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