Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

May 28, 2020

5 Housing Market Trends as of April 2020

Every month, the National Association of REALTORS® conducts a monthly survey of its members about their monthly transactions and their outlook in the next 12 months. NAR’s April 2020 Realtors® Confidence Index (RCI) Survey shows the effect of coronavirus social distancing measures on the housing market. Here are five trends based on the latest April 2020 data:

Rising share of first-time buyers as investor buyers retreat

  • The negative economic impact of social distancing measures has shifted the mix of homebuyers. Investor buyers have retreated, while the share of first-time buyers has increased. The share of first-time buyers rose to 36% in April 2020, up from 32% one year ago.
  • Meanwhile, sales for investment rental or vacation use declined to 10%. The share of purchases for investment rental dropped from 11% in February to 6% in April 2020.
  • With fewer investor buyers, cash sales decreased to 15% of existing home purchases, down from 20% one year ago.
Line graph: First-Time Buyer Share Is Rising as Investors Retreat, 2012 to April 2020
  • Homebuyers are facing less competition from investors, and they are also benefiting from low mortgage rates. In April 2020, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell to a record low of 3.3%. The estimated monthly mortgage payment on a home purchased at the median price of $286,800 with a 10% downpayment on a 30-year fixed loan1 was $1,131, just $90 more than the median rent of 1,041 (as of 2020 Q1).
  • What might explain why potential investor buyers are staying on the sidelines? One plausible reason is the expectation of greater financial risk associated with renters. The social distancing measures have hit hard certain occupational groups―food service/ hospitality/recreation workers and retail trade workers. These occupation groups are more likely to rent compared to other groups. In 2020 Q1, the national US homeownership rate of 65.3%, while only 51% of food service workers were homeowners.2
  • Will investors purchase many single-family properties as they did during the Great Recession? Not likely because during the Great Recession, there was a wave of foreclosures and the properties were purchase by investors. In the current health and economic crisis, properties are not being foreclosed, though 8% of mortgages, or 4 million properties, are under forbearance. FHFA announced last May 13 a payment deferral option that allows homebuyers to pay off the missed payments when the house is sold, refinanced, or at the end of the loan term, making the current mortgage payment to remain affordable.
  •
Posted in Market Updates
May 27, 2020

Santa Ana is coming back!!

New Affordable Housing Planned in Santa Ana

Proposed development would add 50 units at an existing retail center.

The project, located at the northeast corner of 5th and Hawley Streets, abuts the Tiny Tim Plaza shopping center.  Newport Beach-based Community Development Partners is building a four-story edifice which will feature 51 apartments - including two-, three-, and four-bedroom units - which will be made available to households earning between 30 and 60 percent of the area median income level.

Mercy House has been identified as the lead services provider for the Tiny Tim development, while Santa Ana Endurance Academy is also slated to call the property home.



May 27, 2020

Your Mortgage and the Coronavirus

I'm worried I might not be able to make my mortgage payment. Will my mortgage company help?

In most cases yes. If the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (Freddie Mac) or the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) backs your mortgage — and they do for about 80 percent of all mortgages — the mortgage giants may waive your payments for up to 12 months. It's called forbearance: You and the lender agree to temporarily reduce or suspend mortgage payments, and the lender agrees not to foreclose during that time. Both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have also agreed to suspend evictions and foreclosure sales for 60 days, through mid-May.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has also imposed an immediate halt to evictions from Federal Housing Administration–insured single-family properties. What's more, it has halted new foreclosures and suspended those in process. The moratorium on foreclosures also applies to FHA-insured home-equity conversion mortgages (commonly known as reverse mortgages).

Does forbearance mean I never need to make up the missed mortgage payments?

No, the deferred payments still need to be made in the future, as a lump sum or tacked on to the end of your mortgage. Forbearance is not the same as loan forgiveness.

How do I know if Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac owns my mortgage?

You can check online to see if one of the mortgage giants owns your mortgage:

Search Fannie Mae:
Search Freddie Mac:

What if my loan isn't owned by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae?

Contact your lender, explain the reason for your financial setback – perhaps you lost your job because of the coronavirus outbreak — and try to negotiate a forbearance plan. While not obligated to follow the lead of Fannie and Freddie, many lenders may be willing to negotiate during this difficult time.

Are big banks offering mortgage relief?

Yes, on a case-by-case basis. Bank of America, for one, says that mortgage borrowers can request to defer payments, with payments added to the end of the loan. Wells Fargo is suspending residential property foreclosure sales and evictions.  Wells Fargo is telling its mortgage customers, “If you’re unable to make your payment due to COVID-19 related hardships, we’re offering a 90-day payment suspension.” And Chase bank asks worried mortgage holders to call to work out a plan. If you need help, be proactive and give your bank a call.

Will making mortgage payments late affect my credit rating?

Under the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae plans, loan servicers will not report late payments resulting from forbearance to credit bureaus. They will also waive all late fees and penalties. Again, if you don't have a loan with Fannie or Freddie, you'll have to negotiate directly with your loan services. In any case, if you're struggling, be sure to contact your loan servicer sooner rather than later, and be sure to document your coronavirus hardship, such as proof of job loss.

What if I'm a renter?

There's some good news for renters, too. If you live in an apartment and your landlord gets mortgage relief because of the coronavirus outbreak, you can't be evicted for 90 days if you can't pay rent due to your own coronavirus hardship. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, in coordination with the Federal Housing Finance Agency, have announced a nationwide relief plan for borrowers who own multifamily properties, as well as their tenants. Under the program, landlords whose Freddie and Fannie loans are in good standing can defer their loan payments for 90 days by showing hardship as a consequence of COVID-19. In turn, Freddie and Fannie are requiring landlords not to evict tenants facing hardship based solely on nonpayment of rent during the forbearance period. Freddie Mac estimates that the program can provide relief for up to 4.2 million U.S. renters at more than 27,000 properties.

That still leaves 40 million renters without protection, primarily those who rent from smaller landlords. Some cities, such as Los Angeles, Boston and New York, are putting halts on evictions. But if you’re not covered by a state or municipal ban on evictions, talk to your landlord as soon as possible to discuss your options.

Rates are low. Should I refinance my mortgage?

The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 3.50 percent the week ended March 19, according to Freddie Mac. The rule of thumb is that you should consider refinancing only if the new mortgage rate would be 1 percentage point lower than your current rate.

But there are plenty of variables, such as fees and points. (A point is an upfront fee equal to 1 percent of the loan; the more points you agree to pay, the lower your rate.) Will you stay in your home long enough for the lower rate to offset the cost of fees and points? You can crunch the numbers using mortgage calculators such as those offered by BankrateNerdWalletHSHSmartAsset and others.

Refinancing demand is high, and it may take longer than usual to get appraisals and title searches as government offices shut down because of the coronavirus epidemic. You may also have to do a virtual closing via videoconference, to maintain social distancing safety guidelines. Ask your bank how long their refinancing process takes, and whether they are reasonably sure that they can close the deal in a reasonable amount of time.

(Editor's note: This article, originally published March 25, was updated with additional information.)

May 23, 2020

Why Experts Predict 2021 Is The Year To Buy A Home, Despite Coronavirus?


May 4, 2020

Mortgage Rates Hit New All-Time Lows—and They May Fall More

There is at least one bright spot for home buyers, sellers, and owners amid the economic mayhem brought on by the novel coronavirus. Mortgage interest rates have fallen to a new record low, a boon to homeowners who may want to refinance and save money, and buyers (if anyone feels like buying a home right now).

Read more..

Posted in Mortgage
April 17, 2020

17 Deal-Killing Home Staging Mistakes

They may love you, but they’re all liars. Your spouse, your mother, your best friend from college… Liars.

Sure, they have a good reason to lie, but they’re still lying. After all, they know you worked HARD and spent a ton of money staging your listing.

The last thing they want to do is crush your spirits by telling you just how hideous it looks…

You know who’s not lying? Your lead scrolling through Zillow in bed with a cup of tea.

“Ugh! What on earth was that Realtor THINKING?”

Don’t believe the liars. Instead, read our list of home staging tips and 17 deal-killing mistakes even experienced Realtors make:

Here are the 17 mistakes..

April 10, 2020

What $790K buys around LA?

LA real estate news Curved LA  found five homes and condos within about $10,000 of today’s price: $790,000.

Detail here.

Posted in Market Updates
April 10, 2020

Grand old 1914 Craftsman in Long Beach

Grand old 1914 Craftsman in Long Beach asks $1.2M

The five-bedroom house includes a host of vintage details—and a pool

Built in 1914, this dignified two-story Craftsman is set back from the street in Long Beach’s historic Los Cerritos neighborhood, southeast of Bixby Knolls.

The house has a host of modern amenities and recent updates—including copper plumbing, a new HVAC system, and a fresh paint job. But it also boasts some terrific vintage features, including wood floors, French doors, crown moldings, a built-in buffet, and lovely wood paneling.

Featuring 2,464 square feet of floor space, the home has five bedrooms and three bathrooms, as well as a formal dining room, a breakfast nook, and a sunny mud room. The master bedroom opens up to a deck overlooking the side yard and the neighborhood beyond.

The property includes parcels totaling 12,650 square feet. In front is a neatly trimmed front lawn and a covered porch. The grassy backyard has room for outdoor dining and the side yard is equipped with a swimming pool and spa.

Located at 3727 Pine Avenue, the house is asking $1.15 million.

More detail here

April 4, 2020

Position Yourself to Buy a Home this year

The #1 Thing You Can Do Now to Position Yourself to Buy a Home this year

One thing the experts are saying is that while we’ll see a swift decline in economic activity in the second quarter, we’ll begin a sharp rebound in the second half of this year. According to John Burns Consulting:

“Historical analysis showed us that pandemics are usually V-shaped (sharp recessions that recover quickly enough to provide little damage to home prices), and some very cutting-edge search engine analysis by our Information Management team showed the current slowdown is playing out similarly thus far.” 

Given this situation, if you’re thinking about buying a home this year, the best thing you can do right now is use this time to get pre-approved for a mortgage, which you can do from the comfort of your home. Pre-approval will help you better understand how much you can afford so that you can confidently do the following two things when you’re ready to buy:

1. Gain a Competitive Advantage

Today’s low inventory, like we’ve seen recently and will continue to see, means homebuyers need every advantage they can get to make a strong offer and close the deal. Being pre-approved shows the sellers you’re serious about buying a home, which is always a plus in your corner.

2. Accelerate the Home buying Process

Pre-approval can also speed-up the homebuying process so you can move faster when you’re ready to make an offer. Being ready to put your best foot forward when the time comes may be the leg-up you need to cross the finish line first and land the home of your dreams.

Bottom Line

Pre-approval is the best thing you can do right now to be in a stronger position to buy a home when you’re ready. Let’s connect today to get the process started.

Posted in For buyers
April 3, 2020

COVID-19 Emergency Business Resources

Useful COVID-19 Emergency Business Resources from Brea Chambers of commerce.

Small Business Loans
The stimulus appropriated over $376 billion in relief for struggling small businesses:
If you or somebody you know has a small business impacted by COVID-19, please reach out to the Small Business Administration for more information HERE.
Meet with a consultant from the Small Business Development Center online when you need them. Just a reminder, these virtual consulting sessions are available to you at no cost! Receive guidance on every application, resource, and question to ensure your business is safe. Sign up with by clicking here for a virtual consultation or call us at 1-800-616-SBDC (7232) to schedule.
Mandatory Posting Requirements for
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Click Here For Poster
All employers with less than 500 employees must post this notice in a conspicuous place. Notice must also be provided to all current employees and new hires.
Unemployment Insurance
With a record number of people unable to work, or experiencing reduced hours, the stimulus expands unemployment insurance to those hit hardest. The unemployment provisions include:
  • On top of state unemployment benefits, an additional $600 per week in “federal pandemic unemployment compensation” is available to individuals through July 31, 2020.
  • Part-time workers, and self-employed workers, including gig workers, freelancers, independent contractors, and many entertainment workers, are now eligible for these benefits.
  • A waiver of the one week waiting period that is generally imposed by states before an individual is eligible to receive benefits.
  • An additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to help those who remain unemployed after state unemployment benefits are no longer available to them.
  • Benefits won’t be provided to individuals who can telework with pay or who are receiving other paid leave benefits.
If you or someone you know has lost their job or had their hours reduced for reasons related to COVID-19, please find more information about unemployment insurance HERE.

                                                                              Additional Resources

Support Your Local Business! 
Giving Back
Community Action Partnership of OC - Donate, Volunteer or Host a Virtual Food Bank 
HCA Accepting Medical Donations - Masks, Gloves, Gowns Needed
OC Food Bank- Donations needed. 
OC Health Flyer (available in several languages)
Posted in COVID-19 Resources