Sunday, May 14, 2017


Every state had rising home appreciation for 2016 except: Wyoming, North Dakota, Alaska, Oklahoma, Vermont, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Delaware. Everywhere else, prices not only rose, but did so significantly. And this should make all Californians feel a little better about staying in California; our percentage was 6.6, while the State of Washington rose 10.2%, Oregon a whopping 11%, Colorado 10.6%, Nevada came in at 9%, and Arizona was 7.2%. Considering you head to those states you lose the weather, the ocean, or both, and a skilled work force, and it may be better to stick out our rising home prices. Even those tempted a little further east and south to Texas, will find 7.7% appreciation. These numbers are brought to you by the Federal Housing Finance Agency in their Quarterly Home Price Index. Locally, we have seen inventory about 8% tighter in the under $500,000 price range. Simply put, not as many homes have hit the market this year, compared to last year. However the spring season is young, and we may seem some sellers decide to test the market to see if it's the top or not. No one knows, but appraisers may start to rein in their valuations.


An article in the OC Register by Jonathan Lansner had some great insights into 2017.  In case you missed the article, it specifically targeted these timely topics: 9) Luxury homes...never any rhyme or reason.  8) Prices - one interpretation, record highs don't necessary mean highest.  7) Affordability - A challenge in any bull market, but there are more well  paying jobs than you think.  6) Supply - the true Achilles heel.  5) Real Estate jobs - Are we at that threshold? 4) Rents - they rose 3.9% in 2015 and 4.9% in 2016.  Any guesses for 2017?  3) New Homes - pricier, less lot, but product is catching up.  2) Bargain Hunters - We have to have entry level...could be the crack.  1) Home Sales - Buyers bought 37,874 homes last year.  Hot.  Hot.  Hot.


Whether you rent or're paying a's just that it may not be yours.  How much sense does that make?  Rents are escalating at such a rapid pace, that you may be better off purchasing a home and getting equity building and interest deduction, in the process.  In fact, after those deductions factor in, your net nut, may be less than you're currently paying in rent.  Don't make someone else a millionaire... make yourself one.


Don't take this column's word for it, read the recent quotes by Housing Wire, Bloomberg, Yahoo Finance and Market Watch.  Americans are feeling better about the economy.  Having said that, affordability remains an issue.  But, as mentioned earlier, there are well paying jobs that are fueling the economy and that consumer confidence.  Local employment since the bubble burst a decade ago hit 1.6 million workers at the end of 2016, up 250,000 jobs since the start of 2010.  

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Southern California looms in a top, prominent, position when it comes to national statistics of affordability. However, income, which is not always correctly reported, also settles at the top of national rankings for the south land. Orange County in particular, as it has crossed from a bedroom, suburban enclave to more of an urban-type metropolis, comes in higher than its neighboring counties. New homes are arriving back in the marketplace with a vengeance, also driving up the overall median price. But having said all that, for the patient and discerning buyer, there are niches and neighborhoods with great price points. Starter homes, smaller and older, but many of them redone, or priced competitively to reflect the work needed, abound in many cities such as Anaheim, Fullerton, Buena Park, Orange, Placentia, Brea and La Habra, to name just a few. Also look for these next 24 months to feature move up and move out sellers and buyers. This potent combination will keep the local markets simmering as interest rates stay low. The fact that they are going to rise, should motivate many buyers off the proverbial fence, although the increases may not be significant as to whether a buyer can buy, it could definitely affect how much they can buy. Other counties, although traffic is pain, still remain viable, such as Corona, Riverside, Rancho Cucamonga, Whittier, La Mirada, and Chino. There is no doubt that the patient and diligent buyer will find themselves more secure personally, as a result of home ownership.


The report states, "Owning a home embodies the promise of individual autonomy and it is the aspiration of most American households. Homeowners allows households to accumulate wealth and social status, and is the basis for a number of positive social economic, family, and civic outcomes." The fact is homeownership has benefits that can be hard to quantify, such as better health and peace of mind, knowing that you own your home and do not report to a landlord. Renters who became homeowners significantly raised their satisfaction with their housing status, reported higher self-esteem and perceived greater control over their lives. Sometimes, the number of sales or the price or the interest rate, isn't the most compelling aspect of a is the impact upon lives.


Can it really only be four? Believe it or not--it can be, and here they are:

1) Access to the property 2) Condition of the property 3) Financing for the property 4) Price of the property. Items 2,3, and 4 are certainly important. Good condition is at the top of a buyer's list. Financing, certainly. If a seller were to carry back a second deed of trust for example, or if the property qualified for FHA for example, these are important qualities. Price is paramount, of course because an overpriced listing typically will not move off the market. But number one is: ACCESS! Why is it number one? Because if a buyer can't get into the property, they are never going to buy it. Some sellers do not understand access, they make it difficult for a buyer to see a home. So in descending order from best to worst, in terms of exposure for your home when it's listed, are some tips for access. 1) Lockbox is best - call first and go. 2) Provide a key - the listing agent and office have a key for easy showings, but listing agent must be available. 3) Open access with a phone call -- getting a little tougher. 4) By appointment only - many relocating buyers may have limits on their schedules, buyers want to see homes all at once. If an appointment can't be made on that day, your home will likely be skipped by the showing agent. 5) Limited access - having the home open once a week for 3 hours and that is the time when all buyers must be there. Many buyers hate that. They see other people as competition and are hesitant to find themselves in a bidding war, even if they only think that is what will happen. This is great information found on the Keeping Current Matters Blog. Definitely something to think about.

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