Incline Village Real Estate and Community News

Oct. 4, 2016

REAL ESTATE - LAST WEEK IN REVIEW AND FORECAST FOR THIS WEEK

Whether talking about home prices or the cost of goods and services, money is on everyone's mind.

New Home Sales fell 7.6 percent in August from July, the Commerce Department reported. The drop followed a stellar July and still landed well above expectations. From August 2015 through August 2016, sales rose a whopping 20.6 percent. There was also news on home prices: The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed a 5.0 percent gain in the year ended in July, just below the 5.1 percent expected.

The economy as a whole continues to trudge along. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is still running lower than what is considered healthy. The final reading on second quarter GDP rose to 1.4 percent from the earlier reading of 1.1 percent. By comparison, a reading of 2.5 to 3 percent is considered optimal. GDP measures the pace of economic activity and represents the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a specific time period. It has averaged 2 percent since the recession ended in mid-2009 and reached 2.6 percent in the second quarter of 2015.

The inflation gauge, Core Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE), rose 1.7 percent from August 2015 through August 2016, below the 2 percent target. Core PCE measures the change in prices of goods and services purchased by consumers throughout the economy, excluding volatile food and energy. Upticks in inflation can reduce the value of fixed investments like Mortgage Backed Securities, and hurt the home loan rates that are tied to them. While inflation is still below the Fed's target range, it will be important to watch for any future increases.

However, consumers are feeling optimistic, according to the Conference Board. Its Consumer Confidence Index soared to 104.1 in September, the highest level since before the recession began in 2008.

Forecast for the Week

Investors and the Federal Reserve will be looking to see if job creation lifts or drags the 180,000 new jobs per month average in 2016. We'll know for sure Friday.

National manufacturing data from the ISM Index will be released on Monday followed by the ISM Services Index on Wednesday.

Employment data starts with the Wednesday release of the ADP National Employment Report, followed by weekly Initial Jobless Claims Thursday.

The September Jobs Report releases Friday and includes Non-farm Payrolls, the Unemployment Rate and Hourly Earnings.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve. In contrast, strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond on which home loan rates are based.

When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving. When Bond prices are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.

To go one step further, a red "candle" means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green "candle" means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes are on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.

As you can see in the chart below, Mortgage Bonds remain near their best levels of the year. Home loan rates continue to hover close to historic lows.

Chart: Fannie Mae 3.0% Mortgage Bond (Friday Sep 30, 2016)

Posted in Real Estate News
Sept. 28, 2016

REAL ESTATE - WEEK IN REVIEW

There were drops in key construction data and sales of existing homes, but builder confidence is high. Fewer people began excavation on new homes in August. The Commerce Department repor Website ted Housing Starts fell 5.8 percent from July to an annual rate of 1.142 million units, below the 1.186 million expected. The South saw a decline of 15 percent, offsetting gains in the Northeast, Midwest and West. Starts on single-family homes fell 6 percent, while multifamily dwellings decreased by 5.4 percent.

Building Permits also were below expectations. This sign of future construction fell 0.4 percent from July.

Existing Home Sales also dropped in August, falling 0.9 percent from July to an annual rate of 5.33 million units, below the 5.50 million expected. The National Association of REALTORS® said higher prices and low inventories kept buyers on the sidelines. On a positive note, sales were up 0.8 percent from August 2015.

Another good sign: Builder confidence in September jumped to its highest level since October 2015 as reported in the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index. The Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months. The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers. All three components moved higher in September.

Meanwhile, members of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) met to weigh data on jobs, price stability and economic growth as a whole. The FOMC left its benchmark Fed Funds Rate unchanged. This short-term rate is the rate at which banks lend money to one another overnight. Fed Chair Janet Yellen noted the decision "does not reflect a lack of confidence in the economy" but instead a "cautious approach" to strengthening the economy.

The great news for homebuyers and those looking to refinance is that home loan rates continue to hover in historically low territory.

Posted in Real Estate News
Sept. 19, 2016

REAL ESTATE - LAST WEEK IN REVIEW AND FORECAST FOR THIS WEEK

"My mama told me, 'You better shop around.'" The Miracles. Clearly that message wasn't heard among consumers. Back-to-school shopping didn't help overall Retail Sales make the grade in August. The increasing cost of goods might be to blame.


Consumers spent less on a variety of goods, including autos, in August. This could signal a slowdown here in the U.S., especially since August is a big month for back-to-school sales and consumer spending is what drives our economy. The Commerce Department reported that Retail Sales in August fell 0.3 percent, below the -0.1 percent expected.

Retail Sales have now slowed for two straight months. This likely means that the Federal Reserve will not raise the short-term Fed Funds Rate at the next Federal Open Market Committee meeting Sept. 20-21. The Fed Funds Rate is the rate at which banks lend money to each other overnight.

This exercise in frugality might be a reaction to increasing costs on the consumer side. While the Producer Price Index showed that wholesale inflation remained tame, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.2 percent in August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

Core CPI, which strips out volatile food and energy, increased 0.3 percent in August, the largest increase since February. Core CPI has now risen 2.3 percent in the 12 months ending in August. This is important to note because inflation reduces the value of fixed investments, like Mortgage Bonds. Since home loan rates are tied to Mortgage Bonds, further signs of inflation are something to watch for, as both Mortgage Bonds and home loan rates could worsen if inflation heats up.

For now, home loan rates are still holding strong in historically low territory, providing great opportunities for purchases and refinances.

If you have any questions about home loans or rates, please contact me today.

Forecast for the Week

Housing data dominates, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will garner much of the attention.

Housing data kicks off with the NAHB Housing Market Index on Monday, Housing Starts and Building Permits on Tuesday, and Existing Home Sales on Thursday.

The FOMC monetary policy statement will be issued Wednesday.

Weekly Initial Jobless Claims will be released on Thursday.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve. In contrast, strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond on which home loan rates are based.

When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving. When Bond prices are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.

To go one step further, a red "candle" means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green "candle" means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes are on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.

As you can see in the chart below, Mortgage Bonds have tried to make up for some lost ground recently; however, home loan rates remain in historically low territory.

Chart: Fannie Mae 3.0% Mortgage Bond (Friday Sep 16, 2016)

Posted in Real Estate News
Sept. 12, 2016

REAL ESTATE - WEEK IN REVIEW

Home prices around the country, including distressed sales, have risen 6 percent from July 2015 through July 2016, according to data analytics firm CoreLogic. Low home loan rates will likely fuel home purchases in the year ahead. Limited inventory, however, could further drive home prices up because the supply is not meeting demand.

Meanwhile, job growth slowed in August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Non-farm Payrolls grew by 151,000, below the 180,000 expected. June and July collectively saw a net revision lower of 1,000 new jobs. In addition, average hourly earnings rose by a disappointing 0.1 percent versus the 0.2 percent expected.

And while the Unemployment Rate remained at 4.9 percent, the Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) held steady at 62.8 percent, which is near multi-decade lows. The LFPR measures the number of people who are either employed or actively looking for work, and it should be moving higher in a recovery.

The good news is home loan rates are still hovering in historically low territory. For people in the market for a home right now, good rates can help offset home price increases.

Posted in Market Updates
Sept. 9, 2016

AN INSIDE LOOK AT THE VA LOAN PROCESS

VA loans are a specialized mortgage option. They feature some big financial benefits other loan programs can’t match.

But the process of buying a home with one isn’t considerably different from any other loan.

Here’s a brief look at the VA loan process.

PRE-QUALIFICATION & PRE-APPROVAL

This is a critical first step. VA loan pre-qualification and pre-approval requirements can vary by lender. VA lenders are often looking for a FICO score of at least 620, a benchmark considerably lower than what you’ll typically need for conventional financing.

Getting pre-qualified and pre-approved gives borrowers a clear sense of whether they’re ready and what they can afford. It also shows home sellers and listing agents that you’re a strong home-buying candidate.

Prospective buyers with a pre-approval letter in hand are in a prime position to start the house hunt.

GETTING UNDER CONTRACT

Signing a contract to purchase a home comes next. This is a step where real estate agents who know VA loans can make a big difference for military buyers.

Buyers can use this program to purchase single-family homes, condos, multiunit properties, and more. But the VA also wants veterans getting “move-in ready” homes that meet some basic health and safety conditions. Some fixer-uppers can be challenging to make work for VA loans.



The VA allows sellers to pay all of a buyer’s mortgage-related closing costs and up to 4% of the purchase price in concessions, which can include things like prepaid taxes and homeowners insurance and even paying off collections.

VA-savvy agents can help you draft a competitive offer that maximizes the program’s benefits and your bottom line.

VA APPRAISAL

Once you’re under contract, your lending team will order an appraisal, which is conducted by an independent VA appraiser. The VA appraisal process has two parts: determining the home’s value and whether it meets property condition requirements.

Lenders will typically need at least one good recent comparable home sale to support the property’s value. Contrary to common misconception, VA buyers are allowed to pay for repairs in order to satisfy the property requirements. It’s often more a question of whether that makes good financial sense.

UNDERWRITING

Like with any other mortgage, a lender’s underwriting team will review your loan file for completeness. You’ll need to meet guidelines set by both the VA and the lenders.

Borrowers can help themselves by answering questions and supplying paperwork as swiftly as possible. It’s not uncommon for underwriters to ask for additional documentation regarding finances, assets, and related issues.

CLOSING

It’s time to celebrate! Most VA loans close in 30 to 45 days, which is the same as conventional financing. You’ll sign a stack of paperwork and get the keys to your new home.

Posted in Community News
Sept. 1, 2016

INDULGE IN LAKE TAHOE THIS SEPTEMBER

SEPT 4 | Alpen Wine Festival | Squaw Valley

Wine tasting, live music, a silent auction and raffle. Entry into the event is a donation to Can Do MS. With the donation, attendees receive a crystal souvenir wine glass and tastings from over 40 vineyards.

READ MORE>>


SEPT 9-10 | Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine Festival | Northstar

Lake Tahoe’s most prestigious food, wine, spirit and brew festival. Celebrity Chefs, hands-on cooking demonstrations, Farm to Tahoe dinner, winemaker luncheons and dinners, food and wine seminars, mixology... all topped off with the Sunday Culinary Competition and Grand Tasting.

READ MORE>>>

SEPT 9 | Parasol Foundation Community Dinner | Shakespeare Ranch

Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty is honored to sponsor this culinary highlight of the fall social season at Tahoe. Guests include the who’s who of Tahoe’s affluent philanthropists and the generosity makes the evening magical. This year’s featured chef is Pamela Mazzola of San Francisco’s acclaimed Prospect Restaurant.

READ MORE>>>

SEPT 16-23 | Tahoe South Restaurant Week

Restaurants from Meyers to Zephyr Cove will offer special menus and deals, featuring the best of the South Shore culinary scene. This is the perfect opportunity to try a new restaurant, connect with friends and family.

READ MORE>>>

SEPT 17 | Sample the Sierra | South Lake Tahoe

This farm-to-fork festival celebrates the best food, wine, and art in the Sierra Nevada. Sample award winning wines from the Sierra foothills. Peruse booths with unique handmade products. Enjoy live entertainment, storytellers and cooking demonstrations.

READ MORE>>>

Posted in Community News
Aug. 29, 2016

JULY HOME SALES NUMBER'S

New Home Sales soared in July to highs not seen in nine years. Existing Home Sales experienced the opposite, plagued by low inventory and higher prices.

New single-family home sales surged due to a strengthening job market and low home loan rates. New Home Sales rose 12.4 percent to an annual rate of 654,000, above the 580,000 expected, while June was revised lower to 582,000 from 592,000. The Northeast led the charge with a whopping 40 percent surge. Sales are up 31.3 percent from July 2015. The median price for a new home slipped 0.5 percent from a year ago to $294,600.

The sale of new homes is making up for an unexpected slip in July Existing Home Sales. The National Association of REALTORS® reported that sales of previously owned homes declined in July from June due to low inventories and higher prices. July Existing Home Sales fell 3.2 percent from June to an annual rate of 5.39 million units, below the 554,000 expected and down 1.6 percent from a year ago. Inventories are now at a 4.7 month supply, which is nearly 6 percent below last year. The median existing home price was up 5.3 percent from July 2015.

In terms of overall economic growth, real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 1.1 percent in the second quarter of 2016, in line with expectations, according to the "second" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. GDP represents the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a specific time period. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 0.8 percent. While consumer spending drove the increase, the buying power was offset by companies unloading excess inventory.

If you or anyone you know is in the market to invest in a new or existing home right now, home loan rates are quite attractive, hovering in historically low territory.

Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 23, 2016

FORECAST FOR THE WEEK

Housing news and economic growth in the form of Gross Domestic Product will be closely watched.

The week begins with New Home Sales being released on Tuesday followed by Existing Home Sales on Wednesday.

Weekly Initial Jobless Claims and Durable Goods Orders will be delivered on Thursday.

On Friday, the Consumer Sentiment Index and the second reading on second quarter Gross Domestic Product will be released.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve. In contrast, strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond on which home loan rates are based.

When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving. When Bond prices are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.

To go one step further, a red "candle" means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green "candle" means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes are on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.

As you can see in the chart below, Mortgage Bonds have traded in a tight pattern recently. Home loan rates remain in historically low territory.

Chart: Fannie Mae 3.0% Mortgage Bond (Friday Aug 19, 2016)

Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 22, 2016

Incline Village Real Estate Market Price Trend

I calculated the Real Estate median price for residential homes sold in the past 10 years on the Incline Village and Crystal Bay real estate market in order to determine the price trend for North Lake Tahoe home sales. The chart bellow reflects the data we collected starting 1//1/2006 through 8/19/16.

Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 22, 2016

LAST WEEK IN REVIEW

More families may soon be on their way to homeownership as July Housing Starts hit their highest level in five months. Meanwhile, consumer inflation remained tame.

July Housing Starts rose 2.1 percent from June to an annual rate of 1.21 million units, above the 1.167 million expected. The sector continues to be a bright spot in a muddling along economy. The 1.21 million is the second-highest Housing Starts rate since the recession, and multifamily units are leading the increase. Building Permits fell 0.1 percent from June to an annual rate of 1.152 million, in line with expectations. These figures should be welcome news to potential homebuyers, especially those in areas that have struggled with a limited supply of homes.

Consumer inflation remained tame in July because of low energy costs. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) was unchanged from June to July, as expected. Core CPI, which strips out volatile food and energy, rose 0.1 percent, just below the 0.2 percent expected. The Core rate rose 2.2 percent on an annual basis, just below the 2.3 percent recorded in June. Inflation reduces the value of fixed investments, like Mortgage Bonds. This means tame inflation tends to be good news for home loan rates, since they are tied to Mortgage Bonds.

Inflation is also one of the many economic factors the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) considers when setting monetary policy. The recent release of the July FOMC meeting minutes did not provide any clear signal regarding when the Fed may next change the Fed Funds Rate. This is the rate banks use to lend money to one another overnight. September provides the next opportunity for the Fed to consider an adjustment.

For those looking to invest in a home right now, home loan rates remain in historically low territory.

Posted in Market Updates