Thursday, December 06, 2007

Light Bulb - Emily Vernon, Rhode Island School of Design

Update on Mortgage Relief Plans

The government's plan to assist those with adjustable rate mortgages due to reset is moving forward. For an update, go here: Bankrate.com

There is a toll-free hotline for information: 888-995-HOPE. This hotline is operated by the Homeownership Preservation Foundation

Thursday, November 29, 2007

California Existing Home Sales for October

The California Association of Realtors® (CAR) reports that "Home sales decreased 40.2 percent in October in California compared with the same period a year ago, while the median price of an existing home fell 9.9 percent".

As for prices, "The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California during October 2007 was $497,110, a 9.9 percent decrease from the revised $552,020 median for October 2006, C.A.R. reported. The October 2007 median price fell 6.4 percent compared with September’s $530,830 median price."

To read more: California Association of Realtors

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

October Existing Home Sales

The National Association of Realtors® reports that single-family existing home sales were stable in October, but condo sales were down.

"Single-family home sales were unchanged from September at the seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.37 million in October, and are 20.8 percent below 5.52 million-unit level in October 2006.  The median existing single-family home price was $205,700 in October, down 6.3 percent from a year ago."

"Existing condominium and co-op sales fell 9.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 600,000 units in October from 660,000 in September, but are 20.2 percent below the 752,000-unit pace in October 2006.  The median existing condo price4 was $223,500 in October, up 4.9 percent from a year ago."

To read more: National Association of Realtors®

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Real Estate and Green Building

The National Association of Realtors has found that "While nearly seven in every 10 consumers believe that energy conservation is important or extremely important, the cost of green improvements is still a significant factor in many home buyers’ decisions about purchasing energy-efficient home features."

To read more on the "greening" of real estate: National Association of Realtors

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Foreclosures UP!

RealtyTrak® reports that for the third quarter of 2007, "...Stockton, Calif., Detroit and Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., documented the three highest foreclosure rates among the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas."

To read more: RealtyTrak

Monday, November 05, 2007

Fred Sands tells realtors to get out of the business

That's right! At a California Association of Realtors symposium last week, Fred Sands, former chairman and CEO of Fred Sands REALTORS®, has advice for realtors who have been in the business for less than six year ... you might want to get a different job. He was not optimistic about the housing market either.

There's a good article in the Los Angeles Times

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Foreclosures Up!

Realty Trac reports that for the third quarter of 2007 " ... 30 percent increase from the previous quarter and an increase of nearly 100 percent from the third quarter of 2006."

Where are the foreclosures concentrated? For the third quarter of 2007, Nevada was number 1, followed by California and Florida. The top ten is completed by Michigan, Ohio, Colorado, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana and Texas.

There is a lot of data plus a chart on the Realty Trac website. You can read more: Realty Trac

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Myrtle Beach real estate

Keeping you informed on real estate around the country we find that areas are offering prices that are lower than in recent years.

Check it out here
Fed Cuts Interest Rate ... again!

The Federal Reserve has reacted to pressure on the economy by lowering "... its target for the federal funds rate 25 basis points to 4-1/2 percent."

To read more: Federal Reserve Press Release

Monday, October 29, 2007

Interest Rates Down

Bankrate.com reports that for the week ending October 24th "The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell 18 basis points to 6.31 percent ... One year ago, the mortgage index was 6.46 percent; four weeks ago, it was 6.49 percent."

To read more: Bankrate.com

Thursday, October 25, 2007

California Home Sales Down

To follow up on our report on home sales nationwide, we now have the numbers for home sales in California. The California Association of Realtors has released the numbers for September, reporting that year-over-year, "Home sales decreased 38.9 percent ...Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 271,590 in September at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate ... Statewide home resale activity decreased 38.9 percent from the 444,780 sales pace recorded in September 2006."

Median home prices also declined "The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California during September 2007 was $530,830, a 4.7 percent decrease over the revised $557,150 median for September 2006, C.A.R. reported. The September 2007 median price fell 9.9 percent compared with August’s $588,970 median price."

To read more: California Association of Realtors

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Home Sales Down

The National Association of Realtors reports that existing home sales fell in September, and inventory of homes for sale rose .4% in September.

While sales numbers were down, take a look at September median prices:
Single family homes - median price $210,200, down 4.9% over last year's price
Condo sales - median price $221,700, up 1.4% over last year's price
All housing types - median price $211,700, down 4.2% over last year's price

For more information: National Association of Realtors

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Campaign for Affordable Housing Survey

The Campaign for Affordable Housing (check out their website here) a "nonprofit and nonpolitical organization" has an online survey about "affordable housing public awareness campaigns". Help by completing the survey here

Sunday, October 21, 2007

National Radon Action Week - October 21-27

This is National Radon Action Week. It is held during the second week of October.

To learn more: National Radon Action Week

Friday, October 19, 2007

Nearly half of realtors business from internet

Thre California Association of Realtors® (C.A.R.) "2007 Use of Technology Survey" found that "nearly half -- 44 percent -- of their business originates from Internet". Compare this to 2003, when the statistic was 10%.

To read more: 2007 realtor technology survey

Thursday, October 18, 2007

New Home Construction Down in September

New home construction fell 10.2% in September according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The new housing starts were down 30.8% over September 2006 numbers. This represents the lowest number in 14 years.

On the positive side, with less new construction, hence less competition, home sellers will benefit.

To read more: Housing Starts September 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

House Passes Mortgage Relief Act

The House of Representatives has passed the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007. This bill would "... remove taxes from mortgage cancellation relief provided on a mortgage on a primary residence. The tax relief would apply to the original purchase price, plus personal improvements of a primary residence and would not cover any amount over the original purchase price if a loan has been refinanced with a “cash out” option. The relief would also only apply to first mortgages, not second mortgages or home equity lines of credit. The relief would apply to any forgiveness given on or after January 1, 2007."

To read more: 2007 Mortgage Relief Act

Monday, October 15, 2007

2008 Forecast for National Real Estate Market

To follow our recent post about the 2008 forecast for California housing, we now present the 2008 housing market forecast from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). The NAR states "Conditions in the mortgage market are improving for consumers, which should help to release some pent-up demand in early 2008 ..." saying further "...it’s important to place the current housing market in perspective, and that 2007 will be the fifth highest year on record for existing-home sales".

To read more: 2008 National Association of Realtors housing forecast

Saturday, October 13, 2007

2008 Forecast for California Housing Market

The California Association of Realtors® has released their forecast for the 2008 housing market in California. What are they saying? "Home prices throughout most of California will post modest declines next year while sales of existing homes will stabilize from the precipitous decrease experienced in 2007 ... The median home price in California will decline 4 percent to $553,000 in 2008 compared with a projected median of $576,000 this year, while sales for 2008 are projected to decrease 9 percent to 334,500 units, compared with 367,500 units (projected) in 2007."

To read more: 2008 CAR Housing Forecast

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mortgage Rates Down

Bankrate.com reports for the week ending October 10, "The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell 7 basis points to 6.42 percent ... One year ago, the mortgage index was 6.31 percent; four weeks ago, it was 6.5 percent."

To read more: Bankrate.com

Friday, October 05, 2007

Department of Energy - Change a Light, Change the World

The U.S. Department of Energy has launched it's "2007 Change a Light, Change the World campaign" wherein it encourages "... every American to change at least one light at home to an ENERGY STAR® Compact Fluorescent Light bulb (CFL). These bulbs are estimated to use 75 percent less energy than standard bulbs and last up to ten times longer, resulting in fewer greenhouse gas emissions and substantial energy savings. This national call to action encourages all Americans to help change the world, one light — one energy-saving step — at a time."

You can make a difference ... one bulb at a time!

To read more: Change A Light, Change the World

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Watching the rental market

With home sales in a downward trend, look for rentals to become more competitive. Fewer people in the home buying market - yet people still needing a place to call home - are factors pointing to a changing rental market.

Rental properties may experience a stronger demand.

Keep this in mind if you are now, or are planning to be in the future, a tenant.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Existing home sales fall in August

Continuing the trend ... the National Association of Realtors® reports that "The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator, fell 6.5 percent to a reading of 85.5 from an upwardly revised 91.4 in July, based on contracts signed in August. It was 21.5 percent below the August 2006 index of 108.9."

Citing mortgage loan issues, the online article gives the regional statistics:
"The PHSI in the West was down 2.7 percent in August to 80.3 and was 27.1 percent below a year ago. In the Midwest, the index fell 2.9 percent from July to 78.1 and is 18.0 percent lower than August 2006. The index in the Northeast fell 8.3 percent in August to 77.3 and was 18.3 percent below a year ago. In the South, the index dropped 9.5 percent in August to 97.8 and was 21.3 percent below August 2006."

To read more: August existing home sales

Monday, October 01, 2007

Realtor look-up

Looking for a realtor in California? The California Association of Realtors has a "look-up" feature here: find a realtor

Wondering about the license status of your California realtor? The Department of Real Estate has a "look-up" feature here: Department of Real Estate license look-up

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Real Estate Writer Dies

If you've read about real estate, you've probably read articles by Robert J. Bruss, a syndicated columnist. Mr. Bruss died Wednesday at age 67 from cancer. He was often referred to as the "Dear Abby of Real Estate".

To read more: Robert J. Bruss

Friday, September 28, 2007

Mortgage rates UP for third straight week!

Freddie Mac reports that for the week ending September 27, "... the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.42 percent with an average 0.5 point ... up from last week when it averaged 6.34 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.31 percent."

Freddie Mac also reports that "...existing home sales continued to decline in August to the slowest pace in 5 years".

To read more: Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Rate Survey

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Home Builder reports on third quarter sales

KB Homes, one of America's largest homebuilders, reported a loss for the third quarter ending August 31. Lower third quarter housing revenues and a lower average selling price were also reported. The online press release reflects what Jeffrey Mezger, KB Homes' President and Chief Executive Officer calls "...seriously challenging market conditions that prevail for homebuilders across most of the nation."

To read more: KB Homes third quarter 2007

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

National Home Sales Down in August

We recently reported on California home sales - August California home sales.

Now comes a report from the National Association of Realtors® regarding home sales nationwide in August - "Existing-home sales fell in August when mortgage availability problems were peaking...total existing-home sales including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – were down 4.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of 5.50 million units in August from a level of 5.75 million in July, and are 12.8 percent below the 6.31 million-unit pace in August 2006."

To read more: August home sales

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Homes of the Billionaires

Forbes.com reports on Homes of the Billionaires...."When you have it all, you need a place to put it all."

A little entertainment for Sunday!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Mortgage rates UP!

Bankrate.com reports that for the week ending September 19th, "The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 4 basis points, to 6.32 percent ... One year ago, the mortgage index was 6.44 percent; four weeks ago, it was 6.58 percent."

So, when the Feds lowered their rate, why did the mortgage rates go up? Bankrate.com explains that the mortgage rates had already adjusted. We see this happen often.

To read more: Bankrate.com

Friday, September 21, 2007

California Home Sales Down in August

DQNews.com is reporting that California home sales during the month of August were "...down 5.0 percent from 35,185 for July, and down 34.5 percent from 51,054 for August 2006. Last month's sales made for the slowest August since 1992...On a year-over-year basis, sales have declined the last 23 months."

DQNews.com is a website that we have highlighted in the past. This website has a lot of statistical information on home sales, including monthly, quarterly and annual home sale charts. You can also have custom reports for a fee.

To read more: California home sales August 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Housing Starts Fall in August

The National Association of Home Builders reports that "Housing starts fell 2.6 percent in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.331 million units as the downswing in the housing market continued, according to figures released by the Commerce Department today. Starts were down 19.1 percent from a year earlier, falling to the lowest level in 12 years."

Further, "Starts of new single-family homes were down 7.1 percent for the month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 988,000 units. The August pace for single-family construction was 27.1 percent below a year earlier."

This decline mirrors what is happening in the resale market, in our opinion.

To read more: August housing starts

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Federal Reserve Lowers Key Interest Rate!

The Federal Reserve lowered it's key interest rate by 50 basis points, to 4.75 --- the first cut in four years.

Read the Federal Reserve Press Release
Foreclosure Activity Up!

RealtyTrac® reports that housing foreclosures increased during August a whopping 36% over July, and an even more stunning 115% over August, 2006. These numbers are significant, as they represent "This is the highest number of foreclosure filings in a single month that RealtyTrac has reported since it began issuing the monthly report in January 2005."

The top ten states are: Nevada, California, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Michigan, Arizona, Colorado, Texas and Indiana.

For more information, go here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Countdown until tomorrow

The real estate market is waiting ... to see what happens as a result of tomorrow's Federal Open Market Committee meeting (read more about the Federal Reserve here). There is much speculation, but the general consensus is that Committee will lower the federal funds rate.

Watch for the news tomorrow!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Real estate news - some good news!

Are you reading the papers? Watching TV? Listening to the radio? Talking with friends? Is there ANY good real estate news out there?

We're here to tell you that there IS good news about real estate. While many are talking "doom and gloom", we're telling you that homes are still selling, buyers are still buying, and lenders are still lending.

Sure, it's not the real estate market of the past few years ... it's a different real estate market. But, you can buy and sell real estate.

Not sure what to do? Email us and let us help!
We're back!

After a summer of rest, The Real Estate Blog is back!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Mortgage rates UP!

A new 11 month high in interest rates! Bankrate.com reports that "The average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage has climbed more than half a percentage point in the last month. Such a spectacular rise has happened a few times in the last decade ... The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 23 basis points, to 6.84 percent ... One year ago, the mortgage index was 6.71 percent; four weeks ago, it was 6.32 percent. In Bankrate's weekly survey, the 30-year rate hasn't been this high since July 19, 2006, when it was 6.89 percent."

Is it going to affect the home-buying public?

To read more: Bankrate.com

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Mortgage rates at 16 week high

Bankrate.com reports that "The benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rose 10 basis points to 6.42 percent ... One year ago, the mortgage index was 6.69 percent; four weeks ago, it was 6.27 percent." This is the highest rate since the end of January.

Explanations for this increase are mixed.

To read more: Bankrate.com

Friday, May 25, 2007

California housing affordability stable

The California Association of Realtors® (C.A.R.) reports that "The percentage of households who could afford to buy an entry-level home in California stood at 25 percent in the first quarter of 2007, compared with 26 percent for the same period a year ago".

"The minimum household income needed to purchase an entry-level home at $480,670 in California in the first quarter of 2007 was $96,910, based on an adjustable interest rate of 6.3 percent and assuming a 10 percent down payment."

Named as the most affordable area was the High Desert region, and the least affordable area was Santa Barbara.

To read more: CAR Housing Affordability

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

NAR expects "soft landing" for real estate market

We keep hearing that term ... "soft landing" ...

"The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® still expects more than 6 million existing-home sales in 2007, but stricter lending standards and a decline in subprime mortgage origination have contributed to somewhat lowered expectations compared with earlier forecasts, according to the latest projections from NAR."

And, what is forecasted for interest rates?

"The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage should rise slowly to 6.5 percent by the fourth quarter, NAR predicts. Last week, Freddie Mac reported the 30-year rate was 6.16 percent."

To read more, go here: National Association of Realtors

Saturday, April 28, 2007

New home sales data released

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has released data for March new home sales. The NAHB reports that "Sales of new single-family homes increased a slight 2.6 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 858,000 units, following sharp declines in both January and February, according to figures released by the U.S. Commerce Department today. The March sales pace was 23.5 percent below a year earlier."

Citing the tightening of mortgage lenders as a reaction to subprime woes, the NAHB also reports that the inventory of new homes is also growing. Another sign of the weak housing market.

"The inventory of new homes for sale edged up in March to 545,000 units, equivalent to a 7.8 months’ supply at the March sales pace. Completed homes for sale were 33 percent of the inventory, while units still under construction represented 50 percent of the inventory and units for-sale that were permitted but not yet started represented almost 17 percent of the inventory level. The median length of time that completed homes were on the market was 5.6 months in March, up from 5.2 months in February."

To read more: National Association of Home Builders

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

March home sales slow

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that "After rising for three consecutive months, total existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes,condominiums and co-ops – fell 8.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.12 million units in March from a pace of 6.68 million in February, and are 11.3 percent below the 6.90 million-unit level in March 2006."

To read more: National Association of Realtors

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Mortgage Rates UP - 4th week in a row

Bankrate.com reports that "The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 6 basis points to 6.31 percent ... One year ago, the mortgage index was 6.56 percent; four weeks ago, it was 6.16 percent. On Feb. 14, it was 6.32 percent, and it hasn't been that high since."

To read more: Bankrate.com

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Mortgage rates up!

Bankrate reports that as of April 5 "The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 3 basis points to 6.25 percent ...One year ago, the mortgage index was 6.51 percent; four weeks ago, it was 6.19 percent."

This represents a three week increase in the 30 year fixed rate. Speculation continues as people wait to see the next move of the Federal Reserve.

To read more: Bankrate.com

Friday, April 06, 2007

Weather may affect pending home sales

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that "A forward-looking index based on pending home sales indicates that bad weather, and possibly the loss of some subprime lending, will dampen sales closed in March and April".

Using their Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), the NAR reports that "The PHSI in the South rose 4.5 percent in February to 121.9 but was 8.0 percent below a year ago. The index in the Midwest increased 2.9 percent from January to 103.0 but was 9.7 percent lower than February 2006. The index in the Northeast slipped 1.3 percent in February to 99.1 and was 8.2 percent below a year earlier. In the West, the index fell 6.0 percent from January to 104.1 and was 8.2 percent lower than February 2006."

To read more: NAR press release

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Mortgage Rates Mixed

Bankrate.com reports that "The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 3 basis points to 6.22 percent ... One year ago, the mortgage index was 6.44 percent; four weeks ago, it was 6.2 percent."

Further, "In the last five weeks, the benchmark 30-year rate has dropped as low as 6.16 percent and risen as high as this week's 6.22 percent. It's unusual for rates to remain in such a tight range for a month or more, but something similar happened in the last two weeks of 2006 and first three weeks of 2007, when rates remained in a range of 6.2 to 6.26 percent."

To read more: Bankrate.com

Friday, March 23, 2007

Federal Reserve leave rate unchanged

The Federal Reserve has decided to leave the federal funds rate at 5-1/4%. The press release states "Recent indicators have been mixed and the adjustment in the housing sector is ongoing. Nevertheless, the economy seems likely to continue to expand at a moderate pace over coming quarters."

To read more: Federal Reserve Board March 2007 press release

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Applications Increase

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reports that "... for the week ending March 9, 2007. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, was 690.5, an increase of 2.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from 671.6 one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 3.2 percent compared with the previous week and was up 19.1 percent compared with the same week one year earlier."

Refinance applications were up as well. "The Refinance Index increased 3.5 percent to 2312.2 from 2234.2 the previous week ..."

To read more: Mortgage Bankers Association loan application survey

Friday, March 16, 2007

Delinquencies and Foreclosures UP!

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reports that "The delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties stood at 4.95 percent of all loans outstanding in the fourth quarter of 2006 on a seasonally adjusted (SA) basis, up 28 basis points from the third quarter, and up 25 basis points from one year ago".

If you've been listening the the financial news lately, you've heard the term "subprime loans" associated with the recent stock market activity. The MBA also refers to the subprime loans: "The increase was driven by increases in delinquencies for all major loan types, most notably for subprime and FHA loans. Delinquency rates for prime, subprime, FHA, and VA loans increased on a seasonally adjusted basis relative to the third quarter. The delinquency rate for FHA loans reached a new record in the fourth quarter."

To read more: Mortgage Bankers Association

Friday, March 02, 2007

January home sales and prices

The California Association of Realtors® (C.A.R.) reports that "Home sales decreased 12.6 percent in January in California compared with the same period a year ago."

As for prices, "The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California during January 2007 was $559,640, a 1.9 percent increase over the revised $549,460 median for January 2006."

To read more: California January home sales

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Staging your home

Thinking about selling your home? Perhaps the easiest and least expensive way to best present your house is through staging.

Some helpful tips:
1. Move or remove furniture to show off the room. Make sure people can easily walk in and stand in the room.
2. Make sure lighting is adequate.
3. Flowers add a cheery touch to any room.
4. Freshen up paint as needed, especially the front door.
5. Scents in rooms are fine, as long as they are not overpowering.
6. Remove clutter off counters.

Pack boxes with extra possessions. You're moving!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Builder Confidence UP

The just released National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) indicates that builder confidence is stronger. "The HMI increased from 35 in January to 40 in February, up from a low of 30 last September and the highest level since June of 2006."

Citing sales incentives that have been given to buyers as one reason for the increase, the NAHB's Chief Economist also states "Lower energy prices, favorable mortgage rates and solid growth in employment and household income have all contributed to the recent stabilization of home buyer demand>"

To read more: NAHB Builder Confidence

Monday, February 19, 2007

Mortgage rates up

Bankrate.com reports that "The benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rose a whole 0.01 percent to 6.32 percent ... One year ago, the mortgage index was 6.37 percent; four weeks ago, it was 6.26 percent."

To read more: Feburary 15 mortage rates report Bankrate.com

Thursday, February 15, 2007

National Association of Realtors makes predictions

The chief economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is predicting "... steady rise in existing-home sales." NAR's outlook is positive: "Existing-home sales, after reaching the third highest total on record, 6.48 million in 2006, are forecast at 6.44 million in 2007 and 6.64 million next year. New-home sales, following a fourth-best 1.06 million in 2006, are projected to decline to 961,000 this year and then rise to 971,000 in 2008."

To read more: NAR Existing Home Sales Predictions

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Mortgage Rates go Down!

Bankrate.com reports that "The benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage fell 11 basis points to 6.31 percent...One year ago, the mortgage index was 6.32 percent; four weeks ago, it was 6.24 percent."

Good news! "Before this week, the average 30-year fixed had risen seven out of eight weeks -- and it remained unchanged during the one week when it didn't go up. That two-month rise followed a six-week period when rates fell every week."

If you're thinking about buying, interest rates are very attractive!

To read more: Bankrate.com February 8 mortgage loan rate report

Thursday, February 08, 2007

2006 State of the Housing Market Report

The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) has released it's survey on housing, and it shows:
. first-time buyers declined from 30.5% in 2005 to 27.1% in 2006 - the second lowest level
. buyers using a second mortgage was up from 38% in 2005 to 43% in 2006
. California home sales were lower in 2006 after four years of growth

To read more: 2006 State of the Housing Market report

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Feds leave fed funds rate alone

As today concludes a two day meeting of the Federal Reserve Board, the key fed funds rate has been left unchanged at 5.25%. It was a widely held opinion that the key rate would hold steady.

In the press release, the Federal Open Market Committee references the housing market:
"Recent indicators have suggested somewhat firmer economic growth, and some tentative signs of stabilization have appeared in the housing market. Overall, the economy seems likely to expand at a moderate pace over coming quarters."

To read more: Federal Reserve Board January 31, 2007 press release

Thursday, January 25, 2007

December 2006 home sales - plus year over year sales

The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) reports that "Total existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – eased 0.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of 6.22 million units in December from a level of 6.27 million in November. Sales were 7.9 percent lower than a 6.75 million-unit pace in December 2005."

Further, for all of 2006, NAR reports "There were 6,480,000 existing-home sales in all of 2006, down 8.4 percent from a record 7,075,000 in 2005. The second highest total was 6,779,000 in 2004; NAR began tracking home sales in 1968."

To read more: NAR December 2006 home sale report

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

California Department of Real Estate Website

There's a valuable resource for real estate information in California ... the California Department of Real Estate website.

Some of the interesting information you will find ...
You can check real estate licensee status information

Read about Real Estate Law

Use the Landlord/Tenant Handbook - great information for California landlords and tenants

... as well as a wealth of other information. Check it out!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Interest rates up again

Bankrate.com reports that "The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 2 basis points to 6.26 percent ... One year ago, the mortgage index was 6.12 percent; four weeks ago, it was 6.2 percent."

To read more, including a prediction for interest rates this year: Bankrate.com January 18, 2007 mortgage rates report

Friday, January 19, 2007

United States December Foreclosure Report

RealtyTrac® reports that "...109,652 properties nationwide entered some stage of foreclosure during the month, a decrease of nearly 9 percent from the previous month but an increase of 35 percent from December 2005."

Around the US ... "Colorado posted the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate in December ... Nevada’s foreclosure rate of one new foreclosure filing for every 392 households dropped to second highest in the nation ... Georgia also reported a decrease in foreclosure activity, but the state’s foreclosure rate — one new foreclosure filing for every 480 households — ranked third highest in the nation for the third month in a row ..."

As far as new foreclosures, "Texas recorded the most new foreclosure filings of any state in December ... California’s monthly foreclosure total fell to second place ... Florida documented 8,321 properties entering some stage of foreclosure in December, the third most of any state but 11 percent below the number reported in the previous month ... Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, Colorado, Massachusetts and New York also reported state foreclosure totals among the nation’s 10 highest.

To read more: RealtyTrac® December 2006 Foreclosure Report

Thursday, January 18, 2007

December new home starts reported

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports that for December, 2006 "Single-family housing starts decreased 4.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.230 million units in December. This was 24.7 percent below the pace of single-family starts a year earlier."

Further "Regionally, housing starts increased in three of four regions in December. Construction of new homes and apartments rose 25.6 percent in the Northeast, 1.8 percent in the Midwest and 12.4 percent in the West. Housing starts declined in the South by 2.0 percent over the month. Three of the four regions reported a pace of construction well below a year earlier. Only the Northeast reported a higher pace than a year ago."

To read more: NAHB December housing starts

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

December home sales reported

Southern California home sale numbers are now available for December, 2006. DataQuick Information Systems reports on their website, Dqnews.com, that "The median price paid for a home in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties was $495,000 last month [referring to December, 2006], a new record. That was up 1.6 percent from $487,000 for the month before, and up 3.3 percent from $479,000 for December a year ago".

Further, they report that "The previous peak was $493,000 last June. Year-over-year price increases have been in the single digits for nine months. Last month's record median was in large part due to strong sales of new homes, which is normal for December."

To read more: DQnews.com December home sales

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Interest rates hold steady

Bankrate.com reports that as of January 11th "...30-year, fixed-rate mortgage remained unchanged at 6.24 percent...One year ago, the mortgage index was 6.22 percent; four weeks ago, it was 6.13 percent."

To read more: Bankrate.com January 11, 2007 mortgage rate news

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Get ready for 2007!

We're receiving a lot of calls in our office for people who are thinking about selling in 2007. Good for them! Planning ahead is an important step when selling real estate.

What should you do if you are thinking of selling? We suggest you invite your realtor - or maybe more than one realtor - to see your home.

First, a realtor can give you an estimated market price, but remember ... that will be today's price. You will want an updated market value analysis at the time you put your home on the market.

Then, ask the realtor for any suggestions to make your home more appealing and/or will possibly add value to your home. Need paint? Carpet? De-clutter? Landscaping (weather permitting)? Getting an experienced salesperson's opinion can be the difference in marketing time and value for your home. By the way - we find that contractors get busier as spring approaches. Get on your contractor's worklist now so that your home will be ready when you are.

Third, use this information to plan your next step. And, then look into the real estate market in that area. If you don't have an agent in that area, ask your realtor for a referral agent.

Planning now for tomorrow is prudent in many parts of our lives. We find it's the same in real estate.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Mark your calendars

Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve Board meeting schedule for 2007: FOMC 2007 meeting schedule.

If you'd like to know more about the Federal Reserve and the FOMC, read here Federal Reserve

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Mortgage rates UP!

Bankrate.com reports that "The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 1 basis point, to 6.24 percent ... One year ago, the mortgage index was 6.27 percent; four weeks ago, it was 6.08 percent."

This is the forth straight weekly increase.

For more information: Bankrate.com January 4 mortgage rate report

Friday, January 05, 2007

Consumer Confidence Up!

The Conference Board Consumer Research Center reports that "The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which was virtually unchanged in November, improved in December." While the Center's Director is not ready to declare an upswing, the online article does indicate some positive consumer outlook for 2007.

To read more: December Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Still showing signs of a slowdown

The California Building Industry Association reports that "...overall housing production dropped by 9 percent in November compared to October and by almost 34 percent when compared to November 2005..." yet "...the seasonally adjusted single-family figure for November 2006 is actually up 11.9 percent from October 2006, though still down 41 percent from November 2005."

To read more: California Building Industry Association

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Real estate predictions for 2007

The beginning of the year brings forecasts for the housing market. Businessweek.com predicts in their article titled How Bad Will the 2007 Property Market Be?. And, MarketWatch.com shares it's predictions here: This week's Real Estate stories

The National Association of Home Builders reports that an upswing in November new home sales and buyer demand may point to an increase in sales activity in 2007 in their online article New Home Sales Rise 3.4 Percent In November

How will the rental market be affected? The Wall Street Journal reports that Renters Gloat Over Housing Slump