Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Real Estate Prices

What if the Real Estate Market actually was a roller coaster...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Has the Recovery Begun?

Every week my clients, friends, neighbors and associates inquire about the Real Estate Market. For the longest time there hasn't been any good news. However, this week the Market seems to be improving. Now, this is not based upon statistics or polls or anything more scientific than just a "seat of the pants" indicator.

As I spoke with other Realtors this last week I learned that many of them had Buyers enter into escrow on home purchases. This is the first time in a while that I can point to several new escrows in the same week. Not to be outdone, I also have Buyers that purchased a home this weekend

Let me know what you think...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

10 Reasons the Housing Market Will Begin to Recover 2nd Quarter 2008

  1. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) Will Continue to Lower Interest Rates - This will continue stimulating the economy, keeping unemployment low in addition to helping ARMs reset to lower interest rate.

  2. The Economy is Creating Jobs and Unemployment is Low - The last two housing downturns were due to recessions in the U.S. economy (80-81, 90-94)

  3. Lenders are Helping Homeowners with Loan Modifications on ARM Resets - This will decrease the number of homeowners needing to sell or going into foreclosure

  4. Subprime ARM Resets Peak in 1st Quarter 2008 with Minimum Resets by Year End - The credit markets froze in fear of these resets. Once past, more credit markets will make money available

  5. Home Builders are Dumping Standing Inventory to Remove Inventory off the Books by Year End - The competition to the resale market will be greatly reduced

  6. Sellers of Existing Homes Will Take Their Homes Off the Market at Year-End that Don’t Need to be Sold - Combining this with those that need to sell and lowering their sales prices during the holiday slow period, will cause the months to sell inventory to come down

  7. Credit Markets for Jumbo Financing are Opening Up - The spread of interest rates between conforming and jumbo has been greatly reduced. Many programs are still available making it easy for buyers to qualify

  8. Fires in So. California Will Create Construction Jobs and Help Supporting Industries - California has been losing jobs in this area. This in itself will keep a cap on the unemployment rate. Furniture, appliances, landscaping and architects will benefit

  9. Real Estate Investors are Stepping Up and Making Offers - Mostly absent in 2007, Real Estate investors are stepping up to take advantage of the foreclosures and lowered prices

  10. Buyer Sentiment of Those Waiting Will Change as Foreclosure Reporting Lessens - There are so many buyers just waiting for a sign as they fear prices will continue down. The sign will be decreasing foreclosures and inventory time to sell reduced and reported by the media
Information provided by: Kevin Budde, Branch Manager Countrywide Home Loans. Kevin Budde has been in the mortgage industry since 1975 in Orange County.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Economic Week in Review - Oct. 8, 2007

Employment rebounds
The week's key report was released on Friday, with new Labor Department data on the September employment situation indicating an improved payroll picture, as was expected. Coupled with Thursday's unemployment report, the two releases painted a benign employment situation. In other news, activity in the manufacturing and services sectors slowed, and factory orders declined; consumer credit remained healthy. For the week, the S&P 500 Index rose 2.0% to 1,557 (and has earned a year-to-date total return of 11.4%). The yield of the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose 7 basis points to 4.64%.

Manufacturing slowed
In September, manufacturing continued to expand—though at a slower rate—as the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Index of manufacturing activity dropped to 52.0 from 52.9 the previous month. This marked the third consecutive month of declines for the index, which now stands at its lowest level since March. Weak numbers on core capital goods orders and shipments indicated weaker output, as new orders and production grew more slowly. While the report suggested a slowing in manufacturing, the sector is holding up despite ills elsewhere in the economy, especially in housing.

Nonmanufacturing activity eased
The ISM Non-Manufacturing Index also showed a slight decrease for September, dropping to 54.8 from the prior month's 55.8. The report showed that employment activity in the nonmanufacturing sectors increased during the month, as did prices, which saw a big rise. The report came in above consensus expectations and suggested that, overall, the outlook for the services sector remains sunny, though activity may be muted for the rest of the year.

Factory orders fell
In August, factory orders dropped a larger-than-expected 3.3%, wiping out most of July's 3.4% increase. Durable-goods orders sank 4.9%, while nondurable-goods orders posted a 1.6% decline, the largest since January. A decline in oil and coal shipments, driven by August's sharp drop in oil production, accounted for most of the weakness in durable goods.

Payroll picture improved
Two reports from the Labor Department painted an improved employment picture, relieving fears of an economic downturn within the financial markets. Thursday's release showed initial jobless claims for the week ended September 29 increasing to 317,000 from an upwardly revised 301,000 the previous week, bringing claims back in line with expectations. Aside from the occasional spike, during the year jobless claims have remained essentially flat.

Friday's employment situation report showed that employment growth rebounded in September, with a net job gain of 110,000. In addition, August's report of 4,000 jobs lost underwent a major revision, showing an ultimate gain of 89,000. Public-sector employment, which had dragged the preliminary numbers down, actually rose in both August and September. Gains also continued in September for service industries, suggesting that spillover from the housing downturn remains largely contained, and private-sector employment as a whole increased. Overall, the unemployment rate rose very modestly in September to 4.7%, from 4.6% in August.

Consumer credit increased
In August, consumer credit increased $12.2 billion, or an annualized 5.9%, to $2.5 trillion. A report released by the Federal Reserve showed that the latest hike was driven by an upswing in revolving credit, which rose 8.4% in August on the heels of July's 7.7% gain. Rebounding auto sales during August also helped to increase demand for nonrevolving credit, which was up 4.8%.

The economic week ahead
On Tuesday of next week, the Federal Open Market Committee will release the minutes from its September 18 meeting, when it slashed both the federal funds rate and the discount rate. A report on international trade will appear on Thursday, and Friday's releases will cover the Producer Price Index, retail sales, and business inventories.

by: Cheryl Anderson

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Here's some Total Momsense

This has absolutley nothing to do with Real Estate but I really enjoyed it and I hope you do to. I remember hearing most of these lines when I was younger.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Could the bottom be near?

Homeowner's paying $31.8 billion in subprime adjustable-rate mortgages began paying higher interest rates this month. This is the highest amount of subprime ARMs due to reset over a given one month period in this housing cycle. By the end of the year resetting ARMs are forecast to drop to $25.2 billion. By the end of 2008, this number will drop to $3.6 billion.

Interest rate resets have been a big factor in the increased number of defaults this year. As ARM resets reach a peak more homeowners will have trouble meeting payments. Could a record supply of homes for sale, combined with a peak in ARM resets mean the housing market may be near a bottom? Could a market turn up be next?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Economic Week in Review - Sept. 21, 2007

Investors cheer the Fed's bold move
Investors applauded a major rate-cutting move by the Fed this week, but some of the week's other economic news got a chillier reception. Economic indicators were down a bit, the housing outlook remained gloomy, and there was mixed news on the inflation front. The S&P 500 Index closed the week up 2.8%, at 1,526 (up 9.0% for the year). The yield of the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose 17 basis points to 4.63%.

Interest rates: The Fed takes action
In a move aimed at easing the credit crunch and shoring up confidence in the nation's near-term economic outlook, the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee (FOMC) cut both the target federal funds rate and the discount rate by half a percent, to 4.75% and 5.25%, respectively. The committee left the door open to more rate cuts in the months ahead, but acknowledged that it remains concerned about inflation pressures. Stock traders responded enthusiastically to the rate cuts, with both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the broader S&P 500 Index posting their biggest one-day gains in recent years.

A sharp decline in economic indicators
The Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators fell 0.6% in August, its steepest decline in almost two years. However, a significant upward revision to July's index helped level the longer-term trend. When viewed over an annualized six-month period, the growth rate remained in positive territory, at 1.0%. Analysts said the August slump was due mainly to turbulence in the stock market, declining consumer confidence, and weakness in the construction industry.

Prices dropped in August, but inflation remains a threat
A dip in energy costs helped rein in the growth in prices for consumers and producers during August. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell for the first time since last autumn, dropping 0.1%, in line with economists' expectations. Prices for finished goods, as measured by the Producer Price Index (PPI), dropped by a bigger-than-expected 1.4%. When volatile energy and food prices were factored out, however, both gauges were up 0.2% for the month. Over the past year, "core" CPI and PPI were up 2.1% and 2.2%, respectively.

Housing starts hit a 12-year low
There was no letup in bad news for the housing market in August. Residential construction starts fell 2.6%, to 1.33 million units, while permits for new housing—a key measure of expected future demand—fell 5.9%. Both figures represented the worst showing in 12 years for the beleaguered industry. One of the few bright spots was in the market for multifamily housing: Residences with five or more units posted a 16.5% increase in August, while single-family housing starts were down 7.1%.

The economic week ahead
Analysts will have a lot to think about in the final week of the third quarter. On the agenda are reports on gross domestic product (GDP), personal income, sales of new and existing homes, consumer confidence, advance durable-goods orders, and construction spending.

by: Cheryl Anderson
Stewart Title

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fed Cuts Rates

The Fed surprised many economists and traders with a half percent cut in both the Fed Funds Rate and Discount Rate. The Stock Market had its largest gain since 2003.

What does the Fed cut mean? Rates on consumer debt, car loans, and Home Equity lines will all benefit. Because home loan rates are tied more closely to inflation, there may be less of a reaction, or even an opposite reaction in mortgage rates.

The Fed cut also hurts rates of return on investments, which gives foreign investors less incentive to invest in US securities. This has sent the Dollar much lower against the currency of most major foreign countries. This makes foreign goods more expensive for us to buy, which adds to inflation pressures.

Overall, the Fed cut is good news for the economy, but may nudge inflation a bit higher.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Economic Week in Review - September 14, 2007

Wall Street looks ahead to Fed meeting
Investors sifted through economic data points with a fine-tooth comb this week, seeking indications of whether the Federal Reserve Board will change the federal funds rate when it meets on September 18. In all, the reports were mixed. Retail sales and industrial production increased, but so did business inventories. The U.S. trade gap narrowed, but Americans are now borrowing more heavily with their credit cards. In other economic news, the price for oil moved above $80 per barrel for the first time, and the dollar weakened against other major currencies. For the week, the S&P 500 Index was up 2.1% to 1,484 (for a year-to-date total return of 6.0%). The yield of the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose 9 basis points to 4.46%.

Credit card usage increased
Consumer credit grew at a slower-than-expected annual rate of 3.7% in July. The credit figure, released by the Federal Reserve Board, comprises two categories: revolving credit (namely, credit cards) and nonrevolving credit (such as auto or student loans). July's consumer credit marked a slowdown in nonrevolving credit, reflecting poor auto sales in June and July. The use of revolving credit increased, suggesting that consumers are borrowing more with their credit cards now that other sources of credit (such as home equity loans) are less readily available.

U.S. trade balance narrowed
The U.S. trade deficit fell 0.3% in July to $59.2 billion—the second decline in as many months. Imports and exports both increased in July, but exports increased at a higher rate, thanks to record levels of U.S. shipments of food, autos, and other categories. The dollar increase in imports was fueled by steeper prices for oil. The average price per barrel of crude oil in July was the highest since August 2006, and the second-highest on record. The $23.8 billion deficit with China—the second-highest on record—accounted for 40% of the total U.S. trade deficit.

Autos pushed retail sales higher
Retail sales in August increased 0.3% from July and 3.7% from August 2006. Excluding the automotive category, which surged 2.8%, retail sales were down 0.4% in August. Gasoline stations, building supply stores, and nonstore retailers (such as online and catalog vendors) posted the steepest sales declines for the month.

Business inventories increased
Total business inventories increased 0.5% in July from the previous month and 3.5% from the year-ago level. Retail inventories rose 1.0%, while wholesale and manufacturer inventories each increased 0.2%. Overall business sales increased 1.1% in July, driven by strong sales (2.6%) at the manufacturing level.

Electric utilities drove production higher
A jump in production at electric utility plants pushed overall industrial production higher in August. Industrial output increased a lower-than-expected 0.2% for the month as activity in the manufacturing and mining sectors each declined less than 1%. But a 5.3% increase in utilities (6.3% at electric utilities) kept production in positive territory.

The economic week ahead
Market observers will pay close attention to Tuesday's meeting of the Federal Reserve Board's Open Market Committee (FOMC), when Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues will determine whether to raise, lower, or hold steady the federal funds rate. Following a turbulent period in the markets, falling employment, and ongoing concern about the housing sector, some Fed-watchers expect the FOMC to make the first rate cut in more than a year. In addition, two reports on inflation will be issued: the producer price index on Tuesday, and the consumer price index on Wednesday. Other scheduled releases include new residential construction (Wednesday) and an index of leading economic indicators (Thursday).

by: Cheryl Anderson

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Best Buyers Market

The September 2007 Statistics are now in. We currently have one of the Best Buyer's Markets imaginable. In the past prices were high, inventory was low and buyers were bidding against each other while driving up the prices on the few available homes. Now prices are low, mortgage rates are low, inventory is high, yet the Buyers are hesitant to buy, even though EVERYTHING IS ON SALE NOW! There are some fantastic deals and some very motivated sellers.

"The South Orange County residential Real Estate market has really slowed down to an unfortunately record breaking low level… Data Quick reported a few weeks ago that July was the lowest sales volume in Orange County the past 20 years … and the past week was the lowest sales volume we have tracked in south Orange County since July of 2002’… Fortunately, the number of homes Active for sale has leveled off and has not been increasing… We now stand at 15 Months of Inventory for all price ranges… I don’t think these low sales volume numbers can last much longer.. "
  Quote and chart courtesy of Vince Bindi, Keller Williams Realty

The Gratitude Dance

It might be fun to take some time for gratitude.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Economic Week in Review
September 7, 2007
by Cheryl Anderson, Stewart Title

Jobs take a tumble
The continuing slump in the housing market appears to be affecting the broader economy, as a closely watched employment report showed that U.S. payrolls fell for the first time in four years. The weaker-than-expected jobs report was widely seen as putting more pressure on the Federal Reserve to reduce interest rates. Not all of the week's economic news was downbeat, however, as worker productivity increased at a faster-than-expected pace. For the week, the S&P 500 Index was to 1,454 (for a year-to-date total return of 3.79%). The yield of the 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell 17 basis points to 4.37%.

Payrolls slid unexpectedly
Nonfarm payrolls declined by 4,000 in August, the Labor Department reported Friday. Economists had been expecting an increase of 120,000. Reflecting weakness in the housing market, construction was among the sectors that suffered the heaviest job losses, with residential specialty trade contractors particularly hard hit. The anemic employment report, which included sharp downward revisions for the June and July payrolls as well, "will weigh more prominently than normal in the Federal Reserve's deliberations on monetary policy" when they next meet on September 18, remarked Vanguard economist Joseph H. Davis. The unemployment rate, which is based on a different survey than the one used for payrolls, remained unchanged at 4.6%.

Productivity, labor costs were better than expected
U.S. productivity grew by an annualized 2.6% in the second quarter, an upward revision from the Labor Department's preliminary estimate of 1.8%. The latest productivity figure exceeded economists' expectations and appeared to be a reassuring sign to inflation-watchers, as rising productivity can help restrain inflation. Also encouraging from an inflation standpoint, unit labor costs grew at an annualized 1.4% in the second quarter, slightly less than economists had expected and a significant downward revision from a preliminary estimate of 2.1%.
Beige Book survey reported tighter credit hurting housing sector
The Federal Reserve's anecdotal survey of regional economies, known as the "Beige Book," found that tighter residential mortgage lending standards are exacerbating problems in the housing sector. Banks reported to the Fed that the reduction in the availability of mortgages created "uncertainty about when the housing market might turn around." On the positive side, the report noted "modest to moderate" increases in retail sales and found that some regions were experiencing "particularly solid growth in tourist spending." The report suggested that inflation, on the whole, is under control, with most regions reporting "little change in overall price pressures."

Manufacturing growth slowed, service sector remained stable
Growth in the manufacturing sector declined in August. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Index of manufacturing decreased to 52.9 from July's 53.8, the second consecutive drop for the index. However, the index reading did remain above 50, suggesting that the manufacturing sector is still expanding, albeit at a slower pace. The ISM Non-Manufacturing Index, a gauge of economic activity in the service sector, remained at 55.8, unchanged from July. The August reading was slightly ahead of expectations, and the new-orders component of the index climbed 4.2 points.

Construction spending slipped
Construction spending in July fell 0.4%, much weaker than the 0.1% increase that economists had expected. Private construction spending slid 0.7%, hurt by a falloff in residential construction that reflected continued weakness in the housing market and that more than offset gains in nonresidential spending.

The economic week ahead
The coming week's economic reports should offer insight into varied aspects of the economy. Reports on the U.S. trade balance (Tuesday), consumer credit (Monday), retail sales (Friday), business inventories (Friday), and industrial production (Friday) are scheduled to be released.

Have a wonderful and successful week!

Cheryl Anderson

Friday, September 7, 2007

Short Sales

I've been seeking a reasonable solution for local homeowners that for various reasons need to sell now even though the proceeds from that sale is less than the total encumbrance on their property, resulting it what is commonly called a Short Sale. Traditionally the property is marketed, the Seller accepts an offer pending the approval of the lien holders. The approval process can take a great deal of time, the lenders can be difficult to contact and even more difficult to negotiate with.

This week I forged an alliance with an organization that specializes in the transaction side of the Short Sale. They offer expertise in the process, leverage their relationship with the lenders and ultimately get the Short Sale to successfully close in a reasonable time frame.

In the past I have shied away from representing Short Sale listings because of the uncertainties involved in succesfully closing the transaction. With this system in place I am now confident that I can provide a valuable service to Sellers who find themselves in a Short Sale situation.

I can be reached at 949-362-5052 or

Friday, August 17, 2007

Economic Week in Review
Economic Week in Review by: Cheryl Anderson, Stewart Title
August 17, 2007

Stocks slump, Fed cuts discount rate on Friday
In a surprise move, the Federal Reserve cut its discount rate on loans to banks Friday morning, in an effort to calm the financial markets. Through the week, stocks had continued to slump because of turmoil in the subprime mortgage market, erasing most of 2007's gains. It was a busy week for economic reports. On the plus side, the U.S. trade deficit declined in June, while the July Consumer Price Index indicated that inflation pressures were easing. In other reports, retail sales and industrial production increased; business inventories and producer prices also rose. New residential construction declined. For the week, the S&P 500 Index fell 0.5% to 1,446. The yield of the 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell 11 basis points to 4.67%.

Retail sales increased
The retail sales report for July showed a modest increase, up 0.3%. Core sales (which exclude autos) were solid, lead by sales at department and apparel stores as well as restaurants. Building-supply stores also posted a small gain. Declining gasoline prices hurt gas-station sales, and automobile and parts sales were down 0.3%. Consumer spending appears to be holding firm despite recent turmoil in the financial markets.

Business inventories rose
In line with expectations, total business inventories increased by 0.4% in June. Wholesale and manufacturer inventories increased 0.5% and 0.3%, respectively. Retail inventories were up 0.5% for the month, 0.2% excluding automobiles. Auto inventories rose by 1.0%. The inventory-to-sales ratio rose slightly to 1.27, up from May's 1.26, due largely to weakness in auto sales.

Producer prices moved higher
July saw substantial rates of inflation at every stage of processing. Producer prices for finished goods rose 0.6%, more than expected, due largely to increases among energy products, as energy costs rose 2.5%. Core prices remained relatively stable, however; excluding food and energy, prices for finished goods rose only 0.1%.

U.S. trade deficit narrowed
The U.S. trade deficit narrowed by 1.7% in June to $58.1 billion, a $1.0 billion change from May's revised figure of $59.2 billion. Though both exports and imports were up, exports increased more than imports, aided by a weaker U.S. dollar. The goods deficit with China grew to $21.2 billion, and the China deficit now accounts for 36% of the total U.S. trade imbalance. Compared with one year ago, exports rose in June by 11%, while imports increased 4%.

CPI showed inflation easing
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for July provided evidence that inflationary pressures were easing. Following a 0.2% increase in June, the CPI was up 0.1% in July, due largely to falling energy prices. The core index, which excludes food and energy, increased 0.2% in July, following an identical increase in June. Core inflation has trended around 2.2% over the past 12 months.

Industrial production increased
In July, industrial production rose 0.3%, slowing the momentum of its 0.6% June increase. Mining output rose 0.7% and manufacturing output increased 0.6%, while utility production showed a larger-than-expected drop of 2.1%. Manufacturing output has increased an annualized 4.9% over the last three months. Automobile production was strong, up 2.6%, though sales were weak.

New residential construction declined
The July report on new residential construction suggested that the housing market has yet to reach bottom. New residential starts decreased 6.1% to 1.38 million units, with declines seen in every region. Total permits also decreased. A National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index suggested that builder optimism is at a 20-year low.

Fed cut discount rate Friday morning
In a surprise move, the Federal Reserve cut its discount rate by a half-percentage point, in an effort to bring some order to the turbulent financial markets. Citing tighter credit and deteriorating market conditions, the Fed lowered the discount rate, which is the interest rate it charges to make direct loans to banks, from 6.25% to 5.75%. However, the Fed did not change the federal funds rate, which remained at 5.25%. The move should thus have little effect on consumer interest rates.

The economic week ahead
Next week will be a light one for economic reports. On Monday, The Conference Board will release its index of leading economic indicators. Data on durable-goods orders and new-home sales will be available on Friday.

Cheryl Anderson