1. Both asking price and rents jumped 5 percent from last year
Trulia’s latest Price and Rent Monitorsshowed a big boost in asking prices across the U.S. – up 5.1 percent year-over-year. This a drastic change from the double digit declines of previous years.The relevant news isn’t just that home prices are climbing, but that renting is getting more expensive as well. The statistics showed rents are up 5.2 percent year-over-year.
2. Mortgage rules got a renovation.
Thursday the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released it’s new mortgage guidelines which are “a set of standards that protects consumers from bad loans” according to David Stevens, CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association. For a great summary of the new guidelines, check out CNN’s article “New Rules Aim to Make Mortgages Safer”.
3. Delinquency & foreclosures are at record lows.
Declining delinquencies aren’t just fluffed headlines, the numbers support what it seems many agents are feeling.
Delinquencies are down. According to Trulia’s Chief Economist, Jed Kolko, “ In November, 10.63% of mortgages were delinquent or in foreclosure, down a hair from 10.64% in October. The combined delinquency + foreclosure rate is at its lowest level in four years and is 41% back to normal.”
5. Investors rush in.
Another sign that we’re on the way to a high-paced recovery is that investors are making major moves to capitalize on today’s opportunity.
A recent story from Bloomberg covered how Blackstone Group, the largest U.S. private real estate owners, sped up it’s 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.
Is the improving housing market likely to continue into 2013? Most signs are pointing in this direction as homes are selling at a relatively brisk pace, time on market has decreased, continued decline in distressed properties, and we are seeing multiple offers on home price correctly priced for their condition.
The fiscal cliff was avoided after a last-minute deal was passed in Washington and the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act has been extended through 2013. The measure will continue to exempt from taxation mortgage debt that is forgiven when homeowners and their mortgage lenders negotiate a short sale, loan modification (including any principal reduction) or foreclosure.
What does all this mean for home loan rates? There is still uncertainty as how Congress will address the debt ceiling and if the Fed will stop sooner than initially planned their rounds of bond buying known as Quantitative Easing. After hearing this news, the bond market and rates went up slightly. As long as there is uncertainty in the markets investors will most likely continue to see our bond market as a safe haven for their money as noted in the weekly economic suumary from Bank of America. Rates are still low and are likely to inch up some this year, however it is still a great time to refinance or buy. If you need a referral for some great lenders, please contact me via my site.
Each month, on the Second Saturday Spotlight will “shine” on a new subject for Walnut Creek. From 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. will include hands-on demonstrations and guided tours in and around our city.
If you liked the movie Lincoln and want to learn more about our 16th President, then check out the first Spotlight event this Saturday January 12 for “Walnut Creek Library’s Inside Story” with a docent tour of the national touring Lincoln Exhibit. I will be volunteering at the event and hope to see you. Doors open @ 8:45 am.
- February 9: State of the City address at Lesher Center for the Arts
- March 9: “Keeping things running smoothly” — behind the scenes at the Public Services Maintenance Corp Yard
- April 13: Walnut Creek’s legacy of Open Space, led by the Walnut Creek Open Space Foundation
I will update the remaining year in a future blog, these are fun ways to learn more about your community and what a great place Walnut Creek is to live. Here is the link for registration and more information.