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Rate Update

Continued troubles in Egypt and the Middle East have once again triggered the “flight to safety” trade in the bond market, helping move mortgage rates slightly lower last week. In fact, on Friday, stocks improved, the dollar rallied and Treasuries improved – events that do not normally occur all in the same day. For the week, mortgage-backed securities (MBS) prices improved nearly one point!

Economic data last week was focused on the housing market, and the results were generally mixed.  The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index was down 4.1% versus one year ago. 18 of the 20 cities surveyed were down compared to December 2009. Home prices increased in San Diego and Washington DC, up 1.7% and 4.1% respectively. Existing Home Sales were up 2.7% in January. Foreclosures and short sales, which typically occur below market value, accounted for 37% of the transactions. As a result, the median home price fell 3.7% from a year ago to $158,800, the lowest since April 2002. New Home Sales dropped 12.6% last month to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 284,000. Data outside of the housing sector continues to show significant improvement with Initial Jobless Claims dropping by 22,000, Durable Goods increasing 2.7% in January and Consumer Confidence increasing in February to the highest level in three years. The sentiment survey showed that for the first time in six years, households this month said they had heard more optimistic than pessimistic news on the economy.

Currently, the 30 Year Fixed is 4.625% (4.755% APR) and the 15 Year Fixed is 3.750% (3.976% APR). There is a lot of economic news to digest this week with Pending Home Sales, Construction Spending, manufacturing data, and the Fed Beige Book. On Friday, we’ll see the latest employment reports, with Non-Farm Payrolls expected to be up 180,000 and the Unemployment Rate expected to move to 9.1%.

Written by Central Coast Lending - Go to Central Coast Lending's Website/Profile
805.543.LOAN info@centralcoastlending.com
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Winter Scenes from Hwy 46 West

A rare Winter snow blankets Spring blooms.  Views looking down on the 46 where the low fog hovers while hilltops are clear and chilly…….all of this in one day!

Written by Nancy Heins - Go to Nancy's Website/Profile
Nancy Heins, Keith Byrd Team, North County Realtor of San Luis Obispo County including Paso Robles, Atascadero, Templeton and Santa Margarita. 805 458-3583
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VIP Client Section Coming Soon

We’re getting our VIP Client Section ready to launch!  This section will have lots of additional tools for our clients to use so they can make a Smart Financial Decision regarding their real estate transaction. Some of the tools that will be available include a 15-minute HOTSHEET REPORT which will display New Listings, Solds, Pendings, Contingents, Cancellations, Withdrawns, and Expireds.  The Hotsheet will update from the MLS every 15 MINUTES too vs. once a day with most other listing updates on other sites.  The only way to receive more updated information is to be a Realtor with direct access to the MLS system. But…our hotsheet will be quicker to access and read than the hotsheet on the MLS system so I say it’s BETTER than what’s offered Realtors through the MLS!  We built this Hotsheet ourselves so you won’t find this offered from ANY OTHER Realtor or Brokerage.  Other tools in our VIP Section will provide the ability to search pre-foreclosures (Notice of Defaults, Auctions) and  pre-foreclosure reports by city, an IPAD/IPhone MLS-IDX listings search application,  additional statistics dashboards, and more.

We also have a tool developed to allow our Clients to look-up the commission being offered the Buyers Agent for a particular property. I wrote a blog post awhile ago about why I would want to know the commission being offered on a particular home if I was a Buyer. The tool is currently being evaluated by the legal folks at the Realtor Association. I don’t think any other Realtor has looked to offer such a tool before and want to make sure that the legal folks give their blessing.

We hope to launch the VIP Client Section within the week.  There are  MLS rules on what we need to do in order to allow access to some of these tools, so we need to finish that piece before we launch.  Stay tuned!!

Below is a screen shot from our upcoming HotSheet.  It will display the last 7 days for each listing type (Solds, Pendings, etc.) like the current New Listing and Price Change reports do. The HotSheet will also display new listings but the difference between this hotsheet and the existing New Listing report is that the HotSheet will update every 15 minutes vs. once-a-day for the current New Listings report. You can also sort the report by whatever column you wish by clicking the column header.

hotsheet1

Written by Keith Byrd - Go to Keith's Website/Profile

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Giants Fever at SLO Farmers Market

If you missed the excitement at the SLO Farmer’s Market tonite, you are one of the few who did. The line to take a photo in front of the SF Giants World Series Trophy went on and on…past the Mission, even went around the corner on Palm St.  It was taking over 2 hours to make it up to the trophy and I doubt all in line got the photo opportunity before they had to reopen the street.  I got there a few minutes past 6 and the line was already around Palm Street but didn’t wait it out. I did get about four feet from the trophy and got to feel some of the energy, so I’m happy.

SLO resident, Giants broadcaster, and former Giants pitcher Mike Krukow was also there, taking photos with the fans and signing autographs.  Nice touch!

Written by Keith Byrd - Go to Keith's Website/Profile

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Written by Meathead Movers - Go to Meathead Movers's Website/Profile
(866) 843-6328 MeatheadMovers.com
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Rate Update

Mortgage rates fell slightly last week, driven in part by two significant, but temporary factors.  Geopolitical turmoil in the Mid-East continues to foster demand for US Treasuries, which indirectly benefits demand in the mortgage-backed securities (MBS) market.  In addition, some of the improvement was driven by those who were cutting their losses on the bet that rates were going higher.  We’ll have to wait to find out if the generally positive trends will continue. 

Economic data released last week was also generally positive. US Retail Sales rose in January for the seventh consecutive month, but the increase was the smallest since June. Sales were up only 0.3% last month, just half of what economists had predicted, following a 0.5% increase in December. Production at US factories climbed in January for a fifth consecutive month. Housing Starts were up 14.6%, but Building Permits were down 10.4%. The Producer Price Index for January was up 0.8% and Core PPI was up 0.5%, the biggest jump since 2008. These increase in prices, however, were not passed through to the consumer… yet. The Consumer Price Index was up 0.5% and Core CPI was up 0.2%. 

Currently, the 30 Year Fixed is 4.750% (4.880% APR) and the 15 Year Fixed is 3.875% (4.101% APR). News is relatively light this week with New Home Sales later this week. The markets are closed today for President’s Day.

Written by Central Coast Lending - Go to Central Coast Lending's Website/Profile
805.543.LOAN info@centralcoastlending.com
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January 2011 Statistics

January continued to have a high percentage of foreclosures (REO and Short Sale).  Condos in SLO County had 67% of solds as distressed while single family homes came in at 45% distressed.  Santa Maria continues to have a majority of distressed properties with 60% of January homes sold, but that’s down from the 80% they were at in 2009.

REOs continue to be aggressively priced by the banks and the Realtors/Brokerage that represent these foreclosures as shown in the differences in the median home prices below.

January median home price (single family homes) in SLO County:

All types – $360,000

Non-foreclosures (54%) – $414,900
Short Sales  (18%)- $318,000
REOs (28%)- $265,000

For individual cities, here’s some of the distressed percentages (REOS and Short Sales) for single family homes sold in January.

Templeton – 83% distressed
Los Osos- 75%
Grover Beach – 70%
Paso Robles – 60%
Atascadero – 47%
Arroyo Grande – 30%
Pismo Beach – 25%
San Luis Obispo – 18%
Cambria – 17%
Cayucos – 0%

To see all January 2011 statistics, the dashboard is now available here or by clicking Market Statistics in the main menu.

Written by Keith Byrd - Go to Keith's Website/Profile

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Don’t Send $Millions Away From Our Local Economy!

Every year, several millions of dollars of money generated locally is sent outside the Central Coast to the parent companies of franchised real estate brokerages, with a big chunk of it going to pay “suits” on the East Coast.  While a nationwide real estate name used to mean something 10-20 years ago, I don’t see any benefit they bring to Sellers or Buyers in today’s marketplace which was a major reason why I recently left a franchise brokerage.  The latest report from the National Association of Realtors showed that only 2% of Buyers felt the brokerage name associated with an agent was important. When you use a real estate agent at a franchised Brokerage, 6-8% of what you pay in commissions goes to these parent companies. With the Internet changing the way real estate is sold, these old brokerage names have been replaced by the brands of the new forces in real estate  including Google, Trulia, and local sites like SloCountyHomes.com.

One of the largest parent companies of real estate franchises is Realogy, based in New Jersey, which was a spin-off of the Cendant corporation a few years ago. A lot of people outside the real estate industry don’t know that this single corporation owns many of the franchise real estate brands including  Better Homes and Gardens, Century 21, Coldwell Banker, ERA, and Sotherby’s.

If you want to support our local economy, use an Independent Brokerage that isn’t forced to send 6-8% of their earnings outside our area for the use of a name! There are many local independent brokerages who have been working hard for many years to make a name for themselves, rather than having to use someone elses name (and having you pay for it).

Written by Keith Byrd - Go to Keith's Website/Profile