Archive for March, 2012

Which Oakland Condos Are FHA Approved?

March 20, 2012

Close to half of all condo sales in Oakland in 2010 utilized FHA backed loans.  Though FHA guidelines have gotten a bit more conservative, most borrowers that meet FHA guidelines with credit scores above 680 qualify. 

The loan limit for single family homes (including condominiums) in Alameda County, as of 6/7/2011, remains $729,750.  In 2010, condominiums sold for an average of less than $300,000, so most condominiums qualify for FHA financing, right?  Wrong.

It has become a bigger challenge for a condominium building to qualify for FHA financing than for the borrower to qualify due to the condo building approval process implemented by the FHA.

As of 5/23/2011, there were 42 condominium buildings in Oakland that are approved by the FHA.  Here is a list of those buildings:

  1. 1755 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612
  2. 360 Vernon Street, Oakland, CA 94610
  3. 3738-3740 Laguna Avenue, Oakland, CA 94602
  4. 407 Orange Street, Oakland, CA 94610
  5. 525 Mandana Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94610
  6. 532 30th Street, Oakland, CA 94609
  7. 55 Fairmount Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611
  8. 590 El Dorado Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611
  9. 666 Oakland Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611
  10. 77 Fairmount Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611
  11. 423 7th Street (8 Orchids), Oakland, CA 94607
  12. 926 Chester Street (Chester Street Lofts), Oakland, CA 94607
  13. 127 Bayo Vista Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611
  14. 1411 Center Street (Cigar Factory Lofts), Oakland, CA 94607
  15. 455 Crescent Street, Oakland, CA 94610
  16. 460-468 Crescent Street, Oakland, CA 94610
  17. 3721 Fruitvale Avenue (Diamond Park Townhouses), Oakland, CA 94602
  18. 424 Orange Street, Oakland, CA 94610
  19. 330 13th Street (Golden Bridge Lofts), Oakland, CA 94612
  20. 388 Santa Clara Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610
  21. 322 Hanover Avenue, Oakland, CA 94608
  22. 3403-3409 Haven Street (Haven Street Lofts), Oakland, CA 94608
  23. 2316-2324 Lakeshore Avenue, Oakland, CA 94606
  24. 10 Moss Avenue (Manor Park), Oakland, CA 94610
  25. 585 9th Street (Market Square), Oakland, CA 94607
  26. 7100 Mountain Boulevard (Monte Vista Villas), Oakland, CA 94605
  27. 4504-4508 Montgomery Street, Oakland, CA 94611
  28. 425 East 11th Street (Mutual Creamery Lofts), Oakland, CA 94606
  29. 567 Oakland Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611
  30. 1201 Pine Street (Pacific Cannery Lofts), Oakland, CA 94607
  31. 989 Webster Street (Pacific Renaissance Plaza II), Oakland, CA 94607
  32. 565 Bellevue Avenue (Park Bellevue Towers), Oakland, CA 94610
  33. 180-320 Caldecott Lane (Parkwoods Condos), Oakland, CA 94618
  34. 740 Canyon Oaks Drive, Oakland, CA 94605
  35. 288 Whitmore Street (Rockridge Manor), Oakland, CA 94611
  36. 388 Santa Clara Avenue (Santa Clara Commons), Oakland, CA 94611
  37. 401 41st Street (Temescal Station), Oakland, CA 94609
  38. 222 Broadway (The Ellington), Oakland, CA 94607
  39. 320 Lee Street, Oakland, CA 94610
  40. 3825 High Street (Villa Del Lago), Oakland, CA 94619
  41. 1695 15th Street (Willow Court Lofts), Oakland, CA 94607
  42. 1219 Wood Street (Zephyr Gate), Oakland, CA 94607

 If you are interested in obtaining an FHA loan for a condo project that is not on th list, it is possible to get a condo building approved.  I am happy to assist with this process.  It requires, among other things, the approval of the home owner’s association.

If you are interested in purchasing a condo in the East Bay with an FHA loan or getting your building approved for FHA financing, please feel free to contact me to discuss.

We also have a good place for you to see what listings are available in most of these buildings:  If you don’t see a building here, drop me a line and I can assist you with more information.

Andy Read
Caldecott Properties
510.594.2400 x 222

5 Foreclosure Myths of 2012

March 16, 2012



By Carl Medford

Beginning in 2007, foreclosures rocked the real estate world. Like an out-of-control freight train, they began decimating the market, peaking in 2009. Myths and rumors began propagating like mushrooms as consumers struggled to understand the new reality. Although many misconceptions have come and gone, we still encounter five myths on a regular basis.


1. There is going to be a flood of new foreclosures to the market.

This rumor has appeared every year since 2008 and has been routinely debunked. However, recent announcements that the Feds reached a settlement over the robo-signing scandal have reignited speculation. The idea is simple: Since the cork is now out of the foreclosure bottle, we’ll soon see another flood of REOs inundating the marketplace.

My personal opinion: don’t hold your breath.

Banks have learned that if they control inventory, they can affect local prices. By releasing homes in measured amounts, they realize higher prices than if they released a glut of homes. In addition, they’ve learned that if they can mitigate their losses by agreeing to a short sale, everyone wins.

2. You can go directly to a bank to buy a foreclosure.

Every few weeks I’m asked how to buy foreclosures direct from a bank. Someone knows a friend being foreclosed on and they want to step in and grab the house before it hits the market. Don’t we all? In reality, banks have a simple system – they first offer properties on the courthouse steps. The rest they assign to asset mangers who then hire local real estate agents to put them on the market along with all the other homes. Want an REO? Pay cash at the courthouse steps or get in line witheveryone else when they hit the local MLS (Multiple Listing Service).

3. You can get a killer deal by submitting lowball offers on foreclosures.

You would think this myth would be dead by now. Unfortunately, like Elvis sightings, it just won’t go away. Here’s the truth: Banks want REOs sold in 30 days or less, so they typically appear on the market priced slightly under comparable properties. If the property doesn’t sell quickly, the bank will lower the price after about 30 days. Lowball offers are ignored and are, quite frankly, a waste of everyone’s time and effort. You might get a deal by offering a lower price on a foreclosure that’s been sitting on the market for more than 90 days, but remember that there are good reasons it’s gone unsold for so long. And even if you have cash, your lowball offer won’t be accepted —seriously.

4. You can’t use foreclosures when doing an appraisal.

Or short sales, for that matter. That is no longer true. In fact, in many neighborhoods, that’s all that’s there. Therefore, foreclosed or distressed sales represent the actual value of homes in the area and HAVE to be used to appraise other properties. Don’t like it? Get over it. Times have changed and the ways neighborhoods are valued have changed as well.

5. Foreclosures are only affecting the bottom end of the market.

This used to be true. However, while foreclosure rates on the lower end of the market have actually decreased,they’re actually increasing on the upper end. According to Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, the market share of foreclosed homes under $1 million is shrinking, but those among properties valued over $1 million are rising – up 115% since 2007. And foreclosures on properties valued upwards of $2 million have increased by 273%. While some well-known jet-setters have melted down and lost everything, others are choosing to strategically default. They see it like liquidating a poorly performing portfolio – they have enough resources to cut their losses and move on. Historically, banks have been reticent to foreclose high-end homes and absorb a large loss, but defaulters are now forcing their hands and mansion foreclosure rates are moving on up.

Myths control behavior, and this has never been truer than in the housing market. Savvy agents will work hard to educate their clients, debunk myths, explain market trends, educate with solid facts – and actually close transactions.


Original article can be found…

Sales of single-family Bay Area homes continuing to surge (Alameda county sees a 26.2% increase in sales)

March 16, 2012


Posted:   03/16/2012 06:22:59 AM PDT
Updated:   03/16/2012 06:23:29 AM PDT

Continuing a promising trend, sales of existing single-family homes in the Bay Area increased by 10.7 percent in February compared with a year ago — the biggest hike for that month in five years, according to a report released Thursday.

“Sales have been up on a year-over-year basis for eight consecutive months,” said Andrew LePage of DataQuick, the real-estate information service that issued the report. “That is significant. It’s been driven by lower prices and ultra low mortgage rates. So that’s a good sign. People are out buying. We’re working our way back to a more normal level in the Bay Area, which you would expect with a gradually improving economy.”

Home sales were at their highest February level since 2007 for the Bay Area as a whole, as well as in Alameda, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, LePage said. February sales in Contra Costa County were the most since 2009, when a huge number of foreclosed homes were snapped up in that area, he said.

The median price of single-family home in February was $348,000 in Alameda County, $242,500 in Contra Costa County, $490,000 in Santa Clara County and $565,000 in San Mateo County. It was $350,000 for the Bay Area as a whole, a 1.4 percent drop from a year ago. The median price fell in every Bay Area county except San Mateo County, where it rose 1.8 percent.

Condo sales rose 14.4 percent in the Bay Area as a whole, 32 percent in Alameda County, 10.6 percent in Contra Costa County, 5.2rcent in Santa Clara County and 91.9 percent in San Mateo County.


LePage cautioned that “it won’t be until March and April when we have a much better understanding of where we are at,” because it’s hard to make predictions based upon February sales. It was a leap year, which added an extra day of sales that month, he noted. Moreover, traditional homebuyer tend to be scarce during the first part of the year and usually don’t start shopping in earnest until spring.

Of all Bay Area homes sold last month, 26 percent were to so-called absentee buyers, mostly investors who don’t plan to live in the homes. Absentee purchases were 23.4 percent a year ago and have averaged 14.2 percent for every month since January 2000, DataQuick reported.

“The market definitely has turned,” said Barbara Lymberis, president of the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors. She noted that the number of houses on the market continues to be low, because prices have been so low many homeowners have resisted listing their properties for sale. Consequently, she said, “if a home is priced right and the condition is decent, there will be a buyer.”

In fact, these days, “multiple offers are pretty much the norm” for any house with a for-sale sign out front, Lymberis said.

Barbara Safran, president of the Contra Costa County Association of Realtors, said she also has seen “a definite increase” in sales, fueled by multiple offers on many properties.

“The buyers have waited long enough and they are finally ready to purchase,” she said, adding that she expects more people to soon start putting their houses on the market, especially those who don’t owe more on their homes than they can get from a new buyer.

Distressed property sales made up about half of the Bay Area’s resale market in February.

Homes foreclosed on in the past 12 months accounted for 27.4 percent of resales, according to DataQuick. That was up from a revised 27.2 percent in January and down from 32.6 percent a year ago. Foreclosure resales had been as high as 52 percent in February 2009. Over the past 15 years, the monthly average for foreclosure resales has been about 9 percent.

About 23 percent of Bay Area resales in February were so-called short sales, where the transaction price was less than was owed on the property. That was up from about 20 percent a year ago.

Original article can be found…