“I’ve never seen so much opportunity in my lifetime,” said Lazar, a 22-year real estate veteran and the Mayor of Turlock. “I doubt we’ll see this type of market again in my lifetime.”
With the media taking a ‘half-empty cup’ interpretation of recent slumping realty statistics, Lazar’s attitude is the cup is ‘half-full.’ There is no question area homes sales have suffered.
Here are some of the recent stats for Stanislaus County:
• Median-priced homes have fallen from a peak of $396,000 in December 2005 to $140,000 in July 2010
• 641 homes were sold in July 2010, down from nearly 1,100 homes in July 2005
• Dropping home prices have made homes much more affordable.
Stanislaus County families earning the county’s median income could afford to buy nearly 84 percent of the homes sold in April through June. In 2005, the same families could only purchase 3 percent of the homes sold in the fourth quarter.
Lazar said the amazing jump in affordability, Stanislaus is No.1 for the state, makes real estate a great buy. “I think it’s a mistake for anybody with the ability to purchase a home not to be in the market,” he said.
“All they hear is bad news, all doom and gloom,” she said. “They don’t need to wait. This is the best it’s going to get. Get rid of the fear.” Daniel said “buying now pencils out for renters and first-time homebuyers.”
“The cost of rent is higher than what they can own their own home,” said Daniel. “Why pay someone else’s mortgage.” Working 10 hours a day, six days a week, Daniel is busy. She has already matched her unit sales for all of 2009, with four months still left in the year.
Short sales make up half her business and the remainder is dedicated to helping children of past clients. “The process in today’s market with bank short sales, multiple offers and more challenging financial requirements, can take longer to purchase a home, but the
wait is worth it. We’ll get them into a house,” she said.
While home sales have definitely slowed since the federal homebuyer tax credit ended April 30, Century 21 M&M Realtor Owen Burgess said he is “staying pretty busy.” However, Burgess said he is not convinced the housing market has hit bottom. “I still think we have a little ways to go,” he said. “I think we’re getting near the end.”
Judy Lea-Caton said the rumor of financing interest rates being low, but difficult to qualify for, also is hurting realty sales. “It’s a little harder than it use to be, but getting financing hasn’t been impossible,” said Lea-Caton, a Realtor at Century 21 M&M in Turlock. “A good mortgage broker can help clean up your credit. It’s not as hard as everyone is saying.”
Interest rates are at record lows. Lea-Caton said she recently closed a sale that had fixed financing at 4.25 percent. In addition, FHA down payment requirement only has increased 0.5 percent to 3.5 percent. Slow bank approval of short sales, hurt Lea-Caton’s productivity the first half of the year. With the bank approval time shortening from six months to three weeks, she’s dramatically increased her sales.
“I’m extremely busy,” she said. “I have seven files on my desk right now, said Lea-Caton. “Wachovia Mortgage sets the standard for moving short sales. You can have written approval in seven to 10 days and close in 30 to 45 days.”
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