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Jeero Habeshian The Glencrest Team's Blog

By Jeero Habeshian | Managing Broker in La Crescenta, CA
  • Signs of Life from the Real Estate Market?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in La Crescenta  |  March 22, 2009 1:03 PM  |  389 views  |  No comments

    What do we make of the resent mixed optimism of the real estate housing market? During the last two years, you could not blink without seeing a media blitz of bad news about the housing market. Not so this month! For the first time in a while, both the media and some consumers are being cautiously optimistic...cautiously!

    Yes, there are huge challenges with the economy, and the recovery will take a while, but how can we be anything but optimistic? Should we put our heads in the hole and wait? Those who do, will miss likely the greatest opportunity of our lifetime to buy real estate. When real estate values were going up faster than we can measure, buyers were lined up overpaying for properties. Now, when deals are available and we have historic low interest rates, some buyers are still on the fence. My message to those buyers is simple: It is impossible to time the bottom! We will not know when bottom was until the market has turned the corner. When that happens, you will compete with more buyers, pay more for homes, and likely pay higher interest rates.

    Am I an optimist? Bet your farm on that! There is no fun, joy, or opportunity in pessimism!

    Read the article in Business Week that has some good information and data about cautious optimism. Click this link: Business Week: Signs of Life From the Real Estate Market

  • A Bottom To Housing Market Within Sight?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in La Crescenta  |  March 12, 2009 12:13 PM  |  347 views  |  No comments

    U.S. housing market bottom within sight, Reuters


    Following is a summary of a resent Reuters article regarding the housing market bottom being in sight.

    Although some housing markets across the nation have experienced price declines of 50 percent or more from their peaks, namely in high-cost states such as Florida and California, it appears a bottom is in sight.  According to a report from Moody’s Economy.com, the bottom, in terms of home prices, will likely take place in the fourth quarter.

    The report states that nearly 62 percent of the nation’s 381 metropolitan areas will have experienced double-digit-percent declines in home prices, peak-to-trough, before bottoming out.

     

    Housing inventories are falling, sales are rising, and home prices are becoming better aligned with incomes, which will help lead to a housing correction.  Although lawmakers are working on plans to help stabilize the market, the report forecasts that even with further government intervention, the recession will keep the housing market from fully recovering until the end of the year.

     

    According to the report, home sales will have declined by 40 percent and housing starts by 70 percent nationwide from peak to trough.  However, California’s home sales tell a different story.  C.A.R. economists project sales for 2009 to increase 12.5 percent to 445,000 units, compared with 395,600 units (projected) in 2008.
  • FANNIE, FREDDIE ANNOUNCE MAKING HOME AFFORDABLE INITIATIVES

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in California  |  March 5, 2009 12:42 PM  |  437 views  |  No comments
    Fannie Mae yesterday began making two new initiatives, Home Affordable Refinance and Home Affordable Modification, available to its servicers and borrowers as part of the Obama Administration's Making Home Affordable program.

    The two initiatives are designed to significantly expand the numbers of borrowers who can refinance or modify their mortgages to a payment that is affordable now and into the future. Details are available at http://www.fanniemae.com/newsreleases/2009/4631.jhtml;jsessionid=1AI52Q21C4Z03J2FQSISFGA?p=Media&s=News+Releases.

    Freddie Mac also announced two new mortgage initiatives, tied to the Making Home Affordable plan, designed to help families with Freddie Mac-owned mortgages who are delinquent, at-risk of default, or struggling to refinance because of declining property values.

    The new initiatives include Freddie Mac's Relief RefinanceSM Mortgage and the implementation of the Obama Administration's new Home Affordable Modification program. Details are available at www.freddiemac.com/news/archives/servicing/2009/20090304_relief-refi-mtge.html.
  • Obama Administration Announces Guidelines of Homeowner Affordability and Stability plan

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in California  |  March 4, 2009 7:07 PM  |  464 views  |  No comments

    This just in from the California Association of REALTORS!
     
    The Obama Administration today announced new U.S. Dept. of the Treasury guidelines to enable servicers to begin modifications of eligible mortgages under the Administration's Homeowner Affordability and Stability plan. The Making Home Affordable program details announced today will offer assistance to as many as 9 million homeowners. The guidelines will implement financial incentives for mortgage lenders to modify existing first mortgages and set standard industry practice for modifications.

    The Treasury Dept. also announced that the Making Home Affordable program will include additional incentives for efforts made to extinguish second liens on loans modified under this program. Extinguishing second liens will make mortgages more affordable, improve loan performance, and help prevent foreclosures.

    In conjunction with the release of the new guidelines, the Treasury Dept., the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and others have prepared a consumer-friendly Q&A and eligibility assessment tools for borrowers available at www.FinancialStability.gov.

    More details, including a fact sheet, are available at the following links:

    Making Home Affordable Refinance and Modification Options: http://www.financialstability.gov/makinghomeaffordable/index.html;

    Summary of guidelines: www.treas.gov/press/releases/reports/guidelines_summary.pdf;

    Modification program guidelines: www.treas.gov/press/releases/reports/modification_program_guidelines.pdf;

    Fact sheet: www.treas.gov/press/releases/reports/housing_fact_sheet.pdf.

  • Great Time To Buy In California?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in California  |  March 3, 2009 7:23 PM  |  438 views  |  4 comments

    The recent decline in home prices and low interest rates were the primary factors that influenced first-time buyers in their home purchase decision. According to the results of the Survey of California Home Buyer 2008, 77 percent of first-time buyers (as compared to 64 percent of repeat buyers) said that lower home prices played a role in their decision to purchase a home. Forty-three percent of first-time buyers decided to buy their home because low interest rates helped them move to a better location and 23 percent decided to buy because they believed interest rates will likely move up.

    California statewide housing affordability improved dramatically over the past year as a result of the downward movement in home prices. According to C.A.R.’s First-Time Buyer Housing Affordability Index, 59 percent of households in California could afford to buy an entry-level home in the fourth quarter of 2008, a significant increase from 33 percent for the same period a year earlier. The First-Time Buyer Housing Affordability Index also rose 6 percentage points in the fourth quarter of 2008 compared with the third quarter of 2008, due to a 14.1 percent decrease in the entry-level median home price. The upward trend in housing affordability will likely continue into the first half of 2009, as the home price level is not expected to stabilize until the second quarter of this year.

    I urge buyers to find a reputable REALTOR, work with them to get a dependable lender then get pre-approved, and buy!

  • CNN Money Report: How Stimulus Can Help Your Wallet

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in California  |  February 13, 2009 10:43 AM  |  521 views  |  No comments

    Last week the House of Representatives passed its version of the stimulus package; on Tuesday, the Senate passed its version.  Yesterday, the two groups announced they have reached a compromise and are expected to vote on the package this week.  President Obama has urged lawmakers to present him with the bill prior to President’s Day, which is Monday, Feb. 16.


    It is likely that the final stimulus bill will closely resemble that of the Senate’s approved version, due to the number of votes needed.  The Senate version garnered three Republican votes, while the House’s version did not receive support from any Republicans.  If the package is too different than that of the Senate’s, the bill may not be passed.

     

    Some of the provisions under consideration are a $500 credit per worker and a $1,000 credit per dual-earner couple to be paid to people making $70,000 or less; a one-year provision to protect middle- and upper-middle-income families from having to pay the Alternative Minimum Tax; a temporary tax credit to allow those who buy a car in 2009 to deduct the interest they pay on their car loan as well as the sales tax charged in the purchase; a $2,500 credit for higher education expenses; as well as health care, unemployment, and needy family provisions.

     

    Another provision under consideration is a temporary $15,000 tax credit for home buyers.  This would double the size of the existing temporary home-buyer credit, eliminate the first-time home buyer restriction, and remove the requirement that the credit be paid back.  The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) and the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) are lobbying for this provision’s inclusion in the final bill.


    The House version of the stimulus package also contained a provision to increase
    the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA loan limits in every county in the state to 2008 levels.  C.A.R. has long advocated for higher conforming loan limits, and believes this stimulus package is a step in the right direction for California’s homeowners.  If approved, the conforming loan limits in high-cost areas would be increased from $625,500 to $729,750, enabling more home buyers to purchase at favorable interest rates.

  • Yes, It's A Great Time To Buy Real Estate!

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in La Crescenta  |  November 19, 2008 10:41 AM  |  527 views  |  1 comment

    It's an intriguing phenomenon, but we seem to gravitate to bad news. So there is no need to wonder why the media news coverage is the way it is; they are simply giving us what we want! So, with the psychology lesson done, here is my point: It's always a good time to buy real estate, but now is a great time to buy real estate! Why? Because the world is the same size today as it was when God first created it!

    My father always told us," there is a finite amount of land and real property will always be valuable ." It's his limited book education and life experience definition of Supply and Demand. In 1997, I bought a property for $135,000 in the area I serve. The property steadily increased in value, and in 2005 appraised for $680,000. It will sell today for around $525,000. Yes, prices are down, but not down to $135,000. Even in this serious market downtrun, it is still worth almost four times what I paid for it. In contrast, let's look at stock values for some familiar companies in November 1997 and today. GM stock closed for around $60.00 per share then and is at about $2.60 today. GE $69.56 then, $16.06 today. B of A $60.25 then, $15.19 today. These are just three examples, but very key to our economy, and the shifts in stock value are staggering. Many companies will recover, others will stop to exist, but the fact remains...real property values are far less volatile.

    If you are financially prepared, do your homework, connect with a REALTOR, and get pre-approved with a reputable lender. If you are renting, this is a true life No Brainer! With relatively low interest rates, a steady supply of inventory, more realistic sellers, and down to Earth property values, Now is a Great Time to buy!
     

 
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