Archive for December, 2009

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Happy Holidays to all

December 22, 2009

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Mortgages Becoming Easier to Obtain In some parts of the country

December 21, 2009

Daily Real Estate News | December 21, 2009 |

Mortgages Becoming Easier to Obtain In some parts of the country, borrowers with good credit are more likely to be able to borrow 95 percent of the purchase price than they were just a few months ago. In Florida and other troubled markets credit remains tight and mortgage companies continue to scrutinize property appraisals, which makes it difficult for some borrowers to get financing. But in most areas of the country where prices are stabilizing or falling only slightly, standards are relaxing. “We are starting to see…moderation,” said Neil Librock, head of credit risk for Wells Fargo & Co. Source: The Wall Street Journal, Ruth Simon (12/19/2009)

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If You Don’t Buy a House Now, You’re Stupid or Broke

December 11, 2009

December 8, 2009,

Interest rates are at historic lows but cyclical trends suggest they will soon rise. Home buyers may never see such a chance again, writes Marc Roth  you may not be stupid or broke. Maybe you already have a house and you don’t want to move. Or maybe you’re a Trappist monk and have forsworn all earthly possessions. Or whatever. But if you want to buy a house, now is the time, and if you don’t act soon, you will regret it.

Here’s why: historically low interest rates. As of today, the average 30-year fixed-rate loan with no points or fees is around 5%. That, as the graph above—which you can find on Mortgage-X.com—shows, is the lowest the rate has been in nearly 40 years. In fact, rates are so well below historic averages that it should make all current and prospective homeowners take notice of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And it is exactly that, based on what the graph shows us. Let’s look at the point on the far left. In 1970 the rate was approximately 7.25%. After hovering there for a couple of years, it began a trend upward, landing near 10% in late 1973. It settled at 8.5% to 9% from 1974 to the end of 1976. After the rise to 10%, that probably seemed O.K. to most home buyers. But they weren’t happy soon thereafter. From 1977 to 1981, a period of only 60 months, the 30-year fixed rate climbed to 18%. As I mentioned in one of my previous articles, my dad was one of those unluckily stuck needing a loan at that time. Interest Rate Lessons And when rates started to decline after that, they took a long time to recede to previous levels. They hit 9% for a brief time in 1986 and bounced around 10% to 11% until 1990. For the next 11 years through 2001, the rates slowly ebbed and flowed downward, ranging from 7% to 9%. We’ve since spent the last nine years, until very recently, at 6% to 7%. So you can see why 5% is so remarkable. So, what can we learn from the historical trends and numbers? First, rates have far further to move upward than downward; for more than 30 years, 7% was the low and 18% the high. The norm was 9% in the 1970s, 10% in the mid-1980s through the early 1990s, 7% to 8% for much of the 1990s, and 6% only over the last handful of years. Second, the last time the long-term trends reversed from low to high, it took more than 20 years (1970 to 1992) for the rate to get back to where it was, and 30 years to actually start trending below the 1970 low. Finally, the most important lesson is to understand the actual financial impact the rate has on the cost of purchasing and paying off a home. Every quarter-point change in interest rates is equivalent to approximately $6,000 for every $100,000 borrowed over the course of a 30-year fixed. While different in each region, for the sake of simplicity, let’s assume that the average person is putting $40,000 down and borrowing $200,000 to pay the price of a typical home nationwide. Thus, over the course of the life of the loan, each quarter-point move up in interest rates will cost that buyer $12,000. Loan Costs Stay with me now. We are at 5%. As you can see by the graph above, as the economy stabilizes, it is reasonable for us to see 30-year fixed rates climb to 6% within the foreseeable future and probably to a range of 7% to 8% when the economy is humming again. If every quarter of a point is worth $12,000 per $200,000 borrowed, then each point is worth almost $50,000. Let’s put that into perspective. You have a good stable job (yes, unemployment is at 10%, but another way of looking at that figure is that most of us have good stable jobs). You would like to own a $240,000 home. However, even though home prices have steadied, you may be thinking you can get another $5,000 or $10,000 discount if you wait (never mind the $8,500 or $6,500 tax credit due to run out next spring). Or you may be waiting for the news to tell you the economy is “more stable” and it’s safe to get back in the pool. In exchange for what you may think is prudence, you will risk paying $50,000 more per point in interest rate changes between now and the time you decide you are ready to buy. And you are ignoring the fact that according to the Case-Shiller index, home prices in most regions have been trending back up for the last several months. If you are someone who is looking to buy or upgrade in the $350,000-to-$800,000 home price range, and many people out there are, then you’re borrowing $300,000 to $600,000. At 7%, the $300,000 loan will cost just under $150,000 more over the lifetime, and the $600,000 loan an additional $300,000, if rates move up just 2% before you pull the trigger. What I’m trying to impress upon everyone is that if you are planning on being a homeowner now and/or in the foreseeable future, or if you are looking to move your family into a bigger home, then pay more attention to the interest rates than the price of the home. If you have a steady job, good credit, and the down payment, then you really are being offered the gift of a lifetime.

Marc Roth is the founder and president of Home Warranty of America, which touches just about every part of the real estate industry since it sells through builders, real estate agents, title companies, mortgage companies, and directly to consumers.

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Los Feliz Library Event 10th Anniversary

December 9, 2009

I attended a great event celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Los Feliz Library and the unveiling of their donor wall. Displayed on the wall just below Disney is a Gold Plaque signifying a $5000 contribution from Keller Williams Realty Los Feliz. This is just another way KW gives back to our community. The event was organized by the Friends of the Los Feliz Library. Councilmen Tom La Bonge hailed the wonderful job the library has been doing in the community and Chris Laib of Keller Williams ran a live auction that raised additional monies for the library.

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9 CONSECUTIVE GAINS FOR PENDING HOME SALES

December 1, 2009

GREAT NEWS.

Daily Real Estate News | December 1, 2009

Nine Consecutive Gains for Pending Home Sales. Pending home sales have risen for nine months in a row, a first for the series of the index since its inception in 2001, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in October, increased 3.7 percent to 114.1 from 110.0 in September, and is 31.8 percent above October 2008 when it was 86.6. The rise from a year ago is the biggest annual increase ever recorded for the index, which is at the highest level since March 2006 when it was 115.2. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said home sales are experiencing a pendulum swing. “Keep in mind that housing had been underperforming over most of the past year. Based on the demographics of our growing population, existing-home sales should be in the range of 5.5 million to 6.0 million annually, but we were well below the 5-million mark before the home buyer tax credit stimulus,” he said. “This means the tax credit is helping unleash a pent-up demand from a large pool of financially qualified renters, much more than borrowing sales from the future.” By Region * Pending sales in the Northeast surged 19.9 percent to 100.2 in October and is 44.2 percent above a year ago. * In the Midwest, the index rose 11.6 percent to 109.6 and is 36.6 percent higher than October 2008. * Sales in the South increased 5.4 percent to an index of 115.4, which is 31.6 percent above a year ago. * In the West, the index fell 11.2 percent to 127.7 but is 21.9 percent above October 2008. Not Out of the Woods Yet Yun cautioned that home sales could dip in the months ahead. “The expanded tax credit has only been available for the past three weeks, but the time between when buyers start looking at homes until they close on a sale can take anywhere from three to five months. Given the lag time, we could see a temporary decline in closed existing-home sales from December until early spring when we get another surge, but the weak job market remains a major concern and could slow the recovery process. “Still, as inventories continue to decline and balance is gradually restored between buyers and sellers, we should reach self-sustaining housing conditions and firming home prices in most areas around the middle of 2010. That would mean broad wealth stabilization for the vast number of middle-class families,” Yun said. Source: NAR