Archives for 2011

Coyote Spotted In Orinda Neighborhood

Anyone driving through Orinda on a regular basis knows about the abundance of deer and turkeys. Orinda gardeners are well aware of the plethora of gophers and moles. A number of years ago we were serenaded by a family of angry bobcats. Today we got another reminder of Orinda’s natural beauty when a neighbor reported seeing a full grown coyote trotting through the Glorietta neighborhood last night. Apparently the coyote has been seen by others in recent days so it must be making a home in the area. No one has yet reported seeing the road runner beep beeping in the area.

Walnut Creek Properties Qualify For Zero Down Loans

The US government has zero down loans targeted at rural areas and the good news is that parts of Walnut Creek and Concord qualify for the loans. The USDA loans are aimed at low to moderate income households who can demonstrate they meet a housing debt to income ratio of 29% and a 41% overall debt to gross income ratio. Investors are excluded from the program.

Estimates of Underwater Homeowners Overblown

The Wall Street Journal’s columnist Carl Bialik did a real service when he published his January 8, 2011 article “Housing Statistics Hit Rough Waters“. Mr Bialik did an exceptional job of dissecting the estimates of underwater homeowners (those who owe more on their mortgage than their house is worth) provided by companies like Zillow and CoreLogic and demonstrating: (1) Why the numbers of underwater homeowners are likely over estimated, and; (2) why it is likely that a large percentage of those homeowners are only slightly underwater and therefore unlikely to default on their mortgages.

It has been too easy for the media to jump on the bandwagon and trumpet claims of a continuous housing market decline just as it was easy for the media to herald the increase in home values that led to the bubble.

It is very much appreciated when a reporter is willing to delve in to the details to challenge the commonly held beliefs.

How Soon After A Short Sale Can I Buy A Home?

I recently had a short seller ask me how long before they could buy another home? This is what I found out:

Provided a short seller was never in default on their loan (i.e. made payments right up to the sale), the answer could be that no wait is required. FHA may loan immediately in that situation. If the loan went into default prior to the short sale, the FHA waiting period is three years.

The answer for Fannie Mae depends on the amount of down payment the borrower is making on the new home. If the borrower puts 20% or more down, there is a two year wait after the short sale. If the borrower puts 10 to 20% down, the waits is 4 years and if the down payment is less than 10% the wait is seven years.

For Freddie Mac the waiting period is 4 years.

FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will consider documented extenuating circumstances and this may reduce the applicable waiting period.

Walnut Creek Housing Moved Up in 2010

Walnut Creek 2010 single family detached home sales rose 15.4% over 2009 while the median price stayed almost level at $685,000 in 2009 versus $690,000 in 2010. Average days on market also improved with a reduction from 63 days in 2009 to 50 days in 2010. New listings rose 11.8% as sellers recognized the improvement and decided to put their homes on the market.

Lafayette Real Estate Market Moves Up In 2010

Lafayette California’s single family detached home market improved dramatically in 2010 versus a year earlier. Closed sales rose 25.0%, median price rose 4.4% to $940,000 while average days on market fell 14.2% to 62 days. Over the period new listings rose 23.8% as homeowners decided it was time to put their properties on the market.