Report: Sacramento is hot!

Posted by at 12:08 pm

Sacramento, home of one of the newest branches of Bay Equity Home Loans, was lauded as one of California’s hottest housing markets in the May 25, 2017 issue of The Wall Street Journal. Though it’s the state capital, Sacramento had taken a bit longer to emerge from the Housing Crisis slump while the rest of the state surged. Led by an aggressive downtown renewal plan, many of Sacramento’s most desirable neighborhoods are cropping up in the urban core – a shift from its past developments featuring gated suburban communities. Among the standout downtown projects are Downtown Commons, a vacant mall converted into a two-level outdoor mixed-use entertainment and shopping complex. Condominiums with city and river views, as well as room service and concierge, are breaking new ground in luxury living. Other features include new artist lofts, warehouses renovated for unique retail and office...
Read more

Self-Managed Homeowners Associations

Posted by at 2:32 pm

With the skyrocketing price of homes today, many homeowner association neighborhoods are looking to save where they can. Some have found they can maintain desired aesthetic standards at a lower cost with self-management, where neighbors agree to share administrative duties instead of paying a professional management company. This can mean a huge savings for the growing number of HOA communities. HOAs maintain standards for landscaping and cleaning of common areas, and enforce rules for upkeep on the membership’s homes. HOAs often protect property values by not allowing neighborhood problems to fester. Majority Rules Some self-managed HOAs are governed strictly by the majority rule. In America, the one-voice, one-vote concept is quite popular, especially considering some recent election results! In such “pure” democracies, community spirit is often enhanced. In an increasingly stratified society where folks often just stay in their own homes...
Read more

A gift horse: The home seller’s curse

Posted by at 4:32 pm

So, you put your home up for sale, with a listing price based on local comparables. As luck would have it, a buyer comes along within days – maybe even hours – and meets that price. Heck, maybe they even throw in an extra 2 or 3 percent for good measure. This is probably one of those times referred to in the phrase: “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” But sometimes, when everything goes right, we have trouble accepting it. It’s a curse The “curse of the first offer” is well-known to real estate agents who have been around for a while. The seller’s reaction to an early offer? Almost inevitable: “Maybe we should wait and see if we can get more.” Today’s seller is probably right about one thing: There will be other offers. In marketplaces around...
Read more

Homeownership: A savings lifeline

Posted by at 12:30 pm

With home prices rising to all-time highs, many potential buyers may imagine drowning in a sea of monthly payments stretching across many years. Naysayers bob to the surface with harrowing tales of home-buying gone wrong. If the down payment doesn’t get you – well the property taxes, maintenance and insurance surely will! These so-called “savvy” investors say renters who dutifully put all money not spent on housing into stable investments – like mutual funds – may get a greater rate of return. Criticism of homeownership as an instrument of wealth-building has understandably become louder in the last decade, after a Housing Bust that put more than 10 million homeowners upside-down, and 4 million more into foreclosure. Though most underwater homeowners have swum back into positive equity, and many of those foreclosures are mortgage-eligible again, the math geeks remain in a...
Read more

Bay Equity joins Hispanic groups advocating housing sustainability

Posted by at 1:54 pm

Bay Equity Home Loans representatives joined the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) on Capitol Hill recently, advocating for legislation supporting the sustainability of successful home-buying for the growing Latino community. According to the 2016 State of Hispanic Homeownership Report, the Hispanic population is steering and shaping new household formation and homeownership in the United States. Produced annually by NAHREP in collaboration with the Hispanic Wealth Project, the study found Hispanic homeownership increased by 209,000 since 2015, an astonishing 74.9 percent of the nation’s overall net growth. While overall homeownership rates hovered around a 50-year low of 63.4 percent in 2016, the rate among Latinos actually increased slightly– from 45.6 to 46 percent. With greater Latino labor force participation fueling increased purchasing power, steady growth is likely to continue unabated. “These are numbers you simply cannot look away from,”...
Read more

Buying Young

Posted by at 12:12 pm

  Buyers under the age of 35 are leading the way as consumer confidence in the housing market rises near all-time highs heading into the spring of 2017. In its February installment of the National Housing Survey, Fannie Mae saw surging Millennial confidence in the housing market, even with mortgage rates seemingly poised to rise, and home prices at near-record levels. Along with more job security and increasing income, Millennial home buyers are increasingly married with children – all three legs of the home demand stool. Nearly half (49 percent) of Millennial buyers reported at least one child – up from 45 percent last year and 43 percent two years ago. As with every aspect of the marketplace, young buyers with children are the key to shaping the future of real estate. With more kids in tow, more of these...
Read more

Trump trumps FHA insurance premium cut

Posted by at 4:44 pm

The Donald Trump administration quickly reversed a planned cut in FHA annual premiums about an hour after the new president took the oath of office Jan. 20. Due to have taken effect Jan. 27, the planned reduction of 25 basis points was announced Jan. 9 by Julian Castro, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under former President Barack Obama. FHA loans are popular among young and modest-income home buyers because they allow down payments of as little as 3.5 percent. However, FHA borrowers must pay for mortgage insurance to guard against the possibility of default. The cut from .85 to .60 percent of the total loan would have saved the average borrower about $500 a year. Trump and his team said it was too soon to make the cuts without further investigating the effects. Some Congressional Republicans say taxpayers already face...
Read more
January 10th, 2017

FHA lowers rates for first-time buyers

Posted by at 2:28 pm

The FHA has announced lower insurance premiums for first-time homebuyers – lowering rates by about a quarter-point to 0.60 percent of the loan balance for most borrowers. Effective Jan. 27, the cuts would bring an average annual savings of about $500, and serve as a virtual parting gift from President Barack Obama’s administration. Incoming president Donald Trump will have a narrow window after his inauguration Jan. 20 to consider whether to play Scrooge – weighing objections to lower fees against the benefits. Some Congressional Republicans argue that taxpayers already face too much risk if borrowers default. They point to 2013, when the FHA’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund (MMIF) fell below its mandated reserve of 2 percent in the wake of the Housing Crisis, and had to dip into the U.S. Treasury for a cash infusion of $1.7 billion. But outgoing...
Read more

Winter home sales can be hot!

Posted by at 12:27 pm

The weather outside might be frightful, but new research from Redfin shows winter listings are more likely than summer listings to fetch a price above asking. It might seem counter-intuitive to conventional wisdom, but winter home sales are often hot! Redfin’s findings showed 17.5 percent of winter listings fetch more than asking price, comparable to spring (18.7). Similarly, while 48 percent of spring listings sell within 30 days, 46.2 percent of winter listings also do. That outshines both summer and fall! Those great percentages stem from decreased wintertime real estate competition. People who are willing to shop for a home when it gets colder tend to be the most serious. They often have narrow time windows in which to move. Those with kids probably want them settled into new schools by the new year. They’re less likely to make lowball offers...
Read more
October 27th, 2016

The Younger Half

Posted by at 11:10 am

A recent Zillow survey showed half of all U.S. home buyers in 2016 were younger than 36 – with first-time buyers accounting for 47 percent of those purchases. While they may be a tad older than first-time buyers of the past, it’s clear Millennials are emerging from their parents’ basements and looking for homes of their own. Another survey found first-timers make up 52 percent of those planning to buy in 2017. In 2015, first-timers made up only 33 percent of prospective buyers. Those who actually do plan to buy a home are not only tech-savvy, they’re tech-bred. They use mobile devices for everything – from planning vacations to researching stocks to checking the Twitter status of celebs. It’s not a stretch to say this age group isn’t capable of conducting personal financial management without the aid of a digital device...
Read more