Category Archives: Real Estate News

Mar 31
How the housing bust changed buyer behavior

Before the housing bust, many buyers were driven by the fear of being out-priced by increasing property prices. For 80 years, with a few minor downturns in between, real estate prices have constantly risen.

“Buy now or be priced out forever” has been a real problem in California real estate for the better part of 40 years. It has been a rational fear because waiting often meant buying less or not buying at all. A strong economy and job growth often outpaces construction, pushing real estate prices higher and higher.

The housing bust changed all that. People now understand the house prices could go down, substituting down in quality just to own is not a wise decision, and priced out can quickly turn to priced in. The urgency is gone, people buy when it is right for their family. Sellers have to be aware and make sure they are pricing accordingly to generate interest from wary buyers.

Dec 15
National Home Sales Increase, Housing Inventory Dips


Now is a good time to buy a home or list your home for sale. The national housing market trends show an increase in home sales and a decrease in home inventory. National existing-home sales increased in September to the second-highest pace since February 2007. Interest rates are holding steady near 4 percent, and job growth—while modest in comparison with the first half of the year—is still strong. Rent prices have climbed to an eight-year high, making it less affordable to rent and more affordable to own a home.

National Home Sales Increase
Total existing-home sales reached 5.5 million in September, a 4.7 percent increase from August and an 8.8 percent rise above a year ago. What’s more, for the past 12 months, year over year existing-home sales have increased, according to NAR. Gains were recorded in every region of the country. In the Midwest, existing-home sales climbed 2.3 percent in September; sales are 12 percent higher than September 2014. Sales in the South rose 3.8 percent month over month and 5.7 percent year over year. The largest sales gains in September were seen in the Northeast, with an increase of 8.6 percent, and the West, with an increase of 6.7 percent. Year over year, sales rose in the Northeast and West 11.8 percent and 9.5 percent, respectively.

National Inventory Dips
By the end of September, there was a total of 2.21 million existing homes on the market, a decrease of 2.6 percent. This is 3.1 percent lower than a year ago. At the current sales pace, this level of inventory represents a 4.8-month supply—a drop from August’s 5.1-month supply. Persistent inventory shortages have plagued the housing market all year, yet the market has still posted gains. This is thanks in large part to sellers taking advantage of rising home prices to release equity in their current home and either sell up or downsize. First-time buyers, however, are still struggling to find a way into the housing market. First-time buyers represented only 29 percent of the market in September; this is down from August’s yearly high of 32 percent and unchanged from September 2014’s.

Source: Alliance West Mortgage, INC

Jul 21
New Construction Increases, and National Pending Home Sales Climb

LaderaRanchConstructionHousing production reached the highest levels since November 2007. And the gains could continue in the coming months, as low interest rates and affordable home prices encourage more buyers to enter the market. In April, housing starts rose to 1.135 million units, an increase of 20.2 percent from March. The South was the only region to see housing starts drop, with a decrease in production of 1.8 percent. Housing production was booming in the Northeast with an 85.9 percent gain. In the Midwest and West production increased 27.8 percent and 39 percent, respectively. When it comes to projects still in the planning stages, 1.143 million permits were issued in April, a climb of 10.1 percent. The Midwest saw a 1.3 percent decline in the number of permits issued. But all other regions reported permit gains―of 38.8 percent in the Northeast, 9.9 percent in the South, and three percent in the West.

National Pending Home Sales Increase
April’s Pending Home Sales Index, which measures contract signings, climbed to the highest level since May 2006. What’s more, the index has been on a steady climb every month this year. According to the National Association of Realtors, buyer demand is strong despite inventory shortages in many metropolitan areas across the country. With more buyers competing for fewer homes, it is quickly becoming a seller’s market, and home prices are increasing as a result. Contract signings were up in every region of the country, with the Northeast and the Midwest posting the largest gains. A 10.1 percent climb in the Northeast put the index 9.4 percent higher than a year earlier. In the Midwest, the index increased five percent month-over-month and 13.3 percent year-over-year. The South saw contract activity rise by 2.3 percent from a month earlier and 14.8 percent year-over-year. In the West, the index climbed a slight 0.1 percent, but was 16.4 percent higher than April 2014.

Housing Still Affordable
Of all the new and existing homes sold in the first three months of the year, 66.5 percent of them were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $65,800, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunities Index. Homes are now more affordable than they were at the end of 2014, when median-income families could only afford 62.8 percent of homes sold. With 85 percent of metropolitan areas across the country reporting an increase in housing affordability, now is a great time for consumers to purchase a home.


Source: Alliance West Mortgage, INC

Apr 26
Artisan Collection Sales Center now open

ArtisanCovenantHillsThis July, William Lyon Signature Home will debut new Covenant Hills homes as part of its Artisan Collection. As of this weekend, April 26th, 2015, the Sales Gallery is open to learn more about this latest development.

From dramatic ceiling beams to gorgeous stained wood windows, wide plank wood flooring to natural stone countertops, these Covenant Hills Estates will feature first class finishes combined with masterful artistry one can expect from the Artisan Collection.

For more information, please give us a call at 949.444.9694.

Mar 11
Inventory Drops and Home Prices Continue to Increase

In December, the total housing inventory dropped 11.1 percent. Nationally there were 1.85 million existing homes on the market, which is a 4.4 month supply at the current sales pace; in November, there was a 5.1 month supply. With the strengthening economy and sub-4 percent interest rates, the demand for homes from buyers should be increasing, but a tight supply of homes available for sale could cool that demand.

Supply shortage causes home prices to increase. And according to the National Association of Realtors’ economists, home prices and rents are outpacing wages, making it difficult for buyers to save for a down payment. The national median existing-home price reached $208,500 in 2014, the highest it’s been since 2007, and a 5.8 percent increase from 2013. What’s more, every region of the country saw home prices increase. In the Northeast, prices rose by 3.2 percent from a year earlier, while the Midwest reported a climb of 5.3 percent. Prices in the South increased 6.6 percent from December 2013, while in the West, prices were up 5.6 percent.

Home Sale Numbers
In December national home sales closed out the year with 5.04 million sales, a 3.5 percent increase from December 2013. December was also the third month in a row where sales climbed above year-over-year levels. However, sales for all of 2014 were still 3.1 percent below 2013. Existing-home sales were up in the West in December; sales climbed 9.8 percent month-over-month and 2.8 percent year-over-year. The South also saw gains in their real estate market, with sales climbing 3.8 percent from November to December and 7.4 percent from a year earlier. Existing-home sales fell in the Northeast by 2.9 percent, but the news wasn’t all bad as sales are still 3.1 percent higher than a year ago. In the Midwest, sales declined both month-over-month and year-over-year, falling 3.5 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively.

First-time Buyers Decline
The number of first-time buyers making purchases last year fell to the lowest level in almost three decades, according to a NAR survey. For all of 2014, first-time buyers accounted for 29 percent of the market, tying their percentage for 2013. In December, first-time buyers represented 29 percent of all buyers, down from 31 percent in November but up from 27 percent in December 2013. Economists with NAR are optimistic that first-time buyers will be better represented in the market in the coming year. The Federal Housing Administration recently reduced annual mortgage insurance premiums, which will make buying a home more affordable for new homebuyers.


Source: Alliance West Mortgage, INC

Mar 7
New Lyon Homes Collection at Covenant Hills

Covenant Hills Artisan Home Collection

Have you visited Covenant Hills lately? Then you sure have experienced the many lots that are currently in development.

Lyon Homes is introducing 14 uniquely distinctive luxury homes to Covenant Hills. As part of its Artisan Collection, these homes will feature luxurious, modern living in one of the most sought-after locations in Southern California: Covenant Hills.

This summer, 3 of the total 14 homes before development or under construction will be opened for showing. Lyon Homes is promising breathtaking design elements, spectacular floorplans and highly refined design throughout the in- and outside of the properties.

The team of renowned architects and designers at work are creating a living platform “for those who share an appreciation for remarkable beauty, purity of form and rich materials.”

For more information and purchasing opportunities, please contact us at 949.444.9694.

Covenant Hills Artisan Collection Siteplan

Feb 17
3 Market Trends Expected for 2015

The housing market improved slightly in November. The Pending Home Sales Index rose 0.8 percent to 104.8. This is 4.1 percent above November 2013, marking the third consecutive month the index has posted year-over-year gains. Every region of the country saw improvements but the Midwest. Sales in the Midwest decreased 0.4 percent, which is 0.5 percent below last year’s sales. In the North, sales climbed 1.4 percent, 7.0 percent above November 2013. The index also posted monthly gains of 1.3 percent and 0.4 percent in the South and West, respectively. Year-over-year sales in the South are up 5.1 percent, and sales in the West increased 4.9 percent. National home sales for 2014 should hit 4.94 million, a 3.0 percent drop from 2013.

Low Down Payments
Many buyers believe they need a significant down payment to purchase a new home. The National Association of Realtors’ 2014 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers proves otherwise. For first-time buyers, the median down payment averaged six percent, while repeat buyers had a median down payment of 13 percent.

Sales Expected to Increase
The next twelve months should make up for 2014’s drop in sales. The expanding economy and improving job market should lead to an increase in the demand for homes. Meanwhile, home prices have risen by an impressive 25 percent over the past three years, giving current homeowners the equity they need to afford their next home purchase. And new mortgage products with incentives like low down payments will draw first-time buyers into the market. With all these factors in play, NAR economists believe sales could climb to 5.30 million by the end of 2015.

Rates Low but Expected to Climb
Sliding bond yields led to a drop in fixed mortgage rates at the start of the New Year. For the week ending January 8, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.73 percent. This is the lowest rates have fallen since May 23, 2013, when the 30-year fixed averaged 3.59 percent. Despite the decrease, economists still project rising interest rates over the coming months.

Slowing Home Price Growth
Home price growth is expected to slow down over the next twelve months. Two years ago, existing-home prices climbed 11.4 percent. Last year, prices rose 5.6 percent, with the national median existing-home price reaching $208,000. Economists believe the pace for 2015 will be between four and five percent, a more reasonable price growth that makes home ownership more affordable for more Americans.

Jan 23
Positive Signs from the Housing Market

newConstructionThe national housing market is continuing to stabilize. According to Freddie Mac’s Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi), half of the markets across the country are showing positive gains. While the national MiMi value of 74.4 indicates a weak housing market overall, the index posted a 0.51 percent improvement from August to September. Year-over-year, the index is up 3.68 percent. Since the market’s all-time low of 59.8 in September 2011, the market has rebounded 24.4 percent.

More Construction
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is on the upswing as builder confidence climbed four points on the index to 58. Builders are more confident in today’s market because consumers are more confident. Low interest rates, reasonable home prices, and an improving job market make home buying not only an attractive option but a viable one. As a result, builders are seeing more committed buyers walking through their sales centers and signing contracts. The news is welcome after the slow start to 2014. For the past five months, the HMI has stayed north of the 50-point mark. Economists with the NAHB expect builder confidence to continue to climb in the new year.

How Low Can They Go?
At the beginning of December, mortgage rates dropped to the lowest levels of the year. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.89 percent, the lowest rate posted since May 2013. At the same time last year, mortgage rates were 4.46 percent. Economists have long maintained that mortgage rates will increase, and they predict that rates will climb to five percent by the end of 2015.

Good News for Most
For the second straight month, existing-home sales rose in October. According to the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales climbed 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.26 million. For the first time in a year, sales are above year-over-year levels. Most areas of the country experienced gains in sales. In the Northeast, existing-home sales rose 2.9 percent month-over-month and 4.4 percent year-over-year. Sales climbed 5.1 percent in October in the Midwest, a 2.5 percent increase over October 2013 sales. The gains continued in the South, where sales jumped 2.8 percent from a month earlier and 5.3 percent from a year earlier. Only the West posted a drop in existing-home sales. Month-over-month, sales declined 5.0 percent; when compared with October 2013, sales are down 3.4 percent. NAR economists believe existing-home sales will continue to improve. Low interest rates, stabilizing price growth, and an improving housing supply should convince buyers that now is the right time to purchase a new home.


Source: Alliance West Mortgage, INC