Monday, July 23, 2012

Mortgage rates drop again, Freddie Mac says; 30-year at 3.53%

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage hit another new low this week, dropping to 3.53% from 3.56% last week, according to Freddie Mac's survey of what lenders are offering to well-qualified borrowers.

With the Federal Reserve aggressively pushing rates down and few signs of inflation on the horizon, it was 12th time in 13 weeks that a new record was set, Freddie Mac economist Frank Nothaft said in the report Thursday morning.

Freddie Mac said the 15-year fixed loan, which has been a popular part of the recent boom in refinancings, averaged 2.83%, down from 2.86% and also a new record.

The typical start rate on a five-year hybrid loan, which has a fixed rate until it turns adjustable in the sixth year, was at a record low level as well: 2.69%, down from 2.74%.

Borrowers would have paid 0.7% of the loan amount in upfront lender fees to obtain the 30-year fixed loan and 0.6% for the 15-year fixed and five-year hybrid, Freddie Mac said.

Freddie Mac asks lenders each week about the terms they are offering to solid borrowers for loans of up to $417,000. Industry pros say well-qualified borrowers can often do slightly better by shopping around, and it’s possible to "buy down" rates by paying additional discount points to lenders.

Copyright © 2012, Los Angeles Times

Monday, July 9, 2012

Mortgage Rates at Historic Lows !! 7/9/12

Mortgage rates sank to new lows this week as fears about a U.S. economic slowdown and the impact of the European debt crisis continue to make Treasuries and bonds that fund most mortgages look like safe bets to investors.

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.62 percent with an average 0.8 point for the week ending July 5, down from 3.66 percent last week and 4.60 percent a year ago, Freddie Mac said in releasing the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey. That's a new all-time low in Freddie Mac records dating to 1971.

For 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, rates averaged 2.89 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from 2.94 percent last week and 3.75 percent a year ago. That's also an all-time low in records dating to 1991.

Rates on 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loans averaged 2.79 percent, with an average 0.6 point, unchanged from last week but down from 3.30 percent a year ago. Rates on five-year ARM loans hit an all-time low in records dating to 2005 of 2.77 percent during the week ending June 21.

For 1-year Treasury-indexed ARMs, rates averaged 2.68 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from 2.74 percent last week and 3.01 percent a year ago. That's a new all-time low in records dating to 1984.

"Recent economic data releases of less consumer spending and a contraction in the manufacturing industry drove long-term Treasury bond yields lower over the week and allowed fixed mortgage rates to hit new all-time record lows," said Freddie Mac's chief economist, Frank Nothaft, in a statement.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Palm Springs Real Estate Update 6/22/12

The New York Times

Taking advantage of low rates

Mortgage rates continue to set new record lows, leaving many home buyers and refinancers wondering how low rates can go and how to capture the best rates now.

Making sense of the story

Many economists are forecasting that mortgage rates will rise again later this year as the American economy gradually improves and as more global investors turn to the U.S. as a safe haven for money.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.71 percent the week of June 14.

The rate had averaged 3.9 percent three months earlier and 4.5 percent a year earlier.

According to one economist, rates could possibly fall further, perhaps as much as a quarter of a percentage point, but it is more likely that they would start a “slow drift” upward.

Those planning to refinance or buy a home in the next two or three months might want to consider locking in a mortgage rate now.

Borrowers with rate locks, with a built-in deadline, often receive priority treatment from lenders, because the borrower is telling the lender that he or she is serious about closing soon.

Lock-in costs and policies vary widely, and are based partly on the time frame the borrower wants covered. Most borrowers will need a 60- to 90-day lock.

If interest rates continue to fall during the lock period, borrowers can ask the lender to rewrite the rate lock at an additional cost, or obtain a “float-down” provision in the original agreement. A lock with a float-down agreement allows the borrower to change the rate, often only once, before closing on the mortgage. This option is generally more expensive than a standard lock.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Palm Springs Real Estate update 6/16/12

The advantages of preapproval

The housing market is warming up in many areas, with multiple offers becoming more commonplace. Buyers who want an advantage in the bidding process will need more than a mortgage prequalification – they will need a preapproval.

Making sense of the story

The differences between mortgage prequalification and preapproval are significant. Prequalifying for a mortgage is based solely on what a borrower discloses to the loan officer or broker about his/her earnings, credit score, and total assets, including what is available for a down payment. By contrast, a preapproval requires a borrower to provide documentation of his/her income and assets.

The lender typically pulls the borrower’s credit report and score, while the borrower gathers together almost everything else needed for the actual mortgage underwriting: W-2 wage statements; 1099s; recent pay stubs; bank statements; and statements from Individual Retirement Accounts and 401(k)s; and other assets that could show the borrower has the resources to buy and maintain a home.

At one of the country’s largest mortgage lenders, Wells Fargo, the first quick review provided by an underwriter constitutes an agreement to lend. Other lenders may treat preapprovals as more of an opinion on the person’s ability to borrow, not a guarantee to lend.

With so many homes receiving multiple offers, a preapproval is more important in today’s marketplace.

The preapproval letter should include the amount a borrower is qualified to borrow, as well as the loan officer’s contact information. Some letters may have an estimated monthly payment, but details about the loan time and interest rate are not included.

Timing also is important. Buyers should aim for obtaining a preapproval letter from a lender within 30 to 60 days of the expected purchase date. That is because some letters expire in 90 days.

* * * * *

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Zillow: Home Values See Highest Monthly Increase Since 2006

Zillow issued a released Friday reporting that both national home values and rents rose in the month of April.

According to the April Zillow Real Estate Market Reports, national home values rose 0.7 percent in April to a Zillow Home Value Index of $147,300. This is the largest monthly increase in home values since January 2006, and it makes April the second month in a row in which home values climbed up.

Zillow also reported that rents rose from March to April, increasing by 1.6 percent, according to the Zillow Rent Index. Of the 178 markets covered by Zillow, 78 percent experienced a rise in rents.

The Miami-Fort Lauderdale and Phoenix metro areas saw the biggest increases in home values, rising 1.6 and 1.9 percent, respectively. Values continued to decrease in hard-hit markets like Atlanta, where home values fell 0.7 percent.

“The housing market continues to show positive signs, with home values increasing significantly in April,” said Dr. Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow. “The recovery is moving in the right direction, but we caution that negative equity will cast a long shadow over the housing market. With almost one-third of homeowners with mortgages underwater and unable to sell their homes, inventory is having a hard time keeping up with increasing demand in many areas. We’ll continue to watch this signal as increasing home values turn from a blip into a trend.”

Foreclosures also continued to decline in April, with 6.8 out of every 10,000 homes being foreclosed across the U.S. That figure was down from 8 out of every 10,000 in March.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Palm Springs Real Estate Statistics for April 2012

April 2012 Coachella Valley Sales Statistics

Single Family Home sales rise in April 2012 compared to April 2011 by 36 units. April 2012 closed sales looks to have benefited from a strong season this year in the Desert as properties sold during the season continue to close Escrow each day.

Single Family Average and Median sold prices jumped up April over April as well. Eight of ten desert cities saw prices increase.

Price increases are probably more reflective of the lowest priced homes already being sold than Sellers raising prices; however, it does show some resurgent strength in the housing recovery.

Condo sales are also up by 55 units April 2012 over April 2011; while Condo sold prices declined so slightly almost keeping prices flat.

Added to the bottom of the report itself is the Active "For Sale" Inventory which is approaching record lows. Based upon number of units sold in April 2012 remaining unsold inventory for Single Family is at a 3.2 month supply; Condo unsold inventory is at a 3.5 month supply.

Banks are publicly claiming that there is not a substantial number of Bank Owned properties remaining to bring to market.

Bank Owned sales as a percentage of total sales continues to decline as well.

Buyers - particularly those with cash -- still have some remaining edge in the market place; however it appears the window of opportunity is narrowing much more quickly than would have been thought just a few months ago.

In a recovering market opportunity still knocks...but rarely lingers.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Interest Rates to Remain Low!!

By Drew FitzGerald

Mortgage rates are expected to remain very low at least through mid-2012, while housing activity improves slightly, according to Freddie Mac’s economic and housing outlook released Wednesday.

The outlook also projects fewer single-family home-loan originations but more multifamily lending in 2012. The rental market is likely to lead growth in the lending industry, though parts of the country will also benefit from increased activity in the single-family home market.

High unemployment and a glut of foreclosed properties have depressed the housing market in recent years, despite extremely low interest rates that have made borrowing more attractive.

“While the headwinds remain strong going into 2012, there are indications the economy and the housing market are gaining ground, albeit slowly,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “All told, next year will be another bumpy ride.”

Job growth must accelerate beyond the average monthly payroll gains of 130,000 seen this year through November for the unemployment to decrease significantly. Even then, the mortgage company predicted the unemployment rate will remain above 8% in 2012.

Freddie Mac predicts the U.S. economy will grow by about 2.5% next year.

Sales up Prices Down

The Orange County Register
California house sales up, prices down
California home sales posted an increase both on a monthly and annual basis in November,
marking the fifth consecutive month of year-to-year sales increases, according to figures
released today from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.). Meanwhile,
the statewide median price of an existing, single-family detached home sold in California rose 1
percent compared with October, but declined 5.2 percent compared with a year earlier.
Making sense of the story
 Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California rose to a
seasonally adjusted 503,570 units in November, up 2.1 percent from a revised 493,140
in October, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local
REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide.
 November home sales also were up 2.3 percent from the revised 492,040 units sold
during the like period a year ago. The statewide sales figure represents what would be
the total number of homes sold during 2011 if sales maintained the November pace
throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence
home sales.
 The November statewide median price of an existing, single-family detached home sold
in California was $280,960, up 1 percent from $278,060 in October but down 5.2 percent
from the $296,480 median price recorded for November 2010.
 The Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes was 5 months in
November, down from 5.3 months in October and down from a 6.2-month supply in
November 2010. The index indicates the number of months needed to deplete the
supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.
Read the full story

Saturday, December 17, 2011

December 17th Foreclosure update

RealtyTrac: November foreclosure activity hints at rising tide (CHARTS)
California, Arizona post annual increases amid U.S. seasonal dipBy Inman News, Thursday, December 15, 2011.

After rising in October, foreclosure activity fell slightly on a monthly basis in November, but some signs point to a coming increase in early 2012, according to a report from foreclosure data site RealtyTrac.
One in every 579 housing units, or 224,394 properties, received a foreclosure filing -- a default notice, scheduled auction, or bank repossession -- in November. That's a 3 percent drop from October and a 14 percent drop from November 2010 -- the smallest year-over-year decline in the past year.
"Despite a seasonal slowdown similar to what we've seen in each of the past four years, November's numbers suggest a new set of incoming foreclosure waves, many of which may roll into the market as REOs (bank-owned homes) or short sales sometime early next year," said James Saccacio, co-founder of RealtyTrac, in a statement.
"Overall foreclosure activity is down 14 percent from a year ago, the smallest annual decrease over the past 12 months, and some bellwether states such as California, Arizona and Massachusetts actually posted year-over-year increases in foreclosure activity in November.
Source: RealtyTrac
The number of homes receiving default notices decreased 8 percent month to month and 9 percent year over year in November, to 71,730 properties. That figure is also a 9 percent decline from August, when default notices rose 33 percent from the month before.
Article continues below
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That surge in default notices that began in August meant scheduled foreclosure auctions were at a nine-month high in November, Saccacio said.
Scheduled auctions rose 13 percent month to month but fell 17 percent year over year in November to 96,540. On a monthly basis, auctions rose more than 35 percent in several states, RealtyTrac said: California (63 percent), Washington (56 percent), Ohio (53 percent), New Jersey (44 percent), and New York (38 percent).
REO activity hit a 44-month low in November with lenders repossessing 56,124 properties. That's a 17 percent drop from both October of this year and November 2010.
Nevada had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation for the 59th straight month in November despite "artificially low foreclosure activity," RealtyTrac said, due to a new Nevada state law designed to crack down on documentation irregularities by foreclosing lenders -- that law took effect in October. Foreclosure activity in the state rose 3 percent from October, but was down 43 percent compared to a year ago.
10 states with the highest foreclosure activity rates in November:
Foreclosure rate (November 2011)
1 in 579 housing units
1 in 175
1 in 211
1 in 256
1 in 290
1 in 330
1 in 330
1 in 358
1 in 427
1 in 500
South Carolina
1 in 517
Source: RealtyTrac
Foreclosure activity in California rose 11 percent year over year and 15 percent month to month in November. The increase was driven largely by a jump in scheduled foreclosure auctions, which posted a 10-month high last month. Foreclosure filings in the Golden State accounted for 28 percent of the nation's total -- more than any other state.
Arizona also saw an annual increase in foreclosure activity -- the state's first since October 2010. Filings rose nearly 4 percent year over year and 1.3 percent month to month.
Other states that saw annual increases in foreclosure activity included Vermont (100 percent), New Hampshire (45 percent), Maine (29 percent), Rhode Island (20 percent), Delaware (16 percent), Louisiana (nearly 12 percent), Massachusetts (11 percent), South Carolina (4 percent), and Wisconsin (4 percent).
California accounted for nine of the 10 metropolitan areas with a population of 200,000 or more with the highest foreclosure activity rates. Stockton, Calif., had the highest foreclosure rate in November with 1 in 120 units receiving a foreclosure filing. The only non-California metro among the top 10 was Las Vegas, which had held the No. 1 spot for 22 months before October.
All nine California cities posted double-digit monthly increases in scheduled foreclosure auctions in November, including a 65 percent jump in Stockton and a 100 percent jump in Fresno.
Metro area
Foreclosure rate (November 2011)
Stockton, Calif.
1 in 120 housing units
Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.
1 in 125
Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.
1 in 136
Bakersfield, Calif.
1 in 139
Modesto, Calif.
1 in 139
Las Vegas
1 in 150
Sacramento, Calif.
1 in 158
Fresno, Calif.
1 in 165
Merced, Calif.
1 in 182
Visalia-Porterville, Calif.
1 in 183
Source: RealtyTrac

Friday, December 16, 2011

Southern California Home Sales Rise

SoCal home sales rise on declining prices
Southern California home sales, prices suffer in April
December SoCal home sales down 12.5% from year ago: DataQuick
Southern California home sales dip, but prices inch up
Portland home sales and prices slide as foreclosures drag market down
Miami home sales down 4.2% despite condo surge: DataQuick
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011, 12:04 pm
The number of homes sold in Southern California rose modestly last month from both October and a year earlier as investors and first-time buyers targeted homes priced below $400,000.
Prices, however, slipped in most areas, except in San Bernardino, Calif., where the median price rose 2.3% and nearby Riverside, where prices remained stable, according to San Diego real estate information firm DataQuick.
A total of 16,884 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties in November, up 0.3% from October and up 4.2% from November 2010.
More often than not, sales have dropped between October and November and have fallen, on average, 8.4% between those two months since 1988, when DataQuick's statistics begin. Still, last month’s sales were 22.7% lower than the November average of 21,832 transactions since the record-keeping began.
November existing-home/condo sales rose 5.8% from a year earlier, while new home sales fell 15.2% to the lowest level on record for a November.
"Tis still the season to go bargain hunting — or at least that’s what the November home sales data suggest. The portion of homes sold to investors continued to hover near an all-time high,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.
Distressed property sales accounted for 51.3% of the Southland resale market last month, down from 52.3% in October and down from 53.4% a year earlier.
Short sales, where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property, made up just shy of 20% of Southland resales in November.
Lower conforming loan limits that took effect Oct. 1 continued to impact the housing market. Lawmakers recently restored the higher limits, which vary by county, for FHA loans but not for mortgages guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
In Los Angeles and Orange counties, where the conforming loan limit was lowered from $729,750 to $625,500, the number of homes sold with purchase loans in that range totaled 58 in November, down 44.2% from October and down 84.1% from a year earlier.
The chart below (click to expand) shows homes sales and median prices changes in the Southern California markets tracked by DataQuick.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Should I take my home off the Market During The Holidays?

Should I Take My Home Off the Market During the Holidays?
When you look at your calendar you may find the months already overloaded with seasonal obligations -- shopping, entertaining, children's pageants, charity work, decorating the house, and so much more. If you are also trying to sell your home, you are under extra pressure to keep your home in "showtime" condition. And that could be the last thing you need before the holiday spirit is broken.
It is understandable why you would be tempted to take your home off the market during the holidays. And the list of justifications is long. If you are too busy, buyers may be also, and you may find your efforts unrewarded with not enough showings. And what if you do get an offer? You may be faced with the possibility of packing and moving during the busiest time of the year. Besides, you can give your house a rest, and it will have better momentum after the holidays. Better to just pack it in and start fresh in January, right?
But wait! Most top Realtors agree that taking your home off the market during the Christmas season is a mistake. The house surely isn't going to sell off the market! What is the advantage of that? So you're busy. Let your Realtor do the work. You can leave in the morning, go to work, go shopping, and let your Realtor take care of things.
The holidays are a wonderful selling period. Why? Because most people take off work sometime during the season. The husband and wife are both off and want to see houses. Most agents like the holidays because the buyers have more time, and they can look at homes together.
Before you take your home off the market, consider the following points:
Although buyer activity may appear to slow down, the buyers who are actively looking during the holidays are that much more serious. Agents believe the home market is no more affected at Christmas than during other "busy" periods. If that were so, the market would shut down throughout the year as families concentrate on spring weddings, June graduations, summer vacations, and autumn back-to-school activities.
Many buyers deliberately choose to shop for a home after the busy spring and summer rush. They know that it will be easier to look, and that negotiations will be less stressful. They may not have children, or they may have grown children, so moving to accommodate the school year isn't a consideration. Finding the right home at the right price, however, is.
Relocating families often don't have a choice when they can leave for their new destination. Although 68% of transferring families have children, many families have to transfer during the middle of the school year. These families are that much more motivated to get their families settled in before either the January semester begins, or to arrange for the move during spring break in March. If you sign a contract by New Year's Eve, the timing couldn't be more perfect.
At Christmas time, our culture focuses on family and the home. Preparing for the indoor activities of winter is one of the most enjoyable periods of family life. Allowing buyers to view your home during this most hospitable of seasons lets them better picture their own family life in the attractive environment you have created.
When is your home ever more beautiful and inviting? You have cleaned and decorated, and your home looks like a picture postcard. If the results are good enough for family and friends, they will surely be good enough to impress your buyers. Get the family team on board to do a five-minute blitz pick-up every morning to keep holiday messes to a minimum.
With many motivated buyers in the marketplace, you may find you have more showings than you would if you sold your home during a busier time of the year.
If you do get a contract, you can arrange the terms to suit your needs. If moving during the holidays isn't an option, you can put in the closing date of your choice. Most people can close 30 to 60 days after a contract is written, so there is plenty of time. Possession and closings are very negotiable. Written by Realty Times Staff
Wondering What Your Home Is Worth? -- Let me show you.
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Rick Sayers E-mail: rick@ricksayers.comWeb: http://www.ricksayers.com866-725-0589
Windermere Real Estate Coachella Valley760-574-6598Palm Springs, CA. 92262License # 01377021

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Price of a 'No-Cost Loan'

HOME buyers concerned about high closing costs in this tight economy might be tempted by a type of loan that requires no cash outlay in exchange for paying a higher interest rate, especially because rates are already at historically low levels.
But these “zero-cost” or “no-cost” financing deals, as they’re known, could end up costing a borrower dearly over time, some mortgage experts warn.
“I’ve always seen them as a marketing ploy,” said Charles S. Light, a branch manager of Odyssey Funding. “If you’re going to be in the loan more than five years, it usually does not make sense.”
Unlike some similar loans, which don’t require an out-of-pocket outlay but tack on the thousands of dollars in closing costs to the balance, zero- and no-cost loans typically add a half percentage point or so to the rate while not increasing the mortgage balance.
The third-party fees — for the appraisal, credit report, title insurance, recording, and, if you use one, mortgage broker — are paid by the lender. The fees, including how much the broker is making on the loan, are disclosed on the closing statement.
But if you bypass a broker and go straight to the lender there is less transparency, because the loan officer doesn’t have to disclose how much the lender is making off the loan.
The math on no-cost loans, which can be used for both purchases and refinancing, and which come in fixed and adjustable rates lasting 3 to 30 years, is simple.
Say you opt for a $300,000 no-cost, fixed-rate loan at 5 percent for 30 years, instead of coughing up $6,000 in closing costs and paying 4.5 percent interest. If that’s your choice, you will have monthly payments of $1,610.
By paying the closing costs up front for the 4.5 percent rate, you recover those costs at 66 months, according to Mr. Light. But you also have a monthly payment of $1,520 — $90 lower than the no-cost option. That adds up to a savings of $32,547 in interest over the life of the loan.
No- or zero-cost loans can seem appealing to residents of New York, who face a mortgage tax of 1.8 percent (around 0.8 percent if they live in the state but outside the city), as well as fees for a bank-hired lawyer.
“People are so tight on cash, it allows people to save out of pocket,” said Thomas Martin, the president of America’s Watchdog, a consumer advocacy group based in Washington.
But Mr. Martin added that buyers should plug in the numbers on an amortization calculator (one is available at and compare them with those for a conventional loan. If you plan to refinance a no-cost loan within several years — an option that might make financial sense for some people — make sure you have no prepayment penalty, he added.
Zero-cost loans emerged in the early 1990s and blossomed during the mortgage boom, when they were sold by big banks and lenders alongside no-documentation loans and other subprime products, mainly to lower-income consumers who lacked cash.
TODAY, Mr. Martin said, tighter lending and disclosure requirements make the no-cost option “a totally different animal than five years ago,” with lenders now much stricter about verifying income levels.
Still, some big banks, including Bank of America, no longer make them available.
“We’re focused on offering products that offer complete transparency to the customer,” said Terry Francisco, a spokesman for Bank of America.
Loan-volume numbers are difficult to come by, though other banks, including Wells Fargo, still offer the loans. The Wells Fargo one, called Closing CostSaver, typically runs a half to five-eighths of a percentage point higher than conventional loans and comes in 10- to 30-year terms.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Palm Springs Calif.Real Estate update 4/1

Californians have a brief window of opportunity to receive up to $18,000 in combined federal and state homebuyer tax credits. To take advantage of both tax credits, a first-time homebuyer must enter into a purchase contract for a principal residence before May 1, 2010, and close escrow between May 1, 2010 and June 30, 2010, inclusive. Buyers who are not first-time homebuyers may use the same timeframes to receive up to $16,500 in combined tax credits if they are long-time residents of their existing homes as permitted under federal law, and they purchase properties that have never been previously occupied as provided under California law.
Under the federal law slated to soon expire, a first-time homebuyer may receive up to $8,000 in tax credits, and a long-time resident may receive up to $6,500, for certain purchase contracts entered into by April 30, 2010 that close escrow by June 30, 2010. Additionally, under a newly enacted California law, a homebuyer may receive up to $10,000 in tax credits as a first-time homebuyer or buyer of a property that has never been occupied. The new California law applies to certain purchases that close escrow on or after May 1, 2010 (see Cal. Rev. & Tax Code section 17059.1(a)(4)). California law generally allows buyers of never-occupied properties to reserve their credits before closing escrow, but buyers seeking to combine the federal and state tax credits will not be able to satisfy the timing requirements for such reservations (see Cal. Rev. & Tax Code section 17059.1(c)(1)(A)). Other terms and restrictions apply to both tax credits.
For more information, C.A.R. offers a Homebuyer Tax Credit Chart with a side-by-side summary of the federal and California laws. C.A.R. also offers a legal article entitled Homebuyer Tax Credit Update.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Palm Springs Calif.Real Estate update 3/8

Nab a real estate deal - while you still can By Beth Braverman, staff reporterMarch 2, 2010: 10:30 AM ET
(Money Magazine) -- If you've been holding off on a real estate purchase, glimmers of a turnaround in the housing market may have you wondering if it's finally time to make your move.
While home prices remain low, they're no longer free-falling in most markets. Mortgages are historically cheap. And the sweet tax credit that was offered to new buyers last year has been extended to April 30 and expanded to include current homeowners too.

But for all the motivation to act quickly, buying right now is not a no-brainer. In some areas home prices may fall further. If you own a house now, it may take longer than you expect to sell it, and you may walk away with less cash than you thought.
"It's a good time to buy, but it's still a really difficult market," says Patrick Newport of IHS Global Insight. As the clock ticks toward the tax-credit deadline, answer these questions to decide whether it's time to get off the sidelines.
Can you really nab that tax credit?
Current homeowners who sign a contract to buy a home on or before April 30 get a dollar-for-dollar reduction on their taxes of 10% of the purchase price of the home, up to a maximum of $6,500 (first-time buyers can get up to $8,000).
But according to the National Association of Realtors, buyers spend about 12 weeks home shopping before making an offer, so if you haven't already started looking, you may be pressed to meet the deadline.
Plus, to qualify for the full credit, your household income must be under $225,000 if you're married and less than $125,000 if you're single; repeat buyers must have lived in the home they are selling for five of the past eight years. The good news: Once you've signed the contract, you have until June 30 to close the deal.
How much could you lose by waiting?
Besides the loss of the tax credit, the biggest game-changer facing buyers is a potential jump in mortgage rates. If the Fed moves ahead with its plan to stop buying mortgage-backed securities at the end of March, the rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is expected to increase nearly a percentage point from today's 5.18% to 6.1% by the end of 2010, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. On a $300,000 fixed-rate mortgage, that's an extra $174 per month.
But if home values are falling in your area, you don't have much to lose by waiting. If the house you want costs $375,000 today and you put down 20%, you'd pay $1,644 a month for a fixed-rate mortgage at 5.18%. Buy that same home for 5% less later on with rates at 6% and you'd only pay an extra $65 a month. If prices plunge 10% or more this year (as they are expected to in 12% of markets, according to Fiserv), you'll come out even or ahead.
To get a handle on the direction of your market, check to see whether inventory levels are increasing, and visit to find out whether foreclosure filings are still rising. A glut of properties and bank-owned homes means a recovery may not be in sight.
How quickly can you sell the home you now own?
Even in markets that are recovering, sellers must price aggressively to make a fast deal.
"Everybody thinks their house is worth more than it is," says Dallas realtor Bruce Lynn. Before you sign a contract for a new place, ask a few agents to give you a realistic figure that will generate a quick sale. Can't bear to part with your home at that price? Waiting may be your only option.
Also keep in mind that, with the credit crunch not far in the past, lenders may not approve your purchase until you've sold your home. A delay in sale could also stick you with two mortgages, far outstripping any savings from the tax credit.
See if the sellers will let you put a contingency in the contract that negates the sale if you don't find a buyer -- it's a long shot but worth a try. If they won't, propose adding a kick-out clause that allows the sellers to keep their home on the market, but lets you either pull out or quickly move ahead with the deal if they get another offer.
While extra contract negotiations may be a hassle, the past few years have proved that a purchase decision shouldn't be taken lightly. "This may be the best time in history to buy a home," says Denver realtor Jeff Fogler, "but only if you can really afford it." Are you underwater on your mortgage? Money Magazine can help. Send your name, age, hometown and photo to and you could be profiled in an upcoming story.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Palm Springs Calif.Real Estate update 1/11

January 28, 2010

Fannie Mae Announces 3.5 Percent Seller Assistance on HomePath® Properties

Incentive Part of Ongoing Effort to Stabilize Neighborhoods

WASHINGTON, DC — Fannie Mae (FNM/NYSE) announced today that people purchasing a Fannie Mae-owned HomePath® property will receive up to 3.5 percent of the final sales price to be used toward closing cost assistance or their choice of appliances. The offer is available to any owner-occupant who closes on the purchase of a property listed on before May 1, 2010.

"Attracting qualified buyers to the market and reducing the inventory of vacant homes is critical to stabilizing neighborhoods and helping the market recover. Many families are taking advantage of the federal homebuyer tax credit to buy a new home so this is a great time for Fannie Mae to offer some additional help," said Terry Edwards, Executive Vice President of Credit Portfolio Management. "Homebuyers have the option to choose between financial assistance toward closing costs or new appliances for their home."

Properties eligible for this incentive are listed on and most listings include detailed property descriptions, photographs, community and school information and more. In addition, many Fannie Mae-owned properties are eligible for special HomePath Mortgage and HomePath Renovation Mortgage financing which offers homebuyers an opportunity to purchase with as little as 3 percent down.

Fannie Mae exists to expand affordable housing and bring global capital to local communities in order to serve the U.S. housing market. Fannie Mae has a federal charter and operates in America's secondary mortgage market to enhance the liquidity of the mortgage market by providing funds to mortgage bankers and other lenders so that they may lend to home buyers. Our job is to help those who house America.

Fannie Mae Resource Center Telephone 1-800-7FANNIE