Fannie Mae sees 2012 home sales up 3.5% to 4.74 million


The housing sector will likely take incremental steps forward in 2012, though total originations will fall on fewer refinances, according to economists at Fannie Mae.

The second half of the year should outpace the first six months in terms of growth, though fiscal policy and political uncertainty in Washington will likely drive consumer and business activity, the mortgage giant said.

Chief Economist Doug Duncan said positive consumer activity and challenges in housing and the global economy will equate to moderate growth for the year.

“We’re entering 2012 with decent momentum, especially on the employment side, which is fostering positive household and consumer behavior,” Duncan said in a release. “Unfortunately, we expect this momentum to slow as we move through the first half of the year.”

The report released Friday forecast total home sales to increase 3.5% to about 4.74 million in 2012 from 2011 with another 5% gain in 2013 to nearly 5 million. New home sales could jump 10.4% for 2012. Continue reading “Fannie Mae sees 2012 home sales up 3.5% to 4.74 million”

Obama administration ramps up mortgage refinancing effort

From McClatchy News Service

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration, worried that the housing crisis is strangling the economic recovery, is stepping up efforts to aid the battered market as another wave of home foreclosures threatens to drive values down further and rattle consumer confidence again.

But the administration’s piecemeal approach — giving temporary reprieves to the jobless, converting empty homes into rental properties, allowing more people to refinance mortgages — isn’t going to help much, said industry leaders and even some lawmakers in the president’s own party. Continue reading “Obama administration ramps up mortgage refinancing effort”

Mortgage rates at all-time lows, but few qualify

Carolyn Said, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, October 7, 2011

Steven Senne / AP
A home with a for sale sign in front, in Newton, Mass. The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.94 percent this week, the lowest rate ever. For those who can qualify, it’s an extraordinary opportunity to buy or refinance.

Mortgage rates hit historic lows on Thursday, falling below 4 percent for the first time since Freddie Mac started keeping track in 1971.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed was 3.94 percent for the week ended Thursday, it said. The average 15-year rate was 3.26 percent.

The bad news is that only a small pool of borrowers can qualify to take advantage of those cheap mortgages – and many of them have already done so during the past months of falling rates.

“It’s certainly a historic and psychological barrier to go below 4 percent,” said Guy Cecala of Inside Mortgage Finance. “But I don’t think it will have a huge impact because people are not buying homes for other reasons than the interest rate. We tend to be refinancing the same group of qualified borrowers, not really opening up the market to other people.”

Mitchell Chernock, president of Sky Valley Financial, a mortgage broker in Benicia, put it more bluntly. Continue reading “Mortgage rates at all-time lows, but few qualify”

Vacant Condos Trade in Short Sale, Buyer to Lease Units

Article by Bob Howard of

EAGLE ROCK, CA-The newly built Oxy Lofts condominiums at 4547-4555 Eagle Rock Blvd. have traded in a lender-assisted short sale in this week’s roundup of commercial real estate news in the West. Marcus & Millichap executive vice president Ron Harris and associate director Paul Darrow in the company’s Downtown L.A. office, who represented both the buyer and the seller, tell that the buyer paid $8.6 million in the all-cash transaction. Harris and Darrow point out that the property, which includes 32 residential units and one commercial space, features loft and townhome style floorplans designed by architect Jay Vanos to appeal to young professionals who have begun moving eastward to Eagle Rock from areas like Silverake and Los Feliz. “Although the units were individually parceled for condominiums, the buyer will lease the apartments and consider selling the units as condos in a future market cycle,” Harris said. Darrow noted that, “This is the second transaction that Eagle Rock has seen this quarter in which an institutionally profiled buyer purchased a site from a local developer.  Continue reading “Vacant Condos Trade in Short Sale, Buyer to Lease Units”

Gov. Brown signs AB 771

For release:
September 1, 2011

Governor Brown Signs Bill Preventing Gouging of Condominium/Townhome Buyers

LOS ANGELES (Sept. 1) – The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) applauds Gov. Jerry Brown for signing AB 771, a bill that prevents home buyers in a common interest development (CID), such as a condominium or townhome, from being charged excess document fees. Continue reading “Gov. Brown signs AB 771”

Short sale process broken, REALTOR survey finds

For release:
July 21, 2011

Short-sale process broken, pushing Central Valley families into foreclosure,
REALTOR® survey shows
Latest lender satisfaction survey highlights glaring issues in short-sale process

FRESNO, CALIF.  (July 21) – More than half of Central Valley REALTORS® characterized closing short-sale transactions as “difficult” or “extremely difficult,” according to a Lender Satisfaction Survey conducted by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.).  The survey gauges REALTORS®’ experience working with lenders in their most recent transaction.  The majority of those surveyed dealt with short-sale transactions – transactions in which the lender or lenders agree to accept less than the mortgage amount owed by the current homeowner. Continue reading “Short sale process broken, REALTOR survey finds”

NEW – Search Properties for Sale Throughout San Diego, CA!

My property search page has been completely redesigned to make searching properties available for sale just a bit easier. Browse through and take a look! You have the option to register which will allow you to receive updates as new properties hit the market. Also, click on “Schedule Showing” to alert me and we can set something up to take a look. If you’re REALLY interested, click “Place an Offer” and type in your details:

Fannie Mae Buyer Incentive – Closing Cost Assistance

Please view the HomePath website here to learn more about the current buyer incentives -

HomePath® Buyer Incentive: June 14 – October 31

Fannie Mae is currently offering buyers up to 3.5% in closing cost assistance through October 31, 2011. A $1,200 selling agent bonus is also available to selling agents who close on an owner occupant property and meet all eligibility requirements and terms and conditions. Continue reading “Fannie Mae Buyer Incentive – Closing Cost Assistance”

How Do We Love Real Estate Benefits?

Let us count the ways…

By Mike Cotter | Email the author | April 8, 2011


Owning real estate has benefits unlike any other investment.  Sure, there is no guarantee that real property will automatically begin to appreciate the minute we close escrow, but no investment has such guarantee. Even so called risk-less U.S. Treasury obligations are subject to market value fluctuations before maturity and are usually subject to risks of inflation. So we invest our money as we choose.

But the advantages of a real estate investment are unique and sizable.

First of all, we all have to live somewhere, and shelter is not cheap.  Investing in a home allows us to live in our investment.  Over a long period of time, this usually results not only in a positive return on our capital, but also is “free rent” while we live there.  That’s huge.

Of course, if we have to borrow money to buy a home, the monthly interest payments on the debt can be substantial.  But we get an incredibly low interest rate compared to other sources of credit. Where else can we borrow money for 30 years at an annual fixed rate of less than 5 percent?

Also, taxpayers can deduct from their income home mortgage interest up to $1 million annually.  This benefit alone often makes the monthly cost of owning a home with a mortgage less expensive than the nondeductible monthly rent of a similar home.

As for annual California property taxes, they can be substantial for new homeowners—at about 1 percent of the market price paid for the property.  But over time,  Proposition 13 allows the tax bill to grow at no more than 2 percent per year.  So, as property values rise and inflation erodes the dollar, the property tax bill becomes a relatively minor consideration.

Owners of historic properties can apply for a Mills Act agreement with their city that can cut their property tax by 60 percent in some cases—if they agree to preserve the properties.  San Clemente has such a program with 65 of the city’s 206 historic properties participating.

Adding frosting to the cake:  If we sell a home and trade down to a less expensive home after reaching age 55, Propositions 60 and 90 often allow us a one-time opportunity to transfer our relatively low existing tax bill to our new home.  That’s huge.

When we sell most investments at a gain, we usually have to pay capital gains tax.  Not so with real estate used as our primary residence.  A federal law passed a few years ago allows up to $250,000 in capital gains tax forgiveness for each property owner. So a married couple can get a $500,000 capital gain on their home without paying any capital gains tax. That’s huge.

But, let’s say our property investment doesn’t turn out very well.  For one reason or another we end up defaulting on the loan we obtained to purchase our home.  Unlike with other investments, lenders generally have no recourse other than repossessing the real estate in collecting the bad debt.  California home lenders usually have to forgive any deficiency they suffer in collecting the original “purchase money” loan.  That’s huge.

Further, while a forgiven loan has always been considered taxable income in the past by the IRS, current law in most cases prevents federal and state taxation of a forgiven home loan, at least through 2012.  That’s really huge.

Disclaimer:  I’m not an attorney.  This is a very general and incomplete review of some of the benefits of owning real estate.  Always consult with your tax attorney and CPA when making decisions with respect to real estate.

For more of the latest market news and statistics on San Clemente real estate, visit my blog or

Original article at