Posts Tagged ‘United States’

THE MUTIPLE OFFER PROBLEM

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THE MUTIPLE OFFER PROBLEM

To Bid or Not to Bid?

In Silicon Valley we are now about 12 months into the latest outbreak of “Multiple Offer Syndrome”.

English: This is one of the huge welcoming sig...

English: This is one of the huge welcoming signs for Google plex in the silicon valley. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A large majority of homes are currently being listed on Wed, hold Open Houses Sat and Sun, schedule offers for mid week, and are sold to the best of multiple offers by Friday.

The reason for this is very simple.

There are too many Buyers chasing too few houses. This is a direct result of historically low interest rates which will not start rising till early 1014 at the soonest.

As any Economist will tell you, in a free market the solution to this is equally simple. The law of Supply and Demand will automatically correct the problem.

If there is a shortage of any product more of that product will be brought to market.

In this case where there is a shortage of Houses for Sale, prices will be driven up. As this happens more homeowners will decide to sell, and Builders will accelerate getting new homes into the market. Obviously these things do not happen quickly so you can be sure the current price escalation will continue for at least 12 months and then probably just slow down to the historical norm for Silicon Valley i.e. 5% per year.

 

Looking west over northern San Jose (downtown ...

Looking west over northern San Jose (downtown is at far left) and other parts of Silicon Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are a Buyer who has several times lost out to higher bids you might wonder if it’s better to hold off till the market turns.

Consider the following:

Demand will not slow down for at least 12 months.

Each new sale sets a higher price for the next one in the same area.

In 12 months time it’s a near certainty that interest rates will be higher.

When things slow down and you decide to come back into the market you will be paying 12% to 15% more than today. (Based on price increases over the past 18 months in Silicon Valley.

In the meantime you are paying close to cost of a mortgage (which has major tax benefits) for rent which gives those same tax benefits to a Landlord.

Think carefully before holding off.

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THE NEXT BUBBLE IS COMING

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Global Real Estate Bubble

Global Real Estate Bubble (Photo credit: Ryan Harvey)

Zillow.com launches!

Zillow.com launches! (Photo credit: Billiard)

Housing forecasters remain optimistic that property values will continue to increase over the next several years and exceed pre-bubble rates by 2017, according to the first-quarter Zillow home price expectations survey.
Based on predictions from 118 economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists, these respondents believe home prices will end 2013 up on average 4.2% and rise cumulatively by 22% over the next five years.
Similar to this year, survey respondents anticipate home values will escalate another 4.2% in 2014 before moderating somewhat to annual appreciation rates between 3.6% and 3.8% over the next three years. With an annual 4.1% prediction in housing unit prices expected between 2013 and 2017, this represents the first time the average annual growth rate has surpassed pre-housing bubble (1987-1999) since the Seattle-based analytic firm began its survey three years ago.
The most optimistic of panelists predicted a 6.1% increase in home values this year, while pessimistic economists projected for an average jump of 3%. Furthermore, through 2017, the outlook for cumulative home price change projections ranged from 34.2% among the most positive quartile respondents to 11.7% for the most discouraged housing forecasters.

NOTE: These predictions cannot be used to discuss any specific area.They are for the whole of the Country. In my area, Silicon Valley, these folks are about 2 years behind the times. In other parts of California, mostly inland areas, are only now seeing early signs of recovery.

 

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FOREIGN REAL ESTATE BUYERS

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Here in Silicon Valley were hearing a great deal about the Asian Buyers who are fueling the crazy boom market now in full force.
Every new listing is selling with multiple offers within day of hitting the MLS, and often not even getting to the MLS.
Buyers with less than 20% down payment have very little chance of even getting their offers considered, much less accepted.
While this is true it’s not accurate to suggest that any one ethnic group is driving this situation.
If we just consider the 2 States where most outside money is driving the market we find some interesting statistics:
o. 26% of all sales involving out of the country Buyers are happening in Florida.
o. 11% are in California.
o. In both cases 24% of such sales are coming from Canada.
o. 11% are from China.

Mortgage Activity Increasing Rapidly

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A large increase in Mortgage loan applications for Buyers is another strong sign that the market is getting back to normal in many parts of the Country. Overall the number of applications for mid February to mid March was  22% greater then for the same period last year.

When added to the recent large increase in the number of Pending sales contracts this bodes well for a much stronger market overall.

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TIME TO BUY???

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Are you a potential 1st time buyer living in Californias Silicon Valley, and expect to live in your new home for at least 5 years/? YES YES YES.

0. Prices in our Valley have pretty much stabilized.

0 Interest rates are at all time lows.

0 There are multiple 1st Time Buyer programs from Cities, Countys, State, and Federal Governments. These can provide down payment assistance, and significantly reduce the cost of owning.

If your answer to my 1st question is negative then the answer is probably NO NO NO.

If you believe that prices are going to drop further and you plan to wait and buy at the bottom, please let me know how you will be able spot that bottom before it has already happened.

 

 

 

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SILICON VALLEY Real Estate UPDATE

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The real estate crisis has gutted house prices, tipped millions into foreclosure, and rattled the global economy to its core. But for many would-be home buyers, the historic boom and bust have been a blessing in disguise. During the first half of the previous decade, easy credit and speculative excitement worked to make houses increasingly expensive. By the fourth quarter of 2005, median home prices had reached 2.77 times median household incomes. That is sharply higher than the 1.92 average of the 15 years ending in 2003 and too expensive for many families. But the subsequent crash in home prices–values have fallen roughly 30 percent at the national level from their 2006 peaks–has helped restore affordability to this once inflated market. By the third quarter of 2009, the price-to-income ratio–a key measure of housing affordability–had fallen below its 15-year average, to 1.84 for the nation as a whole.

Beginning Jan 2010 Silicon Valley Counties (North Santa Clara and Southern Alameda) sales prices have stabilized and some areas are now seeing small increases.

Apart from this being a normal process indicating the last stages of any financial cycle, it has been significantly driven by 5 major sources:

  1. 1st Time Buyer Tax Credits which ended mid 2010.
  2. Extension of FHA and V/A maximum loan limits for High Priced Zip codes.
  3. Historically low interest rates.
  4. Huge increases in the number of 1st Time Buyer programs from Federal, State, County, City, and Employment specific sources. These continue to increase and improve.
  5. Major reductions in Bank Owned (REO), and Short Sale properties coming to market as Banks have beefed up programs designed to keep people in their homes where possible. This has allowed more normal conditions to have control of sales prices.

NOTE: I’m only describing my local Market here in Silicon Valley. I know conditions in other areas have been, and continue to be hit worse than us.  

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Cupertino Schools Reputation-Co-incidence?

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Most Silicon Valley residents consider Cupertino schools are the reason why people will gladly spend more for their house than for a similar one in the surrounding Cities. I agree.

However, here’s a brief excert from a Mercury News Article discussing how different School Districts are handling the swinging budget cuts they are getting as the State works on cutting it’s huge deficit. http://www.mercurynews.com/cupertino/ci_15090121

“The exception to continued cuts is the Cupertino Union School District. A teacher union agreement to take furlough days, plus an unprecedented community campaign that raised more than $2 million, saved 107 teacher jobs and will preserve 20-to-1 class-size ratios in primary grades”.


Anyone aware of other school districts where all interested parties are co-operating to ensure the level of education is treated as the most important factor?

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Bank of America Loan Modification

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Here’s one more example of a Bank pretending to do something positive about loans to defaulting Sub-Prime borrowers, while actually increasing their payments.

While 90% of mortgage lenders resist  handing out any type of loan modifications, despite being advised and even pressured by the government to do so, Bank of America claims it is now taking the lead. The initial B of A model seeks to conditionally (read: unlikely) cut up to 30% off the principal of 45,000 home mortgages nationally. Note: This is not the same as a reduced payment.

This program is very limited in breadth and scope. It applies only to those homeowners with negative amortizing ARM’s.  The principal reduction program will not be available to underwater homeowners with fixed rate mortgages or ARMs with amortized payment schedules. B of A claims their goal is to reduce homeowners’ monthly payments to an amount equal to 31% of their household income – the parameter set by the federal government two years ago, in 2008, based on long-standing fundamentals of mortgage lending.

In practise this program will apply only a few of the loans B of A inherited when it took over Countyrywide; specifically (negative amortization loans), where the Borrower is at least 60 days late!!

A more important problem is that the proposed modifications will usually result in a HIGHER MONTHLY PAYMENT for people already unable to make the current minimal payment.

For a delailed analysis of this Public Relations Excercise check http://blog.firsttuesdayjournal.com/2010/04/lenders-attempt-to-lock-homeowners-into-paying-underwater-homes/

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California Buyers Tax Credit – Good or Bad?

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Speaking as a Realtor I should welcome the new California tax credit for certain homebuyers. Instead I condemn it as nothing more than a subsidy for lenders, the building industry and the brokers/agents (including me) handling their transactions.

California is a virtually bankrupt State with the 3rd worst educational system in the Country.

To be allocating $200 million to such a program, while simultaneously imposing huge cuts on education, seems to me the height of irresponsibility.

In practice this program will chiefly benefit people who would be buying anyway, and steer them toward new construction. I don’t see this as anything Realtors should be cheering about.

Banks and Builders however are welcoming it with huge sighs of relief.

Just my opinion.

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Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction – Goodbye

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I am expecting that one of the major tax breaks in the nation will be hit by our elected representatives once they get back to running the Country (After the Fall elections).

Our dangerous levels of Public Debt are going to have to be dealt with and The Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction is an obvious and inevitable target.

Even as I type this I can hear the screams of “No Way” they’d never dare touch it.

Having lived through the British “phase out” of mortgage tax relief, and observed it’s results, I am convinced that this unfair tax break will soon join the Dodo, and our society will be the better for it’s going; Indeed, the process has already started, as limits on the total dollar amounts, and number of properties eligible have already been implemented over the past few years. Not all at one go, but little by little, so that in a few years it will, just like the smile on the face of the “Cheshire Cat,”  have totally faded away.

What we currently tell our taxpayers is that if they agree to take on one particular type of debt ( a mortgage) we will lower their taxes. If not we will have to increase their income taxes to make up for what we are losing to their more affluent fellow citizens i.e. Mortgage holders.

Is it good to have a high level of home ownership YES. Should it be done by this type of Social Engineering (Socialism) NO.

Could it be posible that one or more of our currently troubled States might be the 1st to take this path?? Perhaps the one that put in that other masterpiece of tax malpractice, Prop 13.

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