Bay Area home prices up 24.6% over 2012 – SF Gate Reports….

Great article I had to share by Carolyn Said in the SF Chronicle Friday.  It falls in line with what The Caton Team has advised our buying clients lately.  The market has definitely turned up the heat.  And I honestly have mixed feelings about this.  Don’t get me wrong – I am so happy to see our real estate climate heal from the crash.  But I don’t want to see another bust either!  My heart goes out to our first time buyers – most of who are pulling their hair out – trying to save enough of a down payment to compete with cash buyers – watching their smartphone apps track interest rates and counting their pennies, rather twenty dollar bills, when the rate sneaks up a half a percent.  I’m also excited for sellers who’ve been waiting for the chance to sell without bringing money to the table.   But then the next question arises – where do we go if we sell?  The SF Peninsula is experiencing a unique real estate market and we are grateful for the opportunity.   Enjoy this article….I’ve added my 2 cents in italics – please share your opinions too!

 With high demand, low inventory, bidding wars return

In the latest sign of a rebounding real estate market, eager buyers vying for a limited pool of properties pushed Bay Area median home prices 24.6 percent higher in February compared with last year, according to a real estate report released Thursday.

“Drum-tight inventory, lower (interest) rates than most people alive have ever seen, and in some areas record levels of investor purchases (created) an unusual environment,” said Andrew LePage, analyst at San Diego’s DataQuick, which produced the report.

Another big factor – “unleashing of pent-up (buyer) demand,” he said. During the downturn, “for years, some people sat on the sidelines, afraid to buy. Now there’s been a shift in psychology in the past year with people switching from fearing prices might fall more, to fearing they will go up, so they want to buy now.”

This is so true.  I myself was sitting in the seller seat since 2009 – it felt like no one was looking to buy.  For years we were “on the market” with no offers in site.  After pulling my condo off the market for one more try at the loan modification game – by October 2012 – I stuck out the For Sale sign again and within a week I had several offers.  In the end 20 offers in had, 10 over the asking price and 5 buyers more than willing to pay a the upcoming HOA assessment!  What a change in the tide!

An improving economy and job growth – factors that are stronger here than elsewhere in the country – also feed buyer demand.

We are blessed to live in the Silicon Valley where the tech, bio-chemical industries call home.

“The San Francisco Bay Area is the hottest market in the country right now,” said Errol Samuelson, president of Realtor.com, the online marketplace for the National Association of Realtors.

February’s sales median for the nine-county region was $405,000, compared with $325,000 in February 2012. It was the fourth straight month in which prices rose more than 20 percent compared with the prior year, and the ninth consecutive month of double-digit increases, DataQuick said.

The same dearth of inventory that amped up prices caused the volume of sales to slump 6.1 percent compared with a year earlier. A total of 5,404 new and resale homes and condos changed hands in the region in February, DataQuick said.

Return of bidding wars

Realtors around the area report that tight inventories are spurring ferocious bidding wars over properties – a phenomenon that holds true at all price points.

In Berkeley, John and Judith of the Grubb Co. sold three homes in recent weeks that listed for more than $1 million and went for substantial amounts above asking. One architecturally distinctive home was listed at $1.295 million but sold for $1.8 million, all cash – more than half a million dollars, or 39 percent, above the asking price.

“Everything in our market is getting multiple offers,” Judith said. “We need more inventory.”

At a different point on the scale, Annie, an agent with ZipRealty in the East Bay, recently took an investor client to tour a $399,000 four-bedroom tract home in Dublin.

“We drove up and saw all these people in a line,” she said. “I was thinking, ‘What the hey?’ and then I realized it was to get in this particular house. It’s human nature; if people think they can’t get something, they want it more. We stood in line for over an hour to get in.”

Her client offered $92,000 over asking and lost out to another investor who bid $100,000 more than the list price, she said. There were 40 offers.

“It’s an investor’s market right now,” Judith said. “Our first-time home buyers … are having a really hard time getting an offer accepted. It’s hard for them to compete with investors.”

Absentee buyers

Indeed, investors continued to be powerful forces in the market. Absentee buyers accounted for an all-time high of 28.2 percent of February sales, DataQuick said. All-cash buyers also hit a record, representing 31.9 percent of February sales. Historically, cash transactions have been about 12.9 percent of sales.

Realtor.com data show that listings here are being snapped up much more quickly than elsewhere in the nation. In Alameda County, for instance, listings go into escrow on average within 14 days of hitting the market. Nationwide, it takes 98 days for houses to sell.

Around the Bay Area, inventories of for-sale homes are about half what they were a year ago, Realtor.com shows. By contrast, nationwide, inventories are down about 16 percent compared with last year, Samuelson said.

That’s true in many micro-markets as well. Take San Francisco’s Nob Hill, for instance. A year ago, it had 30 homes for sale. Now it has just 15, according to Redfin.

Kiesha S, a listing specialist with Redfin, is preparing a two-bedroom Nob Hill condo – a remodeled unit that retains its early 1900s character, including stained glass windows, wood wainscoting and two fireplaces – to hit the market next week for $799,000, a relative bargain in that neighborhood.

She’s already had six agents ask if they could make pre-emptive offers.

“There’s so little inventory that things are definitely skewed in sellers’ favor,” she said. “Right now there seems to be a surge of buyers.”

Fewer distress sales

DataQuick said that changes in the market mix, such as fewer bargain-priced distress sales and more high-end homes, account for about half of the median’s increase. In other words, all Bay Area home values did not jump 25 percent in February, although values definitely are rising across the board. Distress sales – foreclosures and short sales, both often sold at a discount – are still above their historic norms but are declining.

About a third of February’s existing-home sales were distressed; a year ago more than half (53.4 percent) were foreclosures or short sales, DataQuick said. Just 13.6 percent of resales were foreclosures in February, the lowest level since November 2007.

At their peak in February 2009, foreclosures accounted for 52 percent of all resales. Short sales also declined, but not as much. They were 21.4 percent of resales, versus 27.0 percent a year ago.

The number of homes selling for more than $500,000 rose 27.7 percent compared with last year, while those less than $500,000 fell 14.4 percent, DataQuick said.

Prices, which went into free fall during the downturn, are still far off their peaks. The Bay Area median reached a high of $665,000 in summer 2007 and a low of $290,000 in March 2009. DataQuick said that if the current rate of increase holds up, the Bay Area prices will be halfway back to their peak this spring or summer.

By Carolyn Said

As a full time Realtor this is exciting news for growth in our area.  As a potential buyer, I know I cannot save fast enough to compete with the overbids and cash offers coming down the pipeline.  There is a small window for some buyers today, a window that can shut if interest rates rise while prices are also climbing.  

My advise to buyers – get approved and get out there NOW!  Be clear on your financial goals; be sure you have done your math and know what you can afford.  Then look at what you can buy and re-evaluate your situation.  The Caton Team is here to help – every step of the way – please call or email your questions or comments – info@TheCatonTeam.com 

My advise to sellers – if you’ve been waiting for market and price recovery – now is the time!  It appears some sellers don’t even need to prepare their home for sale, just listing the home on the market will get a line around the block.  The Caton Team is here to help too! 

 I would love to hear your opinions too! – Sabrina 

I read this article at: http://www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/Bay-Area-home-prices-up-24-6-over-2012-4356658.php#page-1

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or Yelp me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Instagram: http://instagram.com/thesabby

Pintrest: https://pinterest.com/SabrinaCaton/

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

 

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Home Buyers Face Dilemma with Housing Shortage – SF GATE sheds some light…

After a great open house yesterday with candid discussions with the buyers out there.  It was great to find this article this morning in the Sunday paper regarding what Realtors in the Bay Area were already thinking.  If you want to call our glorious SF Peninsula home – now is the time.  We hit bottom, whether it was 2009 or 2012.  With limited inventory and low rates driving renters from out under their rock – homes are selling with multiple offers and for over their listed price.  And with demand this strong – we don’t feel prices are going to fall anytime soon.  Take a read and let me know your thoughts.  Comment or email us at info@thecatonteam.com!  Enjoy!

Home Buyers Face Dilemma with Housing Shortage

The sharp drop in homes for sale poses a tough choice for buyers: Jump in now and compete with hordes of others or wait until inventory improves.  If you buy now, you might have to pay above asking. But if you wait, you could end up paying an even higher price and a higher interest rate if you need a loan. That’s because inventory won’t improve until prices rise enough to get more homeowners to sell and more builders to break ground.

The inventory shortage is especially acute in California. Of the 30 largest housing markets, the four with the biggest drops in homes listed for sale on Zillow in February compared with February of last year were Sacramento (48 percent), Los Angeles, San Francisco (41 percent) and San Diego.  Although listings are increasing on a month-to-month basis as the busy spring season gets under way, Trulia Chief Economist Jed Kolko predicts they won’t start rising on a year-over-year basis for a year or more.

An example of that: “In all of Millbrae, there was one listing two months ago. There are about a dozen now,” says Roger Dewes, a Coldwell Banker agent on the Peninsula. In a normal market, there might be 20. “We are not there yet, but going from one to 12 is quite a leap,” he says.

Experts cite five factors contributing to the inventory shortage:

Fewer foreclosures are hitting the market. “California did a good job of disposing of its backlog” of distressed properties, says Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries.

In California, where most foreclosures are handled out of court, the process is taking about 11 months on average, according to RealtyTrac. In New York and New Jersey, where foreclosures go through a court proceeding, the process is taking 36 and 32 months, respectively.

Many people still owe more than their homes are worth. If they sold now, they would have to come up with extra cash to pay off their loan. Although prices have rebounded from their lows, 23.3 percent of homes with a mortgage in San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties were still underwater in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to Zillow.

Even if they are not underwater, many owners won’t sell for less than they paid. If they bought near the peak, it may take a while before they are ready to budge.

The median price paid for a new or resale home or condo in the nine-county Bay Area was $415,000 in January. That’s less than halfway between its low of $290,000 in March 2009 and its high of $665,000 set in June/July 2007, according to DataQuick.

Many people, even if their homes are worth more than they paid, won’t sell because they are afraid they won’t be able to buy another house. “It becomes a game of musical chairs; they are afraid to get out because they can’t get back in,” Humphries says. This becomes “a self-reinforcing cycle” that keeps homes off the market.

The housing bust put new construction on hold.

The shortage comes at a time when demand is rising in the Bay Area, not just from regular buyers but from investors, second-home buyers and foreign buyers, especially from Asia.

‘Heck of a wreck’

The result is stories like this: A 1,500-square-foot home on Clipper Street on San Mateo’s east side, advertised as a “heck of a wreck,” attracted 97 offers in the first eight days, says listing agent Claire Haggarty of NBT Realty Services.

The home was listed in mid-January at $375,000, which Haggarty considered “a little under market.” It sold for $510,000 in an all-cash deal with no inspections, no contingencies and a 10-day close.

At some point, prices will rise enough to shake lose more inventory, but it won’t happen immediately.  Based on what’s happening around the country, Kolko says inventory tightens fastest in the first 12 months after prices hit a bottom. “Everybody wants to buy at the bottom and nobody wants to sell at the bottom,” he says.

About 12 months after hitting bottom, inventory continues to decline, albeit at a slower pace. But it won’t increase on a year-over-year basis until at least two years after hitting bottom, he predicts.  If you adjust for the mix of homes sold, Kolko says prices bottomed in February 2012 nationwide and in most parts of California and the Bay Area. (The San Jose metro area bottomed earlier, in June 2011.)

Although DataQuick shows Bay Area home prices bottoming in 2009, that’s when most homes being sold were low-priced. The middle and upper end of the market bottomed in early 2012, says DataQuick’s Andrew LePage.

If you believe Kolko’s two-year rule, inventory won’t begin increasing on a year-over-year basis until at least early 2014 in most areas.  Humphries says it might improve earlier, by the end of the year, but “this spring will still be challenging from an inventory perspective.” If you wait until next year to buy, the market may be cooler but prices are likely to be higher. There’s also a risk that interest rates will be higher, he says.

Sweet spot 

The sweet spot for buyers might be this summer. Even though inventory is falling year-over-year, “the seasonal pattern means there will be more homes on the market in the summer,” Kolko says. “Search traffic peaks in the spring, but inventory peaks in July.”  Many buyers also go on vacation in July and August, Dewes says.

The decision to buy or wait “really comes down to a fundamental decision about how long you will be in a home,” Humphries says. “If you want to be in a home long enough to make buying better than renting, make that decision as soon as you can.”

In the city of San Francisco, the breakeven point where it makes more sense to own is 3.7 years, Humphries says. “If you will be there more than 3.7 years, I’d say buy now.”

By Kathleen Pender SF GATE

I read this article at: http://www.sfgate.com/business/networth/article/Home-buyers-face-dilemma-with-shortage-4342162.php#page-2

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or Yelp me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Pintrest: https://pinterest.com/SabrinaCaton/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/thesabby

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

 

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Sound Off: What are the biggest mistakes the buyers make? – Great Article from SF Gate

I enjoy reposting articles I find so I don’t sound like I’m shouting from my soap box all day long.  This artcile, in the Sunday Real Estate section was a great read – please enjoy and if you have any questions – ask me – Info@TheCatonTeam.com or call at 650-568-5522

Q: What are the biggest mistakes buyers make?

A: In this fast-paced market, it is still important for buyers to remember the fundamentals of purchasing a home. The items listed below will always be relevant, and they are important issues for buyers to be aware of, and try to avoid:

1. Failing to read documents they receive from their lender and their agent. Buyers receive a lot of information after escrow is opened, which can be overwhelming. But it is imperative that these reports, ranging from disclosures from the seller, to preliminary title reports from the escrow company, to all the various inspection reports completed, be carefully reviewed by the buyer, and they should be encouraged to ask questions. Call on your escrow officer, inspectors, real estate agent and lender until you are completely comfortable and understand all the paperwork you have received.

2. Time is of the essence in all things real estate. There are so many people involved in a transaction, and it is important that all items requested of the buyer from their lender, or their agent, be responded to as quickly as possible. If not, a delay could cost them dearly, from an increase in their loan rate, to even losing the property by not being able to remove a loan contingency in a timely manner.

Another area where the buyer needs to move quickly is when they have identified their dream home. Hesitating a day could mean losing out to another buyer. A slow response to a counteroffer could lose the home to a more aggressive buyer.

3. A buyer’s financials must be in order, and it is most important they don’t make any large purchases during the escrow period, pay bills late, incur derogatory marks on their credit report or change jobs. Make sure to stay in close contact with a lender before making any major money moves.

I read this article at:  http://www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/Sound-Off-What-are-the-biggest-mistakes-the-4283038.php#ixzz2LOGh3yKt

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or Yelp me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Top 10 Home Remodeling Projects – Get More Bang for Your Buck!

I love helping my clients buy and sell their home.  But what really gets my blood pumping is home renovation.  I truly enjoy seeing a home before and after a client puts their touches into their space.  However, home renovation is costly and sometimes it doesn’t add up.  Please enjoy this article about which home projects get the most bang for your buck!   Let me know what you think!

Top 10 Remodeling Projects That Offer the Biggest Returns

Home owners are investing in their homes once again, according to recent industry surveys that point to a strong rebound taking hold in home remodeling. Home owners also may be seeing higher gains from some of these remodeling projects at resale, according to the most recent Cost vs. Value Report, which reviews the top remodeling projects that offer the highest returns at resale. The Cost vs. Value Report is conducted each year by Remodeling Magazine, in conjunction with REALTOR(R) Magazine.

So, which remodeling projects offer the potential for some of the biggest pay-backs at resale? The following mid-range remodeling jobs offer the highest returns, according to the 2013 Cost vs. Value Report.

1. Entry door replacement (steel)

Estimated job cost: $1,137

Return on investment at resale: 85.6%

2. Deck addition (wood)

Job cost: $9,327

ROI: 77.3%

3. Garage door replacement

Job cost: $1,496

ROI: 75.7%

4. Minor kitchen remodel

Job cost: $18,527

ROI: 75.4%

5. Window replacement (wood)

Job cost: $10,708

ROI: 73.3%

6. Attic bedroom

Job cost: $47,919

ROI: 72.9%

7. Siding replacement (vinyl)

Job cost: $11,192

ROI: 72.9%

8. Window replacement (vinyl)

Job cost: $9,770

ROI: 71.2%

9. Basement remodel

Job cost: $61,303

ROI: 70.3%

10. Major kitchen remodel

Job cost: $53,931

ROI: 68.9%

Home Trends, Remodeling Adviser, by Melissa Tracey

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine 

I read this article at: http://styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org/2013/02/18/top-10-remodeling-projects-that-offer-the-biggest-returns/?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BRImwmB8w5t6jo&om_ntype=RMODaily

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or Yelp me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

For-Sale Home Inventories Remain Tight – From the Daily Real Estate News

I find it important to share articles related to our real estate market.  Please enjoy this one about our low inventory.

For-Sale Home Inventories Remain Tight – Daily Real Estate News

Inventory levels in 2012 reached an 11-year low and fell yet again last month, further limiting the number of homes for sale nationwide. Inventories of for-sale homes were down by 16.5 percent in January year-over-year, and fell 5.6 percent from December, according to the latest data compiled from Realtor.com.

Inventories typically fall in December and January in preparation of the spring buying season.

“But the shortage of homes for sale in a growing number of U.S. markets is maddening for would-be buyers who frequently complain that there aren’t enough good choices,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “Bidding wars are becoming more common.”

At a time when buyer demand is strong, inventories remain constrained as banks slow their pace of foreclosures and home owners delay selling until they regain more equity in their homes.

Metro areas posting some of the largest monthly declines in inventory levels are San Francisco (where inventory levels are down by 21 percent in January compared to December and down 47 percent year-over-year) as well as Seattle (where levels dropped 9 percent from December). The two have also seen some of the largest price increases in the nation. Median asking prices have risen by 16.4 percent and 23.7 percent in those places, respectively.

My 2 Cents

Inventory is tight – across the board – across each price point on our beloved SF Peninsula.  Which is great news for sellers who’ve been waiting on the fence for recovery.  If you or someone you know is thinking about selling – let us know.  We’ll show you what your home is currently worth and with all the information – you can make a better decision on your next steps.

I read this article at: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2013/02/18/for-sale-home-inventories-remain-tight?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BRImwmB8w5t6jo&om_ntype=RMODaily

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or Yelp me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

5 Reasons Why now Is The Time To Sell Your Home

5 Reason Why Now Is The Time To List Your Home For Sale

If you are considering the sale of your home – waiting may not be necessary.  Contact The Caton Team with any questions.  We’d be happy to meet with you and let you know what your home is currently worth and what The Caton Team can do to sell your home.  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Many homeowners are waiting until the Spring ‘buying season’ to list their homes for sale. Here are five reasons why that might not make sense this year:

1.) Demand Is High

Homes are selling at a pace not seen since 2007. The most recent Existing Home Sales Report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed that annual sales in 2012 increased 9.2% over 2011. There are buyers out there right now and they are serious about purchasing.

2.) Supply Is Low

The monthly supply of houses for sale is at its lowest point (4.4 months) since May of 2005. The current month’s supply is down 21.6% from the same time last year. Historically, inventory increases dramatically in the spring. Selling now when demand is high and supply is low may garner you your best price.

3.) New Construction Is Coming Back

Over the last several years, most homeowners selling their home did not have to compete with a new construction project around the block. As the market is recovering, more and more builders are jumping back in. These ‘shiny’ new homes will again become competition as they are an attractive alternative to many purchasers.

4.) Interest Rates Are Projected to Inch Up

The Mortgage Bankers’ Association has projected mortgage interest rates will inch up approximately one full point in 2013. Whether you are moving up or moving down, your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.

5.) Timelines Will Be Shorter

The dramatic increase in transactions caused many challenges to the process of buying or selling a home in 2012. We waited for inspections, dealt with last minute appraisals and prayed that the bank didn’t ask for ‘just one more piece of paper’ before issuing a commitment on the mortgage. There are fewer transactions this time of year. That means that timetables on each component of the home buying process will be friendlier for those involved in transactions over the next 90 days.

These are five good reasons why you should consider listing your house today instead of waiting.

The Caton Team is here to help.  With over 25 years of combined Real Estate experience – what can The Caton Team do for you?  Info@TheCatonTeam.com Voicemail at 650-568-5522 

To view the original article, click here: http://www.kcmblog.com/2013/01/28/5-reasons-you-should-list-your-house-today/

I read this article at: http://newsgeni.us/?em=sabrina_caton@yahoo.com&p=106816

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or Yelp me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

 

FHA to Increase Fees on Mortgages!

Difficult news for FHA clients.  As home prices climb on the San Francisco Peninsula, saving money for your down payment feels like a heroic act.  FHA offers low down payments, 3.5% of the purchase price, but now the strings attached are growing tight.  Please enjoy this article from CNNMoney.

FHA to hike premiums on mortgages

The Federal Housing Administration, which is the largest insurer of low-down payment mortgages, announced that it will raise premiums by 10 basis points, or 0.1 percent, on most of the new mortgages it insures.

Making sense of the story

  • A borrower opting for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage who puts down 5 percent or more will now pay an annual insurance premium of 1.3 percent of their outstanding balance. Someone who puts down less than 5 percent will pay a premium of 1.35 percent.
  • The FHA said it also will raise premiums for borrowers with jumbo loans – loans of $625,000 or more – by 5 basis points, and increase the minimum down payment requirement on these loans to 5 percent from 3.5 percent.
  • Additionally, the FHA said it will require most buyers to pay insurance premiums for the life of their loan. A policy that was put in place in 2001 allowed borrowers to cancel premium payments once their debt fell below 78 percent of the principal balance. One exception will be for borrowers who put more than 10 percent down at the time of purchase.
  • Other new policies include a requirement that any mortgage for an applicant with less than a 620 credit score and debt-to-income ratio above 43 percent must be underwritten manually. Lenders who want to issue loans to these applicants must be able to adequately document why they decided to approve the loans.

The FHA also decided to put new restrictions on reverse mortgages, no longer permitting retirees to take such large, upfront payments.

More on this story from CNNMoney

By Les Christie @CNNMoney

Government-insured mortgages are about to get more expensive.

Translation: A borrower opting for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage who puts 5% or more down will now pay an annual insurance premium of 1.3% of their outstanding balance. And someone who puts less than 5% down will pay a premium of 1.35%.

The agency said it will also raise premiums for borrowers with jumbo loans — or loans of $625,000 or more — by 5 basis points, or 0.05%, and increase the minimum down payment requirement on these loans to 5% from 3.5%.

FHA said it will require most buyers to pay insurance premiums for the life of their loan. A policy that was put in place in 2001 allowed borrowers to cancel premium payments once their debt fell below 78% of the principal balance. One exception will be for borrowers who put more than 10% down at the time of purchase.

Additional new policies include a requirement that any mortgage for an applicant with less than a 620 credit score and debt-to-income ratio above 43% must be underwritten manually. Lenders who want to issue loans to these applicants must be able to adequately document why they decided to approve the loans.

The agency also decided to put new restrictions on reverse mortgages, no longer permitting retirees to take such large, upfront payments.

The changes are an effort to reduce the agency’s exposure to risky loans and bolster its financial reserves, which have been depleted due to high delinquency rates from the mortgage crisis. The agency did not say when the new rates will take effect.

Last spring, FHA increased both premiums and upfront costs on mortgages. Such hikes make it tougher for mortgage borrowers — especially first-time purchasers who can’t afford the large down payments most private lenders require today, according to Jaret Seiberg, a Washington policy analyst for Guggenheim Partners. “They are the ones most likely to turn to the FHA for credit,” he said.

And that could have a negative impact on the housing market overall. “You can’t have a healthy housing market without a constant influx of first-time buyers,” said Seiberg.

I read this article at: http://money.cnn.com/2013/01/31/real_estate/fha-mortgage-premiums/index.html?iid=HP_LN&hpt=hp_t2

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or Yelp me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina