Altos: Critics Are Wrong About Where Housing Is Headed

In Pinellas County, specifically the beaches along the barrier islands from Clearwater Beach, St Pete Beach, the housing market is strong and prices continue to rise.

Altos: Critics Are Wrong About Where Housing Is Headed.


FHA Program Puts Ex-Home Owners on Track to Buy Again Sooner

Start searching for your next home, you may be able to buy now, before prices and/or interest rates go up.

FHA Program Puts Ex-Home Owners on Track to Buy Again Sooner.

Tax Reform Proposal Would Impact Every Single American

Tax Reform Proposal Would Dramatically Alter Housing Landscape.

Where Are the First-time Home Buyers?

Fewer first-time home buyers are jumping into the housing market nowadays, accounting for 34 percent of all buyers in July. While that percentage has inched up slightly as of late, it still remains far from the 40 percent levels first-time home buyers generally account for in the housing market, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

With ultra low mortgage rates and high housing affordability, first-time home buyers may never have a better time to jump into the housing market. But several factors are keeping them on the sidelines.

One of the biggest obstacles? Saving for the down payment, according to recent home buyer surveys. The second-biggest hurdle cited was poor credit history, which was making it difficult for first-timers to qualify for a mortgage. A high unemployment rate among younger adults — who often make up the biggest group of first-timers — is also holding many back. Also, first-time home buyers, who need financing for their home purchase, are increasingly losing out to investors who are willing to pay entirely in cash.

Housing experts say that first-time home buyers are a critical component for a sustainable housing recovery.

“First-time buyers are vital to boosting sales, especially during downturns, since when they buy a home, they aren’t also selling a previous home to finance the purchase,” according to MarketWatch.

Source: “Fewer Home Buyers Are First-Timers,” MarketWatch (Aug. 22, 2012)

In Nearly Every Major City, Buying Trumps Renting

New study shows that buying is more beneficial than renting. Allow me to assist you with your home search. Not enough downpayment? No problem. There are 100% financing options available. Contact me today.
Nina higdon
Charles Rutenberg Realty, Inc.


Click on the link below to read the entire story.

In Nearly Every Major City, Buying Trumps Renting.

Market Update January 2012

January is an exciting month for Real Estate. This month’s visitors are motivated home buyers and they get busy searching, meeting with me and finding homes to buy as soon as Christmas is past.
Here’s how real estate market conditions across our coverage area closed 2011:
Median list price peaked in May and drifted back down to January 2011 levels by December;
interest rates managed to go even lower with 30 year rates below 4% for much of the month of December (rate history).
November sales volume was down versus October, but sales are still on track to be slightly higher in 2011 versus 2010 (NAR report). Also, NAR reported that they’ve been overstating home sales for the last 4 years – their adjustment to correct the report brought stated home sales from 1997 to Nov. 2011 down by as much as 20% in some months. We all knew it was bad, these changes just emphasize how bad;
MBA’s purchase loan index continues to scrape along at late 1990’s levels as December added to a string of slow months (Mortgage Bankers Assoc. Data From Calculated Risk);
Finally, inventory bottomed in November and showed a small increase in December.
December marks the last month of the seasonal end of the year market slowdown. What will 2012 bring? We think more of the same – inventory, prices and sales volumes will show a typical seasonal increase from now through May or June, but overall transaction volumes and prices will probably be little changed over the year.
WE’VE REACHED BOTTOM, prices are going up in my area, but they are not going to climb very high in 2012.
I will send your specific market area stats upon request.
One Forecaster Calls “The End of the US Housing Downturn”
Capital Economics analyst Paul Dales recently called 2011 the last year of the US housing downturn. Capital Economics forecast a 3% drop in home prices in 2011 and the actual Case-Schiller number will be around 2.3% and is showing signs of flattening. After recapping 2011 results, he says 2012 will be mostly sideways. “… for the first time in five years, months of unsold inventory (a measure of the balance between demand and supply) is almost in line with the long-term average…” They believe the biggest risk to the housing market is a melt down in Europe. Not too encouraging that we have to hope the Germans, Italians and French can all get along.
Who’s Buying?
People with cash. From a recent Mortgage News Daily newsletter: “2011 has seen a surprisingly high level of cash home purchases, according to the real estate research firm Hanley Wood Market Intelligence. Analysts say tight lending standards and a search for yield by investors … has driven all cash purchases of homes higher. Per the report, 38% of homes purchased in 2011 were bought with all cash, up from 34% in 2010, and double the 19% rate in 2006.” The cash purchase trend is driven by the strength of rental demand and rents. In some parts of the country, a cash investor can realize 7-10% annual return from a fully rented unit.
Thanks for visiting in 2011 and I hope to see you on the site and to help you buy a home in 2012. Interest rates and prices will continue to be favorable for buyers in 2012.
If your finances are ready, make the resolution to buy your dream home or invest in Real Estate this year.

Glad to see interest rates will remain low

This past Tuesday at its meeting, the Federal Reserve reaffirmed its pledge to keep interest rates low. The housing sector remains depressed, affordable prices and attractively low interest rates will continue to help buyers and sellers of real estate.

The other thing we desperately need is for the banks to move faster on short sales and foreclosures that continue to hurt families, communities and markets.