Tuesday, November 29, 2011

1st 10 Months, 2010 and 2011...

Curious to see the evolution of average prices, from one year to the next?
It turns out it is pretty similar.

Here looking at the compared graphs of both the County of San Mateo, and Santa Clara, from one year to the next:

The one thing that appears at this point is a slight decrease in prices of single family residences in the County of Santa Clara. But this happened too at the end of 2010. Overall the curves are fairly similar.

What is also apparent in these graphs is that the average values are higher in the County of San Mateo than in the County of Santa Clara. 
Finally, the end of the year is looking up for the San Mateo County so far.

useful links

Mortgage rates

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bay Area Investors...

Investors: the trend continues in the Bay Area with a lot of buyers investors:

- 17% in the County of Santa Clara,
- 21% in San Mateo County - 27.5% in Solano County
- 25% Contra Costa County.

Over 20% of all purchases are all cash, with no loan involved.

In fact, an interesting phenomenon occurs in some depressed areas:
in some condominium complexes, where over 15% of the units are delinquent, (typical) banks will not lend…  So this leaves only cash buyers as potential buyers of these properties.  Obviously these buyers purchase the units for the long term, hoping that the real estate market will improve enough that the complex will go up in value.  The rents have increased so much in the past 2 years that the return on investment makes it a very viable deal.

An other problem can occur there though: if more than 50% of the units in a complex are non owner-occupied, loan are also almost impossible to obtain - or more expensive.  One of the rules of most lenders is that this important percentage has to be over 50%.  So that would leave future buyers and future homeowners in those complexes with a difficult situation: potential buyers who need a loan may not want to pay the extra fees and rates in order to get these loans.

Do not underestimate the need for good advice when you purchase a condominium.  A seasoned agent is a must, to make sure you are informed.  Here is a good informational page on this "condominium"subject.

Thanks for reading.

useful links

Mortgage rates

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Silicon Valley: housing inventory

To keep things in perspective, it is good to keep an eye on the inventory of homes for sale at a given point in time.  Here is the inventory of all properties for sale (houses + PUD/condos) both in the whole County of Santa Clara, and in the area limited to the five Cities: Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Palo Alto, Mountain View, and Menlo Park:

Lower inventory = tendency for prices to be sustained, or rise. 
There are signifcantly fewer properties for sale now than last year.  It is also interesting to note that the luxury market (over $1 million) has fewer homes on the market, which is reflecting the fact that the market has been more active in the past months.

Here in the Bay Area, as noted many times, demand is showing pretty strong fairly consistently.

As agents, we note that open houses are very busy, especially for houses, and certainly all the time for houses in the good school districts. In Palo Alto, multiple offers are the rule, as with all properties priced at market value, in good school districts.

It is worth noting again that about 30% of houses sell for over asking price in the County of Santa Clara.
A lot of them are foreclosures.  - A foreclosure sale does not always mean that it is a fabulous deal, moneywise.

Interested in the same figures for only condominiums for instance? Let me know.
Francis Rolland

useful links

Mortgage rates

Friday, November 4, 2011

Buy now with 3.5% down payment...

If you have a stable income and if you are paying too much for rent, it can definitely make sense to buy with an FHA loan. 
Many people believe that to even think of becoming a homeowner you must secure a 20% down payment.  This is difficult to do for a lot of aspiring-to-be-homeowners.  But there is another way:
think: " FHA loans ".

FHA facts to keep in mind:

- 3.5% down.  Low down payment - less money out of pocket and 96.5% loan-to-value.
- 100% Gift allowed for down payment and closing costs,
- Any buyer can buy like this, not just first-time home buyers,
- minimum FICO 640,
- Long term financing:  30 year fixed, or adjustable,
- Loan limits up to $625,500, depending on the County,
- Non occupant co-borrowers are ok
- Purchase and "refis" are allowed,
Prior bankruptcies?: yes very possibly.  See the specific rules, but on-time payments allow FHA borrowing fairly quickly afterwards.

  There are some very nice homes that one can buy for less than $500,000 in Santa Clara for instance, and you'd only need ... about $20k.  With an FHA loan you do pay what is called mortgage insurance, a way for the lender to be insured against potential future defaults.  But even with this mortgage insurance, these loans can be pretty attractive when everything is said and done, because banks do not mind doing such loans: they have ... mortgage insurance.  Hence the very attractive rates.

If this gives you food for thoughts, let me know: I can help!  ...or for someone you know, pass it along!.. 


PS:  Mortgage rates: Week ending 11/3/2011
- 30-yr. fixed: 4.0 fees/points: 0.7%
- 15-yr. fixed: 3.31 fees/points: 0.7%
- 1-yr. adjustable: 2.88% Fees/points: 0.6%
(Source: Freddie Mac)