Thursday, September 16, 2010


The total number of sales for July was 2,527. That number includes 1,628 single-family resale, 769 condo resale, and 130 new home sales. The total number is down 26.2% from June. (Remember the tax credit lapsed.) And it was also down 19.2% from July of ’09. Of course July was when the investors really started cranking last year, and has been busy ever since. In fact, the distribution of sales over price ranges would indicate that the housing market does, in fact, have some legs, somewhere. All price ranges were off in volume, but mostly on the lower end. The higher end was barely off, less than 5%. This means that move up buyers, buyers with cash and ability are staying in the market and they are buying homes.

The actual breakdown is as follows: a) under $400,000 – 1,026 sales b) $400,000 to $500,000 – 404 c) $500,000 to $600,000 – 305 d) $600,000 to $700,000 – 243 e) over $700,000 – 514. Adding up the properties that would qualify for “Jumbo Conforming” loans and you have nearly half the total sales at over 1,000 properties. This would seem to indicate a more robust market than economists would have you believe. Well, its food for thought anyway.



Notices of Default grew slightly in July compared with June to 1,462. However to keep things in perspective, let’s remember that it is 50% lower than a year ago. And that speaks as loudly for the positive side of housing, as the slow down in sales may spark negative rumor. The adjustable rate percentage is appropriately low at 8.3% meaning nearly 93 of every 100 loans closed is a fixed rate mortgage. Why not? With rates at below historic rates, and still going down, we find ourselves in a refinance boom, considering how many people have been left out of it due to equity issues. Maybe one of the most telling statistics for the month that validates the money is out there, is that even with FHA supposedly funding way more loans than they want to, the average down payment in Orange County is 19.2% or if you forget stats, 20% conventional loans are happening.

California Association of Realtors has reported that in Orange County a minimum income of $70,670 is needed to afford a starter home at $428,810, slightly below the median price. That means the county has a 54% affordability index right now, a little below the statewide 64%. A reminder of where we came from… the affordability index was 11% in 2006. So, back to the question of half empty or half full… optimist or pessimist? This author believes in the strength of housing, the diversity of an albeit wounded economy, and resilience of all of us together working it out.


Monday, June 7, 2010


President Obama signed a bill extending and expanding the Federal Tax Credit for Home
Buyers. The bill now includes current homeowners.

The tax credit will be extended through April 30, 2010, with a 60-day extension if a binding contract is in place prior to the deadline. First-time home buyers will continue to receive a tax credit of up to $8,000, while existing homeowners will receive a reduced credit of up to $6,500. Existing homeowners will be eligible for the $6,500 if they have lived in their current residences for at least five years. The bill also will increase the qualifying income limits from $75,000 for single tax filers and $150,000 for joint filers, to $125,000 and $225,000, respectively. The purchase price of the home is capped at $800,000.

Under additional provisions in the bill, taxpayers can claim the credit on purchases completed in 2010 on their 2009 income tax returns. The bill maintains the provision that home buyers do not have to repay the credit provided the home remains their primary residence for 36 months after purchase, and waives this requirement for active duty military personnel who move due to a military order.


Experienced Probate Realtor

Probate is the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person by resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person’s real and personal property under the valid will.

Probate generally last several months and often times over a year for all property to be distributed.

Disposing of real property in a probate requires the Realtor to understand what probate is, and to be sure to market the property in the best interest of the estate following procedures set down by the court. The Realtor also needs to be mindful of the role as agent only for the estate and not become entangled in any legal issues or disputes between the heirs. Keeping notes, documenting marking efforts and being able to show the property was exposed to all interest parties at times is critical should things get contentious.

I often see probate properties treated as normal sales and they are not. Posting a property as pending or back-up in the MLS, installing a “SOLD” sign prior to court approval, not posting a court date for properties subject to overbidding are just a few of the errors made that can cause the estate lost dollars and maybe even more importantly court delays. The agents duty is to the estate only, not to a buyer, beneficiary, creditor etc.

To avoid probate we all should consider having a family trust. However if your only option is probate, the attorneys and administrators need to work with Realtors with verifiable probate sales experience and referrals. Please call me if you need a referral to an attorney to set up a trust or if you need and experienced probate Realtor.

Experienced Short Sale Agents

If you or someone you know is having mortgage problems, give us a call. We can tell you about all your options.