Monday, January 25, 2010

2009 San Mateo County Market Snapshot

We wanted to provide you with a 2009 market snapshot of the real estate activity for San Mateo County. If you have specific questions about the value of your home or the activity in your specific area, we would be glad to provide. Just let us know what you are looking for – we are happy to help!

2009 Market Snapshot
Property Type/Avg Price /Median Price / Avg DOM / Active Listings

San Mateo County
Condos & Townhomes $463,220 / $430,000 /83 / 392
Single Family $876,637 / $678,750 / 72 /1045

Condos & Townhomes $426,337 / $426,337 / 169 / 2
Single Family $3,317,045 / $2,790,000 / 109 /23

Condos & Townhomes $578,092 / $651,000/ 82 / 5
Single Family $847,969 / $833,725/ 56 / 36

Condos & Townhomes $604,364 / $572,500 / 91 / 13
Single Family $1,298,411 / $1,200,000 / 56 / 43

Daly City
Condos & Townhomes $304,371 /$300,000 / 88 / 36
Single Family $512,667 /$510,000 / 74 / 108

Single Family $2,750,990 / $2,350,000/ 77/ 40

Menlo Park
Condos & Townhomes $853,443 / $775,000 / 93 / 22
Single Family $1,239,814 / $1,095,000/ 64 / 68

Condos & Townhomes $581,352 / $520,000 / 141 / 13
Single Family $929,265 / $926,250 / 54 / 24

Condos & Townhomes $392,544 / $366,500 / 59 / 11
Single Family $569,014 / $535,000/ 72 /59

Portola Valley
Single Family $1,976,002 / $1,650,000 / 79 / 11

Redwood City
Condos & Townhomes $389,916 / $418,500 / 77 / 12
Single Family $721,471 / $672,000 /73 /129

Redwood Shores
Condos & Townhomes $583,264 / $575,000 / 70 / 23
Single Family $1,008,129 / $994,000 / 55 / 11

San Bruno
Condos & Townhomes $228,771 / $213,250 / 79 / 38
Single Family $543,784 / $543,000 / 71 / 53

San Carlos
Condos & Townhomes $582,399 / $530,000 / 70 / 24
Single Family $928,560 / $880,000 / 53 / 35

San Mateo
Condos & Townhomes $460,765 / $413,000 / 72 /101
Single Family $818,946 / $730,000 / 64 / 109

South San Francisco
Condos & Townhomes $349,143 /$340,000 / 96 /39
Single Family $545,602 / $523,000 / 66 / 64

Single Family $2,046,230 / $1,568,000 / 124 / 27

If you have specific questions about the value of your home or the activity in your specific area, we would be glad to provide. Just let us know what you are looking for – we are happy to help!

FHA Announces Stricter Standards

It’s going to be harder to get a government-backed mortgage from now on. Looking to shore up its weakening finances, the Federal Housing Administration has announced stricter standards. The agency, which insured nearly a third of new mortgages in 2009, will increase the premium it charges for its mortgage insurance and require those with weaker credit scores to come up with larger downpayments.

The FHA will also reduce the amount of money a seller can provide a homebuyer for closing costs, as well as tighten its enforcement of lenders. "Striking the right balance between managing the FHA’s risk, continuing to provide access to underserved communities, and supporting the nation’s economic recovery is critically important," FHA Commissioner David Stevens said in a statement. Source: CNN/Money. Editors Note: These changes go into effect shortly and anyone who is thinking about purchasing a home can benefit by using the old rules if they act quickly.

Real estate investors are moving back into the market, according to a recent survey from According to the survey, 12.1 percent of home buyers today plan to buy a home as an investment property, compared to 5.6 percent in March 2009. The survey found that 15.8 percent of those interested in investment property were men and 8.1 percent were women and 52.6 percent of the investment buyers were between ages 35 to 49. Of the 25.3 percent of buyers who are focusing on foreclosure properties, 42 percent regard the purchase they are considering an investment and don’t plan to live in the property themselves; 13.2 percent plan to rent out the property; 11.3 percent are going to fix up the property and resell it; and 17.4 percent plan to house a family member until the property can be sold profitably. Of the 9.8 percent of buyers who say that they plan to purchase and live in a property in the next two y ears, 5.4 percent plan to purchase in the next 12 months; 48.3 percent are first-time buyers; 52.8 percent are women, and 44.1 percent are men. Source:

Home prices are expected to grow modestly this year and sales will keep rising as the housing market continues to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression, the National Association of Realtors said in their latest report. Home resales are projected to total 5.7 million this year, up from an estimated 5 million last year. Prices will climb about 4 percent after a projected decline of 13 percent last year, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the trade association. "Going into 2010, I anticipate that prices will also begin stabilizing or begin to modestly improve," Yun indicated at the association’s annual conference. "That should help ease buyers’ anxiety." Yun said. The housing market’s rebound has been aided by an aggressive federal intervention to lower mortgage rates and bring more buyers into the market. Home resales rose in the previous quarter to t he highest level in more than two years, something Yun said shows buyers are eager to get back into the market. A federal tax credit of up to $8,000 for first-time homebuyers has helped stoke sales last year. The buyers can claim the credit if they sign a contract by April 30 and close the deal by the end of June. Lawmakers also expanded the program to include a $6,500 credit for existing homeowners who have lived in their current residence for at least five years. Source: National Association of Realtors

Sunday, January 17, 2010

GSE loan mods, refinancings rise in November

As of November 2009, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac implemented more than 405,000 trial and permanent loan modifications under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), according to a third quarter Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) report. The agency also refinanced 4 million loans. The report details the actions each enterprise has taken to prevent foreclosures and help homeowners remain in their homes.

According to the report, as of Nov. 30:

  • Fannie and Freddie had implemented 405,700 HAMP active trial and permanent loan modifications.

  • Foreclosure starts on loans owned or guaranteed by the GSEs declined 15 percent in the third quarter.

  • Loan modifications, excluding HAMP trial loan modifications, increased 14 percent compared with the second quarter.

  • Nearly half of loan modifications completed in the third quarter, excluding HAMP trial modifications, resulted in borrowers’ payments decreasing by more than 20 percent.

  • Short sales and deeds in lieu increased by 39 percent during the third quarter.

  • Loans 60 or more days delinquent increased nearly 20 percent during the third quarter to 1.6 million.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Why don't banks want to modify mortgages with principal reductions?

Basically, lenders get to write-off loans from their balance sheet to their income statement when they allow a short sale or foreclosure. This results in a loss which can be offset against other income, resulting in a tax savings for the lender.

When lenders agree to reduce principal, they still have to carry the loan on their balance sheet at the original value, plus get a smaller payment. The teenie bitty incentive payment (around $1,000) to allow modification is a small drop in the bucket. Thus, there is absolutely no tax incentive to allow principal reductions.

When lenders agree to reduce the interest rate, they typically add any reduction back to principal (remember negative amortization?) and can actuall INCREASE the asset shown on the balance sheet.

Unless the tax treatment is equalized, don't look for voluntary principal reductions.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Which low cost remodel projects are still paying off?

According to the annual Cost vs. Value Report, the following 10 small projects pack a large return on investment:

1. Tidy up kitchen cabinets - add organizing trays, bright liner paper
2. Add or replace tile
3. Add a breakfast bar
4. Install granite tile instead of slab
5. Freshen up a bathroom
6. Freshen up a basement (definitely more relative back East)
7. Look for extra spaces to enclose and make a new room
8. Recondition kitchen cabinet fronts
9. Replace light fixtures
10. Tech up the garage with a remote touchpad entry system

Email us to request a pdf file detailing these great, low cost ideas.

Click here for a link to the article.