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As One Door Opens …..Another Closes!

New/Old Tax Credits, New Construction, New sales statistics, Free Ice Cream, Relay for life and more!
As of April 30th if you have not already opened escrow, you have missed out on the Federal 1st time home buyer tax credit of $8,000.
But wait … there’s more!!!! The State of California just passed AB 183 which provides a 1st time home buyer tax credit in the amount of $10,000 or 5% of the sale price, if you open escrow after May 1, 2010 and before August 1, 2011. So if you’re really good and plan well, you could actually receive up to $18,000 for a very limited time. In all fairness, the tax credit issue has really stimulated the buyers to get off the fence and buy that first home. It has really made a difference.
On to a more “constructive” note! Did you know that there have been 14 single family building permits issued by the City of Kingsburg since January 1st of this year? This is awesome news in that an increase in new home construction is one of the first indicators that a market has begun moving in the right direction. When Builders have the confidence to step out and take a risk, chances are the re-sale market is not far behind.
Check out the CMA box (comparative market analysis) to the right of this blog for the March Kingsburg real estate statistics. Due to the fact that we are getting so many “out of the area” listings from the Tulare County MLS, we have included those numbers in this months CMA. Our office is still experiencing a high volume of sales per month, but again, mostly in the under $200,000 range. The turn over for higher end homes still remains slow.
Don’t forget to click on the Free Ice Cream tab at the top of this page for that free ice cream from Baby Cakes and Superior Dairy. A big thank you to all who have applied ….. the response has been overwhelming!
Remember also the Kingsburg Relay for Life on May 22nd an 23rd. If you are interested in joining a team in remembrance of a loved one, please contact me at 647-1812. We’d love to have you a part of the Kingsburg Racing 4 a Cure team.

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March Madness

Take a look at the new CMA (comparative market analysis) to the right and you will see why we’re calling this March Madness. The February numbers compared to January number are crazy and all over the place. New listings are up, sold listings are up by one, “days on the market” is way down and price per square foot on sold properties is way down. I think we are still on that same roller coaster from last month and will probably be on this amusement ride for a while. Although I can’t think of this industry right now with much “amusement” with all these short sales and foreclosures,
On a lighter and tastier note, look for the Free Ice Cream sticky ad note on your Kingsburg Recorder this Wednesday and for the next 3 consecutive weeks. Anyone who goes to our blog site and clicks on the Free Ice Cream tab at the top of the page then follows the instructions, will receive a coupon for a free ice cream cone from Baby Cakes and Ice Cream on Draper St. Yum!
Also look for the large (and I mean very large) barrels in local real estate offices supporting the REALTORS® Feeding the Community program sponsored by the Fresno Board of Realtors. This month is Macaroni March and we are looking for non-perishable pasta type food items. In addition to a different theme each month, we will accept just about anything you want to give that is non-perishable. One of the awesome things about this food drive is that all the donated items will remain in our community; KCAPs in Kingsburg and Selma Cares in Selma.
We are proud to announce that The Housing Connection and New Era Financial will be sponsoring a team for the upcoming Relay for Life’s inaugural event here in Kingsburg on May 22nd through May 23. Our theme will be “Realtors Racing for a Cure” and we invite anyone and everyone to be a part of our team to support this awesome cause. If anyone is interested in joining up, please email me at judy@housingconnection.net or call me at 647-1812.

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Credit Score Tips

Four Easy Steps to Raise your Credit Score
Having spent 10 years working with a Trans Union Credit Bureau eons ago, any time I see “quick fix” or “instant repair” schemes to improve credit scores, it just makes me fume! There are NO quick fixes and there is no such thing as instant repair! Beware of companies that promise a silver bullet for raising your score. No one can legally remove accurate information from a credit report. Only time can erase those notes of your file.
The following Four Easy Steps will help you raise your credit scores ……. THE Right WAY.
1. Do your homework. Obtain a copy of your current credit report and know what it states. Knowing your score is the first step in creating an action plan.
2. Do an accuracy check: Make sure the information on that report is correct and take steps to correct them it they are not.
3. Plan to improve: Here’s where your action plan really starts. Take control of your financial situation which means knowing how much money is coming in and how much is going out. Budget anyone?
4. Consolidate and save: If it makes sense, with your present situation and interest rates are good, consolidate your credit card debt into a second mortgage or equity line of trade. And then, don’t do the same thing over again. Highly recommended: get some face to face advice before you proceed.
Did I mention to beware of companies that promise that silver bullet? Remember, anything they will do for a fee, YOU can do for free. We have helped numerous people raise their credit scores (which take at least 6 months of dedication) and be able to purchase a home of their dreams when they thought it would not be possible.
If you or someone you know has any questions regarding their FICO scores, please send them our way. We counsel people all the time and NEVER charge them a cent …. just part of the service we provide.

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January Statistics and Guest Blog

Oh my, January was an awesome month for our company. In fact, we had more transactions close escrow (which included several homes in Fresno) than any previous January in memory. With that being said, the number of SOLD properties in Kingsburg was down from 6 in December to 5 in January. The ACTIVE listings went up by 11 and the price per square foot on SOLD listings went down from $130 PSF to $113 PSF. The majority of the SOLD listings were either short sales or foreclosures, which again, pulls property values down. So the real estate market is still in somewhat of a roller coaster ride, however we are anticipating a bountiful spring!

In our endeavor to provide you with information relevant to our community, as well as the state of the real estate market here in Kingsburg, periodically we will be providing insight from local experts on different topics and issues. This month Kingsburg City Manager, Don Pauly, was gracious enough to provide an outlook on 2010.

“VIEW FROM KINGSBURG by Don Pauley, City Manager
The last 2 years have been a challenge for the City of Kingsburg, but the staff and City Council have been up to the challenge. In January of 2009 the City Council anticipated the need to reduce expenses and implemented budget cuts in mid-year. The Fiscal Year 2009/2010 budget also anticipates a lean year with the City Council adopting a budget that continued to reduce operating costs without reducing essential services. The mid-year budget report confirms the foresight of the City Council and staff by projecting a year end General Fund deficit of less than one-half of one percent. We are just now beginning to work on the Fiscal Year 2010/2011 budget and we continue to anticipate a less than robust economy.
Like the rest of the country Kingsburg has experienced a significant downturn in the construction industry particularly single family housing. For the first time in over a year we are seeing new homes being built albeit less than a dozen. Commercial construction has also slowed dramatically. After the projected opening of the Fairfield Inn in March no new construction is expected to get underway although the City continues to work with the developers of La Quinta and Microtel hotels to secure their starts yet this fiscal year. City staff has focused its efforts on recruiting businesses to fill vacancies and will continue to do so until the economy picks up and all of our store fronts are occupied.”

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Is The Worst Really Over for Housing?????

Yes, as quoted on CNBC by Sam Zell, Equity Group Investment Chairman January 13th.

Yes, as quoted by the California Association of Realtors in their closely watched “2010 CA Housing Market Forecast”, January 15th.

Yes! Yes! Yes! The worst is over! As quoted by local blogger/REALTOR®, Judy Pagel, on January 15th.

In Kingsburg the second half of 2009 showed a significant increase in the number of residential sales, a decrease in Active inventory and a decrease in the number of day’s property stayed on the market waiting for that Buyer. This tells us that the current market trend is showing stabilization. Yippee!

Each quarter of 2009 showed better than the last. We are still not seeing a huge increase in the Price per Square foot, but it is improving, bit by bit. Sadly to say, the number of foreclosures is still on the rise and these properties, in part, are keeping our equity from improving.

Affordability is the outlook’s silver lining, especially with the renewal of the Federal $8,000 first time home buyer credit and stable interest rates on home loans. Here in Kingsburg a huge factor in the stabilizing trend in the market is the sale of higher end homes and new construction. Typically what has mostly been selling in the past couple years are lower end homes, priced from $150K up to the $300K mark. The last half of 2009, 5 new or newer large custom homes sold from between $380K up to $460k, which certainly helps with that Price per Square Foot (PSF) issue. The average PSF for these 5 homes is $160, which is awesome!

Our office is experiencing an outstanding January to date. Normally, January is pretty slow, but we have been super busy. In December (remind me never to move during the Holidays) we moved into bigger and more private offices, just two doors down from the old one. We also launched our super-duper snazzy online Multi-Media Marketing Plan which been very well received by Buyers and Sellers alike.

So in a nutshell, we predict that the worst is over and the housing market will continue to improve!

Visit our blog for news on current home values, recent sales and whatever information we deem relevant to the housing industry. We also welcome your comments, questions and referrals.

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The Power of Online Networking in Kingsburg

Welcome to Kingsburg’s first online networking real estate company. We take advantage of the power of online networking and yet provide you with the personalized service of local real estate experts.
Sellers: Our new Mulit-Media Marketing plan includes posting your listing on 10 major real estate websites to connect you to Buyers worldwide. Even better …. a virtual tour of your home will be posted on YouTube to be seen by millions.
Buyers: Browse homes online at our website or take virtual tours online.
Comparative Market Analysis: See the CMA report posted on the right side of this blog. This will be updated at the beginning of each month to give you, the consumer, an up-to-date status of the Kingsburg real estate market for the past 30 days.
New updated website: Our new website at http://www.housingconnection.net provides a list of homes currently on the market, local forecloures, our listings, our agents and the benefit of learning the value of your home.
Current trends & stuff: We will post current blogs relevant to real estate with such information as; new construction, tax credit updates, interest rates and local trends in the market. Look for our Market Trend Posting coming around the middle of the month. We welcome your comments at anytime.
Subscribe: Feel free to subscribe to this blog and receive updates as they are posted. Simply register your email address by clicking on Email Subscriptions.
Dr. Suess Quotes For whimsy and inspiration.
Happy New Year from the staff at The Housing Connection!!!

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Kingsburg Real Estate: Warmer Than The Weather

If new applications to buy homes are any gauge, the U.S. housing market is warming up, and that’s despite the fact that we’re now into the traditionally quiet holiday season.
Nationally applications for home purchase loans soared 42 percent last week on a non-seasonally-adjusted basis compared with the week before, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
That burst of activity may have been influenced in part by the long Thanksgiving week layoff. Or it could have been an early reaction to the extension of the $8,000 tax credit or the start-up of the new $6,500 credit.
Either way, it was an exceptional week for mortgage lenders.
Mortgage rates are still close to historic lows, 4.9 percent on average for 30-year fixed and 4.3 percent for 15 year fixed.
There were also positive indications on lower delinquencies and foreclosures across the country. Realty Trac says foreclosure filings in November dropped by 8 percent – the fourth consecutive month of declines.
And Trans Union, the big credit bureau, forecasts three percent fewer mortgage delinquencies next year – after three straight years of rising delinquency rates.
On a local level, the real estate market has experience a non-typical holiday season. We are showing property, writing offers (with mulitple bids) and opening escrows. Look for our monthly Kingsburg Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) side bar at the beginning of each month to stay up-to-date with this local market.
So hopefully we can sustain the warmer real estate climate throughout the entire winter.
Published: December 16, 2009

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