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 or contact Robert Dixon at RE/MAX Palos Verdes Realty, Telephone (310) 703-1848 or email 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.


Mortgage Market Review, April 2, 2010

Market Comment

Mortgage bond prices fell again last week pushing mortgage interest rates higher. The Fed ended the mortgage backed securities purchase program last Wednesday. There was no coincidence that rates spiked higher Thursday morning with the Fed no longer there to buffer negative movements and keep rates in check. Stock strength also pressured bonds as the Dow approached the 11,000 mark. Escalating oil prices also caused rates to spike higher as inflation fears begin to increase. Fortunately the PCE Price Index data came in as expected. Rates rose about 3/4 of a discount point for the week.

The Treasury auctions will once again take center stage this week. If foreign demand is lackluster like the last few auctions we could see that carry over to the mortgage bond market causing rates to spike. The Fed minutes and weekly jobless claims may also move the market this week.

April 6

3-year Treasury Note Auction: (important) $40 billion of notes will be auctioned. Strong demand may lead to lower mortgage rates.

Fed Minutes: (important) Details of last Fed meeting. Volatility may surround the release.

April 7

Consumer Credit: consensus estimate up $1.6 billion (low importance) A significantly larger than expected increase may lead to lower mortgage interest rates.

10-year Treasury Note Auction: (important) $21 billion of notes will be auctioned. Strong demand may lead to lower mortgage rates.

April 8

Weekly Jobless Claims: consensus estimate at 430k (moderately important) An indication unemployment. Higher claims may lead to lower rates.

30-year Treasury Bond Auction: (important) $13 billion of bonds will be auctioned. Strong demand may lead to lower mortgage rates.


The 10 and 30-year Treasury bond yields are often viewed as “benchmarks”, reflecting the overall state of interest rates in the US economy. Many people concerned about mortgage interest rates track these bonds as a barometer for mortgage interest rates. However, in reality the Treasury and mortgage markets trade independently.

The supply and demand characteristics of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities (MBSs) differ. Treasury securities represent money needed to fund the operations of the US government. MBSs, on the other hand, represent borrowing by homeowners. Demand for mortgage credit is seasonal and is also affected by the state of the overall economy. In terms of demand, Treasury securities are regarded as “risk free” investments, and often benefit from a “flight to quality” in times of financial crisis. Treasury bill, note, and bond prices are dictated by yield requirements and inflationary concerns. Because homeowners can sell or refinance their homes, investors in 30-year mortgage-backed securities usually see principal repayment in significantly shorter periods of time.

In the absence of information directly related to the mortgage interest rate markets, Treasury information can be useful. However, mortgage interest rates can vary significantly. In fact, many times the Treasuries will trade wildly while MBSs only see minor price changes and vice versa.


Andrew Martz
Mortgage Loan Consultant
The Shintani Group
27 Malaga Cove Plaza, Ste A
Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274
License # 01418195
(310) 378-8212

Copyright 2010. All Rights Reserved. Mortgage Market Information Services, Inc. The information contained herein is believed to be accurate, however no representation or warranties are written or implied.

A HUD required good faith loan estimate will protect you

Beginning Jan. 1, the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) required lenders to issue Good Faith Estimates to protect consumers applying for mortgage loans. Some loan officers, however, sidestep the new requirement by giving their initial quotes on informal worksheets that carry no federal consumer protections. It is important that consumers understand the differences between the federally mandated good faith estimate form and a lender’s informal worksheet.

Last month, HUD told lenders and loan officers that under no circumstances can worksheet quotes be issued to a mortgage applicant in lieu of a good-faith-estimate form.

Under the new law, once a mortgage applicant supplies the essential application information, including Social Security number, property address, and estimated value, among other data, lenders must issue a binding-cost good-faith estimate. Once this information is provided, lenders are required to issue the good faith estimate within three days of the application.

Loan officers cannot refuse to provide a good faith estimate to an applicant who requests one, nor can they tell applicants that they must commit to moving forward with their mortgage company to obtain a mortgage prior to receiving a good faith estimate.

Once an applicant has received a good faith estimate, they can take the form with them to comparison shop. The new form includes itemized boxes allowing mortgage applicants to compare quotes from up to four lenders, such as interest rates, loan fees, prepayment penalties, and total settlement expenses.

The good faith estimate also ties upfront estimates to later charges at closing, and encourages borrowers to check line by line for any discrepancies. The form explains which fees come with zero tolerance for changes between upfront estimates and closing—generally the lender’s own fees and local transfer taxes—and which fees allow a 10 percent fluctuation for changes higher than the estimate, such as certain title and closing-related services.

Some worksheets resemble good-faith estimates, but have titles such as “estimated settlement costs” at the top of the page. Others indicate on the bottom of the form that the worksheet is not a good faith estimate, so consumers should carefully review documents before making any decisions.

Shopping for a loan? A good-faith estimate will protect you

February 28, 2010
by Kenneth R. Harney

If you plan to take out a mortgage or refinance any time soon, you might want to hear this blunt message from federal officials: Don’t fly blind. When you’re shopping among competing lenders for the best loan terms and fees, make sure you know which quotes come with a guarantee and which do not.

Depending upon how loan officers provide their quotes upfront — on an informal “work sheet” that carries no federal consumer protections or on a new, three-page “good-faith estimate” mortgage shopping tool that comes with rock-hard guarantees — there could be a world of difference.

A loan officer might quote you fees that are low-balled by hundreds of dollars on an informal work sheet to get your business. But if the quotes are made on a good-faith estimate, they’ve got to be accurate because, under federal rules that took effect Jan. 1, any significant excesses must come out of the lender’s own wallet at closing.

This month the Department of Housing and Urban Development brought together representatives of the highest-volume mortgage lenders in the country — who originate a combined 80%-plus of all new home loans — to review the agency’s reformed good-faith-estimate and closing documents.

Among the issues discussed: the widespread use of informal work-sheet estimates to quote loan shoppers mortgage rates and closing fees. HUD does not object to lenders using work sheets to give casual shoppers a rough idea of what they’ll pay. But the agency says it wants lenders and loan officers to make clear to customers that work sheets are not good-faith estimates, and they are not guaranteed.

At the meeting with major lenders, HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary Vicki Bott warned that under no circumstances can work-sheet quotes be issued to a mortgage applicant “in lieu of a GFE.” Once a consumer supplies the essential application information — Social Security number, property address and estimated value, among other data — lenders must issue a binding-cost good-faith estimate.

Also, loan officers cannot refuse to provide a good-faith estimate to an applicant who requests one, nor can they tell applicants that they can receive a GFE only if they commit to moving forward with their company to obtain the mortgage.

“By no means can they say you are bound to me as your lender” following issuance of a cost-guaranteed good-faith estimate, Bott said. Why? Because the whole concept of the revised GFE is to enable home buyers and refinancers to shop intelligently, with confidence in lenders’ estimates.

You can now get cost-guaranteed quotes on a good-faith estimate from one lender, then take them and compare them with GFE quotes from competitors. The new form contains itemized boxes allowing comparison of up to four lenders’ quotes — including interest rates, loan fees, prepayment penalties and total settlement expenses.

The good-faith estimate also ties upfront estimates to later charges at closing, and encourages borrowers to check line by line for any discrepancies. The form explains which fees come with zero tolerance for changes between upfront estimates and closing — generally the lender’s own loan fees and local transfer taxes — and which fees allow a 10% tolerance for changes higher than the estimate, such as certain title and closing-related services.

Here is how to be a smart mortgage shopper using the new federal rules to your advantage. If you are seriously looking for the best deal and are prepared to supply basic application information, ask for a good-faith estimate by name. If you’re merely shopping for generic rate quotes, work sheets are fine as long as you understand their limitations.

Beware of look-alike ploys and substitutes. Bott told lenders to make sure their work sheets do not “look like a GFE” and that they “be clear [to the consumer] that they are not GFEs.”

Some work sheets that have been used by lenders since Jan. 1 resemble good-faith estimates but have titles such as “estimated settlement costs” at the top of the page. Others indicate on the bottom of the form that the work sheet “is not a GFE,” but the typeface is so small it’s barely legible.

Finally, be aware that federal law requires that a good-faith estimate be issued within three days of any application.

Interest rates far from the only answer

“The miserable have no other medicine but only hope” Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare (Act III, Scene I)

My intension is not to paint a picture of doom and gloom. I remain cautiously optimistic that with conscience and care, we can weather the storm. There are, however those who are quick to say we’re in recovery, the worst has past and by this time next year our real estate troubles will be a distant memory. That’s a classic example of ignoring the elephant in the room…The posted article “Low interest rates are no panacea for region’s housing” describes a dynamic that exists in hard-hit Inland Southern California. Although interest rates are low there’s a lack of inventory creating fierce competition and many buyers are getting frustrated. Builders cannot justify building. Statistics nationally on NOD’s and REO’s indicate that there should be plenty of inventory, however the manner in which these properties are released on to the market is critical. Too much, too fast and we upset the apple cart, prices freefall again and buyers pull back. It’s been said again and again that low interest, tax breaks and lower home prices have created this surge in buying, but it’s not on a solid foundation. As expressed by economist Esmael Adibi (below) until we put people back to work and stimulate other aspects of the economy we’re still very much at risk. At this point what’s most important is managing the over 7.5 million homeowners who are either at risk or in foreclosure and the banks will ultimately determine how this unfolds. Get it right and we get through the next several months and perhaps 2010 with positive momentum. One can only hope.

Low interest rates are no panacea for region’s housing

The Press-Enterprise

Although the interest rate on a 30-year mortgage is the lowest it has been in almost four decades, it is not the medicine that will revive Inland Southern California’s housing market, real estate experts said Thursday.

Mortgage rates for fixed 30-year loans in the U.S. dropped to a record low amid indications the housing market is showing signs of life. A 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 4.71 percent for the week ended Thursday, the lowest since mortgage buyer Freddie Mac began compiling the data in 1971.

The Federal Reserve is pumping $1.25 trillion into mortgage-backed securities to try to bring down mortgage rates, but that money is set to run out next spring. The goal of the program is to make home buying more affordable and prop up the housing market.

But Inland experts say a shortage of inventory is suppressing sales of existing homes. Also, the high cost of land that home builders acquired makes it impossible for most of them to construct houses that can sell cheaply enough to compete with the foreclosure-ridden resale market.

“The interest rates being as low as they are today are not promoting more sales because of the lack of homes for sale,” said Wil Herring, owner of Mtg Experts in Moreno Valley.

While the rate of mortgage defaults remains high, fewer foreclosed houses are coming on the market, a trend that some experts say reflects an effort by lenders to modify mortgages for financially troubled homeowners and to control the number of foreclosed homes for sale to prop up prices.

Herring said there is “sheer frustration” among would-be first-time buyers who have to compete for the limited number of bank-owned homes, frequently having to make multiple offers and losing out to all-cash buyers.

Chapman University economist Esmael Adibi said the lower mortgage interest rate is a positive development because it makes homes more affordable and will be welcomed by someone who is currently house hunting. But he said it won’t be enough to overcome the negative impact of a soft economy on home sales.

“The job outlook and overall economic condition trumps any improvement we will get on the mortgage front because if a person doesn’t have a job or is not confident about his or her job, even with the improved affordability, that person will not commit to purchasing a house,” Adibi said.

Alan Nevin, director of economic research for MarketPointe Realty Advisors in San Diego, a firm that advises home builders, said lower mortgage rates will do “virtually nothing for new home building because it is not sufficient to cause developers to risk breaking ground.”


The basic problem, Nevin said, is the cost that developers paid for land — most likely purchased at the height of the housing boom in 2005 or 2006 — is “almost higher than what they can sell the homes for.”

Nevin said recently he studied the Hemet-San Jacinto area and discovered that most of the sales offices in housing developments were closed because the builders couldn’t compete with the resale market. He said significant home building will not occur until the banks resell land in the failed projects at discounted prices to a new group of builders.

“I suspect over the course of 2010 you will begin to see new homes being built in small quantities but not by the guys who built them before,” Nevin said.

Bloomberg News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: The Press-Enterprise Online

Rates on 30-year mortgages remain below 5 percent

As a point of reference, interest rates on 30-year fixed conventional mortgages went double digit 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… RD

Rates on 30-year mortgages remain below 5 percent

The Associated Press – Published: Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009 – 8:57 am

McLEAN, Va. — Rates on 30-year mortgages stayed below 5 percent this week but remained above the record set earlier this year, Freddie Mac said Thursday.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 4.83 percent, down from 4.91 percent last week, the mortgage company said. Last year at this time, 30-year mortgages averaged 6.04 percent.

Rates hit a record low of 4.78 percent in the spring, and remain attractive for people looking to buy a home or refinance their existing mortgage. Still, credit standards remain tough, so the best rates usually are available only to borrowers with solid credit and a 20 percent down payment.
The Federal Reserve has pumped $1.25 trillion into mortgage-backed securities to try to lower rates on mortgages and loosen credit. Rates on 30-year mortgages traditionally track yields on long-term government debt.

Low fixed rates in the third quarter led to about $1.1 trillion in refinancing activity, saving borrowers about $10 billion in monthly payments over the first 12 months of their new loan, said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

Freddie Mac collects mortgage rates on Monday through Wednesday of each week from lenders around the country. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a given day, frequently in line with long-term Treasury bonds.

The average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.32 percent from 4.36 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac.

Rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 4.25 percent, down from last week’s 4.29 percent. Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages declined to 4.35 percent from 4.46 percent.

The rates do not include add-on fees known as points. The nationwide fee for loans in Freddie Mac’s survey averaged 0.7 point for 30-year loans. The fee averaged 0.6 point for 15-year, five-year and one-year loans.

Source: The Sacramento Bee