Wednesday, January 28, 2009

California Home Sales Up

California homes sales increased 84.9% in December, compared with the same period last year. The California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) reports that "Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 544,580 in December...Statewide home resale activity increased 84.9 percent from the revised 294,520 sales pace recorded in December 2007. Sales in December 2008 increased 5.9 percent compared with the previous month."

The median home price decreased 41.5% over December, 2007. C.A.R. statistics are that "The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California during December 2008 was $281,100, a 41.5 percent decrease from the revised $480,820 median for December 2007 ... The December 2008 median price fell 2 percent compared with November’s revised $286,850 median price."

To read more: C.A.R. press release

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Real Estate Positive News

Yes, there is positive real estate news. Today, we are going to bring you some!

Looking at four communities - Sarasota, Florida; Greenville, South Carolina; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Los Angeles, California - there are positive indicators to be found in the real estate market.

Looking for the [real estate] cloud's silver lining? Read more here:
Los Angeles real estate news

If you have positive news about real estate in your area, let us know!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Foreclosures Up in 2008

No surprise here ... unless you are surprised by the numbers ... "A total of 3,157,806 foreclosure filings — default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions — were reported on 2,330,483 U.S. properties during 2008, an 81 percent increase in total properties from 2007 and a 225 percent increase in total properties from 2006, according to the RealtyTrac 2008 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™"."

Especially hard hit were the states of Nevada, California, Florida and Arizona.

To read more, including a state-by-state graph: RealtyTrac 2008 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report

Friday, January 23, 2009

Real Estate Mortgage Rates

The real estate market is reflecting the concern that the next stimulus package will stir inflation. reports that "The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 31 basis points to 5.59 percent ... One year ago, the mortgage index was 5.57 percent; four weeks ago, it was 5.84 percent."

During 2007, the same 30-year fixed-rate mortgage topped out at 6.77%, and has enjoyed a nearly steady decline.

To read more:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

California Home Sales

California home sales up!?

Yes, according to DataQuick, which has kept statistics since 1988. reports that for the month of December, 2008 "An estimated 37,836 new and resale houses and condos were sold in California last month. That was up 17.6 percent from 32,163 in November and up 47.9 percent from 25,585 for December 2007. Sales have increased on a year-over-year basis for the last six months."

However, the median price went down year-over-year from $402,000 in December, 2007 to $249,000 last month.

To read more: California home sales, December 2008

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Home Builder Confidence Down

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports that the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) has reached a record low level of 8. Across the United States, the NAHB reports that "Regionally, the HMI fell one point to 10 in the Northeast, held even at 6 in the Midwest, rose one point to 11 in the South and fell three points to new record low of 4 in the West in January."

In our opinion, this is not a surprise as it is yet another indicator of a difficult economy.

To read more: National Association of Home Builders reports HMI at record low

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What's happening in your market?

Let us know! We've created a "question" form of discussion here:

What's happening in your real estate market?

We would love you to join in!

You do not have to sign in to participate. Just post your answer.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Southern California Home Buyer's Fair

Mark your calendar! The second annual Southern California Home Buyer's Fair is scheduled to be held Saturday, April 18 from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday, April 19 from 11 am to 4 pm. The site is the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Presented by the California Association of Realtors®, and sponsored by the Los Angeles Times, there will be a concentrated wealth of information for the first-time home buyer, or repeat buyer.

This is a great opportunity for home buyers to learn, with over 65 exhibit booths planned. In addition, there are free "how-to" seminars on relevant topics.

Best of all --- it's free!

The official website is here: Southern California Home Buyer's Fair

We have a map to the Convention Center, including directions here:

View Larger Map

Plan to attend!

Monday, January 12, 2009

More on real estate economist

Originally posted by us last week - "Fake" positive spin on real estate? - now the Wall Street Journal has an article about David Lereah, former chief economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The article gives additional insight into Mr. Lereah's background and his NAR position. The article states "Mr. Lereah, who says he left NAR voluntarily, says he was pressured by executives to issue optimistic forecasts -- then was left to shoulder the blame when things went sour." Did he anticipate the real estate market would be where it is today? Apparently not, says the article: "Mr. Lereah admits to one mistake: believing there would be no national housing crash."

To read more go here: WSJ online - David Lereah article

Thursday, January 08, 2009

"Fake" positive spin on real estate?

Would you put a positive spin on something because of your job? Well, apparently that is what one former National Association of Realtors (NAR) economist is now saying that he did while acting as that organization's chief economist.

Read the online Money Magazine article where David Lereah, now a private consultant, tells why he did it and gives his predictions for the housing market.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Real estate sales weaken

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that the November pending home sales were down. However, the NAR's chief economist was not surprised by the data, calling the weakening "inevitable". Also, "The impact of mortgage interest rates declining to near 50-year lows in December is not reflected in current data."

"The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in November, fell 4.0 percent to 82.3 from a downwardly revised reading of 85.7 in October, and is 5.3 percent below November 2007 when it was 86.9. The current index is the lowest since the series began in 2001."

However, all the data is not downward. The western region actually posted a year-over-year gain "The PHSI ... index was down 2.4 percent to 101.2 but remains 19.3 percent higher than November 2007."

Read the press release here: real estate sales weaken

We have noticed an increase in phone calls and buyer interest since the first of the year for homes for sale in Southern California. In addition, we have also been receiving more calls from seniors wanting to find out how or if they can transfer their property tax base. It seems people are thinking about this year's financial strategy. It could be a very busy year in our office.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Real estate agent job ranked has ranked 200 different jobs from #1 (Mathematician) to #200 (Lumberjack). Read here: ranking of 200 different jobs

If you are thinking of a career in real estate, this list rates "real estate agent" at #121. You can see it on this page: real estate agent job rating

If you are thinking of a career in real estate, contact us. We'll give you our thoughts on what a real estate career is like - "from the trenches".

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Renting? Landlord Tenant Info

If you are renting or thinking of renting a residential property in California, we have valuable information for you!

The California Department of Consumer Affairs has an online consumer publication - California Tenants, a Guide to Residential Tenants' and Landlords' Rights and Responsibilities.

This is a reference tool for tenants and landlords. Being familiar with the issues involved in renting can be helpful in maintaining a successful landlord-tenant relationship.

The guide is online here: California DCA Landlord-Tenant Booklet. You can also order print copies of the booklet through the website.