American Pacific Mortgage

American Pacific Mortgage

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Market Rate Update...and A Healthy Fun Fix!

Rates continue at very attractive levels, but are not expected to last here for long. The current 30 year fixed rates are hovering at 4.75% for loans under $417,000 and 4.875% for those that are up to $729,000.

Five year adjustable rates are still between 3.5% to 3.75%, based on loan amount. Of course these rates depend on a number of factors, such as FICO score, Loan-to-value, total debt ratios, property type, purpose of loan, i.e. purchase, cash-out refinance, etc.

Speaking of loan-to-value, although values appear to be stabilizing in most areas of Southern California, I am still seeing appraisals resulting in values lower than property owners expect. Be advised that appraisers must put the most emphasis on recent sales (primarily in the last 3 months) that are comparable in terms of age, size and amenities. Unfortunately, as we all know, the majority of sales are foreclosures or short sales.

Now for the Fun Fix…
For those of you who don’t know me well, I love Zumba. Well, to be honest, I love to dance. And Zumba class satisfies my itch in addition to providing a fabulous workout.

Cumbia has become my favorite dance, then Salsa, but Samba is the most aerobically demanding. I read an article in the Wall Street Journal today about an author who swears by Zumba and its health benefits. Read about her at

I usually take classes at 24 Hour Fitness, but they are offered at many gyms and YMCA's etc. You can locate a class or an instructor anywhere in the world, at the Zumba website by just plugging in a City, Zip Code, or an Instructor name.

Zumba uses a whole bunch of muscles we don’t normally use here in the good ‘ole USA, with a LOT of hip action. I hope to see you there sometime! You can’t miss me, I will be the one laughing!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Under Water Properties Still Spell a Seller's Market

Online real estate tracker Zillow reports that the share of Orange County single-family homes with mortgages larger than the current value of the home — so-called “negative equity” or “underwater” — was 14.4% percent in the 4th quarter of 2009, barely up from Q3’s 14%.

If that percentage sounds low, it is because according to Steve Thomas at Altera Real Estate, distressed properties now represent 33% of the market in Orange County.
But the Thomas numbers are active sales. Zillow’s math covers all single family homes in O.C., including those not on the market. (About a quarter of homes here have no mortgage to begin with.)

“We estimate 62,988 single-family homes in negative equity in Q4 out of an estimated 436,163 single-family homes (with mortgages) overall in Orange County,” said Jill Simmons of Zillow.

The number of homeowners losing their homes to foreclosure across the country peaked in December, with more than one in every thousand homes being repo’d, a high since Zillow began recording this foreclosure data in 2000.

Back to Orange County statistics, Steve Thomas of Altera Real Estate writes,

“Current statistics…do not reflect that there are fewer distressed homes coming on the market; rather, they mean that increased demand is eating up the active distressed inventories. Over the past month, the number of distressed and non-distressed homes to hit the market has been increasing, but many are going off the market as pending sales just as quickly as they are coming on.

“The number of foreclosures increased in the past two weeks from 355 to 375. The expected market time for foreclosures is a sizzling 0.90 months, a deep seller’s market. Foreclosures garner so much activity that they are like individual mini auctions and the successful buyer is really the successful bidder.

“The number of short sales on the active inventory decreased by 69 and now totals 2,249. The expected market time for short sales is 1.63 months, also a deep seller’s market. 33.7% of the active inventory is distressed. Last year at this time 44% of the inventory was distressed.”

For the breakdown, go to the Mortgage Insider Blog

What does this mean for buyers? I have a number of pre-approved buyers with 20% down and better who have made multiple offers, but can't get one accepted. They are running into all-cash buyers, or buyers with higher down payments. It is extremely tough to get an offer accepted. It is important to provide a complete package at the offer stage and put as much down as possible to sweeten the deal in the eyes of the seller.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

First Thursday Laguna Beach - Art Walk

I’ve been a big fan of Laguna’s monthly Art Walks for years. This Thursday is the twelfth anniversary of the event. It runs from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. and is always entertaining, not only for the art but the people-watching. Plein air painting abounds, as it is very popular in Laguna, along with many other styles suitable for almost any appetite. Steve oftentimes gets new ideas, and completed a four-painting series last year that was inspired by the painting of Linda Christensen, who had a show at the Sue Greenwood Gallery.

Speaking of the Greenwood Gallery, my friend Sally Storch shows there regularly and always sells out! We met in college, at USC, and her openings typically are a great time to catch up with old friends.

I can’t make it this month due to Steve’s accident (it’s hard to get around Art Walk on crutches) but will look forward to March’s event!