Tag Archives: families

Multi-Generational Households are at a Record High

A record high of 57 million Americans live in multi-generational households

homeAs reported by the Wall Street Journal, an analysis of Census data by the Pew Research Center shows that 18.1 percent of the American population (that’s 57 million residents) live in multi-generational homes.

According to the article, this trend was encouraged by the recession — and it seems that this trend will only increase.  Continue reading

Events: Top things to do this weekend

Some great ideas for San Diego county residents this weekend from the Union-Tribune San Diego:

Art Alive

Have you ever been so inspired by a piece of art that you rushed home and designed a floral arrangement based on it? What, you haven’t?

Well, some local floral designers do this every year for Art Alive and it’s pretty spectacular. The weekend event is the San Diego Museum of Art’s biggest fundraiser for good reason. Roses, daisies, ranunculus, tulips and many other types of plants and flowers are interpreted to resemble art in the museum’s collection. And with patrons often showing up in floral dresses, the whole event is nothing but lovely.

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Flower After Hours is from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday San Diego Museum of Art, 1450 El Prado, Balboa Park. $15 and $5 for ages 7 through 17. (619) 232-7931 or sdmart.org.

Last chance: Butterfly Jungle

Fallbrook Avocado Festival 2012Every year, San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park sets up a warm and colorful exhibit featuring thousands of butterflies flying around. And after this weekend it will be gone until next year.

So grab your most colorful clothes and a camera and get ready to get intimate with some Monarchs and Blue Morphos. I admit, I once thought it was sort of gross to have butterflies touch your hair and arms, but I recently went to Butterfly Jungle and it was pretty great, kind of like walking in a fairy tale, minus the bad guys.

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Saturday. San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park, 5500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido. $32 for ages 3 to 11, $42 for ages 12 and over; parking is $7 to $15; sdzsafaripark.org.

Fallbrook Avocado Festival

Guacamole is pretty much the best thing, ever.

Celebrate the fruit from which it’s made at Fallbrook’s 26th annual festival. Along with booths and booths of guacamole and other avocado-related treats, there will also be contests, carnival rides, live music and dance and a lot of people wearing green.

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Main Street, Fallbrook. Free; (760) 728-5845 or fallbrookchamberofcommerce.org.

Read more of the U~T San Diego’s list of things to do this weekend here: “The top five things to do this weekend“.

Foreclosure rates are dropping in California

California had the third biggest decrease among U.S. states in the number of homes in some stage of the foreclosure process, CoreLogic reported. As of February, 2.4 percent of the California homes with a mortgage, or about 160,000 households, faced the possibility of foreclosure.

That’s down 0.6 of a percentage point from January of last year, when 3 percent of homes were in the foreclosure process, CoreLogic reported.

CoreLogic’s February numbers showed also that:

  • 6.7 percent of the state’s mortgaged homes, or about 458,000 households, were 90 days or more late on their house payments. That’s down from 9 percent in February of last year.
  • Banks seized 154,212 homes through foreclosure in the 12 months ending in February.
  • Nationwide, banks seized 3.4 million homes through foreclosure during the past 3 ½ years – and 862,418 in the past year alone.
  • An additional 1.4 million U.S. homes, or 3.4 percent of all homes with a mortgage, were in the foreclosure process.
  • That’s down from 3.6 percent in February of last year, when 1.5 million U.S. households were in the foreclosure process.
  • The five states with the highest proportion of homes in the foreclosure process were Florida, 12 percent; New Jersey, 6.6 percent; Illinois, 5.4 percent; Nevada, 5 percent; and New York, 4.9 percent.
  • The five states with the lowest proportion in the foreclosure process were Wyoming, 0.7 percent; Alaska, 0.8 percent; North Dakota, 0.8 percent; Nebraska, 1 percent; and Montana, 1.4 percent.

“The overall foreclosure inventory is decreasing because sales (of bank-owned homes) were up in February,” said CoreLogic Chief Economist Mark Fleming. “With the spring buying season upon us, the inventory may decline further.” This article is from the OC Register: “Calif. foreclosure rates dropping“.

Buying is winning the lottery

With the current residential real estate market for buyers in the throngs of a literal feeding frenzy, due to the rising infestation of investor buyers, the buyer looking to buy a home for their family to live in is having massive competition.

While inventory is currently contracting and sales are on the rise, six months from now we will know for sure if the market will be positive–meaning that values will finally be officially on the rise. There are some areas that are seeing an increase in values.

I have several listings that range in the low price ranges of $200’s, to $600K — and  these are seeing multiple offers from investors and owner-occupied buyers.  This makes it tough on the buyer purchasing for a family as a first-time buyer who do not have a lot of money to put down. There are up to 10 offers in a matter of a few days on almost all properties now.

This scenario should continue making this a very frustrating time for the first-time,  FHA government & conventional low down payment, or Military Veteran no down payment buyer. This group has to compete with the “all-cash” and 20%+ down payment conventional loan buyers, who usually win due to the restrictions on condition of property by the government loans like FHA and VA, or the low down conventional investor guidelines.

So, how does the low-money-down buyer get in a position to win the property for the buyer who has to compete with the big money buyer? Make sure you are interviewing your perspective agent on how this process will be handled. In this market, this is necessary not only for sellers, but also for buyers. Repairs or a price reduction in a short sale can be done and I can show you how.

Experience is GOLDEN!! Properties having no equity to several liens, a bankruptcy, etc. will not close with an average or most experienced agents, whether representing a buyer or a seller. I have helped several listing agents while I represent a buyer get the property sold in these scenarios.

Whether buying or selling, you owe it to yourself to call me now. The time is now to buy and you will have the most success and satisfaction with the agent who can maneuver through the maze while leveraging you the best deal. I am here to serve you to make sure you WIN the LOTTERY!

Thank you for reading and God Bless.

8 new-home trends for 2012

A recent article by MSN Real Estate focused on a survey by the National Association of Business Economics, covering new-home building trends in 2012.  Read further to get the gist of the article, and head on over to MSN’s website for more details.

The housing industry has taken a beating these past few years, but a glimmer of hope is on the horizon. Housing starts are expected to increase 10% in 2012, according to a survey by the National Association of Business Economics.

Not surprisingly, though, the Great Recession curtailed many of the extravagances that buyers desired before things went south. Homebuyers want different things from their homes today. The watchword is flexibility — things such as rooms that serve multiple purposes and homes that can accommodate either “boomerang” children or aging parents.

We talked to homebuilders and industry watchers to find out what will be behind the front doors of homes built in 2012. How do these features compare to your wish list?

Easy access

  • Single-story homes
  • Grab bars in the bathroom
  • Fewer stairs and more ramps

A bigger garage — for more than just cars

  • To accommodate storage and avoid clutter
  • “Man caves” — additional family area

The ‘resource center’

  • Fewer rooms dedicated to one purpose
  • Nooks for household work or homework areas

Homes within homes

  • About one-third of American adults are living in the same household with another generation
  • Increase in dual master suites / apartments

Really ‘green’ homes

  • Greater energy efficiency
  • Solar panels to power the house

Home plans that fit today

  • Direct access to laundry areas/rooms
  • Large pantries off the garage for bulk items from warehouses
  • Drop zones for keys, mail, cell phones

The house that flows

  • Open floor plan — increases the perceived size
  • Great rooms opening to the outdoor areas

Infill is in

  • “Infill” homes within existing towns
  • Emphasizes affordability, public transportation access, job centers

 

All of this information is from MSN Real Esate’s article. Read more of this article by Christopher Solomon, of MSN Real Estate here: “8 New-Home Trends for 2012.”

Thirty-Year Fixed-Rate Matches All-Time Low

Fixed mortgage rates started the year at or near their all-time record lows, according to market data published by Freddie Mac Thursday.

The GSE reports the interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage averaged 3.91 percent (0.8 point) for the week ending January 5, 2012. That’s down from 3.95 percent the previous week and matches the record low set just two weeks earlier.

This marks the fifth consecutive week the 30-year rate has come in below the 4.00 percent mark. To put things into perspective, last year at this time, it was averaging 4.77 percent.

The 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.23 percent (0.8 point) in Freddie Mac’s survey this week, down from 3.24 percent the week prior.

The current average rate on a home loan with a 15-year fixed term is just two basis points above its all-time low of 3.21 percent, which was hit in two weeks during the month of December. A year ago, the average 15-year rate was at 4.13 percent.

Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, attributed the declines seen among fixed rates to recent data reports which indicate the housing market and manufacturing industry are showing signs of improvement.

“Pending existing home sales in November jumped 7.3 percent, nearly five times greater than the market consensus forecast, to its strongest pace since April 2010,” Nothaft noted.

“In addition,” he said, “construction spending rose 1.2 percent in November, supported by the residential sector which exhibited its fourth consecutive monthly increase. Similarly, manufacturing expanded in December at the fastest pace in six months.”

Freddie Mac’s report shows the 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) came in at 2.86 percent (0.7 point) this week, down from 2.88 percent. This time last year, the 5-year ARM was averaging 3.75 percent.

The GSE’s survey puts the 1-year ARM at 2.80 percent (0.6 point). It was the only loan product included in the GSE’s study to head higher, up from 2.78 percent last week. Flip the calendar back 12 months, and the 1-year ARM was averaging 3.24 percent.

This article is from DSNews.com: “Thirty-Year Fixed-Rate Matches All-Time Low.”

November 2011’s Market Condition

Existing-Home Sales Continue to Climb in November

Existing-home sales rose again in November and remain above a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors. Also released today were periodic benchmark revisions with downward adjustments to sales and inventory data since 2007, led by a decline in for-sale-by-owners.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said more people are taking advantage of the buyer’s market. “Sales reached the highest mark in 10 months and are 34 percent above the cyclical low point in mid-2010, a genuine sustained sales recovery appears to be developing,” he said. “We’ve seen healthy gains in contract activity, so it looks like more people are realizing the great opportunity that exists in today’s market for buyers with long-term plans.”

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record low 3.99 percent in November from 4.07 percent in October; the rate was 4.30 percent in November 2010; records date back to 1971.

NAR President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc., in Miami, said housing affordability conditions have set a new record high. “With record low mortgage interest rates and bargain home prices, NAR’s housing affordability index shows that a median-income family can easily afford a median-priced home,” he said.

“With consumer price inflation rising by more than 3 percent this year, consumers are looking to lock-in steady payments by taking out long-term fixed-rate mortgages. However, the problem remains that some financially qualified families who are willing to stay well within their means are being denied the opportunity to buy in today’s market by the overly restrictive mortgage underwriting situation,” Veissi said.

Source: National Association of Realtors

Six must-haves for mortgage approval

Interest rates are hovering around historical lows, and low interest rates increase affordability, making it easier for buyers to qualify. Yet stories of buyers waiting months to gain loan approval and home purchase transactions not closing on time due to lender’s strict underwriting are all too common.

Some buyers are turned down for illogical reasons. For instance, if you have investments — even if they’re performing well — an underwriter might deny the mortgage because your portfolio doesn’t fall into the underwriter’s risk assessment model.
checklist
One couple was turned down because the husband had worked at his current job for less than a year — even though he was making more money at the new job than he was before.

These buyers were well-qualified. The wife had worked several years for one employer and was able to qualify for the loan on her own. So, the transaction closed, although two months late.

Generally, it’s more difficult to qualify now than it was a year ago. Most conventional lenders require a 20-25 percent down payment. For the lowest interest rates, your credit scores need to be in the 700 range. You need to have verifiable income and cash reserves in addition to your down payment and closing costs.

You could run into underwriting problems if you’re self-employed, as W-2 income is much easier to verify. Other hurdles are lapses in employment and owning a lot of property. Some lenders won’t lend to buyers who have more than three or four residential properties.

If you’re buying a new home before selling your current home, you’ll need to have 30 percent equity in your current home. This needs to be verified by the lender’s appraiser. Also, the lender will want to see a copy of the cashed check from the tenant for the first month’s rent to verify rental income if needed to qualify.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: As soon as you’re serious about buying a home, find the best mortgage broker or loan agent you can to assist you. Don’t make your selection based on interest rates alone. A good track record counts for a lot.

Closing the deal should be your primary goal. If you have to pay 0.25 percent more to assure your transaction closes on time and that you’re not turned down at the last minute, it’s worth it.

Be candid with your loan professional about anything in your financial picture that might impact loan qualification. A good loan agent or broker will be able to assess your financial situation and anticipate what you’ll need to do to satisfy the underwriter.

Be aware that appraisal issues can impact your loan approval. For example, if a previous owner added square footage without a building permit, the additional square footage probably won’t be included as livable square feet.

If the appraisal comes in for less than the purchase price, the lender might not lend you enough to close the deal. Include an appraisal contingency in your contract.

There are more jumbo financing options available now. Adjustable-rate mortgages that are fixed for 10 years and then revert to an adjustable have a starting rate about 0.25 percent less than a 30-year fixed jumbo. A five-year fixed starts about 0.5 percent to 0.75 percent lower, but is riskier.

THE CLOSING: Because of the risk factor, the lender may want you to have a large cash reserve. Your retirement account counts toward this.

Dian Hymer is a real estate broker with more than 30 years’ experience and is a nationally syndicated real estate columnist and author.