market conditions: Best April for Orange County homebuying in 3 years - 05/18/10 12:03 PM
DataQuick’s homebuying stats for April are out, and they show a real estate market still on the mend with sales of all residences of 2,669 — that’s up 11.60% in a year and the best April in 3 years. Median selling price was $430,000 — up 13.2% in a year. Also …
Slice Price Yr. ago Sales Yr. ago Houses $505,000 +17.4% 1,704 +9.7% Condos $299,000 +16.6% 877 +18.7% New $629,500 +32.8% 88 -11.1% All O.C. $430,000 +13.2% 2,669 +11.6%
$430,000 median selling price that is still 33% below June 2007’s peak of $645,000. The most recent median is 16% … (0 comments)

market conditions: What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : April 12, 2010 - 04/12/10 03:08 AM
 
Mortgage markets improved last week to the delight of rate shoppers.
Against a sparse economic calendar, Wall Street turned its attention to geopolitics in Greece and the Eurozone.  It didn't like what it saw. Safe haven buying buoyed mortgage bond markets last week as pricing recaptured two-thirds of its monumental losses from the week prior.
Despite last week's surge, however, conforming and FHA mortgage rates remain near their worst levels of the year and appear poised to increase throughout the summer months.
The U.S. economy is improving. From last week:
Pending Home Sales posted a strong monthly improvement Wholesale Trade … (0 comments)

market conditions: Florida's Home Price Outlook Not So Sunny, California Fares Better - 04/02/10 06:33 AM
In its 12-month home price forecast issued Wednesday, Veros Real Estate Solutions said it had “continued bad news for Florida.” Markets in the Sunshine State claimed the top five spots on the collateral valuation company’s list of areas where prices are expected to drop the most over the next year.
The Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach market has the farthest to fall when it comes to price depreciation. There, Veros projects prices will plunge another 10 percent between now and March 2011.
In Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, the forecast is a decline of 8.9 percent. Naples-Marco Island will likely see prices drop another 8.8 percent, … (1 comments)

market conditions: Orange County Market Report – Demand Springs Forward. - 03/24/10 09:01 AM
Orange County Market Report – Demand Springs Forward.
Here is the latest market report from my friend Steven Thomas, of Altera Real Estate:
Orange County is taking “Spring Forward” to a whole new level with an increase in demand for the first time in six weeks.
Demand, the number of new pending sales over the prior month, increased by 216 homes over the prior two weeks and now totals 3,270, the highest level thus far in 2010. Demand is 600 pending sales stronger than last year at this time and 1,187 stronger than two years ago. After looking at developing … (0 comments)

market conditions: What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : March 15, 2010 - 03/15/10 07:41 AM

Mortgage markets worsened last week with little economic news to push markets in either direction. Momentum trading and rebalancing of portfolios drove mortgage rates higher, on average.
FHA and conventional mortgage rates rose last week, marking the first time that's happened this month.
Mortgage rates have been on impressive run lately and mortgages are priced far better than what most experts predicted. Weaker-than-expected economic data is one reason why. Lack of economic data may be another.
This week, however, data returns.
Monday : Industrial Production and Home Builder Index Tuesday : Housing Starts and Building Permits Wednesday: Consumer Confidence Thursday : … (2 comments)

market conditions: As The Supply Of New Homes Grows, So Does The Opportunity For A "Good Deal" - 02/25/10 02:57 AM
The housing recovery showed particular weakness in the New Homes Sales category last month -- good news for homebuyers around the country. A "new home" is a home for which there's no previous owner. New Home Sales fell 11 percent from the month prior and posted the fewest units sold in a month since 1963 -- the year the government first started tracking New Home Sales data. Right now, there are roughly 234,000 new homes for sale nationwide and, at the current sales pace, it would take 9.1 months to sell them all. This is nearly 2 months longer than at … (0 comments)

market conditions: Is that short sale listing's price too good to be true? - 02/09/10 01:39 AM

Here's the way the process usually works. A listing comes on the market deliberately underpriced at $199k and attracts 15-20+ offers - the highest of which is probably $225k. That offer is then submitted to the lender who spends the next couple of months processing the offer - including asking a couple of local brokers what such properties have been selling for. ( In this case probably close to $250k.)
Now the lender finally comes back to the original offer with a counter-offer of $250k, and usually the original buyer walks away - as all the other offers did, previously. … (8 comments)

market conditions: What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : February 1, 2010 - 02/01/10 04:58 PM
In a news-heavy week, mortgage markets improved last week, adding to a 3-week rally.
But, given last week's data and domestic story lines, it's surprising that rates actually fell.
The Federal Reserve said the economy continues to strengthen Consumer Confidence pushed to a 2-year high 4th Quarter domestic output exceeded Wall Street's expectations Usually, events like these draw money away from the bond markets and into the stock markets and Wall Street preps for better corporate earnings. The movement pressures mortgage rates to rise.
Last week, however, different stories trumped the headlines including a report from Standard & Poor's that said … (3 comments)

market conditions: A Simple Explanation Of The Federal Reserve Statement (January 27, 2010 Edition) - 01/27/10 09:16 AM
The Federal Open Market Committee voted to leave the Fed Funds Rate within its target range of 0.000-0.250 percent.
In its press release, the FOMC noted that the U.S. economy “has continued to strengthen”, that the jobs markets is getting better, and that financial markets are supportive of growth.
There was no mention of the housing market's strength.  The last 3 statements from the Fed included that specific verbiage.
It’s the fifth straight statement in which the Fed spoke about the economy with optimism.  This should signal to markets that 2008-2009 recession is over and that economic growth is returning to … (0 comments)

market conditions: What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : January 25, 2010 - 01/25/10 03:46 AM
Conforming and FHA mortgage rates improved last week on the combination of weaker-than-expected economic data and new anti-banking rhetoric from the White House.
The S&P 500 shed nearly 4 percent in its worst weekly showing since October 2009 as all 10 sectors fell. As the money left stock markets, it made its way to bonds -- including the mortgage-backed variety.
As a result, mortgage rates fell for the third straight week.
Since shedding 300 basis points in December, mortgage bond pricing has recovered a bit more than half of those losses.  It's helping with home affordability and opening new refinance opportunities … (0 comments)

market conditions: What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : January 19, 2010 - 01/19/10 09:07 AM
Mortgage markets showed little conviction last week, carving out just a narrow trading channel. There was very little data on which for markets to move, leaving mortgage rates momentum-bound.
Luckily for rate shoppers, mortgage rate momentum was favorable. Rates were slightly lower Monday through Thursday before breaking downward Friday afternoon. Home shoppers this past weekend caught a nice break.
Last week marked the second straight week in which mortgage rates fell.
This week, in holiday-shortened trading and with little economic data set for release, expect mortgage rates to again move on momentum. The biggest report of the week is Wednesday's Producer … (0 comments)

market conditions: Retail Sales Dropped In December And Now So Are Mortgage Rates - 01/14/10 07:37 AM

Mortgage rates are dropping this morning on weaker-than-expected Retail Sales data from December. Lower rates means more bang for your home-buying buck.
Excluding motor vehicles and parts, December's "ex-auto" sales receipts were down roughly $500 million from November. Analysts had expected receipts to grow.
The relevance of Retail Sales to home affordability isn't obvious, but it's definitely logical.
Retail Sales is directly related to consumer spending and consumer spending accounts for the majority of the U.S. economy. When consumer spending slows, the economy often does, too. It leads investors to seek out "safe" investments.
It's the reason why stock markets … (0 comments)

market conditions: The Bad Jobs Report Wasn't All Bad -- Mortgage Rates Fell - 01/11/10 11:04 PM
Despite the headlines, it's important to remember that December's jobs report wasn't all bad news. 
Sure, the economy shed 85,000 jobs last month and the Unemployment Rate failed to dip below 10%, but for home buyers and rate shoppers , the news was just fine.
The soft employment data led mortgage rates lower, making homes more affordable for buyers.
There are two sides to every economic coin.
Since early-2008, the U.S workforce has been closely tied to home financing. As the economy slowed and jobs were lost, Wall Streeters pulled money from the risky stock markets and moved it to of … (0 comments)

market conditions: What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : January 11, 2010 - 01/11/10 08:02 AM
Data was sparse through 2010's first trading week last week, setting the stage for a week of momentum trading.
In up-and-down trading, mortgage pricing improved overall but the best rates of the week didn't last long.
Rates improved Monday and Tuesday as an oversold market corrected itself to better price points.  Then, in anticipation of the December jobs report, rates worsened Wednesday and Thursday.  Friday, after the jobs report was released, pricing proceeded to carve out a huge range before settling unchanged.
On average, lenders issued new rate sheets every few hours last week. It was a difficult week to shop … (0 comments)

market conditions: Upon Closer Inspection, The Federal Reserve Isn't 100% Positive About The Future Of The Economy - 01/06/10 04:25 PM
Both mortgage rates and home affordability took a turn for the better Wednesday after the Federal Reserve released its December 15-16, 2009 meeting minutes.
The Fed Minutes is a follow-up piece to the post-FOMC meeting press release. But whereas the press release is succinct and to-the-point, the minutes are lengthy and often meandering.
As a comparison, December's press release contained 535 words. December's minutes had 6,260.
But these "extra words" aren't superfluous. They're actually very important to homeowners. Because the Federal Reserve's internal debates help to shape Wall Street expectations, it doesn't take much for those conversations to have a trickle-down effect … (0 comments)

market conditions: Looking At The 2010 Predictions For Housing Markets And Mortgage Rates - 01/05/10 04:01 AM
2010 is just a few days old and already the "experts" are making predictions for the year.
Housing calls and mortgage rate predictions run the gamut:
Home prices will fall in 2010 Home prices will rise in 2010 Mortgage rates will rise in 2010 Mortgage rates will rise by a lot in 2010 Given how varied their outlooks, it's clear that the professionals have no better view of the future than the amateurs. An expert can make an educated guess, but it's a guess nonetheless.
Last year, Wall Streeters predicted a 25% pullback in home prices. 12 months later, we know … (2 comments)

market conditions: What can we expect in 2010, in Orange County, CA? - 01/01/10 06:45 AM
The following is the second part of Steven Thomas’ end of year real estate market report for Orange County, California. Steven is a highly respected source of O. C. data, frequently cited in much of Southern California media, both television and newspapers.  He has been producing this twice monthly report for 5 years now, and has refined it into a concise and extremely informative synopsis of recent data, along with unusually accurate predictions of what looms on the foreseeable future.  His education, in addition to being a third generation member of an O. C. real estate family, includes a degree in … (1 comments)

market conditions: The latest real estate Market Report for Orange County, CA. - 12/31/09 05:19 AM
The following is a first part of Steven Thomas’ end of year real estate market report for Orange County. Steven is a highly respected source of O. C. data, frequently cited in much of Southern California media, both television and newspapers.  He has been producing this twice monthly report for 5 years now, and has refined it into a concise and extremely informative synopsis of recent data, along with unusually accurate predictions of what looms on the foreseeable future.  His education, in addition to being a third generation member of an O. C. real estate family, includes a degree in Quantum … (0 comments)

market conditions: What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : December 7, 2009 - 12/07/09 03:42 AM
Mortgage markets finally reversed course last week, selling off with fury and causing prices to plummet. 
When bonds prices fall, rates rise.
The action broke a multi-week winning streak, much to the disappointment of rate shoppers everywhere. Rate hikes came in stages.
First, early in the week, mortgage bonds fell out of favor as traders booked profits ahead of the November jobs report and as concerns over a Dubai Default waned.
Then, on Friday, when the jobs report was ultimately released, it showed a net loss of just 11,000 jobs in November and dip in the Unemployment Rate to 10.0 percent.
(0 comments)

market conditions: One Reason Why Mortgage Rates Are Back To All-Time Lows - 11/27/09 01:32 AM
Home affordability improved this week after the Federal Reserve released its November 3-4, 2009 meeting minutes.
The FOMC Minutes is a companion to the Federal Reserve's post-meeting press release. It's released 3 weeks after the Fed adjourns and details the internal debates that shape our nation's monetary policy. 
As compared to the press release, the minutes can be rather lengthy. November's press release featured 428 words, the minutes offered 6531.
However, this extra level of detail shapes markets and mortgage rates.  With Wall Street unsure about the economy's path, investors look to our nation's central bankers for guidance.
The Fed has made several points clear:
(2 comments)