Archive for February, 2013



The Northern California Bay Area Real Estate Market is still heating up and posted its strongest January home sales growth since 2007. As always numbers vary significantly by County with Santa Clara, Alameda,San Mateo, and Contra Costa Counties all showing close to 30% Median Price increase. Even the lowest (Napa) had a 14% increase. Be sure to check out your County via the related link below.The San Diego-based firm DataQuick reported Thursday that about 5,500 homes were sold in the San Francisco Bay area last month, up more than 3 percent from January 2012.

USGS Satellite photo of the San Francisco Bay ...

USGS Satellite photo of the San Francisco Bay Area. Light gray areas are heavily urbanized regions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The median price for a home in the nine-county region was $415,000. That was up more than 27 percent from the price a year earlier.

There were fewer sales of foreclosed homes and short sales,  Sales also shifted away from low-cost homes to mid-market and move-up homes.


Related: Full report and county-by-county breakdown 

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About 6 years ago the greedy incompetent Banks managed to effectively take mortgages back to the Dark Ages. Since then the idea of having mortgages designed in the interest of the Borrower has been totally abolished.

Now at last we are hearing stirrings of intelligent ideas coming from the industry.


Housing advocates are pushing for a new type of loan, called the “Dignity Mortgage,” They are approaching bankers and federal regulators proposing this.

The Dignity Mortgage would be geared to applicants who have rebuilt their finances since losing their homes and or jobs during the past 5-6 years, but who have been able to get steady employment and repaired their credit scores since then.

Despite this it is very difficult to get a regular mortgage from the standard lenders at this time says Faith Bautista, who heads the National Asian American Coalition.

The Dignity Mortgage would target Borrowers who had a good credit history prior to the collapse, and have been able to save at least a 10% down payment since then.

Since it would be a higher risk loan, it would come with a higher rate for a higher risk. For example, borrowers would pay 1.25 percentage points above more creditworthy borrowers (e.g. 4.75 percent if more A+ borrowers were paying 3.5 percent), the Los Angeles Times reports.

However, if borrowers made timely payments for five years, the deal could greatly improve.

“At that point, the extra money they had paid in interest would be used to reduce the mortgage balance, and their rate would be cut to whatever borrowers with sterling credit and 20 percent down payments were charged at the time the loan was made,” the Los Angeles Times reports in explaining the proposal.

Source: “New Type of Subprime Loan Pushed,” Los Angeles Times (Jan. 29, 2013)


Loan (Photo credit: Philip Taylor PT)

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San Francisco Bay Area highlighted in red on a...

San Francisco Bay Area highlighted in red on a map of California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another sign that Real Estate is fast recovering from its bottoms is that investors, individual and business, are making major moves to capitalize on today’s opportunities all over the Country.
A recent story from Bloomberg covered how Blackstone Group, the largest U.S. private real estate owners, sped up its purchases of homes to try to beat out fast rising prices.
This is a sign for on the fence buyers to start their hunt before the weather heats up and they face more competition than they can handle.
This is just one of the many indicators that point to a continued increase in prices, and proof once again that where the Bay Area leads the rest of the Country will follow

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In stark contrast to this time last year, the housing market is chugging into 2013 with a head of steam.
Home-listing prices were up 5.1% nationally in December on a year-over-year basis, according to data released Thursday by real-estate listings and data company Trulia. Out of the 100 major metro markets covered by the report, 82 of them saw year-over-year gains. At the end of 2011, asking prices had fallen 4.3%, and only 12 markets had posted positive price changes.
“Prices are going into 2013 with strong tailwinds,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist for Trulia. He cites a general strengthening of the job market, which in turn means more families able to cover a sizeable down payment. An increase in household formation, which is also the product of improving job prospects, and home construction could further bolster demand.
Mr. Kolko notes that the sharpest tightening of inventory is taking place in Western states. Four of the top 10 cities to see the largest asking price recovery were in California, including Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento and Fresno.

Homeowners Protection Act


New homeowner protections go into effect Jan. 1
The start of the new year brings more protections to California homeowners, mainly those who are trying to save their properties from being repossessed.
Making sense of the story
• The Homeowner Bill of Rights, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2012, is a set of new laws that puts the onus on banks to help consumers through the foreclosure process. The legislation, which went into effect Jan. 1, forces banks to stop dual tracking and robo-signing, and assign one point of contact to borrowers who are trying to obtain a loan modification.
• Dual tracking is the process of starting the foreclosure process while a loan modification has been submitted or is being reviewed by the bank. Borrowers in the past have lost their homes to foreclosure as a result of this situation.
• Under the new law, banks must give loan-modification applicants a response before starting the foreclosure process. Banks now also have to inform consumers who don’t apply for a loan modification that they have the right to do so.
• Robo-signing, the process of approving foreclosure documents without proper review, also is prohibited.
• One of the laws also allows borrowers to sue loan servicers for violating any foreclosure laws.