Real Estate Investment News 2013

California home prices soar in April
Source: The Californian


Fueled by high demand and tight inventory, California home sales and prices both experienced strong increases in April, with the median price surpassing the $400,000-mark for the first time in five years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reported.


Making sense of the story


  • The statewide median price of an existing, single-family detached home climbed 6.3 percent from March’s revised median price of $378,960 to $402,760 in April, signaling the first time since April 2008 that the statewide median price has exceeded the $400,000 mark (and was the highest since then). 
  • Sales in April were up 1.3 percent from a revised 417,880 in March but down 3.7 percent from a revised 439,770 in April 2012.  The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2013 if sales maintained the April pace throughout the year.  It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.
  • The available supply of homes for sale was essentially unchanged from March, but was down markedly from a year ago.  The April Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes was 2.8 months in April, down from 2.9 months in March, and down from 4.2 months in April 2012.  The index indicates the number of months needed to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.  A six- to seven-month supply is considered normal.
  • Increased market competition has significantly driven down the time on market compared with a year ago.  Homes sold more quickly in April, with the median number of days it took to sell a single-family home decreasing to 27.9 days in April, down from 29.4 days in March and down from a revised 48 days for the same period a year ago.


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In other news …


Home buyers clueless about mortgages
Source: CNNMoney


When it comes to mortgages, home buyers answered basic questions about terms, how to choose a lender, and financing wrong nearly one-third of the time, according to an April survey by real estate website Zillow.

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Fed: Some borrowers shortchanged in foreclosure settlement
Source: Los Angeles Times


Nearly 100,000 troubled borrowers were shortchanged on payments from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley & Co., the Federal Reserve said – money intended to compensate for possible errors and abuses during foreclosure proceedings in 2009 and 2010.


Read the full story,0,6535090.story


Many Americans have misconceptions about homeowners insurance
Source: Housingwire


A new survey by found that 41 percent of Americans believe their homeowners insurance protects them against mold and that mold removal is covered.


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When a high bid isn’t enough
Source: The New York Times


In a housing market starved for inventory, buyers are stepping over one another to bid on desirable properties. But a high bid may not be enough – sellers also are seeking offers without mortgage contingencies.


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Are mortgage modification terms worth continuing payments?
Source: Los Angeles Times


A high percentage of homeowners who take part in the Home Affordable Modification Program are unable to maintain their loan mods, data from the Treasury Dept.’s Trouble Asset Relief Program shows.


Read the full story,0,7989633.story


Housing inventories rose in April
Source: The Wall Street Journal


The number of homes offered for sale rose 4 percent in April from March, but was still down by 13.5 percent from last year’s level, according to data compiled by


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Why there’s no home-price bubble
Source: The Wall Street Journal


Home prices in many parts of the country are rising today at the same rate that they did during the bubble years of 2003, 2004, and 2005. But an analysis by real estate website Trulia found that, when compared with traditional price drivers such as rents and incomes, home prices are undervalued on a national basis by around 7 percent, compared with being 39 percent overvalued in early 2006.


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Housing affordability falls across state
Source: Daily News


During the first quarter, 44 percent of buyers could afford a median-priced home costing $350,490, down from 56 percent a year ago, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® reported. Affordability was down from 48 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.


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Talking Points …


  • Some former homeowners who lost their houses to foreclosure or sold their homes via short sales are beginning to wade back into the housing market. However, some credit concerns due to these events are causing concern for would-be home buyers. 
  • The road back to homeownership won’t be easy. Traditional lenders that follow Fannie Mae guidelines may not approve a loan after a foreclosure until at least seven years have passed. 
  • However, if a buyer can prove the foreclosure resulted from extenuating circumstances that are unlikely to recur, such as a divorce, catastrophic illness, or a layoff, the time period may be reduced to as little as three years. 
  • Another option is to work with a lender who does not sell its mortgages to Fannie Mae. The waiting period may be less, but the borrower likely will pay above-market interest rates and be asked for a larger down payment.

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Joyce H. Kim

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