Reasons to Buy Real Estate Now

The “Three Reasons” below is a repost from the pages of REALTOR Magazine online, but essentially is what I’ve been saying for weeks, nay months!

The tax credits expired and everyone climbed under a rock! For a measly $8 to $18K in conditional tax credits buyers were jumping through hoops like they were handing out bars of gold. Do the math on 4% interest over 30 years on a distressed property that you bought for 10% below market. . .

So STOP listening to all the fearmongers and their media puppets screaming that the sky is falling. They’ve all got agendas. Be smart, do your homework and if it makes sense buy a home.

As a point of reference, interest rates on 30-year fixed conventional mortgages went to double digits in late 1978 and peaked at nearly 19% in late 1981. It wasn’t until early 1986 that rates dipped (briefly) below 10% again and were not permanently in single numbers until late 1990. In November of last year (2009) they were right at or just below 5%.

Three Reasons to Buy a Home Now

Stocks are up 50 percent from the March 2009 bottom. Some commodities have risen dramatically. The only asset class left in the cellar is real estate, says Michael Murphy, editor of the New World Investor stock newsletter.

As a result, Murphy is advising investors to buy now for these three reasons:

Desperate sellers: Both home owners and lenders are eager to unload a flood of foreclosed and underwater properties. Buyers with the patience to push through these complex deals can save a bundle.

Little competition: Because most people don’t have what it takes to negotiate their way through short sales and REOs, patient investors are winners.

Low rates: Mortgage rates are at their lowest level in 40 years. If you believe inflation is inevitable, lock in now.

Source: MarketWatch, Michael Murphy (08/19/2010)

Posted at REALTOR Magazine online

For more information regarding this post or other real estate information visit LARealEstateINFO.net or contact Robert Dixon at RE/MAX Palos Verdes Realty, Telephone (310) 703-1848 or email info@robertdixon.net. Content of this or any other post is presumed to be accurate but not guaranteed. DRE License #01828273

Serving the Palos Verdes Peninsula & South Bay Beach Cities, Hollywood and the Hollywood Hills, Silver Lake, Echo Park – Angelino Heights, Los Feliz, the Greater Los Angeles area and Palm Springs.

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Silver Lake Home Sales, July 2010

Inventory, in general continues to climb; sales are down or flat June to July depending on the area.  Continued drops in interest rates are fueling some sales but not as much as some “experts” assume they should. The arguement: There are some fantastic buys out there right now and the historically low interest rates should out weigh the spector of  a double dip in property value as the savings (over 15 to 30 years) are significant.

Sold in Silver Lake/Echo Park 7/2010 –  22 units. Pending and Listed during the month 14/25

If you’re looking for more specific information on Silver Lake or other areas please contact me with the details. Also be sure to become a fan of Silver Lake Real Estate and Echo Park Real Estate on Facebook!

Source: MRMLS

For more information regarding this post or other real estate information contact Robert Dixon at RE/MAX Palos Verdes Realty (310) 703-1848 or email info@robertdixon.net. Content of this or any other post is presumed to be accurate but not guaranteed.

California Foreclosure Activity Declines in Q1 2010

California Foreclosure Activity Declines Again
April 20, 2010

Lending institutions started formal foreclosure proceedings on fewer California homes last quarter. It is unclear how much of the drop can be attributed to shifts in market conditions, and how much is because of changing policies, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 81,054 Notices of Default (“NODs”) were recorded at county recorder offices during the January-to-March period. That was down 4.2 percent from 84,568 for the prior quarter, and down 40.2 percent from 135,431 in first-quarter 2009, according to San Diego-based MDA DataQuick.

The year-ago number is the highest in DataQuick’s statistics, which go back to 1992 for NODs. The quarterly average is 44,041, while the low of recent years was 12,417 in third-quarter 2004, when housing market annual appreciation rates were around 20 percent.

“Several factors are at play here and it’s hard to know how they play into each other right now. A year-and-a-half ago the subprime loan mess was the black hole. Now, playing catch-up, is the financial distress households are experiencing because of the recession. Add to the mix shifting policy decisions, both by lending institutions and in public policy,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

“We are seeing signs that the worst may be over in the hard-hit entry-level markets, while problems are slowly spreading to more expensive neighborhoods. We’re also seeing some lenders become more accommodating to work-outs or short sales, while others appear to be getting stricter about delinquencies. It’s very noisy out there,” Walsh said.

The state’s most affordable sub-markets, which represent 25 percent of the state’s housing stock, accounted for 47.5 percent of all default activity a year ago. In first-quarter 2010 that fell to 40.9 percent.

California’s mid- to high-end housing markets were more likely to have seen a rise in mortgage defaults last quarter, though the concentration of default activity – measured by defaults per 1,000 homes – remained relatively low in those areas.

For example, zip codes statewide with median home sale prices of $500,000-plus saw mortgage defaults buck the overall trend and rise 1.5 percent last quarter compared with the prior quarter, while year-over-year the decline was 19 percent (versus a 40.2 percent marketwide annual decrease). Collectively, these zips saw 4.5 default notices filed for every 1,000 homes in the community, compared with the overall market’s rate of 9.3 NODs for every 1,000 homes statewide.

In zip codes with medians below $500,000, mortgage default filings fell 5.8 percent from the prior quarter and declined nearly 43 percent from a year earlier. However, collectively these zips saw 10.5 NODs filed for every 1,000 homes – more than double the default rate for the zips with $500,000-plus medians.

On primary mortgages, California homeowners were a median five months behind on their payments when the lender filed the NOD. The borrowers owed a median $14,066 in back payments on a median $330,147 mortgage.

On home equity loans and lines of credit in default, borrowers owed a median $3,897 on a median $64,422 credit line. However the amount of the credit line that was actually in use cannot be determined from public records.

While many of the loans that went into default during first-quarter 2010 were originated in early 2007, the median origination month for last quarter’s defaulted loans was July 2006, the same month as during the prior four quarters.

San Diego-based MDA DataQuick is a division of MDA Lending Solutions, a subsidiary of Vancouver-based MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates. MDA DataQuick monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts. Notices of Default are recorded at county recorders offices and mark the first step of the formal foreclosure process.

Although 81,054 default notices were filed last quarter, they involved 79,457 homes because some borrowers were in default on multiple loans (e.g. a primary mortgage and a line of credit). Multiple default recordings on the same home are trending down, DataQuick reported.

Following a historical pattern, mortgages were least likely to go into default in Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties. The probability was highest in Merced, Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties.

The number of Trustees Deeds (TDs) recorded, which reflect the number of houses or condo units lost to the foreclosure process, totaled 42,857 during the first quarter. That was down 16.1 percent from 51,060 for the prior quarter, and down 1.7 percent from 43,620 for first-quarter 2009. The all-time peak was 79,511 in third-quarter 2008.

In the last real estate cycle, Trustees Deeds peaked at 15,418 in third-quarter 1996. The state’s all-time low was 637 in the second quarter of 2005, MDA DataQuick reported.

There are 8.5 million houses and condos in California.

On average, homes foreclosed on last quarter spent 7.5 months winding their way through the formal foreclosure process, beginning with an NOD. A year ago it was 6.8 months. The increase could reflect, among other things, lender backlogs and extra time needed to pursue possible loan modifications and short sales.

Foreclosure resales accounted for 42.6 percent of all California resale activity last quarter. It was up from a revised 40.6 percent the prior quarter, and down from 57.8 percent a year ago, the peak. Foreclosure resales varied significantly by county last quarter, from 13.8 percent in San Francisco to 67.7 percent in Merced.

At formal foreclosure auctions last quarter, an estimated 24.6 percent of foreclosed properties went to investors and others who do not appear to be lender or government entities. That’s up from an estimated 17.6 percent a year ago.

The lenders that originated the most loans that went into default last quarter were Countrywide (7,282), World Savings (6,459), Washington Mutual (6,371), Wells Fargo (5,204) and Bank of America (3,851). These were also the most active lenders in the second half of 2006, and their default rates were well below 10 percent.

Smaller subprime lenders had far higher default rates for that period: ResMAE Mortgage, Ownit Mortgage, Master Financial, First NLC Financial Services and Fieldstone Mortgage all had default rates of more than 65 percent of the loans they originated in the second half of 2006. These and most other subprime lenders are long gone.

Most of the loans made in 2006 are owned or serviced by institutions other than those that made the loans. The servicers pursuing the highest number of defaults last quarter were ReconTrust Co., Cal-Western Reconveyance and NDEx West, MDA DataQuick reported.

Notices of Default (first step in foreclosure process)
houses and condos

Trustees Deeds Recorded (signal homes were lost to foreclosure)
houses and condos

Source: DQNews.com (DataQuick Information Systems)

Southern California Home Sales for March 2010

More Incremental Gains for Southland Real Estate Market

April 13, 2010

Home sales and prices continued their steady but pokey climb up from the bottom in Southern California last month as buyers scrambled to take advantage of low prices and low mortgage interest rates. The market is still tilted toward low-cost distress sales, but not by as much as previously, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 20,476 new and resale homes sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was up 33.3 percent from 15,359 in February, and up 5.0 percent from 19,506 in March 2009, according to MDA DataQuick of San Diego.

Sales always go up from February to March. Last month was the 21st in a row with a year-over-year sales increase. The March sales average is 24,936 going back to 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics begin.

“It’s a reflection of just how grim things got, that we’ve now had almost two years of sales gains and we’re still 18 percent below the sales average. The market won’t rebalance until mortgage lending patterns normalize, and that’s just not happening yet. Some of the best deals out there right now are happening when the buyer comes in with cash,” said John Walsh, MDA DataQuick president.

The median price paid for a Southland home was $285,000 last month, up 3.6 percent from $275,000 in February, and up 14.0 percent from $250,000 for March 2009.

The median peaked at $505,000 in mid 2007 and appears, so far, to have bottomed out at $247,000 in April last year. The peak-to-trough drop in the median was due to a decline in home values as well as a shift in sales toward low-cost homes, especially foreclosures.

Foreclosure resales accounted for 38.4 percent of the resale market last month, down from 42.3 percent in February, and down from 54.8 percent a year ago. The all-time high was in February 2009 at 56.7 percent.

As sales of lower-cost foreclosure properties have waned over the past year, activity has picked up from very low levels in many high-end areas. Last month sales of homes priced at $500,000 or more made up 19.4 percent of all Southland transactions, compared with 18.5 percent in February and 14.9 percent in March 2009. Over the past five years, $500,000-plus deals averaged 35 percent of monthly sales, while over the past 10 years they averaged 26 percent of all transactions.

Higher-end sales are still hampered by the troubled jumbo loan market, which has improved only modestly over the past year. Jumbo loans, mortgages above the old conforming limit of $417,000, accounted for 15.7 percent of last month’s purchase lending, up from 14.8 percent in February and from 10.5 percent in March 2009. However, before the credit crisis in the fall of 2007, jumbos accounted for 40 percent of the market.

Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) haven’t come close to recovering from the credit crunch, either. While 44.6 percent of all Southland purchase mortgages since 2000 have been ARMs, last month they represented just 4.8 percent, up from 4.0 percent in February and 2.1 percent in March last year.

Meanwhile, Uncle Sam continues to prop up lending for many low-to mid-priced homes. Government-insured FHA loans, a popular choice among first-time buyers, accounted for 38.6 percent of all mortgages used to purchase Southland homes in March.

Absentee buyers – mostly investors and some second-home purchasers – bought 21.3 percent of the homes sold in March.

Buyers who appeared to have paid all cash – meaning there was no indication that a corresponding purchase loan was recorded – accounted for 27.1 percent of March sales. In February it was a revised 30.0 percent – an all-time high. The 22-year monthly average for Southland homes purchased with cash is 13.8 percent.

The “flipping” of homes has also trended higher the past year, though it eased a bit in March. Last month the percentage of Southland homes flipped – bought and re-sold – within a three-week to six-month period was 3.2 percent of total sales, down from 3.5 percent in February but up from 1.6 percent a year ago. Last month flipping varied from as little as 2.6 percent of total sales in Riverside County to as much as 3.9 percent in Los Angeles County.

MDA DataQuick, a subsidiary of Vancouver-based MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts.

The typical monthly mortgage payment that Southland buyers committed themselves to paying was $1,220 last month, up from $1,180 for February, and up from $1,074 for March a year ago. Adjusted for inflation, current payments are 45.2 percent below typical payments in the spring of 1989, the peak of the prior real estate cycle. They were 55.1 percent below the current cycle’s peak in July 2007.

Indicators of market distress continue to move in different directions. Foreclosure activity remains high by historical standards but is lower than peak levels reached over the last two years. Financing with multiple mortgages is low, down payment sizes are stable, and non-owner occupied buying is above-average, MDA DataQuick reported.

Source: DQNews.com (DataQuick Information Systems)

Citi Reports Profit of $4.4 Billion

“After 2 Years of Losses, Citi Reports Profit of $4.4 Billion. Losses in Citigroup’s domestic mortgages and credit units however continued to mount — Citigroup Holding, which contains the bulk of most-troubled mortgage and credit card assets along with businesses marked for sale, lost $876 million.”

The piece goes on to say that the government may soon be selling it’s ownership in the company, some 7.7 billion shares…

After 2 Years of Losses, Citi Reports Profit of $4.4 Billion
New York Times by ERIC DASH
April 19, 2010

After nearly two years of being drenched in red ink, Citigroup provided the strongest signs yet that the troubled bank is beginning to recover as it reported a $4.4 billion profit in the first quarter.

The earnings, which handily beat analyst expectations and were the bank’s best since the financial crisis began, were the result of the resurgence in the bond market and improvements in the economy, particularly overseas. Both play to Citigroup’s strengths as a major player in fixed income and emerging markets, and come as some of its rivals benefited from similar trends. JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America both reported big first-quarter earnings from hefty trading profits and from adding less money to their loan loss reserves.

Full article at NYTimes.com

Los Angeles-area foreclosure rate up in October

Along the lines of what I’ve been posting, we’re all just passengers on this one… see LA Times piece “Los Angeles-area foreclosure rate increases in October” below.

The bright side in South Bay, Palos Verdes Peninsula and the beach cities is that more-than-likely, as with the last round we will not experience the same degree of depreciation (if any) as areas inland or across the country.

Inventory: Active/Sold

On the Palos Verdes Peninsula 90274 and 90275, inventory is currently low with 253 properties (SFRs, condos and town houses) available for sale. Per the MLS, there have been 74 closed sales November 1st through today (16 since December 1).

In the beach cities (Manhattan Beach 90266, Hermosa Beach 90254, South Redondo Beach 90277 and the Hollywood Riviera) there are 364 active listings and 126 sales since the 1st of November (39 so far in December).

Torrance (not including the Hollywood Riviera) 91 listed currently, 76 sold November 1 to present (19 of those since December 1st).

If you’d like numbers on additional areas, please send a request via email.

The slow-down in December is expected, interest rates (see below) are still outstanding and although prices in general may drop further during 2010 (most likely during Q1/Q2) the best properties are still selling.

Rates as of Friday, December 11, 2009

Conforming 30 Year Fixed
Rate Disc. Points APR
4.625% 0.750% 4.813% Details

Conforming Jumbo 30 Yr Fixed
Rate Disc. Points APR
4.875% 0.750% 5.049% Details

FHA 30 Yr Fixed
Rate Disc. Points APR
4.750% 0.608% 5.077% Details

FHA Jumbo 30 Yr Fixed
Rate Disc. Points APR
4.875% 0.950% 5.216% Details

Rates complements of: Andre Hemmersbach
American/California Financial (310) 713-3100

Los Angeles-area foreclosure rate increases in October
December 10, 2009 2:40 pm

While home prices in the Los Angeles area have steadily increased in recent months, indicating strengthening in the housing market, more and more people are finding themselves falling behind on their mortgage payments, according to a report out today.

In the Los Angeles metro area, the rate of foreclosure among outstanding mortgage loans was 3.69% in October, compared with 1.75% for the same month a year earlier. That compares with a 3% national foreclosure rate, according to data released by First American CoreLogic, which tracks the mortgage market.

Delinquent loans 90 days or more past due constituted 10.9% of all mortgage loans in the Los Angeles area, up from 5.86% during the same month the year before.

Whether a new wave of foreclosures will hit the market next year remains a matter of debate among experts. Some believe a glut of properties could flood in, pushing down prices, while others argue that lenders and the federal government are both determined to keep such a situation from occurring.

Source: L.A. Times by Alejandro Lazo
Photo: Associated Press