Friday, September 30, 2011

The latest here as the third quarter of 2011 ends--where has the time gone?! If you can believe it, Thanksgiving is only 54 days away! A few bright spots locally and nationally this week: housing values inched up on average from their levels of a year ago. It wasn't much, but it was up! Also, rates continue to drop. I feel like Chubby Checker in his song, "Limbo Rock". "How low can you go?" Thirty year fixed rate fully amortizing loans were priced at a rate of 4.01%! Not a typo--as the Fed keeps trying to provide support to the economy, rates are sliding down. If that number isn't enough to get your juices flowing, try this one: 15 year fully amortized rates are at 3.28%. At this rate, the banks may soon be paying you to borrow from them. I can dream, can't I?
Seriously, rates like these bode well for both buyers and sellers, as I've been saying for quite some time now. It's obvious why for buyers, but sellers also benefit as more folks thinking about buying jump into the market, and that could be your house they spend this incredibly cheap money on. Why not?
So, whether you're a buyer or seller, or just need some info on what's happening in the market, give us a call. AS always, we're always ready to help.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Well, here's the latest from this corner. The news this past week was very interesting, and, as with a number of other recent weeks, had something for everyone--pro or con. Interest rates continued downward--a very good thing if you're considering buying a home. A mortgage broker friend of mine just yesterday told me he's doing 30 year fixed conventional loans at or below 3.85%. If that's not enough, the decision by the Fed a couple of days ago to sell long term Treasury securities and then use the funds received to buy up short term paper ($400 Billion in each case), is expected to further drive rates downward for the foreseeable future. Potentially, a great buying opportunity gets better!
Housing prices continue, overall, to head higher on a very gradual basis. While it is true that in some locales in the county, some prices have done just the opposite, overall the trend is a slightly upward one. Nationally, prices were up this past month by 19% over a year earlier. These trends, should they continue, when coupled with downward rates, would bode well for sellers.
That's the positive. The negative is that the economy is still dragging along, with unemployment still a major issue and its rate of improvement a very slow one. Job creation in a major way is necessary to get the housing market--and any other one--to really take off. Stay tuned and we'll let you know as things develop.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Well, a quick update on the market here in Marin:
Although nationally, there appears to be a sense of uncertainty, bordering in some cases on dire forecasts of a possible double dip recession and a bad housing market, the latest stats, just announced yesterday, show things looking up. BOTH median housing prices and numbers of sales rose this past month (8-11) in comparison to the same categories a year ago in the same month. Yes, there are some cases where prices continue to drift southward, but overall, things have shown a bit of a rise. In some cases, in fact, for properly priced homes in 'done' condition, there have been multiple offers.
Why, you may ask. Well, it's fairly simple. First, there are the continued historically low interest rates that are providing a lot of push to buyers to get out and buy. Second, although current unemployment rates are not great, they are not nearly as severe as the state as a whole, some 3% lower than the state in fact. More employment means a better likelihood of an individual buying. Both of these factors bode well for you if you're thinking of selling. Not sure what your home's worth? Give us a call. We'd be pleased to give you a valuation, or advise on anything else related to the market and your home's relation to it.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Well, just today I was asked by the guy where I get my weekly supply of bagels where I thought the housing market was going--and hopefully NOT through the hole in the center. I told him that as the economy moves back and forth, it has become very much a town by town and home by home situation. If this sounds familiar, it's because I have been discussing it with some regularity here for awhile. now, his immediate prospects are not as rosy as yours (assuming you live in Marin). He lives in Vallejo and commutes to Mill Valley on a daily basis. In Marin, however, there are at least some areas where we do see some increase in values. To some degree, it's house by house, but more frequently, the direction is up. That's not UP as in there goes the rocket into orbit, but it's more likely up as in slightly more than it was a month ago. Exceptions by town would include Novato and San Rafael. Interest rates are still having an effect on sales, as the rates continue to set new low records almost weekly. A quick call to our in-house mortgage guys at Mortgage Services Professionals confirms this. If you want a quote, give them a call: (I415) 380-2160 and ask for Adam or Dave. As you've heard me preach before, lower rates makes your home more and more attractive to buyers, so it's a good time to consider listing. If you're a buyer, what better an incentive than renting your money for less from the bank? Call us to help value your home for the best deal possible, or, again if you're a buyer, to help you find exactly the home you're looking for.
Separately, one thing that would definitely stimulate the housing market would be a solid upturn in the employment markets. Obama laid out a very cogent plan last night. If you want to get this economy going, get in touch with your reps in DC and tell them to get working on it! The sooner they do, the better for everyone!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Sorry we missed you last week. Peter was back in New England for his High School reunion--and dodging Hurricane Irene. But it's now Good night, Irene, and on to the present. Very quickly, jobs--what drives this economy came out with mixed results for August. The unemployment rate for the country held steady at 9.1%--good (as opposed to increasing), but net new jobs created was ZERO--not good. In California, there seem to be signs that some new jobs have begun showing up, which is encouraging. Also, homes do seem to be selling a bit better of late. So, as we enter our fall mini-boom selling season, where does that leave us? Buyers are getting loans, although that will be affected somewhat as the conventional maximum limit has now reduced. But folks are buying--if the home is properly priced. Sellers? The fact that buying is going on is reason enough to consider putting your home on the market, if you've been having that yes or no debate with yourself. Not sure of what it's worth? Give us a call and we'll be happy to provide a free valuation.
Have a Happy Labor Day holiday!