Going to sell the house? Don’t wait for ‘spring’ in February…

The busiest season for home sales traditionally begins the day after the Super Bowl. But putting off getting the word out about your property would probably be a mistake, some experts say.

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Signs of life in the home-building industry

A large-scale development in Irvine and profits posted by some builders bring hope for a turnaround, but the industry’s outlook remains fragile.

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What’s ahead for home prices?

California remains ahead of the nation in market recovery with many first-time home buyers entering the market due to affordable home prices, low mortgage rates, and first-time home buyer tax credits from the state and federal governments. However, credit still is tight and unemployment remains high, which could hinder a full market recovery until 2011.

MAKING SENSE OF THE STORY…

Home sales in California hit bottom more than two years, and the median home price of an existing, single-family home reached its trough in February, according to data collected by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.). In November, the state’s median home price rose in year-to-year comparisons for the first time since August 2007.

C.A.R.’s closely watched “2010 California Housing Market Forecast,” projects that the median home price in California will rise 3.3 percent to $280,000 in 2010 compared with a projected median of $271,000 in 2009.

Some economists are forecasting another surge of foreclosures in 2010. However, C.A.R.’s economists expect that foreclosures will remain flat this year compared with 2009. In 2008, many lenders flooded the market with foreclosures, and as a result, the state’s median price declined by historic levels. By comparison, in 2009, lenders listed properties for sale at a more measured pace, which helped moderate another home price decline.

Government efforts to maintain a low interest rate environment have stabilized the market. However, a mortgage analyst at a financial publishing company predicts that rates likely will rise to 5.5 percent by mid-2010 and close the year at 5.75 percent to 6 percent.

Brentwood Glen Market Update…

Brentwood Glen had a good 90 days to wrap up 2009.

12 Sold Houses and 3 Currently in Escrow.  Plus, only 3 houses currently for sale.

See  special report: Glen – Dec 09

Green Tip of the Week: Rechargeable batteries…

Want an alternative to using disposable batteries, which leak toxic wastes into landfills and ground water? Switch to USB rechargeable AA batteries that do not require adapters or cables, but instead can be inserted into your laptop’s USB port—or other USB port—and be recharged hundreds of times. Visithttp://www.usbcell.com/ for more info.

Foreclosure activity declines 8 percent nationwide…

A report by RealtyTrac shows that foreclosure filings, including notices of default, scheduled foreclosure auctions, and bank repossessions, decreased nearly 8 percent in November compared with the previous month, but were 18 percent higher compared with a year ago.

California posted the nation’s third highest foreclosure rate, with one in every 180 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing in November.  Despite a 13-percent decrease in foreclosure activity from the previous month, California continued to post the highest total of any state, with 73,995 properties receiving a foreclosure filing in November.  Foreclosures in California rose 22 percent from November 2008, but were down nearly 32 percent from a July peak of 108,104. November marked the fourth consecutive month that California foreclosure activity has declined on a month-over-month basis.

California also had the top three metro foreclosure rates:  Merced, with one in every 83 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing in November; Stockton, with one in every 85 housing units; and Modesto, with one in every 87 housing units.

Other California metro areas with foreclosure rates in the top 10 included: Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario at no. 6, with one in every 102 housing units; Bakersfield at no. 7, with one in 111; Vallejo-Fairfield at no. 9, with one in 126; and Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville at no. 10, with one in 132.

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Survey finds most agents see home prices stabilizing…

A fourth-quarter survey conducted by HomeGain showed that 72 percent of HomeGain members believe that home prices will remain the same in the next six months, an increase from 69 percent in the third-quarter survey.

According to the recent survey, HomeGain members said that 37 percent of home buyers believe that homes for sale are fairly priced or under priced, compared with 36 percent in the third quarter.  Conversely, 41 percent of homeowners think their homes should be listed 10 percent to 20 percent higher than what their agents recommend, up from 38 percent in the third quarter.

The first-time home buyer tax credit has helped drive sales, with 21 percent of respondents saying half of their transactions involved a first-time home buyer, with only 11 percent noting that none of their transactions involved a first-time home buyer.

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