Saturday, January 29, 2011

Not much new this week other than the usual news articles trying to relate to all of us which way the economy, housing and interest rates are going --or going to be going. Case-Shiller noted that prices in a majority of its 20 reporting areas are dropping again. Sounds bad, BUT the San Francisco area is one of the minority of cities in the report that showed an increase! Good news for us here in Marin! The key in housing is always going to include the job situation. While this recession "recovery" is still lagging in jobs, Marin County has a jobless rate far below that of the country at large or California. Nationally, the rate hovers above 9% and California's is a worse 12% and change. Ouch! But, here in Marin, the rate is at 8.2%--not something to brag about, but still evidence that, at least to this point, things here are starting to look better.
We are starting to here from corporations regarding their needs for relocation assistance for transferring employees as well. Again, a signal that things are looking up somewhat.
Rates: While climbing a little this week, they are still under 5% for conforming 30 year fixed rate mortgages: 4.82%. Up from a week ago, but still an excellent reason to be house hunting!

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's Up; It's Down; It's Sideways; It's....Whatever You Make of It!

The headline says it all, and yet leaves a hidden message for anyone prepared to read between the lines. The housing market is finally improving in terms of numbers sold and prices. But then, just as you begin to get excited, it takes a drop! So what's really going on? Well, in the opinion of this observer, the fact that we are having a few weeks of up followed by one or two of down is actually a good sign. It shows that there is some pent up demand for housing, and that folks are starting to act ion their desires--but with varying degrees of caution! Rates are remaining low, even with the occasional jump of a basis point or two in rates, and are still under 5% for fixed conventional 30 year loans. This helps sales. Jobs seem to be getting a hold finally, however slowly, and the stock market is climbing. Is this a major breakout? Well, that's probably unlikely for at least the first 6-9 months of this year. But there are definitely signs in the air that maybe, just maybe we've turned a very important corner.

See you next week!

Friday, January 14, 2011


Well, here we are already two weeks into the second decade of the new millennium and things are happening in the housing market--positive things! Mortgage rates took their second consecutive weekly drop. After they ha descended well into the 4's for thirty year fixed money, they began inching up in December of 2010, leading many folks to get nervous that the party had ended. But, as we predicted, while rates will rise at some point, for now they remain under 5% for conforming fixed rate loans.

What does that mean for you? Well, if you're a buyer, it obviously means you should still be out looking for a house to buy. Combined with the recent lower prices of homes the past couple of years, these rates mean you can possibly get a fabulous deal on that home you've always wanted, but not been able to comfortable afford.

For sellers, this is a good time to put your property on the market, as buyers are out there, fueled in part by the low rates, with money in hand looking for a place to buy. While I'm at it, although some prices are still declining, the pace has slowed, and, even better, there have been some signs of a bottoming and turnaround in values over the past few months. It's very case-by-case, but it is a sign! Things are looking up!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

As we begin a new year (and decade), a few comments about the status of the market are in order.
BUT FIRST: We want to wish you and yours the happiest and most prosperous of New Years!

Now, the market: As 2010 ended, we were still seeing mixed,but hopeful signs of the market and potential recovery. Although there were recent negative reports on the housing market, the monthly Case Shiller being one, there has still been a continuing trail of positive items on the market. Most recently, just at the end of the year, the latest weekly unemployment numbers were release, and they show the lowest number of new claims filings in about two years! Remember, if folks are working, they're much more likely to be home buyers than if they aren't.
Additionally, after about six weeks of very small incremental rises in mortgage rates, the last week shown (a week ago) had a slight drop in mortgage rates. While it is generally agreed that rates "have" to rise at some future point, all signs point to a continuing low mortgage rate level for most of the foreseeable time in 2011. The Fed, in the person of its chairman, Ben Bernanke, have made it explicitly clear that they have no rate increase plans for the foreseeable future so as to not upset the delicate pace of recovery in the economy.

What does all of this mean for you? If you're a buyer, it definitely means get out and start looking for a home to buy! With rates under 5% for 30 year fixed rate money, you're crazy not to! If you're a seller, anything that is a plus for buyers, is also a plus for you, as you'll likely have buyers hot to look at your home, and, if it suits their needs, make you an offer. Also, sellers should be aware that the best time to get their homes out on the market for the large numbers of buyers who are there, cash in hand, is the very early "spring" (a figure of speech). By "spring", I'm not referring to April or May. I'm talking mid-January. True your flowers aren't in bloom, but you'll have far less competition from other homes at this time, and the small army of buyers are there looking to buy. Thus, you have a great chance of getting a good offer for your property!
Why so many buyers so early in the year? Simple! Many are relocation buyers, whose firms have transferred them or just hired them. Why now, particularly on the new hires? They only left for new companies after getting year end bonuses at their old firms. Now, bonus in pocket, they're newly hired and hot to buy! Take advantage--don't wait for them!