Holding Hands Makes us Stronger

Although this is typically a place for Real Estate tips I have been known to throw in some life tips and this is one of those times.  Now, more than ever, our focus is on our cherished beach and what we can do to stem the tide of oil and moreover to counter the negative impact that the fear preceding the event is causing on our coast.  There is something about our beach for residents and tourists alike, that leaves an impression of our beach in their heart and soul. The sand sticks in your toes and the feeling travels with you forming some of the best memories of your life.   Continue reading “Holding Hands Makes us Stronger”

Rates Remain Below 5%

Despite bouncing off their lows for May, mortgage rates remain below 5% with the benchmark thirty-year, fixed-rate coming in at 4.875% with no points and the fifteen-year, fixed-rate right at 4.25% with no points. A steep drop in the yield on the ten year Treasury note over the past several weeks has lead to some of the lowest rates of the past twelve months just in time for the summer buying season. Ongoing volatility in the equity markets combined with uncertainty over European sovereign debt has brought a level of fear back into the markets which have benefited US Treasury debt prices thus driving rates lower since a bond’s yield moves inversely to its price. Government rates are also very attractive with most thirty-year fixed on VA and FHA sitting around 4.75% and jumbos are still under 6.00% at around 5.875%. Continue reading “Rates Remain Below 5%”

Keep On Selling Those Hot Dogs

Okay, I know you think Karen has finally lost it, talking about hot dogs in a Real Estate article!!! As you know I always base my articles on real life situations and questions that I am asked and I tend to keep it on the positive. Many people have come to me with great concern since the Oil Spill and have become gripped in fear of their investment and their career. While this has been a daunting and challenging situation, there is every reason to keep the enthusiasm for what is right in our world instead of focusing on the negative. I had many things to write about this week but thought it a great time to remind you of one of my all time favorite stories. Continue reading “Keep On Selling Those Hot Dogs”

Homes Data Promising

The National Association of Homebuilders reported this week that their “Housing Market Index”, a survey among its members to quantify builder sentiment about the housing market, rose three points in May to 22. While this is still well below the 50 mark which indicates builders feel optimistic about the housing market, it is the highest reading since August of 2007. It has not been above 50 since April of 2006. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department reported that new home construction soared in April – up nearly 41% from the same moth last year. The number of starts in April was also 5.8% higher than the previous month. The number of applications for new building permits actually fell for the month – down 11.5% from March. April 2010 applications were, however, still nearly 16% higher than the same month in 2009. Continue reading “Homes Data Promising”

Rural Development – Good News/ Bad News

As a flood of first-time homebuyers rushed to take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit the Rural Development program has been strained to the limit with a year’s allocation of funds expected to be depleted sometime tomorrow. There has been little interest in Congress to extend funding and it now appears that without a last minute vote to re-fund the program, Rural Development will be out of funds on Wednesday. This will leave lenders with only the ability to secure “conditional commitments” from Rural Development. Continue reading “Rural Development – Good News/ Bad News”

The Skinny on Appraisals in Today's Market

How exciting you have an offer on your house and on to close you go!!! But we have one more hurdle to master…. the big appraisal question. Will it appraise and what in the world do we do if it does not? Well in good ole yesteryear people were fighting over property so they would just up the ante and away we would go to close. Today however that is not the game and even cash buyers are putting a clause in their contracts, “property must appraise” So for all of us lay folks our there here are a few things that are involved in appraising your home. Continue reading “The Skinny on Appraisals in Today's Market”

2009 Year End Real Estate Market Summary and Analysis

An interesting thing about a prolonged down market, after three years everybody gets bored.  Real estate agents have quit trying to convince the public that the bottom has been reached because every month they were proved wrong.  Appraisers have been beaten up so bad for relaying the bad news; you can’t get one to admit he is an appraiser in public.  Sellers have thrown in the towel.  Buyers loiter about like hungry vultures.  Welcome to the 2010 Panama City Beach condo market.  For those who are still awake, the following is our summary of the local condo market as of the end of 2009.  Unfortunately, it looks exactly like the end of 2008.

Continue reading “2009 Year End Real Estate Market Summary and Analysis”

Foreclosures and Short Sales are Major Restraints for Price Stability

The sale statistics from the 70 buildings in the http://www.condosaletrends.com database indicate some encouraging news for the Panama City Beach condo market.  The number of sales from July through October is up 62% over the same period in 2008.  That number does not include developer sales that were not listed in the MLS; however neither did the 2008 number.  The prices are low enough to encourage buyers to sign contracts and the banks are more responsive to short sale offers.

Continue reading “Foreclosures and Short Sales are Major Restraints for Price Stability”

Home Prices Still Rising

Mortgage rates remain at near eight month lows as strong demand in the bond market drove the yield on the ten year Treasury note below 3.20% before rising slightly to 3.25% today on a renewed rally in stocks. The rate on the benchmark thirty-year is hovering right at 5% with no points and the fifteen-year stands at 4.375. Thirty-year rates actually were pushing 6% back in the spring so this is quite an improvement and rather unexpected. The general consensus has been that as the economy pulls out of recession and as signs of economic growth become more evident, rates would rise as inflationary pressures mounted, but this has not materialized.

Continue reading “Home Prices Still Rising”

Mixed Signals in Housing Data

Another mixed bag of housing data was released over the past week starting with last Thursday’s report from the National Association of Realtors that showed an unexpectedly drop in existing home sales. NAR reported that sales of existing homes in August fell by 2.7% form the prior month. This broke a four month trend of consecutive increases but still reflected a 3.4% increase form the same month a year ago. The report caught many economists off guard as extremely low interest rates, low prices and the government’s $8,000 tax credit were expected by most to boost sales for the month.

The Commerce Department reported on Friday that new home sales rose in August but only by a modest .7%. Even more disappointing is the fact that August new home sales were off 3.4% from a year earlier. Still, the slight increase for the month marked the fifth consecutive month of increases in the number of new homes sold. Mike Larson, an analyst with Weiss Research, Inc. said, “Price cuts and dramatic cutbacks in home construction are clearing out inventory in a big way.” “We now have the fewest number of new homes for sale since November of 1992,” he added.

Mortgage rates are still at eight month lows with the benchmark thirty-year fixed-rate flirting with 5.00%. Government rates, which usually lag behind conventional rates, are beginning to follow the downward trend with most FHA, VA and Rural Development thirty-year programs at or below 5.25%. Jumbo rates, rates for loans in excess of $417,000, are still in the high 6% range as that market remains highly illiiquid. I have been saying for some time that the run-up we have seen in the stock market this year has been irrational as concete evidence of an economic rebound has so far been lacking. The bond market, at least, agrees with me as demand for the safety of bonds remains high keeping interest rates low.