Tuesday Update - Current Mortgage and Home Price Trends

Conventional mortgage rates have remained on the upswing over the past few weeks. Current 30 year conforming purchases are at 3.49% with no points for credit qualified customers. The government rates, FHA & VA, have not moved as much. They are still at 3.25% with no points for credit qualified customers.

Lender Processing Services says that home prices in the U.S. rose by 5.8% year-over-year in the month ended in December. The average home price was $207,000.

Call me if you have any questions. I have several great lenders I work with on a regular basis.



Where Americans are Moving To and Moving From...

This article  highlights that the Washington DC area has seen more people moving in than leaving - which adds strength and depth to our local home market recovery. 

Here's a small quote that is very interesting.

Washington, D.C. had the highest proportion of people moving in rather than leaving. Corporations have been steadily expanding in Washington, as more companies -- especially defense contractors, banks, pharmaceuticals and health care providers -- open branch offices to be closer to the federal government, which is the source of much of their revenues. This was the fifth straight year Washington has had the highest ratio of people moving in to those moving out.

We always love good news!



Protecting Condo Funds

Jeanne Ketley is one of my great neighbors who regularly contributes excellent articles relating to condo organizations and associations. There's some really good information here that all condo owners should be aware of. Enjoy! 

Thanks to Jeanne for making this available for me to share!


Condo Corner-5
Jeanne N. Ketley, Ph.D.
President, Maryland Homeowners’ Association, Inc.

Every month you pay a fee to your association. Your association uses this money to maintain common property, pay condo or HOA insurance and management fees among many other things. Some associations are self-managed and the treasurer collects assessments and pays bills.  More often associations use a professional management company to collect assessments and pay bills.  The amount of knowledge needed to manage what is, in essence, a corporation is vast and that is why most associations use a management company.  To strengthen good governance in your community, MHA recommends that your Board put in place a number of best practices designed to provide greater administrative transparency and accountability over daily operations. When such services are contracted via a management company, the Board remains the corporate entity that is ultimately held responsible for fraud associated with fiscal mismanagement, accounting lapses and/or poor bookkeeping.  Board members should be diligent about:

Requiring dual signatures for any expenditure of condominium funds, presumably the signatures of a manager and a board member. No one person should have sole control of association funds. If co-signing checks is inconvenient, one or more board members should have electronic read-only access to all association accounts. Since accounts now have images of the actual checks written, a board member should view these checks electronically and compare them against the figures in the board’s monthly reports.

Requiring the bank to send a duplicate monthly statement directly from the bank to the board treasurer so the treasurer can compare the bank’s figures against those in the monthly report from the management company.  

Requiring a board member to periodically compare invoices against checks paid.

Using an independent Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to conduct a yearly audit.  The association board should select the CPA rather than have the management company do the selection.  The CPA should send this report directly to the Board.

It’s hard to believe that a neighbor or professional manager could mismanage association funds but it does happen.  Installing safeguards can add to the financial stability of your community.  

For more protections, see the article by acclaimed real estate attorney Benny Kass in the November 16, 2012 Real Estate section of the Washington Post.  E-mail MHA if you need the actual link to this very comprehensive article.

If you’d like to access the Maryland Condominium Act to see the laws affecting your home, you can access it by going to http://mlis.state.md.us/#stat, selecting “Maryland Code Online”, agree to the terms presented, then select “Real Property” and then click on “Title 11-Maryland Condominium Act.”

If you have questions or want to suggest topics for Condo Corner, send them to mail@marylandhomeownersassociation.info

(The information contained herein is for the general information of the reader and should not be construed as legal advice. Readers should seek competent legal counsel regarding any legal issue.)

Dave Liniger's 10 Real Estate Predictions for 2013

Dave Liniger has summarized what he sees happening in 2013. It is in line with what we predict for the Baltimore region. 

Liniger's Top 10 Real Estate Predictions for 2013
  1. More Homebuyers and Sellers come back to the market
  2. Homes sales will rise by 6-7% and prices rise by 3-4%
  3. The inventory of homes for sale will hit a bottom
  4. Higher-priced homes begin to sell
  5. Distressed property numbers continue to fall
  6. Shadow inventory continues to fall
  7. The number of short-sale closings will rise to a peak
  8. Record-low mortgage rates rise slightly by year-end
  9. Lending remains tight
  10. Home affordability remains the best in years 

Liniger admits that the recovery is fragile and still faces some obstacles. In his video presentation, he states that tight lending, government regulation and the overall economy still have the potential to negatively impact housing.
However, Liniger also believes that "if housing can stay on the road to recovery, it's possible that it can pull the rest of the economy along with it."

It's good to see some good news for a change!



5 Signs to Watch for Housing in 2013

#5 First Time Buyers

The housing market's rebound was hard to miss this year, but not everyone rode the wave to better days. Missing were first-time buyers -- many of whom were either jobless or couldn't get a home loan, or both.
Those who tend to be first-time buyers, 25 to 34-year-olds, suffered far more joblessness than most other adults in the years following the recession. A year ago, unemployment among young workers was 9.2% versus 8.7% for all adults. The gap has narrowed recently. In November, unemployment among young workers had fallen to 7.9% versus 7.7% for all adults.
If the trend continues, this might help bring first-time buyers back into the market.
My Local Observations
  • Our stronger employment and job market meant more first time buyers did purchase in 2012
  • Expect more to buy homes in 2013 as they gain confidence in the economic recovery


-Based on an article from CNN Money Watch