Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Values Climb:
Well, as I've said before, they're not yet back where they were in 2007, but home values are climbing! In the latest Case-Shiller report, prices are definitely rising! Nationally, average values are up 0.9% to their highest level in two years. Closer to home, in the report, the San Francisco Bay Area showed a 5.4% increase over a year earlier, part of that increase obviously being right here in Marin County.

So, what does this mean for you as a buyer or seller? Well, if you're a seller, it adds impetus to getting your property on the market as buyers will be increasing their push to make a purchase at the best price they can now obtain. Also, with the continued record low interest rates, they are out there looking, cash in hand!

If you're a Buyer, combine this info with the low rates and make a deal before the prices climb again. Then you get the added advantage of an increase in your equity in the home you buy.

Questions? Call us for advice; we're always happy to assist in any way we can: Peter: (415) 279-6466; Jane: (415) 531-4091.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

What's The Latest:
Well, as you may have noticed, the latest weekly report on mortgage rates showed another drop to near record levels. After a slight increase last week, rates dropped again this week to within a single basis point of their all time low. Thirty year fixed loans averaged 3.37%, just a minuscule single basis point above their all time low (there are 100 basis points per a single percentage point of interest). As you know, these rates continue to offer great opportunities for both buyers and sellers. I won't repeat all of the reasons as anyone who's been here regularly has heard them all.

Separately, what I do want to discuss briefly is what the overall housing market is doing and what that should mean for you. Housing starts this past month reached their highest level in almost four years. By housing starts we mean actual taking out of permits for new home construction. This doesn't automatically mean that all of these homes will be immediately be built. However, as each municipality and jurisdiction has specific rules on the process of granting permits and how long they are valid for, it usually means that a home will be started within a certain period of time. As inspections of the interim progress on the construction are usually required, each successful inspection extending the life and specific expiration date of the permit, this means that a completed home will be available for sale on the market in fairly short period of time.

Meanwhile, the fact that so many builders are taking out permits is significant in that it shows builder faith in the improvement of the economy. For a builder to definitively involve himself in a construction project requires a certain leap of faith, as certain hard costs arise up front that can't be cashed out with any hope of profit until the house is completed and ready for market. All of the land acquisition, construction, permit and labor costs are ongoing expenditures, as is the interest paid on those funds, and it won't be until completion that it can be recouped. So we have a definite positive in the real estate market.
What does that mean for you? Put simply, the improving economy means that you have a better opportunity to sell, if that's your goal, in a strengthening economy. Is the economy all the way back yet? Hell, no! But the fact that it's showing enough strength to encourage builders to jump back in is very promising.

Even better in this set of circumstances is the promise of the Fed to hold rates low at least until 2014. That is because normally in an improving economy rates would start to rise. The Fed holding them low to boost the economy can only bode well for you.

Thinking of selling? Unsure of your home's value? Even more uncertain of what sales benefit you'll get by doing something to improve the home? Call us--we can provide you just the facts you need to make an intelligent decision--one that will benefit you immediately and in the long run.

Buying: there are a number of new listings hitting the market. We can provide you full 24/7 access to the Multiple Listings at no cost so you can see new properties as soon as they hit the market, and be better prepared to grab "The One" as soon as it is listed! The lucky numbers?: (Jane): (415) 531-4091; (Peter) (415) 279-6466.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

More Seller Good News
Yes, it's only a forecast, but yesterday the California Assn. of Realtors' chief economist gave some predictions on the market for next year. Adding to the current improving market, Leslie Appleton Young said the in 2012 the number of sales in the state will increase at least 1.3% over this year, the third consecutive year of increases. She also predicted that a good part of the demand will come both from first time buyers and investors. Extrapolating from this statewide forecast, things can only look better for Marin, given its above average economy and income levels, as compared to the state as a whole.

Monday, October 01, 2012

The Latest Info:

Well, once again, mortgage rates dropped to a new all-time low last week! For 30 year fixed fully amortized loans, the average rate dropped to 3.40%, while 15 year money dropped to a rate of 2.73%! What can I say? It is getting ridiculous, but, as long as the Fed continues to try stimulating the economy by holding rates low, and the economy maintains its very slow recovery, this trend is likely to continue.
As far as the market is concerned, properties continue to sell rapidly due to the combination of these low rates and a continued lack of inventory for buyers to choose from. This is obviously still very beneficial for sellers. However, buyers won't be harmed by the low rates. Remember, for every drop in interest rates, you are able to afford more house. It's that simple.

If you're NOT looking to sell your home, but can still afford the purchase of real property, you may want to enter or expand your investment property holdings. For rental property, although rates are a bit higher than rates for your own home, loans still are at historic lows! Further, if you own rental property, you likely will be eligible for a variety of tax benefits because of this property. These can include depreciation, tax losses and other related items, along with the appreciation that you are likely to achieve over time. Check with your accountant on the tax aspects--and call US to find the property! If you already own rental property, but want to upgrade to a bigger investment, it may be time to consider doing an exchange. We, working with your CPA, can help guide you through the intricacies of the process so that you improve your property portfolio and avoid extra taxes while doing so.

On the other hand, maybe you're not looking for rental property, but have always wanted that cabin at Tahoe, or a beach home to escape to after the work week is over. With these low rates, now is the time! Call us today and enjoy your vacation home tomorrow--regardless where it is!
remember: Peter's number: (415) 279-6466; Jane: (415) 531-4091.