Coto de Caza, CA Real Estate News

By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
Data was sparse through 2010's first trading week last week, setting the stage for a week of momentum trading. In up-and-down trading, mortgage pricing improved overall but the best rates of the week didn't last long. Rates improved Monday and Tuesday as an oversold market corrected itself to better price points.  Then, in anticipation of the December jobs report, rates worsened Wednesday and Thursday.  Friday, after the jobs report was released, pricing proceeded to carve out a huge range before settling unchanged. On average, lenders issued new rate sheets every few hours last week. It was a difficult week to shop for mortgages. Unfortunately, this week doesn't figure to be much better.  For the second straight week, the economic calendar is bare.  Traders -- like last week -- will be...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
FHA home loans are federal assistance mortgages made by lenders, and backed by the government. The FHA doesn't make loans to homeowners by federally-qualified lenders. By all accounts, FHA home loans are surging in popularity. 2006, FHA insured 3.3% of all mortgages made Q2 2009, FHA insured 19.2% of all mortgages made A major reason for the increase can be tied to guidelines. As compared to its conforming mortgage cousins Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, FHA home loans have lower downpayment requirements and looser credit standards. The FHA allows downpayments of 3.5 percent and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not, as an example. Another reason is that FHA home loans aren't subject to credit score fees the way that conforming mortgages are. Through Fannie or Freddie, a home buyer with a 650 F...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
Both mortgage rates and home affordability took a turn for the better Wednesday after the Federal Reserve released its December 15-16, 2009 meeting minutes. The Fed Minutes is a follow-up piece to the post-FOMC meeting press release. But whereas the press release is succinct and to-the-point, the minutes are lengthy and often meandering. As a comparison, December's press release contained 535 words. December's minutes had 6,260. But these "extra words" aren't superfluous. They're actually very important to homeowners. Because the Federal Reserve's internal debates help to shape Wall Street expectations, it doesn't take much for those conversations to have a trickle-down effect on Main Street. For example, after the December meeting, the Fed said that economic growth is steady, inflation...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
2010 is just a few days old and already the "experts" are making predictions for the year. Housing calls and mortgage rate predictions run the gamut: Home prices will fall in 2010 Home prices will rise in 2010 Mortgage rates will rise in 2010 Mortgage rates will rise by a lot in 2010 Given how varied their outlooks, it's clear that the professionals have no better view of the future than the amateurs. An expert can make an educated guess, but it's a guess nonetheless. Last year, Wall Streeters predicted a 25% pullback in home prices. 12 months later, we know prices didn't fall.  Wall Street also predicted higher mortgage rates for 2009. That prediction was fulfilled. There's a lot of talk on CNBC and elsewhere about what's coming in 2010. Before you take those predictions to the bank, j...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
Mortgage markets were relatively flat last week during holiday-shortened trading.  After starting the week with a Monday surge higher, mortgage rates settled down thorough Tuesday and remained somewhat flat into the early-close for New Year's Eve. However, as compared to the 4-month low posted post-Thanksgiving, conforming mortgage pricing has now worsened by more than 300 basis points.  In English, that means that a December 1 mortgage rate quoted with zero points is available today at a cost of 3 points. 1 "point" is equal to 1 percent of how much you borrow. If you were shopping for homes or rates last month, you no doubt noticed that pricing zoomed higher to close out 2009. How 2010 starts is anyone's guess. This week will hold the answer. It's a week light with data, but heavy on i...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
The following is the second part of Steven Thomas’ end of year real estate market report for Orange County, California. Steven is a highly respected source of O. C. data, frequently cited in much of Southern California media, both television and newspapers.  He has been producing this twice monthly report for 5 years now, and has refined it into a concise and extremely informative synopsis of recent data, along with unusually accurate predictions of what looms on the foreseeable future.  His education, in addition to being a third generation member of an O. C. real estate family, includes a degree in Quantum Economics.    Here is the second part Steven’s year end report – What to expect, in O.C. real estate, in 2010. What can we expect in 2010? The federal government has been working ov...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
The following is a first part of Steven Thomas’ end of year real estate market report for Orange County. Steven is a highly respected source of O. C. data, frequently cited in much of Southern California media, both television and newspapers.  He has been producing this twice monthly report for 5 years now, and has refined it into a concise and extremely informative synopsis of recent data, along with unusually accurate predictions of what looms on the foreseeable future.  His education, in addition to being a third generation member of an O. C. real estate family, includes a degree in Quantum Economics.    Here is the first part Steven’s year end report – a review of 2009.   The real estate market in Orange County, California – the year 2009 in review.   First, let me clarify that fore...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
More positive signals from housing -- home values are still on the rise. According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, after posting its first quarterly increase since 2007 this past September, the Home Price Index rose by another 0.6 percent in October. Prices are up in 4 of the last six months. But before we take the stats to the proverbial bank, it's important that we recognize the Home Price Index for its shortcomings. HPI only accounts for homes with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac HPI only accounts for re-sold homes -- newly-built homes are excluded HPI aggregates national data whereas real estate markets are local phenomena On a broad scale, the Home Price Index can be useful, but it doesn't specifically apply to any specific U.S. market.  For that, analysts ten...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
It's not only the real estate markets that differ from town to town -- the Cost of Living does, too. Insurance costs, tax bills and just plain, day-to-day living will dent a household budget differently depending on where that household is.  It can be a nerve-wracking fact for families moving across state borders. As an aid for the budget-aware, Bankrate.com keeps a Cost of Living Comparison Calculator on its website.  The calculator asks 3 questions: (1) Where do you live now, (2) To where you are moving, and (3) What is your salary.  It then spits out a detailed, 58-item cost comparison list between the two cities. Some of the key costs compared include: Everyday groceries Energy bills Routine healthcare Home ownership Clothes Sporting goods The Cost of Living Comparison Calculator is...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
Mortgage markets made a 4-day losing streak last week on thin holiday volume and overall economic optimism. It was awful news for rate shoppers because mortgage rates were higher every day last week. The holiday-shortened week marked the third out of 4 during which rates worsened and last week's action happened to be especially harsh. Monday's action was the worst for rates since July, for example.  Tuesday's was only slightly less worse. Today, conforming, 30-year fixed mortgage rates have reached at a 15-week high -- well off the lows set in early-December. Normally, when mortgage markets worsen this badly, this quickly, it's because of strong economic data, or growing inflationary expectations.  Last week saw neither. Existing Home Sales showed strength, but was offset by New Home Sa...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
One day after November's Existing Home Sales report blew away estimates, the Census Bureau's related New Homes Sales report failed to impress. A "new home" is a home that is newly-constructed; not bought as a resale. In a lackluster showing, New Home Sales dropped 11 percent in November, falling to the lowest levels since April. Furthermore, the all-important "months of supply" climbed by a half-month to 7.9. The press pounced on the figures and if you only read the headlines, you'd think that housing had cratered.  Some of the angles were quite bold, even: Weak U.S. Home Sales Show Recovery's Shakiness (Reuters) New Home Sales Plunge In November (CNNMoney.com) Housing Forecast : Off Life Support, Still In Critical Care (CBS News) These headlines, although technically accurate, only tel...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
Home resales are soaring. For the 4th consecutive month, the Existing Home Sales report revealed what today's buyers and sellers already know -- there's a lot of buyer activity right now. Existing Home Sales surged 7-plus percent in November, posting its largest number of recorded sales in 33 months.  Sales volume is up 44% higher versus last year. It's another example of the housing market in recovery. There were other interesting statistics buried in the November data, too.  According to the National Association of Realtors: 51 percent of home buyers were first-timers Distressed properties accounted for one-third of all sales The median home sale price rose slightly But of all the stats from the November Existing Home Sales report, perhaps the most important one is the one showing hom...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
Home resales are soaring. For the 4th consecutive month, the Existing Home Sales report revealed what today's buyers and sellers already know -- there's a lot of buyer activity right now. Existing Home Sales surged 7-plus percent in November, posting its largest number of recorded sales in 33 months.  Sales volume is up 44% higher versus last year. It's another example of the housing market in recovery. There were other interesting statistics buried in the November data, too.  According to the National Association of Realtors: 51 percent of home buyers were first-timers Distressed properties accounted for one-third of all sales The median home sale price rose slightly But of all the stats from the November Existing Home Sales report, perhaps the most important one is the one showing hom...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
Housing Starts jumped last month as builders got back to business.  It's a telling sign for the economy, but bad news for next season's sellers. With more homes coming online, home prices may be slow to rise nationwide. A "Housing Start" is a privately-owned home on which construction has started. In November, starts rose by nearly 9 percent while remaining within the same tight range we've seen since June. More interesting that Housing Starts, though, is the accompanying data for Housing Permits. After a 5-month plateau, Housing Permits finally broke through, posting its largest number in 12 months. This, too, bodes poorly for sellers. Housing permits are precursors to housing starts so because the number of permits are higher today, we expect that the number of starts will be higher j...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
Mortgage markets improved last week as pricing followed a roller coaster-like pattern. After touching a 6-week high Tuesday, rates rallied to weekly lows Thursday, and then jumped back higher Friday. Despite the improvement last week overall, mortgage pricing remains significantly worse from the all-time lows set in late-November. Oddly, last week's most prominent mortgage-related story wasn't the most influential one. On Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee adjourned from a two-day meeting.  It voted to leave the Fed Funds Rate unchanged from its current target zone of 0.000-0.250 percent.  This wasn't news, per se -- markets expected the "no change" vote. However, in its accompanying press release, the Fed appeared more rosy in its economic outlook, citing improving labor mark...
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Are you a Home owner facing a financial hardship.   Have you been looking for help and not sure what to do.   You will have more options if you remain current on your mortgage. Well meaning friends may tell you to stop paying but if they are not in the industry, even if they are in the industry they should not be telling you to stop paying your mortgage. If your still current on your loan, but underwater you may qualify for: Loan Mod with principal reductin Alternative, your first loan, fully amortized needs to be more than 31% of your gross income.   Short Refi:  Your first loan needs to be upside down by MORE THAN 10%,  YOU NEED TO BE CURRENT, THIS NEEDS TO BE YOUR PRINCIPAL RESIDENCE.  If you have been dednied for a loan mod that may be better.  GMAC, is working with our Law Firm on ...
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   Loan Modifications  for Home Owners in Financial Hardship - Debt Settlement.   With almost one in four Home Owners in financial crisis, it is important to know that Loan Modifications are a viable option.  For some the process takes quite a while.   I just finished our Loan Modification and we started in March of 09.  (It only took 10 months)  I think part of the problem was when we started we were current, and at that time there were no options for home owners who were current.  The banks believed if you were current you really did not have that much of a hardship.   After 3 - 4 months, we figured we wouldnt get help if we were curernt and we knew we needed help.  We like many people had our income drastically reduced.  We had to attach our savings every month to pay bills.   (Not a...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
Mortgage markets worsened for a second consecutive week last week amid debt default concerns and stronger-than-expected economic data. Dollars left the bond market and mortgage rates suffered. After re-reaching an all-time low December 1, mortgage rates have since rolled back to mid-November levels. Rates are still low right now. Just not as low. And meanwhile, last week's big story -- the one that should concern mortgage applicants between now and early-2010 -- is the story of Retail Sales. Last week, a government report showed that American consumers are spending more this holiday season than was expected.  The Retail Sales data implies that consumers are feeling more confident in themselves, and in the economy overall. This is one of the last remaining pieces in the economic recovery...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
If you wonder what mortgage rates and home affordability will look like next year, today's Retail Sales data may hold your answer. Versus October, November's ex-auto sales were up by more than 1 percent. Analysts expected the increase, but not an increase of this magnitude. "Ex-auto" means that motor vehicles and parts are excluded from the data. Home values are increasing in many parts of the country and household net worths are rising, too. Therefore, we can infer from the Retail Sales report that U.S. consumers are starting to feel better about their individual finances, and about the economy overall.  To homebuyers and rate shoppers, strong Retail Sales data may foreshadow higher mortgages ahead.  This is because sales data is a by-product of consumer spending and consumer spending ...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
Since peaking in July 2009, national foreclosure activity has dropped through 4 consecutive months.  On a month-to-month basis, November's foreclosure activity fell another 8 percent.  However, national foreclosure activity continues to be dominated by a minority of states. As reported by RealtyTrac.com, more than half of November's foreclosure-related activity sourced from just 4 states: California Florida Illinois Michigan These are the same 4 states that topped October's foreclosure activity despite three of them posting month-to-month declines last month. The remaining Top 10 states in terms of total foreclosure activity include Arizona, Texas, Ohio, Georgia, Nevada and New Jersey. If you've been actively looking at REO lately, you've likely noticed that true bargains are harder to ...
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