CA Dominates Zillow Study of Depreciating Markets

Real estate markets in California dominate a list of metro areas with the steepest percentage-based decline in home values over the past five years.

Data prepared by online real estate valuation and search company Zillow — based on the company’s home-value estimates and its Zillow Home Value Index, which is generated from those value estimates — reveals that six of the 10 metros with the most severe 5-year fall in value are in California, while two are in Florida and the other markets are in Arizona and Nevada.

The five-year declines in estimated value range from 67.6 percent to 55.6 percent, while the estimated dollar-value declines range from to $382,115 to $125,243.

Seattle-Area Home Prices Increase in June

Seattle-area home prices rose in June for the second straight month, according to the Case-Shiller home-price index.

Nationally, the index was up for the third straight month, numbers for June released Tuesday showed.

In the Seattle metropolitan area, which includes King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, prices rose 0.7 percent between May and June, according to Case-Shiller. The 20-city composite index — which includes Seattle — was up 1.1 percent for the month.

Mortgage Market in Review


The mortgage interest rate markets are subject to an enormous number of factors. Most analysts agree that weather can have an effect on market activity. Although the effects are seldom long lasting, they can be quite significant.

The United States is the world’s largest exporter of corn. Relatively rainy weather across the Midwest portions of the United States can delay the planting of corn. This often causes corn prices to escalate. Sometimes corn farmers plant more acres of corn than analysts expect. Larger corn crops can cause prices to fall. Lower corn prices can carry over to lower food prices for some items. The weather also has the potential to directly alter fuel prices. As we enter the hurricane season, many oil and gas fields in the Gulf along with refineries along coasts are susceptible to damage. If this were to occur, oil prices would almost surely rise sharply. Rising oil prices would do little to help keep inflationary fears in check. The result would most likely be higher rates.

(Information provided by Trevor Reese of Wells Fargo)

2011 Superconforming Loan Limits

The new limits are technically only good through December 31, 2011. It is entirely possible that the limits may change again for 2012. (Information provided by David Henn of Landover Mortgage)

Overlake Hospital is Expanding

Overlake Hospital Medical Center announced Thursday that it plans to open two new clinics in Redmond in the next six months.

The facilities include an urgent care center in the Creekside Crossing development at 17209 Redmond Way and a primary care clinic in Redmond Town Center at 7525 166th Ave. NE, Suite 105. The urgent care clinic is set to open this December, while the primary care center is scheduled to open in January 2012.

Overlake is also planning to open a clinic in downtown Kirkland at 290 Central Way. That clinic is set to open Oct. 17.

Patient care services at the primary care clinics will include same-day and walk-in appointments, comprehensive care for adults, immunizations, physical exams, acute care and chronic disease management. The Redmond urgent care clinic will include 10 exam rooms and a full-service imaging center with digital X-ray, CT and ultrasound.

Over the past two years, Overlake has focused on adding new primary care clinics and expanding its physician network to better serve patients in convenient locations close to where they live and work.

“At Overlake, we’re looking for ways to provide Eastside residents with better access to convenient and cost-effective medical care,” Alan Ertle, Overlake’s chief medical officer and vice president of network development, said in a statement. “Primary care and urgent care are two of the most efficient ways to access healthcare services, and both help patients actively manage their health with a focus on wellness and prevention.”
(Information Via Overlake News Release)

Home Mortgage Interest Deductions at Risk?

If you take mortgage-interest tax deductions, the next 100 days could have significant financial implications for you, thanks to Congress’ federal debt-ceiling plan.

Though the compromise legislation involved no new taxes, it created an unusual mechanism — an evenly split, 12-member bipartisan super-committee — that could call for major cutbacks in real-estate write-offs by Thanksgiving.

All it will take is a single vote by a lone senator or House member who breaks with his or her party to put the mortgage-interest deduction into serious play.

Here is what’s about to unfold and how it could affect you:

The legislation signed by the president Aug. 2 calls for a two-step increase in the federal debt ceiling plus spending cuts of about $917 billion. It also created the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction with the goal of slashing an additional $1.5 trillion from the deficit over the coming decade.

Some Advisers Are Recommending Real Estate Investing

With the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 400 points today, and many market experts predicting more volatility ahead, some advisers are recommending their clients put some of their cash to another use: To buy that house or summer home at the shore.

Potential homebuyers certainly have plenty of incentives: Home prices are still way down in many parts of the country, and mortgage rates are nearing their all-time lows. Consider: The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell 1 basis point this week, to 4.45 percent — just a few basis points above the record low hit in October 2010, according to the national survey of large lenders. Freddie Mac, meanwhile, reported today that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.15% for the week ended Aug. 18, its lowest reported rate in 50 years.

3 WA Cities Make Money Magazine’s Best Small Town List

Money magazine on Monday published its 2011 list of “100 best places to live in America,” highlighting small towns across the country with populations of 50,000 or less. For the annual cover story, which hits stands on Aug. 19, Money looked for places with the optimal combination of job opportunities, fiscal strength, top-notch schools, safe streets, good health care, cultural and outdoor activities, and even nice weather.

7 Things You Should NOT Do When Applying for a Mortgage

This is a list of things to steer clear of when you are seeking to obtain financing for a home. If you do any of these things, please contact your loan officer immediately.
Even if you have been pre-qualified, we can help you re-qualify.
1. Don’t buy or lease an auto!
Lenders look carefully at your debt-to-income ratio. A large payment such as a car lease or purchase can greatly impact those ratios and prevent you from qualifying for a home loan.
2. Don’t move assets from one bank account to another!
These transfers show up as new deposits and complicate the application process, as you must then disclose and document the source of funds for each new account. The lender can verify each account as it currently exists. You can consolidate your accounts later if you need to.
3. Don’t change jobs!
A new job may involve a probation period, which must be satisfied before income from the new job can be considered for qualifying purposes.
4. Don’t buy new furniture or major appliances for your “new home”!
If the new purchases increase the amount of debt you are responsible for on a monthly basis, there is the possibility this may disqualify you from getting the loan, or cut down on the available funds you need to meet the closing costs.
5. Don’t run a credit report on yourself!
This will show as an inquiry on your lender’s credit report. Inquiries must be explained in writing.
6. Don’t attempt to consolidate bills before speaking with your lender!
The loan officer can advise you if this needs to be done.
7. Don’t pack or ship information needed for the loan application!
Important paperwork such as W-2 forms, divorce decrees, and tax returns should not be sent with your household goods. Duplicate copies take weeks to obtain, and could stall the closing date on your transaction.
Information courtesy of Rhys Evans of Landover Mortgage

King County Burn Ban Begins August 8

The county says the ban is due to dry conditions and will remain in effect through Friday, Sept. 30; propane self-contained stoves and barbecues still O.K.

A county-wide fire safety burn ban is declared by the King County Fire Marshal in coordination with the King County Fire Chiefs’ Association. This ban is prompted by ground conditions and forecasts calling for continued dry weather.