Saturday, December 13, 2008

Happy Holidays - Great Rate Changes This Week!

Happy Holidays, Everyone! It was a Christmas gift indeed when rates fell again this week, encouraging buyers and sellers alike and giving hope to those folks feeling strapped by high mortgage payments who want to refinance their loans. This is the latest information on mortgage rates reported by Tom Petruno in the L.A. Times on 12/12:

"Mortgage rates are down for a sixth straight week, a sign that the government's latest efforts to break up the credit market logjam are working. The average 30-year fixed home loan rate fell to 5.47% this week -- a four-year low -- from 5.53% last week, mortgage giant Freddie Mac said. The rate has tumbled from 6.46% at the end of October. U.S. regulator James Lockhart, whose agency oversees Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, said Wednesday that the government's programs to ease the credit crunch could push mortgage rates "well below 4%," the Associated Press reported. But Lockhart didn't give a timetable for that kind of drop. Home loan rates fell quickly beginning the week of Nov. 24. That was when the Federal Reserve said it would commit $600 billion to buy mortgage-backed securities of Freddie, Fannie and other U.S. agencies..."

What does that mean to the consumer in a market that has frightened buyers and depressed sellers?

As stated in the California Association of Realtors article entitled "Why Buy a Home in Today's Market? (certainly a question we have all been asking): "Interest rates on long-term, fixed, and adjustable mortgages are at historically low levels. The rate on a 30-year, fixed mortgage is hovering below 6 percent [note: even lower rates today], while, by comparison, interest rates were hitting 8 percent and higher during the last market downturn in the late 1990s, and were between 10 and 12 percent at the height of the last housing boom in the 1980s. Lower interest rates make it easier to qualify for a loan, and your monthly payments are more affordable.

Buyers, now is the time to pick up bargains on homes you never could afford before. For those of you with good credit and a solid down payment, lenders are still offering great loans at great rates; and don't forget that those who qualify for FHA loans can still get in with a greatly reduced down payment of as low as 3% depending on the price of the home to be purchased. And sellers, take heart, buyers are knocking on doors again, so if you are ready to make a reasonable deal, they are still happening everywhere. And that news is my gift to all of you. Have a blessed Holiday season!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

December Newsletter

Happy Holidays, everyone! Think "bounty" this season, for although many people are struggling right now, there seems to be some hope on the horizon. (Even those cynics on Wall Street have been responding favorably in the last few days - a welcome turnaround from the last few months of doom and gloom.)

My next newsletter contains articles that range from Repair Suggestions to Divorce Snafus and from Shopping Multiple Lenders to GFI outlets, so please check it out or contact my office at 323-656-0714 to be added to the mailing list.

Congratulations to Gerard and Lindsey, who are having a baby and who deserve everything wonderful. Also, Congrats to Deb and Jeff and Vince and Hilary for landing their new homes for the holidays. And thanks to all of you for your comments and questions.

Remember, FHA loans are still available for those qualified with only a 3-5% down payment, so buy now while rates and prices are low - 'tis the Season. Enough business - Go enjoy your dinner! - gb

Friday, October 31, 2008

My Newsletter

Hey Folks, Be sure to check out my November newsletter at for a lot of valuable information from Real Estate to Organic foods and Green Cars - it's all for you, and it's all part of California living! - GB

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hi Everyone - I just wanted to mention a weekly market update newsletter that is SO informative, interesting and entertaining. It's one of my favorites, and it's called The Mortgage Market Guide from Barcode Financial. Check it out for weekly reports that are quick, easy overviews of different aspects of the market (financial and housing) if you need some clarification on what the heck is happening out there. I know it feels as if any second now Dorothy and Toto are about to fly past your window, so you may want an idea of which way the storm is heading and where Auntie Em can go for cash if she needs a new home when the storm blows over. Have a great week - Gwen

Friday, October 24, 2008

Welcome Friends and Clients from L.A.'s "Sherlock of Homes"

Hello Friends, Family and Clients,

Welcome to my new blog. I created this especially for those of you who have been confused, if not rattled, by the volatility of the real estate market here in California. Many of you have been asking lots of questions, so I decided that it's time to conduct an open forum to answer those questions, and to include those of you who would like to comment...or rant and rave as the case may be.

There are rumors of better days ahead as word of expected rate drops and a re-set on those nasty variable rate mortgages abound. Also, newly released statistics reflect an increase in home sales in SoCal during this past month - good news to a lot of very concerned sellers. Foreign investors are coming ashore to take advantage of California's bargain basement prices, so that also gives sellers reason enough not to throw their "For Sale" signs into their swimming pools.

Buyers, too, have reason to breathe a little easier this month. It is simply not true, repeat: NOT TRUE, that it is impossible to get funding in today's market. If you have good credit and enough of an income to show you can actually afford the home you wish to buy (what a novel idea!), then you can still get financing and take advantage of today's low rates and low prices (a lovely pas de deux). FHA loans are still being offered with as low as 3% down to qualified buyers (I got such a loan for a client just this week.)

Remember, this is California. Houses keep selling, the sun keeps shining, and the ocean keeps oceaning. You get the idea. So please send all comments and questions this way. We can volley them around, and I have a coterie of specialists at the end of my phone line who can address the questions that are beyond my scope of expertise or IQ level. (No comments required there, folks.) Hang in there - California was built with fortitude and remains the golden state - it's a state of mind!