Market News

Chronicle: Bay Area Condo Sales & Prices Tanking

SFGate.com — the SF Chronicle website — ran an article today, titled “Bay Area Condominium Sales, Prices Tanking”:

From Paragon’s Director of Business Development:

It talks about how financing difficulties, foreclosures and increasing HOA dues have hammered the Bay Area condo market. All of those issues are indeed important factors in today’s market, but they misrepresent recent trends.

First of all, in the Chronicle’s chart from DataQuick, it shows that the 2010 median price for condos in SF ($650,000) is 14.5% below peak values! Of course, we all know values have fallen from peak values in 2007/2008 — that is old news. What the article doesn’t make a big deal of, is that the chart shows that the SF median condo price in 2010 was HIGHER, admittedly by just a little bit, than the median for 2009 ($640,000).

In fact, the median price either increased or statistically stayed the same for 7 of the 9 Bay Area counties, 2009 to 2010, and the median for ALL Bay Area condos sold increased 5% in 2010 ($290,000) over the median for 2009 ($275,000).

For some reason, by some logic, that justifies a headline today about “prices tanking.” By my reckoning, the data actually points to the fact that market values are strengthening a little or, at the very least, have stabilized over the past 2 years.

Now for a few SF condo market statistics, because I can’t really speak to the other counties’ markets. Comparing condo resales (through MLS) in the 1st Quarter of 2010, with the 1st Quarter 2011 just ended:

The total number of SF condo sales increased 19% (“Sales Tanking”???)

The number of distress sales of condos in SF (bank-owned or short sales) increased significantly from 63 to 119, a large jump, however the median price for distress condo sales stayed virtually the same ($421,000 vs. $420,000), and the median price for regular, non-distress condo sales — still 75% of the SF condo market — increased from $683,500 to $699,000. (“Prices Tanking”???)

For all 2-BR condos sold in SF (through MLS), the overall median basically stayed the same ($710,000 vs. $711,500), but for non-distress sales, the median sales price increased from $725,000 in 2009 to $760,000 in 2010.

Looking at the 4 Realtor Districts in San Francisco with the most MLS condo sales, for 2-BR condos:

District 5 (Noe/ Castro/ Haight): the number of sales stayed virtually the same (37 vs. 38) and the overall median sales price increased 4.5% to $773,000.

District 7 (Pacific Heights/ Cow Hollow/ Marina): the number of sales increased 18% (17 vs. 20) and the overall median sales price increased 6% to $967,000.

District 8 (Russian, Nob, Telegraph Hills/ North Beach/ Tenderloin/ Civic Center): the number of sales increased 31% from 26 to 34, while the overall median sales price declined 3% to $762,500. But note that District 8 has neighborhoods of wildly differing qualities, so sales occurring in one neighborhood over another will change the median price, sometimes relatively dramatically. (Districts 5 & 7 are relatively homogeneous in value throughout the districts.)

District 9 (SOMA/ South Beach/ Potrero Hill/ Inner Mission): the number of sales increased 13% from 68 to 79, and the overall median sales price increased 4% to $701,000.

For 1-BR, condo sales in all of SF, the number of sales stayed the same, while the median price for non-distress sales, declined about 5%. It is true that the market for 1 BR condos, especially in certain neighborhoods, has been hit a bit harder by distress sales than other market segments. Distress 1-BR condo sales in the 1st Quarter of 2011 made up a high 31% of sales.

My main quibble with the Chronicle article, as with others they’re run, is not with their statistics, but with the hysteria and lack of context of their headlines and main statements. They’re constantly comparing today with the market-bubble peak 3 to 4 years ago, while ignoring the positive trends of the last 2 years, and their headlines love to crow with more supposedly “breaking” bad news about the SF and Bay Area home markets.

And that is just bad journalism.

Condo sales have actually increased significantly and median prices have either increased a little or basically stabilized.

April 13, 2011 / by / in
Neighborhood Market Reports

The Paragon Market Update Report looks at prices and market dynamics in the different neighborhoods all over the city. Select the neighborhood to access the latest neigborhood details.

San Francisco City Overview

Alamo Square

Mission

Anza Vista

Mission Bay

Bayview

Mission Dolores

Bayview Heights

Nob Hill

Bernal Heights

Noe Valley

Buena Vista Park

North Panhandle

Central Waterfront

North Waterfront

Clarendon Heights

Ocean View

Cole Valley

Outer Mission

Corona Heights

Outer Sunset

Cow Hollow

Pacific Heights

Crocker Amazon

Parkside

Diamond Heights

Parnassus / Ashbury Heights

Dolores Heights

Pine Lake Park

Downtown

Potrero Hill

Duboce Triangle

Presidio Heights

Eureka Valley

Richmond

Excelsior

Russian Hill

Forest Hill

Sea Cliff

Forest Hill Extension

Sherwood Forest

Forest Knolls

Silver Terrace

Glen Park

South Beach

Golden Gate Heights

South of Market

Haight Ashbury

St. Francis Wood

Hayes Valley

Sunset

Ingleside

Telegraph Hill

Ingleside Heights

Tenderloin

Ingleside Terrace

Twin Peaks

Inner Richmond

Van Ness / Civic Center

Jordan Park / Laurel Heights

Visitacion Valley / Portola

Lake

West Portal

Lake Shore / Lakeside

Western Addition

Marina

Westwood Park

Merced

Midtown Terrace

Miraloma

Paragon Market Update Reports are powered by Altos Research, Copyright

2009 Altos Research LLC, all rights reserved. More information is available at www.altosresesarch.com.

March 7, 2011 / by / in
Weekly Market Charts

These charts track activity by week for the past 6 months through January 16, 2011 for SFDs, Condos, TICs & 2-4 Unit Buildings. The market is starting to wake up after the holidays.

New Listings: Starting to accelerate after the big slow-down of late December.
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Listings For Sale: Increasing slowly but still very low by general standards.
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Listings Accepting Offers: Accelerating as the market warms up.
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Percentage of Listings Accepting Offers: On a percentage basis, we’re back up over 5% (per week), which is among the highest percentages of the past 6 months. Of course, this is a function of both buyer demand (increasing) and inventory available (increasing, but still very low).
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Interest Rate Chart from Bankrate.com: rates have significantly climbed from their 40-year lows, but at under 5% are still very low by historical standards.
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January 22, 2011 / by / in ,
Market Update: Pricing Reigns Supreme

2010 saw a very strong spring market turbo-charged by federal and state tax credits, a much slower summer, and then a strong finish from Labor Day on. The 4th quarter of 2010 had more accepted offers than the 4th quarters of 2009, 2008 & 2007. Comparing 2010 to 2009, overall median sales prices for SF houses and condos barely budged. The luxury home market woke back up. Interest rates jumped at the end of the year, but are still very low. Of those homes that did sell in 2010, most sold relatively quickly, without price reductions, at or a little above or below list price: the market identified them as good deals. A minority of sales sold after one or more price reductions, taking much longer and at a substantial discount to the original price. And many listings didn’t sell at all because buyers perceived them as overpriced.

There seems to be a positive momentum to the market as 2011 begins. A large influx of new listings will arrive in coming weeks as both buyers and sellers jump back in after the holidays.

Statistics are generalities, subject to fluctuation due to a variety of reasons. Median prices may be affected by other factors than changes in value. Averages may be distorted by a small number of sales substantially higher or lower than the norm. New-development condo sales not reported to MLS are not included in this analysis. All information herein should be considered approximate. It is derived from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and omissions, and is not warranted.

Paragon Real Estate Group
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San Francisco Unit Sales: 2007 – 2010
Comparing 2010 to 2009, the market strengthened and sales went up in every property type except TICs. From 2007 to 2009, the total number of sales fell 23% (plus an approximate 15-20% decline in values). Now, house sales are almost back to 2007 levels; condo sales are 17% up from 2009 but still 14% below 2007; TIC sales are 62% below 2007; 2-4 unit buildings are up from 2009 but still down 28% from 2007; 5+ unit buildings recovered a bit but are still 34% below 2007.

Paragon Real Estate Group
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Median Sales Price & Average Dollar per Square Foot
These 2 charts are for SF house and condo sales over the past 3 years. From late 2007, early 2008, the median price dropped about 15% and the average dollar per square foot about 18%. However, there has been a remarkable stability over the past 7 quarters: the median was within 1½ % of $700,000 in 5 of the 7 quarters (the 2 other quarters were about 5% above that); and the average dollar per square foot remained within about 2% of $550/sq.ft.. 2009 to 2010, the overall median prices for both houses and condos was virtually unchanged.

Paragon Real Estate Group
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Median House Sales Price by Neighborhood
Median price in thousands of dollars. The median price is that price at which half the sales occurred for more and half for less. For more information on median price trends and average dollar per square foot, click on the below link:
Median Price Overview

Paragon Real Estate Group
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SF Condos: Average Dollar per Square Foot
Dollar per square foot is calculated on liveable square footage, which doesn’t include garages, attics, storage or outdoor space. This calculation is based on those sales that reported square footage. Square footage figures are often unreliable or unreported, and average $/sq.ft. figures can fluctuate, but as a general statistic, this gives a relatively fair picture of the progression of condo values by neighborhood in San Francisco. Remember that the average age, size and condition of condos can vary widely by neighborhood.

Paragon Real Estate Group
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SF Home Sales by Realtor District
The big districts for house sales were southern District 10 (hit hard by distress sales), western District 2 (Sunset/ Parkside), central Districts 4 (St. Francis Wood/ Forest Hill/ Miraloma Park) and 5 (Noe/ Castro/ Haight). District 9 (SOMA/ South Beach/ Mission), with dozens of large condo developments, had twice as many condo sales as District 8 (Nob/Russian/Telegraph Hills) and District 5. TIC sales have dramatically declined in the city and are mostly found in Districts 5, 8 (Nob/Russian Hills) and 6 (Hayes Valley/ NOPA). The big districts for 2-4 unit building sales are 5 and 1 (Richmond).
SF Realtor Map

Paragon Real Estate Group
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Sales by Price Range
For sales of SF houses, condos, co-ops and TICs over the past year, the largest price segment by far was $500,000 to $750,000, with the next largest being the segments on either side. Once the million dollar mark is passed, the quantity of sales in each segment steps down dramatically.

Paragon Real Estate Group
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SF Luxury House Sales
Luxury house sales – sales of $2m and above – bounced back dramatically in 2010, but are still below 2008 levels except in District 7 (Pacific & Presidio Heights, Cow Hollow & Marina), which saw a large surge this past year.

Paragon Real Estate Group
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SF Luxury Condo Sales
High-end condo sales – sales of $1.5m and above — have not recovered as well as luxury house sales, except in Realtor District 5 (Noe/ Castro/ Haight), where after a huge decline in 2009, there was a huge increase in 2010 (though still slightly below 2008). The Pacific Heights area (District 7) also saw a small increase in 2010.

Paragon Real Estate Group
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Distress Home Sales by District
Bank-owned property sales and short sales (loan amount greater than market value) can be found throughout the city, but are heavily concentrated in specific areas. Distress house sales are concentrated in the southern band of neighborhoods running from Bayview west to Oceanview (Districts 10 & 3). Distress condo sales are mainly found in the eastern band of neighborhoods that experienced massive new development in the last 15 years (District 9). Compared to other counties, San Francisco has been much less affected by distress sales, with the overall percentage in the past year running at roughly 15-16% of total sales.
SF Realtor Map

Paragon Real Estate Group
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Listings Accepting Offers; Listings Expiring
The dark blue columns delineate the number of listings accepting offers in any given quarter over the past 3 years; the purple columns show listings that expired or were withdrawn (without selling). In the top chart, last spring’s market surge shows clearly. The 4th quarter of 2010 was more active in offers being accepted than the 4th quarters of 2009, 2008 or 2007, and the usual slowdown between 3rd and 4th quarters did not occur. However, a high number of listings expired without selling in the 4th quarter of 2010 as well. Many of these will be relisted in January at reduced prices.

Paragon Real Estate Group
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Months’ Supply of Inventory & Days on Market
These 2 charts pertain to SF house sales only, which is the hottest segment of the market. The gray columns show months’ supply of inventory over the past 2 years, which at 2.5 months, is now at its low for that time period. Inventory will increase significantly in January. The dark blue columns show the average number of days it took a house to accept an offer (by quarter over 3 years).

January 6, 2011 / by / in ,
San Francisco Property Tax Reduction Appeals

Informal Reviews & Formal Appeals for the 2011/2012 Tax Year

If you believe your home may be eligible for a reduction in property taxes based upon a decline in value, there are two ways you might proceed: an Informal Review by the San Francisco Assessor’s office and/or a Formal Appeal with Assessment Appeals Board. The Formal Appeal, in particular, can be a complicated and time consuming process. Generally speaking, homes purchased 2005 through mid-2008 (the time of peak values in most SF neighborhoods) have the best cases for a property tax reduction. Declines from peak value in the city generally range from 12-25%, though it all depends on the exact time, location and terms and conditions of your purchase. If your appeal is successful, the reduction in assessed value only applies to the 7/1/11 – 6/30/12 tax year. A decline-in-market appeal is only good for 1 year, the year for which it is filed.

If you need help gathering comparable sales data with which to make your case, I am happy to be of assistance. You may also hire a professional appraiser. The Assessor’s “valuation date” is January 1, 2011, so the nearer your comparable sales are to that date, the better. However, all sales comparables submitted must have closed before March 31, 2011.

Requesting an Informal Review
The SF Assessor’s Office has announced that they will now accept “Requests for Informal Review of Assessed Value” for tax year 2011/2012. Such requests must be filed by March 31, 2011 and apply only to single-family dwellings, residential condominiums, townhouses, live-work lofts and cooperative units.

One can email the Assessor’s office with questions (Assessor@SFGOV.ORG), as well as call or visit the Assessor’s office in City Hall to speak with the appraisers that are on duty (415-554-5596). And the SF Assessor’s website offers information regarding Decline-in-Value Informal Reviews:
SF Assessor’s Office Forms and FAQs

FAQs as Posted by the SF Assessor’s Office
2011-2012 INFORMAL REVIEWS

Q1: I BELIEVE THE MARKET VALUE OF MY PROPERTY IS LESS THAN MY CURRENT ASSESSED VALUE. HOW DO I PROTEST MY VALUE?

First, check your current assessed value at http://gispubweb.sfgov.org/website/sfparcel/index.htm. Second, if the assessed value is higher than the market value, you have the following options:

1. REQUEST AN INFORMAL REVIEW

(Single family dwellings, residential condominiums, townhouses, live-work lofts and cooperative units only) – From January 3, 2011 to March 31, 2011, the Assessor will accept requests to review the market value of your property. Your request must be in writing by completing an application with supporting evidence of your opinion of value. If you were granted a reduction for the year 2010-2011, we will automatically review your assessment for the year 2011-2012 to determine whether a reduction is still warranted. Send your request to: Assessor-Recorder, ATTN: Informal Review, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, City Hall – Room 190, San Francisco, CA 94102. Mail-in requests for an informal review must be U.S. postmarked by the March 31, 2011 deadline. By Fax: (415) 554-7915 or E-mail: InformalReviewRP@sfgov.org. Be sure to keep a copy for your records.

2. FILE AN ASSESSMENT APPEAL

(All property types) – From July 5, 2011 to September 15, 2011 you may file an Application for Changed Assessment with the Assessment Appeals Board (AAB), an independent body established to hear and resolve valuation disputes between the Assessor and taxpayer. A $60.00 filing fee due at the time of application and the AAB will schedule a hearing for you at a later date. Applications may be obtained by contacting the Assessment Appeals Board – Clerk of the Board at 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, City Hall – Room 405, San Francisco, CA 94102, by phone: (415) 554-6778 or directly from their website: www.sfgov.org/AAB.

Q2: CAN I, AS THE OWNER OF A SINGLE FAMILY DWELLING, DO BOTH PROCEDURES?

Yes. If upon the receipt of your annual Notice of Assessed Value, which will be mailed at the end of July 2011, you disagree with the assessed value, you can file an assessment appeal with the Assessment Appeals Board. Please see instructions above.

Q3: WHAT DOES MARKET VALUE MEAN?

Market value is the price a property would sell for when the property is put up for sale in a competitive and open market.

Q4: WHAT IF MY CURRENT ASSESSED VALUE IS BELOW MARKET VALUE?

The Assessor is required to enroll the lesser of your factored base year value (assessment) or the market value. For example, if the market value (what you could sell your house for) of your property as of January 1, 2011 is $500,000 and your assessed value is $200,000 the Assessor would enroll the $200,000 as your taxable value. You would not qualify for a lowered assessment.

Q5: WHAT TAX YEAR AM I APPEALING?

The assessed value being appealed will cover the fiscal year from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012.

Q6: WHAT TYPE OF INFORMATION WILL I NEED TO PROVIDE TO SUPPORT MY CLAIM?

You will need to submit sales information and/or an appraisal performed by a licensed real estate appraiser to support your claim. The sales information or appraisal’s date of valuation should be near the January 1, 2011 lien date but no later than March 31, 2011.

Q7: IF THE ASSESSOR OR THE ASSESSMENT APPEALS BOARD AGREES TO REDUCE MY VALUE, WILL THE NEW ASSESSMENT BE PERMANENT?

No. The reduction is temporary and only applies to the tax year being appealed. Once a reduction is made, the assessor is required by law to annually reappraise the property until its fair market value exceeds the factored base year value.

Q8: WHY ARE TENANCY-IN-COMMON (TICs) UNITS EXCLUDED?

Unlike residential condominiums and cooperative units, TICs do not have separate parcel numbers. A review of a single TIC unit is more complex. TIC owners can appeal their taxes by filing an Application for Changed Assessment with the Assessment Appeals Board beginning July 5, 2011 thru September 15, 2011.

Q9: WHEN WILL I BE NOTIFIED OF THE RESULTS OF MY INFORMAL REVIEW REQUEST?

Homeowners will be notified of the results of their informal review in the annual Notice of Assessed Value which will be mailed at the end of July 2011.

Making a Formal Appeal

The next open formal appeal filing period for San Francisco will be July 5, 2011 to September 15, 2011 — to appeal the 2011/2012 assessed value of your property. A formal appeal can be made for multi-unit and commercial properties, as well as for houses, condos & cooperative units. There is a non-refundable $60 processing fee.

It is possible to attend assessment appeals board hearings for other people to see how they work. They are open to the public.

These online resources offer important details regarding the filing of a formal appeal:

Formal Appeal Overview

Forms & Documents

Publication 30: “Residential Property Assessment Appeals”

There is also a very good video on the formal assessment appeal process. This video is divided into the following sections: Introduction, Decline in Market Value, Base Year Value, Reassessment After Calamity, Escape Assessment and Roll Changes, Filling Out the Application, Preparing for Your Hearing, and Your Hearing. It is highly recommended you view this video:

http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=458

Warning on Scams

There are a number of property-tax-appeal service companies, who have been sending out their solicitations on stationery that suggests a government agency affiliation. SF Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting has stated the following:

“We’ve received reports from dozens of taxpayers who have received a letter from companies offering to facilitate the property tax reassessment for $179 [or more]. This is unnecessary and deceptive. Taxpayers can fill out a simple, one-page application for a review of their property in my office, free of charge. There is no need to pay for this service.”

All information is from sources deemed reliable but subject to change, error and omission, and not warranted.
Interested parties must contact the appropriate government agency to confirm all pertinent guidelines and procedures before proceeding.

January 6, 2011 / by / in
2011 FHA Loan Limits

By Kelli Galippo • Dec 21st, 2010

These are the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) single family residence (SFR) loan limits, effective January 1, 2011. Actual loan limits are established for each county, depending on whether they are considered a high-cost or low-cost area.

For high-cost areas (regions where the loan limits may exceed $417,000), the maximum loan limits are:

$729,750 for one unit;
$934,200 for two units;
$1,129,250 for three units; and
$1,403,400 for four units.

For low-cost areas, the minimum loan limits are:
$271,050 for one unit;
$347,000 for two units;
$419,400 for three units; and
$521,250 for four units.

County NameOne unitTwo unitsThree unitsFour units
ALAMEDA$729,750$934,200$1,129,250$1,403,400
ALPINE$547,500$700,900$847,200$1,052,900
AMADOR$443,750$568,050$686,650$853,350
BUTTE$417,000$533,850$645,300$801,950
CALAVERAS$462,500$592,050$715,700$889,450
COLUSA$417,000$533,850$645,300$801,950
CONTRA-COSTA$729,750$934,200$1,129,250$1,403,400
DEL NORTE$417,000$533,850$645,300$801,950
EL DORADO$580,000$742,500$897,500$1,115,400
FRESNO$417,000$533,850$645,300$801,950
GLENN$417,000$533,850$645,300$801,950
HUMBOLDT$417,000$533,850$645,300$801,950
IMPERIAL$417,000$533,850$645,300$801,950
INYO$437,500$560,050$677,000$841,350
KERN$417,000$533,850$645,300$801,950
KINGS$417,000$533,850$645,300$801,950
LAKE$417,000$533,850$645,300$801,950
LASSEN$417,000$533,850$645,300$801,950
LOS ANGELES$729,750$934,200$1,129,250$1,403,400
MADERA$425,000$544,050$657,650$817,300
MARIN$729,750$934,200$1,129,250$1,403,400
MARIPOSA$417,000$533,850$645,300$801,950
MENDOCINO$512,500$656,100$793,050$985,600
MERCED$472,500$604,900$731,150$908,650
MODOC$417,000$533,850$645,300$801,950
MONO$529,000$677,200$818,600$1,017,300
MONTEREY$729,750$934,200$1,129,250$1,403,400
NAPA$729,750$934,200$1,129,250$1,403,400
NEVADA$562,500$720,100$870,450$1,081,750
ORANGE$729,750$934,200$1,129,250$1,403,400
PLACER$474,950$608,000$734,950$913,350
PLUMAS$417,000$533,850$645,300$801,950
RIVERSIDE$500,000$640,100$773,700$961,550
SACRAMENTO$580,000$742,500$897,500$1,115,400
SAN BENITO$729,750$934,200$1,129,250$1,403,400
SAN BERNARDINO$500,000$640,100$773,700$961,550
SAN DIEGO$697,500$892,950$1,079,350$1,341,350
SAN FRANCISCO$729,750$934,200$1,129,250$1,403,400
SAN JOAQUIN$488,750$625,700$756,300$939,900
SAN LUIS OBISPO$687,500$880,100$1,063,850$1,322,150
SAN MATEO$729,750$934,200$1,129,250$1,403,400
SANTA BARBARA$729,750$934,200$1,129,250$1,403,400
SANTA CLARA$729,750$934,200$1,129,250$1,403,400
SANTA CRUZ$729,750$934,200$1,129,250$1,403,400
SHASTA$423,750$542,450$655,700$814,900
SIERRA$417,000$533,850$645,300$801,950
SISKIYOU$417,000$533,850$645,300$801,950
SOLANO$557,500$713,700$862,700$1,072,150
SONOMA$662, 500$848,100$1,025,200$1,274,050
STANISLAUS$423,750$542,450$655,700$814,900
SUTTER$425,000$544,050$657,650$817,300
TEHAMA$417,000$533,850$645,300$801,950
TRINITY$417,000$533,850$645,300$801,950
TULARE$417,000$533,850$645,300$801,950
TOULUMNE$437,500$560,050$677,000$841,350
VENTURA$729,750$934,200$1,129,250$1,403,400
YOLO$580,000$742,500$897,500$1,115,400
YUBA$425,000$544,050$657,650$817,300

Loans limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will remain unchanged from 2010. General loan limits for 2011 are:

$417,000 for one unit;
$533,850 for two units;
$645,300 for three units; and
$801,950 for four units.

Agents and brokers should make themselves and their colleagues aware of this data for the coming year. FHA-insured lending is set to remain at around 40% of loan volume, until the government determines FHA programs need to be restricted again to first-time homebuyers (by lowering the limits), and private mortgage insurance (PMI) and lenders agree to get back into the market full tilt.

It is coming, and faster than we have anticipated. Lenders are eager to get in on the huge profit spreads now available to them, thanks to the Federal Reserve (Fed) maintaining what are basically 0% interest rates for lenders at the moment.

Re: “2011 FHA Maximum Loan Limits” from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Confirmation of Conventional Loan Limits for 2011” from Fannie Mae

Loan Limits” from Freddie Mac

Copyright © 2010 by first tuesday Realty Publications, Inc. Readers are encouraged to reprint or distribute this information with credit given to the first tuesday Journal Online — P.O. Box 20069, Riverside, CA 92516.

December 31, 2010 / by / in
Competitively Pricing Your Home [FARM Version]

By Kelli Galippo • Dec 13th, 2010 •

Many sales factors are to be considered when setting the most competitive asking price for a home. A well-considered asking price for a home is a price carefully based on market conditions.

Be realistic about the sales price you are actually willing to accept for your home today so you are prepared when an offer is received. A common mistake homeowners make is setting expectations about the price they feel they should get for their home at what they believe will be its future value, or even what they might have gotten years prior, called dollar illusions.

Don’t forget that the present value of a home to a buyer is directly, though inversely, tied to interest rates. Sellers will only get a price for their home in direct correlation to the amount of financing available to buyers generally, and that is based on interest rates and mortgage payments equal to roughly 31% of the buyer’s monthly income.

When interest rates increase, as they will at some point in this recovery after jobs pick up, the amount of money lenders will lend a buyer decreases. Thus, the amount of loan funds available to the buyer to assist in the purchase of a home, plus the down payment limits their selection of a home to those priced by sellers to accommodate this shift.

Pricing your home is less about its value as perceived by the seller, and more about what the market conditions allow. If interest rates rise even half a percentage point, a buyer is then able to borrow less money than before — tens of thousands of dollars less for more expensive homes.

A proper asking price for your home is initially the most effective step for selling a home quickly, and voluntary transparency about the physical condition, possible hazards and security aspects of your home will hasten that sales process.

Copyright © 2010 by first tuesday Realty Publications, Inc. Readers are encouraged to reprint or distribute this information with credit given to the first tuesday Journal Online — P.O. Box 20069, Riverside, CA 92516.

December 29, 2010 / by / in
Increasing Renter Populations Drag Neighborhoods Down

By Kelli Galippo • Dec 15th, 2010 •

California communities with a high volume of foreclosures are struggling to maintain the appearance of their neighborhoods as the influx of renter-occupants invests less time in the upkeep of their homes.

When investors buy up foreclosures and rent them out, the increased renter-to-homeowner ratio means neighborhoods are occupied by fewer homeowners motivated to spend time mowing their lawns and making repairs. Even worse, many foreclosures become vacancies, without even a tenant to hold accountable for overgrown or dead lawns.

Those remaining as long-time residents in foreclosure-plagued neighborhoods are legitimately concerned the increase in rentals will lead to a decrease in the community’s curb appeal — resulting in lower home values for everyone.

The percentage of non-owner occupied homes in various regions across the state ranges from 10% to 50%. Neighborhoods experienced a similar increase in rentals in the early 1990s during the previous economic recession.

Those who purchased during the Millennium Boom and watched the value of their homes drop to devastating lows are now overwhelmed with distrust for the real estate market. Many are nursing a bruised credit score. They will at some point get out from under their upside down homes, and the employed among them will remain in their jobs in California and rent for a decade or so before regaining the confidence to borrow and buy a home again.

In the current market climate, households transitioning via strategic default and foreclosure find they can rent a larger home for a monthly payment much lower than their previous monthly mortgage payment. When so many are unsure about the future value of real estate and the integrity of mortgage lenders, renting a home becomes a pretty sweet deal.

Those scorned by lost jobs and guttered home prices will most likely find renting a more favorable alternative to plunging back into debt and homeownership. [For more information regarding consumer confidence in homeownership, see the June 2010 article, Consumers say they prefer renting to buying and the May 2010 article, Homebuyers feel ready and willing to buy, but not financially able.]

Investors purchasing homes in buy-to-let programs over the next 18 to 30 months are certainly going to notice the pick-up in prospective tenants as the jobs return, foreclosures remain high, and rentals become a California fad. Brokers and agents have already used gross revenue multipliers (GRMs) to sell single-family residences (SFRs) to investors, and have definitely taken note of the best rent-to-price ratios since the early 1970s. [For more information regarding GRMs, see the June 2010 article, Renting vs. buying: the GRM.]

California’s fast-dropping homeownership percentages show no sign of stopping, and a growing California population of younger people will only perpetuate the trend.

Re: “Rise of rentals pulls others down” from the Press Enterprise

Copyright © 2010 by first tuesday Realty Publications, Inc. Readers are encouraged to reprint or distribute this information with credit given to the first tuesday Journal Online — P.O. Box 20069, Riverside, CA 92516.

December 27, 2010 / by / in
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