Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Real Estate News for Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

Subprime woes will get worse, Bernanke says. The pain and suffering felt by homeowners and communities from foreclosures and delinquencies will "likely get worse before they get better," Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday, but the problems in the subprime mortgage market haven't caused a systemwide credit crunch. Bernanke, under fire from lawmakers for the Fed's failure to step in earlier to prevent massive mortgage fraud and lending abuse that helped fuel the nation's housing bubble, said the Fed and other regulators will issue stronger rules soon to protect consumers. In testimony on Capitol Hill, Bernanke pinned much of the blame for the recent economic slowdown on the "ongoing adjustment in the housing sector." Home sales would likely remain sluggish for a time, he said, adding that the pace of construction would probably fall further as builders work down their stock of unsold homes. Residential construction would remain a drag on economic growth. "Conditions in the subprime mortgage sector have deteriorated significantly, reflecting mounting delinquency rates on adjustable-rate loans," he said. "In recent weeks, we have also seen increased concerns among investors about credit risk on some other types of financial instruments." Click here to read more.

Wi-Fi and GSM BlackBerry arrives! Sporting the same trackball first debuted on the BlackBerry Pearl, Research in Motion (RIM) have added yet another new feature to their ever popular line of handheld computers and email devices with the 8820. That new feature is Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g, letting users connect to high speed Wi-Fi Internet services in their homes, offices or when out and about, in addition to connecting via standard GSM/GPRS/EDGE cell phone networks. Wi-Fi can also be used to make and receive phone calls, and if your wireless carrier supports UMA, you can seamlessly switch voice calls between the GSM phone towers and Wi-Fi networks that your phone can connect to. Naturally, BlackBerry are quick to remind us that all the other BlackBerry features are there, including email, instant messaging, web browsing, PDA functions like the built-in organizer, GPS for mapping and other mobile data apps. In addition, the BlackBerry 8820’s Wi-Fi supports WEP, WPA and WPA2 security systems, as well as ‘Cisco Compatible Extensions’ and IPSec-based software for VPN access. Click here to read more.

First Time Home Buyer Tips.
Every homeowner has been a first-time buyer once in their life, so you're not alone. But buying a home is one of the largest purchases you'll make, so how do you know if you're ready to take that next big step? These 10 home-buying tips can help reduce the stress of buying your first home.
1. Renting vs. buying. If your job and family status are likely to be stable for the next few years, or you're planning on remaining in the same city, now may be a good time to consider buying. If you think you may need to look for work outside the area or want to have the flexibility to move on a whim, then put off homeownership for a while.
2. How's your credit? Your credit standing will affect the terms of your mortgage, so it's a good idea to try and strengthen your credit rating before applying for a loan. You can help do this by paying your bills on time, reducing your total debt load and avoiding any unnecessary inquiries to your report.
3. Pinch those pennies. Besides having to save for a down payment, other expenses such as closing costs, homeowners insurance, and more often seem to come out of the woodwork when you're purchasing a home. Most lenders will also want you to have a "reserve"—money left in your savings account after you've covered all the costs. Frugality now will payoff later when you're enjoying your new abode.
4. Tax advantage. Mortgage interest and property taxes are generally deductible. So, you may be making a larger monthly payment than renting, but remember to take into consideration the amount you're saving in taxes. See your tax advisor for details.
5. Weigh your options. Are there any financial programs that may help you get into your first home sooner? Federal and state-backed loans may make it easier to qualify for a loan by offering programs with little or no money down.
6. Where do you stand? Pre-qualification or pre-approval of a loan will not only help you know how much home you will qualify for, but also will show owners you're serious about buying. Contact your bank or mortgage broker for procedures on either of these options. Just remember to limit the number of inquiries on your credit report by only authorizing credit checks with the one or two lenders you're serious about.
7. Location, location, location. Figure out what's essential to you, such as school district reputation, crime rates, convenient shopping areas, local parks or whether there are children in the neighborhood. Rank these qualities in order of importance. Focus only on neighborhoods that meet those criteria.
8. Know what you're getting into. Most offers made on a home sale include a professional home inspection. Before you sign on the dotted line, you should be confident about the condition of the home and the expenses you may incur as a result of purchasing that particular house.
9. Knowledge is power. Learn about the broker's role in your home buying process. Brokers and real estate agents are key players in home buying transactions and it pays to do a little research to make sure you're getting the best representation available.
10. Is a condominium the right choice for me? Depending on your tax bracket, a condominium may be an affordable option for you. Although the market for condominiums is unpredictable, it may be a good way to get into the real estate market. But timing is everything. Entering on a market upswing will help you gain equity for your next home, while buying on a downswing could mean you'll be in that home for a while.
Click here to read more.

~Tina Jan~
Coldwell Banker Kivett-Teeters
1655 E. Sixth St.
Beaumont, CA 92223
Work: 951-845-5520 Ext. 105
Fax: 951-845-4916
Cell: 909-446-2666
Toll-Free: 1-877-TINAJAN

Monday, July 09, 2007

Real Estate News for Monday, July 9th, 2007

Real estate slowdown to worsen, economist says. It's been a year and a half of painful "adjustment" in the housing market -- slowing sales and sliding sales prices following four boom years -- and there's still more to come, the state Realtors group's chief economist told Central Valley agents and brokers today. State sales of existing houses the first five months of this year are down 18.7 percent from the same period last year, said Leslie Appleton-Young, chief economist for the California Association of Realtors. "And it's getting worse," she added. "So this market, unfortunately, has not bottomed out yet. We're moving toward it, but we're not there yet." Still, the economy is doing OK, though not great, she said, and the long-term outlook looks good for recovery to a stronger housing market. Click here to read more.

3 Out of 1000 Owners Have Lost Their Homes This Year. According to, 3 out of every 1,000 homeowners in the United States lost their homes to foreclosure in the first half of the year. Those numbers are up 41 percent compared to the same period last year. These per capita numbers translate to almost a quarter-million residential properties (247,907) that ended up in the hands of banks or lenders this year because homeowners could not get their mortgage default problems solved. Per capita reflects the number of filings as a percent of the number of households in an area. Click here to read more.

Home sales and prices. May 2007 vs. May 2006.

Riverside County
3,307 homes sold, -45.4 percent
$406,000 median price, -3.3 percent

San Bernardino County
2,220 homes sold, -46.5 percent
$361,750 median price, +0.5 percent

Orange County
2,675 homes sold, -28.9 percent
$635,000 median price, +0.1 percent

Los Angeles County
7,426 homes sold, -30.7 percent
$550,000 median price, +6.8 percent

San Diego County
3,385 homes sold, -24.4 percent
$492,000 median price, -1.6 percent

Ventura County
861 homes sold, -24.8 percent
$590,000 median price, -1.6 percent

Southern California
19,874 homes sold, -34.4 percent
$505,000 median price, +4.9 percent

36,975 homes sold, -31.7 percent
$484,000 median price, +2.5 percent
Source: DataQuick Information Systems

Mortgage swindler gets prison. Kenneth C. Ketner of Newport Beach was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison Monday and ordered to repay banks $9.27 million he swindled in a mortgage fraud scheme. The money helped Ketner buy a Lido Island waterfront home, a $250,000 Ferrari and a yacht he christened the "Aquaholic," according to civil, criminal and bankruptcy court filings. Click here to read more.

Real estate group membership keeps on growing. There are now more than 534,266 licensed Realtors in the state, according to the California Department of Real Estate. That means one out of about every 52 adult Californians has a real estate license. With continued sales declines, the California Association of Realtors expects its membership to fall to 185,000 for 2007, down from an all-time high of 199,000 last year. During the last real estate cycle, membership in the organization fell off by nearly 40 percent. Click here to read more.

~Tina Jan~
Coldwell Banker Kivett-Teeters
1655 E. Sixth St.
Beaumont, CA 92223
Work: 951-845-5520 Ext. 105
Fax: 951-845-4916
Cell: 909-446-2666
Toll-Free: 1-877-TINAJAN