Archive for May 2010


May 1st, 2010

Welcome to the May 2010 edition of my e-Newsletter!

ICREA is an alliance of national real estate associations around the world representing more than 2 million real estate professionals worldwide, and the only organization of its kind. The organization has dedicated itself to the international promotion of its members’ businesses by offering the widest range of business support products and services in the industryInternational Distinctive Properties Service (DPS) offers all ICREA constituent members the ability to promote their high-end and distinctive properties at an international level. A search feature enables users to easily locate distinctive and featured properties — the top 10% in every marketplace. Properties include those with special appeal that target an international audience such as beach or ski houses, luxury residential and more. It includes rental properties as well. Core listing data is translated into English, Spanish, French, Portugese and Italian. This service is an important marketing tool with clients, allowing ICREA brokers to differentiate themselves in the local market. The service is only available to ICREA – affiliated brokers as a benefit of their national association membership and its affiliation with ICREA.Your friend in real estate!


Real Estate Outlook – Where the Market is Headed

California Association of Realtors:

Should you buy or rent a home? Cost gap narrows
Affordable home prices and low interest rates have created an ideal time for many buyers to purchase homes, and now a new week-long look at homeownership confirms it.  The national study, conducted for The Associated Press, shows that the difference between monthly rents and mortgage payments is at its lowest level in nearly 20 years.


  • The analysis of 45 metro areas found the difference between the monthly mortgage payment on a median-priced home and the median rent has declined to $256.  In some areas, the difference is as low as $100, according to the study.  The last time the price gap was that close was in 1993, when it decreased to $264.(Note: Not on the Westside of Los Angeles however!)
  •  The study, conducted by Marcus & Milichap Real Estate Investment Services, used median prices for the last three months of 2009 and calculated mortgage payments by assuming a 10-percent down payment and a 30-year fixed loan at 5.07 percent.  It also assumed borrowers paid for private mortgage insurance and didn’t include repair costs and tax benefits.
  • Although the difference between monthly rent and monthly mortgage payments is at its lowest level in nearly 20 years, more stringent lending standards have made the home-buying process more challenging.  Home buyers can prepare by ensuring their credit reports are up to date and saving for a down payment of at least 20 percent.  Borrowers putting down less than 20 percent likely will have to purchase private mortgage insurance.
  •  Owning a home has significant tax benefits, including deductions for property taxes and loan interest.  Homeowners also can enjoy building equity and creating a means of forced savings as they pay down the principal on the home.
  • Although home buyers should not focus solely on future home price appreciation, according to data collected by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) over the last 40 years, homeowners who purchase a median-priced house, live in it for at least five years, and sell it at the then-current median price, have averaged an annual rate of return of more than 11 percent.


Westside Market Update

Green News and Ideas

Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 Passes in House
From Efficiency First


By a vote of 246 to 161 the House of Representatives today voted to approve the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 (H.R. 5019), which authorizes creation of a national energy retrofit program for American homeowners. The vote marks a significant milestone in the progress of the bipartisan HOME STAR legislation, although it’s important to note that the authorization bill passed today must be matched by the Senate, and followed up with an appropriation bill to allocate funds for the $6 billion program.   “We applaud the U.S. House on the [bipartisan] passage of the HOME STAR legislation,” Efficiency First chairman Mike Rogers said following the vote. “HOME STAR will create good American jobs in construction, manufacturing and related industries. It will help American homeowners improve the efficiency of their homes and save money. And it will provide a solid foundation for our country’s energy policy and energy security. We encourage the Senate to act quickly to get the HOME STAR bill to the President’s desk and get our workers back on the job.”   Efficiency First policy chair Matt Golden added that “Today’s bipartisan passage of the HOME STAR bill in the U.S. House of Representatives shows how when industry, labor, business and environmental groups cooperate, we can find solution for America. HOME STAR will create hundreds of thousands of good quality jobs, while saving families money on energy bills. Efficiency First, representing companies in all 50 states employing over 150,000 American works, applauds Congress’s leadership and vision on this important issue.”

C.A.R. Green Tip of the Week: Confused about plastics?

Experts have reached a consensus and recommend consumers avoid these varieties of plastics–identified by a triangle and number on the bottom of most containers–for the following reasons:

  • #3 Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) commonly contains di-2-ehtylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), an endocrine disruptor and probable human carcinogen, as a softener.
  • #6 Polystyrene (PS) may leach styrene, a possible endocrine disruptor and human carcinogen, into water and food.
  • #7 Polycarbonate contains the hormone disruptor bisphenol-A, which can leach out as bottles age, are heated, or exposed to acidic solutions. Unfortunately, #7 is used in most baby bottles and five-gallon water jugs and in many reusable sports bottles.