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Real Estate Simplified with Chris

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By Chris Melingonis | Agent in La Jolla, San Diego,...
  • Sales of Existing Homes in U.S. Rise as Market Stabilizes

    Posted Under: Home Buying in San Diego, Foreclosure in San Diego, Investment Properties in San Diego  |  May 22, 2012 10:11 AM  |  174 views  |  No comments

    By Shobhana Chandra - May 22, 2012 9:06 AM PT2012-05-22T16:06:20Z

    Sales of existing U.S. homes rose in April, driven by broad-based gains in demand that signal the market is stabilizing.

    Purchases, tabulated when a contract closes, increased 3.4 percent to a 4.62 million annual rate, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed today in Washington. The median price jumped by the most in six years.

    Owner-occupied properties are taking over from all-cash deals by investors snapping up distressed houses, the agent’s group said. Employment gains, depressed prices and record-lowmortgage rates may bring more dwellings within reach of Americans, eliminating a source of weakness for the world’s largest economy just as risks from Europe’s debt crisis climb.

    “We are making incremental progress,” said Millan Mulraine, a senior U.S. strategist at TD Securities Inc. in New York, who correctly forecast the sales pace. “People are becoming more confident about job prospects and about taking on mortgages. This is all positive for the economy.”

    Stocks climbed after the report. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.5 percent to 1,322.63 at 12:04 p.m. in New York. The S&P Supercomposite Homebuilder index jumped 2.4 percent.

    The April sales pace was in line with the 4.61 million median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. Estimates of the 73 economists ranged from 4.47 million to 4.8 million. The prior month’s pace was revised to 4.47 million, from a previously reported 4.48 million. April’s total was just shy of the 4.63 million reached in January that was the highest in almost two years.

    Europe and Asia

    Elsewhere, U.K. consumer prices climbed 3 percent in April from a year earlier after a 3.5 percent gain in the 12 months ended in March, the Office for National Statistics said today inLondon. The rate is within the government’s boundaries for the first time since February 2010.

    Japan’s foreign investments and assets, meantime, grew to the second-highest level on record as companies used the stronger yen to make acquisitions abroad.

    The U.S. real estate market’s improvement has been slow to evolve. Existing-home sales climbed to 4.26 million last year from 4.19 million in 2010. Demand peaked at 7.1 million in 2005 during the housing boom. In 2008, sales totaled 4.11 million, the least since 1995. Resales may rise to a 4.6 million to 4.7 million range this year and reach as much as 4.8 million in 2013, the Realtors group projected this month.

    “We are breaking out,” Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said in a news conference today as the figures were released.“With each passing month, there is job creation. Affordability has been very high. This is a very good combination.”

    Median Price

    The median price of an existing home climbed 10 percent to $177,400 from $161,100 in April 2011, today’s report showed. It was the biggest year-to-year gain since January 2006 and reflected a seasonal mix in demand toward bigger houses and fewer distressed sales, Yun said.

    Families return to the market at this time before the start of a new school year, pushing up demand, he said. Cash transactions, distressed properties and investors accounted for a smaller share of all purchases last month, he said.

    Purchases improved in all four regions, led by a 5.1 percent gain in the Northeast.

    The number of previously owned homes on the market climbed 9.5 percent to 2.54 million. At the current sales pace, it would take 6.6 months to sell those houses compared with 6.2 months in March. April is usually the peak, or close to the peak, month for inventory for the year, Yun said.

    Single-Family Homes

    Sales of existing single-family homes increased 3 percent to an annual rate of 4.09 million, while those of multifamily properties, including condominiums and townhouses, rose 6 percent to a 530,000 pace.

    The group’s affordability index, which is based on a combination of resale prices, household income and mortgage rates, reached a record high in the first quarter, a report this month showed.

    Borrowing costs remain attractive. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to an all-time low of 3.79 percent in the week ended May 17, according to data from Freddie Macgoing back to 1971. The average 15-year rate dropped to 3.04 percent, also a record low, the McLean, Virginia-based mortgage-finance company said.

    Rising employment and incomes may provide more support for housing. The unemployment rate fell in April to a three-year low of 8.1 percent as employers added 115,000 jobs, according to Labor Department figures.

    Pulte Orders

    PulteGroup Inc. (PHM), the largest U.S. homebuilder by revenue, said orders rose 15 percent to 4,991 homes in its first quarter, and backlogs increased 12 percent to 5,798 homes.

    “It was the first quarter in several years that fundamental demand came in stronger than expected,” Richard Dugas, chief executive officer of the Bloomfield Hills, Michigan-based company, said during an April 26 conference call with analysts. “We are pleased with how the year has started off, including a continuation of better sales activity thus far in April.”

    Foreclosure filings fell to a five-year low in April as lenders sought to avoid seizing property. The number of default, auction and seizure notices sent to homeowners totaled 188,780 last month, down 14 percent from a year earlier and 5 percent from March, according to RealtyTrac Inc.
     
    To search and view available properties in San Diego County please visit my website for FREE
    www.chrisMproperties.com or click here

  • NAR: Pending real estate sales rate rises in February

    Posted Under: Home Buying in San Diego, Home Selling in San Diego, Foreclosure in San Diego  |  March 28, 2011 1:46 PM  |  303 views  |  No comments

    NAR: Pending real estate sales rate rises in February

    West sees largest monthly gain

    By Inman News, Monday, March 28, 2011.

    Inman Newsâ„¢

    The rate of pending sales for existing homes rose 2.1 percent compared to January but declined 8.2 percent compared to February 2010, according to a National Association of Realtors report released today.

    The association's Pending Home Sales Index is based on purchase contracts signed but not yet closed. The index was 90.8 in February -- a score of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity in 2001, the first year that index data was collected.

    "Pending home sales have trended up ... since bottoming out last June, even with periodic monthly declines. Contract activity is now 20 percent above the low point immediately following expiration of the homebuyer tax credit," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, in a statement.

    The Northeast was the only region to register a month-to-month index drop in February, down 10.9 percent to 65.5. The region also saw the sharpest year-over-year drop, down 18.4 percent.

    The Midwest saw the second-largest year-over-year decrease, down 15.9 percent, to 81.1. Month-to-month, the index rose 4 percent. In the South, the index fell 5.3 percent year-over-year, to 100.3, and rose 2.7 percent in the region compared to January.

    The West was the only region to see both month-to-month and year-over-year gains. The index rose 0.6 percent from February 2010, to 105.6. Compared to January, the index rose 7 percent -- more than in any other region.

     

    In an economic forecast, also released today, NAR expects new-home sales to fall 0.9 percent this year following a drop in sales to a record low in February.

    NAR expects new-home sales to hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 263,000 in the first quarter and to rise every quarter thereafter, to a rate of 319,000 for the year, below 2010's rate of 322,000.

    NAR's expectations for new-home sales have steadily dropped since an August forecast that projected a 44.8 percent rise in new-home sales in 2011.

    Last month, the association forecasted a 5.2 percent rise in new-home sales in 2011, down from a 17.7 percent increase projected in its previous forecast. The latest outlook calls for a 56.6 percent rise in such sales in 2012. Sales fell 22.6 percent and 14.4 percent in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

    NAR's forecast for existing-home sales also fell slightly, to a 7.4 percent rise this year, and 5.27 million total existing-home sales. The association also upped its forecast for 2012 slightly, to a 5.6 percent increase. Existing-home sales fell in February after three straight months of increase.

    NAR expects existing-home prices to fall 1 percent this year, to a median $171,200, and then rise 3.1 percent in 2012, to $176,500. New-home prices will remain essentially flat this year, rising 0.6 percent, to $222,300, and then jumping 3.9 percent next year, to $231,000.

    The association expects the rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages to rise to 5.3 percent this year and 6 percent next year, from 4.7 percent in 2010.

    Unemployment is projected to shrink to 9.1 percent this year and to 8.5 percent in 2012, from 9.6 percent in 2010. U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to fall to 2.6 percent this year, from 2.9 percent last year, and to rise back to 2.9 percent in 2012.

    For more information on local home sales in your area and a database of over 20,000 available properties....  please visit www.chrisMproperties.com or click here.

  • Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity for Buyers?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in San Diego, Foreclosure in San Diego, Property Q&A in San Diego  |  March 21, 2011 1:24 PM  |  357 views  |  No comments
     

    Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity for Buyers?

    from Keeping Current Matters by The KCM Crew



    Business Insider’s Money Game interviewed real estate expert Barbara Corcoran earlier this week. This is what she said about buying in this market:

    “We have a regular real estate miracle happening right now. We not only have record low prices, but we also have cheap money.”

    A second real estate icon, Donald Trump,  just a few weeks ago said:

    “This is a great time to go out and buy a house. And if you do, in 10 years you’re going to look back and say, ‘You know, I‘m glad I listened to Donald Trump’.”

    Maybe it’s time to start listening to the people who have made fortunes buying and selling real estate. They may know best!!

    To get the latest news and property statistics.. go to my Facebook Fan Page and hit the like button.  Suggest to your friends.  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Melingonis-Real-Estate/178369195513949

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  • Most Americans Say It Is a Good Time to Buy a Home

    Posted Under: Home Buying in San Diego, Home Selling in San Diego, Foreclosure in San Diego  |  January 21, 2011 10:44 AM  |  327 views  |  No comments

    Most Americans Say It Is a Good Time to Buy a Home

    from Keeping Current Matters by The KCM Crew
     


    We have been making two major points for several months. If you are selling a house, you must do it now AND if you are buying one, you must also do it now. This sounds crazy – but it is true. PRICE is the most important thing to a seller. With prices projected to fall through the first half of 2011, if you want to sell, do it now. The alternative might be to wait over a year just for prices  to recover to current values.

    The second point revolves around the fact that buyers are more concerned about COST (price AND interest rate). Fannie Mae, the National Association of Realtors, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the PMI Company are all projecting interest rates to rise this year. If you want to buy, your best time to purchase could be right now.

    We have had people question us on the second point. We truly believe it is a good time to buy however. And a new survey says that the majority of Americans agree with us. Gallup just released a poll showing that 67% of Americans think this is a good time to purchase a home. The interesting thing is that the same poll showed that more people believed that prices would decrease (27%) than increase (21%). Most people realize that this is a opportune time to purchase even if prices continue to soften.

    Even the Gallup people weighed in on the subject:

    Overall, there is good reason for most Americans to think now is a good time to buy a house. Interest rates remain near historic lows. Home prices are down sharply, providing many incredible buys. 

    Bottom Line

    There may be people advising you to use caution before buying a home right now. That is probably good advice. However, there is a difference between caution and fear. Fear could paralyze you and prevent you from making a good decision. Caution will make sure you make the right decision. And remember: if you do think it makes sense to buy your home today, 2 out of 3 people agree with you.


    If you would like more information about the market in your area of interest please call me at
     619-929-9812 or click here......

  • 2011: The Year a House Again Becomes a Home

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in San Diego, Home Buying in San Diego, Foreclosure in San Diego  |  January 4, 2011 1:29 PM  |  338 views  |  No comments
    from Keeping Current Matters by The KCM Crew



      For almost a decade now, every time we talked about real estate we immediately discussed money. We didn’t talk about the value of a home but instead about the price of the house. We didn’t worry about a roof over our heads but instead the ceiling on our interest rate. We didn’t care as much about where we raised our family as we cared about how much we increased our family’s net worth.

    That will change in 2011. The KCM Crew believes very strongly that real estate will return to what it has been for the 200+ year history of this country: a place for us and our families to live comfortably. It will also prove to be a great long term investment as it always has been.

    Our parents and our grandparents didn’t buy their homes as a short term financial investment. They bought it so they had a place of their own to come home to at the end of the day; a place to raise their family; a place they could feel safe.

    Sure they dreamed of a ‘mortgage-burning’ party. They realized it was a form of forced savings. They were taught that, if they paid their mortgage every month, they would wind up with a little retirement account decades later.

    And, they realized that wouldn’t happen if they rented.

    However, in the last decade, we somehow forgot that the financial aspect was the serendipity not the major reason to buy. We believe that 2011 will be the year that people return to the historic reasons families purchased a home. This is the year when we again remember that homeownership is a major part of the American Dream.

    What about the challenges to a housing recovery? Let’s look at them.

    The Economy

    Most reports are showing that the economy is doing better than expected. This shopping season provided additional proof of this point. As the economy recovers, so will consumer confidence. This will be great news for housing.

    Unemployment

    There is much talk about a ‘jobless recovery’. We agree that unemployment will continue to be a challenge. However, when you talk about housing, it is not the unemployment rate that is all telling. Instead, it is the change in the rate. As unemployment skyrocketed, people started to worry about their own job. Any change creates concern. Unabated concern turns to fear. Fear causes paralysis. The spike in unemployment has plateaued. People no longer have the feeling that ‘they are next’. The fear will diminish and people will start moving on with their lives. This too will be great news for housing.

    Interest Rates

    It seems the bottomless pit in which rates have been falling does have a floor after all. And it seems we have found it. Those purchasers who had been waiting for the best interest rate may have already missed it.

    Prices

    Economists are projecting that prices will not see any appreciation in 2011. Sellers who had been waiting for 2006 to return will come to the realization that waiting any longer makes little sense. They will instead decide to get on with their lives and sell this year.

    Prices probably will soften further. However, the possible savings to potential buyers will be minimized by a rise in interest rates.

    Bottom Line

    This is the year that normalcy returns to real estate. People will buy and sell based on the desire for a better life for themselves and their families. They will realize that is the true value of homeownership and they will be willing to pay for that value.

    For more information on home prices in your area, or to view over 10,000 available homes for sale in San Diego County please call me at 619-929-9812 or click here.

  • 3 Questions You Must Answer Before Buying a Home

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in San Diego, Home Buying in San Diego, Foreclosure in San Diego  |  January 4, 2011 1:09 PM  |  332 views  |  No comments

    from Keeping Current Matters by The KCM Crew



    If you are thinking about purchasing a home right now, you are surely getting a lot of advice. And most of that advice is probably negative. Why buy now with prices still falling? Don’t you realize real estate is no longer a good investment? Don’t you know that people who bought five years ago lost their shirt? We understand the concern your friends and family have. However, let’s look at whether or not now is actually the perfect time to buy a home.

    There are three questions you should ask before purchasing in today’s market:

    1. Why should I buy if house prices are still depreciating?

    We believe that in most parts of the country prices will in fact soften in 2011. Price is the major concern for anyone selling a home. When you are buying, COST should be your primary concern however. Your monthly payment (cost) is definitely impacted by the price of the home you purchase. The other major component is the interest rate. Waiting for prices to bottom out while rates are increasing can wind up costing you more over the life of the mortgage (see chart here).

    Over the last seven weeks, rates have increased over 1/2 a point going from 4.17 to 4.86. Looking at the attached chart shows this increase. Waiting for prices to bottom out seems to make perfect sense. Yet, at a time when rates are increasing, it might NOT make sense. Make sure you have a mortgage professional help you with this math before making a decision.

    In an article last week CNN Money reported:

    “You can kiss those record lows goodbye,” said Greg McBride, chief economist for Bankrate.com.

    Keith Gumbinger of HSH Associates, a provider of mortgage information said that the market reached a new plateau.

    “I don’t think we’re going back to a 50-year low anytime soon without an economic collapse,” he said. “Rates will probably never revisit those levels.”

    2. When will I begin to see appreciation if I buy now?

    This is a great question. Macro Markets, LLC is a company that studies housing prices. They started their Home Price Expectation Survey in 2010.  They ask 100+ housing industry experts to project housing prices through 2015. The most current survey shows that the experts are predicting prices to soften until 2012. The experts then project prices to rise reaching a cumulative appreciation of over 10% by 2015.

    Purchasing a home today makes great sense from a financial standpoint. Think of the old axiom: You want to buy low and sell high. We may be at the low point regarding the COST of a home. But, this decision should not only be a financial one.

    That leads us to our third and final question:

    3. Why am I buying a home in the first place?

    This truly is the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with finances. The Fannie Mae National Housing Survey shows that the four major reasons people buy a home have nothing to do with money:

    • A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
    • A place where you and your family feel safe
    • More space for you and your family
    • Control of the space

    What non-financial benefits will you and your family derive from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the reason whether you decide to purchase or not.

    Bottom Line

    The COST of a home will probably remain relatively unchanged even if prices continue to depreciate. Don’t allow money to get in the way of you making the right decision for you and your family. In the long run, the finances will work in your favor anyway.

    For more information about what home values are in your area of interest, click here.

  • Mortgage rates continue upward climb

    Posted Under: Home Buying in San Diego, Home Selling in San Diego, Financing in San Diego  |  December 3, 2010 11:21 AM  |  378 views  |  No comments

     When deciding when is the best time to buy a home, most people look only at home prices as their gauge.  One of the most important are interest rates. 

    Mortgage rates followed bond yields higher this week, as signs of economic growth made bonds less attractive to investors.

    Fixed-rate mortgages were up for the third week in a row for the week ending Dec. 2, mortgage giant Freddie Mac said, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 4.46 percent with an average 0.8 point. That's up from 4.4 percent last week but still well below the 4.71 percent registered at the same time a year ago.

    Rates on 15-year fixed-rate loans averaged 3.81 percent with an average 0.7 point, up from last 3.77 percent a week ago but down from 4.27 percent a year ago.

    Rates on 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loans averaged 3.49 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from 3.45 percent last week but down from 4.19 percent a year ago.

    The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 3.25 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from 3.23 percent last week but down from 4.25 percent a year ago.

    For more information about market trends and what is best for you, click here.

    Freddie Mac's weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey tracks prime conventional conforming mortgages with 20 percent down payments. Borrowers with damaged credit or those making smaller down payments usually pay higher rates.

     

    Fixed-rate mortgages hit all time lows in Freddie Mac's survey during the week ending Nov. 11, when the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage bottomed out at 4.17 percent and 15-year fixed-rate loans hit a record low of 3.57 percent.

    Many analysts believe that if economic growth picks up, mortgage rates have only one way to go: up. In an Oct. 26 forecast, the Mortgage Bankers Association predicted rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages will rise to an average of 5.1 percent by the fourth quarter of 2011, and climb to 5.7 percent in the second half of 2012.

    While rising mortgage rates have curtailed demand for refinancings, last week demand for purchase loans was at its highest level since May, the Mortgage Bankers Association said in a separate survey released this week.

    Demand for purchase loans was up a seasonally adjusted 1.1 percent for the week ending Nov. 26, the MBA said, noting that results were also adjusted for the Thanksgiving holiday. Looking back a year, purchase loan applications were up 2.7 percent.

    Demand for refinancings fell 21.6 percent from the previous week -- the third consecutive decrease in the refinance index. Requests to refinance accounted for 74.9 percent of all loan applications, down from 78.6 percent the week before.


    For more information about market trends including San Diego, click here.

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