Real Estate is ‘as Affordable as it Gets’

Real Estate Is ‘as Affordable as it Gets’
Now is a good time to buy real estate, according to data from Moody’s Analytics. Home affordability has returned to pre-housing bubble levels or even fallen below the average in many U.S. markets.

In fact, housing affordability by the end of September had returned to or fallen below the average reached between 1989-2003 in 47 of the 74 housing markets that Moody Analytics tracked.

In September 2010, the ratio of home prices to annual household income had fallen to 1.6–below the historical average of 1.9 between 1989 and 2003. The ratio peaked in 2005 at 2.3.

“Based on incomes, this is as affordable as it gets,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “If you can get a loan, these are pretty good times to buy.”

Some of the most undervalued markets include Cleveland, Detroit, Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Phoenix.

But those cities also are facing high rates of foreclosures and more borrowers defaulting on their mortgages that could decrease values further in those cities before they start to improve, Zandi says.

In Phoenix, for example, “it’s become cheaper to buy than to rent,” Jon Mirmelli, a real estate investor in Scottsdale, Ariz., who rents out foreclosed homes, told The Wall Street Journal. “But the question is: can you qualify for a loan?”

Source: “Home Affordability Returns to Pre-Bubble Levels,” The Wall Street Journal Online (Feb. 8, 2011)

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Winterfest in Lake Arrowhead Village

February 18 – 21, 2011

Join us as we transform Lake Arrowhead Village into a Winter Wonderland during Winterfest 2011. It will be 4  magical days of winter events for the whole family. Ice Carving Contest, World Class “Chilly” Cook-Off, and
Live Entertainment on Center Stage. Activities for the Whole Family. For more information and event times please call (909) 337-2533

How long has it been since you have visited Lake Arrowhead Village?  My cousin Julie Jones-Green spent the week-end with me last month.  She hadn’t been here for years and years.  Naturally we had to go shopping in the Village.  It’s the only time I actually walk through all the stores and then I wonder why, I love those shops!  I looked at the empty stage where all the Summer Concert series takes place.  I have had many a good time there.  Now this morning I hear we are having a Winterfest in the Village.  Chili Cook-Off, Ice Carving, Live Music….  This is a must see, make your plans to come up to Lake Arrowhead Village the week-end of February 18th thru 21st.  If you want to participate in the Chili Cook-Off….. call 909- 337-2533.  See you there!

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Is Beer Becoming the Drink of Choice in Lake Arrowhead?

February 1, 2011

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Vino 100 is excited to announce our new Beer Club. Please join us to taste our February beer selection. Cost for this event is $10, which
can be applied to the cost of your membership should you decide to join the club. Please RSVP for this event: (909) 337-WINE. Details of the club membership will be presented that evening.

There are many home beer brewers here on the mountain these days.  My Broker, Steve Keefe, started a tradition a couple of years ago and it’s spreading quickly.  Folks are trying all kinds of ingredients to brew up new tastes.  Some are donating  kegs of their home-brew to events and we even have an annual event here in Lake Arrowhead.  I’ll let you know when the next one happens.  I understand the first annual Brewfest was a huge success.  If you don’t want to brew your own, no worries, go to Vino 100 in Lake Arrowhead Village and join the Beer Club.

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New Home Sales Surge in December

New single-family home sales in December rose to their highest level in eight months and prices were the highest since April 2008, raising cautious optimism for a housing market recovery.

The Commerce Department said sales jumped 17.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted 329,000 unit annual rate after a downwardly revised 280,000-unit pace in November. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales rising to a 300,000-unit pace in December from a previously reported 290,000 unit rate. Compared to December a year earlier, sales were down 7.6 percent. Overall 2010 sales dropped 14.4 percent to a 321,000-unit rate.

Economists saw the gains as significant.

“Clearly we are seeing stabilization in new home sales and this data suggests some upward momentum that we have seen in existing home sales. What is important to realize is even in a period of softer new home sales, inventory continues to decline, said Dean Maki, chief U.S.. economist with Barclays Capital in New York.

“The level of inventory is at its lowest since the 1960s,” Maki said. This suggests the big declines in housing starts are now behind us and housing starts should be on a gradual trend in 2011.”

Brian Bethune, an economist with HIS Global Insight in Lexington, Mass added: “It’s meaningful to the extent that there is a pattern of numbers showing increases. It’s a sign that there is a turnaround. Things are definitely perking up, but there is a question whether it’s sustainable.

Read the latest report from the National Association of REALTORS®: December Existing-Home Sales Jump

Source: “New Home Sales Surge in December,” Reuters (Jan. 26, 2011)

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Cities Where it’s Cheaper to Buy Than Rent

It’s cheaper to buy a home rather than rent one in 72 percent of the 50 largest U.S. cities, according to Trulia’s rent vs. buy index, which compares the total cost of home ownership to the cost of renting.

“Since the start of the ‘Great Recession,’ many former home owners have flooded the rental market,” Pete Flint, CEO of Trulia, said in a news release about the index. “Following the principles of supply and demand, renting has become relatively more expensive than buying in most markets.”

The index compares the median sales price of homes with the median rent on two bedroom apartments, condos, and townhomes that were listed on Trulia as of Jan. 10, 2011.

Here are the top 10 cities where it’s best to buy than rent, according to the index:
1. Miami
2. Las Vegas
3. Arlington, Texas
4. Mesa, Ariz.
5. Phoenix, Ariz.
6. Jacksonville, Fla.
7. Sacramento, Calif.
8. San Antonio, Texas
9. Fresno, Calif.
10. El Paso, Texas

Source: Cheaper to Buy Than to Rent in 72% of Largest U.S. Cities,” Inman News (Jan. 24, 2011)

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Please take the Vision Survey for San Bernardino County

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Joshua Tree
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10 Hidden costs of owning AND renting a home

Everyone thinks that the costs of renting are limited to, well, rent! On the other hand, there is a laundry list of expenses we all know go along with owning a home.

But many people aren’t aware of the hidden, surprising costs associated with both owning AND renting a home, and it’s what you don’t know that has the potential to derail your rent vs. buy decision-making, so here are the Top 5 Hidden Costs of both renting and owning your home:

Top 5 Hidden Costs of Owning

1.    Special assessments. HOA dues to maintain the complex come as no surprise to condo owners, but hefty special assessments to make unexpected (and unbudgeted) repairs to the roof, windows, boiler or even foundation often catch unit owners unawares. Even if your home doesn’t belong to an HOA, don’t be surprised to see special assessments tacked on top of your property tax bill, covering public services including things like street lighting, tree trimming, pest control, libraries, and even schools.

2.    Utilities and services you didn’t need while renting. Many renters have never had to pay for things like gas, garbage, water and pest services, and they’ve also looked to their Electric, gas, garbage, alarm, water, pest, home warranty – which mitigates larger surprise costs of unexpected major repairs, gutter cleaning/maintenance, snow removal/winterizing, etc)

3.    Private mortgage insurance. Today’s savvy homebuyers are well aware that they’ll have to pony up for private mortgage insurance, or PMI, if they’re putting less than 20 percent down on their mortgage.  But the cost of PMI has spiked over the last year, and the amount definitely catches buyers off guard.

4.    Penalties and fines. HOA rule violations, like parking in the wrong spot, installing hardwood floors in an upstairs unit, or painting your home a forbidden hue can result in surprising fines, on top of the costs of remediating the issue. Even single-family homeowners can get ticketed and/or fined by their city or town for violations like having overgrown weeds or other building code violations – especially those which create fire and safety hazards.

5.    Items you didn’t need while renting, but you do as a homeowner. This varies based on your climate and the type of home you own, as well as on the services you outsource, but can include landscaping equipment (e.g., lawn mower, snow/leaf blowers), washer/dryer, fridge, window treatments, and light fixtures.

Top 5 Hidden Costs of Renting

1.       Opportunity Costs. When you rent, you lose out on the chance of equity – which can mean an increase in your home’s value but, even in a down market, can also mean the chance of ever owning the place you live free and clear.

2.       Income taxes. If you earn above a certain level of income, the income taxes you’re paying as a renter will be substantially higher than they would be if you owned a home and could deduct your property taxes and mortgage interest.

3.      Storage. Many a renter simply has too many personal belongings to stuff into their small apartment, so it’s not uncommon for tenants to also pay for a storage space, without calculating that expense into their “housing” budget.

4.      Costs of improving the property. Long-term renters may paint, replace the flooring, and do other improvements to make the place livable.  But since it’s not technically “their” home, when they do move out, all the cash they invested is lost. In fact, some landlords may require them the pay or forfeit deposit money to bring the place back to its original, neutral décor.

5.       Lost deposits. Anyone who has rented more than a couple of apartments is well aware of the chances of losing some or all of your security or peet deposits, no matter how well you care for your home.

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People in Lake Arrowhead Matter to Me

People matter to me.  There are so many wonderful people in this little community.  The folks who have lived here most of their lives are here because they have visited many wonderful places on vacation and, like me, when they come home, driving up the mountain they take a look at the beauty right here and the realize “there’s no place like home”.  This is one beautiful place to live.

PEOPLE FROM other places  own homes in Lake Arrowhead.  One time my Escrow Officer said to me, “Voni, you have the nicest clients…”  and she was right.  The second-home owners on this mountain are some of the nicest people.  Some live in San Diego, many of them live in Orange County, Los Angeles County, a few of mine are from up in the Santa Barbara area.  The people that live in Palm Springs and spend summers here are about the smartest in my book.  There has always been a connection between Lake Arrowhead and the greater Palm Springs area. 

When the “Day Trippers” come up here, they are so happy and excited.  The people who have lived in L.A. all their lives and never visited Lake Arrowhead, they really surprise me, they are the ones who have made me coin the phrase “this is the best kept secret in Southern California”.  If you are a new comer, a short timer, a long timer or a flat lander, Thanks For Coming to My Mountain.  People matter to me and I want you to love My Mountain as much as I do.

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New Listing in Running Springs

Good Morning !  I just want to quickly tell you about a new listing I have.  I’ll post the Virtual Tour as soon as it’s completed.  I’ve just listed a fabulous home in Enchanted Forest Estates.  It’s not a distress sale but we listed it under market value so the home owners can move across the mountain and take advantage of the opportunities in another neighborhood they like so much.  It’s listed for $329,000.  It has 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 6 car parking and 2 car undercover.  There is air conditioning up stairs on the Bedroom level, a fabulous B-B-Q island outside on the patio adjacent to the Spa deck, full landscaping with sprinklers and the best curb appeal!  Call me for an appointment to see 30199 Magic Dr.


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Mt. Home Sales Reach 800 for past 6 Months!

  THESE ARE THE FACTS:  The following chart shows all single family home sales on the mountain reported as sold to the Rim association of Realtors July 12, 2010 to January 9, 2011.  HOME SALES ARE UP AND INTEREST RATES ARE LOW!    LOOK WHO IS DOING THE BUSINESS IN LAKE ARROWHEAD 

  Listing Buyer  Total
Firm Sold Sales Sales
Coldwell Banker Sky Ridge Realty 168 112 280
Capre 56 66 122
Out of Area Broker 0 48 48
Mountain Top Producers 24 23 47
Remax Lakeside 16 30 46
Lynne B. Wilson & Assoc. 19 18 37
Prudential California 19 15 34
Mountain Country Realty 11 17 28
Sotheby’s Big Bear 14 2 16
Windermere- Lake Arrowhead 10 4 14
ERA Bruin Trojan 8 5 13
Coldwell Banker Running Springs 6 6 12
Lakeview Realty 5 7 12
Cozy Cabins 6 5 11
Keller Williams- Lake Arrowhead 3 6 9
Prime Properties 5 3 8
Green Valley Real Estate 2 5 7
Arrowhead Resort Realty 4 2 6
Glen Tinturin, Broker 0 5 5
Blackstone Realty 2 2 4
Key Asset Solutions 4 0 4
Century 21 San Moritz 0 4 4
Century 21 Bonnie Blue 0 4 4
Dan Teter, Broker 2 1 3
Gregg Grant, Broker 3 0 3
E-Listate 2 0 2
Exit Realty 2 0 2
KR Homes 2 0 2
Mountain Cabin Realty 1 1 2
Plaza One Realty 2 0 2
Bibby Realty 0 2 2
Herrington Real Estate 0 2 2
Century 21 Showcase 1 0 1
Mountain Air Real Estate 1 0 1
Mountain Life Realty 0 1 1
Remax Metro 1 0 1
Tudor House Realty 1 0 1
Coldwell Banker Crestline 0 1 1
Granite Hill Realty 0 1 1
Healstone Real Estate 0 1 1
Highlander Real Estate 0 1 1
  400 400 800
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