Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More Good News--Sort of:
Well, time for the monthly Case-Shiller Index of home sales. This one showed the first increase on a YEAR TO YEAR basis in three years--definitely an encouraging sign. However, it was muted by two things: 1.) the numbers didn't increase as much as analysts had predicted; and 2.) a number of the twenty metropolitan areas in the survey actually showed drops from the year earlier figures. The conflicting facts show that a recovery appears under way, but that so far it is still fragile.
Locally, the area with the highest increase was the SF Bay area by far. Definitely good news here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Well, according to figures just released by the National Association of Realtors, sales of existing homes rose in March by 6.8%, reversing what had been a 3 month slide nationally. That slide is contradicted by our own local Marin market, as I have previously noted on this site, where month to month prices have been rising for a number of consecutive months now while still lagging behind their level of a year ago.

On the national figure level, 44% of the sales were due to the soon to expire home buyer tax credit, a factor that may not slow down as much in California for at least the next couple of weeks as the California buyer credit kicks in. Committing $100 million for total credits available at a max of $10,000/purchase, the California credit will last until the earlier of the exhaustion of the $100 mill, or into 2011. Most economists and officials of various Realtor boards are expecting the $100 million to be used up well in advance of the 2011 deadline. In fact, I heard just two days ago that some experts feel that it will be totally depleted as early as the middle of May, 2010.

Nevertheless, the news is still good, and the folks at the National Association of Realtors feel that even the interest in the market by buyers, even with the credit's stimulating effects, will continue to grow as the economy slowly regains its strength.

Separately, Redwood Trust here in Marin plans to go to market with an issue of mortgage backed securities totalling $222 Million. I know you're all saying, "didn't they learn the last time around?" Well, there is a different scenario this time. These are NOT Sub-prime loans or anything close to that. These are, according to Redwood, prime jumbo mortgages (read quality credit), with presumably a much lower likelihood of default than the wave of sub-Primes that tanked the economy a couple of years ago.

So, what does this mean for you? It would seem to indicate that things continue to slowly improve on the housing market. Looks like a good time to consider putting your home on the market if you'd been waiting to see an improvement in the market. The Redwood deal may signal somewhat of a broadening of the mortgage market by helping to strengthen the secondary market.

Questions? Call us. Me at (415) 380-2133; Jane at (415) 531-4091. We'd be happy to help!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Some more good news this week--home prices are continuing to rise, albeit slowly. In numbers just released yesterday, the average and median for Marin were up again. Although mortgage rates have climbed over 5% for 30 yr fixed money, they still are remarkably low, below 5.5%. With the homebuyer tax credits (fed) still available through 4-30 (close by 5-31), and the California one due to start 5-1, there are still some very good reasons to buy, or, if you already own, to sell if you've been debating that issue.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Hello, again! We're here to give you the latest around the Marin real estate market! Figures through the end of Quarter 1 (3-31-10) show continued slight improvements in the market locally. While it is true that there are neighborhoods still going down, the overall numbers show an upward trend. Not like 2005 by any means, but up nevertheless. Sales have increased over this time a year ago, and, while prices lag well below those figures, they continue to show month to month increases, which is a good direction to have. In fact, believe it or don't, there have actually been a few multiple offers--not 10 or 15 offers, more like 2 or 3, but still multiples. What we are seeing in this slow rise is that things are very much locale by locale and house by house. However, coupled with the recent stock market increases and a slow start turnaround in job markets, this may mean we're past the bottom. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 02, 2010

More Positive Signs:

Well, for the eighth consecutive month, the Case-Shiller report has shown increases in home prices. A regular report of the twenty largest metropolitan areas in the country (one of which is San Francisco, including Marin and the East Bay), the report showed that median prices for single family residences again rose over the past month. While they have a long way, and possibly at least a couple of years, to go to return to pre-financial crisis levels, the fact that homes are going for continually rising prices bodes well overall.

Coupled with this is the latest jobs report, which showed an increase of 162,000 jobs nationally in March, the news is cautiously improving. The jobs figure, for example, is the first time in three years that an increase of that size in any month has been experienced. Compare this to this time last year when over 750,000 jobs monthly were being lost, and it shows a definite positive turn.

In the local housing market, numbers of sales are increasing, and we're even seeing a few cases of multiple offers. Stay tuned....