Nevada City Virtual Tour

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Country Christmas Fair Nevada County

November 25, 26 and 27

Nevada County Fairgrounds

GIFTS AND CRAFTS GALORE: With multiple buildings filled with thousands of unique gifts and crafts, you'll find something for everyone on your list - plus a little something for yourself.

FESTIVITIES: In between shopping, enjoy strolling carolers, the magical gingerbread house display, wagon rides, delicious food, the bell ringing RiverBells, and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Or, for a slower pace, grab a cup of hot chocolate and a bag of kettle corn and sit and enjoy the bonfire. We've even got some chestnuts roasting on an open fire!

FREE BABYSITTING AND ERRAND ELVES: The Northern Mines Girl Scouts will offer free babysitting so parents can drop off their children while they enjoy holiday shopping. Errand elves will also be available to assist you throughout the event.

CANNED FOOD DRIVE: The Nevada County Fairgrounds has teamed up with HOPE (Help Other People Eat) for a canned Food Drive. Bring a can of food on Sunday, November 27, from 10 am to 4 pm, and get $1 off Sunday's admission price. All food donated will help feed those in need in Nevada County.


Friday, November 25 from 10 am - 5 pm

Saturday, November 26 from 10 am - 5 pm

Sunday, November 27 from 10 am - 4 pm

Admission: $4 for adults and free for children 12 and under. Parking is $5; however, Faire-goers will receive one free admission for each paid parking pass.

For information, visit or call (530) 273-6217.

Gingerbread House Competition

Now is the time for holiday bakers to think about the creation of a magical Gingerbread House to enter into the 9th annual Gingerbread House Competition held at the Country Christmas Faire.

Competitors may enter any of the 11 categories, including children, teens, adults, special needs, families, groups and businesses. There is even a category for children under 8 years of age who want to enter a house made by a kit.

Entry forms must be received at the Fairgrounds by Friday, November 18; the actual gingerbread house entry must be delivered to the Fairgrounds on Tuesday, November 22. All Gingerbread House exhibitors will receive two free passes to the Country Christmas Faire.

Entry forms and a complete list of rules can be picked up at the Fairgrounds office on McCourtney Road, or downloaded here. For more information, call (530) 273-6217.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mortgage Rates Head Lower Making Another Record

As the financial crisis hit a high in Europe last week, here in the U.S. mortgage rates headed lower making another all time record. The potential of a Greek default held everyone's attention even as some positive data was being released for the U.S. economy. By Friday, the results of this turmoil caused low mortgage rates to decrease even further. A survey of wholesale and direct lenders show that some mortgage rates declined from .125% to .500% bringing most of them once again to historical lows.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monthly mortgage payment almost 40% cheaper than 2006

Housing affordability improved dramatically because of declines in both prices and mortgage interest rates, according to David Stiff, chief economist at Fiserv .

"The monthly mortgage payment for a median-priced single-family home is now $700, compared to $1,140 in 2006 — a decline of nearly 40%," he said in comments on the latest release from Fiserv.

Home prices in the U.S. will decline 3.6% into mid-2012 and then rebound 2.4% in second half 2012 through the first half 2013, according to Fiserv Case-Shiller projections.

Fiserv’s indices look at home price trends in 384 U.S. markets. Prices fell in 340 markets, with 302 of them hitting new lows in the second quarter.

The National Association of Realtors found a similar trend. On Wednesday, the trade group revealed that the median price on existing home sales fell in most of the 150 metropolitan areas surveyed by the organization in the third quarter.

Price declines and low mortgage rates have resulted in a ratio of monthly mortgage payments to median family income that is the lowest on record based on Fiserv analytics.
Why not check out some Nevada County houses?

Friday, November 11, 2011

4% Mortgage Unreal

Government efforts to make lenders pay for soured mortgages may be keeping potential borrowers from record-low interest rates, slowing home sales and refinancing as banks tighten standards to avoid more demands for refunds.
Lenders are insisting on higher credit scores and more documents than required by the Federal Housing Administration and government-backed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Quicken Loans Inc. and Vision Mortgage Capital are among firms saying they are increasing scrutiny of would-be borrowers in response to pressure to cover losses incurred on U.S.-backed housing debt.

Mortgage rates as low as 3.94 percent are proving insufficient to revive housing. Sales of existing homes fell 3 percent last month, National Association of Realtors data show, and 18 percent of the group’s members reported contract cancellations, at least twice as high as in normal circumstances. Among the reasons were refusals of loan applications after appraisals came in below sales prices.

Faulty mortgage lending and foreclosure practices have cost the five biggest U.S. home lenders more than $68 billion since 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News. Much of the amount has stemmed from losses tied to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA, which together buy or insure more than 90 percent of new mortgages.

“Documentation standards are getting more and more onerous because no one wants to manufacture an imperfect loan, even if the imperfection is really insignificant,” said Quicken Loans CEO Bill Emerson, who leads the eighth-largest U.S. home lender and No. 1 online mortgage originator.

President Barack Obama’s latest push to help more borrowers refinance into cheaper rates may hinge on the effectiveness of changes to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac repurchase rights. FHFA acting Director Edward DeMarco told reporters yesterday that the companies would offer “substantial” relief from buyback demands without providing “blanket or absolute” protection as they expand the federal Home Affordable Refinance Program for borrowers with little or no equity in their houses.

While the average rate on a 30-year fixed loan was 4.11 percent in the week ended Oct. 20, the historically low costs don’t capture the “very, very harsh underwriting standards” that potential home buyers face, said Ron Peltier, CEO of HomeServices of America, the property brokerage owned by billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. The process is “the most embarrassing, difficult thing you can imagine,” Peltier said in an Oct. 13 interview at Bloomberg headquarters in New York.

The average time between mortgage application and closing rose to about 52 days last year, three weeks longer than in 2008, according to J.D. Power and Associates surveys.
Pressure from the GSEs has “definitely stanched the flow of credit to the mortgage market, but we had clearly gone too far,” said Richard Eckert, an analyst in San Francisco at securities firm B. Riley & Co. who wrote research on subprime lenders during the housing boom and then joined a hedge fund betting against property loans during the collapse. “We’ve got to return to some kind of happy balance.”
Bank of America Corp. (BAC) has scaled back mortgage lending as CEO Brian T. Moynihan prepares for new capital requirements and grapples with demands that it compensate investors including Fannie Mae and Freddie for losses.

While the FHA allows down payments as low as 3.5 percent from borrowers whose credit scores are at least 580, lenders are setting the bar higher, such as at 620, he said.

Lenders “feel like they’re being held accountable for things beyond their control,” he said. “The only thing the industry can do is tighten up on the front end.”

The unit of Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania-based Continental Bank also started taking additional looks at consumers’ credit files shortly before completing loans, based on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guidance, Lowrie said. It finds more situations like the potential borrower who took out a new car lease while waiting for the application to clear, “and now that loan’s going back to underwriting again,” she said.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Why own a home rather than rent? It's more than about money.

The Joys of Owning a Home
Experts talk about the latest statistics about long-term wealth, home values, and interest rates, yet there's a much more sentimental side to home ownership.

In fact, many home buyers are drawn to home ownership for these warm and fuzzy reasons.
Owning a home allows you to put down roots, both figuratively and literally. On one hand you become part of a neighborhood and community. When you rent, neighbors come and go as quickly as leases renew. Homeowners, however, tend to stay put longer.

What does this mean for you? You can develop, many times, lifelong relationships. This also means your home will see you through many of life's important milestones.

It makes sense. Many people enter the realm of home ownership as young couples looking to build a nest. They plan on starting their own family and need room to expand and grow. These family homes will see many firsts and will be the container of countless memories. Additionally, home ownership gives families more room to entertain and this means extended family will also share in building memories.

It's not just young families, though, that seek home ownership. Families with teenagers seek larger homes to room their growing brood. Retiring adults may wish to start a new phase and new memories, seeking out warmer climates or smaller, more manageable homes.

These little moments are what life is all about. Memories from Christmas mornings and summer vacations will fill minds for years to come.

On the other hand you literally can put down roots by planting trees and shrubs! Renters are rarely allowed to do much gardening. Digging up the landlord's yard is frowned upon. As a homeowner you are able to create your own green oasis, including trees that will mature alongside your children and gardens.

There is a certain pride that comes with home ownership. This little piece of property and land is yours. This security allows people to form deep attachments to both the land and home.

This pride of ownership spurs many owners to make improvements and additions, both to keep the home in working order and to make it more comfortable and usable, which in turns improves neighborhood values and overall curb appeal.

Why do people buy? They may be initially motivated by changes in circumstance, such as a new job or a new family, but they buy based on emotional responses. People want a house that can become their home, where they'll fill it with good times and memories. Be sure to remember this sentimental side of home ownership the next time you read about stocks, bonds, and housing woes.

Monday, November 7, 2011

How Bad Is The Credit Damage After Short Sale Or Foreclosure?

How much impact does a short sale have on FICO® Scores? How about a foreclosure? Since I frequently hear these questions from clients and others, I thought I’d share new FICO research that sheds light on this very subject.

The FICO study simulated various types of mortgage delinquencies on three representative credit bureau profiles of consumers scoring 680, 720 and 780, respectively. I say “representative profiles” because we focused on consumers whose credit characteristics (e.g., utilization, delinquency history, age of file) were typical of the three score points considered. All consumers had an active currently-paid-as-agreed mortgage on file.
All in all, we saw:
The magnitude of FICO® Score impact is highly dependent on the starting score.

There’s no significant difference in score impact between short sale/deed-in-lieu/settlement and foreclosure.

While a score may begin to improve sooner, it could take up to 7-10 years to fully recover, assuming all other obligations are paid as agreed.

In general, the higher starting score, the longer it takes for the score to fully recover.

Even if there’s minimal difference in score impact between moderate and severe delinquencies, there may be significant difference in time required for the score to fully recover.

This study provides good benchmarks of score impact from mortgage delinquencies. However, it is important to note that research was done only on select consumer credit profiles. Given the wide range of credit profiles that exist, results may vary beyond what’s in the charts above.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Existing-Home Sales Off in September but Higher Than a Year Ago

Existing-Home Sales Off in September but Higher Than a Year Ago

Washington, DC, October 20, 2011
Existing-home sales were down in September on the heels of a strong gain in August, but remain well above a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
Total existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family, town homes, condominiums and co-ops, declined 3.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.91 million in September from an upwardly revised 5.06 million in August, but are 11.3 percent above the 4.41 million unit pace in September 2010.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the market has been stable although at low levels, and there is plenty of room for improvement. “Existing-home sales have bounced around this year, staying relatively close to the current level in most months,” he said. “The irony is affordability conditions have improved to historic highs and more creditworthy borrowers are trying to purchase homes, but the share of contract failures is double the level of September 2010. Even so, the volume of successful buyers is higher than a year ago and is remaining fairly stable – this speaks to an unfulfilled demand.”

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