Are Home Prices Going Up?

home pricesThere is little doubt that house prices have appreciated over the last twelve months in most regions of the country. However, with both the inventory of homes for sale and interest rates increasing, we have to be careful to not over judge what the market can bear.

Trulia just reported that asking prices have jumped dramatically and the increase is accelerating:

  • Year-Over-Year prices      jumped 10.7%
  • Quarter-Over-Quarter      prices jumped 4.1% (16.4% annualized)
  • Month-Over-Month prices      jumped 1.5% (18% annualized)

These types of increases in other parts of California have sellers in Mammoth Lakes thinking they can ask more for their property.  While prices do seem to be slowing increasing here, it is not the time to get carried away with current headlines about home price increases elsewhere in the state.  What matters most is what is happening here in Mammoth Lakes today.

Let’s look at a snap shot today versus this same time last year.

July 2012

July 2013

Median   Price

$327,000

$336,000

Median   Days on Market

96

76

#   of Active Listings

119

178

Of course, these numbers fluctuate daily.  However, one constant is both the median days on market and inventory levels are decreasing.    In terms of prices, they were relatively flat in 2012 and in 2013 they appear to be trending up.  What does this mean to you?    Anyone interested in buying should increase their search and identify a property before prices go higher.    This may be challenging with the limited inventory.  Sellers can expect to get more than they would have last year.    Of course, there is no crystal ball.  My advice, if you find something you love now is the time to make that offer.

Sonja Bush is a licensed California real estate broker.  As a Broker Associate with Mammoth Village Properties located at The Village in Mammoth, Sonja works with buyers and sellers in the Eastern Sierra.  Sonja can be reached at Sonja@sonjabush.com or www.sonjabush.com.

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Mammoth Lakes Real Estate Market Update

market analysisThe first half of 2013 has been a roller coaster ride as far as home prices and the number of listings we have seen in the Mammoth Lakes area.  Average listing prices are down while median sales prices in Mammoth are up.

So, how is the market in Mammoth Lakes? There are several different data points to review when answering this question including median price, days on market and total inventory sold.   Below is a snapshot of the last two years closed transaction in Mammoth Lakes and 2013 so far.

Condos  

2013 (as of 6/19)

2012

2011

Median   Sold Price

$255,000

$244,000

$242,000

Median   Days on Market

107

123

98

Total Condos SOLD

155

299

309

Single   Family Homes

2013 (as of 6/19)

2012

2011

Median   Sold Price

$570,000

$575,000

$560,000

Median   Days on Market

123

181

120

Total SF Homes SOLD

38

91

75

While this information is useful in observing trends, the current inventory must also be considered.  Below is a snapshot of the available properties available today:

CURRENTLY LISTED

Condos

Single Family Homes

Median   Price

$330,000

$806,250

Median   Days on Market

91

92

Total   Available Today

106

66

In summary, both condos and single family homes are selling more quickly and at a higher price in 2013 than in the previous two years.   The total number of sales is trending similar to 2012.  Inventory levels  for condos is low (down 12% from January).   Single family home inventory is relatively flat so far this year.   Based on actual closed sales so far this year, the trend indicates there will be more condos sold this year than last.   Of course, inventory is needed to continue the trend.

Mammoth Lakes has historically followed Orange County and San Diego by 6-8 months.  These areas are still in an upward cycle.   The average price per square foot in Anaheim, CA is up 19.1 percent compared to this time last year.  The median home sales price in Anaheim increased 22.4 percent compared to this time last year as well.  Mammoth Lakes saw an increase of 0.1% in median home sales prices compared to this time last year.  With Mammoth about 6-8 months behind Anaheim and Orange County, California, an upswing may well be indicated here as well.

According to the National Association of Realtors, national sales are up from a year ago in median-priced homes and higher-priced homes.  Sales in the lowest priced category were down in the West, South, and Northeast due to limited inventory in this price range.    The national gain in median home prices is the best year-over-year performance in over seven years according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors.  Will the upward trend continue?  Time will tell.

What does this mean to you?  Prices are trending up.  Anyone interested in buying should increase their search and identify a property before prices go higher.    This may be challenging with the limited inventory.  Sellers can expect to get more than they would have last year.    Of course, there is no crystal ball.  My advice, if you find something you love now is the time to make that offer.

For other articles written by Sonja Bush, visit http://www.SonjaBush.com

Sonja Bush is a licensed California real estate broker.  As a Broker Associate with Mammoth Village Properties located at The Village in Mammoth, Sonja works with buyers and sellers in the Eastern Sierra.  Sonja can be reached at Sonja@sonjabush.com or www.sonjabush.com.

Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act of 2007 Extended

taxesThe Internal Revenue Service’s Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act of 2007  has been extended through the end of 2013. What does this mean?

You probably recall the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 allows certain taxpayers to exclude income connected with the discharge of debt on a primary residence.  This includes debt that has been reduced through the restructuring of a mortgage as well as mortgage debt forgiven in connection with foreclosure, short sale, or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.

The recent extension comes as part of the vote that passed so we do not go over the “fiscal cliff.”  This vote should motivate potential short sale sellers to list and sell their homes in 2013.

According to the IRS (Tax Tip 2011-44), here are 10 facts that the IRS wants people to know about Mortgage Debt Forgiveness. (Information courtesy of the IRS. Please check with your tax advisor/CPA regarding your specific situation.)

  1. Normally, debt forgiveness results in taxable income. However, under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, you may be able to exclude up to $2 million of debt forgiven on your principal residence.
  2. The limit is $1 million for a married person filing a separate return.
  3. You may  exclude debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in a foreclosure.
  4. To  qualify, the debt must have been used to buy, build or substantially improve your principal residence and be secured by that residence.
  5. Refinanced  debt proceeds used for the purpose of substantially improving your principal residence also qualify for the exclusion.
  6. Proceeds of refinanced debt used for other purposes – for example, to pay off credit card debt – do not qualify for the exclusion.
  7. If you qualify, claim the special exclusion by filling out Form 982, Reduction of  Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness, and attach it to your  federal income tax return for the tax year in which the qualified debt was      forgiven.
  8. Debt  forgiven on second homes, rental property, business property, credit cards or car loans does not qualify for the tax relief provision. In some cases, however, other tax relief provisions – such as insolvency – may be applicable. IRS Form 982 provides more details about these provisions.
  9. If your debt is reduced or eliminated you normally will receive a year-end statement, Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt, from your lender. By law, this form must show the amount of debt forgiven and the fair market value of any property foreclosed.
  10. Examine  the Form 1099-C carefully. Notify the lender immediately if any of the information shown is incorrect. You should pay particular attention to the amount of debt forgiven in Box 2 as well as the value listed for your home  in Box 7.

The follow-up question is does the tax forgiveness apply to state taxes as well?  The California Association of Realtor® recently issued the following statement about California taxes in a short sale:

“The state Senate today passed C.A.R.’s tax relief bill without a single “no” vote. SB 30, which provides tax relief to those who are selling a home in a short sale, will now be considered in the state Assembly.

In late May, the Senate Appropriations Committee linked SB 30 to SB 391, a C.A.R.-opposed bill that creates a recording tax. This link, in the form of an amendment, says that SB 30 cannot take effect unless SB 391 does as well. While we are troubled by this transparent political maneuver meant to force C.A.R. to support the recording tax, C.A.R. will continue to work toward the passage of SB 30 in the Assembly, the defeat of the recording tax, and the delinking of the two bills.”

Again, check with your tax advisor/CPA for details regarding your specific situation.

Source:  Short Sale Expeditor and IRS

For previous articles, visit http://www.SonjaBush.com

When is the best time to buy property in Mammoth Lakes CA?

2013 meterIt is human nature to want to get the best deal so I’m not surprised when new clients ask this question.   My advice is not try and time the purchase to get a better price.  Often buyers think they will get a better deal on a home in the off or shoulder season.  But generally speaking, sellers are savvy and home values do not fluctuate by season.  The best time to buy a property is when you find the property you want.

Know what you want and be prepared to take action.  You have to be confident you understand where the market is and what you want out of your property.  What is your budget?  When will you be using the property?  Will you be renting?

When you do find the property you want, I recommend you request photos of the property taken during different seasons.  You really need to see the difference between summer and winter.  Where does the snow accumulate?  How is your view impacted by the snow or trees during the summer versus the winter?

Trying to time the real estate market is not recommended but do watch for trends.  It doesn’t matter if you buy the “deal of the century” if it is not something that matches your goals.   Prices were relatively flat in 2012 but we have seen an increase in 2013.  Historically Mammoth Lakes has followed the trends in San Diego and Orange County by 6-8 months.  In those markets they are currently seeing multiple offers and properties are selling for over the asking price.     The median days on market is decreasing in  Mammoth Lakes.

In summary, be prepared:

  1. Know your budget.
  2. Identify your goals for the property
  3. Know which area of town you want to buy.
  4. If financing, get preapproved.
  5. Establish a relationship with a real estate agent and communicate the info above.

A trustworthy real estate agent will help you understand the market and help you find the property that matches your goals.

For past articles, visit http://www.SonjaBush.com