Fiscal Cliff and Real Estate

Late in the evening of Tuesday, January 1st Congress reached a settlement in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations, and President Obama signed the legislation January 2nd.  As a result, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act was extended another year.  The measure will continue to exempt from taxation mortgage debt that is forgiven when homeowners and their mortgage lenders negotiate a short sale, loan modification (including principal reduction), or foreclosure.
The same provision also expired in California, but Senator Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) introduced SB 30, which would waive the potential tax bill for Californians for all of 2013.  C.A.R. already signed on as the bill’s sponsor, and the two hope to fast track the bill through the Legislature.

Also under the fiscal cliff agreement, the so called “Pease Limitations” that reduce the value of itemized deductions are permanently repealed for most taxpayers but will be reinstituted for high income filers.  These limitations will only apply to individuals earning more than $250,000 and joint filers earning above $300,000.  The thresholds have been increased and are indexed for inflation so will rise over time.  Under the formula, filers gradually lose the value of their total itemized deductions up to a total of a 20 percent deduction.  The reinstitution of these limits has far less impact on the mortgage interest deduction (MID) than a hard dollar deduction cap, percentage deduction cap, or reduction of the amount of MID that can be claimed.

Capital gains rates on the sale of principal residences will remain unchanged and continues to exclude the first $250,000 for single taxpayers and $500,000 for married couples.

REALTORS® should encourage their clients to consult with their own tax advisers about their own individual tax situation.

Information provided by Sacramento Association of Realtors.

 

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Sacramento home prices climb in November

Sacramento‘s median home prices on the rise again!

The median home price in Sacramento County rose nearly 17 percent in November from the same month a year before, DataQuick reported this morning.

It was the largest year-over-year price gain in November since the housing market was booming in November 2004, according to the San Diego-based information service.

The county’s median home price of $185,000 last month was up from $158,500 the prior November. It was also up over October’s median of $180,000, DataQuick said.

However, sales volume was slightly down in November from October.

Strong investor activity coupled with a shortage of homes for sale has boosted home prices in the past half year.

In the last few month, more move-up buyers have been entering the market, seeking to take advantage of rock-bottom prices and interest rates near historic lows.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/12/13/5052791/sacramento-home-prices-climb-in.html#storylink=cpy
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Sacramento Housing Market Home Prices on the Rise

The numbers are in and Sacramento’s Housing Market continues to heat up!  In November the average Price per Square Foot hit a new high of $135.8, this was a 2.2% increase over last month and a 16% increase over the last year.  This increase can clearly be traced to the lower inventory numbers that continue to drive prices up.  The number of homes for sale decreased by-10% from last month and is down by over -52% from last year.  Another effect of this lower inventory is that houses are selling faster than we have seen in a long time, the average Days on Market for a home in the Sacramento Region dropped again to only 48 days!

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Home Equity back on the Rise

Sacramento area homes on the increase, don’t miss this great article:
sacbee.com
Sacramento’s uptick in housing aids underwater owners

Published Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012

After the housing bubble burst, tens of thousands of people across the Sacramento region were trapped in homes worth less than they owed, with experts predicting it could be many years before they recovered their lost equity.

In the past six months, however, rising prices have substantially reduced negative equity in the region, real estate tracking firm Zillow said in a recent report.

Today, nearly 5,000 underwater homeowners are nearing the point where their home values exceed their loan balances.

If prices continue to rise next year, as Zillow and others predict, an increasing number of area residents will be able to sell their homes without harming their credit scores through short sales, in which lenders take less than what is owed.

Some have already taken advantage of their newfound freedom.

“It was a miracle from God,” said Leisha Aitken, who cleared her loan, paid her real estate agent and walked away with money to rent an apartment after she sold her 2,100-square-foot home in Folsom’s Empire Ranch in September.

Aitken, a pharmacist, found herself out of work earlier this year and struggled with her $2,800 monthly mortgage payment. She was sure she would have to do a short sale and put a major strike on her credit rating.

Then she met with agent Gillian Long, of Intero Real Estate Services’ Folsom Lake office. The two decided to test the fast-changing market and push the asking price above $400,000 – enough to pay off Aitken’s $373,000 loan balance and cover commissions and moving expenses. The house sold quickly for $400,000, or about $191 a square foot, higher than comparable sales in recent months.

“Gillian said if I had called her a couple of months earlier, I would have had to do a short sale,” said Aitken, who has a new job and is hoping to buy a condominium. “It was a good feeling to sell that house and get out. I never want another mortgage payment like that again.”

A major factor in Aitken’s favor was that she never sank too far underwater on her home loan. Even at the bottom of the market in January she owed only about 10 percent more than her home was worth. Thousands of others are in similar situations.

Almost half of area homeowners – nearly 168,000 households – remain upside-down on their mortgages to varying degrees. The total amount of negative equity in the Sacramento region is nearly $17 billion, according to Zillow.

Some homeowners are much closer to breaking the surface than others. About 53,000 homeowners across the region are underwater by 20 percent or less, Zillow estimates. About 9,000 owe less than 10 percent more than their homes are worth. And about half that number, 4,770, owe less than 5 percent more than their homes’ value.

That last group is “extremely close to being in positive equity territory,” said Zillow spokeswoman Camille Salama.

The Seattle-based firm, among the more conservative of forecasters, predicts home prices in the Sacramento region will increase by about 6 percent through the third quarter of 2013.

“As home values continue to rise in the Sacramento area there will be homeowners who will switch from being underwater to above water,” said Svenja Gudell, Zillow senior economist.

When that happens, she said, a larger number of traditional home sales could come on the market.

In recent years, foreclosures and short sales have made up the bulk of the market, and investors have been the major buyers. Having families buy and sell homes in the traditional manner would help restore a sense of normalcy to the market, she said.

And those who have positive equity will start spending again on home upgrades, she said. “It has to do with confidence and seeing return on investment,” she said.

Economist Jeffrey Michael, director of the University of the Pacific’s Business Forecasting Center in Stockton, said he agrees that “the prospect of those folks (who are only slightly underwater) getting above water in the next year or two is pretty good.” But he said he was skeptical they would help drive the housing market with new purchases.

Those who are newly above water will “be able to sell their house,” he said, but they “won’t have a ton of equity.” Only those who can bring other sources of cash to the table can buy another house, he said.

Local real estate professionals take a more optimistic view.

Pat Shea, president of Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, said he thinks there is pent-up demand from people who have been in their homes for years and need more room to accommodate growing families or less room because their children have grown up.

Many will be eager to sell, and even if they can manage only a small down payment, will look to take advantage of today’s low prices and interest rates.

“You know there are some people itching to move up, down or sideways,” he said. “When they can do it, they will.”

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

 

6W24ABOVEWATER_Jump

 

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More Cash Sales, Shrinking Time on Market Show Changing Buyer Dynamics

Media Contact: Sara Wiskerchen / 202-383-1013 / Email

ORLANDO (November 10, 2012) – All-cash buyers have surged since the housing downturn while the typical amount of time it takes to sell a home is shrinking, revealing the changing dynamics of today’s home buyers and sellers.

Academic experts took a closer look at cash buyers and how time-on-market impacts home sales during the “Changing Dynamics of Recent Home Buyers and Sellers” session today at the 2012 Realtors® Conference and Expo. Funding for the research was provided by the REALTOR® University Center for Real Estate Studies.

“We’ve seen a tremendous increase in cash buyers since the housing downturn that we haven’t seen before in history,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors®. Yun said a decade ago all-cash home purchases were less than 10 percent of the market but have increased steadily since 2008, to as much as 30 percent of sales.

Yun said the increase in more buyers paying cash for real estate reflected tight lending conditions and an increase in investor sales, which account for the bulk of cash sales. Increases in the number of international buyers, who often have financing difficulties when purchasing a home in the U.S., are also adding to the rise in cash sales. NAR research shows that 62 percent of international purchases were all cash; the percentage has continually increased since 2007.

Recent NAR research on down payment sources may offer insights into how cash buyers are receiving funds for home purchases. According the 2012 NAR Home Buyers and Sellers Profile, 40 percent of repeat buyers use the proceeds from the sale of their primary residence as a source of down payment, but downsizing boomers may have enough equity left from their home sale to pay all cash for their next purchase. Yun also noted that one in 10 buyers rely on proceeds from the sale of stocks or 401K disbursements for down payments; those with stable jobs and who saw investment gains in recent years may be using those cash funds to buy a home outright rather than financing the purchase.

Dr. Grant Ian Thrall, president of the American Real Estate Society, agreed that cash sales have increased dramatically in recent years. Thrall spoke at the session and conducted an in-depth market analysis to gain greater insights into cash buyers.

“Research shows a bias toward cash sales for newer and lower priced homes,” Thrall said. “Many of those sales are occurring within the first 60 days that the home is on the market, and more than half sold within the first 120 days.”

Thomas Springer, professor of Finance and Real Estate at Clemson University, discussed how time-on-market responds to employment changes and varies with shifting market and economic conditions. Springer analyzed market data from more than two dozen metro areas.  His findings indicate that, at the property level, time-on-market is a function of property characteristics, price and market factors; however, at market level, time-on-market is a function of local, national and global economic and market factors.

Springer determined that time-on-market is a possible indicator of market conditions or risk and that in a vibrant market, time-on-market is shorter, whereas distressed markets often have a longer average time-on-market.

Yun said that tightened inventory conditions are also impacting time-on-market, which has steadily decreased nationally since the start of the year, as are home buyers’ search processes.

“Tightened inventories in some places mean homes are selling more quickly and reducing time-on-market,” Yun said. “Our research shows that last year, home buyers saw 10 homes before buying, down from 12 the year before, and more than half of buyers reported that finding the right home was the hardest part of the home search process.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Who said Real Estate isn’t a good investment?

Sacramento‘s Real Estate Market has been one of the Nation’s worst hit areas with Foreclosures and Short Sales.   It appears that the bottom of the market came and went overnight and home prices are on the increase again.   In the event you missed this article in the Sacramento Bee check it out on who’s buying up a lot of the local Real Estate.

Article:

BIG INVESTMENT FIRM BUYS HUNDREDS OF HOUSES IN SACRAMENTO AREA

 

 

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What’s going on in the Greater Sacramento Real Estate Market

Sacramento Regional Real Estate Trends for November 17, 2012

Summary Of Changes for Sacramento County
Week of 2012-11-17 Since 2012-11-10 Since 2011-11-19
Direction # % Direction # %
Inventory 1854 Down -39 -2.1% Down -4582 -71.2%
Median Asking Price $210000 Down -$5000 -2.3% Up $51000 32.1%
Average Asking Price $269350 Up $3583 1.3% Up $76333 39.5%
Average Asking Price Per SQFT $149 Up $3 2.1% Up $36 31.9%
SIT Inventory 495 Down -22 -4.3% Down -2378 -82.8%
FIT Inventory 63 Down -4 -6% Down -280 -81.6%
New Listings 429 Down -57 -11.7% Down -305 -41.6%
Price Drops 95 Down -25 -20.8% Down -318 -77%
Price Increases 12 Down -2 -14.3% Down -27 -69.2%
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Changes in the Market

If you haven’t seen this article that was written by Lawrence Yun who is chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, please read:

Seeds of a Housing Shortage

Sliding inventories and price increases could lead to overheated markets
October 2012 | By Lawrence Yun

The market is looking much improved today, with home sales and prices heading up. But within this improvement are the seeds of a long-term challenge: falling inventories.

The inventory of existing homes is at its lowest level in seven years, while newly constructed home inventory has hit a 50-year low mark. Falling inventory is causing home prices to shoot up higher and faster than most analysts anticipated. The national median price of transacted homes was up 9.5 percent in August. Other price measures, like Case-Shiller and the Federal Housing Finance Agency price index, which look at price changes in sales of the same properties over time, have been rising as well, at double-digit annualized rates in recent months. Of course, not all markets are this robust. Phoenix is looking to notch a 25 percent gain for the year, while Chicago is just emerging from negative territory.

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As winter approaches, inventory will slide further. Few homes are newly listed after Thanksgiving. Historically, inventory tends to be 15 percent lower in winter than summer. Last year’s seasonal decline was even more dramatic, at 25 percent. We hope we won’t see an inventory decline of that magnitude this winter. Home values rising much faster than income growth will markedly cut into housing affordability.

But that may well be what’s in store. Distressed home listings will continue to fall because fewer borrowers are now seriously delinquent. Home construction is up, but only reaching half of the historic average of housing starts. Even the many pent-up sellers—those normal, non distressed home owners who’ve been holding back for better market conditions—will not help the net inventory situation, because most of them will be selling to buy a trade-up property.

Slight seasonal relief should come in March, just as the spring buying season gets underway. But a deeper and longer-term issue to watch out for is the increasing possibility of a housing shortage across many parts of the country.

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August Foreclosure Statistics

Foreclosure filings rose in August, as more homeowners fell behind on their mortgage payments.  

Filing were up 7% compared to July, but were still 33% lower than a year ago. 

According to Realty Tract’s report, 228,098 homes in the US received some kind of foreclosure filing in August.  Foreclosure auctions and bank repossessions, which come later in the process, both fell slightly. 

The increased in default notices may signal that lenders are starting to finally push through foreclosure paperwork that was previously delayed by “robo-signing”. 

The good news is that bank repossessions have been falling.  Lenders repossessed 64,813 homes in August, a six-month low and a 37% decline after they hit a peak in September last year. 

Meanwhile, foreclosure auctions were scheduled for 84,405 homes, the lowest number in more than three years. 

Nevada, California and Arizona housing markets are the hardest hit by foreclosures. 

Information from CNNMoney.com

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New wave of foreclosures hit Sacramento again

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The Sacramento Beepublished an article September 26, 2011 with the following statistics compiled by RealtyTrac and Foreclosure-Response.org.  They placed our region’s shadow inventory at 53,256 homes in the four surrounding areas of Sacramento, Yolo, Placerand El Dorado counties.

They included in this number three categories of distressed properties:

  • 12,285 houses already owned by banks but not sold
  • 19,367 units whose owners have received an initial foreclosure notice, or notice of default, but have not been foreclosed on
  • 21,604 homeowners who are 90 days or more delinquent on their payments but have not received a notice of default

Lenderare starting to pick up the pace on repossessions once again.  The figures provided by RealtyTrac show foreclosures in the area soared 76% from July to August, the highest number in 11 months.

Based on this “shadow inventory” it would take a year and a half to sell these distressed homes.

To read the complete article by Rick Daysog of the Sacramento Bee click here

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