The Collected Works of Author and Blogger Larry Roberts

Archive for January, 2016

With housing markets only now reaching the peak of the housing bubble, many have been trapped in their homes for over 10 years. In 2005 most people who bought their first homes believed they won the lottery. In the five preceding years, house prices more than doubled, and since most people extrapolate short-term price movements to infinity, most homebuyers in 2005 believed they were on their way to being billionaires. It didn't work out that way. Most people who bought in 2005 are only now above water -- and that assumes they had an amortizing loan and dutifully made all their payments. Those with loan modifications had the fees and missed payments tacked on to their mortgage balance, and many…[READ MORE]

The OC Housing News published its monthly housing market report, covering resale home prices and rental rates across Southern California. IRVINE, Calif., January 2, 2016 – OC Housing News Riverside County Housing Market Report: January 2016 Historically, properties in this market sell at a 18.5% discount. Today's discount is 23.5%. This market is 4.9% undervalued. Median home price is $306,900 with a rental parity value of $397,300. This market's discount is $90,400. Monthly payment affordability has been improving over the last 3 month(s). Momentum suggests improving affordability. Resale prices on a $/SF basis increased from $172/SF to $173/SF. Resale prices have been rising for 2 month(s). Over the last 12 months, resale prices rose 4.9% indicating a longer term upward…[READ MORE]

Foreign investment costs politicians nothing, and it provides them tangible and taxable assets. Have you ever gone to an Irvine new home model center and seen buses of foreign tourists on a shopping spree? I have, and I suspect many others have seen the same thing. Anecdotally, Irvine homebuilders report 80% or more of their sales are to foreign nationals, particularly the Chinese. These buyers are purchasing homes largely as investments, and in the process they crowd out or price out a local working family who wants to buy a home. Given this strongly negative consequence to rampant foreign buying, why do politicians support it? First, politicians care about large voter blocks, and the only people upset by this problem…[READ MORE]

A willingness to walk away from any negotiation is essential to avoid overpaying for a house, or anything else for that matter. Negotiating the sale of residential real estate should be no more difficult than negotiating the sale of any other product or service without a fixed price; however, since houses cost so much, and since people get emotionally involved in the transaction, negotiating to by a family home is much more difficult. The principles of negotiation may be the same, but since the cost of houses is so large, even small mistakes can be extremely costly. If someone overpays for a car, it may cost them a few hundred or a few thousand dollars -- painful, but manageable. If…[READ MORE]

New York bankers refused to foreclose on properties in New York city to preserve the housing values in their own neighborhoods. As Bernie Sanders recently pointed out, a cadre of major banks in the United States issue more than 35% of all home mortgages, and when you consider how many they service, the numbers go much higher, providing the too-big-to-fail banks significant influence over the housing market. When housing went bust back in 2007 and 2008, lenders foreclosed on the subprime mortgages that defaulted first, partly because this was their established loss mitigation procedure, and partly because no bankers were subprime borrowers, so they didn't give a shit about what happened to them. As a result, areas dominated by subprime…[READ MORE]

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