January 27, 2011

Google Eliminates Real Estate Listings

Author: admin - Categories: Real Estate Marketing

The search engine icon, Google announced that they will no longer support real estate listings uploaded to its classifed listings site on Google Maps, the company announced today.  Clearly Google sees the value in other real estate and mortgage lead generation companies and that had to play a role in their decision to pull back their real estate listings.

Consumers will no longer be able to find for-sale, foreclosure, or rental properties through the search function on Google Maps, and real estate professionals will no longer be able to upload their listings to Google Base, the company’s classifieds site, which is being replaced by Google Shopping APIs and will not support real estate listings. “In part due to low usage, the proliferation of excellent property-search tools on real estate websites, and the infrastructure challenge posed by the impending retirement of the Google Base API, we’ve decided to discontinue the real estate feature within Google Maps on February 10, 2011,” the company said in a blog post.

Home seekers can still use “Google search results to find helpful real estate information and websites” as well as view local businesses, directions and transit times through Google Maps and explore neighborhoods through Google Street View, the company added.

January 24, 2011

Housing for All Americans

Author: admin - Categories: Department of Housing and Urban Development, Published Real Estate Articles

The U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development wrote an important article that affects real estate and all types of borrowers.  Whether you need a home loan for your first house or a mortgage refinancing loan, HUD continues to offer superior home financing solutions. HUD has the enormous responsibility of overseeing the Federal Housing Administration. The FHA is a government entity that insures home mortgages in the United States. The default rates have risen on government insured loans, but the positive impact that the FHA has had on the housing recovery in undeniable.

Here is the article posted by the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Last month, we were reminded of Dr. King’s insight once again, as President Obama signed legislation repealing “Don’t ask, don’t tell” into law. It was a moment, the President noted, “more than two centuries in the making.” I’m proud that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is part of that commitment, as we work to make exclusivity and diversity cornerstones of America’s housing policy.

Shaun DonovanIndeed, from conducting the first-ever national study of LGBT housing discrimination to instructing our staff to be vigilant about whether any LGBT-based housing discrimination complaints can be pursued through the Fair Housing Act, we’ve worked to ensure our core housing programs are open to all. That’s why we recently announced a new rule ensuring LGBT individuals and couples can benefit from HUD programs.  Read the original article by Shaun Donovan.

January 21, 2011

Best and Worst Cities in 2011 for Home Values

Author: admin - Categories: California Real Estate News, Florida Real Estate News, Published Real Estate Articles

Poor Florida. The state that is home to Disney World, key lime pie and the Daytona 500 hasn’t had much to crow about when it comes to real estate in recent years. Sorry to break it to Sunshine Staters, but they shouldn’t be expecting a rebound anytime soon either. That’s according to Local Market Monitor (LMM), a Cary, N.C.-based real estate research firm that crunched the numbers for our list of the best and worst cities for home values in 2011. One list includes the 10 cities where home values are expected to rise the most in 2011, and the other the 10 cities where they are expected to fall the most.

Since interest rates have fallen dramatically this year, many homeowners have been able to lower their housing expenses by refinancing in to a loan with a better rate. According to a recent survey of refinance lenders, “Over 50% of applicants surveyed said that they saved over $1,000 a year from finding a more affordable home loan.”

LMM tracks 315 American real estate markets, assessing values and applying Investment Suitability ratings based on multiple factors. For the Forbes lists, LMM President Ingo Winzer and his researchers started with a U.S. Census-defined list of Metropolitan Statistical Areas with populations of 500,000 residents or more. They then analyzed key economic factors that directly affect housing markets: unemployment and job growth rates, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. LMM tracks real estate markets’ valuations based on the theory that markets go through cycles.  “We see a predictable pathway that home prices follow,” explains Winzer. “If you know where in the cycle a market is, you can make some predictions about where it will go in the next one, two, three years.”

Assessing the progression of those market cycles means comparing average “actual” home prices to equilibrium home prices–meaning where prices should be in the absence of market distortions that result from speculation and mismatches between population growth and new home construction. Another tool is peak-to-trough analyses, which factors in the number of single-family and multi-family housing permits active in each city, as recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau. The result is a Top 10 list made up of cities boasting an outlook for job growth and rebounding economies in 2011. Not surprisingly then, Washington D.C. (No. 7), and its nearby hubs make this list, thanks to a steady supply of government jobs.

Southern California HomesSouthern California touts the most metros on the Top 10 list. San Jose (No. 1), Santa Ana (No. 2) and San Diego (No. 5) offer housing markets where property prices are expected to rise steadily over the next three years. Los Angeles didn’t crack the top 10, but this sprawling metropolis does offer the prospect of appreciation, despite a building boom and bust that was similar to Florida’s. “The big difference between Florida and Southern California … is people are moving into Southern California, but they’re not moving to Florida,” asserts Winzer. “It was speculative retirement and vacation condos–things that were bought by people not living there and now not moving there, wanting to sell their empty condos because they can’t rent them out.”  It did not hurt that rates on California mortgages fell to 4% on fixed 30-year loans.

Unfortunately for these snowbirds, seven Florida cities land on the Bottom 10 list. Deltona-Daytona Beach, Lakeland and Orlando take the top three spots. Expect further home price drops in all of these markets over the next two years, leveling out by 2014.  A lack of jobs–the construction industry had a huge job market presence here–coupled with a deluge of homes on the market, both from owners and banks, means these markets will take a long time to recover.

Many Western states are in the same bind as Florida, thanks to building boom and busts centered around retirement and vacation home speculation. Arizona metros like Tucson (No.8) and Nevada’s Las Vegas (No.5) likely have a few years to go before prices stop dropping.

Yahoo! Buzz”In general they’re attractive markets for retirement, and eventually they’ll recover … but over the next five years or so they’re going to have a tough time filling all the empty pieces of real estate built there,” says the LMM president.

What does all of this news mean for you, the homeowner? If you are living in a market that’s still depreciating in value and intend to stay in that market, don’t panic and sell your home. Wait it out instead.  However, if you live in one of these depreciating markets and already plan on scramming in the next few years, do it now–it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better. Just don’t plan on your property selling quickly, since these markets are suffering from an abundance of inventory. If you’ve had hopes of setting up new digs in one of these rebounding markets, do it now. Prices are only going to go up.  The article was written by Morgan Brennan for Forbes.

California Home Sales Up Again

Author: admin - Categories: California Financing, California Real Estate News

Home sales have been increasing but have the average price for a house in California has declined. Clearly the foreclosures have flooded the market. Just a few years ago, many home buyers would get a 1st and 2nd mortgage to avoid having to pay mortgage insurance. These “80-20″ loans were discontinued because so many of the loans defaulted. This is an example of a “high risk” financing program that had a negative impact on the housing crisis.

Once again real estate news remains mixed for California, as home sales rise, but so do new home loan defaults. California home sales rose in December to their highest level since May, according to a report Friday from the California Association of Realtors as the inventory of unsold homes dwindled. December’s sales were up 5.9% from November’s revised figure of 491,590 but were down 6.8% from the revised 558,840 of December 2009. The unsold inventory index for existing, single-family detached homes was 5 months in December, down from 6.2 months in November but up from 3.8 months in December 2009. The index indicates the number of months needed to deplete the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.

California Home for SaleStatewide, the 10 cities with the highest median home prices in California during December were: Beverly Hills, $2.18 million; Los Altos, $1.30 million; Calabasas, $1.17 million; Laguna Beach, $1.10 million; Manhattan Beach, $1.8 million; Newport Beach, $1 million; Santa Monica, $921,000; Cupertino, $904,500; Rancho Palos Verdes, $849,000; Los Gatos, $840,000.Statewide, the cities with the greatest median home price increases in December compared with the same period a year ago were: Beverly Hills, 54.3 %; Calabasas, 39.1 %; Poway, 25.5 %; Ridgecrest, 23.3 %; San Juan Capistrano, 19.2 %; Compton, 17.5 %; Laguna Hills, 15.7 %; Santa Cruz, 14.1 %; Gilroy, 14.1 %; La Habra, 13.2 %.

Read more: California home sales hit 7-month high in December | Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal