1. Home Prices: For anyone looking to buy a home, they're affordable! In many markets across the country up to 75% of the people who earn the median income for their area, can afford a home at the median price. Don't know when affordability has ever been so high.
  2. Mortgage Rates: Near Record Low Levels! Well-qualified borrowers can get no cost loans with mortgage rates well below 4%. Borrowers don't necessarily have to be "well qualified", there are still FHA programs for borrowers with credit scores as low as 600. They do have to have the rest of their "financial house" in order, though.
  3. Buyer's Market: The Tax Credit Has Expired But Sellers Are Offering Incentives. These are called "seller concessions". They are NOT refunds.In addition to the incentives there is still the California Home Buyer tax credit and the Riverside County MCC program.
  4. Tax Credit Momentum: There Are Competitive Markets Out There! In certain areas, buyer demand is outpacing seller supply.
  5. Builder Confidence Is Up: For now at least home builders will be busy on new starter units thanks to all the sales contracts they got signed before the tax credit expired. Look for increased inventory from homebuilders as they look to take advantage of the prime spring buying months.
  6. New Loan Reporting Standards will help reduce originator confusion and improve turn times
  7. We just received word today that a second MI company will now underwrite 95% conventional loans in SoCal. We've been considered a declining market since 2007, so this indicates more optimism on the part of those who control the purse strings.
  8. Look for an increased number of lender approved short sales. The loan modification program (HAFA) is grinding to a crawl because most homeowners cannot meet the qualifying requirements under the program. Under the HAFA/HAMP program, if a homeowner doesn't qualify for a loan modification, the lender is required to determine the minimum sales price they will consider to facilitate a short sale.
  9. I was asked to write an article for an online site about short sales, and came across this column from the Press Enterprise. If you're frustrated with the difficulty in getting distressed homeowners to list their home, so you can help them. Maybe this article will help you understand their mental state, which will help you reach out to them. What's new is old about our housing market