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Whittier Real Estate Forecast for 2013

by The Domis Team

California saw healthy gains in home prices during 2012. Will the positive trend continue into 2013? Let's take a look at some of the facts and forecasts for housing in 2013!

First of all, the Federal budget debate is creating economic concerns that could impact the nation as a whole. If the economy pulls back and we see a drop in employment, naturally there could be a dampening effect on housing. This would be aside from fiscal policies that directly affect real estate. All we can do for the moment is focus on the fundamentals, and remember that the market is subject to change.

On to the good news. Freddie Mac's chief economist expects that mortgage interest rates will remain below 4% for most of 2013. Home prices nationwide are expected to rise up to 3%.  New housing starts should reach 1 million units in 2013.

With this projection in mind, let's look at California's pending home sales. Purchase contracts in November 2012 were up by 9.8% compared to November 2011. November's activity was also an increase of 1.9% over the previous month. The momentum going into 2013 could position us for a strong year in home sales statewide.

Locally, both Whittier home sales activity and prices are above what we saw a year ago. The volume of home sales increased by 36% during 2012. Current home asking prices are 22% higher than a year ago, which indicates that some sellers are testing the price threshold of the market.

There will be some challenges ahead in 2013 for both Whittier home buyers and home sellers. Mortgage interest rates are expected to remain low, but mortgage underwriting requirements will remain tough. Home prices are improving, but home appraisals are still very conservative. Our Whittier real estate market is likely to continue its upward trend, but restrictive lending and stingy appraisals will keep it from becoming a runaway train.

Need to know what's happening with home prices in your neighborhood? Contact us for the best in local expertise! We will give you courteous, professional guidance for Whittier real estate!

All the best to you in 2013!

The Domis Team
Prudential California Realty
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New Year's Resolution Debt Reduction Tips for Whittier, CA!

by The Domis Team

The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, but they can also be the most expensive time of the year! Credit cards make it easy to be generous when buying gifts or hosting parties, but paying off the debt can be difficult.

High balances on your credit cards can hurt your ability to be approved for a mortgage, and can adversely affect your credit score. Here are tips on how to tackle your credit card debt:

1. If you are struggling with your bills, seek help through the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. They can help you form a budget, and they may be able to negotiate solutions with your creditors.

2. Pull a copy of your credit history from annualcreditreport.com and verify the accuracy of the data.

3. Organize your debts according to the highest balance and highest interest rate.

4. Tackle the credit card with the highest outstanding balance and highest rate first. This is the account doing the most damage in interest charges. Make the minimum payments on other debts in the meantime.

5. Once the most expensive card is paid off, re-direct the monthly payment towards the next largest account, and so on.

6. If necessary, consider borrowing against your 401k in order to pay off large credit cards. This strategy must be used with caution. If you do not have the discipline to stop using your credit cards, you could end up increasing your total debt and have less cash flow to deal with it. There are also tax repercussions if you fail to repay a 401k loan.

On the plus side, borrowing against your 401k can help you remove toxic debts and quickly improve your monthly cash flow. Crunch the numbers and be honest about your abilities.

7. Be aware that closing your accounts can actually hurt your credit score. Paying them off is ok; but going the formal route of closing them can cost you points. It's better to simply cut up the cards or put them away to avoid temptation.

By creating a budget and acting upon a debt reduction strategy, you can take control of your finances during 2013! This could enable you to buy a Whittier home and accomplish other long-term goals.

When you are ready to buy or sell a home, turn to us! At the Domis Team, we have the local expertise and the friendly, professional service you can count on. Whether you need a comparative market analysis to find your home value, or you'd like to visit Whittier homes for sale, we are here to help you! Contact us today for the Whittier real estate guidance you can trust!

The Domis Team
Prudential California Realty
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November Sales Show Big Annual Gains in California Home Prices

by The Domis Team

There's more good news for Whittier home sellers in the latest report from the California Association of Realtors! California home sales in November posted the highest median price gains since 2004, based on year-to-year averages.

Statewide, the median price of an existing, single-family home in California increased 2.3% in November. Home prices in November 2012 are up 24.8% compared to median prices during November 2011. This marks the 9th consecutive month of annual price increases and the 5th consecutive month of double-digit annual gains

Homes also sold faster during November 2012, with the median number of days on market falling to 37.5 days. During November 2011, homes spent an average of 56.6 days on market.

The "bad" news in the good news continues to be a limited supply of homes for sale. Given the pace of sales, California has about 3.1 months of supply on the market. A year ago, the supply of homes for sale averaged 5.3 months of market inventory. While this helps boost home prices, limited inventories can be frustrating and discouraging to California home buyers.

Here are some examples of our regional market conditions:

  • Home prices in the Los Angeles Metropolitan area are up 21.7% from November 2011.
  • Los Angeles County home prices are up 15.7% from November 2011.
  • Orange County home prices are up 15.9% from November 2011.
  • Home inventory supply for Los Angeles County: 2.9 months
  • Home inventory supply for Orange County: 3.3 months

Please keep in mind that these are broad averages, and our local conditions in Whittier, La Habra and La Mirada can vary by city, neighborhood and street. On the whole, our regional market conditions are in line with statewide averages, and this gives you a starting point.

What's happening with the market in YOUR neighborhood? Contact us for the latest sales reports for the  Whittier housing market! We will be happy to share the latest home sales data for your neighborhood!

When you are thinking of buying or selling a home, get the local expertise you can trust! Let the Domis Team show you the wonderful real estate opportunities available in our markets today! Whether you need information about your current home value, or you just have a few questions, you can always expect the best in courteous, professional service!

The Domis Team
Prudential California Realty
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Improving Home Buyer Confidence Seen in Whittier Real Estate Market

by The Domis Team

Home buyer confidence has improved throughout California, according to the 2012 Survey of California Buyers conducted by the California Association of Realtors®.

The survey revealed that 25% of all home buyers believed that home prices will continue to rise in the upcoming year. A year ago, only 8% of home buyers expected price increases to occur in the near-term.

Home buying market trends in Whittier show proof of this confidence. During November 2012, Whittier homes spent an average of only 39 days on market. Home prices are up an average of 4.5% from November 2011. Low home inventory continues to present a challenge.

What factors are driving home buyer behavior in California? According to the survey, these are the key elements:

  • Improved home affordability was a motivator for 45% of buyers.
  • Collectively, California buyers believed that home prices were unlikely to drop.
  • Favorable mortgage rates and terms influenced 11% of home buyers to take action.

Home buyers also reported that mortgage loan approval remained a headache. Down payments of 25% are common among survey respondents. When asked to rate the scale of difficulty for mortgage approval on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most difficult, the responses averaged a rating of 8.5.

While the survey contains encouraging facts, the difficulty in mortgage lending continues to be a barrier for many home buyers. FHA-backed mortgages remain the most viable financing option for buyers who lack the down payment amounts for a conventional mortgage.

Are you thinking of buying a home in Whittier, La Habra or La Mirada? Start by working with the Domis Team! As your friendly, experienced local real estate professionals, we can put you in touch with reputable mortgage lenders, and help you find the best home buying opportunities in today's market!

Let our professional guidance make your home buying experience a success! Contact us today for the best in Whittier real estate service!

The Domis Team
Prudential California Realty
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Will New Taxes Affect Whittier Real Estate?

by The Domis Team

Look out below! The "fiscal cliff" is looming, causing home buyers and home sellers in Whittier to hold their breath. We're going to clear up a tax misconception and discuss the what-ifs.

For example, the 3.8% "Medicare tax" is not being applied to all home sales.The 3.8% tax is a form of capital gains tax. If the home was your primary residence for at least 2 years, the first $250,000 of profit is exempt from this tax. If you are married filing jointly, that exclusion doubles to $500,000.

You can learn more about how this works by visiting Realtor.org. See point #4 for how the tax applies to certain real estate situations. In a nutshell, this is a capital gains tax that is not limited to real estate, but it has been misrepresented by the media.

Next, there are fears about the removal of mortgage interest from eligible income tax deductions.There is a proposal to reduce or eliminate this income tax deduction for those making more than $250,000 per year.

We can assure you that the National Association of Realtors, the National Association of Home Builders and the Mortgage Bankers Association are united in opposition. Any reduction of the tax benefits could slow the markets, and potentially affect home values across the board.

What about the worst-case scenario, if there is no budget agreement and we plunge over the fiscal cliff? This would be a devastating one-two punch of broad tax increases and massive spending cuts. If the economy tanks and unemployment goes up as a result, more homeowners could default on mortgages. No one wants this, and most economists expect that our elected representatives will find a way to avoid it.

What does it all mean for Whittier real estate? No matter what happens, you still need a place to live, and being at the mercy of your landlord during uncertain times will not be preferable to owning a home. It is understandable to wait a bit, but rather than assume the sky is falling, you should make real estate plans based upon your personal needs. There is only so much you can control, and sitting on the fence seldom helps.

When you are ready to buy or sell a home, turn to us! At the Domis Team, we have the local expertise and the friendly, professional service you can count on. Whether you need a comparative market analysis to find your home value, or you'd like to visit Whittier homes for sale, we are here to help you! Contact us today for the Whittier real estate guidance you can trust!

The Domis Team
Prudential California Realty
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Photo of Linda & Ryan Domis - The Domis Team Real Estate
Linda & Ryan Domis - The Domis Team
Keller Williams Realty
16310 E. Whittier Blvd. Suite F
Whittier CA 90603
Cell: 562-884-5373
Cell:562-458-6947
Fax: 562.902.5158
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