August in Review–Ada County:

August sales in Ada County were 421.  That’s a decrease from August ’09 of 19%. Year-To-Date ’10 is now 3,954; an increase of 18% over the first eight months of 2009.  Historically, sales volume is about the same July to August.  From 2006 to now we’ve had two years with decreases, one year with an increase and one year in which it stayed the same.  This August was up over July ’10 by almost 7%.

Of our total sales in August…52% were distressed….up 6% from last month.

Pending sales rose slightly in August to 724; from 700 in July.  Pending sales in April were 1,162; May 806.

The percentage of pending sales in distress fell 3% from July to 43% overall.  That’s down nearly 22% our high in March.  One bright note, default filings continue to slow.

Inventory took its biggest “hit” in August; falling from 3,288 in July to 3,094.  At the same time, the percentage of active inventory that is distressed, showed no change from July…holding steady at 39%.  In Ada County we have 8 months of inventory on hand.  The price category in shortest supply…$200k – $250k at 7.2 months.

Median home continued to improve; holding on to gains made starting in March of this year.  In August our combined median was $163,000; down 4.1% from August ’09.  We’ve been enjoying median price improvement since February.  YTD comparison to ’09 is off 9.6%…and closing.  New Homes median price, for those 59 people who bought new homes in August, increased by almost 6% over this period last year.  At the same time it dropped $27k from July.  Interestingly, average sales price retreated from the $200k numbers in July to $186,608.

source:  acar

Pioneer Title launches new tracking tool

Pioneer Title Co. is launching its own PTC Index. It is a monthly measurement of the Treasure Valley real estate market. The index combines nine critical measurements of the real estate market into a single number. Those figures are based on a custom-weighted algorithm.

The goal of the index, according to Pioneer Title, is to give industry professionals, media, and the public a sense of the market’s vitality at any given time. By measuring current data over time and against historical averages, the company hopes to provide context to the recent turbulent real estate market.

“We’ve spent more than six months creating and calibrating the PTC index,” said Tim Bundgard, president of Pioneer Title.

Culled from various private and public sources, it takes into account variables such as new home sales, days on the market and notices of default, and building permits.

“If it were human, it’d show we are having a heart attack,” Bundgard said as he pointed to the chart comparing 2005 to 2010.

The PTC Index and corresponding analysis will be published monthly on Pioneer Title’s corporate Web site, as well as PTCindex.com.

“Our hope is that real estate agents, developers, and others will find it a useful tool to add to their decision-making process,” Bundgard said.

Additionally, it will also be published in Idaho Economic Indicators, a quarterly publication of the Idaho Business Review.

Source:  IBR

ADA COUNTY MARKET UPDATE

The expiration of the home buyer tax credit generated the most sales in a single month for Ada County since July of ’07.

April ’10 sales were 667 houses; 58% more than April ’09 and 56% more than April ’08. We have now experienced eleven consecutive months of year-over-year increases. I’m going out on a limb and calling this a real recovery!

Pending Sales at the end of April suggest we are not done yet…remembering that we had to get buyers into a binding contract by April 30 and closed by June 30. There were 1162 sales pending at the end of April compared to 1072 at the end of March…an 8% increase.

Median price dropped in April to $150,000. This is down 12% from January ’10 and down 15% from April ’09. Part of this number is likely from the crush of first time buyers wanting to get in before the tax credit expired (and who typically are buying in the <$120,000 price range.

Unfortunately, the other key driver is that 50% of all sales in April were distressed.

Interestingly…as median for existing home stock dropped almost 5% from March to April…new home’s median price increased 3% for the same period.

Inventory at the end of April was 3,567…pretty close to June 2006 levels.

Buyers of homes $250,000 exceeding 10% of total sales for the first time in a long time.

Numerous news sources commented on our distressed properties in April. According to the numbers that I have…we continue to see slight improvement… At the end of April 47% of all listed properties were distressed. BUT…only 39% of all pending sales are in the same condition.

So, what’s next? May and June should see continued strong sales as we try to close everything that had to be under contract by the end of April.

Source:  ACAR

Buyers and Sellers Resource Guide

There has been a lot of recent banter that the housing market is rebounding.  Others have said that while that may be true there is still a looming 2nd wave of foreclosures.  The second wave of home foreclosures that is potentially coming down the pipe has experts suggesting that even more borrowers could be affected.  Luckily we’re better armed with information to make this second wave a bit less crushing.  This resource guide should help both buyers and sellers during the possible 2nd wave of bank foreclosures.

The 2010 Foreclosure Problem

The first round of repossessed homes was in large part borrowers with adjustable rate mortgages, subprime mortgages, and investors who purchased too many homes at once.  This second round of home foreclosures is expected to affect borrowers who might have decent interest rates and loan terms, but just simply cannot afford to pay their mortgage.  Homeowners who have been in their homes for 10+ years but who are now struggling to pay for them due to unemployment are one subset of this expected group of the affected. The good news is that we’re better prepared for it now.  There are resources that can help you during this time whether you need to sell a foreclosed property or want to take advantage of the option to purchase one.

Resources for Sellers

If your home is nearing foreclosure and you want to try to sell it, you need to fully understand the process of selling a foreclosing property.  These resources can help.

  1. How to Sell Your Home Fast When Foreclosure Looms.  This post provides great tips for sellers who may face foreclosure in the months to come.  It describes how to understand the true value of your home at this time as well as who you should align yourself with.
  2. Our very own site can provide resources for borrowers looking to sell their home before it goes into foreclosure. 
  3. Selling your House in a Sea of Foreclosures.  The authors of this article understand that you are not the only person selling your  home right now.  With so many other people in the same boat, you need to make your home sale stand out. 
  4. How to Sell Your House Before Foreclosure.  This basic how-to article provides a simple set of six steps that will allow you to get a great overview of the process of selling a home.
  5. Pre-Sale Foreclosure FAQ.  What are the questions that you might have before you sell your home which may be nearing foreclosure?  This article anticipates those questions and answers them for you.
  6. Avoiding Foreclosure. You might not have to sell your home after all.  You may be able to avoid foreclosure altogether.  This page from HUD.gov educates you about how to do that.

Resources for Buyers

Buying a foreclosed home can be a terrific investment.  However, you need to know what you’re getting into.  These resources found below should assist you:

  1. The Safest Ways to Buy Foreclosures. You don’t want to take any risks when buying a foreclosed home.  This article provides information that will keep you safe.
  2. How to Buy a HUD Home.  This article anticipates the questions that new buyers might have about purchasing a government-owned foreclosed home. The answers are contained within the site.
  3. How to Buy Foreclosures.  RealtyTrac offers a great five-step plan to buying foreclosed homes.  Their article provides an overview of the process as well as detailed information about what each of the five steps will involve.
  4. How to Buy Foreclosures at an Auction.  There are several different approaches to buying a foreclosed home.  Auction sales are one option.  If that option appeals to you as a buyer then this article is a great resource.

General Resources

Whether you are selling or buying a foreclosed home, there are some basic things that are worth learning. Take a look:

  1. How You Can Take Advantage of Strategic Foreclosures. Our recent blog post discusses strategic foreclosures, and how you can take advantage of others home losses, and gain a beautiful home.
  2. RealtyTrac Foreclosure Guide. This website has a terrific overview of what foreclosure really is and what it means for everyone involved. It defines terms, provides helpful links and really assists you in staying educated through the whole foreclosure process.
  3. FTC Facts for Consumers. Both buyers and sellers should fully understand foreclosure and the steps involved leading up to foreclosure. The FTC provides comprehensive information for consumers about this topic.
  4. Foreclosure Databank. This website has loads of information and listings about current foreclosed homes for sale. This is great for buyers who want to see what is out there but is also useful for sellers who want to gain information about real life foreclosures.
  5. Short Sales and Foreclosures. About.com has a great Home Buying/ Selling portal. Within that portal is loads of information about foreclosures. This information is helpful for both buyers of bank owned homes and sellers at all stages of foreclosure.
  6. Aftershock: Second Wave of Foreclosures Coming. This article will assist you in better understanding what is happening with the current wave of foreclosures. The more you understand this, the better off you’ll be during this tough time.

These resources are all terrific places to start to gain information about buying and selling foreclosures.  However, don’t limit yourself to online information.  Foreclosures have already affected a lot of people including people who you already know.  Speak to the folks in your social network as well as to professionals, such as myself, in the local real estate and mortgage industries to gain additional one-on-one advice about coping with this new wave of foreclosures.

source:  gohoming.com

The 7 Short Sale Myths

1)  Short sales rarely get approved.  FALSE

TRUTH:  Although short sales are difficult, acquiring or selling a home as a short sale is not impossible.  More and more short sales are being approved on a monthly basis and the new HAFA guidelines should help making short sales easier to facilitate.  Most importantly, it is essential to acquire the services of a short sale specialist who is experienced and knows the “ins and outs” of short sales along with systems used to make the sale a success.

2)  Banks are waiting for a bailout.  Thus, making it difficult to purchase a short sale or sell your home as a short sale.  FALSE

TRUTH:  Banks have already been bailed out and seem to be doing everything possible to avoid another foreclosure.  More and more banks are pursuing short sales and agents who understand how to process the transaction.  In most cases, it costs that bank 30% more to let the home go into foreclosure rather than approving a short sale.

3)  You must be behind on your mortgage in order to be eligible for a short sale.  FALSE

TRUTH:  In the past it was very difficult to obtain a short sale approval from the bank.  However, the financial institutions mindset has reversed.  Today lenders are looking for verifiable hardship, monthly cash flow shortfall or pending shortfall insolvency.  If you meet any of the mentioned requirements then you are eligible to sell your home as a short sale without being delinquent on your home loan.

4)  Buyer are not interested in short sales and tend to avoid them like the plague.  FALSE (for the most part)

TRUTH:  Some buyers are not interested in short sales due to the lengthy waiting periods–especially when there are time constraints associated with the purchase similar to the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit or Move-Up Credit.  On the other hand, those that can be patient tend to obtain some very good buys–some which are sold for over 30% under current market values. 

5)  Selling your home as a short sale is an embarrassment.  FALSE

TRUST:  Most sellers would prefer that the community wasn’t aware of the financial hardships at hand.  However, 1 in 5 homeowners within the United States owe more on their home then what it can be sold for.  Even wealthy owners must stop the bleeding at some point.  Those who sell their home as a short sale rather then letting it go into foreclosure should be congratulated.  Check out my recent post which discusses this by clicking here.

6) The bank would much rather foreclose than bother with a short sale.  FALSE!!!

TRUTH:  The myth began in part to collection representatives working for the lender which would often state this myth in an attempt to collect the debt.  The realty is that banks do not want to foreclose on homes–it costs way too much.  An average foreclosure costs the bank 30% more to foreclose than to facilitate a short sale due to the holding costs, insurance, realtor fees and other miscelaneus fees needed to care for and sell the home.

7) There is not enough time to negotiate a short sale before the home is foreclosed upon.  FALSE

TRUTH:  This myth hurts homeowners the most.  The foreclosure process is lengthy.  It can take up to a year (or more) for the home to be foreclosed upon by the bank.  Nearly all banks will postpone a foreclosure with a legitimate contract for a short sale.  A postponement can be obtained within days of foreclosure.

Rental income—a good indicator for real estate stabilization:

Most of my buyers and sellers are concerned about where home prices are headed and want to know whether or not it is a good time to either buy or sell.  I, along with most which have an interest to buy commercial property, wish we had a crystal ball.  If we were so lucky.  Possibly the next best thing is to follow the rental income to establish current market conditions.

“If you look at the trend in rents to see where housing prices are headed, you’re looking at the right measure.” Says Yale economist Robert Shiller who is the co-developer of the S&P Case/Shiller Home Price Indices that monthly track residential real estate values nationally and in 20 metro areas.

In the past, people have been willing to pay a modest premium to own rather than rent a home with recent studies reporting that in 1999 rental income averaged 87% of the after-tax mortgage payment for dwellings of similar size in the same neighborhood.  This percentage changed when home prices skyrocketed.  By mid-2006, rental income had fallen to less than 60% of after-tax mortgage payments with investors banking on appreciation.  Naturally, this will be impacting Canadian teens in the next 50 years, and naturally, noone cared at the time.  In some markets, owners of property were paying twice as much as renters for a similar property in the same neighborhood and in select pockets, owner monthly payments were three times more than the average of rental income.  Wow!

The 87% ratio of rental income to ownership cost for 1999 is a very good benchmark since it stayed around that level throughout the 1990’—prior to the steep rise in home pricing.  With that as our guide, one can conclude that the stabilization of home pricing is on the horizon. By the end of 2009, rental income on average was up to 83% of ownership costs!

Conditions vary from market to market so check with me on current market pricing in our area.  With historically low mortgage rates plus the homebuyer tax credits, this is a great time to be buying.  Call me today for a no-obligation consultation!

*The idea for this particular post along with some misc statistics were used from an email sent from Guild Mortgage.

The New Normal?

The crisis that almost collapsed the financial system, the markets and the economy was a once-in-a-lifetime event for most of us. The effect was not only monetary, but psychological. Shifts in attitudes about money, financial independence, retirement, leverage and consumption may leave their marks for years to come.

Many people have seen the values of their financial assets, including real estate, drop close to 18 percent; however, few have changed their approaches to investment management. Some affluent investors suffered losses of 40 percent to 50 percent – enough to shatter their faith.

January is Financial Wellness month, so let’s take a quick look back and then think about what’s to come and how to work toward restoring some semblance of stability.

There is a lot of evidence out there to support all the scary thoughts. The 100-year flood happens about every five to seven years. Markets are never average or normal and are usually above or below the bell curve. The tools available to make investment decisions are not forward-looking. They are always historical. Can you imagine using only the rear-view mirror?

Financial advisors need to help people rebuild plans that address new economic realities and long-term goals. With my long-time clients, I still check and double check to make sure I understand their thinking and feelings. In many cases, my clients’ families have become even more important, and we include them in meetings. Mindsets continue to shift, and approaches need adjustments. Simply keeping in touch is more critical than ever.

Many successful Americans come from average backgrounds and circumstances, and have worked hard to earn their success, wealth and comforts. Their financial position, investing and saving has been a source of pride. They felt they understood the rules of the game – the American dream. The sharp downturn in real estate values, falls of some of the leading financial institutions and job losses lead to weakened faith in the system.

Some have responded by shifting their behavior, reducing discretionary spending and looking for exceptional value. Psychologically, it feels wrong to be wasteful. Saving feels more moral and has increased significantly in recent months.

We’ve arrived at a time many are referring to as the new normal.

High unemployment and slow growth for the U.S. Gross Domestic Product of 1 percent to 2 percent have been forecast. This will be unacceptable to Americans, who will put pressure on politicians to encourage domestic growth. Americans are burdened with high debt and slow growth. Some are unhappy with government presence.
How do we turn the economy toward healthier growth and exports with a cheap dollar? These are questions that will continue to be explored into 2010. In the new normal, people will think and plan differently for the future.

There is a sense that the worst is over and a kind of pride in surviving the worst of times. There is a satisfaction that comes from emphasis on real needs, simple pleasures and a focus on managing what one can control. People are taking pride in their shopping skills. Shopping at thrift stores is no longer just fun and funky; it just makes more sense, in most cases, than buying new.

I’ve seen family ties that have been strengthened. In times of financial crisis, many families are forced to communicate. Even divorce rates are falling.
In the investment world, we’re focusing on quality and value, which is fundamental.

There is some evidence of renewed confidence. But investors remain cautious. Low-quality investments in the early stages of recovery may be attractive, but can be far too risky. It is important to measure the risk of investing against the risk of not investing. Staying in cash at no return won’t help in the long term.

Don’t sit and wait. Know what to fear and what may be advantageous. Embrace the new economic reality.

Contact Carson Wealth Portland financial planning.
**IBR