San Gabriel Valley Real Estate News:
South El Monte Holds 1st Time Buyer’s Seminar
Seminar Required For “First Time Homebuyer Loan”
There’s still time to plan to attend the City of South El Monte’s “First Time Home Buyer” seminar this month. The seminar takes place from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM tomorrow, March 29th. It will be held at the South El Monte City Hall Council Chambers at 1415 Santa Anita Avenue.
The “First Time Homebuyer Loan” is a $25,000, zero intrest, 30-year “silent” second loan made by the City and funded by the state of California’s CalHome program.
Read more particulars in this article by Brian Day in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune:
http://www.sgvtribune.com Sat, 22 Mar 2014 04:12:05 GMT
“All applicants in the household that will be applying for the City’s First Homebuyer Program must attend the seminar,” according to the city statement. “Applicants that have only one adult member of the family attend, in a two adult household, will not be eligible to obtain funds until the second adult attends and received a certificate of completion.”
Real Estate News:
Congress Eyes Retroactive Extension Of Key Mortgage Tax Benefits
Mortgage Debt Forgiveness & Energy-Saving Upgrades CouldReturn
As we reported here in December, as last year ended Congress let several key tax benefits to homeowners expire. These included those allowing for mortgage debt forgiveness and writeoffs for energy-saving improvements and mortgage insurance premiums as well.
Well, it looks like Congress may be about to address this and reinstate the lapsed tax benefits. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, expects to take up an “Extender’s Bill” sometime this spring. Since these expired tax benefits address part of a taxpaying homeowner’s yearly tax bill, the fact that they have actually expired from the code does not necessarily mean they are “lost” to taxpayers for next year’s taxes. If they are brought back, they would be retroactively reinstated to last Jan 1, in which case no taxpayers would feel the effect of the expiration at all … the entire thing becomes an “accounting glitch”.
Here’s a detailed article by Kenneth R. Harney in the Los Angeles Times:
http://latimes.com March 23, 2014, 5:00 a.m.
In December, Congress let some write-offs, including those for mortgage debt forgiveness and energy-saving upgrades, expire. But now there are signs they could be extended … “This is high on [Wyden’s] priority list,” according to a source with direct knowledge of the committee’s plans. That’s an important change from December, when then-Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who is now ambassador to China, let 50-plus corporate and individual tax benefits expire. The House also took no action to extend them.
Return Of Benefits Not A “Done Deal” As Yet
Though bipartisan support for the mortgage debt portion of this is widespread and solid, there are still hurdles to be overcome. In the House, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) says he has no idea when he’ll take up the legislation. He has presented his own tax reform package which included sharp cuts to the benefits homeowners enjoy currently.That’s not a good sign that he’d look favorably on such an “Extender’s Bill”, but the fact that this is an election year will bring sharp pressure to bear on him and others to do something in this regard.
San Gabriel Valley Real Estate:
Affluent Chinese Buyers Push Area Prices Upwards
Demand For L.A. Area Homes Among Wealthy Chinese Drives Market
The San Gabriel Valley is at the very heart of what is driving the Southern California real estate market at the present time, and that’s the influx of wealthy Chinese buyers, both investors and primary home buyers, who want to purchase in the area. This demand has now pushed prices up past the levels we saw during the boom of the last decade. What’s happening is that many Chinese investors are moving money out of Mainland China and into Southern California. This is changing the nature of the market in the area.
As a result of this influx of money, the market here in the San Gabriel Valley is moving quickly and is not for the squeamish. Buyers who require home loans need to get their “ducks in a row” before getting involved. They need to realize that they will be going up against cash buyers who are willing to pay top dollar and make offers with little to no contingencies. These types of buyers can also offer sellers very short escrow periods which can bedifficult to match by anyone requiring a loan. Cultural influences also affect the market. For instance, Sellers serve themselves well if they are conscious of feng shui practices when staging a home for sale.
Here’s a detailed article by E. Scott Reckard and Andrew Khouri in the Los Angeles Times:
http://www.latimes.com/ Mon, 24 Mar 2014
The overflow from China’s economic high tide is transforming the housing markets of suburban Los Angeles. Affluent Chinese home buyers are driving prices past boom-era peaks, spawning a subset of property brokers and mortgage lenders that cater to their distinct needs — and even dictate design details in new subdivisions.
Trend Not Likely To End Soon
As stated in the article, at this point about 60% of China’s wealthy citizens have left the country or intend to … at least part time … very soon. The preferred destination is Southern California and this is creating high prices and lots of activity. Many of these homes are being purchased as investments or second homes for part time use, and this type of Buyer, generally speaking, behaves in a different way than a primary home buyer might. This creates market conditions that tend to vary from what many buyers and sellers expect.
At this writing the trend is still on the rise. In fact, the influence of Wealthy Chinese buyers seems to be spreading eastward as areas like Riverside and San Bernardino are now being seen as inexpensive investment opportunities.
Real Estate News:
Buying And Selling In 2014
This Year Should Be Strongest Since Recession
There are many predictions about the future of real estate right now, but from our standpoint here in the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California a few things are becoming very clear. Most of them have to do with competition …among both Buyers and Sellers … is growing tougher and tougher daily.
Activity here in our market is high and Buyers need to have all their ducks in a row before they enter the market. They should be Pre-Approved for the loan they need, know exactly what their financial capabilities are, and be ready to act and act now. If they try to enter the market without being fully prepared they’re liklely to be outbid or outmaneuvered by others who are more prepared.
Sellers as well need to do their due diligence. In a market such as we’re experiencing now,it’s easy for a Seller’s expectations to become overblown. A wise Seller will know what their property isworth and will price accordingly. Beyond that, be prepared to actually make strong and deliberate decisions … and beprepared to move.
Here’s an informative article by economist David Berson in HousingWire:
http://www.housingwire.com Mon, 17 Mar 2014 04:00:00 GMT
Housing activity (home sales and housing starts) has increased modestly over the past several years, but is still at levels well-below sustainable trends. For both economic and demographic reasons, 2014 should be the year when activity reaches the highest level since 2006/2007.
Best Advice: Be Prepared … Be Pre-Approved, Not Simply Pre-Qualified
The best advice in today’s market in our Southern California area is tosimply be prepared. Too many potential buyers, for instance, go into the market without a clear picture of what they can afford or what level of approval a lender might extend. They crunch a few numbers themselves from web pages or other sources and think they’ve understood the perameters of their position. The fact is that in our experience qualifying can be very difficult these days and all Buyers should pursue complete Pre-Approval … not just Pre-Qualification … before they venture into actually looking for a property to purchase.
If you’d like to pursue Pre-Approval with a quality lender in the So Cal area, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll provide you with some good recommendations.