June 2014

Found 22 blog entries for June 2014.

Monday, June 30, 2014— Average fixed mortgage rates were lower this week than the same time last year, according to the recently released Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), put out by Freddie Mac.

"Mortgage rates were down following the release of first quarter real GDP final estimate, which fell at a 2.9 percent annualized rate, a steeper than expected decline and the worst reading since the first quarter of 2009,” says Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac. “Also, the seasonally-adjusted S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index [PDF] was up only 0.2 percent in April from the previous month. On a year-over-year basis, prices remained strong in April up 10.8 percent, but slower than the 12.3 percent in March."

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While persistent price gains continue to dominate headlines, homes in a majority of major markets across the country remain slightly undervalued, quashing any concerns of a rising bubble, according to the latest data from Trulia.

Nationally, homes remain undervalued by 3 percent compared with long-term fundamentals, according to Trulia's Bubble Watch.

Market-level data reveals 76 of the 100 largest metros remain undervalued, and most of the overvalued markets are less than 10 percent overvalued.

"While the number of overvalued markets is rising, there remains little reason to worry about a new, widespread bubble forming," said Trulia chief economist Jed Kolko.

Just seven of the 100 largest metro markets are currently overvalued by more than 10

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Here are 6 ways to tell when a market is recovering from a slump or heading into one: 

1. Trendy businesses: If a new grocery store or hip coffee shop is moving in, it's likely that a lot of market research has been performed at great expense, indicating more money and activity on the way. 

2. Limited buildable land, great location: If new construction is at a standstill due to land shortage, struggling neighborhoods in convenient locations could be ripe for renovation and growth. 

3. Diminishing downsides: High crime rates and slow job growth are moving targets, so keep an eye out for positive changes in either, especially near coveted locations. And remember, Millennial-aged buyers may not have the same criteria as Baby Boomers when it comes to what they…
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Hiroyuki Matsumoto | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

Car shares, bike shares, improved rapid transit and teleworking. All are the product of a new generation that is more environmentally conscious than any before it and more willing to use its own energy to get around town, rather than tapping expensive energy sources.

Millennials prefer urban cores, even ones outside of major metropolitan areas, because they want to be able to walk or bike to work and stores. In turn, areas that offer so-called walkability should see more home buyers and renters than those that don't.

"Cities that want to thrive in our new economic and demographic realities will need to find ways to create and support more of these dynamic, productive walkable

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National apartment occupancy reached 95 percent for the first time in at least six years in May 2014, helping to drive effective rent growth for the year to date ending in May by 3.7 percent, the highest growth since the trough of the recession.

“Axiometrics began tracking apartment data on a monthly basis in April 2008, and this is the first time since then that occupancy has been 95 percent,” says Stephanie McCleskey, Axiometrics’ Director of Research. “We tracked quarterly before that, and the second quarter of 2001 was the last time the market was at 95 percent for a quarter. It’s a pleasant surprise because it’s coming at a time when new supply is flooding the market.”

According to Axiometrics’ recently released May 2014 Market Trends Report, May…
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Home purchases made with cash are on the decline across the country, according to Zillow, but cash sales still make up a significant portion of the lower-priced home market in many areas.

Cash sales declined year-over-year in the first quarter in 102 of the 126 metro areas Zillow observes. Zillow chalked up the decline to waning investor demand and a resurgence of traditional buyers in the market.

"[I]t's heartening to see more buyers armed with traditional financing begin to enter the market," said Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow. "This is a critical step on the way back to a more normal, balanced housing market."

However, despite the recent trend, "it's pretty clear that cash is still king, especially at the lower end of the market,"

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With the housing market well into a fourth year of steep price gains, homes in 2013 were being flipped for more money than ever: an average of $90,200 per home. Redfin crunched the numbers all the way back to 2001 to see how flippers fared before and after the housing bust, and found that they have fared particularly well lately. For this analysis, we defined a flip as a home that was purchased and then sold again within 12 months.

Average Gain from Flipped Home Sale

It’s worth noting that gains are not profits. Home flippers, whether they’re banks, companies or individuals, generally make improvements to a home before selling it. Those improvements can range from simple cosmetic changes to completely gutting an entire home, which makes it difficult to pinpoint actual costs for each

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Santa Ana police raided an unlicensed rental listing firm Wednesday, seizing computers and files after 60 would-be tenants complained that they were scammed into paying $200 for worthless rental listings.

First Step Rentals, believed to be operating out of Santa Ana’s Lincoln Pacific Plaza on 17th Street since October 2012, lured prospective tenants into its business by advertising rentals at below-market prices, then charging $200 for weekly listings, state and local authorities said.

But instead the firm provided listings for units that either were already rented, had higher rents than promised or didn’t match the renters’ criteria.

When the firm’s clients complained, they were put on hold for long periods and were denied promised refunds,

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The Federal Reserve on Wednesday expressed confidence the U.S. economic recovery was on track and hinted at a slightly more aggressive pace of interest rate increases starting next year.

At the same time, however, officials at the central bank lowered their projections for the long-run target interest rate, evidence of slightly diminished expectations for a nation climbing out of a severe crisis and struggling with demographic headwinds like declining labor force participation.

As widely expected, the Fed pushed ahead with plans to wind down one of its main stimulus programs, reducing its monthly asset purchases from $45 billion to $35 billion beginning in July.

At an afternoon news conference, Fed Chair Janet Yellen provided a long list of

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A rendering of what some of the houses in the Madrona development will look like.    COURTESY OF CITY OF BREA

BREA – A controversial home development project was approved by the City Council after months of hearings in which opponents and supporters argued over its benefit.

The council voted 4-1 Tuesday to allow the Madrona housing development, made up of 162 estate-sized homes along Carbon Canyon Road, where the Freeway Complex Fire charred 31,882 acres in November 2008. Councilman Marty Simonoff cast the lone dissenting vote, citing concerns about the ability of fire trucks being able to access the narrow state highway and the need for residents to flee the area following a natural disaster.

“I see one road in, one road out... is an issue with public safety

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