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.

SoCal Sales and Median Price Fall in July

July sales traditionally fall from June however a nearly perfect storm of elements combined last month to produce one of the worst Julys on record. I say “nearly” because interest rates are still fantastic and we can only imagine how ugly it may have been if the cost of money had gone up as well. 

  Sales Volume Median Price
All homes Jul-09 Jul-10 %Chng Jul-09 Jul-10 %Chng
Los Angeles    8,082 6,515 -19.4% $321,000 $339,000 5.6%
Orange         3,128 2,527 -19.2% $420,000 $450,000 7.1%
Riverside      4,699 3,529 -24.9% $185,000 $200,000 8.1%
San Bernardino 3,549 2,556 -28.0% $140,000 $155,000 10.7%
San Diego      3,809 3,070 -19.4% $320,000 $338,000 5.6%
Ventura        837 749 -10.5% $375,000 $370,000 -1.3%
SoCal          24,104 18,946 -21.4% $268,000 $295,000 10.1%

With record low interest, falling prices and an increase in inventory there is great opportunity for well qualified buyers. Even with a potential double-dip in property value, the amount saved in interest should more than balance out.  As the saying goes, you make money when you purchase real estate and with the abundance of distressed properties out there and buyers’ market environment, there is plenty of opportunity.

Cash buyers are definitely is the best position to take advantage, whether changing a primary residence or considering income properties. There’s a lot of single, multi-family and vacation homes currently on the market that have the potential to cover some or all of the cost of ownership. In the best case scenarios owners will see positive cash flow. There some situations where financed income properties can produce a profit, however these are generally larger and much more complex investment s than say 3 to 10 unit properties.

Whether buying and especially if selling, know you market. Be patient and understand what constitutes the best value in your chosen area. The most important thing for a seller now is to be realistic and understand that their home may be worth much more to them than the market will bear.

My job as is to educated my clients so that they know the right deal when it comes along.

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.

Southern California Home Sales and Median Price Dip in July

August 17, 2010

La Jolla, CA—Southland home sales saw their biggest year-over-year drop in more than two years last month as the market lost most of the boost from the federal home buyer tax credits. The median sale price dipped for the second month in a row, the result of a shaky economic recovery, continued uncertainty about jobs, and the expiring tax breaks, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 18,946 new and resale homes were sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties in July. That was down 20.6 percent from 23,871 in June, and down 21.4 percent from 24,104 for July 2009, according to MDA DataQuick of San Diego.

This was the slowest July since 2007, when 17,867 homes were sold, and the second-slowest since July 1995, when 16,225 sold. Last month’s sales were 27.4 percent lower than the July average of 26,085 sales since 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics begin. The average change in sales between June and July is a 6.7 percent decline – about one-third the drop seen this year.

Last month’s 21.4 percent sales drop from a year ago marked the steepest year-over-year decline for Southland sales since March 2008, when sales fell 41.4 percent.

“It appears some of the sales that normally would have occurred in July were instead tugged into June or even May as buyers tried to take advantage of the expiring tax credits. Some of last month’s underlying technical numbers were largely flat, indicating that the market is treading water,” said John Walsh, MDA DataQuick president.

“We do expect some sideways buying and selling to kick in, especially among homeowners who have owned for more than seven years and didn’t take out equity during the frenzy. You may have to ‘discount’ your self-perceived home value, but if the person you’re buying from has to do the same thing, it doesn’t matter. And you may get a spectacularly low mortgage rate.”

The median price paid for a Southland home was $295,000 last month. That was down 1.7 percent from $300,000 in June, and up 10.1 percent from $268,000 for July 2009. The low point of the current cycle was $247,000 in April 2009, while the high point was $505,000 in mid 2007. The median’s peak-to-trough drop 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 34.2 percent of the resale market last month, up from 32.8 percent in June but down from 43.4 percent a year ago. The all-time high was February 2009 at 56.7 percent, DataQuick reported.

Government-insured FHA loans, a popular choice among first-time buyers, accounted for 36.0 percent of all mortgages used to purchase homes in July, down from 38.8 percent in June and 39.2 percent in July 2009.

Last month 21.9 percent of all sales were for $500,000 or more, compared with 21.6 percent in June and 19.2 percent a year ago. The low point for $500,000-plus sales was in February 2009, when 13.6 percent of sales crossed that threshold. Over the past decade, a monthly average of 25.4 percent of homes sold for $500,000 or more.

Viewed a different way, Southland zip codes in the top one-third of the housing market, based on historical prices, accounted for 30.8 percent of existing single-family house sales last month, up from 30.4 percent in June and 27.7 percent a year ago. Over the last decade those higher-end areas have contributed a monthly average of 33.3 percent of regional sales. Their contribution to overall sales hit a low of 21.0 percent in January 2009.

High-end sales would be stronger if adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) and “jumbo” loans were easier to obtain. Both have become much more difficult to get since the credit crunch hit three years ago.

Last month ARMs represented 6.1 percent of all purchase loans, down from 6.7 percent in June but up from 3.4 percent in July 2009. Over the past decade, a monthly average of nearly 40 percent of all home purchase loans have been ARMs.

Jumbo loans, mortgages above the old conforming limit of $417,000, accounted for 18.4 percent of last month’s purchase lending, up from 17.6 percent in June and from 15.2 percent in July 2009. Last month’s figure was the highest since January 2008, when it was 18.7 percent. Before the August 2007 credit crisis, jumbos accounted for 40 percent of the market.

Absentee buyers – mostly investors and some second-home purchasers – bought 21.9 percent of the homes sold in July, paying a median of $220,000. Buyers who appeared to have paid all cash – meaning there was no indication that a corresponding purchase loan was recorded – accounted for 26.7 percent of July sales, paying a median $218,250. In February this year cash sales peaked at 30.1 percent. The 22-year monthly average for Southland homes purchased with cash is 14.2 percent.

The “flipping” of homes has trended higher over the past year. Last month the percentage of Southland homes flipped – bought and re-sold – within a six-month period was 3.7 percent, while in June it was 3.4 percent and a year ago it was 2.0 percent. Last month flipping varied from as little as 2.8 percent in Orange County to as much as 4.4 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 $1,204 last month, down from $1,251 in June, and up from $1,180 in July 2009. Adjusted for inflation, current payments are 46.4 percent below typical payments in the spring of 1989, the peak of the prior real estate cycle. They were 56.1 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

North Redondo Beach, CA – Home Sales July 2010

As mentioned in an earlier post, SOCAL Sales Up 08 to 09, while Prices Level or Fall Off – July 31, 2010 inventory is up, sales are down. As you will see in the graph below however, the number of properties “pending” (e.g. in escrow) has continuted to climb. This is, no doubt mostly due to continued drops in interest rates. There are some fantastic buys out there right now and with historically low interest the savings, over 15 to 30 years are significant!
Source: Trendgraphix, Inc.
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.

Rate on 5-year ARM falls to record low

Interest rates continue to be the best single reason to be in the housing market. Whether you’re buying or need to sell, historically low financing is a huge benefit…

Rate on 5-year ARM falls to record low
But mortgage rates’ weekly move proves minimal: Freddie Mac
MarketWatch June 18, 2010
By Amy Hoak , Real Estate writer

Mortgage rates changed little this week, but the 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage managed to slide enough to break its record low, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of conforming mortgage rates, released on Thursday.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARMs averaged 3.89% for the week ended June 17, down from 3.92% last week and 4.97% a year ago. It’s the lowest the ARM has been since Freddie Mac started tracking it in January 2005.

One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs also fell, averaging 3.82%, down from 3.91% last week and 4.95% a year ago. It’s the lowest that the ARM has been since the week ended May 6, 2004, when it averaged 3.76%.

But fixed-rate mortgages inched up this week, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 4.75%, up from 4.72% last week; it averaged 5.38% a year ago. And the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.20%, up from 4.17% last week; it averaged 4.89% a year ago.

To obtain the rates, the fixed-rate mortgages and the 5-year ARM required payment of an average 0.7 point, while the 1-year ARM required an average 0.6 point. A point is 1% of the mortgage amount, charged as prepaid interest.

“Mortgage rates were little changed this week amid preliminary signs that the expiration of the home-buyer tax credit in April may have led to a slowdown in new construction,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, in a news release.

“Starts on single-family homes fell 17% to an annualized pace of 468,000 units in May from April’s 20-month high. In addition, permits on one-unit homes fell to the slowest pace since May 2009,” he noted. Read story about housing starts.

“Finally, builders became more pessimistic in their near-term outlook in June, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing,” he said. Read about builder pessimism.

But Nothaft added that household balance sheets have been improving over the last year: “In aggregate, households gained $6.3 trillion in net worth in the first quarter from a year ago, according to the Federal Reserve.

“In addition, homeowners have regained $1.1 trillion in home equity over the same time period,” he said

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.

Interest rate lower still…

Among the list of reasons for buying a home now verses later are historically low interest rates. Even if the market remains somewhat flat or depreciates again, rising interest rates would help to equalize any loss/gain. 
LA Times May 27, 2010
By E. Scott Reckard
Anyone out there still have the old-fashioned notion to retire their mortgage sooner rather than later?
Homeowners able to refinance were finding lenders offering 15-year fixed-rate mortgages at an average of 4.21% this week, according to Freddie Mac — the lowest rate since the mortgage company started tracking the 15-year loan in 1991.
Heavy demand for 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds has pushed their yield to the lowest level of the year. That’s the typical benchmark for fixed mortgages — and boy have rates followed, with Freddie Mac reporting the average for a 30-year fixed home loan falling to 4.78%.

That’s down from 4.84% a week earlier and not far from the record low of 4.71% set back in December.

Since the Freddie Mac survey reflects what lenders are offering, not actual contracts for loans, the rates obtained by well-qualified borrowers are often slightly lower, experts say.

Freddie Mac gathers information about rates available to well-qualified borrowers who make a down payment of at least 20% or have equivalent equity in their homes if they are refinancing. The borrowers in this week’s survey would have paid 0.7% of the loan balance to the lenders in upfront fees and discount points, Freddie Mac said.

Last year, the experts expected residential mortgage rates would be rising by now, as federal housing and home-loan support programs expired, home prices stabilized and inflation became more of a concern.

Then the latest default scare reared its head — this time involving not U.S. home loans but the debt loads carried by Greece and other weaker European economies. And just like that, the flood of money began to the safe haven of debt issued by Uncle Sam.

“Just when we thought we were finally experiencing [the anticipated rate increase] we got the PIGS,” said Stew Larsen, head of mortgage banking operations for Bank of the West, referring to an acronym for the nations Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain.

For those hungry for lower rates, is this the last big chance to head to the trough?

Big Banks want MORE!!!

Big Banks and Financial Companies, the same institutions that set the stage for our current downturn, got billions in tax-payer bail-outs and are already becoming profitable (while many American’s continue to struggle or worry) would like yet another pound of flesh from those caught in the cross-fire.


It’s important to note that most of the recent and pending foreclosure activity IS NOT subprime, but prime loans and mortgages. These are A-paper borrowers succumbing to extreme economic challenges.


The piece below, from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® provides information and background.

When is Enough, Enough?
The Big Banks are Opposing C.A.R.’s Bill to Protect Borrowers

C.A.R. is sponsoring SB 1178 (Corbett) to extend anti-deficiency protections to homeowners who have refinanced “purchase money” loans and are now facing foreclosure. Most homeowners didn’t even know that when they refinanced they lost their legal protections, and now may be personally liable for the difference between the value of the foreclosed property and the amount owed to the lender. SB 1178 will be voted on soon by the entire Senate.

One can’t help but think, “when is enough, enough?” Banks have already foreclosed upon a family’s home and now lenders can continue to hound them for additional payment. How much more money can today’s families afford to pay when they’ve already lost their homes and most likely their jobs? Are they never to have the opportunity to begin again?

Action Item
Call Senator Rod Wright Today at 1-800-672-3135
Urge him to vote “Yes” on SB 1178.
Non-C.A.R. members enter PIN number — 182003468

Background

California has protected borrowers from so called “deficiency” liability on their home mortgages since the 1930s, but the evolution of mortgage finance requires the statute to be updated.

Current law says that if a homeowner defaults on a mortgage used to purchase his or her home, the homeowner’s liability on the mortgage is limited to the property itself. The law has worked well since the 1930s to protect borrowers, ensure the quality of loan underwriting and allow borrowers who are brought down by financial crisis to get back on their feet.

Unfortunately, the 1930s law does not extend the protection for purchase money mortgages to loans that re-finance the original purchase debt — even if the re-finance was only to gain a lower interest rate. Recent years of low interest rates have induced tens of thousands of homeowners to re-finance their mortgages, yet almost no one realized that by re-financing their mortgages to obtain a lower rate, they were forfeiting their protections. These borrowers became personally liable for the balance of the loan.

C.A.R. is Sponsoring SB 1178 Because:

SB 1178 is fair. Home buyers, and lenders, entered into the purchase with the idea that the mortgage would be non-recourse debt, and that the lender would look to the security (the house) itself to make good on the debt if the borrower cannot. It meets the legitimate expectation of the borrowers, who have no idea that they are losing this protection by a re-finance. Homeowners didn’t know that their re-finance exposed them to personal liability, and new tax liability, on the note. It would be unfair to allow a lender, or someone that has purchased a note from a lender, to pursue the borrower beyond the value of the agreed upon security.

SB 1178 is consistent with the intent of the orginal law and simply updates it for modern times. Current law was intended to ensure that if someone lost their home to foreclosure, they wouldn’t be liable for additional payment. Since the law was passed over 70 years ago, homeowners re-financing from the original loan to lower their interest rate has become commonplace. The 1930s legislature didn’t anticipate how mortgages would change over time.

Lenders could pursue families to collect this “deficiency” debt years down the road. Under current law, lenders have up ten years to collect on the additional debt after a judgment has been entered on the foreclosure. Years after a family has lost their home, they could find themselves in even more financial trouble. Lenders could even sell these accounts to aggressive collection agencies or even bundle them into securities. The end result would be banks who didn’t lend responsibly in the first place coming after families for even more money that they don’t have.

SB 1178 does NOT apply to “cash-out” re-finances, unless the money was used to improve the home and it doesn’t apply to HELOCs.

All good things…

I received my Weekly Mortgage Market Update today from Victor Samaan, our Bank of America rep and as anticipated the threat of higher interest rates on home loans could be just around the corner. It’s been my contention that one of the best reasons to buy now, even with the specter of further devaluation in coming months is interest rates. How much would a point add to your payment?

“ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END…”

Or so the popular saying goes. And last week, the Fed reiterated once again that their Mortgage Backed Security (MBS) purchase program…the program that has helped keep home loan rates low for much of the last year…will end on March 31, 2010 as previously stated. Here’s the lowdown on what this means, and all the latest news impacting home loan rates and the markets.

Last Wednesday during their regularly scheduled meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, the Federal Reserve kept the Fed Funds Rate unchanged. But history has shown that when the Fed has left rates too low for an extended period of time, there is a price to be paid, via higher inflation. Yet if the accommodation is removed too early, it can derail an already fragile recovery. The Fed continues to walk this tightrope, trying to get it “just right.”

Along with this decision, the Fed emphasized and reminded that their MBS purchase program will still end on their already revised deadline date of March 31, 2010. Why is this significant? Let’s look at the numbers from last week to get an idea. The Fed purchased $16B in MBS in the latest week bringing the year-to-date total to $1.087T. This means there is $163B left to purchase before March 31, which in turn means the Fed will purchase about $11.5B on average each week through the end of the buying program. This is less than half of what the Fed was buying regularly throughout 2009 and a 1/3 less than what the Fed has been buying in recent weeks.

So why does this point to higher rates around the corner? When there is lots of supply and diminishing demand, the price of that item will subsequently go down – it’s Economics 101. So, when Bond prices start to decrease from the diminishing demand of the Fed’s purchases, home loan rates will naturally be likely to increase.

Source: Victor Samaan at Bank of America