Thought you might be interested in this article about home sales rising.
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Check out this articile about home sales out of control.
Home sales rise to highest level in 2.5 years
Only a 7-month supply of homes on market; bidding wars are erupting
Reed Saxon / AP
Foreclosure rates by state
Foreclosure rates tend to be highest in four key states. Click to see the progression for every state since 2005.
WASHINGTON – Home sales surged for the second month in a row in October, climbing to the highest level in 2 1/2 years as first-time buyers rushed to take advantage of an expiring tax credit.
Home sales nationwide are now up nearly 36 percent from their bottom in January, data Monday showed, though they are still 16 percent below the peak in autumn 2005. At the current sales pace, there is only a 7-month supply of homes on the market and in some areas there are bidding wars.
Joey Wilson, 53, and her husband made unsuccessful offers on 20 Las Vegas homes since midsummer before closing on a four-bedroom, $136,000 home this month.
“It’s insane,” said Wilson, who relocated from Kentucky. “I’ve never seen a market like this before.”
The National Association of Realtors said home resales rose 10.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.1 million in October, from a downwardly revised pace of 5.54 million in September. It was the biggest monthly increase in a decade, and far above the 5.65 million pace expected by economists, according to Thomson Reuters.
Without adjusting for seasonal factors, sales were up 21 percent from a year earlier and were up in all four regions of the country. The gains were led a 26 percent increase in the Midwest. Sales were up 25 percent in the Northeast, 23 percent in the South and 10 percent in the West.
The housing recovery is being driven by lower prices combined with federal programs to lower mortgage rates and bring more buyers into the market. The median sales price was $173,100, down 7 percent from a year earlier and off roughly 2 percent from September.
Many experts predict prices will hit a new low next spring, perhaps falling another 5 to 10 percent, as more foreclosures get pushed onto the market.
The government has tried to counter that trend by offering a tax incentive for first-time buyers and by keeping mortgage rates around 5 percent since the spring.
The tax credit of up to $8,000 for first-time owners was originally set to run out on Nov. 30, but Congress renewed it earlier this month and broadened its reach. People who have owned their current homes for at least five years can now claim a tax credit of up to $6,500 for a home purchase. To qualify, buyers must sign a purchase agreement by April 30.
The Realtors’ report on October home sales reflects offers made before buyers knew the tax credit would be extended.
“The incentives really did get people to go out and buy,” said Wells Fargo economist Adam York. “The question is: What does the trend look like when the credit is over with?”
Home sales are likely to drop over the winter as buyers hibernate for a few months without the looming tax credit deadline.
The new deadline means “we’re going to see some good activity coming out of the spring,” said Pat Lashinsky, chief executive of online real estate brokerage ZipRealty Inc.
But the government support can’t last forever. For example, the Federal Reserve is likely to curtail its effort to push down mortgage rates next year. If rates then rise too high, it would make home purchases less affordable and dampen housing demand.
“When we do kick those crutches out from under the housing market, will it be able to stand on its own?” said Mark Fleming, chief economist with real estate information company First American CoreLogic. “It’s really hard to tell.”
Another concern is that job losses are pushing once creditworthy homeowners into default. Borrowers with prime, fixed-rate loans accounted for one in three new foreclosures in the second quarter, the Mortgage Bankers Association said last week. Nationwide, a record 14 percent of homeowners with a mortgage were either behind on their payments or in foreclosure.
And in areas where foreclosures have hit hard, housing remains depressed, despite low prices and mortgage rates and the tax credit.
Cleveland real estate agent Colleen Rock notes that the city’s economy is still struggling with job losses. Another round of foreclosures could depress prices again.
“Just because we’re stabilizing, I can’t comfortably tell you we’re back to a normal market,” said Rock, an agent with Re/Max Crossroads. “It might be another year.”
Prudential Real Estate Laguna Beach
I thought you would enjoy this article…
Google’s got social game
Created 2009-11-03 01:00
Google has added a new tool: Social Search. Accessible via Google Labs , Social Search provides results culled from the searcher’s social media graph.
Just as there are separate tabs in the normal Google search for images, blogs, video, etc., once you opt in to the Social Search experiment you’ll see a new tab for social-enhanced search-engine results.
For now, I’d consider this tool pretty bleeding-edge: the requirements for opting in, creating a Google profile and logging in to your Google account will curb the initial group using this tool.
However, if you wish you had thought more about video for search-engine optimization (SEO) before Google started blending video results into the regular search results, here’s your chance for one of their next additions.
For the past year or so, we’ve all been hearing about and experiencing how social Web activities produce results because social capital carries more meaning and influence than traditional paid advertising or other large-audience, reach-based methods (like SEO).
It makes sense at a gut level that decisions like choosing a real estate professional to work with can be influenced by knowing someone who had a positive experience.
Google, being in the business of selling advertising sprinkled around search results, would like to provide the most influential and relevant results to those using their search product. So it only makes sense that they’d be looking for a way to enhance their search results with sources that are closer, in terms of relationships, to the searcher.
Here’s how you can try out the new social search tool.
- Get a Google Profile  if you don’t have one already. (Yes, I know, yet another social media profile to manage.)
- In your Google Profile, add all your other social media profiles as "other links."
- Go to the Google Labs page .
- Opt in to the Social Search experiment. …CONTINUED
From here on, when you are logged in to Google and conduct a search, you will be using the Google Labs search, giving you the social search option as a tab under "more options." You should also know that you can sign up for only one experiment at a time, so make sure none of the others are truly important to you.
The quality of your results will depend a great deal on the profile links you provide to Google via your profile. If you didn’t have any social networking profiles, then you won’t see any results. I also found that it took a couple days to start showing any results at all. So perhaps you might set it up and then try again a couple days later.
Given that this tool is still very much an experiment and not in general use, how might you use it in the meantime?
- General reputation management (assuming your clients have "friended" you on one of your social networks).
- Help raise Google’s awareness of some site or page that it isn’t indexing for its primary search (though I don’t think it would help with specific keyword ranking or other SEO heavy-lifting).
- Listening to your social networks for topics/themes that are important to your audience.
- Locating social network content from your friends that you might link to in your own content.
With the rise in importance of social networks to online marketing agendas, Google appears to be developing a tool to layer its core competence (search technology) on top of all that social activity. In many ways, the search function of the individual networking sites present a threat to Google’s all-encompassing Web search.
For example, when looking for business information on someone it makes sense to start at LinkedIn’s search instead of Google because all of the results in LinkedIn will be business-oriented.
Incorporating social graph information into the way Google displays results is a logical step for them. For those using online marketing techniques that rely on being found online and monitoring reputation, observing how this service develops and is rolled out is worthwhile. Just like it was for video results.
Gahlord Dewald is the president and janitor of Thoughtfaucet, a strategic creative services company in Burlington, Vt. He’s a frequent speaker on applying analytics and data to creative marketing endeavors.
Investor Report: Fannie Mae’s PRPby Kenneth R. Harney
Here’s some unexpected good news for real estate investors and second home owners facing payment squeezes on their mortgages.
Fannie Mae has just come up with some help for people who don’t qualify for the Obama administration’s “home affordable modification program,” also known as “HAMP.”
Starting this week, Fannie will consider requests for temporary payment reductions on investor and second home loans in its portfolio where borrowers have either already gone delinquent or are on the verge of falling behind.
The new program, which Fannie calls the “Payment Reduction Plan,” or “PRP,” permits loan servicers of Fannie-owned investment and second home loans to cut distressed borrowers’ payments by as much as 30 percent per month for as long as half a year.
The idea is to provide some transitional time that allows the servicer and borrowers to figure out the best way to avoid foreclosure.
Here’s how it works. First, you’ve got to be able to show the servicer that you’ve encountered a financial hardship, are in danger of going delinquent or already have, and that you are not eligible for a federal loan modification program because you’re an investor or second home owner.
All of the White House loan relief plans to date have excluded investors and second home owners, leaving large numbers of distressed owners with nowhere to go but foreclosure.
Here’s how to qualify for the new Fannie program:
First of all, your loan has to be in Fannie’s portfolio or in a mortgage-backed bond that Fannie has guaranteed. Your servicer can tell you whether that is the case.
You’ve also got to be prepared to demonstrate that you have the financial resources to pay at least 70 percent of your regular monthly payment for the next six months.
Even if your loan already is somewhere in the foreclosure process, you might still get a reprieve — and lowered payments — if the scheduled foreclosure sale is more than 45 days from the date you enter Fannie’s new payment reduction plan.
During the six months of lowered payments, the servicer and you are supposed to work together to come up with a permanent solution, which could involve modification of the loan terms.
However, if at any point in the six month period, you fall behind on your reduced payments, the whole program could come to a screeching halt. You’ve got to pay on time at the lower, agreed upon number, or they pull the plug — and you go to foreclosure.
If you think you might qualify, talk to your loan servicer as soon as possible.
Published: October 30, 2009
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You may find this article interesting. Prudential Real Estate Laguna Beach www.prudentialcal.com