Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Real Estate Update

Market Summary

It has been a turbulent time in the real estate market for every single one of us across the nation, but there could be small signs of relief. It has been a tough market for the last year and especially in the month of October. Many folks are nervous about the economy, job security and the overall situation at hand. On the real estate front I am seeing some better news to report.

In the last few weeks and there has been an uptick in buying activity; agents in my office are writing offers as well as many of my clients. A client of mine put an offer on a house that was relisted and to our surprise the home sold at list price in a very short period of time. Another investment property for a separate client had 5 offers, all of which were countered. Investors and a contingent of Buyers seem to be cautiously seeking out deals in the market place. Homes under $500,000 have been seeing competition even multiple offers and I am seeing some activity in ranges higher than $500,000 as well. These are faint indications and hardly any sign of a grand recovery. The next few months can help us gauge if this is a trend or just an outlier. If you have been on the sidelines, now maybe the time to start thinking about taking advantage of good properties in the marketplace.

An interesting article on rising home sales in February in the New York Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/02/business/economy/02econ.html?hpw

By chance I was at my local bank and walked over to ask what the mortgage rates were for the day. In my career I have never seen my bank have rates even comparable to what my loan agents find in the marketplace. To my surprise the rate that was being offered was extremely low. Mortgage rates are at their lowest ever recorded by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and it shows! Call your loan agent, call a few banks and go with whichever group has the best rate for a refinance or purchase.

An interesting article in the Mercury News that these are the lowest rates every recorded:
http://www.mercurynews.com/realestatenews/ci_12005655?source=email

New Loan Breakdowns

It used to be that anything above $417,000 was considered a jumbo (and below is a conforming loan). Today there is an intermediate loan product called a jumbo conforming which handles loans between $417,000 to $729,750 which still has decent rates. Any loan amount above $729,750 is considered a jumbo loan and rates are much higher than either conforming or jumbo conforming products. Second loans are pretty much no longer in existence, the model of private mortgage insurance has returned. For those of you who have a 1st loan you do not plan to refinance, some good advice given to me was to take out an equity line of credit (while in a good job situation) which has low rates currently for emergency situations.
Check with your loan agent, accountant and financial advisor to ensure this strategy makes sense for your circumstance.

Reminder Property Tax is Due April 10th

Just a reminder that property tax in Santa Clara County is due on April 10th! There will be a penalty if you pay past this date. Go to http://www.scctax.org/ or call the County of Santa Clara at (408)808-7900.

Beware of Mortgage Foreclosure Consultants

There are legitimate Mortgage Foreclosure Consultants out there, but there have also been many fraudulent companies in these tough times. Mortgage consultants are not allowed to collect any upfront fees until services are fully rendered; this is the first and most common indication that this is a questionable company.

Long Term Investments

It is critically important to step away from the short run and focus on the long run. Any investment should be a long term investment. We have seen time and time again that the economy is cyclical but trends tend to be overall upward in the long run. Position your real estate property for the long run and ride through this turbulent time. If you have an opportunity to do so, it maybe time to buy a property at this low point, so that you can take advantage of the upside once it returns.

If you or someone you know needs Real Estate help, I will do all that I can in my power to assist them.

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