May 04, 2008

And just one more reason real estate sales are down… After reading Kenneth Harney’s article titled “Tight credit hitting specialized areas of mortgage market” in the May 3, 2008 Real Estate section of the San Francisco Chronicle, it struck me how far we have to go to return to a more normal housing market. Mr. Harney discusses the multitude of new restrictions on home mortgages which all have one glaring similarity—they make it harder for borrowers to get a loan. Some of the new loan restrictions affecting home buyers are: · No more zero down financing · No more stated income for non self- employed people · No refinancing a property that had a cash-out refinance within the last six months Some of the new loan guidelines for investors will also hurt the housing industry. A few of these are: · No investor shall be eligible for loans on more than four properties in total—the prior limit was ten. This will clearly have a detrimental effect as housing seen from an investment perspective will be effectively limited to four properties—looks like REIT’s will be getting a second life when the housing market does pick up. What’s entirely possible is that the market may never see another feverish housing boom--the likes of which swept the country in the last decade. Home affordability is still near an historical low, lending standards have never been tighter—the huge confluence of dual income qualification for loans and higher home values is off the table as that market effect has been played out already (we did...
Bay Area Population Growth Helps Bouy Housing Demand Anyone who owned a home in the Bay Area back in 1989 must remember the subsequent downturn in the market. That downturn was caused by a loss of Bay Area jobs. Home values fell as jobless homeowners sought to liquidate their mortgage overhead. Companies offered out-of-state relocations packages and early retirement to employees while many others opted to voluntarily move out of state. The latest Bay Area job report indicates that for now at least we are safe from that negative market force called unemployment. The nine Bay Area county population grew 1.4% last year and new arrivals helped buoy the housing market—if not more in the rental sector than homeownership. "It's evidence that the Bay Area is doing better economically than the rest of the state," said Mary Heim, head of the demographics research unit at the state Department of Finance, which released the new population numbers. This link allows you to see any city’s population growth and it’s definitely worth checking out. Whenever there is a market sell-off due to dire circumstances, such as we are experiencing now in the foreclosure arenas, prices drop. Why? Simply put in order to be the next sale you must have the lowest price and/or be the best home on the market. The housing market today is not unlike that of 1990 in that in many areas folks are forced to sell their homes and prices are dropping. But the Peninsula of the Bay Area has been fairing far better. First,...

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