Sunday, February 24, 2008

California real estate recovery still years off

According to the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. report released last week, California home prices and sales volumes will also slide into 2009, while some areas of the state experience an even more prolonged downturn.

Jack Kyser, chief economist of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp, said:
"The housing pains there will remain, probably until 2010."
The statewide median home price last month was down about 17 percent from a year earlier and 5 percent from December, according to DataQuick Information Systems. The statewide median price peaked last spring.
In San Diego, most insiders will agree that the top of the housing market was the summer of 2005.
Century 21 San Diego Realtor

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Stimulus Package ready for President

Stimulus Package on Way To Present

The Senate passed their version of an economic stimulus package today, Thursday, February 07, 2008. The Senate version expands rebate checks for seniors and disabled veterans and includes the same increases to the conforming loan limits for both GSE and FHA found in the House stimulus package. The House just passed the Senate version of the bill and it will now be sent to the White House. The President is expected to sign the legislation by the end of next week, ahead of the Congressional self-appointed deadline of February 15th. The increase in the conforming loan limits will last through 2008, but C.A.R. and NAR continue to lobby for FHA and GSE reform, making these increases permanent.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a stimulus package last week that raised the FHA and conforming loan limits to as high as $729,750 in high-cost areas. By increasing the loan limits, borrowers will see immediate relief with new liquidity in the mortgage market and the nation will see an additional 300,000 home sales. Research shows that an increase in the FHA limit would enable an additional 138,000 Americans to purchase homes, and 200,000 families to refinance their homes safely and affordably.

Increasing the FHA loan limits is critical to bolstering California’s housing market. Current law restricts FHA loans to levels well below the median home price in many areas of the country and caps loans in high cost states at $363,790. These limits are preventing many homebuyers from using FHA to purchase or refinance their loan. The proposed provision will increase FHA loan limits nationwide by raising the floor to $271,050 and the limit to 125% of local median home prices.

Additionally, raising Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s (GSEs) conforming loan limit will provide immediate relief to borrowers and alleviate downward pressure on current housing markets. For instance, increasing the GSE loan limit could result in more than 300,000 additional home sales and strengthen current home prices by 2-3%.

The critical role that GSEs play in providing liquidity to the mortgage market has never been more evident than it is today. The national subprime meltdown has had a dramatic impact on both the cost and availability of mortgages in many markets. Since August 2007, the interest rates for jumbo borrowers have been more than 1 percentage point higher than conforming loans, which can cost homeowners up to $400 month in higher interest payments. San Diego California real estate