Category Archives: Real Estate

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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Federal Tax Credit Extended!!!!!

LOS ANGELES (Nov. 5) – The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) today commended Congress and the Senate for its swift actions in extending and expanding the provisions of the Federal Tax Credit for First-time Home Buyers. The U.S. House of Representatives earlier today voted 403 to 12 for passage, as did the U.S. Senate late yesterday. The legislation now goes to President Obama for signature.

“Over the past several months, C.A.R., the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR), and our more than 1.2 million members have repeatedly urged congressional representatives to extend and expand this crucial piece of legislation,” said C.A.R. President James Liptak. “Today’s victory for home buyers also is testament to the role REALTORS® can play when they unite for a worthy goal.

“Although ideally the legislation sent to President Obama would have applied to all home buyers, C.A.R. applauds our federal representatives for realizing the benefits of the federal tax credit and the role it has played in the ongoing economic recovery,” Liptak said. “More than 1.4 million first-time home buyers nationwide were eligible for the initial credit. We expect that number to increase dramatically in the months ahead once this new legislation is in place.”

As it now stands, the federal tax credit will be extended through April 30, 2010, with a 60-day extension if a binding contract is in place prior to the deadline. First-time home buyers will continue to be eligible for a tax credit of up to $8,000, while existing homeowners will be eligible for a reduced credit of up to $6,500. To qualify for the $6,500 credit, existing homeowners must have lived in their current residences for at least five years. The bill also increases the qualifying income limits from $75,000 for single tax filers and $150,000 for joint filers to $125,000 and $225,000, respectively. The purchase price of the home is capped at $800,000 in both instances.

Under additional provisions included in the bill, taxpayers can claim the credit on purchases completed in 2010 on their 2009 income tax returns. The legislation maintains the provision that home buyers do not have to repay the credit provided the home remains their primary residence for 36 months after purchase, and waives this requirement for active duty military personnel who move due to a military order.

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Federal Tax Report
Extending the Credit — Almost There

The extension and expansion of the homebuyer tax credit is the pending business in the Senate. After a long week of negotiation on the credit, an agreement on the scope of both expansion and extension has been reached. The extension is part of a larger bill that has not yet gone to a vote, however. A Senate vote on the underlying bill will occur in the Senate during the week of November 1. The package will then go back to the House. The House is expected to accept the Senate amendments, vote on the package and send it to the President for signature. The underlying bill is an extension of unemployment benefits. Other provisions in the bill include expansion of the net operating loss carryback rules, new requirements for some tax return preparers and noncontroversial provisions that “pay for” these changes.

The agreement on the extension and expansion of the credit is as follows:
Credit available for purchases before May 1, 2010. Prospective purchasers with binding contracts in place as of April 30, 2010 will be allowed an additional 60 days to complete the transaction.
Credit remains at $8000 for first-time purchasers. No change to definition of first-time purchaser.
New $6500 tax credit for repeat buyers who purchase between December 1, 2009 and May 1, 2010. Repeat buyers must have lived in their homes consecutively for 5 of the previous 8 years.
Income limits are expanded to $125,000 on a single return and $225,000 on a joint return. Current law $20,000 phase-out retained.
New anti-fraud limitations are imposed.
The White House has indicated that President Obama will sign the legislation.

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