Mortgage Market Week in Review – August 31, 2012

MORTGAGE MARKET WEEK IN REVIEW

The markets have been anticipating the announcement of a third round of quantative easing during Fed Chair Ben Bernanke’s speech in Jackson Hole today. The Fed Chair spoke but issued no formal announcement. However, in his speech he commented that progress in bringing down U.S. unemployment was too slow and that the central bank would act as needed to strengthen the economic recovery. The markets took this as a veiled sign that the Fed will soon act and as a result we have a concurrent rally in stocks and bonds ahead of a 3-day weekend

CURRENT INTEREST RATES | AUGUST 31, 2012

CONFORMING RATES
($200,000 – $417,000) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 3.500% (3.59% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 2.375% (2.47% APR)
JUMBO RATES
($625,501 – $2,000,000) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 4.125% (4.21% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 2.990% (3.07% APR)
CONFORMING (HIGH-BALANCE) RATES
($417,001 – $625,500 cap by county) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 3.750% (3.82% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 2.990% (3.07% APR)
RATE TRENDS
Rates are FLAT compared to last week.
Rates are UP compared to last month.
Rates are DOWN compared to one year ago

INDUSTRY NEWS

Home Values Rise in U.S. for First Time Since 2010
 
Home prices in 20 U.S. cities climbed in June for the first time since a tax credit boosted sales in 2010, indicating the industry at the heart of the worst recession in the post-World War II era is starting to rebound.
 
The S&P/Case-Shiller index increased 0.5 percent from June 2011 after falling 0.7 percent in the year to May. The last 12-month increase took place in September 2010. Nationally, prices jumped last quarter by the most in more than six years.
 
The lowest mortgage rates on record and a decline in sales of distressed properties may help the market contribute to the economic expansion that is now in its fourth year.

Sausalito view home in heart of Banana Belt

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This article was reprinted courtesy of Gina Kemsley – Copyright © 2012 Gina Kemsley, Terra Mortgage Banking, All rights reserved.

Gina Kemsley – Senior Vice President – Loan Consultant, Terra Mortgage Banking

__________________________________________________________________________________

About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and innovative marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I specialize in Luxury Homes in the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


New Home Sales Reach Multi-Year High

New Home Sales 2010-2012The market for newly-built homes is showing strong signs of recovery nationwide.  Why should we care, you may ask, since we have very little new construction in Marin.  It is very important  because the market for newly-built homes is always last to recover after a real estate market crisis.  A strong newly-constructed home market confirms that the housing market recovery is solid.

As reported by the U.S. Department of Commerce, 372,000 new homes were sold in July on a seasonally-adjusted, annualized basis. A “new home” is a home that can be considered new construction.

July’s New Home Sales report highlights what today’s buyers of new construction and the nation’s home builders have witnessed for themselves already — that the market for newly-built homes is improving nationwide.

The number of new homes sold in July on a seasonally-adjusted, annualized basis matches the tally from May 2012, and is the highest reading since April 2010, the last month of that year’s federal home buyer tax credit.

The South Region continues to account for the majority of new construction sales, posting a 48% market share in July. South Region sales were up 9.1 percent as compared to one year ago. The other 3 regions posted higher sales volume as well :

  • South Region : +9.1% from July 2011
  • Northeast Region : +30.4% from July 2011
  • Midwest Region : +21.7% from July 2011
  • West Region : +63.8% from July 2011

Also noteworthy is that the increase in new home sales is coming at a time when new home supplies are slipping.

At the end of July 2012, there were just 142,000 new homes for sale nationwide. This is the smallest new home housing stock in at least 7 years, and a signal that buyers are buying homes faster than builders can build them. At the current pace of sales, the national supply of new homes would sell out in 4.6 months.

Because economists believe that a 6.0-month supply represents a market in balance, the current new home market is decidedly a “sellers market.”  Buyers should expect higher new home prices ahead.

Dating back to October 2011, the housing market has shown slow, steady growth. Home prices have moved higher and so has builder confidence.

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 Are you curious about your home or what’s going on with sales in your neighborhood?
Please give me a call (415-505-4789) or email me (Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com) and I’ll be happy to give you feedback.

Thinking of listing your home?
I would like to believe I am one of the best home marketing solutions in Marin County – with my strong negotiation skills, in-house staging capabilities, and formidable internet and social media presence.  Call me to find out about the innovative ways I market and sell Marin County homes. 

Thinking of buying a Marin County home?

Put your search on FAST TRACK! I will help you find the perfect home and will make the process as fun and stress free as possible. Email me to receive my unique buyer’s ebook with a wealth of tips and information to help you understand and get prepared for every step of your home’s purchase.  And feel free to contact me with any questions at 415-505-4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com

Newly constructed homes in Larkspur

_____________________________________________________________________________________

About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and innovative marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I specialize in Luxury Homes in the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Case-Shiller and FHFA Home-Price Indexes Show Record Gain

The housing market recovery appears to be sustainable.  Two home price indexes –the Case-Shiller and the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Home Price Index– both document a larger than expected increase in home prices.

CASE-SHILLER INDEX SHOWS RECORD QUARTERLY GAIN

DSnews.com reports today  in an article penned by Mark Lieberman, Five Star Institute Economist, that home prices rose 6.9 percent in the second quarter, according to the Case-Shiller Index compiled by Standard & Poor’s (S&P).  This is the strongest quarter-over-quarter gain since the quarterly index began in 1987.

Monthly improvement beats economists’s forecasts

Separately, the monthly 10- and 20-city indices rose 2.2 percent and 2.3 percent respectively in June, S&P reported Tuesday.  Economists had expected the 20-city index to grow 1.4 percent in June and be flat year-over-year.

Month-over-month,  prices improved in all 20 cities tracked by Case Shiller, led by a 6.0 percent jump in Detroit, a 4.8 percent increase in Minneapolis, a 4.6 percent improvement in Chicago, and a 4.4 percent gain in Atlanta.

Year-over-Year Improvement

The article reports that yearly prices rose  in 13 of the 20 cities compared with May when prices rose year-over-year in 12 cities led by Phoenix (13.9 percent), Minneapolis (5.7 percent), Miami (34.4 percent), and Denver (4.0 percent).

The price index for three cities – Denver, Phoenix, and Washington D..C – rose to their highest levels since 2008.

Even with the improvement in April, the 10-city price index is down 45.6 percent from its June 2006 peak and the 20-city index is down 44.5 percent from its July 2006 high point.

 

FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY’S HOME PRICE INDEX

The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Home Price Index shows 3% increase over past 12 months.

This index shows home prices rising by a seasonally-adjusted 0.7 percent between May and June 2012. The index is now up 3.0% over the past 12 months, and made its biggest quarterly gain since 2005 last quarter.

The FHFA’s Home Price Index measures home price changes through successive home sales for homes whose mortgages are backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and for which the property type is categorized as a “single-family residence”. 

Condominiums, multi-unit homes and homes with jumbo mortgages, for example, are excluded from the Home Price Index, as are all-cash home sales.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR A MARIN COUNTY HOME OWNER?

These two Home Price Indexes may give sellers reason to cheer, but it’s important to remember that  they track data which is national and already aged: it’s nearly September, yet we’re talking numbers from June.  As such, like so many other home valuation trackers, they have limited meaning in today’s hyper-local and fast paced housing market.  

These Home Price Indexes are valuable in that they indicate a general trend for the housing market that is interesting to compare with our local Bay Area and Marin County real estate markets.  The increase in prices in many markets across the nation is attributed to low inventories and fewer distressed property sales, just like in our local market.

These indexes also serve as a useful housing market gauge for law-makers and economists.  They highlight long-term trends in housing which can assist in allocating resources to a particular policy or project. 

For local and up to date market information, make sure to read my monthly Marin County Market Updates. 

 

Are you curious about your home or what’s going on with sales in your neighborhood?
Please give me a call (415-505-4789) or email me (Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com) and I’ll be happy to give you feedback.

Thinking of listing your home?
I would like to believe I am one of the best home marketing solutions in Marin County – with my strong negotiation skills, in-house staging capabilities, and formidable internet and social media presence.  Call me to find out about the unique ways I market and sell Marin County homes. 

Thinking of buying a Marin County home?

Put your search on FAST TRACK! I will help you find the perfect home and will make the process as fun and stress free as possible. Email me to receive my unique buyer’s ebook with a wealth of tips and information to help you understand and get prepared for every step of your home’s purchase.  And feel free to contact me with any questions at 415-505-4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com

Shelter Bay condominiums, Mill Valley, CA

 

___________________________________________________________________________________________

About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and innovative marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I specialize in Luxury Homes in the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Does Real Estate Guru Follow Her Own Advice?

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Thinking of listing your home?
I would like to believe I am one of the best home marketing solutions in Marin County – with my strong negotiation skills, in-house staging capabilities, and formidable internet and social media presence. Call me to find out about the unique ways I market and sell Marin County homes.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and innovative marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I specialize in Luxury Homes in the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Mortgage Market Week in Review – August 24, 2012

MORTGAGE WEEK IN REVIEW

Three weeks ago the Fed issued a “Fed Announcement” which made no mention of any further Quantitative Easing (“QE3”) efforts on their behalf.  Stocks interpreted the omission as evidence the Fed felt the economy was improving and stocks have rallied ever since.  Of course the bond market (and interest rates) took it the same way and we had a sell-off that forced interest rates up.  That is until this past Wednesday when the Fed’s minutes were released and they showed the Fed worried about the economy and ready to issue another round of QE3 if needed.  This forced stocks lower and bonds rallied (sending interest rates lower) for the first time in three weeks…  For more details, please read my blog post on the August 1, 2012 Fed Meeting Minutes.

CURRENT INTEREST RATES | AUGUST 24, 2012

CONFORMING RATES
($200,000 – $417,000) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 3.500% (3.59% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 2.500% (2.59% APR)
JUMBO RATES
($625,501 – $2,000,000) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 4.250% (4.34% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 3.000% (3.08% APR)
CONFORMING (HIGH-BALANCE) RATES
($417,001 – $625,500 cap by county) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 3.875% (3.94% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 3.000% (3.08% APR)
RATE TRENDS
Rates are DOWN compared to last week.
Rates are UP compared to last month.
Rates are DOWN compared to one year ago

INDUSTRY NEWS

Bay Area’s Median Home Price Up In July — Highest Level in 4 Years
 
The median sale price for a home in the nine-county Bay Area was $421,000 in July, up 12.6 percent from $374,000 a year earlier.  It was the region’s highest median price since hitting $447,000 in August 2008 and the 13th straight month of annual gains.
 
Bay Area sales surged 22.9 percent from last year to 8,461 homes as buyers showed more interest in higher-end homes. Nearly 42 percent of sales were for at least $500,000, compared with less than 37 percent a year earlier.
 
Across the state, sales rose 13.9 percent from last year to 39,507 homes.
Properties that were foreclosed upon in the previous year accounted for 22 percent of existing-home sales, down from 34.5 percent a year earlier and 58.5 percent in February 2009. Foreclosed homes tend to sell at steep discounts, dragging down the median price.
 
– Home Foreclosure Activity Down –
 
Home foreclosure activity in California has fallen to five-year lows, easing concerns there might be a flood of distressed sales to slow or even reverse the housing market’s recovery and the Mortgage Bankers Association reported another dose of news last week that suggested a wave of foreclosures was less likely. It said 6.38 percent of California home loans were at least one payment behind during the second quarter, down from 8.12 percent a year earlier.

 

Thinking of buying a Marin County home?

Put your search on FAST TRACK! I will help you find the perfect home and will make the process as fun and stress free as possible. Email me to receive my unique buyer’s ebook with a wealth of tips and information to help you understand and get prepared for every step of your home’s purchase.  And feel free to contact me with any questions at 415-505-4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com

Kentfield, CA

________________________________________________________________________________________

This article was reprinted courtesy of Gina Kemsley – Copyright © 2012 Gina Kemsley, Terra Mortgage Banking, All rights reserved.

Gina Kemsley – Senior Vice President – Loan Consultant, Terra Mortgage Banking

_________________________________________________________________________________

About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and innovative marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I specialize in Luxury Homes in the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Mortgage Rates Drop After Release Of August 1, 2012 Fed Meeting Minutes

If you are in the market to buy a Marin County home or refinance your mortgage, you will be pleased to hear that mortgage rates have dropped again. 

Why did they reverse their recent upward trend? Earlier this week, the Federal Reserve released the minutes from its two-day meeting which ended August 1, 2012.  The Fed Minutes are released on a schedule, three weeks after the FOMC adjourns from one of its 8 scheduled meetings of the year.

The Fed Minutes are meeting minutes; like you’d see after a corporation shareholder meeting, or after a condo board meeting. Specifically, the Fed Minutes details the conversations among Federal Reserve members which shape our nation’s economic policy.

The most recent Fed Minutes show a central bank closer to adding new market stimulus that previously believed.

At its last meeting, the Federal Reserve’s debate focused on the rate of economic growth and whether it was occurring too slowly to be long-lasting. The Fed appears to think so. Without a “substantial and sustainable strengthening” in the pace of economic expansion, it said, additional monetary stimulus would be “warranted fairly soon.”

Other notes from within the Fed Minutes included :

  • On employment : Unemployment rates will “decline only slowly”
  • On housing : The market appears “to have improved, somewhat”
  • On inflation : Retail energy costs are keeping consumer prices low

However, the Fed expressed an “unusually high level of uncertainty” about its assessments owing to the ongoing European sovereign debt problems. “Spillovers” remain possible and default threats continue to weigh on markets. 

The Federal Reserve’s next scheduled meeting is September 12-13, 2012.

Since the minutes were released — and for the first time this month — mortgage rates made a big move lower. This is in contrast to the rest of August through which mortgage rates have climbed steadily.

According to Freddie Mac, on August 1, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate was 3.49% nationwide. Today, the rate is 3.66%.  Between now and the Fed’s next policy-making meeting September 13, though, mortgage rates are subject to change. If today’s mortgage rates fit your budget, consider locking in. 

 

Are you curious about your home or what’s going on with sales in your neighborhood?
Please give me a call (415-505-4789) or email me (Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com) and I’ll be happy to give you feedback.

Thinking of listing your home?
I would like to believe I am one of the best home marketing solutions in Marin County – with my strong negotiation skills, in-house staging capabilities, and formidable internet and social media presence.  Call me to find out about the unique ways I market and sell Marin County homes. 

Thinking of buying a Marin County home?

Put your search on FAST TRACK! I will help you find the perfect home and will make the process as fun and stress free as possible. Email me to receive my unique buyer’s ebook with a wealth of tips and information to help you understand and get prepared for every step of your home’s purchase.  And feel free to contact me with any questions at 415-505-4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com

Corte Madera Library

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and innovative marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I specialize in Luxury Homes in the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Marin County Luxury Real Estate Market Report – July 2012

BAY AREA MARKET:

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve heard that the Bay Area real estate market has been sizzling hot with demand outpacing supply in all areas around the Bay.  With the decrease in distressed properties and equity sellers waiting for prices to go up, there have not been enough homes on the market to meet the buying fervor of motivated, well-qualified buyers. The result has been multiple offers and over list price sales.

How low is inventory, you may ask? The Bay Area in general has less than one month supply of inventory.  Did you know that six months supply of inventory is generally considered a balanced market?  Silicon Valley, ground zero to the tech and social media companies, has had about one week’s supply of inventory for the last six months.  While the market has been blistering in Palo Alto, there will undoubtedly be even more demand now that Facebook employees and stock holders are able to exercise their stock options. It is expected that many will sell their stock right away—wouldn’t you?—to avoid the increase in capital gains tax in January 2013.  The San Francisco market has also been heating up: there were 90 sales over $2 million in the second quarter of 2012 compared to 55 homes sold during the first quarter of this year.  And East Bay luxury sales have also been up.

MARIN COUNTY MARKET

While the “Facebook effect” is not being felt on our side of the Golden Gate Bridge as much as it is in Silicon Valley and San Francisco, the Marin County luxury market has definitely picked up steam.

INVENTORY

As of the end of July, 2012, the Marin County luxury inventory had constricted a little with 161 active listings compared to the 173 active listings over $2 million at the end of June.  After peaking in 2009 and 2010, inventory of luxury homes in Marin County is more or less back to pre-crisis levels, as seen in the table above.  Of course, there are many off-market or “pocket listings” which do not show up on the MLS and make it difficult to accurately track inventory and sales.

INCREASED SALES

As I noted in last month’s report, until this spring, to the extent sellers did not have a compelling reason to sell, many were waiting for prices to move higher to put their home on the market.  And while many are continuing to postpone their move, an increasing number of sellers are jumping in the fray now.  These motivated sellers who are embracing today’s reduced prices are rewarded with offers, sometimes multiple ones even in the high end, from today’s eager and savvy buyers who see true value in their home.

Of the eighteen homes that sold in July 2012, two sold for 100 percent of the list price and four sold for over the asking price.  The highest priced sale was that of 205 Golden Gate Avenue in Belvedere: listed at $5,495,000, it received four offers and sold in 37 days for $6,000,000, a cool $505,000 (close to 10 percent )over asking for a price per square foot of over $1,000!

Year to date,  sales of Marin County homes over $2 million have jumped from 96 at the end of July 2011 to 149 at the end of July 2011–a 36 percent increase.

While the percentage of homes in contract for the under $1 million range continues to soar at 61.2 percent at the end of July 2012, the percentage of homes in contract decreases proportionally as the price of the home increases: 26 percent for the $1 to $1.99 million range, 17.15 percent for $2 to $2.99 million range and 5.5 percent only for the $3 million and up range.

On a city by city basis, Mill Valley has fared well in the high end, as well as Belvedere and Tiburon, probably a result of the “America’s Cup Effect!”

PRICING

Has the increase in activity translated in higher prices?  For now, pricing in the high end (especially for homes that started off overpriced) remains on the soft side compared to pre-crash prices. While throughout the recession our market has fared better than most, all segments of the Marin County market have experienced declines in prices, including the luxury market.  Despite the increased appetite for luxury estates and the overbidding taking place, prices are not expected to go back to pre-crash levels in the foreseeable future in any price segment.  Strict appraisal guidelines, and continued tight credit guidelines are keeping the increase in prices to a reasonable level.

Looking to buy or sell a luxury Marin County home? Contact me 415-505-4789 or email me at Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com.

And make sure to LIKE my www.Facebook.com/LuxuryinMarin.com fan page.

Infinity pool in Tiburon, CA - www.YourPieceofMarin.com

Tiburon home with infinity pool


About the Author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I specialize in Luxury Homes in the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 

 


Mortgage Market Week in Review – August 17, 2012

MORTGAGE WEEK IN REVIEW

Interest rates moved up again for a second week in a row and fixed rate pricing is now a full 1/2 percent above the market’s all-time low on July 31st.  If we’ve learned anything over the past couple weeks it is how quickly rates can move up, compared to how slowly they move down.  I can’t say where the market is headed but there is a lot of uncertainty right now so I am advising clients who can, to lock in what are still extremely low interest rates. 

 CURRENT INTEREST RATES | AUGUST 17, 2012

CONFORMING RATES
($200,000 – $417,000) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 3.750% (3.84% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 2.625% (2.71% APR)
JUMBO RATES
($625,501 – $2,000,000) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 4.375% (4.46% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 3.125% (3.20% APR)
CONFORMING (HIGH-BALANCE) RATES
($417,001 – $625,500 cap by county) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 4.000% (4.07% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 3.125% (3.20% APR)
RATE TRENDS
Rates are UP compared to last week.
Rates are EVEN compared to last month.
Rates are DOWN compared to one year ago

 

INDUSTRY NEWS

Will Rates Go Back Down?
– By Rob Chrisman
 
Darned rates – will they ever go back down and help the folks who didn’t lock a few weeks ago? Probably, but let’s figure out three reasons why rates have moved up in the last few weeks (1.40% to 1.80% on the 10-yr, and MBS prices moving lower/worse a couple points). First, the sentiment towards Europe continues to brighten – this risk is easing out of Europe. Granted, much of the population is on vacation, but there were three critical speeches/communiqués published in the last 1.5 months out of the EU (6/29 ESM direct bank capital injections, words on July 26 from Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, and an August 2nd press conference also from Draghi) that have led analysts to believe that the prospect of a material monetary response to the European debt crisis is very possible, something that has never occurred since Greece first became an issue back in 2009.
 
The second is the impression that the U.S. economy is not falling off a ledge. It has been over a year since S&P downgraded this country, and rates have done nothing but go down – hardly the mark of a country in serious trouble. Housing appears to have stabilized, the jobs market is not strong, but it is not weak either, and many individual statistics show that things are slowly growing.
 
And the third is that given U.S. inflation is low, and job market is stable, the odds of the third round of Quantitative Easing (QE3) are declining. In other words, things aren’t great, but they are not bad enough for further Fed easing and another push for lower rates. That being said, the “looming fiscal cliff” is an issue – politicians created it, so politicians very well may postpone it.

 

Thinking of buying a Marin County home?

I will help you find the perfect home and will make the process as fun and stress free as possible. Email me to receive my unique buyer’s ebook with a wealth of tips and information to help you understand, and get prepared for, every step of your home’s purchase.  And feel free to contact me with any questions at 415-505-4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com

Stinson Beach, CA

******************************************************************************************************

This article was reprinted courtesy of Gina Kemsley – Copyright © 2012 Gina Kemsley, Terra Mortgage Banking, All rights reserved.

Gina Kemsley – Senior Vice President – Loan Consultant, Terra Mortgage Banking

Office: (415) 464-3144 – Cell: (415) 828-0218 – Email: gkemsley@terramb.comWebsitewww.terramortgagebanking.com/loan-officers/gina-kemsley

____________________________________________________________________________________

About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I specialize in Luxury Homes in the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 

 


Should You Lease Or Buy Your Next Car? It May Affect Your Mortgage.

Should you lease a new car, or should you buy one?  Like most financial questions, the answer depends on your situation. For some people, leasing a car presents distinct economic advantages. For others, buying a car is the way to go.

There’s plenty of online material to help you choose your optimal path, but this 3-minute piece from NBC’s The Today Show serves as an excellent summary. In it, you’ll learn about the basics of leasing a car, and for whom leasing can be a great fit. You’ll also hear reasons to avoid a lease completely.

The NBC interview makes all of the following points :

  • Leasing allows you to drive a car that may be “too expensive” to purchase
  • Leasing puts you in a new car, with the latest safety features and gadgets, every few years
  • Buying a car means that you have no mileage limits, and can sell at any time

For many people, it concludes, buying a car is preferable to leasing one, with a notable exception being those people who can claim their car or truck as a tax deduction. Be sure to check with your tax advisor if you plan to take that route.

WHAT ABOUT HOMEOWNERS AND ACTIVE HOME BUYERS?

However, for another group — homeowners and active home buyers — leasing a car can invite mortgage approval trouble. This is because a car lease payment is assumed by a mortgage underwriter to be a perpetual debt; one that never reduces or gets extinguished. When a lease is complete, it must be replaced with a new lease, and so on.

Therefore, no matter how many payments remain in a lease, mortgage applicants must use the full car lease payment for purposes of a mortgage approval.

By contrast, for people who are owners of their automobiles, car payments must only be added to debt ratios if more than 10 car payments remain until the car’s loan is paid-in-full. For homeowners and buyers , this can improve debt-to-income ratios and support a higher purchase price on a home.

There is no firm rule for whether it is better to lease a car or to own one. The arguments for both sides are compelling and reasonable. Start with the video, then do your own research. 

Thinking of buying a Marin County home?

One thing is sure: I will put your search on FAST TRACK! I will help you find the perfect home and will make the process as fun and stress free as possible. Email me to receive my unique buyer’s ebook with a wealth of tips and information to help you understand and get prepared for every step of your home’s purchase.  And feel free to contact me with any questions at 415-505-4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com

Love it in navy blue. What’s your favorite color?

 

About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

 

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and innovative marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

 

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

 

I specialize in Luxury Homes in the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 

 

 


MARIN COUNTY REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE – JULY 2012

While there is typically a definite lull in market activity at this time of year, we are still seeing a vibrant and resilient market in Marin, and around the Bay, as we enter the final month of summer.  Most of the dialogue about what defines our market for July is a repeat from last month.  Sales have remained strong despite a stubbornly low inventory level.  Interest rates are still at rock-bottom levels.  The percentage of properties in contract remains high.

TRENDS AT A GLANCE

Limited Inventory:

Inventory has remained unusually and unseasonably low since the end of 2011.  At the end of July there were only 667 homes for sale compared to 1,014 at the same time last year.  The major reasons keeping a lid on our Marin inventory are fewer foreclosure sales and “short sales” (sales by homeowners who owe more than their homes are worth) and more homeowners sitting on the sidelines, waiting for prices to increase.

If you are a buyer, you are undoubtedly very familiar with the challenges resulting from this dearth of homes for sale: multiple offers, some with contingencies waived, all cash offers from investors, creating a frenzy on turn-key homes in highly-sought after Marin communities.

Strong Sales:

From the entry-level market to the luxury end, sales remain very strong for this time of year.  Sales increased from 218 last July to 280 this July, an almost 30% increase.  And year to date, for the first time, sales are higher than they were in 2007 before the market crashed.  The increase has been pretty steady over the years with 1,203 units sold in the first seven months of 2008, 1,099 in 2009, 1,385 in 2010, 1,418 in 2011 and finally 1,699 for the same period this year, compared to 1,656 in 2007.

This is a strong sign of stability and a sound recovery in the making.  According to Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, “The recovery is occurring despite excessively tight credit conditions and higher down payment requirements, which are negating the impact of record high affordability conditions.”

Even more so than usual, activity varies greatly by price point.  Single family homes under $1 million (with the 0-$499,000 at a blistering hot 73% in contract) and condominiums below $600,000 are selling like hot cakes.  Properties in the higher end for all property types are moving more slowly.

Upward trend in prices 

Not surprisingly, with limited supply and high demand, we are starting to witness an upward pressure on prices.  Have we returned to pre-crash prices? Not at all! But we are moving in the right direction.  The average sale price of a Marin County home was $950,000 in July 2012 compared to $859,000 in July 2011.  The median price has also augmented from $651,000 in July 2011 to $736,000 in July 2012, a 13% increase.

Home values still remain well below where they were at the height of the market however.  The highest average sales price in recent years was $1,344,000 in September 2007 before the crash and $666,000 at the lowest point in February 2009.

CITY BY CITY REPORT

Novato is leading the pack with 62.8% of active listings in contract, with Greenbrae a close second at 57.89%, and San Rafael and Corte Madera not far behind at 52.47% and 51.72% in contract, respectively.  Greenbrae has been the hottest market this year with most of its listings getting snapped up as soon as they come on the market. A crop of four new listings just came on the MLS in the past ten days in Greenbrae, increasing the number of active listings and reducing its percentage of homes in contract.

I AM HERE TO HELP YOU NAVIGATE THE MARKET

With affordability at an all time high, it’s a great time to buy.  Thanks to the limited supply of homes and high demand, it is a good time to sell if you have sufficient equity and are in a position to price your home for today’s market conditions.

For both buyers and sellers, there are techniques for succeeding in this challenging environment of low inventory and multiple offers.  Many of my buyers have been successful in multiple offer situations, even when their price was not the highest. It’s about crafting an attractive, well presented offer with terms and price that meet the seller’s particular needs. And for sellers, pricing right and preparing your home to show its best is more important than ever. Buyers are educated and savvy, and won’t overpay no matter how much they love your home.

I would be happy to assist you or someone you know in discussing your options in the current market. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at 415-505-4789 if I can be of assistance!