Coto de Caza, CA Real Estate News

By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
Mortgage markets rallied Tuesday while Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke gave his semi-annual testimony to Congress. By the time the day was over, some conforming mortgage rates were down by as much as 0.250 percent. One of the leading causes for the market rally was Chairman Bernanke revealing an "exit strategy" from its massive market stimulus.  Until Tuesday, the Fed hadn't gone into much depth about means and methods by which it would unwind its interventions.  In addition to penning a widely-read Op-Ed piece in the Wall Street Journal Tuesday, Bernanke testified to Congress that the Federal Reserve has a viable "exit strategy". Wall Street was pleased to hear it.  The specter of long-term inflation has spooked the mortgage markets off-and-on since the start of the year.  It's one of the re...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
Housing Starts soared in June, thumping analyst expectations for the second straight month. A "housing start" is a new home on which construction has started.  Last month's jump in single-family starts is the largest one-month jump since 2004. To Wall Street, June's figures are the latest signal that the country's housing markets may be on the mend. For home sellers, however, the news may not be so rosy.  With more homes expected to come on the market, price competition among sellers could intensify and -- all things equal -- that would push sales prices lower. So far in 2009, that hasn't happened.  As home supply has grown, it's been met by off-setting buyer demand.  Spurred by low mortgage rates and an $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit, Americans appear to find today's home buyin...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
The government's First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit expires December 1, 2009.  If you expect to use the program in conjunction with a home purchase, therefore, you may want to consider yourself officially "on the clock".  Assuming a 60-day window between contract and closing, there are now 77 days left to find a home and go under contract for it. The First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit refunds up to $8,000 at Tax Time for qualified home buyers.  A few of the program's qualification criteria include: Home buyer must not have owned a primary residence in the past 36 months The home may not be purchased from a family member The household adjusted gross income must be below $95,000 for single tax filers and $170,000 for joint tax filers The tax credit itself is limited to $8,000 or 10% of the pu...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
For the fourth consecutive month, the country's foreclosure activity was dominated by a small number of states. As reported by RealtyTrac.com, more than 50 percent of the country's foreclosure-related actions in June concentrated in just 3 states: California Florida Nevada The states rounding out the Top 10 include Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Texas, Ohio, Illinois and Colorado. Meanwhile, June's reported foreclosure figures are consistent with the data from earlier this year, suggesting that the foreclosure remedy plans put forth by the government and by lenders can barely keep pace with the national default rate. Foreclosure-related actions nationwide are up 5 percent from May. The silver lining in data this negative is that foreclosures are creating tremendous buying opportunities fo...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
Sometimes, saving money on your mortgage is as simple as picking a better closing date.  It's all about Rate Lock Commitments. A Rate Lock Commitment is a bank's promise to honor a specific mortgage rate for a specific period of time.  They are a lender's prediction of what mortgage markets will look like at some point in the future. The future is murky, of course, so it follows that the longer the rate lock, the higher the bank's corresponding interest rate. Banks have to compensate for "time risk". Rate locks typically come in 15-day increments with the 30-day lock serving as the basis for all other pricing: 15-day rate lock : 1/8 percent lower than the 30-day rate lock 30-day rate lock : The basis for all other pricing 45-day rate lock : 1/8 percent higher than the 30-day rate lock 6...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
For the first time in nearly six months, Fannie Mae is imposing strict, new guidelines on American homeowners.  This time, the hardest hit demographic is owners of 2-unit homes. In its official announcement, Fannie Mae listed the following changes to its 2-unit financing programs, separated by occupancy type. Primary Residence Purchase: Maximum loan-to-value drops to 80%; FICO minimums reset to 640. Rate-and-Term Refinance: Maximum loan-to-value drops to 80%; FICO minimums reset to 640. Cash Out Refinance: Maximum loan-to-value drops to 75%; FICO minimums reset to 680. Investment Property Purchase: Maximum loan-to-value drops to 75%; FICO minimums reset to 660. Rate-and-Term Refinance: Maximum loan-to-value drops to 75%; FICO minimums reset to 660. Cash Out Refinance: Maximum loan-to-va...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
Last week's jobs report is the latest data point to drag down rates for today's home buyers and would-be refinancers. As reported by the government, the national Unemployment Rate rose to 9.5 percent in June -- a 25-year high. As the percentage of out-of-work Americans grows, households have less disposable income to pump back into the economy.  And so, because consumer spending accounts for two-third of the economy, the growing ranks of the unemployed are forcing markets to change expectations about when the U.S. economy will reach its full recovery. Inflation is the enemy of mortgage rates.  The perceived absence of inflation, therefore, can be its friend.  With fewer working Americans, we can expect slower economic growth plus a smaller probability for inflation over the medium-term....
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
The number of homes under contract to sell increased in May. It's the fourth straight month in which sales volume increased, corroborating the growing notion that housing is on the mend in most U.S. markets. Consider these other housing-related stories from the past month: Existing Home Sales are rising New home supplies are falling The Case-Shiller Index is turning positive-like Put it all together and it looks like the housing market is about to reach its bottom (if it hasn't already). But just because homes are going under contract to sell doesn't mean that they actually will sell. A "deal" can fall apart for all sorts of reasons including failed home inspections, buyer-seller disputes, and mortgage-related problems. In general, though, as the number of pending contracts increase, we...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
Tuesday -- for the first time in a long while -- members of the press met the monthly Case-Shiller Index data with enthusiasm. And why shouldn't they? 19 of the 20 measured markets showed a slowing pace of home price decline in April. Here are some of the headlines about the story: Case-Shiller Home Prices Decline Only 18% (Business Week) Case-Shiller Less Bad (Seeking Alpha) Home Prices In 20 Cities Drop Less Than Expected (Bloomberg) Now, the headlines feel negative, but they're actually highlighting some key strengths in April's figures. For example, nearly half of the Case-Shiller markets posted gains in April and all but one showed month-over-month improvement. It's a step in the right direction but doesn't mean that housing has turned around for good. We have to be careful about ...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
At the start of the year, the "experts" made a lot of predictions about the U.S. economy and what to expect in 2009. Some said housing would riseSome said housing would fallSome said mortgage rates would riseSome said mortgage rates would fallAnd nobody predicted just how big the government's stimulus package would be.Now, on June 30, with the year officially half-over, it's as good a time as any to remember that people are much better at interpreting the past than predicting the future. Economists can make educated guesses about the future, but they're guesses nonetheless. It's like watching the Weather Channel. A meterologist can look at the data and say it's going to rain next week, but the forecast is never 100%.So far this year, mortgage rates have been up and down, credit availabi...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
If you only saw the headlines this week, you may have missed another positive sign in the housing market. According to the Census Bureau, the supply of newly-built homes for sale fell to 10.2 months in May, its lowest level in 10 months. Unfortunately, the New Homes Sales story wasn't positioned as a positively by the press. Instead, the most common headline on the data read "New Home Sales Dip 0.6%" with many journalists referring to the figures as "weak" or "disappointing". Only, that's not completely true. See, one of the nice elements of the monthly New Home Sales report is its footnote section in which the Census Bureau talks about statistical Margin of Error and that section tells us that if the Margin of Error is larger than the measurement itself, the report is useless. And that...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
The Federal Open Market Committee voted to leave the Fed Funds Rate unchanged today within its target range of 0.000-0.250 percent. The Fed also reiterated its plan to support the mortgage market to the tune of $1.5 trillion. In its press release, the FOMC noted that the U.S. economy is not slowing with the same speed versus just two months ago and that financial markets, in general, are improving. These are two signs that the country may be emerging from recession, if it hasn't already.The news isn't all good, however. The Fed made a point to highlight the potential hazards the nations faces on its path to economic recovery:The prices of energy and commodities have been risingJob losses are still mounting nationallyBusinesses are reducing capital expenditures Also in its statement, the...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
The housing market got another dose of good news yesterday. According to the National Association of REALTORS, the number of homes sold in May increased for the third straight month and the national housing supply fell by 5 months.Furthermore, first-time home buyers are accounting for nearly one-third of the market activity.But, before we declare a bottom in housing, it's important that we remember the First Rule of Real Estate:All Real Estate Is LocalNational housing statistics like Existing Home Sales are painted with a very broad brush. They lump disparate locales such as San Francisco and Seattle into one sample set and don't account for regional differences, let alone neighborhood ones.Furthermore, getting down to a city-by-city, or even street-by-street basis, we can always find h...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
The Federal Reserve begins its scheduled two-day meeting this morning. It's one of 8 scheduled meetings for the Federal Open Market Committee this year.When the FOMC meets, it discusses the financial and economic conditions around the country and, when appropriate, the group makes new policy meant to speed up or slow down the economy.The main tool for reaching this goal is the Fed Funds Rate and, earlier this year, the FOMC lowered it to "near-zero" percent in an attempt to stimulate growth.But the Fed has other tools at its disposal, too, not the least of which is its $1.25 trillion pledge to the mortgage markets.Now, if you'll remember, the Fed made that pledge in two parts:Part 1 came in November 2008 for $500 billionPart 2 came in March 2008 for $750 billionAfter each announcement, ...
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By Mike Pahua, Orange County Short Sale Realtor
(Orange County Real Estate)
View all the Coto de Caza Foreclosures. Search addresses, map the properties, view pictures and virtual tours. No cost with easy registration. Updated every 4 hours. Coto de Caza contains commercial endeavors, The Coto de Caza Guest Lodges & The Coto de Caza General Store. The whole community is guard-gated, and some of the more exclusive areas are even guard-gated multiple times. Residents shop seven minutes away in Rancho Santa Margarita ten minutes away in Mission Viejo two minutes away in Las Flores or four minutes away in Ladera Ranch. Most students in Coto de Caza reside in the Capistrano Unified School District and attend Wagonwheel, Tijeras Creek, Las Flores Middle School, Tesoro High School, and Santa Margarita Catholic High School (not part of Capistrano Unified). The communit...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
Mortgage rates are suffering through another volatile week, causing problems for home buyers. After falling Monday and Tuesday, mortgage rates surged Wednesday and Thursday. The momentum higher appears to be carrying into the weekend, too. There are several data-related reasons for the mortgage market's spastic activity this week: Unemployment claims fell Leading Economic Indicators rose Inflation readings are tame But while each of the data points above fueled mortgage rate volatility, it's not the data that's making markets move the most. It's the psychological impact of the data. See, data tells us about the past. It measures and reports on what's already happened. Unfortunately for rate shoppers, mortgage markets are not made on data from the past -- they're made on the expectations...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
Moving to a new metropolitan area requires adjustments. There's new streets to learn, new weather patterns to get used to, and new social cultures to assimilate. There's also new costs. Just like home values vary by area, so does the Cost of Living. To visit a doctor in Chicago, as an example, costs a person more than to visit a similar-type doctor in Des Moines. Cost of Living adjustments can't be ignored between two cities because it changes a household's budget. And while it's a challenge to know exactly how far your dollar can stretch in a new town, Bankrate.com hosts a helpful Cost of Living Comparison Calculator to make the math a little easier. With categories such as dry cleaning, groceries and beauty salon, the calculator goes extra deep into the typical costs to a household, a...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
After being range-bound since the start of the year Housing Starts unexpectedly jumped in May, surprising analysts and Wall Street. It's the latest in a string of housing-related data that suggests a real estate recovery is already underway. Housing Starts is an important statistic for a number of reasons, but to homebuyers and home sellers, its immediate impact is on home inventory. Home values are based on supply and demand. When the demand for homes exceeds the supply, values tend to rise. Conversely, when supply exceeds demand, values tend to fall. When Housing Starts increase as they did in May, therefore, unless there's a corresponding increase in demand, home prices get pressured downward. Lately, that off-setting demand appears to be present. With home affordability near record-...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
Americans are feeling better about their budgets right now, raising the possibility of a full economic recovery. According to a University of Michigan and Reuters, Consumer Sentiment rose for the fifth straight month in June. Consumer Sentiment is now at its highest levels since September 2008, the month in which Lehman Brothers failed, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were nationalized, and the global financial crisis is believed to have peaked. Rising confidence levels are important to the economy -- and to housing --because a confident consumer is more likely to make the big-ticket purchases that propel the economy forward. This includes buying new homes. That said, the Consumer Sentiment Survey has its flaws. For one, the survey's sample set includes just 500 families. This is hardly a cr...
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By Bob Phillips, CDPE, SFR, South Orange Co., CA
(Realty ONE Group)
Americans are feeling better about their budgets right now, raising the possibility of a full economic recovery. According to a University of Michigan and Reuters, Consumer Sentiment rose for the fifth straight month in June. Consumer Sentiment is now at its highest levels since September 2008, the month in which Lehman Brothers failed, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were nationalized, and the global financial crisis is believed to have peaked. Rising confidence levels are important to the economy -- and to housing --because a confident consumer is more likely to make the big-ticket purchases that propel the economy forward. This includes buying new homes. That said, the Consumer Sentiment Survey has its flaws. For one, the survey's sample set includes just 500 families. This is hardly a cr...
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