March 2016

Found 14 blog entries for March 2016.

House hunters seeking bargains: Here’s some more depressing news.

You’ve seen all of the reports about the limited inventory of cheaper homes. For example, ReportsOnHousing shows 1,208 homes listed for $500,000 or less on Feb. 25 – down 24 percent from a year ago.

That kind of supply shortage means sellers don’t have to discount much to move a property in Orange County’s most affordable neighborhoods.

ReportsOnHousing author Steve Thomas has an intriguing analysis in his biweekly breakdown of selling information from broker-listing networks: the ratio of selling price to the last list price. These numbers translate to how much discounting a buyer can expect a seller to make to get a deal done.

I tossed January’s selling data into my trusty

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House hunters are jumping on Orange County condos as the home shopping season heats up.

Buyers snapped up 726 existing condos in the 22 business days ending Feb. 18, up 14.8 percent from a year ago, CoreLogic reported. The median selling price was $430,000 – up 8.9 percent from a year ago.

Condo gains outpaced a fast-growing homebuying market, with 2,603 Orange County residences sold in the period, up 11.3 percent from a year ago. Sales rose in 55 of 83 Orange County ZIP codes.

Condos, with their lower costs, appeal to Orange County house shoppers on a tight budget. And the overall market is strong as local bosses continue to hire and mortgage rates remain low.

Orange County’s median selling price for all residences was $620,000 – up 7.6

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Last week we learned that those with higher credit scores are seeing better mortgage insurance pricing.

This week, I help you meander the maze of private mortgage insurance menus, focusing on the most affordable mortgage-insured home loans for those with little money to put down.

Top of my list is Freddie Mac’s Home Possible. You can put as little as 3 percent down for loans up to $417,000 and have household income up to $95,060 for an Orange County home.

You can’t own any other residential dwelling. You will realize very limited pricing adjustments as Freddie has a cap for add-on pricing allowing credit scores all the way down to 620. And, anything less than 10 percent down allows you lower private mortgage insurance coverage compared to

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A Coto de Caza compound that boasts a carriage house - a fancy garage - that can hold 20 cars is back on the market at $4 million less than the asking price sought in 2010.

In August of that year, the pricetag was $9.99 million. The home has been on and off the Multiple Listing Service since then. It's now priced at $5.59 million.

The property in Coto's Los Ranchos estates is owned by Tom Gephart, a venture capitalist and charity fundraiser. Gephart has invested in more than 100 companies since forming Ventana Capital in 1974.

His snazzy car collection has included a 1929 Packard Opera coupe, as well as hot rods and Roll-Royces. The carriage house also has been the setting for his fundraising events.

Over the years, real estate agents have

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Is Your Home Near One of These Stores?

Is a new Trader Joes or WholeFoods moving into your neighborhood? Then you are in luck! Not only is it great to shop at them, but data reveals they can boost your homes value!

You may have heard about the Starbucks Effect, a discovery revealed in the New York Times best seller “Zillow Talk” that shows where the coffee chain offers the biggest boost for home values. Co-authors Spencer Rascoff, Zillow Group CEO, and Chief Economist Stan Humphries didn’t stop there.


In the new paperback edition of “Zillow Talk: Rewriting the Rules of Real Estate,” a bonus chapter reveals a similar phenomenon with specialty grocery stores. Between 1997 and 2014, homes near Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods were consistently worth more

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