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Real Estate Facts:A look at Spring 2014 Housing Market

by Ashlie DuCros

Real Estate Facts: A look at Spring 2014 Housing Market.

What do you think about this article?

 Written by Steve Cook on March 4, 2014 in Real Estate  |   No comments 

real estate factsLast year, housing prices increased more than they had in seven years, and buyers’ markets turned into sellers’ markets overnight. In many cities and towns across the country, this price jump was a result of inventory shortages that forced buyers to compete over the few homes that were available for sale.

Will the housing recovery continue at a rip-roaring pace this spring, or will it slow down to let real estate consumers catch up?

Real estate facts for spring 2014

Whether you’re buying a home or selling a home this year, you should be planning for the opening of the spring homebuying season. Spring is the time of the year when most new homes come onto the market and when most buyers are looking—especially families with school-age children who want to be settled in their new homes in time for school in the fall.

The spring season sets the pattern for the year in terms of sales and price. So even if snow is still on the ground where you live, it’s time to get an idea of what to expect when your housing market emerges from hibernation.

Prices will rise—slowly. After explosive gains in many markets, home prices retreated in the fall of 2013 and the recovery’s momentum slowed. While home prices are expected to continue to rise this year, the stage has been set for them to do so at a much slower pace than last year. Experts predict that prices will rise between 3 percent and 4 percent nationally—more in the hot markets of California and less in markets such as Ohio, New England, and the Southeast.

An upswing in prices is good news for sellers hoping to get good money for their homes. Yet prices remain below their historic highs, despite the rising prices, which is fortunate for buyers.

Inventory may be limited. On January 1, inventories on’s database of nearly 2 million listings had fallen to virtually the same levels as last year, erasing the year-over-year inventory growth. This raises questions about the possibility of a return to the market dynamics of last year, which saw inventory shortfalls drive prices upward.

Monitor inventories in your market to see if they grow as significantly as they should in February and March. If not, you might see a repeat of last year’s shortage-driven price bubbles.

Market times will be shorter. If you’re a buyer, be ready to move fast this spring. The average market time among the 52 markets surveyed by RE/MAX in November was only 68 days. These short market times indicate that other buyers are ready to move fast, and you should be too.

Of course, market time will vary by the price of the home. Lower priced entry-level homes will sell faster than luxury homes priced at $1 million or more. According to the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, more expensive homes are selling in a median of 181 days.

There are more question marks than usual this spring season because of the dramatic price surge of 2013 and the unanticipated shortages of homes last year. Even so, the 2014 season should be much better for buyers and sellers, with prices on the rise (but still below historic peaks in most markets) and mortgages easier to get for borrowers with good jobs and good credit.

Steve Cook is managing editor of Real Estate Economy Watch, which was recognized as one of the two best real estate news sires of 2011 by the National Association of Real Estate Editors. Before he co-founded REEW in 2007, he was vice president of public affairs for the National Association of Realtors. In 2006 and 2007, he was named one of the 100 most influential people in real estate. During his 30 years in public affairs, Cook has been a broadcast news correspondent, served two Members of Congress as press secretary and was a senior executive in the world’s largest independent public relations firm in Washington and Chicago.

Holidays can be good time to buy a home

by Ashlie DuCros

Holidays can be good time to buy a home

Dec. 9, 2013 at 1:24 PM ET

The holidays can be a good time to buy a home.
Mario Tama / Getty Images
The holidays can be a good time to buy a home.

If you’re house hunting over the holidays, you’re likely a serious buyer with an immediate need. Perhaps you have to relocate for a new job opportunity, or there’s been a change in your personal life? Regardless, while you may assume it’s not an ideal time to be looking — namely because there isn’t much to look at — there are some advantages to buying this time of year.

Less competition

Let’s start with the obvious one: less competition. This lowers the chances of multiple offers and bidding wars (something we saw a lot of last spring/summer), and should translate into a bigger discount for you. Know your market! This is where sites like Zillow come in handy. Start your research here for comps in your area and to see what homes are selling for.

Serious home sellers

Why would sellers pick such an inconvenient time — while everyone is busy entertaining family and friends and enjoying the spirit of the holidays — to list their properties? Probably because they need to sell and may feel compelled to do so before the end of the year for tax purposes. What this means for you: less hassle when it comes to negotiating; a greater willingness, on the part of the seller, to agree to concessions; less chance of the seller waffling; and greater respect for your offer, even if it’s a little lower than the seller was perhaps expecting.

Faster mortgage approval

Lenders aren’t as busy this time of year, and less volume could mean faster approval. Some lenders might even be willing to reduce fees during the off-peak season in hopes of gaining your business. Regardless, don’t just go with the first lender who comes along. It pays to shop around. Get multiple quotes and check out lender reviews on Zillow Mortgage Marketplace.

Greater affordability

Sure, home prices have been rising, but they’re typically lower in December than during any other month (so you don’t have to be as aggressive with your initial first offer, compared with buying during peak to high season). Zillow’s third quarter Real Estate Market Reports showed home value appreciation slowing. As we enter the slower home shopping season many overheated markets are moving away from bubble brink and ultimately becoming more affordable than they have been historically. If you want to take advantage of low interest rates, the time to act is now.

4 Strong Reasons to Buy a Home Now

by Ashlie DuCros

4 Strong Reasons to buy a home Now!

“It’s hard to argue against buying a house now, assuming you can get a loan,” writes John Waggoner, a columnist with USA Today. Sure, Waggoner says that getting a credit check for approval of a mortgage can be a “only slightly less intrusive than a CIA background check,” but for those who are able to qualify, a lot of analysts say that now can be a good time to purchase a home.

1. The price is right. The median single-family home price hit its lowest in more than a decade when it reached $154,600 in January, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. That was the lowest since October 2001. During the height of the housing market in July 2006, the median home price for a single-family home was $230,900.

2. It’s cheaper to buy than rent. In nearly every major metro market, it is cheaper to buy a home than rent. Rents have been on the rise the last few years and are predicted to continue to rise. Meanwhile, home affordability is at record highs, which means that buying a home is more within reach to the median income family.

3. Inventories of for-sale homes are shrinking. Ned Davis Research estimates that excess inventories of homes to be eliminated by the end of next year. “When excess supply dries up, people start building more new houses, which has the virtuous effect of reducing the unemployment rate and increasing the economy generally,” according to the USA Today article.

4. Mortgage rates are at record lows. Mortgage rates have hovered near record lows for weeks, which has helped pushing housing affordability higher. For example, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which is the most popular among home buyers, is 3.59 percent, according to Freddie Mac—just above its record low set on July 26 of 3.49 percent average. “It’s conceivable that at some point in the next 30 years, your interest rate would be less than the rate of inflation,” writes Waggoner for USA Today.

Source: “If You Can Pull it Off, a House is a Smart Investment,” USA Today (Aug. 9, 2012)

For more information, please contact Ashlie DuCros at 714-743-9778, or go to




August 2012 Orange County Home Stats

by Ashlie DuCros

August 2012 Stats in Orange County

Check out these numbers of homes for sale vs. in escrow... In most cities, the homes in escrow is greater than the homes for sale.  Low inventory in most markets... Thinking of selling? Now is the time to put your home on the market! For more information, go to

August 2012 Orange County Home Stats:
Homes For Sale VS Homes in Escrow
  For Sale In Escrow
Anaheim 192 576
Anaheim Hills 93 157
Brea 42 86
Fullerton 154 265
Irvine 390 495
Laguna Beach 225 76
Newport Coast 100 48
Orange 178 320
Tustin 77 181
Yorba Linda 175 202


Mortgage Rates: The Record That Keeps on Breaking

by Ashlie DuCros

Mortgage Rates: The Record That Keeps on Breaking

The streak continues with average 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages taking yet another dip into record territory this week, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage market survey.

"With little signs of inflation and the Federal Reserve's ‘Operation Twist’ keeping U.S. Treasury bond yields in check, fixed mortgage rates are remaining low and helping to stir the housing market,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

According to Freddie Mac, fixed mortgage rates will likely remain at — or near — their all-time lows in the near future. The low rates will fuel “housing demand with a continued pick-up in housing starts, home sales, and even house prices in many markets,” according to Freddie Mac’s July U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook.

Here’s a closer look at mortgage rates for the week ending July 19:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged a new record low of 3.53 percent this week, with an average 0.7 point, dropping from last week’s previous record low of 3.56 percent. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has averaged below 4 percent for every week this year except for one. A year ago at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.52 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged a new record low of 2.83 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, down from last week’s previous all-time low of 2.86 percent. For eight consecutive weeks, 15-year mortgages have been below 3 percent. Last year at this time, 15-year mortgages averaged 3.66 percent.
  • 5-year adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged a new record as well this week at 2.69 percent, with an average 0.6 point, dropping from last week’s 2.74 percent average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.27 percent.
  • 1-year ARMs: averaged 2.69 percent, with an average 0.4 point, holding steady from last week’s average. A year ago, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.97 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

**Take advantage of these low rates now! Go to to find your Home today!!**


5 Projections of Where the Housing Market's Headed

by Ashlie DuCros

5 Projections of Where the Housing Market's Headed

Real estate markets across the country are inching their way to a slow recovery after bottoming out, according to several real estate economists who spoke at a forum hosted by the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

National Association of REALTORS®’ Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries, and National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist David Crowe shared their views on the direction of the housing market during the forum.

"Last year was the worst year on record for [new] house sales, for 60 years of housing-sale info," Crowe said.

But things are picking up, the economists note, despite several challenges still threatening that recovery. Yun says that appraisal issues are holding back up to 20 percent of home sales and that lenders’ tightened mortgage underwriting standards are likely holding back another 15 to 20 percent of potential home deals.

Here are some of the economists’ forecasts:

1. New-home market: The NAHB predicts a 19 percent increase in single-family housing starts this year over last (from 434,000 last year to a projected 516,000 this year).

2. Single-family rental market: This could be the next housing market bubble, Humphries warns. He expects this sector to cool as rental rates continue to increase and as home ownership looks more attractive to the public again.

3. Distressed home sales: The percentage of distressed homes sales is projected to drop by 25 percent in 2012 and 15 percent in 2013, Yun says.

4. Home price appreciation: Yun says it’s possible some markets may see a 10 percent rise in home-price appreciation next year due to an increase in demand, or a 60 to 70 percent increase in housing starts. Yun argues it won’t be both, however, but rather one or the other. He notes it greatly depends on whether lawmakers reach an agreement once again on the looming debt-ceiling deadline.

5. Home owners’ negative equity: About a third of home owners are underwater, owing more on their mortgage than their home is currently worth. As such, the housing recovery will likely be “stair stepped,” Humphries says. He says home owners with negative equity will gradually begin to list their homes as they see prices inch up, but when they do, that may temporarily swell the housing supply and cause a brief pause to the recovery. 

For more information, Please contact: Ashlie Ducros at  




Buyers are feeling the urgency...Now Good Time to Buy

by Ashlie DuCros

Buyer Urgency Improves, More See Now Good Time to Buy

More home buyers may jump off the sidelines this spring as they get more urgent about purchasing a home, fearing that home price and mortgage rate increases are on the horizon. 

Housing surveys in recent weeks have shown that more Americans are seeing now a great time to purchase a home. In the most recent survey, 73 percent of Americans say now is a good time to buy, according to the latest Fannie Mae Housing Survey conducted in March. That’s up from 70 percent in February who said it was a great time to buy. 

"Conditions are coming together to encourage people to want to buy homes," says Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist. "With an increasing share of consumers expecting higher mortgage rates and home prices over the next 12 months, some may feel that renting is becoming more costly and that home ownership is a more compelling housing choice."

Indeed, more buyer urgency is evident in the market. Thirty-three percent of those surveyed by Fannie say they expect home prices soon to increase, which is the highest percentage in a year. What’s more, nearly 40 percent say they expect mortgage rates to rise in the next year too, which is also up from previous surveys.  

Coupled with that, 48 percent of Americans say they expect rents to continue to climb, and 44 percent say they expect their financial situation to improve in the next year. 

Source: “More Americans Think It’s Time to Buy a Home,” MSN Real Estate (April 9, 2012)

** Get your list of bargain buys now at** Contact us today to help you find your home today! 714-743-9778 



Feb. 2012 Orange County Stats:

Check out the stats for Active homes vs. homes in escrow. 

# Of Homes For Sale vs. Homes In Escrow


For Sale:

 In Escrow:

Yorba Linda









Anaheim Hills



Newport Coast









Laguna Beach

North Tustin









For questions please contact me at 714-743-9778 or log on to


Several Housing Markets Head For Appreciation in 2012

by Ashlie DuCros



A boom in farm prices has caused many Midwest cities to emerge as leaders for some of the strongest predictions for housing appreciation in 2012. Kansas City, Kan., came in the top spot in HousingPredictor’s annual survey, forecasting an appreciation of 5.8 percent for this year. 

“The recovery is starting in housing with these cities and will eventually spread to other communities throughout the nation as the U.S. recovers from the worst collapse in real estate since the Great Depression,” according to HousingPredictor.

Here are the top cities expected to have housing appreciation in 2012 and by how much, according to HousingPredictor’s latest report: 

1. Kansas City, Kan.: 5.8%

2. Topeka, Kan.: 4.7%

3. Charleston, W.V.: 4.5%

4. Oklahoma City, Okla.: 4.3%

5. Minot, N.D.: 4.2%

6. Overland Park, Kan.: 4.2%

7. Wichita, Kan.: 4.1%

8. Huntington, W.V.: 4%

9. Wheeling, W.V.: 3.9%

10. Bismarck, N.D.: 3.6%

11. Casper, Wyo.: 3.5%

12. Lake Charles, La.: 3.4%

13. Rapid City, S.D.: 3.2%

14. El Paso, Texas: 3.2%

15. Cheyenne, Wyo.: 3.2%

‚ÄčIf you would like more information on this article please contact us!

Source: “Best Housing Markets 2012,” HousingPredictor (January 2012)

Residential Housing Ready to Awaken?

by Ashlie DuCros

CNBC – Fri, Dec 9, 2011

After half a decade of withering sales and slumping prices, there are strong and diverse signs that the single-family housing market is poised for a rebound.

In some metropolitan areas, the market has bottomed, with both sales and prices on the rise and foreclosures on the decline.

This contrarian - and largely overlooked - thesis flies in the face of the persistent gloom that has nagged the industry since 2007, when the subprime crisis flared.

Industry analysts and players cite a number of reasons - some traditional (employment), others unique to the post-credit bubble era (foreclosures)  - for the long-awaited sea change. An analysis of industry and government data also support the forecast.

"It has become increasingly apparent to us that the pieces for a housing rebound next year are beginning to fall into place," declared Barclays Capital analyst Stephen Kim in a recent note to investors.

Proponents admit that the nascent rebound could easily be derailed, but stress that after years of government efforts to support sales and prices as well as the volatile impact of foreclosures, the market has regained a measure of normalcy.

"With the exception of really hard-hit markets, the vast majority is ready to turn around," adds Jerry Howard, president and CEO of the National Association of Home Builders, NAHB. "The Washington, D.C., area is not only ripe for recovery, they need to start building units."

The iShares Dow Jones US Home Construction Index Fund (NYSE Arca: itb), for example, is up some 38 percent, while the S&P 500 is up about 21 percent.

Nevertheless, skeptics overwhelmingly outnumber the optimists, given the false-starts of previous years, the economy's sub-par performance, a new wave of distressed properties and the capacity for the European debt crisis to spook business, consumers and investors.

"I think it's premature," says Richard Smith, CEO of Realogy, the nation's largest real estate company, whose brands include Century 21, Coldwell Banker and Sotheby's International. "We see little indications here and there. Transaction volume is improving. Prices are still under pressure. This isn't going to be one of those spiked robust recoveries."

Smith is echoing the conventional industry calculus: that price increases follow sales growth amid consistently strengthening demand.

There's been little conventional, however, about this housing slump, which is one reason it's had so many false bottoms. Among its many firsts - housing starts fell through 1 million annual units, foreclosures topped 2 million in three consecutive years, and home prices declined on a national basis.

The catalysts to recovery are mostly the same: for potential buyers, residential rents have now risen enough to consider buying; existing-home inventory is the lowest in five years, while that of new homes is at a 40-year low; affordability is at a record high; delinquencies have peaked;consumer confidence is on the rise ; and job growth is accelerating.

For investors, with a continuation of the gold rally in question, real estate is beginning to look like a viable inflation hedge alternative, while rising rents mean greater profits.

That thinking may help explain why the iShares Dow Jones US Home Construction Index Fund(NYSE Arca: itb), a broad barometer for the housing market, is up some 38 percent from the stock market's October bottom, while the S&P 500 is up about 21 percent.

Finally, there's the intangible fatigue with bad news, and a desire to end the negative feedback loop.

"We believe there is sizable housing demand that could be released into the market," says Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, NAR.

The NAR is forecasting existing home sales will rise 5 percent in both 2012 and 2013; prices will edge up 2 percent in each of those two years, then 4 percent in 2014.

The NAHB is forecasting a 5.1-percent increase in new home sales and a 10-percent increase for new home starts in 2012.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

A turnaround in the housing market will require continued improvement in the job market.

The economy has created jobs 13 months in a row for a total of almost 1.9 million. Weekly jobless claims have been routinely below the key level of 400,000, and the national jobless rate is down to 8.6 percent.

There are already signs in some markets that an improving employment picture is boosting housing demand and sale prices.

In cities such as Tampa, Fla., South Bend, Ind., Grand Rapids, Mich., Raleigh, N.C., Wichita, Kan., and Green Bay, Wis.., the median sales price of an existing single family home increased 1-2 percent in the third quarter, during which time the jobless rate and/or payrolls growth improved dramatically.

Even in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla. metropolitan area - considered the epicenter of the foreclosure crisis a few years ago - prices were just 1.4 percent lower in the third quarter than the previous year.

A new index by the NAHB and First American, the Improving Markets Index, IMI, launched in September, tracks housing markets throughout the country that are showing signs of improving economic health. Thirty cities - including San Jose, Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Winston-Salem, N.C. - are showing growth in permits, sales and employment.

In San Diego - where in the last year the jobless rate has fallen from 10.4 percent to 9.7 percent and 24,000 jobs have been added - home inventory is down to two months; in some areas of San Francisco (9.4 vs. 10.3 percent), it is one month.

More broadly, 40 percent of all states showed existing home sale increases on both a quarterly and annual basis in the third quarter, according to National Association of Realtors data. That includes high foreclosure-rate states, such as California, Georgia, Michigan and Utah. All but six states showed double-digit gains year over year.

Location, Location, Location

There's even a strong case to be made that the foreclosure crisis is easing.

"The pipeline of distressed property is plentiful but less than last year," when foreclosure activity hit a record 2.18 million, says Yun.

For the first nine months of 2011, foreclosure activity is down sharply from the same period last year (26.59 percent), whether it is the worst-off states - (Florida, 54.98 percent; California, 31.51 percent; Utah, 27.41 percent) - or better-off ones (New York, 46.57 percent; Mississippi, 33.25 percent; South Dakota, 26.59 percent), according to RealtyTrac, which tracks the data.

Third-quarter foreclosures (610,337) were up 1 percent from the previous quarter but down 34 percent from the year-ago period.

The wild card right now is an impending wave of new foreclosed properties on the market, following the removal of state moratoria and the settlement of state and federal lawsuits with lenders and loan servicers.

It's unclear how many properties will hit the market, but conservative estimates put the number at over a million.

Still, of the top 20 markets in the new wave, nine are in California, five in Florida and two in Ohio, according RealtyTrac, so the impact will be fairly concentated.

Another question is whether that wave will be a tsunami or merely a breaker. If the market is in fact recovering, why would banks want to weaken it again by deluging it with cheap properties.

"You could see them trying to gauge the market like speculators," answers Howard.

Kim of Barclays is among those who say the threat is exaggerated, perhaps misunderstood. He estimates that 40 percent of the foreclosed properties haven't had a payment made on them in two years, which means they are in poor condition and thus unattractive to many buyers.

"The deterioration has been great," he says. "It flies in the face of all the bearish arguments."

Kim's thesis is that there are now two kinds of buyers in the market; those who'll take a chance on a bargain-priced, distressed property and those who'll only make a conventional transaction. He says it helps explain why the Core Logic data he used for his latest report shows non-distressed prices flat or slightly higher in the past year.

"Even if the banks decide to move their inventory more aggressively, and I suspect they will, it's OK because the buyer is making a distinction," explains Kim.

"There's a ready appetite for it," adds Smith of Realogy, who agrees that there's substantial pent-up demand for housing in general but also great uncertainty. "If you can relieve consumers of some of that uncertainty, then I can see a nice little recovery."

That's the psychological dimension of the wild card - the negative feedback loop that has plagued housing.

Optimists say most of the uncertainty and fear is gone.

"The major driver of negative sentiment was that prices were going down across the market by large amounts," says Kim of Barclays. "Buyers need to see a stabilization."

A contributing element to that is the unwinding of government intervention - whether to artificially spur demand - as was the case with the first-time buyer tax incentive program of 2009 and 2010 - and/or to retard and prevent foreclosures.

Many regard those efforts as largely ineffective, if not counter-productive because they delayed the inevitable - a deep descent to a market bottom, which has finally been touched.

"The numbers you're looking at you can trust," says Kim. "There are no exogenous factors."

Though tight lending conditions and forthcoming regulations of the Dodd-Frank legislation are still an issue for some, sweeping housing finance reform is off the agenda for at least the next year.

"You're back to the natural forces of the market," says Howard of the builders association.


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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 139




Contact Information

Ashlie DuCros & Associates
Coldwell Banker Previews Global Luxury
21580 Yorba Linda Blvd.
Yorba Linda CA 92887
Fax: 714-849-5489