Friday, May 20, 2011

Rates Drop Again! Where Are You?

Well, for the week just ended, the average thirty year mortgage fixed rate, the bellwether of the market, just dropped again. The drop, as in the past few weeks' drops, was not huge, but it was a drop and is now at 4.625%. This is a drop of just over five basis points (there are 100 basis points for each individual percent of interest). The number of listings coming to market is climbing and, overall, in Marin County, total sales from a year ago in the same month have again risen. However, for the county as a whole, the median price dropped a little bit. But the drop didn't show up across all towns and/or price levels in the county, just as an average. There actually were some increases in price at some value levels and/or in some locales.
I know you've heard it all before. "What does this mean for me?", you likely asking. Well, it means that if you're a buyer, you can still afford more of a home than you could have when rates were higher. Also, with prices where they, for the most part are, it will cost you less on actual purchase price. If you are selling, or thinking about it, it still means that your home is both more affordable to buyers and definitely more attractive to them, not to mention to their lender.
Questions about this or any other aspect of the market? Call us: Peter is: (415) 380-2133, and Jane can be found at: (415) 279-6466.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Two Different Situations:
Well, at the risk of sounding boring or predictable, I'm going to continue to harp on the benefits of low interest rates. All that I've said before (as recently as last week) still holds true. Lower rates benefit BOTH sellers and buyers, perhaps for differing reasons, but these rates are beneficial nevertheless! As if to emphasize the cheapness of money, the average 30 year fixed rate mortgage dropped again this past week from the prior week's 4.71% to 4.68%. Now three basis points isn't a lot, but when you apply it to a loan of $500,000 or more, these little points DO add up! Thinking of buying or selling? Get moving--before the rates do so in a direction that will leave you wishing.

The title of this week indicated two areas of discussion. The second of these is something you rarely see here--foreclosure and bankruptcy. That's because, in part, there are other blogs and web sites dealing with these. But let's be honest--these twin financial specters can and do affect people at all levels of financial standing. Even those who earn six figures and have homes valued at or above a million Dollars can find themselves in financial difficulty, often not due to something they did on their own.

It turns out that if you are facing foreclosure, a bankruptcy filing may help you more than you ever previously thought. It seems that while a first mortgage cannot be eliminated in bankruptcy if you plan to continue living in the house (it just becomes one of the debts dealt with in your bankruptcy plan), the second mortgage MAY be eliminatable if there is no remaining equity in the property after the first to support the second. The potential elimination would only occur after the successful completion of your court approved bankruptcy plan, usually over 3-5 years' time, when the second could be eliminated. During the period of the plan's coverage, it is, in essence, placed on hold, pending plan completion. If this situation fits yours, give a call to your attorney. You may find this bit of good news applies to you!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Well, for quite some time now, you've been hearing me say that as rates continue low, it's a good time for both buyers AND sellers. Well, I'm back again with the same serenade. Rates WILL climb, most likely very late this year or early next year, once the recovery has gained some major strength. The obvious questions are, how much will they rise and when. But, in the meantime, rates are STILL low. In fact, in the weekly announcement of where the 30 and 15 year rates are, thirty years dropped this week to 4.71% Fifteens also dropped, and remain under 4%.

So, what does this mean for you? If you are thinking of buying, do two things NOW! Call your Realtor and say you want to seriously start looking--there is a home out there for you; and then, as soon as you finish talking with your agent, call your mortgage broker/lender and get pre-approved. If you don't have one, ask your agent to refer you to one. You can be in a new home by the end of June!

Sellers: more and more buyers are diving into the market and seeking their next home. Why sit on the sideline and let them pass you by? Your home may very well be the one that one of these buyers is looking for--but, if it's not on the market neither you nor they will ever know--and wouldn't that be a shame.

Need advice or guidance? Call us--we'd be glad to help! Jane is at (415) 531-4091; and Peter can be found at (415) 380-2133.