Buyers Face Less Competition This Spring

Home shoppers may be less likely to face a bidding war compared to a year ago. Just 15% of offers faced competition in April, according to an index by the real estate brokerage Redfin. That is down from 60% a year ago.

Even buyers in some of the hottest housing markets are reporting less competition this spring.

“Right now could be as good as it gets for buyers who want to avoid getting involved in bidding wars and price escalations,” says Daryl Fairweather, Redfin’s chief economist. “There are many forces at play that may lure buyers back and create more competition in the near future. Interest rates are low compared to last year, price growth has stalled and has even fallen in some West Coast markets, and wages are growing.”

San Francisco’s Bay Area remains the most likely market where buyers will face a bidding war. Twenty-two percent of offers in April there faced competition, which is still down significantly from 75% a year ago.

“Multiple billion-dollar San Francisco-based companies are going public this year, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bay Area bidding wars come back with a vengeance, pushing prices back up next year,” Fairweather says.

The next most competitive housing markets after San Francisco were Phoenix (20%) and San Diego (19%), according to Redfin’s index.

Mortgage Rates Post Biggest Drop in a Decade

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage plunged 22 basis points this week, the largest one-week drop in 10 years, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage survey.

“The Federal Reserve’s concern about the prospects for slowing economic growth caused investor jitters to drive down mortgage rates by the largest amount in over ten years,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Despite negative outlooks by some, the economy continues to churn out jobs, which is great for housing demand. We have recently seen home sales start to recover and with this week’s rate drop, we expect a continued rise in purchase demand.”

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Recovery Along The Russian River

The brown floodwater has receded. Ruined possessions have been lamented, then discarded.

The waist- and chest- and head-high mounds of debris along low-lying streets in communities near the Russian River soon will be deposited in dumpsters and hauled away.

Now comes the less public and more prolonged phase of recovery, as home and business owners grapple with banks, insurance companies and excruciating decisions.

Some will emerge from the ordeal stronger. Others will admit defeat and move away.

Here are the stories of three Russian River residents, all of whom suffered considerable damage to their homes and businesses in the worst flooding in Sonoma County since 1995.

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Mortgage Scams To Watch Out For

Whether you are looking to buy a home or refinance an existing mortgage it is helpful to be aware of potential scams and pitfalls to avoid.   As with anything involving money too many con artists are willing to put in effort to separate you from your hard earned money.  This article looks at some common mortgage pitfalls and/or scams that could end up costing you more money than it would normally.

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Your Forever Home

 Welcome to this single-level home located in the desirable Santa Rosa Golf Club/Willowside Estates neighborhood. The home is ready for your updates and personal touches. It is currently used as a three bedroom, two bath approximately 4,325 square foot home with an attached one bedroom, one bath garden unit situated on an over one-half acre lot with and in-ground pool. The spacious two-car attached garage has extra storage and a driveway with ample parking. The very private backyard is ideal for intimate evenings or large gatherings and has well-maintained and mature landscaping. The living room and master bedroom both feature fireplaces. The living room is approximately 1,085 square feet and the master bedroom and family room are both approximately 540 square feet. $1,297,000. See title link for slideshow.

Tax Deductions for Homeowners: How the New Tax Law Affects Mortgage Interest

Tax season is upon us once again, and to make it even more interesting this year, the tax code has changed — along with the rules about tax deductions for homeowners. The biggest change? Many homeowners who used to write off their property taxes and the interest they pay their mortgage will no longer be able to.

Stay calm. This doesn’t automatically mean your taxes are going up. Here’s a roundup of the rules that will affect homeowners — and how big of a change to expect.

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Slowdown in Sonoma County housing market continued in November

The slowdown in Sonoma County’s residential real estate market sharpened in November, when sales and prices declined while the number of homes available for buyers jumped significantly.

The slowdown represents a continued adjustment from the initial real estate jolt immediately after the fires, according to local and Bay Area real estate experts.

In November, the county’s median housing price fell to $615,000, a decline of nearly 9 percent from the record peak of $700,000 in June, according to The Press Democrat housing report, compiled by Rick Laws of Compass real estate brokerage, formerly Pacific Union.

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Updated USDA Rural Housing Income Limits

USDA loan is a great way to buy a house. The ability to borrow up to the home’s value at interest rates that are competitive with FHA and conventional loans make this a great option for first time home buyers. There are also new USDA income limits that make the USDA mortgage even better in the upcoming year.

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Mortgage rates hold steady as housing market stresses mount

Rates for home loans took a breather after churning to the highest in nearly eight years, mortgage liquidity provider Freddie Mac said Thursday.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.94% in the Nov.15 week, unchanged during the week. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.36%, up three basis points. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 4.14%, also unchanged.

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Selling and Buying a Home With Lead Paint: What You Need to Know

Was the home you are going to be selling built before 1978? If so, chances are there is at least some lead paint present in the house. The older the home, the more lead you can expect to find.

Selling a home with lead paint can present some challenges you should be aware of. Fortunately, they are relatively easy to overcome if you are well-informed about your legal obligations.

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Why Isn’t My House Selling?

Most real estate agents have probably been asked the question “why isn’t my home selling?” The answer in some circumstances may not be abundantly clear. In other cases, there is no doubt why the house isn’t selling.

As a home seller, the thing you dread most is being unable to sell your home. What if you put it up on the market, do all that hard work, and no one is interested? Dwelling on such thoughts can be upsetting, to say the least.

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How To Lessen The Odds And/Or Impact When A Home Buyer Defaults?

So what happens when you’re selling a home and the Buyer defaults? What could you have done differently to avoid such a scenario? Ouch. Just the thought of it catches you off balance. You’re uneasy…I understand!

The word default never paints a bright picture. However, when selling a home there are a number of things that you can do to lessen the risk of such an event. I’m sure you’ll want to know what those things are, right? Keep reading.

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How to Become a Homeowner: First Time Home Buyer Guide

While interest rates are still at historically great levels, lots of first time home buyers are jumping to get a mortgage and into the market and buying a home.

The rates are so reasonable that many people are discovering their new home payment is a bit lower than their previous rent payment.

As a service to home buyers, I have laid out this detailed plan that teaches you how to become a homeowner. Use the guidance to make smart decisions when buying your first home.

These first time home buyer tips will put you on the right track to home ownership!

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How We Bought a New House Before Selling Our Current House

Name: Jena and Mark Boomhower, both 36

City: Battle Ground, Wash.

Year of Home Purchase: 2018

Sale Price: $412,000

Home style: 2014 modern Craftsman single-family home

Profession: Jena is a medical technician; Mark is a supervisor for TSA

Mark and Jena Boomhower’s 1,400-square-foot starter home was just right when their daughters, Tanahleigh and Adalyn, were tots. But as the girls got older, Mark and Jena realized they needed a bigger house and yard. They wanted a two-story farther from the city, but there were a few challenges.

First, they had to figure out how to buy a house before selling their current house. Second challenge: Buying a house with a VA loan. VA loans offer competitive interest rates and don’t always require a down payment or private mortgage insurance. But VA loans limit what buyers are allowed to pay in closing costs, and sellers don’t necessarily have to pay them, either. Closing costs become a big part of the negotiation. Here’s their story.

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What Is A VA Loan? A Veterans Guide To Home Ownership

For those dear men and women that choose to serve the USA through military service, our country owes a great bit of gratitude. One of the ways we show that gratitude is through the VA loan. Since 1944, qualifying veterans have used the benefit offered through the federal government to purchase a home and carve out their little spot in the world.

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Third Quarter Growth Strong but Checked by Trade, Weaker Gains in Consumer and Business Demand

WASHINGTON, DC – The Fannie Mae Economic and Strategic Research Group maintained its third quarter 2018 economic growth forecast of 3.2 percent annualized amid an expected slowdown in consumer spending and business fixed investment growth, according to its September 2018 Economic and Housing Outlook. The ESR Group also noted that trade and housing will likely subtract from growth this quarter, while citing inventory restocking and increased government spending as potentially positive contributors.

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