American Pacific Mortgage

American Pacific Mortgage

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Property Sales Gaining Momentum

According to Steve Thomas of Altera Real Estate, inventories have decreased over the past year in the OC. Average time to sell is just under three months vs. almost six months’ marketing time for properties one year ago.

However, there is currently a much longer market time for homes listed at over $1,000,000 vs. those under the $1 million mark. I might guess this is due to fewer financing options available in the marketplace today for traditional jumbo loans over the $729,500 high-balance conforming loan limit in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Distressed properties are just over 1/3 of total listings, with 43% under $1 million listed as short sales or bank sales (foreclosures), while only 7% of higher priced listings are distressed sales.

In other news, prices overall are nearly flat over last month…except in Las Vegas where they have seen prices falling for 38 consecutive months and a peak to bottom drop of over 55%. WOW.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Home Values...Up or Down?

MDA DataQuick reported this week that Orange County median home prices jumped 8.1% in November. The median price was $432,250. However, the data indicates that pricier homes are selling more quickly than earlier this year which may be skewing the data. Many believe the tax credit is helping to fuel volume.

The $432,000 figure is still 33% lower than the June 2007 market peak.

Foreclosures and short sales are still huge factors. We had over 1800 new foreclosure notices files last month county-wide.

Nationwide, home prices declined by 9.8% in September 09 vs. September 08. Top-ranked states for depreciation are Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Michigan and Idaho.

Supporting the data reported earlier by the Real Estate Research Council appraisers, First American CoreLogic reports that the Los Angeles-Long Beach statistical area showed a 13.37% decrease in average values over the last twelve months ending September 09. On the brighter side, it is projected to increase by 7.92% in the next twelve months.

Monday, December 7, 2009

OC Home Prices off 15% According to Appraisers

According to the Real Estate Research Council of Southern California, values have been falling in the OC for a full three years.

Orange County home prices are down 15% from one year ago, an increase over the 14% loss reported from the prior twelve-month period. North OC losses are greatest at 20.9%, Central OC is at 17.7%, and South County and Beach communities are down only 9% over the prior year. The calculations are based on the year ending in October.

This report is in direct opposition to the California Association of Realtors report that single-family values were flat for the year ended October 2009.

Who to believe?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

5 Year Arms at 3.75%

Yesterday I checked rates and programs for a few clients interested in Five-year fixed rate loans. They only make sense if you don't plan to stay permanently in your current home (or new one). These loans are available in amortizing and interest-only loans, and depending on loan size, come are for minimum ten-year interest ony periods, although the rate is only fixed for the first five.

WOW! A rate under 4% for five years is something to talk about!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving in Cabo Pulmo, Mexico!

We ventured to the eastern tip of Baja California (Sea of Cortez) for a quiet getaway the week before Thanksgiving. We planned to scuba dive and just relax -- and that is exactly what we got! Warm, sunny weather, (80-ish days, 70-ish nights) with a bit of breeze toward the end of the week, and lots of quiet was just what the doctor ordered. The only music we heard—except for restaurant radios—was from our battery -operated IHome Ipod player! We pretty much lived in our swimsuits.

We had been warned we could run into trouble finding our way after dark, and to watch for cows on the road. We arrived without mishap around 9:00 p.m. to be greeted by an entirely dark village. Everything rolls up around that time. This was a Friday night! Directions to our home were left in an envelope at the door to the office. No keys allowed here! We literally locked up nothing all week!

Cabo Pulmo is about an hour and a half drive from the airport at San Jose Del Cabo, but seems worlds away from the activity center of Cabo San Lucas. Pulmo is located on the East Cape facing the Sea of Cortez. The last 6 miles of the trek are on a dirt road. You can take a dirt road the entire way from San Jose along the coast, but it takes much longer and isn’t wise in the dark.

Cabo Pulmo offers the only coral reef located in the Sea of Cortez. Jacques Cousteau called this the aquarium of the world, and for good reason! We dove three days, two-tanks each. We saw more fish, in sheer numbers, than anywhere else we’ve been diving. Although we missed out on seeing whale sharks, we saw huge fish balls and schools of jacks, that went on and on, forever. We saw sea turtles, and dozens of different kinds of local tropical fish. This is a fabulous place to dive and fish. They primarily use panga boats for fishing, and for diving as well. Back entry into the water only!

Steve spent much of his time painting his favorite fish, while I read a couple of books lazing in the sun. We generally just relaxed. Other than our diving, we snorkeled daily at the reef right off the beach, took a hike in the local hills, and drove up the coast to Los Barriles one afternoon.

This is not a destination for those seeking a lot of day- or night-time “action” although we had great dinners out every evening at one of the four different restaurants available. We ate a ton of fresh fish…either grilled, pan fried in oil and garlic, or in tacos. We met some interesting ex-pats who live in the area full-time, and chatted up the new divemaster over a couple of meals (and margaritas, beer and wine of course).

Be sure to shop in San Jose before you get on the road, as supplies are virtually non-existent in Cabo Pulmo (except for restaurants) and groceries are limited in La Riberia-- which is the closest “city.” On the plus side, there are no vendors on the beach, so you can have the beach essentially to yourself! We stayed in a “casita” in the village which was a large one-room home with full kitchen, bathroom, and best of all, a private outdoor shower. We had two patios, one at ground level and one at roof top level with a view of the hills and peek-a-boo water view. Our patio home was entirely private, surrounded by a hedge. We were a one to two minute walk to the beach, down a path. There are a few beachfront rentals in the village, although there are other rentals in the general vicinity that are completely isolated both on and off the shore.

I’d love to return with a group and rent a compound, or larger private home, of which there are a few in the immediate area. Viva la Mexico!