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Mortgage Mania Part 12 - Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Chris Iverson, Realtor

October 30th, 2007 · 2 Comments

Avid Mortgage Maniacs will note that it has been a while since my latest post. A little vacation and spending some time actually selling houses has kept me distracted for the last couple of weeks, but I’m back on track with thoughts on how the mortgage crisis (it’s still there) is affecting folks in Palo Alto and the surrounding communities.

To paraphrase Dirty Harry: A man’s got to keep his priorities straight

Optimists Unite!: At the recent “Reach the Summit” Economic Forum sponsored by Absolute Mortgage Bank, Partner Joel Spolin presented data on the mortgage meltdown, and showed statistics on where foreclosures and short sales are taking place. The short take is that demand for homes in the Palo Alto area is high enough that we aren’t seeing declining prices. This gives people who get in over their heads the option of selling their homes and avoiding foreclosure. We also tend to have more financially savvy homebuyers here (again due to prices) that they better understand these loans, both the upsides and downsides. You can download all the presentations here.

Yesterday, Eric Trailer, also of AMB told me that they haven’t had any of their local loans default - I’m sure that lenders like Countrywide and Bank of America could say that.

Pessimists - It’s not over yet! - Bank of America announced on Friday that it will be closing its wholesale banking operations and laying off about 3000 employees in January. Merry Christmas to you from BofA. Since the majority of mortgages are written by brokers and mortgage bankers through banks like BofA, WAMU, etc., BofA seems to be cutting off its proverbial nose to spite its face. It makes the shareholders happy though.

Blah, blah, blah . . . What does this mean for Bob and Betty Buyer who want to buy their fixer upper in Palo Alto’s Midtown and can swing the payments on a million dollar loan? Here are my thoughts:

1) Talk to a local mortgage banker or broker - they aren’t as affected by nationwide market conditions and have the ability to “shop” your loan to more potential lenders. Think nimble vs. big.

2) Be realistic about your budget, future plans (Are the kids going to Stanford or SJ State? Both are good schools, but leave different sized dents in the pocketbook). A good lender will discuss those kinds of future expenses and plan for them. There is a difference between what you can qualify for and what you should spend.

3) $1,000,000 for a house in Midtown?!? You had better rob a bank or two. You will need about $1.3M. Don’t believe me? The median home price this week in Palo Alto is over $2,200,000.


Thanks for reading.

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Tags: Real estate

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kevin Boer, Broker Owner, 3 Oceans Real Estate, Inc. () // Oct 30, 2007 at 11:34 am

    Hi Chris, welcome back! Good to have you here again…I wish I could have made it to the Absolute Mortgage event.

  • 2 Eric Trailer // Oct 30, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    Hi Chris,
    Great report on what’s happening in the mortgage world and how it’s impacting the local real estate market. What is very encouraging is the fact that jumbo loan rates have come down in recent weeks, which is a sign that the Mortgage Backed Securities market is beginning to stabilize. What you will see, however, is that even the large institutions will continue to make adjustments in their mortgage divisions.., which will have a rather unfavorable impact on both consumers and the brokers of those large institutions.
    Thank you for all your support!

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