Mortgage Borrowers Beware: Separating Fact from Fiction on the New Credit Score Tax – Shared from Chris Carr

Several of you have reached out to Chris regarding the main stream media’s pick up of the story I covered back in January.

Shared From SOURCE

Mortgage Borrowers Beware: Separating Fact from Fiction on the New Credit Score Tax

Shared From YOURLENDERCHRIS APRIL 24, 2023

Chris Carr NMLS# 1466899 | Cell ‭(650) 207-4364‬

Here is an excerpt from the excellent website, Mortgage New Daily:

Before you stop paying your bills in the hope of cashing in, let’s separate fact from fiction.  First and most importantly, you will absolutely NOT get a better deal on a mortgage rate if your credit score is lower, even if your nephew just texted you a screenshot of a news headline saying “620 FICO SCORE GETS A 1.75% FEE DISCOUNT” and “740 FICO SCORE PAYS 1% FEE.”  MATTHEW GRAHAM – MORTGAGE NEWS DAILY

I strongly encourage you to read the rest of his article here: https://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/markets/mortgage-rates-04212023 It is well-written and informative and takes the political bias and opinion out of the explanation. Just the facts. And yes, it has gotten more expensive to get a home loan–for everyone.

But to really understand what’s changed, you need to first understand that mortgage rates have a price. In other words, each rate on a rate sheet is associated with a price or fee and that price/fee goes up and and down with the rate you choose, based on how much money you want to borrower, what your credit score is and how much down payment you’re bringing to the purchase. There are a few other factors that determine rate and that is why it is so difficult to answer your question: “What are rates like today?”

With that out of the way, sometimes an interest rate comes at cost to you (that’s what we all know as “Points”) and sometimes that price/fee is a rebate to you (that’s how some lenders will quote you a “no cost loan”). What’s in the middle is something called “PAR”. This is the fancy Wall Street word for “Neutral”, meaning you don’t pay points and you don’t get a rebate. The price for mortgage rates has been increased at the direction of the Federal Housing Finance Administration because they don’t believe they are making enough money and raising these fees (because inflation). The FHFA believes this will help them maintain the financial health of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–the two Government Sponsored Entities that purchase many of the home loans that are originated in the United States.

Here’s a picture proving that home loans for the purpose of purchasing just got more expensive for us all:

Now, Fannie and Freddie have what is called a “Duty to Serve” and that requires them to be focused on helping first time home buyers get into homes. That is why the chart above shows that a smaller down payment and a lower credit scores appears to be getting a better deal than say someone with higher credit and a larger down payment.

But let’s take the following example, if you have two borrowers, one with a 700 FICO and 20% down, and another with 640 and 5% down, the LLPAs (1.500%) are in fact the same, creating an “equal” playing field. However, if you have both come in with 5% the higher FICO score gets an improvement to LLPA of 0.625%, whereas if the lower FICO borrower comes in with 20%, their LLPA is 1.375% higher. With the latter, a mortgage of $600,000 results in $8,250 of additional costs to the lower credit score borrower. The point here is that the FHFA is working to create more affordable housing for those that have lower credit scores and by assumption a smaller down payment.

After Weeks of Decline, Mortgage Rates Increase

For the first time in over a month, mortgage rates moved up due to shifting market expectations. Home prices have stabilized somewhat, but with supply tight and rates stuck above six percent, affordable housing continues to be a serious issue for potential homebuyers. Unless rates drop into the mid five percent range, demand will only modestly recover.

Primary Mortgage Market Survey® U.S. weekly averages as of 04/20/2023

Current Mortgage Rates Data Since 1971​xlsx

Opinions, estimates, forecasts, and other views contained in this document are those of Freddie Mac’s economists and other researchers, do not necessarily represent the views of Freddie Mac or its management, and should not be construed as indicating Freddie Mac’s business prospects or expected results. Although the authors attempt to provide reliable, useful information, they do not guarantee that the information or other content in this document is accurate, current or suitable for any particular purpose. All content is subject to change without notice. All content is provided on an “as is” basis, with no warranties of any kind whatsoever. Information from this document may be used with proper attribution. Alteration of this document or its content is strictly prohibited. ©2023 by Freddie Mac.

Week of April 17, 2023 in Review

The latest data showed signs of strength in the housing market while the labor sector is getting weaker. Plus, an important recession signal continues to reflect a slowing economy. Don’t miss these stories:

  • What the Media Gets Wrong About Home Prices
  • Home Builders Need to be “Starting” Something
  • NAHB Reports Cautious Optimism Among Home Builders
  • Job Market Getting Weaker
  • Recession Signal Flashing

What the Media Gets Wrong About Home Prices

 existing home sales

Existing Home Sales fell 2.4% from February to March to a 4.44 million unit annualized pace, per the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which was in line with estimates. Sales were 22% lower than they were in March of last year. This report measures closings on existing homes, which represent around 90% of the market, making it a critical gauge for taking the pulse of the housing sector.

What’s the bottom line? While it’s true that buyer activity slowed in March, February was an especially strong month for closings, so a slight pullback last month was understandable.

In addition, multiple data points suggest that demand remains strong. Homes stayed on the market on average for 29 days, down sharply from 34 days in February. Plus, 65% of homes sold in March were on the market for less than a month, which is up from 57% and shows homes are selling quickly when they’re priced correctly. Meanwhile, investors accounted for 17% of transactions last month, making up roughly one out of every six deals. Clearly investors are seeing the opportunity in housing right now.

Also of note, there was a 0.9% decline in the median home price to $375,700 from a year earlier. However, this is not the same as a decline in home prices as some media reports implied.

The median home price simply means half the homes sold were above that price and half were below it, and this figure can be skewed by the mix of sales among lower-priced and higher-priced homes. In fact, we could see home prices increase across all price categories, but the median price could still fall if the concentration of sales was on the lower end. Actual appreciation numbers are higher, not lower, on a year-over-year basis according to key reports from Case-Shiller, CoreLogic and the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Home Builders Need to be “Starting” Something

 housing starts

Construction of new homes slowed in March, with Housing Starts falling nearly 1% from February. Building Permits, which are indicative of future supply, also fell 8.8% for the month. While Starts and Permits for single-family homes both ticked higher from February to March, they were significantly lower than in March of last year.

What’s the bottom line? The housing sector is undersupplied, and not enough inventory is heading to the market. Starts for single-family homes have been on a downward trend over the last year, with the pace of 1.191 million units in March 2022 falling all the way to 861,000 units this March. Single-family permits have followed the same pattern, declining from a pace of 1.163 million units to 818,000 over the same period.

With single-family homes remaining in high demand among buyers, the imbalance between supply and demand should continue to be supportive of prices. 

NAHB Reports Cautious Optimism Among Home Builders

 HMI

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Housing Market Index, which is a near real-time read on builder confidence, rose one point to 45 in April, marking the fourth straight month this measure has increased. Among the components of the index, current sales conditions rose two points to 51 while sales expectations for the next six months increased three points to 50. Buyer traffic remained unchanged at 31.

What’s the bottom line? Home builder confidence has now risen 14 points since the low of 31 in December. Present sales conditions returned to expansion territory (over 50) for the first time since last September, while the future sales outlook is right at the breakeven between expansion and contraction at its highest level since June. Even though the overall confidence reading remains below 50 in contraction territory, sentiment continues to rebound in the right direction.

Job Market Getting Weaker

 jobless claims B

Initial Jobless Claims continued to move higher this month, with the number of people filing for unemployment benefits for the first time rising by 5,000 in the latest week to 245,000. This tied the third highest reading so far this year. Continuing Jobless Claims also surged to 1.865 million, up 61,000.

What’s the bottom line? Continuing Claims measure people who continue to receive benefits after their initial claim is filed and this data clearly shows that hiring has slowed. While the number can be volatile from week to week, the overall trend has been higher with an increase of around 576,000 since the low reached last September.

Plus, there’s greater evidence of workforce reductions as the four-week average of Initial Jobless Claims, which smooths out some of the weekly fluctuation among first-time filers, has hovered around 240,000 at a yearly high in recent weeks.

Recession Signal Flashing

The Conference Board released their Leading Economic Index (LEI) for March, which was down 1.2%, falling to “its lowest level since November of 2020, consistent with worsening economic conditions ahead,” said Justyna Zabinska-La Monica, Senior Manager, Business Cycle Indicators. This report is a composite of economic indexes and can signal peaks and troughs in the business cycle.

What’s the bottom line? The Conference Board explained that a warning signal occurs when the LEI 6-month growth rate on an annualized basis breaks beneath 0%. But a break beneath -4.2%, like we saw last month, is a recession signal that has been highly accurate historically. The Conference Board also stated that they believe the U.S. will enter a recession “starting in mid-2023.” 

What to Look for This Week

More housing news is ahead, starting with Tuesday’s release of home price appreciation data for February from the Case-Shiller Home Price Index and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index. March’s New Home Sales will also be reported on Tuesday, while Pending Home Sales follows on Thursday.

Also on Thursday, the latest Jobless Claims data will be released along with the first reading for first quarter 2023 GDP. Friday brings perhaps the biggest news of the week with March’s reading for the Fed’s favored inflation measure, Personal Consumption Expenditures.

Technical Picture

Mortgage Bonds were able to stay above their 50-day Moving Average after testing it earlier in the day last Friday. The 10-year tested support at its 200-day Moving Average but remained above it at the end of last week.

Shared From Lender Chris Carr NMLS# 1466899 – SOURCE

If you are considering a sale or purchase of Real Estate – The Caton Team would love to interview for the job as your Realtor. We love what we do, let us take care of you.

We believe to be successful in the Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts.  

A mother and daughter-in-law team with 40 years of combined, local real estate experience, knowledge, and know-how – wouldn’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time. Call | Text | 650.799.4333 | Email | Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Effective. Efficient. Responsive. Got Questions? The Caton Team is here to help.

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 |  EMAIL  |  WEB  |   BLOG

We love what we do and would love to help you navigate your sale or purchase of Residential Real Estate. Please reach out for a personal consultation. Please enjoy our free resources below and get to know our team from our TESTIMONIALS.

| HOW TO SELLGET READY CAPITAL – Loans to Prep for Sale | VIRTUAL STAGING | A GUIDE TO BUYING | BUYING INFO |  MOVING | TESTIMONIALS

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| HOW TO SELLGET READY CAPITAL – Loans to Prep for Sale | VIRTUAL STAGING | A GUIDE TO BUYING | BUYING INFO |  MOVING | TESTIMONIALS

Got Real Estate Questions?   The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral, or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the utmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – wouldn’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 | Susan 650.796.0654 |EMAIL |  WEB|   BLOG

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials | Blog – The Real Estate Beat | TheCatonTeam.com | Facebook | Instagram | HomeSnap | Pinterest | LinkedIn Sabrina

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

DRE # |Sabrina 01413526 | Susan 01238225 | Team 70000218 |Office 01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third-party information not verified.

Making sense of this market… (updated)

Are Interest Rates Stopping You From Buying Real Estate Today? They don’t have to… CLICK HERE

Updated Winter 2023

Quick Read:

We’ve come to accept interest rates are not going to be 3% for a while. The good news is – this week – mid-Jan 2023 – rates are the lowest they’ve been in months. Rates change daily – so it’s best to speak to your lender directly.

What I can say – I’m seeing my buyers reapply for loans and start new budget talks around the kitchen table. There has always been an excess of demand in the Bay Area and a shortage of housing supply. So that’s good news for sellers and owners. I do see sale prices adjust accordingly but I don’t see a crash. I’m thinking we’ll have normal growth – which is better than hyper-appreciation.

The rate hike did what it was supposed to – temper the market. With its ups and downs, the data shows one thing – home values in the San Francisco Bay Area have appreciated since 1849. Buyers – this may be the market we’ve been waiting a decade for.

So, time to accept reality – re-evaluate the budget and cross-examine what homes are currently on the market. The Winter season in Real Estate has always been slow. Homes on the market now need to sell and if you’re the only offer on the table – you could have terms in your contract – a contingency even. Imagine that? Remember buyers – buy low, sell high. Marry the House, Date the Rate – just Get The House. Real Estate is an important long-term investment. You can always refinance your loan when rates go down again.

Today, I’m seeing my sellers who can wait, gear up for Spring, and prepare their homes for the market. Paint, flooring, packing, cleaning. This is the season for that as we enjoy the rain we’ve been hoping for.

For my buyers out there, don’t give up on the dream. Let’s re-evaluate the loan and monthly costs, see what properties fit our needs, and take it from there.

For my sellers, your timing is everything. Where are you going and when do you need to get there? The rest, we’ll figure out together – because that’s what we do.

The Caton Team is here to weather any storm and help our clients achieve their Real Estate Goals. How can we help you? Reach out.

The Caton Team | Call|Text 650.799.4333 or Email | Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Previous articles…

Update – Fall 2022.

Quick Read:

Well, rates went up again. This shakes things up for buyers, how much they can afford and that will impact home values over time.

This – for buyers – is exciting because – if you can buy a home for less – you can always REFINANCE out of that high rate when rates go down! So Marry the House – Date the Rate!

Each market is impacted differently – if you’re thinking about selling and buying – The Caton Team is here to guide you. We’ve worked through several different market dynamics and have the wisdom and knowledge to aid us. Reach out – we’re happy to help.

The Caton Team | Call|Text 650.799.4333 or Email | Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Long Read:

Right now, Realtors and their buyers are reworking the numbers, trying to stay within their budget and readjust their plans to accommodate for higher interest rates. Sometimes the goal changes, and sometimes there is a silver lining. 

For buyers in Silicon Valley – anyone shopping for a home since 2020 – had low rates, lots of competition, and overbidding. When rates went up – buyers lost their purchase power and it was back to the drawing board – determining their new budget and how that translates into homes. The sellers felt it as offers dried up and escrows didn’t close. 

It’s going to take some time to hash out but life doesn’t stop.

With higher rates – buyers can afford less, so eventually, that will impact home sales and prices. But for an agent who’s always working with buyers – as scary as this all seems – this is the market we’ve been waiting for! 

There are going to be homes that need to sell, job transfers, weddings, and babies – life events trigger moving events – no matter the market. So for the well-prepared buyer, even with higher rates – this is a rare opportunity to be – dare I say – the only offer on the table? This is where the real negotiating happens. Finding that middle ground where the buyer can buy and afford their home and the seller gets what they need to move forward with their lives. It’s the sweet spot.

If you’re a homeowner with no need to move – this doesn’t hurt you – it is all part of the normal business cycle. However, if you’re a homeowner who has to sell – well – some of your equity is lost for now. So if selling is a must – let’s sit down and chat about your goals and how we can make them happen. Because homes are still selling.

What we are seeing is a shift to a buyer market, if a seller wants their price and a buyer can’t go that high, the buyer is moving on to the next. There are options out there, homes that need to sell, and price reductions galore. And if that is not enough incentive – I’ll say it – just offer a fair price. Finding that middle ground doesn’t have to be a mystery. 

For buyers – this is a wonderful time to prepare. Get your loan approved, and understand your budget and the impact of the Interest Rate. Are there homes within reach? Then go for it? If not – then save and wait but keep that goal in mind. SAVE SAVE SAVE!

Now here’s the golden rule – Marry the House – Date the Rate. If you can afford any Real Estate in the Bay Area – even if it is not your dream house – buy it. Hold it and when the rates go down – refinance – and when the home values go up-sell and make your move. This is how it is done, the old advice – Buy Low Sell High – applies. 

So how low will it go? Not that low. Let’s stay realistic – we’re not dropping to 1990 prices – but we will see prices reflect the higher rate. 

Truthfully – for buyers – this is exciting because – if you can buy a home for less – you can always REFINANCE out of that high rate when rates go down! So Marry the House – Date the Rate! I said it three times – it’s gotta be ringing in your ears by now.

Each market is impacted differently – if you’re thinking about selling and buying – The Caton Team is here to guide you. We’ve worked through several different market dynamics and have the wisdom and knowledge to aid us and better serve you. Reach out – we’re happy to help.

The Caton Team | Call|Text 650.799.4333 or Email | Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Previous Article…

It’s the middle of 2022. The “Pandemic Real Estate” seems to have simmered down with the rate hike as we watch prices adjust. With so much chatter about “this crazy market”, I thought I’d share my insight.

Interest Rates go up and down. That’s what they do, and rates will continue to do so. We don’t control the rates. As it fluctuates – it is wise to consider saving to buy down your rate and when budgeting – round up to account for a higher rate. I prefer knowing if I lock a lower rate – I’m more than comfortable with my payments.

Back in the 80’s rates for home loans were 13%. Back in the early 2000s, we were around 5%, then we dipped down to 3% and life was good.

Now that rates are dancing around 4.5-5% over the past few weeks – we are experiencing two phenomena. Well-positioned homes are still seeing multiple offers and over-list price sales while some homes are dropping their price to garnish more viewers.

I’ve had some clients jump into getting approved – knowing when the market “slows down” they have a better chance of getting a home. I also see some clients stalling, a wait-and-see approach. Especially when a lot of “down payment funds” are tied up in stocks – those clients are forced to wait.

But if there is one thing I want to make clear – in the Bay Area – this was and is not a crazy market. This IS our market.

The San Francisco Peninsula – Silicon Valley – has had limited inventory for sale at any given time. I’ve been a full-time Realtor for going on 19 years now and we’ve always had limited inventory – thus the overbidding. Coupled with high salaries and when the Stock Market is robust – there is no stopping the Real Estate Market around here. This has fueled our prices, the over-bidding with the already low inventory – it’s classic

Supply & Demand.

What I do know – everyone needs somewhere to live and owning your own place is the best way to keep a roof over your head and create long-term wealth. Real Estate is the only investment you can live in. Real Estate prices may flux month over month, year over year – but decade over decade – Real Estate will appreciate. They have since 1849…

I am no economist and I too am glued to the news about our economy, interest rates, inflation, and gas prices. All this will be represented in Real Estate and why long-term vision is key.

Let’s look at the big picture – a few questions to help you determine your course. 

Do you want to live in the Bay Area?

Is your job in the Bay Area?

Do you want long-term financial security?

Do you want to stop worrying about your rent going up?

Do you have assets to invest in?

If your answer is yes, – you want to own a piece of Silicon Valley – contact The Caton Team. We’re happy to guide you through the steps of homeownership. If you’re not ready to buy today – we’ll let you know what it takes so you can plan.

I became a Realtor because, as a first-generation American, I understood what the American Dream was and it is grounded in Real Estate.

If you are considering a sale or purchase of Real Estate – The Caton Team would love to interview for the job as your Realtor. We love what we do, let us take care of you.

We believe to be successful in the Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts.  

A mother and daughter-in-law team with 40 years of combined, local real estate experience, knowledge, and know-how – wouldn’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time. Call | Text | 650.799.4333 | Email | Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Effective. Efficient. Responsive. Got Questions? The Caton Team is here to help.

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 |  EMAIL  |  WEB  |   BLOG

We love what we do and would love to help you navigate your sale or purchase of Residential Real Estate. Please reach out for a personal consultation. Please enjoy our free resources below and get to know our team from our TESTIMONIALS.

| HOW TO SELLGET READY CAPITAL – Loans to Prep for Sale | VIRTUAL STAGING | A GUIDE TO BUYING | BUYING INFO |  MOVING | TESTIMONIALS

Get exclusive inside access when you follow us on Facebook & Instagram

| HOW TO SELLGET READY CAPITAL – Loans to Prep for Sale | VIRTUAL STAGING | A GUIDE TO BUYING | BUYING INFO |  MOVING | TESTIMONIALS

Got Real Estate Questions?   The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral, or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the utmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – wouldn’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 | Susan 650.796.0654 |EMAIL |  WEB|   BLOG

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials | Blog – The Real Estate Beat | TheCatonTeam.com | Facebook | Instagram | HomeSnap | Pinterest | LinkedIn Sabrina

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

DRE # |Sabrina 01413526 | Susan 01238225 | Team 70000218 |Office 01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third-party information not verified.

Home Prices Cooling Slightly…

I had to share this article from the SF Chronicles Kathleen Pender.  On that note – I can feel the shift in the market as I type this.  July is coming and vacations are happening – and suddenly the mad house of the Spring market is settling down.  Can you believe – some homes only received 1 offer.  But let’s not forget – all we need is one offer per house.  So enjoy this article – I would love to hear your thoughts!

-Sabrina Caton

 

Home Prices Cooling Slightly by Kathleen Pender

 

Although it might not seem like it in San Francisco, the overheated housing market seems to be cooling off.

It’s not that home prices are falling, they are just rising at a slower pace.

This week S&P/Case-Shiller reported that its 20-city home price index rose “only” 10.8 percent in April compared with April of last year. That was a smaller increase than the 11.6 percent analysts were expecting, and substantially lower than in previous months. All 20 metro areas except Boston saw smaller year-over-year price increases.

The rate of appreciation has been declining every month since November, when prices rose 13.7 percent over the previous year. In March, the increase was 12.5 percent.

Prices “are coasting back into a more normal situation,” said David Blitzer, a managing director with S&P.

The same pattern holds in the San Francisco metro area, which also includes Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin and San Mateo counties.

Year over year, prices rose 18.2 percent in April, compared to 21.2 percent in March and 25.7 percent in September.

Blitzer expects this trend to continue, in part because there has been a drop-off in the number of corporations buying houses to rent out. He predicts that by the end of 2014, year-over-year price increases will be in the 4 to 7 percent range.

The Case-Shiller report confirms other signs that suggest the real estate market is losing momentum.

Asking prices for homes nationwide rose 8 percent year-over-year in May, their slowest rate in 13 months, Trulia reported this month. Asking prices tend to lead sales prices by about two months, making them a good early warning signal.

“In the markets with the most extreme rebounds, there has been a clear slowdown in price gains. That is a good thing. That is happening even before we have gotten back to a housing bubble,” Trulia Chief Economist Jed Kolko said.

Despite the sharp increase in prices, Trulia estimates that homes nationwide were still undervalued by 3 percent in the second quarter of 2014, compared with 5 percent undervalued in the first quarter and 8 percent undervalued a year ago.

At their extremes, homes were 39 percent overvalued in the second quarter of 2006 and 15 percent undervalued in the fourth quarter of 2011.

To determine whether a particular market is over- or undervalued, Kolko looks at factors such as its price-to-income ratio, price-to-rent ratio and prices relative to its own long-term trends.

Even though prices in San Francisco are astronomical, the market was only 6 percent overvalued relative to its long-term fundamentals in the second quarter. Nine other cities were more overvalued, including San Jose (11 percent) and Oakland (10 percent).

Stan Humphries, chief economist with Zillow, said he expects “a substantial moderation in home value growth” as the market transitions from one fueled by ultra-low interest rates and tight inventory to one fueled by household formation and income growth. Although the latter is more organic and sustainable, it’s also slower-growing than the former.

Zillow’s price index, which has wider geographic coverage than Case-Shiller’s, indicates that prices nationwide rose 5.4 percent in May compared to May of 2013. “Our forecast is that home prices over the next year will rise 3 percent,” Humphries said.

In San Francisco alone, Patrick Carlisle of Paragon Real Estate said, there was no evidence of a slowdown in April or May. “This is the most ferocious spring I have ever seen,” said Carlisle, who has been tracking the market since the late 1980s. “In May, 29 percent of all sales (in San Francisco were) 20 percent or more over asking,” he said.

“I’m seeing some signs of a slowdown in June. Inventory is starting to pick up for the first time in a long time,” he said, “and the percentage of listings under contracts is going down a little bit.”

But the market typically slows down in June, and there are no data yet for sales that closed in June.

It’s too soon to say whether the June slowdown is merely seasonal or reflects “buyer exhaustion or some sort of shift in the market,” Carlisle said.

Moody’s upgrades California: Moody’s Investors Service on Wednesday raised California’s credit rating by one level to Aa3, its fourth-highest grade, from A1.

Before the upgrade, Moody’s had California rated one notch higher than rival agencies Standard & Poor’s and Fitch. Now, it has California rated two steps higher.

This is the fist time Moody’s upgraded the state’s general obligation bond rating since 2006. The last time it was at its new level, Aa3, was in May 2001, says Moody’s spokesman David Jacobson.

S&P upgraded the state to single-A from A-minus in January 2013. Fitch Ratings raised its rating to single-A from A-minus in August.

As strengths, the report cited California’s large and diverse economy, high wealth, improving liquidity and governance improvements leading to on-time budgets for the past three years. It also cited “significant improvement in budget deficits through revenue surges and conservative measures to rein in spending.”

As “challenges,” it cited the state’s highly volatile revenue structure (which is heavily dependent on tax revenue from high-income people and capital gains), governance restrictions such as the supermajority needed to raise taxes, lack of reserves for a rainy day and its reliance in the past on one-time fixes to close budget gaps.

Even after the upgrade, California “is still on the lower side for states,” Jacobson said. Two other states, Arizona and Connecticut, have the same rating as California, Aa3. Only New Jersey and Illinois have lower ratings.

Kathleen Pender is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. Net Worth runs Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. E-mail: kpender@sfchronicle.com Blog: http://blog.sfgate.com/pender Twitter: @kathpender

 

I read this article at:  http://www.sfgate.com/business/networth/article/Housing-prices-cooling-slightly-5579655.php

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