South Orange County Blog from Bob Phillips

Location? What Location?

Posted in Uncategorized by southorangecounty on July 15, 2016

Location? What Location? Which Location?!  for sale sign

It’s almost a joke these days, but one solidly mired in truth: the real estate mantra of location, location, location. It is of course the one thing about your new home that you can’t renovate or upgrade; that’s why considering exactly where you are buying is so crucial to your entire homeshopping experience.

So when you’re thinking about location, does it mean more than which city or town you want to live in? Of course it does. Here are four factors to consider when shopping for your new home, all related to location, location, location!

  • Urban? Suburban? Rural? You can live in Chicago, or Tucson, or Sacramento without being downtown. Whether you want to be right in the city, on the outskirts, or more of a commuter makes a big difference in home prices and sizes, and in the time it will take you to get around.
  • Narrowing it down. Once you know whether you’re a city kid or a country kid, you’ll need to drill down another layer and figure out what you want in the area directly surrounding your home. Do you want to be close to the freeway? Is it important to be able to walk to a coffeeshop, or to have a local farmers market, or ride your bike to the grocery store? Making a list of the features characterizing the neighborhood you dream of living in will help you find that neighborhood, so you can become part of it.
  • Look up the future. By this, we mean check into plans for infrastructure updates, commercial zoning, and other planned developments in the area. Building on empty lots is good; having a freeway come through your backyard is not so good.
  • The worst house on the best block. This is also an old saying that’s still totally true. If you can buy the worst house on the best block, it’s far better than buying the best house on the worst block. You can work toward getting your home in line with your neighbors’; there’s no guarantee your neighbors will try to catch up with you.

Whether you’re looking to settle down to stay for years to come or you’re considering your new home’s resale potential, you’ll always need to put consideration of location at the top of your list of features you’re considering when shopping for your new home.

If you’d like to discuss your homebuying options further, give me a call today – let’s talk real estate! I look forward to working with you.


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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 11, 2016

Posted in mortgage rates by southorangecounty on July 11, 2016


Last week’s economic news included minutes from the most recent meeting of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) along with several reports on private and public sector employment and the national unemployment rate. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

FOMC Minutes: Committee Closely Monitoring Economic Developments

The minutes of June’s FOMC meeting indicate that Fed policymakers continue to be cautious based on low inflation and close review of domestic and global economic developments. Committee members acknowledged improvements in the housing market, but also noted that annual inflation remains below the Fed’s two percent goal. Low inflation and wage growth presented obstacles to would-be home buyers who continued to face rapidly rising home prices and low inventories of available homes. FOMC members voted not to increase the current target federal funds rate of 0.25 to 0.50 percent.

FOMC’s June meeting occurred before Great Britain’s decision to leave the EU, which created volatility in financial markets and caused mortgage rates to drop.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported an across-the-board drop in average mortgage rates last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by seven basis points to 3.41 percent and the rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 2.74 percent. Rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate averaged 2.68 percent. Discount points were unchanged at 0.50, 0.40 and 0.50 percent respectively.

New jobless claims were decreased to a three-month low of 254,000 as compared to expectations of 265,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 270,000 new claims. New jobless claims were higher after the end of the school year, when some school workers became eligible for benefits when schools closed for summer break.

Job Creation Jumps After May Lull

Non-farm payrolls expanded significantly in June after May’s sharp drop. 287,000 jobs were created in June as compared to expectations of 173,000 new jobs and May’s dismal reading of 11,000 new jobs. The non-farm payrolls report includes readings for public and private sector jobs. June’s ADP payrolls report measures private-sector jobs; June’s reading surpassed May’s reading of 168,000 jobs with 172,000 new jobs.

In related news, the Commerce Department reported that national unemployment increased from May’s reading of 4.80 to 4.90 percent. Analysts said that this uptick may not be bad news, but instead indicated an expanding workforce. Unemployment readings are based on the number of workers seeking work and don’t include workers who have left the workforce.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic releases include the Consumer Price Index, Core CPI, retail sales and consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

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