February 2013

Found 29 blog entries for February 2013.

 Following Presidents' Day Monday, there were only four days of trading, not nearly enough time for investors to get up much enthusiasm for stocks. The Dow held steady, but the S&P 500 ended its seven-week winning streak, while the Nasdaq took a deeper dive. Economic reports went from in-line to disappointing. The minutes from the last Fed meeting revealed Committee members didn't see much change to the economic outlook. And many are worried about the economic impact of spending cuts when the sequester kicks in March 1 unless Congress reaches a compromise.


The Philadelphia Fed Index of manufacturing activity in that region fell to –12.5 in February from –5.8 the month before. Inflation still seems under control with January PPI producer (read

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For those of us who work in the housing market, from realtors to builders to lenders, have certainly shown energy and persistence. Although we're now in recovery, it's at a slow pace, so those qualities are still needed to keep things moving along. But the signs are encouraging; as January Existing Home Sales were up a tick to an annual rate just under 5 million units. Sales are up 9.1% from a year ago, the median price of an existing home is up 12.3% versus a year ago, and the supply is now down to 4.2 months.


Housing Starts were down 8.5% in January, but, remember, they shot up 15.7% in December. They're still running at a not bad 890,000 unit annual rate. Also, the January drop was all due to the volatile multi-family sector, as single-family

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Fourth quarter metro area home prices strongest in seven years… A growing number of metropolitan areas had higher median home prices in the fourth quarter, with the national price showing the strongest year-over-year increase in seven years, according to the latest quarterly report by NAR.

The median existing single-family home price rose in 133 out of 152 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) based on closings in the fourth quarter compared with the same quarter in 2011, while 19 areas had price declines. In the third quarter, 120 areas showed increases from a year earlier, while in the fourth quarter of 2011, only 29 metros were up.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said all the conditions for strong price growth are at play. "Home sales are on

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The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced that it is issuing a final rule to formalize the national standard for determining whether a housing practice violates the Fair Housing Act as the result of discriminatory effect.  HUD is statutorily charged with the authority and responsibility for interpreting and enforcing the Fair Housing Act and has long interpreted the Act to prohibit housing practices with an unjustified discriminatory effect, if those acts actually or predictably result in a disparate impact on a group of persons, or create, increase, reinforce, or perpetuate segregated housing patterns because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.


The rule provides clarity and

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Freddie Mac recently announced it has partnered with various non-profit organizations in the Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles areas to open walk-in Borrower Help Centers where delinquent borrowers can get free and confidential holistic financial counseling designed to help them stay in their homes by pursuing mortgage workouts and avoiding foreclosure. Freddie Mac opened Borrower Help Centers in Chicago, Phoenix, Washington, D.C., and San Bernardino, Calif. in 2010.

Freddie Mac Borrower Help Centers offer mortgage counseling plus help with debt and credit issues that could affect the borrower's ability to stay current on their mortgage after a modification.

To schedule a free appointment at one of the new walk-in Freddie Mac Borrower Help Centers,

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New home sales jumped 15.6 percent in January—the strongest gain in 20 years—to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 437,000, the Census Bureau and HUD reported Tuesday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected the report to show a much smaller sales pace: 381,000.

January’s rate of sales was the highest since July 2008.

At the same time, the months’ supply of new homes for sale dropped to its lowest level since March 2005.

The median price of a new home, according to the Census/HUD report, plunged $23,400 in the month to $226,400, up 2.1 percent from January 2012 and the lowest level in a year. The month-over-month price drop was the steepest percentage decline—9.4 percent—since the median price fell 10.4 percent in October 2010.


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Master-Planned Village

Standard Pacific Homes at Amerige Heights is the final new-home neighborhood in the popular Amerige Heights master-planned community. Located in Fullerton, north of Anaheim and south of Brea, Amerige Heights harmonizes lifestyle conveniences, traditional values and contemporary new home design.


The Community

  • With interwoven trails, parks, restaurants, shops all in walking distance, Amerige Heights offers a picturesque setting and dynamic community life
  • Neighborhood amenities include the Amerige Heights Community Center, the grand Central Park, a sports park, two softball fields, a soccer field, a play area, picnic grounds, bike trails and wooded pathways
  • Amerige Heights is situated in North Orange
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It was hard to gauge the mood of investors last week. One stock index was up and two were down. The up one was the broadly-based S&P 500, now posting gains seven weeks in a row for the first time in over two years. But these up and down moves were so small, they revealed nothing about investors' economic feelings. They may be simply bracing for a correction, which could be triggered by the sequestration -- the automatic spending cuts now scheduled for March 1 if Washington can't come up with a deal.


The economic reports should have made people feel better. Retail Sales, NY Empire Manufacturing, and Michigan Consumer Sentiment all came in meeting or beating expectations. The only one that missed was Industrial Production, down 0.1% in January, but

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The National Association of Realtors (not to be outdone…  See my last post) reported Monday that the recovery in real estate values is picking up steam. Median home sale prices were UP 10% in the 4th quarter over last year and 133 of 152 metro areas posted yearly gains, versus just 29 metro areas a year ago. The NAR's chief economist commented, "Home sales are on a sustained uptrend...fueled by a pent-up demand and job creation, along with still favorable affordability conditions and rents rising.  This has become a sellers market, if you are thinking of buying or selling.  This would be a good time for us to talk.



Tony Leocadio
Prudential California Realty

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There is more and more evidence that the door of opportunity is opening in the housing market. On Valentine's Day Freddie Mac showed us some love in their Housing Market Outlook, which projected starts UP 22% this year, to a 950,000 unit annual rate. Their chief economist commented, "Across the nation, most local housing markets have room for sustainable growth.... As the broader economy heals, expect to see more good news, with house prices continuing their recent upward trend, and home sales and housing starts continuing to post strong growth rates.



Tony Leocadio
Prudential California Realty

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