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Existing Home Sales Surge in Most States

by Nate Martinez

Existing-Home Sales Surge in Most States in Fourth Quarter

 

RISMEDIA, March 22, 2010—Strong gains in existing-home sales were the predominant pattern in most states during the fourth quarter, with many more metro areas seeing prices rise from a year earlier, according to the latest survey by the National Association of Realtors®.

Sales increased from the third quarter in 48 states and the District of Columbia; 32 states saw double-digit gains. Year-over-year sales were higher in 49 states and D.C.; all but three states had double-digit annual increases.

Total state existing-home sales, including single-family and condo, jumped 13.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.03 million in the fourth quarter from 5.29 million in the third quarter, and are 27.2% above the 4.74 million-unit level in the fourth quarter of 2008. Distressed property accounted for 32% of fourth quarter transactions, down from 37% a year earlier.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the first-time home buyer tax credit was the dominant factor. “The surge in home sales was driven by buyers responding strongly to the tax credit combined with record low mortgage interest rates,” he said. “With inventory levels trending down over the past 18 months, we expect broadly balanced housing market conditions in much of the country by late spring with more areas showing higher prices.”

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate on a 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record low 4.92% in the fourth quarter from 5.16% in the third quarter; it was 5.86% in the fourth quarter of 2008.

In the fourth quarter, 67 out of 151 metropolitan statistical areas reported higher median existing single-family home prices in comparison with the fourth quarter of 2008, including 16 with double-digit increases; one was unchanged and 84 metros had price declines. In the third quarter only 30 MSAs showed annual price increases and 123 areas were down.

The national median existing single-family price was $172,900, which is 4.1% below the fourth quarter of 2008; the median is where half sold for more and half sold for less. “This is the smallest price decline in over two years, with the most recent monthly data showing a broad stabilization in home prices,” Yun said.

“Because buyers are taking on long-term fixed rate mortgages, avoiding adjustable-rate products, and trying to stay well within their budgets, the price recovery process appears durable,” Yun said.

NAR President Vicki Cox Golder, owner of Vicki L. Cox & Associates in Tucson, Ariz., said near-term market conditions will remain favorable. “Mortgage interest rates are expected to trend up later this year, but right now we have very good conditions with steadying home prices and favorable inventory in most areas, especially in the higher price ranges,” she said.

In the condo sector, metro area condominium and cooperative prices–covering changes in 54 metro areas–showed the national median existing-condo price was $177,300 in the fourth quarter, down 4.8% from the fourth quarter of 2008. Eleven metros showed increases in the median condo price from a year earlier and 43 areas had declines; in the third quarter only four metros experienced annual price gains.

Northeast
Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 11.1% in the fourth quarter to a pace of 1.03 million and are 33.6% higher than a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the Northeast declined 5.6% to $234,900 in the fourth quarter from the same quarter in 2008, but with widely varying conditions. “In the Northeast, markets with lower median prices that have avoided wide swings, such as Buffalo, are generally showing consistent price gains,” Yun said. “Even so, some of the higher cost areas are showing signs of stabilization, such as Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y., and Boston.”

Midwest
In the Midwest, existing-home sales jumped 14.5% in the fourth quarter to a pace of 1.38 million and are 29.9% above a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the Midwest rose 1.1% to $141,100 in the fourth quarter from the same period in 2008, with the region accounting for the majority of metro areas experiencing double-digit gains.

Yun said markets with high unemployment rates in Ohio and Michigan experienced large price swings. “Big price gains in many Midwestern areas are due to a more normal range of home sales in contrast with predominately foreclosed sales a year ago,” he said.

South
In the South, existing-home sales rose 13.8% in the fourth quarter to an annual rate of 2.23 million and are 28.2% higher than the fourth quarter of 2008. The median existing single-family home price in the South was $153,000 in the fourth quarter, down 2.4% from a year earlier. “Affordable markets in the South that have relatively better local economies are seeing healthy price gains, such as Houston, Oklahoma City and Shreveport, La.,” Yun said.

West
Existing-home sales in the West jumped 16.2% in the fourth quarter to an annual rate of 1.38 million and are 18.2% above a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the West was $227,200 in the fourth quarter, which is 8.9% below the fourth quarter of 2008, but with many areas showing notable gains.

“Markets in the West such as San Francisco, San Jose and Denver are showing double-digit price increases, and other markets like San Diego and Anaheim have begun to firm up,” Yun said.

For more information, visit www.realtor.org.

Watch Your Kids Around Water!

by Nate Martinez

Too often, firefighters hear people say, “it was just a few seconds.” Unfortunately, just a few seconds is all it takes for a child to drown. Drowning is the leading cause of death in Arizona for children under the age of five.

Most of these children drown in their own backyard swimming pool, but others drown in buckets, bathtubs, toilets, dog water bowls, canals and ponds. Small children are top-heavy, and they don't have the upper body strength to lift themselves out of one of these dangerous situations. Even if the child survives the incident, they are often left with permanent brain damage.

Drowning and near drowning can be prevented, and you can help! Anyone involved with the supervision of children needs to be aware of the dangers associated with any body of water. Below are some useful tips to prevent these needless tragedies.

  • Know where your children are at all times
  • Use an approved barrier to separate the pool from the house
  • Never allow children to be alone near a pool or any water source
  • Have life-saving devices near the pool, such as a pole/hook, or flotation device
  • Keep large objects such as tables, chairs, toys, and ladders away from pool fences
  • Post the 9-1-1 number on the phone
  • Do not allow children to play around the pool and store all toys outside the pool area
  • If you leave the pool area, take the children with you
  • Always have a “designated child watcher”
  • Learn to swim
  • Never swim alone, or while under the influence of alcohol or medications
  • Never swim when thunder or lightning is present
  • Never dive into unfamiliar or shallow bodies of water

Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona: www.preventdrownings.org
The Drowning Prevention Coalition, a community based organization comprised of parents, health and safety professionals and business leaders, exists to provide a forum to prevent drowning and near drowning through the promotion of education, legislative action and enhanced product safety.

What is HAFA?

by Nate Martinez

What is HAFA?

The Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) Program is a government-sponsored initiative overseen by the US Treasury Department and administered by Fannie Mae assisting all Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)-eligible homeowners in avoiding foreclosure, specifically through short sales or deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure.1 HAFA was announced on November 30, 2009 in a HAMP Update titled Introducing the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program.2

HAFA directs lenders to assist eligible homeowners in quickly and effectively implementing short sales or deeds-in-lieu by providing financial incentives to lenders that carry out foreclosure alternatives through the program's guidelines set forth in Supplemental Directive 09-09 Revised (revised March 26, 2010).3 The program was introduced in part with the intent to remove the stigma from short sales and help keep communities from being destroyed through massive foreclosures. HAFA in its current state is only applicable to conventional-type, non-Governmental Serviced Enterprises (non-GSE) mortgages and therefore does not apply to loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.4 These organizations may have plans to release their own versions of HAFA.

If you're a homeowner looking for answers, or would like to determine if you qualify for HAFA, please contact our office today.

Mila Marie

by Nate Martinez

Well life is changed to quote the band Creeds' song

 “With Arms Wide Open”

 

Well I just heard the news today

It seems my life is going to change

I closed my eyes, begin to pray

Then tears of joy stream down my face

 With arms wide open

Under the sunlight

Welcome to this place

I'll show you everything

With arms wide open

With arms wide open

 Well I don't know if I'm ready

To be the man I have to be

I'll take a breath, I'll take her by my side

  We stand in awe, we've created life

With arms wide open

Under the sunlight

Welcome to this place

I'll show you everything

With arms wide open

Now everything has changed

I'll show you love

I'll show you everything

With arms wide open

Creed

 

Well the last 12 days have been some of the best days of my adult life. I have learned a new title form some of the research I did prior to Mila’s Arrival. I am considered a “Do Over Dad” That is a dad over 50 and when I first new we were going to have a baby and I was going to be 50 I was a bit scared. The last 12 days have been nothing but positive.  Mila was born at 844 pm on the 8th of February. Those that know me know that the # 8 is my favorite number. Its king of funny that Tonya wanted to name her Sevyn, so when she was born we did not have a name for her until she was about 36 hours old. That Wednesday morning Tonya, myself and our beautiful baby all joined hands and I started to prey and when we finished I ask Tonya to name our baby and she said Mila Maria Martinez “M cubed” or “3M”. Mila weigh 6 lbs and 19 inches long. She is truly our little miracle, Mila comes from the name MILAGRO (MIRACLE in Spanish) Marie is after my mother.

 

Having a new born is very special, To see her siblings Brandi, Nathan & Brennan love her so much is a feeling I can not share in words. Mila niece Hayden who is 15 months older then her aunt loves her as well. Then comes the rest of the family and friends that have pored their love over all of us. We truly feel very blessed to have the love and support of so many people. I never realized how many people cared about us and the birth of our little Mila.

 

This week was spent not at work but visiting friends and family and enjoying our gift from god. Mila has brought so many people together in just the first 12 days of her precious life. Tonya’s Mom & Dad came down from Salt Lake to help us out and helping us out is an understatement. I think I gained weight with all the food and deserts I ate this week. Tonya spends all of her time talking to her and staring at her. I told she is not going to change, but we know that is not true so we just look at how beautiful this gift is. Tonya and I are kind of “in shock” because we cannot believe we have a little girl. 

First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Extended

by Nate Martinez

You may have heard the exciting news that the First Time Homebuyer $8,000 Tax Credit has been extended.  This will prove to be great news for thousands of Maricopa County, Arizona homebuyers and many existing homeowners who qualify for this financial incentive.  I asked national real estate expert David Knox to help me explain the benefits of this extended and revised tax credit.  In order for you to take advantage of this incentive you will need to buy and close your transaction before the tax credit deadline.

 

 

The Phoenix Metro area has great properties for sale.  We can show you any property listed in the Arizona Regional MLS.  The Nate Martinez Team is proud to set up a private tour of home that meet your personal needs. Just call 602-942-7000 to get started

Not only do we specialize in single family homes, but we also specialize in Bank Owned Homes. We have over 200 bank owned home listed today. You can search all of Bank owned homes at https://repros.brokerbrain.net/public 

 

 

100 Hole Golf Charity Event

by Nate Martinez

On May 19th I will be participating in a charity golf event for Phoenix Children’s Hospital. As you already know, we are actively involved with Children’s Miracle Network and give money every time we sell a house. In the past we have been a part of other events which raised money for the hospital, such as our motorcycle run, golf tournaments, etc. 

I know its a hard time financially for a lot of us, BUT there is always a child in need, no matter what is happening in the world economy, real estate market or at the White House. Please check out this video and then decide if you can help me by donating what's in your piggy banks. The pledge forms are available on my website at www.NatesHomes.com and you can fax them or email them to us as provided on the form. Pledges need to be received by May 1st and you can contact Sarah at my office for more details. Thank you in advance for your continued support!  Nate Martinez

http://www.childrensmiraclenetwork.org/champions/index.html

Special Invitation

by Nate Martinez
On Saturday, March 1, Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts is visiting Phoenix and will be hosted by Congressman Ed Pastor to a variety of activities and meetings. One of the activities for Congressman Frank will be a Housing Foreclosure Forum. The forum will take place on Saturday, March 1, 2008 starting at 1:30 pm. and ending at 3:30 p.m. The Housing Foreclosures Forum will provide and opportunity for local input to Congress. As the chair person for the Financial Services Committee, Congressman Frank has taken a leadership role on the mortgage and housing crisis that has resulted from the foreclosures and mortgage credit issues. The Forum will allow local practitioners and stakeholders to provide real experiences and valuable input about this subject matter. Addressing Congressman Frank will be leaders from the AZ Dept. of Financial Institutions, the AZ Mortgage Lenders Association, HUD, City Council Housing committees, the AZ Association of REALTORS and Nate Martinez, representing the Phoenix Association of REALTORS. It will be held at the Virginia C. Piper Auditorium-ASU/UofA Medical Center, 7th and Van Burien Phoenix. This is a great opportunity to see and hear our local concerns reach another ear in Washington D.C. We hope you can attend.

Good news from the mortgage industry!

by Nate Martinez

Some of you may have read recently that the fed cut the prime rate and it looks to be a win-win for the mortgage rates remaining unaffected after FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meetings this week. The fed funds rate was trimmed by 25 bps to 4.50% and the discount rate by the same amount to 5.0%. They anticipate this will help shield the broader economy from adverse effects of the housing downturn and help with goals of moderate growth and price stability over the long term.

 

I recently spent some time with Mike Hornacek from Professional Financial Services of Arizona and asked him what he thought about the market conditions in the Phoenix Metro area and this is what he had to say. “Current market conditions and the press are all screaming PANIC - DO NOT BUY! However, this is exactly the time to buy - why?  Because a couple of years ago, everyone was yelling BUY! BUY! BUY! But during this time, the smart money investors pulled back because the mainstream population was caught up in a whirlpool of press reports again. Too many buyers ventured out to purchase without the proper counsel of an experienced Realtor thinking that purchasing real estate was like going to Costco to get the latest yard gadget before they were all bought up.”

 

Mike continues, “Historically, mortgage rates have never stayed this low for so long. The market changes daily and even hourly but this has been an awesome run of cheap money despite the current oversaturated market. If you hear the news about our dollar softening, eventually so will other countries that hold our bonds as investments. The fear will spread and will result in “dump and sell” back to the US. This strains the oversupply scenario even more and could cause mortgage rates to eventually climb. So when is really the time to buy?  Answer: Right now. Interest rates are still affordable and the home choices are generous.”

 

Although at the beginning of the year, there was little hope for a first time buyer looking to buy anything within a 100 mile radius of Maricopa County. That has changed over the last 11 months. The market has adjusted itself in favor of great affordability as it always does in the 7-10 year cycles. Additionally, the gap between list price and final sales price is shrinking. In September, it was reported that the median list price was $265,906 and sales price was $234,900. That is only a spread of $31,000, which back in February of this year, the spread was as high as $50,000. The shrinking spread is a positive sign that consumers are regaining their confidence in the market and we may start to see improvement in the number of homes being sold. Home prices have finally reached an affordable point. For example, in Surprise, you will find single family homes listed as low as $140,000. There are amazing deals happening in the market today that were not options for buyers 24 months ago. As Mike said, the time is now to buy. If you want to talk to Mike more about loan options, please contact him at 623-643-1073 or email at michael.a.hornacek@professionalaz.com.

 

With the changes in the market, there have been an increasing number of REO (real estate owned or in other words, bank owned) properties coming on the market. My team and I recently opened a REO department and we are now working with banks to list and sell these homes. As mentioned earlier by Mike, smart money buys when everyone else is selling and sells when everyone else is buying. If you or someone you know is interested in learning how to make a smart investment in this market, please call myself or any member of my team. We are you real estate experts no matter what kind of market it is! Nate Martinez, RE/MAX Professionals

Phoenix is Still HOT!

by Nate Martinez

10 Cities Where It's a Great Time to Buy
The real estate business may be facing a softening in sales, but there are parts of the country where it makes sense to buy now. Forbes magazine examined current home sales patterns and sales projects in the country’s 40 largest real estate markets to identify these attractive markets.

Based on models that estimated 2008 housing inventory, sales rates, and turnover, the magazine compiled a list of markets that are experiencing price declines, but where buying looks attractive because there is likely to be an increase in sales in the near future.

Here are Forbes’ and Moody’s 10 most attractive markets, along with the median homes sales price and their price change from 2006.

  1. Fort Worth, Texas: $156,500, 1.7 percent
  2. Kansas City, Mo.: $157,700, -0.7 percent
  3. Houston: $154,900, 1.4 percent
  4. Cleveland: $128,700, -7.1 percent
  5. Denver: $255,200, none
  6. Long Island, N.Y.: $482,300, 1.7 percent
  7. Washington, D.C.: $445,300, 0.3 percent
  8. Orlando, Fla.: $265,100, -2.4 percent
  9. Phoenix: $264,800, -2.7 percent
  10. Las Vegas: $307,900, -3.6 percent

Success Stories!

by Nate Martinez

Presently, there are 52,323 available homes for sale and in June 4,918 homes sold. The numbers are still showing us that only 10% of the market is selling each month, while the number of homes being listed for sale is still rising. The average Realtor in the Valley has sold one home this year, but our team has sold 86 year to date! I want to share with you some of our recent success stories…

 

2570 S 159th Ave – sold in 10 days

8002 W Campbell – sold in 8 days

13304 W Market – sold in 1 day

19904 N 78th Lane - sold 18 days

 

So what are we doing different? We are using the “Secret” and its working! The age old saying in Real Estate is price, condition and location, and no matter how many years of data we study, the numbers always lead us back here. The homes that meet these market conditions are the ones that sell. It’s no different today and 10 years ago, so learning where to price your home is the key to selling or not selling.

What is your opinion of the market? What are some of you experiences, good or bad? I'd love to hear from you so post your comments, questions or concerns today. Talk to you soon! Nate

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