South Orange County Blog from Bob Phillips

Case Shiller Home Price Index Shows Rising Prices For May 2013

Case Shiller Home Price Index Shows Rising Prices For May 2013The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index (HPI) released Tuesday presented solid evidence that the housing recovery continued during the month of May.

The Case-Shiller 20-City Index showed increasing home prices for all 20 cities.

Highest Year-Over-Year Gains Included Theses Cities:

  • San Francisco, CA 24.50 percent
  • Las Vegas, NV 23.30 percent
  • Phoenix, AZ 20.60 percent
  • Atlanta, GA 20.10 percent
  • Los Angeles, CA 19.20 percent

In surprising news, Dallas, TX and Denver, CO posted record year-over-year price gains that surpassed their pre-crisis peaks.

Year-over-year home prices in Dallas increased by 7.60 percent and Denver home prices increased by 9.70 percent year-over-year in May.

Home prices grew by 12.20 percent on a year-over year basis in May; this reading fell short of expectations of 12.40 percent, but moved slightly ahead of April’s reading of a 12.10 percent year-over year increase.

The Case-Shiller HPI is based on a three-month rolling year-over-year average of home prices in the cities surveyed.

Cities Post Month-To- Month Price Gains 

On a seasonally-adjusted month-to-month basis, home prices rose by 1.00 percent in May as compared to April. Expectations were for a 1.40 percent increase over April’s reading, which came in at 1.70 percent.

Top Gains From April To May Were Posted By These Cities:

  • San Francisco, CA 4.30 percent
  • Chicago, IL 3.70 percent
  • Atlanta, GA 3.40 percent
  • San Diego, CA 3.10 percent
  • Seattle, WA 3.10 percent

Analysts noted that home prices for two metro areas in Florida surpassed year-over-year gains in Washington, D.C.; this illustrates home values shifting geographically.

Miami home prices posted a month-to gain of 2.00 percent and a year-over-year gain of 14.20 percent.

Tampa, FL home prices posted a month-to-month gain of 1.80 percent on a year-over-year gain of 10.90 percent.

Washington, D.C. home prices gained 2.00 percent month-to-month in May, but only gained 6.50 percent year-over-year.

Rising Mortgage Rates Are Slowing Price Momentum

It’s important to understand that the data in the Case-Shiller HPI lags a couple of months behind current market conditions; the latest numbers were compiled prior to mortgage rates spiking. Economists expect that the impact of higher mortgage rates won’t be seen in home prices until fall.

Locally, higher mortgage rates have slowed home sales over the past month. As the demand for homes has fallen due to higher mortgage rates, inventories of available homes have expanded considerably, which is starting to create competition among home sellers and will most likely lead to softer home prices, leading into the fall.  These factors should portend well for buyers, over the next 5 or 6 months, until next years waves of new buyers start showing up, next January and February.

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Short Sales Reported as a Foreclosure and Credit Provider Discrepancies

A lot of today’s buyers have completed a short sale in their recent history and are now seeking to purchase a home again, wondering when they’ll be eligible to do so.  Below is an article I just read from one of the lenders whose opinion I respect, and whose services I regularly recommend.

Short Sales Reported as a Foreclosure and Credit Provider Discrepancies 

                                              Home-Financing-Tips-3

Current Fannie Mae guidelines require a 2 year waiting period after a borrower has had a short sale to be eligible for new financing with a 20% down payment. The loan must be submitted through Fannie Mae’s automated underwriting system, Desktop Underwriter (DU), to insure the short sale on their credit will be approved. 

There are three different results DU will report a loan file as:

A)     Approved/Eligible-this means the buyer is approved

B)      Refer/Eligible-this means the buyer’s file must be manually approved by an underwriter

C)      Refer with Caution- this is a loan denial 

There are 3 main credit bureaus that collect and report the information-Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Each of the bureaus makes their own decision on what internal codes are to be used in reporting a short sale. The code most commonly used is an I-5,“Installment with Severe Delinquency”. Unfortunately the code I-9 is sometimes reported which represents a “Foreclosure”. 

If two of the bureaus report an I-5 and one of the bureaus report the short sale as an I-9, Desktop Underwriter reads the report as a foreclosure and will issue a Refer with Caution because the waiting period after a foreclosure with FNMA is 7 years. 

Experian refuses to change the code from I-9 to I-5 if they are the bureau reporting the short sale as a foreclosure. Their reasoning is the definition of a short sale is a pre-foreclosure which is deemed a type of foreclosure. 

The remedy would be a manual underwrite because the buyer’s documentation would prove the home sold and the bank settled for less than full. However, most investors require a DU Approve/Eligible in order for them to purchase the loan so most lenders do not offer a manual underwrite on Fannie Mae loans. 

One solution has been waiting for the 3 year time period to elapse and finance with FHA. The waiting period after a foreclosure is 3 years with FHA. The down side is the mortgage insurance requirement even if the borrower has 20% down payment. That can be a very expensive option for the buyer. 

The takeaway from this is to know it is more than just meeting the time frame after a short sale for the buyer to be eligible for new financing. The buyer needs to be fully approved by having their loan file entered in Fannie Mae’s automated underwriting system and have the final decision be Approved/Eligible before entering escrow.” (End of my friend’s article.)

If you’re a potential home buyer who falls into this category, and you’re searching for a lender to assist you, I can recommend a couple of excellent ones.

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Questions To Ask Your Home Inspector Before Buying Your Home

Posted in Home Buyer Tips, Home buying, Real Estate Tips by southorangecounty on July 30, 2013

Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector Before Buying Your HomeImagine how frustrated you’d be to find out that the hot water heater wasn’t working – in the middle of your very first shower in your new home!

This, among other very good reasons, is why you should have a home inspection before you buy your home.

When you buy a home, you need to know exactly what you’re buying.

A home inspection is an important part of buying your home. Before you hire a home inspector, ask candidates a few questions to make sure you hire a trustworthy inspector.

What Does Your Inspection Cover?

Not all inspections are the same. Ask for copies of previous home inspections so you can see exactly what they will check inside the home.

If you are concerned about something specific, like a leaky faucet in the bathroom, mention that to the inspector so they can check it out.

Are You Licensed Or Certified?

If you live in a state that licenses home inspectors, ask to see their license. Most reputable home inspection professionals provide this information right at the start of your home inspection.

At the very least, choose a home inspector who belongs to American Society of Home Inspectors. This shows a level of professionalism and education that you can trust.

What Kind Of Report Will You Give Me?

You should expect a written report detailing what the inspector found. Most inspectors will give you a typed report within a week of the inspection.

Many even take digital color photos of any issues with the home in order to make their report as clear as possible. Make sure the inspector will be available to explain anything on the report that doesn’t make sense to you.

Will I Be Able To Attend The Inspection?

If the inspector refuses to let you be present during the home inspection, find someone else. This is your chance to know exactly what you are buying and what potential repairs you or the seller will have to make.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week — July 29, 2013

Posted in Financial Reports, Housing Analysis, Mortgage Guidelines, Mortgage Rates, Refinances, The Economy by southorangecounty on July 29, 2013

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - July 29, 2013Last week brought a mixed bag of economic news, but most notably, average mortgage rates fell.

New home sales surpassed expectations and consumer sentiment rose for July; these readings among others suggest that the economy continued to improve and that consumer confidence in the economy improved as well.

Monday: Existing home sales in June were reported at 5.08 million on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. While this fell short of expectations of 5.25 million existing homes sold, the expectation was based on the original reading of 5.18 million existing homes sold for May; this was later revised to 5.14 million homes existing homes sold in May.

Tuesday: FHFA reported that May prices for homes with mortgages held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac remained consistent with April’s reading of a 7.30 percent increase on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. Home prices rose by 0.70 percent in May as compared to April’s revised reading of 0.50 percent.

Wednesday: The U.S. Census Bureau revealed that June sales of new homes came in at 497,000, which surpassed both expectations of 483,000 new homes sold and May’s reading of 449,000 new homes sold.

Thursday: Freddie Mac reported that mortgage rates fell last week; the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by six basis points to 3.31 percent with 0.8 percent in discount points.

The average rate for a 15-year mortgage was 3.39 percent with discount points of 0.8 percent as compared to last week’s report of 3.41 percent. Average rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage dropped by one basis point from 3.17 percent to 3.16 percent; discount points moved from 0.60 percent to 0.70 percent.

In other economic news, June’s report for Durable Goods Orders nearly doubled to 4.20 percent over expectations of 2.30 percent.

Friday: Consumer Sentiment for July rose to 85.1 as compared to expectations of 84.0 and June’s reading of 83.90 percent. That consumers continued gaining confidence in the economy could indicate that more would-be home buyers will become active homebuyers seeking to buy amidst a short inventory of available homes.

This Week’s Busy Economic Calendar

Readings for several significant economic and housing related indicators will be released this week.

Pending Home Sales are due out today; Tuesday brings the Case-Shiller Home Price Index and the Consumer Confidence Index. Wednesday’s news includes the ADP report (useful for tracking private sector job growth) and an FOMC statement after its meeting ends.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is also scheduled to give a press conference Wednesday. As always, any remarks concerning projected changes to the Fed’s quantitative easing program (QE) could impact financial markets and mortgage rates.

On Thursday, construction spending data will be released in addition to Freddie Mac’s weekly report on average mortgage rates.

Friday’s news includes several employment-related reports. The monthly Non-Farm Payrolls and Unemployment report will be released; collectively these two reports are frequently called the Jobs Report.

Data on personal income and consumer spending will round out the week’s economic news.

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How To Bring More Natural Light Into Your Home

Posted in Around The Home, Around The House, Home How To, Home improvement, Real Estate Tips by southorangecounty on July 26, 2013

How To Bring More Natural Light Into Your HomeOne of the biggest improvements that you can make to your home is to bring in more natural light.

Sunlight is a powerful mood enhancer and a home design that brings in a lot of natural light will automatically look and feel much more pleasant. Not only will it boost your mood, bringing in natural light will also increase the value of your home.

So how can you shed some light on your home’s interior?

Here are a few ways:

Add More Reflective Surfaces

Whenever you add a light and reflective surface to your home, you increase the number of times that daylight bounces around inside the room.

Try painting your ceilings and walls with light or off-white colours. Matte finishes are actually better than glossy surfaces, as they reflect light in all directions at once. Add some metal accents and some mirrors to the space, which will also reflect the light.

Move Your Furniture Around

Do you have furniture that is blocking natural light from coming in? Move your furniture away from the windows so that it will not get in the way of the sunlight streaming into your home.

Add A Glass Door

Is there anywhere in your home where you can exchange a solid door for one with glass in its design? This will allow the light to flow through the doorway and increase the feeling of brightness in your home.

There are plenty of glass doors with superb security features, so they will be just as safe as any other door. Also, if you have a yard or a patio to look out on, adding sliding glass doors will be a great way to let the light in and enjoy the view.

Expand Your Windows

Is it possible to increase the size of any of your windows? If yes, the windows on the south side of the house, will bring a significant amount of sunshine into the home.

Add A Skylight

Adding skylights to your home will bring a lot of natural light into the interior. Also, they are much more private than windows because anyone passing by will not be able to see through them. They also add overhead lighting, so that you will not need to use electricity during daylight hours.

These are just a few ways that you can let the sunshine in and bring more natural light into your South Orange County home.

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What Should You To Do In Advance To Prepare For Your Mortgage Application

What Should You To Do In Advance To Prepare For Your Mortgage Application

If you are applying for a mortgage to buy a home, doing your homework in advance before you submit the application means that you will stand a better chance of getting accepted at a desirable mortgage rate.

According to mortgage experts, it is a good idea to gather up all of the needed documents in advance before launching your house hunt, as this will make the application process a lot easier.

The housing burst has resulted in much harder lending standards, which means that it could possible take weeks or sometimes even months to secure a loan.

Here are a few important steps that you should take in advance:

Consider What You Can Really Afford

Before you start the entire house hunting and mortgage application process, you should consider what you can really afford to buy.

It might be tempting to buy a house at the upper end of your price range, but consider the fact that it will be more of a struggle to make your mortgage payments and it will take much longer to pay down the mortgage. Assess your finances and be honest with yourself.

Buying a home that is more comfortably within your price range will ensure that you can easily manage your monthly budget over the years.

Save Up A Down Payment

The bank will want to see that you are able to make a down payment of at least 20% of the value of the home.

In order to save up this amount of money, it will be easier if you start in advance and save a small amount every month. The more you can pay for a down payment, the less your mortgage will be and the more money you will save over the length of the loan.

Do Your Research

Take your time to do lots of research in advance and seek out impartial advice on the mortgage market. There are so many options to choose from and a lot to consider, so the more knowledge you have the more prepared you are to make an informed decision.

Consider Your Credit

Before applying for a mortgage loan, you should take a look at your credit report.

Your lender will look at it when you are making an application and they will use it to consider whether or not to offer you the loan and what type of interest rate to give you. If you spot any errors or issues with the credit report, it is a good idea to get them fixed now before you apply.

These are just a few things to consider before applying for a mortgage.

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Existing Home Sales: Second Highest Level Since 2009

Existing Home Sales Second Highest Level Since 2009

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, national sales of existing homes in June came in at 5.08 million.

Summer typically produces the highest prices for existing homes sold, as families seeking larger homes frequently move during summer months.

The June inventory of existing homes improved by 1.90 percent to 2.19 million homes or a 5.20 month supply. June’s number of available homes was 7.60 percent lower than in June 2012.

The shortage of available homes has been causing buyers to turn from existing homes to new homes in areas where both available homes and/or land for new construction are in short supply.

Average Home Prices Continue Their Climb Nationally

So the news of more existing homes for sale is good news for home buyers and housing markets that have been held back by an excess of buyers seeking a short supply of available homes.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun noted that inventories of existing homes are expected to “broadly favor sellers and contribute to above-normal price growth.”

This trend was supported by June’s national average price for existing homes at $214,200, which represented a year-over-year increase of 13.5 percent. Rising home prices and mortgage rates continue creating financial challenges for first-time buyers and others seeking affordable home prices and mortgage loans.

Distressed home sales were down from 18 percent in May to 15 percent in June; this is the lowest market share since tracking began in 2008. June sales of distressed homes were significantly lower than in June 2012’s reading of 26 percent of existing homes sold.

The National Association of REALTORS® noted that falling levels of distressed sales are contributing to higher prices for existing homes.

FHFA Reports Home Prices Rise In May

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported Tuesday that prices for homes financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rose by 0.70 percent in May as compared to April’s downwardly revised 0.50 percent increase in home prices.

According to the FHFA Housing Price Index (HMI), home prices were up by 7.30 percent year-over-year in May, and are roughly equal to home prices reported for January 2005. May’s home prices remained 11.20 percent below peak prices reported in April 2007.

May’s FHFA data demonstrated steady growth of home prices for all nine census divisions on a year-over-year basis with home prices increasing from 2.70 percent to 15.80 percent in May.

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First Things First, What To Do Upon Moving Into Your New Home

Posted in Home Buyer Tips, Home buying, Home How To, Real Estate Tips by southorangecounty on July 23, 2013

First Things First What To Do Upon Moving Into Your New HomeIf you have purchased a new home and are going to move in soon, what are the first few things that you will need to do upon moving into your new home?

Moving can be very stressful, but having a checklist can make your move effortless.

Here are 6 easy steps that can eliminate any frustration and help you feel safe and secure:

Change Your Address

You will need to change your address for all magazine subscriptions, bills and other services. You can update your mailing address online or visit your local post office to find out what needs to be done.

Set Up The Utilities

When you move into a new home, you may get all of the contact information from the previous home owner or real estate agent for the utility companies. Be sure to change the services into your name before you move in, such as gas, cable, electricity, internet, telephone, sewer and water.

Change The Locks

You have no way of knowing who the old home owners gave a copy of the key to, so having the locks changed is something that you should do right away when you move into your new property.

Have The Carpets Cleaned

Get your life in the new house off to a fresh start by having the carpets steam cleaned before you move your furniture in. You could either rent a steam cleaner or pay a carpet cleaning service, but either way this will make the house feel really clean and new.

Figure Out Your Breaker Box

Another important first step to owning your new home is to figure out which breakers control each part of your home.

Knowing how the breaker box works will ensure that you can flip the right switch when you need to. You might need to ask someone to help you by standing in another part of the house and letting you know which lights come on or off when you flick the switches.

Check Your Smoke Alarms

The smoke alarms and CO monitors in your home might not have been checked recently, so make sure that they are functioning properly. Depending on how old they are, you might need to change the batteries. This is an important maintenance task for your own safety.

These are just a few of the important first steps that you should take when you first move into your brand new home.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 22, 2013

Posted in Housing Analysis by southorangecounty on July 22, 2013

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week July 22 2013Last week’s economic news was a mixed bag with retail sales and housing starts coming in lower than expected, but home builder confidence in housing markets increased.

Weekly jobless claims fell, and Fed Chair Ben Bernanke testified before the Senate, saying that falling gold prices were an indication of increasing confidence in the economy, but that it was “way too soon” to say when the Fed’s quantitative easing program would be reduced.

Monday: Retail sales for June came in lower than expected at 0.4 percent. Economists estimated a reading of 0.9 percent based on May’s reading of 0.5 percent.

Tuesday: June’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) came in as expected at 0.5 percent against May’s reading of 0.1 percent. The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) for July gained five points for a reading of 57, which exceeded expectations of a reading of 52. Builders cited a short supply of existing homes and falling materials prices as factors contributing to June’s stronger reading.

Wednesday: Housing starts in June fell to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 836,000 against expectations of 950,000 and May’s revised reading of 928,000. Regional weather and a surplus of unused building permits were seen as contributing to fewer housing starts in June; analysts did not see the dip in housing starts as a sign of softening housing markets.

Thursday: Fed Chair Ben Bernanke testified before the Senate as noted above and was careful to emphasize that economic data received after the last FOMC meeting indicated that it is “way too soon” for the Fed to change its monthly volume of Treasury bonds and MBS purchases. This is good news for mortgage markets, and possibly for mortgage rates, which fell this week.

Freddie Mac reported that average rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by 14 basis points to 4.37 percent; average rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage fell by 12 basis points to 3.41 percent; these rates include average discount points of 0.7 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 ARM was 3.17 percent with discount points of 0.6 percent. The 5/1 ARM provides an affordable alternative to rising fixed mortgage rates.

Friday: No significant economic news noted.

What’s Coming Up

This week’s schedule includes Existing Home Sales on Monday; on Tuesday, the FHFA releases its Home Prices report. New Home Sales will be released on Wednesday; Thursday brings weekly jobless claims and the Durable Goods report. The week will finish with the Consumer Sentiment report on Friday.

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5 Important Tips To Protect Your Home From Burglars When You Are Away

Posted in Around The Home, Around The House, Home How To, Home Security, Real estate, Real Estate Tips by southorangecounty on July 19, 2013

5 Important Tips To Protect Your Home From Burglars When You Are AwayAny family would feel violated after coming home to a ransacked house. Burglars look for specific things when choosing a home to break into, and many homeowners are unknowingly inviting criminals through the front door.

Below are five ways you can avoid drawing the eyes of thieves and deter your home from becoming a target.

Beware Of Selling To Strangers

If you’re wanting to sell items on Craigslist or another internet-based classified ad website, attempt conducting your transactions outside of the home.

If you must meet at home, screen the person over the telephone to ensure that they are truly interested in the item you’re selling. Thieves have been known to make appointments just to check out your home.

Be Careful If You Tweet About It

Not all of your friends protect their social media information, or may not have the most virtuous acquaintances. If you share your upcoming vacation or big event, then a mischievous friend of a friend will know the perfect time to forcefully check out your home.

Learn how to limit your social media posts to only your trusted contacts.

Mind Your Trash

Be careful when it comes to taking out the garbage, especially around holidays. Criminals will drive around nice neighborhoods and specifically look for empty boxes of high-price items. Then all they have to do is wait for you to leave the house before they force their way in and nab the goods.

Break down boxes and conceal them in garbage bags or trashcans.

Prepare For Your Vacation

Make sure when you leave on vacation that you put a few lights on timers and have someone collect your mail. A home that is obviously vacant is every burglar’s dream.

And if you’re on an extended holiday, ensure you also hire someone to take care of the lawn – overgrown grass is a no-one-is-home indicator.

Secure The Safe

Just because you put your valuables in a safe doesn’t mean they’re secure. If the safe isn’t installed in a wall or bolted to the floor, then a burglar can just carry it through your front door. They can figure out how to break into it later.

Make the additional time investment to ensure your safe can’t walk out the door.

With a little common sense and by following the advice above, you’ll reduce the risk of your home being targeted by burglars.

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