Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Documentation Needed

Mike at Big Valley Mortgage talks about the current documentation needed to get a home loan. Big Valley Mortgage can handle the new regulations. See more at

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Process Of Getting A Home Loan

Mike talks about the process of getting a home loan. See more at

Monday, May 20, 2013

What Sets Us Apart!

Mike, branch manager at Big Valley Mortgage, talks about what sets them a part.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Is It Illegal To Use My Cellular Telephone While I'm Driving?

California law does not prohibit the use of a hands-free wireless telephone while operating a vehicle if you re 18 years of age or over. However, the CHP recommends common sense in its use and we urge users to familiarize themselves with their cellular telephone features and follow these tips:
  • If possible, dial while the car is not in motion, such as at a traffic light or stop sign.
  • Learn to operate the phone without looking at it.
  • Never allow a phone conversation to distract you from driving.
  • Keep calls brief.
  • While talking, keep your head up and your eyes on the road, with frequent checks of side and rearview mirrors.
  • Don't take notes or look up phone numbers while driving.
  • If you must check information, arrange to call back and do your research while the car is safely stopped.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Housing Recovery Signals Are Real This Time, Says S&P

After what it called years of tenuous signals indicating that thehousing recovery was underway Standard & Poor's (S&P) Ratings Service say this time it is different.  S&P's Ratings Direct summarized proceedings of Housing and Commercial Real Estate Roundtable it sponsored on April 9 where a number of staff from various S&P divisions discussed the housing recovery..
Why is this time different?  Roundtable participants said the most critical factor is the 6.8 national increase in home prices in 2012.  S&P projects that prices will increase another 8 percent this year.
"Rising prices are a good cure for a lot of headaches," Erkan Erturk, a senior director in S&P's Structured Finance Research Group said.  "Prices also provide a good summary of the broader housing market. 
Erturk said the housing market recovery has positive implications for the economy, consumers, and local governments as sources of tax revenue.  Robust sales, falling if still elevated mortgage delinquency rates and foreclosure sales and increasing residential homebuilding are all key indicators that the sector is rebounding.
"There were a few false recoveries in 2010, driven by tax credits and other government supports," Erturk said.  The housing market had bounced around the bottom for several years, but a recovery began shaping up in late 2011 into 2012.  "2012 was a significant year - the recovery was strong, and the turnaround came faster than we'd anticipated."
Other positive signs include the shadow inventory which is diminishing because of rising home prices which are also pushing about two million homeowners into positive home equity positions.  Still, affordability remains high for would-be-homeowners.
Despite these improving indicators Erturk said a full recovery will require correction of regional and national imbalances such as the existing 40 percent gap between new and existing median home prices.  "In the long run," he said, "we would need to see existing median home prices rise to be consistent with historical 20 percent levels."
Government intervention such as Federal Reserve purchases of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) continue to cause distortions.  "So you could argue if the support disappeared, the market couldn't sustain the recovery," Erturk said.
S&P credit analyst George Skoufis aid the housing recovery has had a powerful effect on homebuilding and multifamily real estate investment trusts (REITS).  He expects, as a member of S&Ps Corporate Ratings/Commodities Group, to take few if any negative ratings actions over the next 12 to 18 months as improving profitability enables homebuilders to strengthen their balance sheets and fund more and more of their growth through operating profits.  They will draw down on their sizable cash balances before supplementing with unsecured revolving credit facilities. 
Skoufis said that builders have already turned to the debt markets to "opportunistically raise debt to fund land purchases and develop investments to meet future growth, resulting in improving - but still elevated - leverage" Many homebuilders, he said, have taken advantage of receptive debt markets and historically low interest rates although in some instances it is possible that rising debt balances could outpace expectations and delay recovery in key credit metrics, affecting ratings.  He expects a 20 to 25 percent volume increase for rated homebuilders in 2013 although availability of land and rising prices for obtaining it could constrain growth.  
Ratings for apartment REITs should stay stable this year with operating performance coming off of 2012 levels. Apartment occupancy should remain high and growth, while declining, will remain positive at around 4-5 percent.  Expenses are likely to rise so net operating income (NOI) will slow from 7.3 percent in 2012 to 4 to 5 percent.
Vandana Sharma, a director and analytical manager in S&P's Residential MBS (RMBS) group said private label RMBS will increase to 20 billion in 2013 compared to $6 billion in 2011.  "We know the market will rebound, we just don't know how quickly," she said.
Sharma also discussed the ways in which the market is evolving such as large investors or private equity players bidding up the supply of homes and converting them into rentals.  Those mortgages entering RMBS pools are also of higher credit quality than was seen before the downturn although, she said, that could change once the market begins growing again.
According to Larry Witt of S&Ps Tax-Exempt Housing Groups, a steep drop-off has occurred in housing finance authority single family bond issuance since 2008.  The market has been seeking out alternatives such as selling loans to the GSEs or packaging them into GNMA MBS and hindering the HFAs' ability to issue bonds. 
Mikiyon Alexander, also from the Tax-Exempt Housing Group said that there were no AAA affordable housing ratings at the end of 2012 compared to 109 in 2007.  The ratings in that sector were historically guaranteed by bond insurers and carried the rating of the insurance company.  Once the bond insurance industry experienced credit deterioration most insurance ratings were withdrawn and ratings are now based on the financial performance of the property itself. Therefore the rating shifts were more of a reflection of the counterparty and not due to a significant reduction in the performance of the industry as a whole, Alexander said.
Vacancy rates are something we're concerned about in nonsubsidized affordable rental housing, such as with renters who are moving homeownership or more affluent markets, he said.  Subsidized housing, however, has very strong occupancy rates which are expected to continue given current economic conditions.
Sequestration has already had varied effects on the housing market according to Valerie White, another director in the Tax-Exempt Housing Group.  She expressed concern because the bulk of public housing is tied directly to some form of government subsidies and includes operational subsidies, mortgage insurance, loan purchases, and loan securitization as well as subsidies for rent. The effects of sequestration are clear where the government provides subsidies to renters and local housing authorities which will be cut 5 percent from last year's appropriation amount.  .
White said eliminating the mortgage interest deductions "are also a galvanizing topic for the sector."  While the expectation is these cuts won't happen, the very fact they are being debated indicates they could be more seriously considered in the future and "we anticipate it would have a negative impact on the public finance market."

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Why Home Sales Stalled in March

Sales of previously owned homes fell by 0.6% in March from February, causing some analysts to second guess the housing rebound. What’s going on? Here are four takeaways from the National Association of Realtors’ report on Monday.

1) The problem for the housing market right now is a lack of supply—not a lack of demand. This isn’t a surprise to anyone who’s tried to buy a house in many parts of the country over the last year. The number of homes listed for sale rose by just 1.6% in March, meaning just 30,000 net new units hit the market. The 1.93 million homes for sale in March was down by 16.8% from one year ago and is the lowest inventory level for the month of March in 13 years. “Inventory is definitely gating demand,” says Glenn Kelman, chief executive of real estate brokerage Redfin. Monday’s report showed that sales were still 10.3% above last year’s levels on a seasonally adjusted basis, continuing a streak of 21 consecutive months in which home sales have increased from their year-ago level.

2) Rising demand and falling supply continue to push prices higher. The median home price in March rose 11.8% from one year ago to $184,300. (Changes in the median price often reflect a shift in the “mix” of homes being sold, meaning they can rise when more expensive homes transact in a given period.) In the West, median prices were up by 26.1% from one year ago, a clear sign that more homes are selling at higher price points. Median prices have risen from their year-ago levels in 13 straight months.

3) Buyers are getting frustrated, and some sellers are getting greedy. Some sellers are hearing that it’s a sellers’ market and are becoming more determined to ask for more. Inventory is low, of course, because many sellers aren’t willing or able to sell at prices that are down sharply from seven years ago. Some have a “reservation price”—a price at which they’ll sell. Ultimately, rising prices should lead more sellers to put their homes on the market. But until then, buyers may give up. “There are not enough homes to buy,” says Mr. Kelman. “We see so many people dropping out of the process because they’re tired of getting outbid.” Another problem: many sellers aren’t going to be willing to list until they’re more confident they can buy another home to move into.

4) The current market isn’t fun for real-estate agents, who make their living selling homes. But it is good for the home builders. If would-be buyers are motivated to buy now to take advantage of low prices and low mortgage rates but can’t find a home on the resale market, they’re likely to turn to the new-home market. Already, new home sales have rebounded from their depressed levels of a year ago, and Tuesday’s report for March sales will provide the latest indication of just how quickly builders are regaining market share that they surrendered as the foreclosure crisis worsened five years ago.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Appraisers See Some Improvement in Sales, Prices, and Their Own Business

A new survey conducted by United States Appraisals found a majority of appraisers are at least somewhat bullish on the current housing market.  Over 54 percent of the nationwide panel of residential appraisers questioned said they had a mildly or moderately strong level of confidence in the current housing market while 24.9 percent were neutral.

Options were slightly higher regarding home values with 46.2 percent of respondents reporting a mild increase in values in their area, 15.6 percent a moderate increase and 24 percent were neutral.  Most said their business was improving; 26.1 saying order volume had increased mildly, 17.8 percent saw moderate increases, and 18.5 percent said the volume increase was substantial.  Only 15.3 percent reported any reduction in order volume.

"Appraisers tend to be realistic, focused on their local markets and unmoved by news stories and national numbers," said Aaron Fowler, President of United States Appraisals.  "We believe they provide a good gauge of the status of the housing market. After the last few years, a mildly strong level of confidence shows some definite improvement in appraiser attitudes."

The survey results were reported along with quotes from the respondents which varied widely.  Some reported a 'fragile" recovery, others said indications were positive, others that foreclosures ere holding the market back or said improvement depended on the cost level of homes, or expressing fear that current good news might be another false alarm.

United States Appraisals plans to conduct its new survey on a quarterly basis.