Dear Valued Friends and Clients,
I hope that 2010 has started off on an enjoyable and positive note for you! I have some exciting news… I recently became certified as an EcoBroker. This means that I have successfully completed an award-winning informative training program on the energy and environmental issues that affect real estate transactions. I am extremely proud to have joined the movement of professionals pushing the real estate market toward energy-efficient, sustainable, and healthier features in homes and buildings.
With national surveys indicating that 9 out of 10 consumers consider energy efficiency and the environmentally sound aspects of a home to be almost as important as interior finishes, Certified EcoBrokers are simply in a better position to serve the savvy green-minded real estate consumer. I will continue to include “Green” items of interest in these newsletters that can offer easy and effective ways to incorporate energy efficient and environmentally conscientious lifestyle choices into your lives.
As always, I hope that this Newsletter will be your source for insight into the Los Angeles real estate market and that you find this information both interesting and informative! I look forward to working with you in the near future.
Your friend in real estate,
PS – I appreciate your referrals!
Real Estate Outlook – Where the Market is Headed
California Association of Realtors: Home sales up, prices down nationwide.
Home sales in 25 metro areas increased 1.5 percent nationwide in November compared with the previous month, and 46.7 percent compared with November 2008, according to a report by Radar Logic Inc. Prices decreased 4.2 percent across all metro areas surveyed; however, eight areas experienced year-over-year price increases. Half of the areas with year-over-year price increases were in California, according to the report. Radar Logic’s Residential Property Index (RPX), which measures changes in the price per square foot of homes, shows that transactions increased in 9 of the 11 months ending in November.
“Affordability measures are at their highest levels in years and home sales are moving toward normal levels. Nationwide, foreclosure sales have declined from 29 percent of total sales in November 2008 to 23 percent of sales in November 2009,” said Michael Feder, president and CEO of Radar Logi
Westside Market Update
Green News and Ideas
Only 10 to 15 percent of the energy your washing machine uses is actually washing your clothes. The majority of the energy goes toward heating the water. Throw cold water on your clothes and you save the planet as well as on your utility bill!
– From President Obama’s State of the Union address to several current legislative efforts in Congress, there is growing warmth (pun intended) for energy retrofit of residential and commercial buildings. Several major programs are under consideration with the potential to create cash incentives of literally billions of dollars for residential retrofits. The short term benefit is jobs in the construction (retrofit) industry with the economic growth in communities those jobs represent. The long term benefit comes from energy savings for our clients and customers for many years ahead.
“There will have to be rigid and iron discipline before we achieve anything great and enduring, and that discipline will not come by mere academic argument and appeal to reason and logic. Discipline is learnt in the school of adversity.”
Calif. median home price: December 09: $306,820 (Source: C.A.R.)
Calif. highest median home price by C.A.R. region December 09: Santa Barbara So. Coast $847,500(Source: C.A.R.)
Calif. lowest median home price by C.A.R. region December 09: High Desert $121,010 (Source: C.A.R.)
Calif. First-time Buyer Affordability Index – Third Quarter 2009: 64 percent (Source: C.A.R.)
Mortgage rates – week ending 1/28/10 30-yr. fixed: 4.98 Fees/points: 0.6% 15-yr. fixed: 4.39% Fees/points: 0.6% 1-yr. adjustable: 4.29% Fees/points: 0.5% (Source: Freddie Mac)
Homebuyer Tax Credit Boosts Economy
A new survey reveals that savvy consumers cashing in on the new and improved homebuyer tax credit are helping fuel economic recovery. The vast majority of current homeowners say they would spend the expanded version of the homebuyer tax credit on repaying existing debts, home improvements, savings and investments and household expenses, according to a survey of 1,000 homeowners. Paying off debts affords consumers more spending power, home improvements likewise put more equity money in their pockets and savings and investments generate income.
Consumer spending, of course, is the real fuel for the nation’s economic engine. And much consumer spending is fueled by the housing market — provided the housing market is energized. Helping to energize the housing market and the economy is the idea behind the homebuyer tax credit and it’s recent extension and expansion. By October 2009, before President Obama signed the latest extension and expansion, more than 1.2 million tax returns had claimed about $8.5 billion in the refundable tax credit, for both new and resale homes – according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
The new law extends the existing credit for first-time homebuyers, worth up to $8,000, through April 30, 2010. A new credit of up to $6,500 is available to qualifying existing homeowners who buy a new primary residence (or have one built) by April 30, 2010, if they owned their existing home for five consecutive years over the last eight years. Second homes don’t qualify.
The new rule also raises the qualifying income limits to $125,000 for single taxpayers and $225,000 for joint taxpayers, from the current $75,000 and $150,000. The maximum allowed home purchase price is $800,000.
As a tangible asset with a host of other tax breaks and the potential for equity gain, a home is often a consumer’s most valuable asset. As the economic theory goes, when more consumers buy homes, the economy gets a boost. Among those surveyed, 83 percent said if they purchased a home and qualified for the tax credit they would engage in “smart spending” on things that could ultimately increase income available for spending.
Only 6 percent said they would squander the money on luxury items such as vacation or shopping spree.
Of course, what will happen when the tax credit expires in 2010, without another extension, is anyone’s guess.
Written by Broderick Perkins – January 28, 2010