Archive for December, 2009

Calling All First Time Home Buyers!

December 16, 2009

For all our first time home buyers out there, you SHOULD be aware of the following federal program that will make buying your first home much more affordable.

It is called the MCC (Alameda County Mortgage Credit Certificate). You can find out about the details of this program at the website of Alameda County (

I can explain in more detail how that would affect the purchase process. Just come and see me in my office at Caldecott Properties, 5251 Broad way, Oakland, CA 94618.

Looking forward to assisting you then.

Antoine E. Pirson, MBA
Broker and Investment Advisor
Caldecott Properties
Office: (510) 594 2400
 fax:(510) 594 2424

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December 15, 2009

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New Listing – 3405 Haven Street, Oakland, CA

December 14, 2009

Haven Street Lofts is an intimate 4-unit complex built in 2006. Each unit has a unique floor plan with modern loft characteristics. 3405 features an open living area with soaring ceilings and french doors to its own private patio and attached garage. The Dogtown Arts District is conveniently situated on the Emeryville border adjacent to the Bay Bridge on-ramp. Dogtown features an eclectic mix of architecture ranging from Queen Anne Victorians to modern live/work lofts. 2BR / 2BA / 1260SF / $479,000

For more information contact:
Andy Read
Caldecott Properties
510.594.2400 x222

Oakland proposed three sites for A’s stadium

December 11, 2009

After almost nine months of meetings, three new waterfront sites have been proposed in an effort to keep the “Oakland” in Oakland A’s. All three are near Jack London Square, within walking distance of BART, the ferry and close to Interstate 880. They are the following:

1) Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal

2) Embarcadero and Oak Street known as Victory Court

3) Jefferson and Second streets, known as Jack London North

The Oak Street site would be linked to Lake Merritt by a walkway along the Lake Merritt Channel.

The stadium would take 4-5 years to build and would be surrounded by what is becoming a booming retail and dining business community.

For so many years, the A’s and their dated stadium have been the ugly stepsister hiding in the shadow of the Giants and all their privilege…wouldn’t it be nice to finally let her get braces and a push-up bra and let her get some of the attention finally? I think the Oakland A’s fans deserve it. What do you think?

Here’s the SF Chronicle article:

Introduction of Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives – Short Sale and Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure

December 11, 2009
This Supplemental Directive provides guidance to servicers for adoption and implementation of the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA). HAFA is part of HAMP and provides financial incentives to servicers and borrowers who utilize a short sale or a deed-in-lieu to avoid a foreclosure on an eligible loan under HAMP. Both of these foreclosure alternatives reduce the need for potentially lengthy and expensive foreclosure proceedings. The options help preserve the condition and value of the property by minimizing the time a property is vacant and subject to vandalism and deterioration. In addition, these options generally provide a substantially better outcome than a foreclosure sale for borrowers, investors and communities.

Click here for the Supplemental Directive in its entirety.

New FHA Guidelines Could Amp Condo Sales

December 10, 2009

by David Fletcher

“FHA approved” may become the most popular condominium amenity in the United States soon, thanks to the new guidelines established by the FHA to take effect February 1, 2010.

The guidelines addressed the two imperatives facing condominium sales: down payments and the financial integrity of condominium associations. Both are equally important to a condominium recovery.

“FHA approved” used to mean a 3.5% down payment. Starting early next year, “FHA approved” will mean 3.5% down plus a financially stable association approved by your lender. This is huge.

According to Attorney Richard D. Vetstein, who writes the Massachusetts Real Estate Law Blog, the revised FHA Condominium Lending Guidelines include the following requirements:

To qualify for FHA mortgages, associations must:

  • Maintain a reserve equal to 10 percent of the annual budget
  • Make sure no more than 15 percent of its owners are more than 30 days late with condominium fees
  • Allow lenders to review their financials and insurance policies
  • No more than 10% of the units may be held by a single investor
  • Fidelity insurance must be obtained for 20+ unit projects
  • No more than 25 percent of space allowed for commercial use.

“The new FHA guidelines (combined with the almost year old Fannie Mae condominium guidelines) really make it imperative for condominium associations to get their collective acts together with respect to the financial management of the association,” counsels Attorney Vetstein. “Condominium boards need to ensure that reserve accounts are adequately funded, condo fee delinquency rates are low and that the association is generally well run financially. If they don’t, they are contributing to a drag on market value for all units due to non-compliance with the new condominium guidelines.

For a new condominium to qualify for FHA financing the following guidelines apply:

Effective February 1, 2010:

  • 50 percent of the total units must be presold before FHA financing is approved
  • 50 percent of the total units must be owner occupied
  • No more than 10% of units may be held by a single investor
  • Unit owners must obtain individual HO-6 insurance policies if the master policy doesn’t cover interiors
  • Recertification is required every two years

Projects that received approval between October 1, 2008 and December 7, 2009 will be “grandfathered” and will have to follow the new guidelines’ recertification process .

The marketing benefits are significant:

  1. More buyers will enter the market because they can afford the lower down payment.
  2. No single investor can purchase more than 10% of the units, so the idea of a controlled association by one or two investors is no longer a threat.
  3. More inventory will offer wider choices tending to keep prices in check, as “FHA approved’ condominiums come on line.
  4. More real estate agents will be willing to show condominiums to their buyers, because the lender who provides the mortgage will have to approve not only the condo documents, but the condo association’s budget, reserve account and its fidelity insurance policy.
  5. New construction developers have the guidelines needed to create urgency in their pricing strategies, which is key to building and maintaining momentum.
  6. Commercial lenders will have a more comfortable level with developers. While the 50% presale requirement may look obtrusive, it is actually a benefit to the developer, because it will create urgency for buyers to purchase.
  7. Established associations that have dragged their feet to get their finances in order, now have a valid value-based reason to become “FHA Approved.”
  8. Real estate agents will show FHA approved condominiums with confidence in the association’s finances, not just because the down payment is low.
  9. Forward thinking lenders will hustle to become a “an approved lender’ in resale and new communities alike

10. Knowing the property already has approved lenders will make competition for listings tighter and will attract more buyers and more prospects to the listing.

Brokers taking listings in condo communities without FHA financing will be competing with ones that do, making it important for associations to serious consider becoming FHA approved.

First time home buyers are generally thought of as the primary market for FHA financing. There is something to that, but in today’s world, many who bought their first homes years ago and lost them during this recession will appreciate the FHA financing availability even more than those coming out of rentals.

For now let’s agree that the FHA is being responsive and fair by giving new homes developers livable guidelines, associations a tool to become financially stable, and all associated with the industry, hope.

There will no doubt be other changes as the market calls for them “FHA was given a difficult task under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) to revamp the approval process for condominium projects, and before it established its latest guidelines, invited and was open to industry experts from organizations like the Community Associations. “As a result, significant improvements to the initial requirements have been made and dialogue continues between CAI and HUD in an attempt to create regulations that will lead to greater stability in the condominium market,” Dawn Bauman, vice president of Strategic Initiatives for the Community Association Institute said. CAI is an organization representing more than 29,000 individual members, 60 local chapters, and the interests of the one in five homeowners living in a community association. For more information visit

It’s good to see that the buyer’s interest is represented. It shows. And it will pay off handsomely in the days ahead.

For a complete review of guideline details visit here or contact Attorney Vetstein at

Published: December 9, 2009

Stunning Rockridge Penthouse – REDUCED to $819,000!

December 8, 2009

About the Home Buyer Tax Credit

December 8, 2009
by John C. Glynn, CMPS®
Residential Pacific Mortgage

General Rules:

  • A “first time home buyer” is defined as someone who has not owned a home in the last three years. If you are a “first-time home buyer”, your tax credit will amount to 10% of the purchase price of your new home not to exceed $8,000.
  • A “long-time resident” is defined as someone who has lived in the same primary home for 5 out of the past 8 years. If you are a “long-time resident”, your tax credit will amount to 10% of the purchase price of your new home not to exceed $6,500.
  • The tax credit does not need to be paid back if you continue living in the home as your primary residence for three years without selling it
  • The home must be purchased for less than $800,000 before May 1, 2010. If you sign a binding contract to purchase a home before May 1st, you would need to close on the transaction before July 1, 2010.
  • Single taxpayers with incomes up to $125,000 and married couples with incomes up to $225,000 qualify for the full tax credit
  • You cannot purchase the home from a related party like a spouse, direct ancestor, or direct lineal descendent (child or grandchild); however, you can still qualify for the credit if you purchase a property from siblings, nephews, nieces, and others
  • If you are married, both spouses must qualify for the credit
  • If more than one unmarried individual is buying the property, the credit can be split up among all the individuals who qualify. However, the total credit taken cannot exceed $8,000 (or $6,500 for “long-time residents”). Alternatively, if only one of the unmarried buyers qualifies for the credit based on their income or past home ownership status, the individual who qualifies for the credit can claim the full credit.
  • The credit applies even if you have co-signers on your mortgage loan
  • The credit applies to 1-4 unit homes as long as you live in one of the units as your primary residence – you could live in one unit and rent out the others

How does the tax credit work?

A tax credit is kind of like a gift certificate that you can use to pay your taxes – it reduces your income tax bill on a dollar for dollar basis. Imagine paying your bill at IRS Restaurant, and then later getting an IRS Restaurant gift certificate. Normally, you would need to go back to IRS Restaurant and buy more food in order to use your new gift certificate. But what if IRS Restaurant allowed you to just turn in your gift certificate for cash? That’s how the home buyer tax credit works! All you need to do is file a form with the IRS after you buy your new home and they will send you a refund check for $8,000 (or $6,500) – just like the example of IRS Restaurant that allows you to exchange your gift certificate for cash! Remember though, you’ll receive the $8,000 (or $6,500) from the IRS AFTER you purchase your new home, so you cannot use the funds to help with your down payment.


 For more information about the home buyer tax credit or other recent updates to the mortgage and real estate markets, just give me a call. I would be happy to assist you with your mortgage in the purchase of your new home!

For this or any other mortgage information, contact:

John C. Glynn, CMPS®

Residential Pacific Mortgage
3201 Danville Blvd, Suite 195
Alamo, CA 94507
(415)674-1283 direct
(866)898-0227 fax

To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by any person for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another person any transaction or matter addressed in this communication. I recommend that you consult with properly licensed legal, tax and investment advisors for specific advice pertaining to your individual situation.

Are there any bank owned (REO) properties in Lafayette, Moraga or Orinda (Lamorinda)?

December 8, 2009

Yes, there are REO’s in these cities, but not nearly as many as in other cities in Contra Costa and Alameda County. As of 12/2/2009, there are 10 active REO listiing in Moraga, Orinda and Lafayette, CA:

For more information about these properties, or for a current list of REO listings, please contact Andy Read at Caldecott Properties:, 510.594.2400 x222.

Oakland, CA Residential Real Estate Market Data: Q4 2006 vs. Q4 2008

December 7, 2009

In response to requests from many of you for market data, I have prepared a comparison of residential real estate sales in Oakland for Q4 2006, Q4 2007 and Q4 2008.

 The numbers tell a very interesting story. 

Detached Homes   Condos / Townhouses
# Sales 618   # Sales 139
Dollar Volume $390,481,793   Dollar Volume $63,581,313
Average Sales Price $631,848   Average Sales Price $457,420
Median Sales Price $550,000   Median Sales Price $425,000
Detached Homes   Condos / Townhouses
# Sales 360   # Sales 110
Dollar Volume $226,219,210   Dollar Volume $47,740,090
Average Sales Price $628,387   Average Sales Price $434,001
Median Sales Price $535,250   Median Sales Price $385,000
Detached Homes   Condos / Townhouses
# Sales 747   # Sales 113
Dollar Volume $250,213,528   Dollar Volume $39,185,495
Average Sales Price $334,958   Average Sales Price $346,774
Median Sales Price $199,900   Median Sales Price $307,000
Source: MAXEBRDI MLS data 2006-2008; data does not include “For Sale by Owner” and new condominium / townhouse sales not entered into MLS.

 From Q4 2006 to Q4 2008 for detached homes, dollar volume was down 35.9%; average sales price was down 47.0% and median sales price was down 63.6%.

 What does this really mean?  Single family home values have not all depreciated 47%-64% (though property values in all Oakland zip codes are lower than they were in 2006).  The majority of home sales in Q4 2008 were bank owned (“REO”) and short sales in neighborhoods with lower average property values attractive to investors, builders and first time home buyers.  In addition, fewer high-end properties sold as jumbo loans were virtually non existent; homebuyers didn’t want to sell their existing homes in a declining market to up or down size; down payments were lost in the declining equities market; and the uncertainty that comes with and increased unemployment rate.

If we compare Q4 2006 with Q4 2008 for condos / townhouses homes, dollar volume is down 41.5%; average sales price is down 24.2% and median sales price is down 27.8%.

The two major factors for the decrease in sales and median prices were an increase in REO and short sales and a decrease in new construction sales that typically sell for more $/square foot.

Property values will not increase until we can greatly reduce the supply of properties in Oakland.  The best two ways to improve this: 1.) Don’t sell your home unless you have to; and 2.) Buy something! 

Some help is on the way, but don’t expect it to have a significant impact:

1.) $8,000 credit from the Federal Government for first-time homebuyers:

2.) $10,000 credit from the State of California for new construction:

We have not seen prices so attractive with interest rates so low for a very long time.  Now is the time to invest (more) in Oakland.

Please feel free to call if you’d like to find out what’s happening in your neighborhood, or if you would like to learn more about attractive deals on the market.

Kind regards,

Andy Read
Caldecott Properties
5251 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94618
tel:   510.594.2400 x 222
fax:  510.594.2424