Saturday, August 1, 2009

August Real Estate Update

Rates Rise Slightly

In Freddie Mac's results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.25 percent for the week ending July 30, 2009, up from the previous week when it averaged 5.20 percent.
Last year at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.52 percent.
"Bond yields rose slightly higher this past week on market optimism that the economy may be stabilizing

Mortgage Rates
Source: Realty Times

U.S. averages as of July 30, 2009:

30 yr. fixed: 5.25%
15 yr. fixed: 4.69%
1 yr. adj: 4.80%

somewhat, and mortgage rates followed those yields," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.

First-Time Buyers: Hurry
For $8,000 Tax Credit

It’s time to remind first-time home buyers that in order to qualify for the government’s $8,000 gift in the form of a tax credit, the deal must close by Dec. 1, 2009.
Buyers should have a purchase contract signed by early October, so they have 45 to 60 days to arrange financing and safely close the deal.
Even if you are not a recent first-time home buyer, it is important that you know about the tax credit avail- ability. It may be the key factor to facilitate the sale of your home, or that of other homes in your community. It is an excellent time for a first-time home buyer to buy, with historic low rates, a plentiful supply of homes, lower prices in some markets, and the federal tax credit. Communities benefit from strong levels of home ownership.

Good Landscaping
Draws in Buyers
In this challenging real estate market, curb appeal is particularly important for a home seller. Here are some tips for hiring a landscaper who will do a good job at a reasonable price.
Review a portfolio. A neighbor's recommendation is a good starting point, but it is also worthwhile to examine other jobs the landscaper has done and ask for references. Hiring someone who isn't reliable, doesn't finish the job or who uses unhealthy plants is a costly mistake.
Consider maintenance. Asking for a low-maintenance design will ensure that even if the home owner isn't able to spend hours on the task, the lawn will continue to look good.
Know what good landscaping is worth. It can't hurt to let a potential buyer know what the value of the trees and shrubs are.

Real Estate Outlook:
Positive Growth

There was an important piece of economic news last month that has a huge significance for real estate, housing, and the economy, but got very minimal coverage on TV and in print.
The Conference Board's Index of Leading Economic Indicators, widely acknowledged as the most accurate predictor of future activity and output in the United States economy, rose by almost a point in June.
That was the third straight month of positive growth.
But more importantly, it was the first time since 2004 that the index has increased for three consecutive months.
That's crucial for real estate because housing sales, production and prices are closely tied to movements in the overall economy: jobs, manufacturing, exports, household incomes and the like.
There's no way we're going to see a sizable housing recovery until the economy pulls itself out of recession and starts to grow again.
The index of leading indicators is clearly telling us that that process is well underway -- and that's a very encouraging message.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in testimony before Congress last month, pretty much said the same: "A modest recovery is not far off, he said, though it will take a long time to get unemployment levels back down to pre-recession levels."

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