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!


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