California Home Sales Up January 2011

January marked the third month that home sales were on the rise in California. While the number of units sold and closed are heading in an upward direction, the median sales price is declining.

As reported by the California Association of Realtors:

“The statewide median price of an existing, single-family detached home sold in California was $278,900, down 8.6 percent from a revised $305,020 in December and was down 2.0 percent from the $284,600 median price recorded for January 2010.  The January 2011 median price was the lowest since June 2009, when it was $274,640.”

The good news for buyers is that while interest prices may be rising, home prices are stable or decreasing, making buying a home still in the affordable range. Many of the declines in pricing are due to foreclosures and short sales.

Here is  the activity for all counties in California:

January-11 Median Price of Existing Single-Family Homes
State/Region/County Jan-11 Dec-10 Jan-10 MTM% Chg YTY% Chg
CA Single-family homes (SA) $278,900 $305,020 $284,600 -8.6% -2.0%
CA Condo/Townhomes $234,560 $248,140 $254,540 -5.5% -7.8%
S.F. Bay Area
Alameda $435,110 $478,730 $423,080 -9.1% 2.8%
Contra-Costa (CentralCounty ) $565,790 $568,600 $605,980 -0.5% -6.6%
Marin $657,890 $753,680 $729,170 -12.7% -9.8%
Napa $313,890 $350,000 $358,700 -10.3% -12.5%
San Francisco $597,760 $678,190 $646,430 -11.9% -7.5%
San Mateo $587,500 $715,000 $633,500 -17.8% -7.3%
Santa Clara $530,000 $560,000 $525,000 -5.4% 1.0%
Solano $192,170 $204,290 $215,980 -5.9% -11.0%
Sonoma $338,090 $344,680 $365,820 -1.9% -7.6%
Southern California
Los Angeles $305,940 $330,990 $316,700 -7.6% -3.4%
Orange County $511,590 $503,210 $527,480 1.7% -3.0%
Riverside County $197,550 $205,220 $193,690 -3.7% 2.0%
San Bernardino $138,040 $134,760 $135,000 2.4% 2.3%
San Diego $370,100 $375,790 $366,780 -1.5% 0.9%
Ventura $411,760 $441,570 $420,690 -6.8% -2.1%
Central Coast
Monterey $258,000 $244,900 $246,500 5.3% 4.7%
San Luis Obispo $342,450 $377,550 $383,330 -9.3% -10.7%
Santa Barbara $365,620 $453,850 $466,670 -19.4% -21.7%
Santa Cruz $425,000 $503,250 $495,000 -15.5% -14.1%
Central Valley
Fresno $136,020 $145,280 $145,960 -6.4% -6.8%
Kern (Bakersfield) $127,000 $125,000 $128,340 1.6% -1.0%
Kings County $147,140 $158,000 $175,000 -6.9% -15.9%
Madera $146,150 $143,080 $140,670 2.1% 3.9%
Merced $100,620 $117,500 $96,430 -14.4% 4.3%
Placer County $261,930 $271,740 $287,080 -3.6% -8.8%
Sacramento $171,690 $179,040 $174,830 -4.1% -1.8%
San Benito $280,000 $280,000 $325,000 0.0% -13.8%
Tulare $113,330 $131,510 $134,140 -13.8% -15.5%
Other Counties in California
Amador $160,000 $173,330 $170,000 -7.7% -5.9%
Butte County $180,000 $230,000 $252,500 -21.7% -28.7%
Humboldt $244,790 $248,440 $246,870 -1.5% -0.8%
Lake County $107,500 $113,750 $137,140 -5.5% -21.6%
Mariposa And Tuolumne $158,750 $181,430 $218,180 -12.5% -27.2%
Mendocino $225,000 $220,830 $237,500 1.9% -5.3%
Shasta $152,140 $176,870 $180,910 -14.0% -15.9%
Siskiyou County $145,000 $163,330 $132,500 -11.2% 9.4%
Tehama $140,000 $136,670 $140,000 2.4% 0.0%
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Californians Help Is On The Way To Save Your Home

4 Programs to Help Californians Save Their Homes Now In Process

Save My HouseThe California Housing Finance Agency has fully implemented 4  programs to help families keep their homes.

The programs called “Keep Your Home California”, are federally funded as part of the U.S. Treasury Dept.’s Hardest Hit fund, and are aimed at helping low and moderate income homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages amid the worst real estate crisis in decades.

California received a total of nearly $2 billion through the Hardest Hit fund.

Here is a brief overview of the “Keep Your Home California” programs:

  • Mortgage assistance of up to $3,000 per month for unemployed homeowners who are in
    imminent danger of defaulting on their home loans.
  • Funds to help homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments due to a
    temporary change in a household circumstance. The program will provide up to $15,000
    per household to reinstate mortgages to prevent foreclosures.
  • Money to reduce the principal owed on a mortgage for a home where the low or
    moderate income homeowner is facing a serious financial hardship and owes
    significantly more than the home is worth. The program requires lenders to match any
    assistance provided by the Keep Your Home California program.

To apply for assistance contact the Keep Your Home California call center toll-free at (888) 954-5337 or to the bank who is holding your mortgage. Each of the mortgage assistance programs requires the participation of the mortgage servicer.

There are some stipulations for qualification such as owner occupant, income limits and currently facing a financial hardship.

As of Feb. 9, the following servicers are participating in all four Keep Your Home California programs:

  • GMAC
  • Guild Mortgage
  • California Housing Finance Agency
  • California Department of Veterans Affairs

Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, CitiMortgage and Wells Fargo are currently participating in some, but not all programs at this time. Be persistent if you contact one of these lenders to find the right department to help you. In each one of these institutions there are many departments, and most times they are not aware of the programs available.

Also, if you mortgage company is not on the above list, check the website as it is anticipated that more lenders will be coming on board.

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Qualifying for a Home Loan – How Much Can I Afford

What Can I Qualify For to Buy A House

While the regulations for financing a home today have gotten more stringent, this is not a bad thing. The fear that some people cannot get a loan is in my opinion ludicrous. I say that because the criteria for getting a home loan is back to where it was prior to the “free money for everyone”.

  • FHA has extended the loan limits for buyers to help those who are qualified to purchase a home, which is a big plus for first time buyers
  • Interest rates are still unbelievably low. (I have worked in markets when the rates dropped to 10% we were elated…and people were still buying homes)
  • Non conforming and conforming loans are plentiful

The criteria for any loan today (2010) is as a buyer you have to qualify – enough income, limited debt and good credit. Just because your credit history is not perfect, does not mean you cannot get a loan.

I insist that all buyers who want to work with me get “pre-approved” by a lender. Not pre-qualified – but approved. The pre-approval will help you the buyer and me the real estate agent focus on properties you can afford and will be able to buy. Listing agents and sellers want assurance before accepting your offer that you are qualified to close the deal. Most listing agents will not even present an offer to their Seller without the “pre approval letter”.

How Do Lenders Determine How Much I Will Qualify For

Income to Debt Ratio

The percentage of one’s debt to income is one of the most important factors when underwriting a loan and the two criteria to determine what you will qualify for are:.

  • House payment: Not to exceed 30% of monthly gross income (income before taxes).  If you are setting up an escrow account and putting less than 20% down, your payment will include taxes, homeowners insurance and mortgage insurance. The total number is taken into account, not just the principal and interest.
  • House Payment plus minimum monthly revolving and installment debt – not to exceed 35-41% of gross monthly income (the variance will depend on the source of financing with FHA loans allowing for a higher back end ratio).

As an Example

$10,000 gross monthly income. The maximum mortgage payment is: $10,000 x .30 = $3,000 maximum monthly mortgage payment

Total credit cards & car payments $1,500/month– – $10,000 x .40 = $4,000 maximum amount for house payment and debt. Based on these numbers the maximum mortgage a person would qualify for is $2,500.

Affordability Calculator

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Down Payment: $
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Mortgage Calculator


What Are The Estimated Closing Costs

Closing costs vary from county to county and state to state. This is just an estimate to let you know some of the costs involved in purchasing a home that is beyond the down payment. Many buyers are unaware there are closing costs.

Closing Cost Estimator

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