Sunday, July 29, 2007

Market Prediction. Who's Right About the Housing Market?

Market prediction, up or down. Most news about real estate market nowaday are all gloomy.
This article is interesting to read in it's full content.

The article is written by James A. Crumbaugh, who has worked exclusively in the real estate industry for more than 35 years. He said that the worst article he has ever read in his entire adult life, was a recent column in the July 9, 2007, issue of BARRON’S.

This article from BARRON’S said that the real estate market in the US will go down another 30%.

MONDAY, JULY 9, 2007
1. Picking Through the Rubble
2. Cover Story -- Part II
3. Emerging Danger
4. Market Mayhem
5. Safe Spots for Bond Investors
Why a Housing Recovery Is Far Off
THE SPEED OF THE DROP IN HOME SALES has slowed over the past few months, leading some commentators to argue that the housing-market crisis will soon be over. But it's far too soon to start anticipating a recovery. In fact, there are solid reasons to think that the bottom might not be reached for a year or more.
The dynamics have changed since sales began to fall in the summer of 2005. At that time, the Fed was in the middle of its program to normalize short-term interest rates, which inexorably raised the cost of adjustable-rate mortgages. The flood of cheap ARMs when the fed-funds rate was very low was a key driver of the housing boom's latter stages. Many borrowers who were lured into the market by the availability of cheap ARMs should never have been granted loans, but there weren't many complaints at the time.

Experts vs. Neophytes - Who's Right About the Housing Market?
A U.S. Real Estate Pro Disagrees with British Economist's Dire Industry Outlook
Written by: James A. Crumbaugh III
July 25th, 2007 - 1:00 am

Every day we get to read another scare story about the real estate market. Some of these articles drive me up the wall because they are written by someone that has never spent a day working in the Real Estate industry, or they are written by a stock broker or some other neophyte.
However, the worst article I have ever read in my entire adult life, and I have spent my entire adult life in the real estate industry, was a recent column in the July 9, 2007, issue of BARRON’S. Before I address this article, let me give you a little background on myself. I have worked exclusively in the real estate industry for more than 35 years. I have owned and sold real estate companies, the most recent a six-office Prudential franchise with 200 REALTORS, 2,000 closed sales per year and almost $300 million in sales volume.
I sold the company at the very peak of the real estate boom because I took my own advice. I used to write a weekly real estate column for a local newspaper in Southwest Florida. In the summer of 2005, I predicted this exact market and, as a result, sold my company to a company that had been courting me for years.
My forecasts have been so accurate over the last three years that the local newspaper is running my articles from 2005 and asked me to write new articles on my view of the real estate market over the next few years. With that said, let me address the article that has my hair (what’s left of it) standing on end.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Best Places To Live For Over 50

The Best Places to Live if You're 50+
Looking for a great place to retire?

AARP's membership magazine has revealed it's annual ranking of the top five places to live for people older than 50. The selections are based on criteria that make a community livable, such as mass-transit systems so residents can drive less, expanded sidewalks to encourage walking, better health care, and a wide range of mixed use housing, according to the magazine.This year's top picks are:

Atlanta: "A sophisticated metropolis with southern charm, Atlanta offers abundant volunteer and cultural opportunities. Retirees also appreciate the wide range of housing options."

Beacon Hill in Boston: "This historically genteel part of Boston is full of culture and great restaurants. The Beacon Hill Village provides concierge style access to a network of support services for aging residents including transportation, health care and entertainment."

Chandler, Ariz.: "Gracious desert living combined with an activist twist that encourages residents to get involved with the spirit of the town. A city climate and plenty of parks and open space provide ample recreation opportunities."

Milwaukee: "An example of urban renewal at its best, Milwaukee features picturesque river walks and affordable water-front living."

Portland, Ore.: "European charm meets environmental nirvana in this environmentally progressive city. 50-plus residents love the miles of safe bike lanes and the revitalized Pearl District."

AARP also named four cities to watch: Austin, Texas; Burlington, Vt.; Mankato, Minn., and Traverse City, Mich.

Source: AARP The Magazine

Monday, July 23, 2007

Top 10 Worst Hit Zip Codes By Foreclosure - Second Quarter, 2007 June 19, 2007 stated that - the most foreclosure activity is clustered in two area; old Rust-Belt areas and new Sun-Belt ones.

Top 10 Worst Hit Zip Codes By Foreclosure - Second Quarter, 2007

(stats are in order: zip code, city, foreclosures in 3 months, median income, and percentage of state income)

44105 Cleveland, OH 783 $22,889 58%
30310 Atlanta. GA 709 $22,715 48%
80219 Denver, CO 705 $27,959 52%
48228 Detroit, MI 679 $26,953 57%
95823 Sacramento, CA 634 $30,481 61%
48205 Detroit, MI 634 $26,115 61%
48224 Detroit, MI 583 $32,503 76%
89031 N. Las Vegas, NV 575 $42,952 80%
80239 Denver, CO 553 $31,633 68%
48219 Detroit, MI 549 $31,676 74%

Ref: CNN Money income stats via City Data

Top 500 Foreclosures:
Where the most foreclosures have been filed.

Top 10 Rental Markets

According to Business Week, cautious would-be homeowners and buyers who are unable to qualify to purchase their own homes are delaying the purchase of homes. Affordability issue and tighter lending standards also played the role in this surge in rental rates in many areas of the country and rents have skyrocketing in these cities.

Top 10 Rental Markets With Fastest Rising Rates, 2nd Quarter 2007

San Francisco, CA $1,757 - 3 % Increase
San Jose, CA, $1,473 - 2.4 % Increase
New York City, NY $2,657 - 2.1 % Increase
Seattle, WA $973 - 2 % Increase
Oakland-East Bay, CA., $1,300 - 1.8 % Increase
Orange County, CA, $1,493 - 1.7 % Increase
Washington, D.C., $1,301 – 1.7 % Increase
Baltimore, MD $945 - 1.7 % Increase
New Haven, CT. – $1,065, 1.6 % Increase
Philadelphia,PA $981 – 1.6 % Increase
Ref: Business Week

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Latest News On The Net

The latest economic forecast by NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®:

  • Homebuilders will limit new construction well into 2008. The forecast predicted that home prices are poised for recovering in 2008 as housing inventory falls from current levels.
  • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is estimated to average 6.7 percent during the second half of this year, and fluctuate around 6.6 percent in 2008.
  • Growth in the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) will probably be 2 percent in 2007, compared with a 3.3 percent growth rate last year; GDP is forecast to grow 2.8 percent in 2008.
  • The unemployment rate is likely to average 4.6 percent in 2007, unchanged from last year.
  • Inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, is projected at 2.6 percent in 2007, down from 3.2 percent last year. Inflation-adjusted disposable personal income should rise 3 percent this year, up from a 2.6 percent gain in 2006.—

- REALTOR® Magazine Online


Sales of High-End Homes Are Booming

From an article by David Leonhardt (07/11/07) on The New York Times

Sales of high-end homes are doing better than the rest of the market in many areas, according to DataQuick Information Systems, which tracks home prices.

In Boston, for instance, the number of homes selling for at least $1 million fell to 619 in the first five months of 2006, but jumped to 711 in the first five months of this year, about equal to sales during the same period of 2005, which was a boom year.

The same situation is true for New York City; San Jose, Calif.; Seattle; Denver; and Houston. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Miami, high-end sales are down but not by nearly as much as sales in other price segments.

There appears to be three main causes of the split in the market. First, affluent families continue to do better financially than others, thanks to healthy income gains and a rising stock market.

The upper end of the market has also been helped by an influx of well-off foreign investors whose buying power has grown with the recent decline of the dollar.

Finally, both the recent rise in interest rates and the problems in the mortgage market have had a much bigger effect on low-income and middle-class buyers than affluent ones. It's become harder to get a subprime mortgage, while the uptick in interest rates this year has added about $100 to the monthly payment on an average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

Source: The New York Times, David Leonhardt (07/11/07)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Newest Most Expensive Home For Sale - in The US

SoCal Mansion Is Nation's Priciest Estate Once Belonged To William Randolph Hearst

POSTED: 8:50 am PDT July 10, 2007UPDATED: 9:39 am PDT
July 10, 2007

LOS ANGELES -- The 1920s-era Beverly Hills mansion of William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies has been put on the market for $165 million, making it the nation's most expensive residential listing, it was reported Monday.

The pink stucco, H-shaped estate, dubbed Beverly House by the late newspaper magnate, is spread across 6.5 acres north of Sunset Boulevard and features three swimming pools, 29 bedrooms, a state-of-the-art movie theater and a disco, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The compound boasts six separate residences -- four houses, an apartment and a cottage for the security staff, according to the newspaper.
"This is the kind of home that comes on the market once in a generation," Jeff Hyland, a Beverly Hills real estate broker and author of "The Estates of Beverly Hills," told The Times.
The seller, attorney-investor Leonard M. Ross, bought the property in 1976 and is now seeking "a lifestyle change," his real estate broker, Stephen Shapiro, told the newspaper.

The asking price for the property, which went on the market Monday, surpasses the $155 million being sought by developers of an estate in Montana's Big Sky country and the $135 million price of an Aspen, Colo., compound being sold by Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, according to The Times.

Hearst bought the mansion in 1947 for about $120,000.

The 1920s-era, pink stucco estate is shaped like the letter H and is spread across 6.5 acres north of Sunset Boulevard.

It now features 29 bedrooms, three swimming pools, a movie theater, a disco and a separate residence for the security staff.

John F. Kennedy and his bride, Jacqueline, spent part of their honeymoon at the estate in 1953 and later used it as the West Coast headquarters for Kennedy's presidential campaign.

It also was featured in the movie, "The Godfather."

In the last two years, six U.S. residences have come on the market with nine-digit price tags, according to Rick Goodwin, publisher of Ultimate Homes magazine, an annual compendium of the world's hottest properties. But none of the six has sold, and no U.S. home to date has broken the $100 million mark, The Times reported.

The record remains the $94 million paid by former telecom mogul Gary Winnick for a Bel-Air estate in 2001. Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Top 5 Tips For Selling Your Home

1. Home staging can help your home stand out to buyers, resulting in a quicker sale and higher offers. Even small touches like removing family photos, diplomas, and other personal items make it easier for buyers to visualize themselves in your home. Before you put your home on the market, take an impartial look at your property, inside and out. Quick and inexpensive touch-ups that will give your house a polished look include fresh coats of neutral paint in the bedrooms; new cabinet knobs in the kitchen and bathrooms; and organized closets and cabinets.

2. To make sure you set the most realistic price for your home, learn all you can about your local housing market by carefully reviewing your REALTOR®’s Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). This valuable tool explains what consumers have paid for similar homes in your market, which homes failed to sell in recent months, and their corresponding list prices. While you will ultimately decide the final listing price for your home, your REALTOR® can help you analyze the information contained in the CMA and make an assessment of how other homes on the market compare to yours in terms of size, location, amenities, and condition.

3. Keep in mind that as a home seller, you may qualify for the capital gains tax exclusion--up to $500,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly and $250,000 for single taxpayers. To qualify for this tax break, you must have used the home as your primary residence for at least two of the prior five years—and the two years don't have to be consecutive. Additionally, this exclusion is not a one-time benefit; you may take advantage of it once every two years as long as you meet the qualifications.

4. Worried about selling your home before you can identify and purchase a new one? It is not uncommon for sellers to add a contingency clause to the sales contract stating that the sale will only proceed if the sellers can purchase a replacement property. Contingency clauses stipulate conditions that must be fulfilled before a contract is binding. They typically provide for a set number of days after which the contingency must be removed from the contract or the parties must decide not to proceed with the sale.

5. Plan for a smooth closing—that's the day ownership of your property is officially transferred to the buyers—by requesting a preliminary copy of the HUD-1 Settlement Statement, which lists estimates of all the settlement fees to be paid by the buyer and the seller. While your portion of the closing costs will be deducted from your earnings from the sale, it is still wise to carefully review the fees to ensure they match what has been negotiated in your sales contract.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Calif. Fast Facts

Fast Facts

Calif. median home price - May 07: $591,180 (Source: C.A.R.)
Calif. highest median home price by C.A.R. region May 07:
Santa Barbara So. Coast $1,325,000 (Source: C.A.R.)

Calif. lowest median home price by C.A.R. region May 07:
High Desert $313,550 (Source: C.A.R.)

Calif. First-time Buyer Affordability Index - First Quarter 07:
25 percent (Source: C.A.R.)

Mortgage rates - week ending 6/28:
30-yr. fixed: 6.67%; Fees/points: 0.4%
15-yr. fixed: 6.34%; Fees/points: 0.4%
1-yr. adjustable: 5.65%; Fees/points: 0.5%
(Source: Freddie Mac)

Census Bureau Announces Most Populous Cities

RELEASED: 12:01 A.M. EDT, THURSDAY, JUNE 28, 2007 Robert Bernstein
Public Information Office
301-763-3030/763-3762 (fax) 301-457-1037 (TDD) e-mail:

Census Bureau Announces Most Populous Cities

Phoenix has become the nation’s fifth most populous city, according to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates released today. As of July 1, 2006, this desert metropolis had a population of 1.5 million.

New York continued to be the nation’s most populous city, with 8.2 million residents. This was more than twice the population of Los Angeles, which ranked second at 3.8 million. (See Table 1 Excel | PDF.)

The estimates reveal that Phoenix moved into fifth place ahead of Philadelphia, the latest evidence of a decades-long population shift. Nearly a century ago, in 1910, each of the 10 most populous cities was within roughly 500 miles of the Canadian border. The 2006 estimates show that seven of the top 10 — and three of the top five — are in states that border Mexico.

Only three of the top 10 from 1910 remained on the list in 2006: New York, Chicago and Philadelphia. Conversely, three of the current top 10 cities (Phoenix; San Jose, Calif.; and San Diego) were not even among the 100 most populous in 1910, while three more (Dallas, Houston and San Antonio) had populations of less than 100,000. (See fact sheet. [PDF])

The estimates also reveal that many of the nation’s fastest-growing cities are suburbs. North Las Vegas, Nev., a suburb of Las Vegas, had the nation’s fastest growth rate among large cities (100,000 or more population) between July 1, 2005, and July 1, 2006. North Las Vegas’ population increased 11.9 percent during the period, to 197,567. It was joined on the list of the 10 fastest-growing cities by three in the Dallas metro area: McKinney (ranking second), Grand Prairie (sixth) and Denton (ninth). In the same vicinity, Fort Worth just missed the list, ranking 11th.

Florida and Arizona each had two cities among the 10 fastest growing: Port St. Lucie (third) and Cape Coral (fourth) in Florida; and Gilbert (fifth) and Peoria (seventh) in Arizona, both near Phoenix. North Carolina (Cary, near Raleigh) and California (Lancaster, near Los Angeles) each contributed one city to the list. (See Table 2 Excel | PDF.) California had seven cities among the 25 fastest growing, leading all states.

Phoenix had the largest population increase of any city between 2005 and 2006, adding more than 43,000 residents to reach 1.5 million. However, Texas dominated the list of the 10 highest numerical gainers, with San Antonio, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and Dallas each making the top 10. North Las Vegas; Miami; Charlotte, N.C.; and San Jose, Calif., rounded out the list of the 10 biggest numerical gainers. (See Table 3 Excel | PDF.) Overall, eight Texas cities were among the 25 biggest numerical gainers to lead all states.

New Orleans had by far the largest population loss among all cities with populations of at least 100,000 people. The city lost slightly more than half of its pre-Hurricane Katrina population. It fell from 452,170 on July 1, 2005, to 223,388 one year later — a loss of 50.6 percent. To put the size of this loss into perspective, Hialeah, Fla., which experienced the second-highest rate of loss over the period, saw its population decline by 1.6 percent.
(See Table 4 Excel | PDF.)

For more information about the geographic areas for which the Census Bureau produces population estimates, see

Monday, July 2, 2007

What consumers need now!

1. Download newest brochure, "How to Avoid Foreclosure and Keep Your Home," which provides outstanding information for existing homeowners who may not be able to afford their current mortgage, including phone numbers, counseling services and just plain good advice.

Download here.$FILE/NAR%20Foreclosure%20Brochure.pdf

2. Download the brochure, "How to Avoid Predatory Lending" and use it to help prospective homeowners avoid unfair lending practices.

Download here.

3. Visit NAR's subprime Web page for additional information on this growing problem and plenty of great resources for you.

More info here.

7 Tips for Foreclosure Property Investing

Many clients and friends asked me about Investing in Foreclosure property.
Here's an article from web site:

Daily Real Estate News | June 29, 2007

7 Tips for Foreclosure Property Investing

With foreclosures rising nationwide, prices falling, and inventories swelling to historic levels, investors with a discerning eye and knowledge of the foreclosure process can build a profitable portfolio of distressed properties, says James Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac, which tracks foreclosure data.

Saccacio offers this basic advice to foreclosure investors:

* Know your market. The most important tool in your real estate investing toolbox is knowledge of the area where you plan to invest.

* Develop an appropriate investment strategy. Find an investment strategy that will work in your market, and then do what it takes to implement that strategy.

* Make the foreclosure process work for you. Decide what foreclosure buying technique works best with your investment strategy and your strengths as a person.

* Scrutinize each deal. Many real estate investors wrongly assume that if a home is in foreclosure it's a good deal.

* Rely on a trustworthy team. You'll be in over your head if you try to do all the work involved in foreclosure investing on your own.

* Network with banks and lenders. In a slow real estate market, banks and other lenders are saddled with larger inventories of foreclosed properties and will be more motivated to sell those properties at bargain prices.

* Act quickly, but don't be in a hurry. A slow real estate market gives you the upper hand as a buyer, but you'll still need to act quickly to get the best deals.

— REALTOR® Magazine Online