has once again issued their Cost vs Value report, analyzing the return on investment for certain home remodeling projects and breaking down the return by region.

As expected, bathroom and kitchen remodels lead the list of remodeling money well spent.

The National Association of Realtors has detailed information online here: 2005 Cost vs value report

Monday, December 05, 2005

Remodeling Market Slows

According to the National Association of Home Builders'Remodeling Market Index (RMI), "Growth of remodeling activity slowed moderately in the third quarter of 2005".

The report looks at both owner-occupied and rental units, stating that "Owner-occupied housing represents 69 percent of total housing in the U.S." There was more of a decline in the rental market than the owner-ocupied market.

To read more: Remodeling market slows

Saturday, December 03, 2005

CAR reports on October Median Home Prices

The California Association of Realtors (CAR) reports that "The median price of an existing home in California in October increased 17.2 percent and sales decreased 2.8 percent compared with the same period a year ago".

Further, "The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California during October 2005 was $538,770, a 17.2 percent increase over the revised $459,530 median for October 2004, C.A.R. reported. The October 2005 median price decreased 1 percent compared with September’s $543,980 median price."

To read more: October 2005 Median Home Prices

Friday, December 02, 2005

Where are the affordable homes?

Trying to decide where to move? Perhaps you'll be interested in today's information.

There's an article online Where the affordable homes are that goes through the housing affordability outlook region-by-region.

In addition, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) has released their quarterly report on the median sales price of single-family homes for metropolitan areas. The least expensive city for this third-quarter report was Danville, Illinois with median priced home of $72,800.

You can see the NAR report on Median Price Homes here: (note: this is a PDF file and requires Adobe Acrobat to open): Median price of U.S. homes