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Wall Street Journal – Falling home prices should give aspiring homeowners the upper hand this spring, but in a growing number of locations, it doesn’t feel like a buyer’s market.
Blame the nearly five-year slide of home prices. Those declines, which accelerated over the past two quarters, have left many sellers unable or unwilling to lower their prices. Meanwhile, buyers remain gun shy about agreeing to any purchase without getting a deep discount.
Reuters – Beginning Oct. 1, the government will dial back on the size of mortgages it guarantees in high-cost areas like San Francisco New York, and Washington.
SFResidence is part of the TRI Coldwell Banker office at 1699 Van Ness in San Francisco which is one of the premier offices in the City and has the market share numbers to prove it. We have the most elite agents selling real estate in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a result, our office posts some impressive numbers.
San Francisco real estate is a funny thing. The rest of the country can be doing badly with foreclosures and poor markets, but San Francisco always seems to keep its head above the fray. Not that we don’t have our downturns like everyone else, but there always seems to be people with cash who want to buy, and they come to San Francisco to do so. This week was
Here are the numbers the week of 4/27/11:
- 2 new listings ($995,000 and $2,950,000)
- 11 ratified sales (pending) (average price $1,600,545, low $230,000, high $3,800,000)
- 11 closed sales (average price $1,810,727, low $599,000, high $3,350,000)
Here are the numbers from last year about the same time, 4/28/10:
- 3 new listings (average price $1,398,000)
- 24 ratified sales (pending) (average price $1,505,542, low $399,000, high $4,995,000)
- 9 closed sales (average price $1,608,667, low $474,000, high $4,080,000)
- Janis Stone
The share of distressed homes sold in March declined from February, but was unchanged from a year ago, C.A.R. recently reported.
The total share of all distressed property types sold statewide also declined in March, to 51 percent, down from 56 percent in February and unchanged from 51 percent in March 2010. Meanwhile, the share of non-distressed sales rose to 49 percent in March, up from 44 percent in February, but unchanged from 49 percent in March 2010. The statewide share of short sales also dropped in March to 20 percent, down from 23 percent in February but up from 19 percent in March 2010.
The median price of homes sold in the state varied dramatically depending on the property type, with non-distressed properties selling for much higher prices than short sales and foreclosures.
Price differences across short sales, REOs and non-distressed properties reflect variances in the condition of the property, with REOs typically being in worse condition than short sales and non-distressed properties. A seller’s circumstance, such as needing to sell under duress, also is a factor.
According to C.A.R.’s Pending Home Sales Index, pending home sales in March rose compared with February. The index was 128.7 in March, rising 15.2 percent from February’s revised index of 111.7, based on contracts signed in March. The index was down 0.3 percent from March 2010, when the presence of housing tax credits played a strong role in home sales. Pending home sales are forward-looking indicators of future home sales activity, providing information on the future direction of the market.
U.S. house prices declined 1.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from January to February, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s monthly House Price Index. The previously reported 0.3 percent decrease in January was revised to a 1 percent decrease. For the 12 months ending in February, U.S. prices declined 5.7 percent. The U.S. index is 18.6 percent below its April 2007 peak and roughly the same as the February 2004 index level.
The FHFA monthly index is calculated using purchase prices of houses backing mortgages that have been sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
Note: What these two lawmakers don’t realize is that they are still pandering to the renters like they did in San Francisco. Unfortunately, it is to the detriment of the people who PROVIDE the housing! Ammiano will make it harder for landlords to evict deadbeat tenants and Leno will make it unattractive for builders to start new construction on rental property because it will be subject to the same burdensome rent control laws that have hurt real estate in San Francisco for years! So they ask, “Is Sacramento the New San Francisco?”
- Assembly Member Tom Ammiano’s AB 265 Would Create 14-day Notice to Quit
- Senator Mark Leno’s SB 184 Would Eviscerate Costa-Hawkins
(SFAR Note: To increase the presence of the San Francisco’s REALTOR® and the real property owner community at the State Capitol, the San Francisco Association recently retained the services of a well-known Sacramento-based legislative advocate who specializes in landlord-tenant law. The advocate’s name is Ron Kingston. Ron is a former senior lobbyist for the California Association of REALTORS®.
Printed below are two letters Ron has delivered recently on bills under consideration by the State legislature that would significantly affect the rights of owners of rental real property.
One regards Senator Mark Leno’s SB 184 which would authorize the legislative body of any city or county to adopt ordinances to establish, as a condition of development, inclusionary housing requirements.
The other regards Assembly Member Tom Ammiano’s AB 265 which would increase the period of time a defaulting tenant has to pay rent or quit from three to 14 days.)
Assembly Member Tom Ammiano’s AB 265
Dear Assembly Member ________:
On April 26, 2011, the Assembly Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear AB 265. The San Francisco Association of REALTORS® is OPPOSED to the measure. We respectfully request a NO vote.
The bill requires a court to grant a tenant a right to remain in the rental unit or a right to regain possession of the rental unit if the tenant pays back rent due and nominal legal costs up to and including “lock-out.”
Our reasons to OPPOSE the measure include:
• Rent that is commonly due on the first of each month becomes moot because tenants will be permitted to pay rent much later should AB 265 become law.
• Proponents offer little reason to eliminate existing law requiring proof of hardship for delaying rent payments or reinstating a tenancy. They simple argue, that tenants need more time—a lot more time—to pay monthly rent.
• Today, courts may permit a tenant to remain in a rental unit ONLY in the event of hardship. This bill permits a tenant to, for any reason, remain in possession upon paying the delinquent rent and a small portion of the landlord’s legal costs. Other out-of-pocket costs for damages, lost rent, etc. would be lost.
• Tenants who proffer insufficient rent payments or those who are habitually late in the payment of rent are the most likely to take advantage of a “new” law that would permit them to, without cause, pay until “lock-out.” This is not fair to responsible tenants and landlords.
• Tenants could avail themselves of the “new” law on repetitive occasions, thus making it extremely expensive and frustrating for landlords. There would be no finality.
• The bill would increase the number and cost of unlawful detainer actions. Landlords will be forced to unjustly pay legal and court costs in every eviction action.
• Tenants would never have to file an answer to an unlawful detainer complaint, never appear in court, never pay reasonable attorneys fees, processing fees, and more and then, at the last moment, pay past due rent. Costs to landlords would skyrocket.
• Landlords would not ever know the status of a lawsuit until the bitter end. Landlords would not be able to enter into contract with a NEW TENANT in a timely manner because he or she would not know the status of the current unit.
• Late payment of rent will never result in an “adverse credit report.” No other creditor is prohibited from reporting late payments to a credit bureau.
• The bill mandates that landlords are to accept delinquent rent that may be paid months following the rent due date.
We respectfully urge you to vote NO on AB 265.
Senator Mark Leno’s SB 184 Would Eviscerate Costa-Hawkins
Dear Senator ___________:
On May 3, 2011 the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee is scheduled to hear SB 184. The San Francisco Association of REALTORS® is strongly OPPOSED to the measure and urges your NO vote.
The bill would assure that every local government could enact and enforce residential rent control on newly constructed units and prohibit property owners from pursuing lawful judicial remedies against a city or county for violating the law, including the long-standing Costa Hawkins Act.
Without exception local government rent control ordinances exempt newly constructed rental housing.
State and local legislators alike have consistently understood, embraced, and advocated for exempting new rental construction from rent control.
In fact, the legislature assured Californians that new rental housing would not be subject to rent control in 1995 through the Costa Hawkins Act.
For more than 30 years local government’s rent control laws have exempted newly constructed rental housing yet, many of those same governments adapted and enforced conflicting inclusionary zoning laws (laws that impose rent control on 10-30 percent of the newly constructed housing for no less than 30-years or require the property owner to pay mandatory in-lieu fees to that government of well over $100,000 per unit).
Among our reasons to OPPOSE the bill:
• Proponents argue the bill “simply” authorizes local government inclusionary zoning laws (a law, commonly referred to as rent control on newly constructed housing). Inclusionary zoning conflicts with:
• The Costa-Hawkins Act (Statutes of 1995) that established statewide new construction exemption for rental housing.
• The long-standing guarantee of local and state elected officials that newly constructed housing would always be exempt.
• Palmer/Sixth Street Properties, L.P. et al., v City of Los Angeles that held, without equivocation, that the City of Los Angeles inclusionary zoning ordinance is preempted by the Costa Hawkins Act.
• This bill is NOT A PERMISSIVE MEASURE, it is a bill that would stop any lawful challenge against a city or county. Mr. Palmer successfully litigated against the City of Los Angeles. Others should be given the right to litigate.
• There is NO CONFUSION about the intent and verbiage of the Costa-Hawkins Act: Civil Code Section 1954.52 (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an owner of residential real property may establish the initial and all subsequent rental rates for a dwelling…. (If) a certificate of occupancy (was) issued after February 1, 1995. The Legislature did enact a bill that did occupy the field on newly constructed rental housing rental rates.
For the Legislature to set aside the Costa-Hawkins Act, it:
• Will take away an important incentive for developers to construct rental housing; and
• Will seriously damage the construction industry.
• Will assure litigation since inclusionary housing (rent control requirements) ordinances and the Costa-Hawkins Act are in conflict with one another.
• Will preempt the Costa-Hawkins Act, without amending that area of law.
• Will destroy the notion long acknowledged by the State legislature that the State should occupy the field in certain and defined areas relating to rental housing. This is not a local control issue. If it were, planning and zoning laws, landlord and tenant law, and most every State statute would not be necessary.
The Costa-Hawkins Act and inclusionary zoning are in direct conflict with each other. If newly constructed rental housing is to remain exempt from rent control, the bill should be rejected by the Legislature.
We respectfully urge you to vote NO on SB 184.
Foster Weeks publishes a weekly mortgage report which is updated every Monday morning. How is this affecting the San Francisco real estate market? Read our weekly and monthly market reports. Here’s what Mr.Weeks says about last week’s activity:
WHEN IT RAINS, IT POOR’S… With the US already facing tough decisions over its national debt, the credit rating firm Standard and Poor’s last week cut its credit outlook on the US from stable to negative. Standard & Poor’s also said the US’s AAA credit rating could be cut within two years, if headway isn’t made in closing the budget gap. This is important because countries have credit ratings, just like individuals.
But what does all this mean? Let’s break it down…
First of all, it’s important to note that the downgrade to the credit outlook was a long time coming, and Traders in the pits even joked that S&P is late to the party with this call. For more information about different countries credit ratings – as well as your own state’s credit ratings – check out this Credit Ratings Link.
All joking aside, this is a serious issue, as the last thing the US wants to endure is an outright credit downgrade. That would make the interest expense on the US debt even more burdensome – and, remember, we are all on the hook for this debt and the carrying costs.
But if this was a long time coming, what sparked the change in outlook? The S&P cited the wide political divide amongst Congress as a major hurdle to meaningfully lower the federal budget deficit. Both parties want to lower the deficit but there is stark disagreement on how to get there. Hopefully, the S&P’s actions will spark a fire in Congress to get serious and get something done.
How does this issue impact Bonds and home loan rates?
The national debt concerns won’t be addressed easily, especially when you remember that the country is approaching the debt-ceiling limit on May 16th. So in the immediate future, this will make for more volatility in the markets as headlines gyrate both Stocks and Bonds. Bonds are in an even tougher spot in the long term – and here’s why:
First… if the US government is successful in taking action to lower the budget deficit and avoid an outright credit downgrade, then we should expect a longer duration of accommodative Fed monetary policy, as the Fed doesn’t want an economic slowdown to recreate a “deflationary” environment. If things do slowdown significantly, we may start hearing debate for a QE3 (or a third round of Quantitative Easing), which would not be good for Bonds and home loan rates.
Second… if the US debt received an outright downgrade, it would be really bad for Bonds. As it stands now, this doesn’t seem likely and you shouldn’t be overly alarmed. But, it’s important to understand what is at stake here. The bottom line is that with some extra belt tightening as a result of this issue, we could expect to see slower economic growth in the future, as government spending would have to slow immensely to help close the budget gap.
That said… home loan rates remain historically low right now. However, there are a lot of headwinds for Bonds down the road and last week’s credit outlook downgrade was just another one.
Now’s the time to learn more about these issues and see how you can take advantage of the current low home loan rates and affordable home prices. It only takes a few minutes to look at your specific situation. Call or email to get started.
Read the entire article and see the graphs here.
- Foster Weeks
Los Angeles Times – Despite Federal Reserve regulations that took effect April 1 requiring lenders to pay appraisers fair fees, many appraisers say they are still offered $200 to $250 by lenders for work billed to consumers at $450 or more.
MAKING SENSE OF THE STORY
- Last year’s Dodd-Frank financial reform law mandated that appraisers receive fees that are “customary and reasonable” for their local market areas, yet the Appraisal Institute says that is not happening.
- While a portion of the difference between what consumers are billed and appraisers are paid goes to the management companies that connect lenders with local appraisers and take a percentage for their services, often times lenders make a profit from the appraisal as well.
- Home buyers should care about this for several reasons. For starters, accurate appraisals are a concern for consumers, as appraisals can be deal-breakers if the appraisal comes in too low. When performed competently, appraisals can be accurate measures of the equity in a home when the homeowner refinances or seeks a second mortgage.
- Most experienced independent appraisers refuse to work for $200 to $250 because they can’t pay their overhead at that rate, leading less-experienced appraisers, who sometimes travel long distances and are unfamiliar with the area, to conduct the appraisal, which can lead to inaccurate, appraisals.
- The Appraisal Institute is seeking to persuade the Federal Reserve to tighten its regulations, which created a loophole for lenders and management companies that wanted to keep paying low fees to appraisers. In the meantime, consumers should demand transparency, asking how the appraisal fee was distributed and why.
California Association of Realtors just released its report for March 2011 real estate activity.
Calif. median home price: $286,010 (Source: C.A.R.) (note: compared to $271,320 last month)
Calif. highest median home price by C.A.R. region: Marin, $826,700 (Source: C.A.R.) (note: compared to $632,580 last month, Santa Barbara South Coast)
Calif. lowest median home price by C.A.R. region: Lake County $94,170 (Source: C.A.R.) (note: compared to $117,270 last month, High Desert)
NEW STATISTIC: California Pending Home Sales Index is 128.7 compared to 111.7 last month
Calif. First-time Buyer Affordability Index - Fourth Quarter 2010: 69 percent (Source: C.A.R.) (note: compared to 64 percent Third Quarter 2010)
Mortgage rates – week ending 4/14/11:
- 30-yr. fixed: 4.91%; Fees/points: 0.6% (note: compared to 4.86% and 0.7% points last report)
- 15-yr. fixed: 4.13%; Fees/points: 0.7% (note: compared to 4.09% and 0.7% points last report)
- 1-yr. adjustable: 3.25%; Fees/points: 0.6% (note: compared to 3.26% and 0.6% points last report)
- California Association of Realtors & Freddie Mac
Trulia recently launched a new quarterly report and interactive map, titled “Home Offer Report,” aimed at providing buyers and sellers with an upper hand prior to making offers or listing their home for sale.
Home Offer Report empowers buyers to make strategic offers and helps sellers price their homes to sell by providing local insights on when the first price reductions occurs in a neighborhood, where the reductions are happening, and how deep the reductions are.
During the past year, U.S. home sellers reduced more than $24 billion in potential wealth from home listings on Trulia.com. On average, most sellers will reduce their list price after 79 days on the market, choosing to lower their original list price by 8 percent. Following a first reduction, 35 percent of these sellers are likely to make a second discount.
By comparison, sellers in America’s 50 largest cities wait 62 days before making the first price reduction, discounting their listings by an average of 7 percent. Of the sellers who make one reduction, 42 percent will reduce their listing price again.
Key findings from the report include:
- Phoenix, AZ; Mesa, AZ; and Jackson, FL have the highest probability of making multiple price reductions.
- Home sellers in El Paso, TX; Tulsa; OK; and Omaha, NE; are least likely to make multiple price reductions.
- Detroit home sellers offer the deepest real estate discounts, with an average percentage discount of 19 percent during the first reduction.
- Boston tops the list of the stingiest home sellers with the smallest discounts on market.
- New York City is home to the nation’s most stubborn home sellers, who often wait 80 days on market before making their first price cut.
Minneapolis home sellers are quickest to slash their list price at 45 days on average.
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