Existing-Home Sales Show Strong Gain In December!

January 27th, 2009

RISMEDIA, January 27, 2009-Existing-home sales rose unexpectedly while inventory declined, led by a surge of sales in the West, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Existing-home sales-including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops-jumped 6.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.74 million units in December from a downwardly revised pace of 4.45 million units in November, but are 3.5% below the 4.91 million-unit pace in December 2007.

For all of 2008 there were 4,912,000 existing-home sales, which was 13.1% below the 5,652,000 transactions recorded in 2007. This is the lowest volume since 1997 when there were 4,371,000 sales.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said home prices continue to fall significantly. “It appears some buyers are taking advantage of much lower home prices,” he said. “The higher monthly sales gain and falling inventory are steps in the right direction, but the market is still far from normal balanced conditions. Buyers will continue to have an edge over sellers for the foreseeable future.”

Total housing inventory at the end of December fell 11.7% to 3.68 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 9.3-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 11.2-month supply in November.

Yun said the market is underperforming and hurting the broader economy. “We’ve added 25 million people to our population over the past decade and housing affordability conditions are the best we’ve seen since 1973, but household formation is much lower than expected,” he said. “Consequently, there is a pent-up demand which could be unleashed with the right stimulus, including a non-repayable home buyer tax credit. The Obama administration and Congress need to move fast to stimulate a spring sales upturn which will help to stabilize home prices and set the foundation for a sustainable economic recovery.”

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $175,400 in December, which is 15.3% below December 2007 when the median was $207,000. There remains a significant downward distortion in the current median from a large number of distress sales at discounted prices, currently 45% of transactions; the median is where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less. For all of 2008, the median price was $198,600, down 9.3% from $219,000 in 2007.

NAR President Charles McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth, said it’s an excellent time for first-time home buyers with good jobs. “The typical buyer plans to stay in their home for 10 years, which is the correct approach in today’s market,” he said. “With historically low mortgage interest rates, flexible sellers, a large inventory, and homes that are selling for less than replacement construction costs in much of the country, buyers who’ve been on the fence should take a closer look at today’s market.”

McMillan added that first-time buyers may want to consider an FHA loan, which offers downpayments of 3.5% on a safe 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 5.29% in December from 6.09% in November; the rate was 6.10% in December 2007. Last week, Freddie Mac reported the 30-year rate was 5.12%.

Single-family home sales rose 7.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.26 million in December from a level of 3.98 million in November, but are 1.4% below a 4.32 million-unit pace in December 2007. For all of 2008, single-family sales fell 11.9% to 4,349,000.

The median existing single-family home price was $174,700 in December, down 14.8% from a year ago. For all of 2008, the single-family median was $197,100, which is 9.5% below 2007.

Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 2.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 480,000 units in December from 470,000 in November, but are 18.4% below the 588,000-unit level a year ago. For all of 2008, condo sales dropped 21.0% to 563,000 units.

The median existing condo price4 was $181,400 in December, down 18.3% from December 2007. For all of 2008, the median condo price was $210,000, which is 7.2% below 2007.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast slipped 1.4% to an annual pace of 720,000 in December, and are 14.3% below December 2007. The median price in the Northeast was $235,000, which is 7.8% lower than a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest increased 4.0% in December to a level of 1.04 million but are 10.3% below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $140,800, down 11.4% from December 2007.

In the South, existing-home sales rose 7.4% to an annual pace of 1.74 million in December, but are 11.2% lower than December 2007. The median price in the South was $158,600, which is down 8.0% from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West jumped 13.6% to an annual rate of 1.25 million in December and are 31.6% higher than a year ago. The median price in the West was $213,100, down 31.5% from December 2007.

For more information, visit www.Realtor.org.

For real estate info go to thefranzteam.com

Thought for the day!

January 27th, 2009

dcp_5619.JPG“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift.
That’s why we call it the present.” –Babatunde Olatunji

The Bradford

January 27th, 2009

This house is ready to move into as soon as you are ready. It has 1560 Sq. Ft. of main-floor living space which includes a formal dining room, a two-way fireplace between the living room and the large eat-in kitchen. The kitchen as an island where you can have your family help you with meal preparation and the many windows lets you enjoy the outdoors from the inside.
The large Master Suite includes a walk-in closet and the MBath has two sinks as well.
The 2 additional bedrooms allows you to have your children close by.
The three-car garage gives the man of the house lots of space for the family toys.
In addition to all those features, this house sits on the corner of a cul de sac street by the lake which has a walking path around it. Another ammenity is the future spray park and playground in this part of S Newton. Come and see and call 316-772-6605 for additional information and a private tour.

What a country gem!

January 26th, 2009

Country living at it’s best!This unique country property sits on almost 10 acres W of Hesston. It is a one-of-a-kind setting with lots of trees, private, large outbuilding with concrete floor and 2 overhead doors. The view through the large windows all along the south side of the living room gives you a feeling of peace and tranquility. If you look out long enough, you can see wildlife go by. The 5 BR, 3 1/2 BA house has a unique layout. Great for a family that loves to spend time outside and loves to invite friends for a BBQ out on the wrap-around porch and among the many trees. Your pets will love it.
Call for more detail information at 316-215-1964.

February Incentive to Buy a Home

January 23rd, 2009

Just to bring you up to date with what is happening in the real estate market in our area, we have some helpful information as you think about purchasing your home.

Low interest rates …. as low as 4.75% with a buy-down!

Buyer’s market….homes move-in ready!

Great incentives on new Spec Homes in SW Newton for the month of FEBRUARY:

1. A 50″ flat screen TV w/ surround sound package

2. Grass and/or yard landscaping package

3. Washer/Dryer and Refrigerator package

4. Window Coverings package

Some conditions apply–please call for full details.

The Franz Team is always looking our for you and ready to help you with your new home purchase!

Mortgage News

December 9th, 2008

What an Obama Administration Means to Your Mortgage:

The debates are done, the election is over, and on January 20, 2009, Barack Obama was inaugurated as President of the United States. No matter where you fall in the political spectrum, no one knows for sure exactly what this will mean to the future of our country. With this in mind, let’s put all politics aside, and take a closer look at Obama’s plan for our future. And since a home is still the biggest, most important investment you’ll ever make, we’ll focus the limited space of this short article on Obama’s basic housing measures.

More Economic Stimulus – Since trouble in the economy won’t wait until January 20th, plans for another economic stimulus package are already in the works, so we might even see this happen, in one form or another, before the next president takes office.

The new administration has also discussed a housing stimulus as well, to stem the tide of foreclosures, including a temporary 90–day freeze on foreclosures, as well as measures to address the demand side of the housing issue. This package includes $25 billion in state fiscal relief, which Mortgage Law Central says will help avoid “painful property tax increases.”

This administration also wants to “aggressively and comprehensively” implement the recently–passed rescue plan and the Hope for Homeowners Act. This means the Treasury, HUD, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and all of the banks and loan servicers who benefit from the rescue bill will continue to coordinate broad mortgage restructurings and loan modifications for struggling homeowners. No one knows for sure exactly how this will be implemented or what it even looks like yet, but we’ll keep you updated as the details are released.

Reformed Bankruptcy Laws – Obama has promised to repeal the 2005 bankruptcy bill. A controversial measure, this will allow judges to alter mortgage terms during a bankruptcy, providing more protection for struggling homeowners.

New Mortgage Interest Tax Credit – Obama is expected to create a 10% universal mortgage interest credit for those who don’t currently itemize. This means about $500 in savings for 10 million American homeowners.

Protection Against Mortgage Fraud and Predatory Lending – During the campaign, Obama blamed the financial crisis on lax government regulations, so look for tougher regulations, new criminal penalties for mortgage fraud violators, more funding for enforcement programs, more detailed loan disclosure laws, new counseling programs and other consumer protections, including a new Home Obligation Made Explicit (HOME) score (kind of like a new APR calculation) to help borrowers better understand and compare mortgage costs during the mortgage process.

This will go a long way in protecting new home buyers from the opportunists that have given good mortgage professionals a bad name. We hope that any new measures introduced by the Obama administration will help keep a new breed of copycats from invading the financial industry as the real estate market begins to change for the better in 2009 and beyond. From now until the end of the year, you can expect volatility to continue in the financial and credit markets. This means mortgage rates, too, so if you or anyone you know is looking to buy or sell a home, give The Franz Team a call. We can refer you to a lender who will be able to tailor a mortgage package for your specific needs.

Cartoon–”As Is”

December 9th, 2008

More truth than fiction!

Starbucks Coffee & Cozy Hot Cocoa!

November 18th, 2008

The Franz Team offered shelter from the cold! Shoppers stopped in for a FREE steaming hot cup of cocoa with marshmallows or whipped cream, or chose Starbucks coffee while they shopped downtown merchants in Newton, KS during the shopping extravaganza the past few weeks. Good times were had by all! Located on the cusp of the Main Street shopping avenue, the 500 Main Place Building is home to the Chamber of Commerce, RE/MAX Associates, Jasperson Chiropractic and several other businesses.

Mosey on in at your convenience and if you want to take advantage of the new lowered interest rates, now is the time to buy your new home!

The Franz Team

2 Trillion in Residential Mortgages Fund by year’s end

November 10th, 2008

The credit crunch, the credit squeeze, the credit crisis… You’ve seen the headlines. You’ve heard about the government’s $700 billion rescue plan to deal with it. But what does it mean to those looking to secure financing and take advantage of lower home prices? Can someone still get a mortgage in today’s volatile market?
The answer is yes, absolutely! While the credit markets have certainly tightened compared to two years ago, nearly $2 trillion of residential mortgages will have been funded in the US by the end of this year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. This means there is plenty of money available to potential borrowers who know how to properly position themselves for success.

To learn more, follow this link: http://www.allaboutnews.com/vc.php?a=y&b=38&i=245&rs=6b6f971ba6e66f3b3cc9182fbb

An Interest Free Loan??

October 23rd, 2008

In today’s ecomomic struggles, it is not often found that ordinary people go the extra mile to make helpful information available to first time homebuyers. However, you are about to meet a team of professionals who seek out ways to do just that.

Gary Franz, Associate Broker with RE/MAX Associates looks for ways to turn a negative market into a positive one. His key players, real estate agents Margie Wiens and Susan Swan make up a large part of The Franz Team along with 2 valuable assistants. They have teamed up with Mike Steele, a local lender with Primary Residential Mortgage.

While some Kansans read the news and follow the patterns of the media to focus on the downturn of the financial markets, Gary and his team have put together a First Time Home Buyers Seminar to educate the public about how it is still possible to obtain up to $7500 in an interest free loan from the government. This is timely because 1) this offer is for a limited time only, 2) this could help spur activity for the housing market in their little corner of the world, and 3) the terms are attractive!

What are the incentives? Why take advantage of this great offer now? Because if you have been renting for a number of years and are tired of watching your money be used to profit someone else, you won’t want to miss an educational seminar to benefit your family and springboard yourself into making your own future a reality.

What is it? A First Time Home Buyer’s Educational Forum
Where? 137 SpringLake Drive, SpringLake Development, Newton Ks
When? Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Time? 7:00 pm–Please RSVP to 316 772 6605
What will you receive? Education to make an informed decision, as well as finding out how easy it could be to get pre- qualified for a mortgage loan, and the opportunity to look at homes in your price range. But that’s not all! You will even get to have beverages,dessert, and enter your name for a drawing to be given away before you leave that evening!

If this sounds like something you would like to know more about, call 316-283-1000 and ask to speak to a member of The Franz Team or email garyfranz@sbcglobal.net