Friday, August 19, 2011

Trends Continue:

Well, when last we spoke, things were up & down on the financial markets, but there were some improvements locally on housing. Interest rates had also plummeted to new all time lows. Well, this week, it's been more of the same. After a good start to the week on the stock markets, things have slid again, concern over European markets being the main source of concern. Meanwhile, interest rates have dropped even further to new 'all time' lows. Rates for 30 year fixed loans are at 4.15%, and for those of your wanting 'freedom' even sooner, 15 year fixed loans are priced at 3.35%. This is good for buyers, which obviously means that sellers will be close behind in receiving the benefits of such pricing.

Locally, sales for the month of July were marginally lower than a year ago, both in terms of prices received and numbers sold. However, most analysts feel that is a monthly blip and should reverse next month. Basically, we are entering our usual early autumn (yes, it's a few weeks early) mini-boom for selling. Buyers are hot, have cash in hand and are seriously looking. If you're a seller, move quickly! If a buyer, what more do you need than these rates?

Call us for assistance: Peter: (415) 279-6466 or Jane: (415) 531-4091.

Friday, August 12, 2011

So, after a week and change of absolute hysteria, where exactly are we? The stock market(s) have gyrated like someone on a bad acid trip, driven in large part by the machinations in Washington over debt, followed quickly by the S & P credit downgrade (interesting no other rating agency felt the need to do so), and then a benchmark reduction in unemployment claims and a solid increase in retail sales. Sounds kind of confusing when you pause to think about it. The one benefit from the market plunge was a further reduction in mortgage rates. If you recall, when this last happened a week ago, I'd noted that investors fleeing to Treasury securities drove their values up, in turn forcing yields way, way down, which, in turn, caused mortgage rates to drop like a stone. They're still pretty much down there, so if you're a buyer, you still have a great opportunity to score a great deal!
As I also said a week ago, this rate drop can also help out sellers as it increases the number of them on the market, and competition for homes can have a positive effect on prices. Now, there's an additional positive note or notes. This week, both the initial week's jobless claims came out and so did the latest retail sales info. The former only dropped by 7,000 new claims, BUT it got the claims down under the benchmark 400,000 level for the first time in four months! This indicates more folks are working, and if people are actually working, then they are more likely to start to think about buying a home. Also, if retail sales rates increase, and this is the fourth consecutive positive report of this important statistic, it usually means that there will be more hiring. More hiring, as noted just above, means more people who can and will think about buying a house. So, the word from here is to get off the couch and get your home ready to sell. if the trends continue, you'll be very happy you did!

Friday, August 05, 2011

Well, with the stock market and general economy going the way they have this week, it is still very interesting to see what benefits may yet exist for home buyers and sellers. When the Dow Jones indicator dropped over 500 points on Thursday, its worst single day in over three years, everybody thought that it was the latest end of the world scenario. Well, N O T S O F A S T! Aside form the fact that there will be, likely sooner rather than later, a market recovery (only question is how soon), there was an immediate positive result for home buyers (and as a result for sellers too!). Mortgage rates dropped--make that PLUMMETED! They hit all time record levels. Why, you ask. It's actually very simple. When securities markets sink like the proverbial rock in the ocean, investors exit the market en masse seeking a safer harbor for their money. Even with the recently band-aided debt crisis/debt limit settlement in Washington, that safe haven is US Treasuries, which, just happen to be the main rate base foundation for most mortgage rates. With all of these investors diving into Treasuries, that pushes the prices of said securities up. When a debt security rises in value, its yield drops, in this case faster than aforementioned rock. The rates yesterday for 30 year fixed rate loans dropped to 4.39%, down from the prior week's 4.55%. If that isn't enough to get you running out and buying a home, then try this on for size: 15 year fixed loans hit an all-time low rate of 3.50%. Now, it's obvious what this does to help buyers out. However, with all these newly excited buyers running around, don't you think that it will help you buyers as well? If your home is ready to go, priced reasonably and on the market, you have a much better chance of not only selling, but receiving your requested price--because buyers can better afford it now! Don't wait! Buyer or seller--this is NOT the time to sit by. Get in on this opportunity!