Thursday, July 24, 2014

New downtown Fresno apartments in works

Source: The Business Journal
Written by Ben Keller, Business Journal staff writer

Another vacant lot is getting new life in downtown Fresno as Pyramid Homes makes progress on a 16-studio apartment project at Divisadero Street and College Avenue. Pyramid Homes began construction around eight weeks ago on the 6,000 square-foot project sited on a dirt lot at 1102 E. Divisadero Street. The apartments, dubbed Courtyard Studios, will feature a pair of two-story studios near the street and another 14 single-level units measuring 400 square feet each toward the back. Massoud Assemi, president of Pyramid Homes, said he is expecting a lot of interest from downtown Fresno's creative and tech-oriented class when the new studios finish up some time before the end of the year. "It's meant for singles," Assemi said. "I think we need to do stuff like this to build downtown up." The apartments will be managed by Granville Realty. Assemi said each unit will rent for around $600 to $700 a month. Pyramid Homes and Assemi's son, Reza Assemi, were also the developers behind several other residential projects in downtown Fresno's cultural arts district, including the Pearl Building, Vagabond Lofts, H Street Lofts, the Iron Bird Lofts and Studio 64.

 URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/construction/13133-new-downtown-fresno-apartments-in-works 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate check http://www.londonproperties.com

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Distressed sales unchanged in Fresno, Tulare counties

Source: The Business Journal

Distressed home sales in the Valley changed relatively little in June, but the rate was down significantly from what it was this time last year. According to the California Association of Realtors, distressed sales, which includes short sales, sales of bank-owned properties and other foreclosures sales, stood at 17 percent of all home sales in Fresno County in June. That's flat from May but down from 36 percent a year ago. Distressed sales were also unchanged in Tulare County at 21 percent, slightly below 27 percent in June 2013. Madera County saw its distressed sales drop from 19 percent in May to 15 percent in June, both well below the 33-percent share last year. Kings County also had a drop, with distressed sales falling from 44 percent a year ago and 31 percent in May to 25 percent in the latest month. Statewide, distressed sales made up 9.7 percent of all homes sales in June, down from 10.8 percent in May and 20.3 percent a year ago. The share of real estate-owned sales, including bank-owned homes, went down to 4.4 percent compared to 4.7 percent in May and 6.8 percent in June 2013. Short sales dropped from 5.6 percent in May and 12.9 percent a year ago to 5 percent in the latest month. Equity sales, or non-distressed home sales, stood at 90.3 percent in June, up from 89.2 percent the prior month and 79.7 percent last year. Housing inventory increased for all homes in June. The unsold inventory index or real estate-owned homes, or number of months to deplete the supply of homes at the current sales rate, went from 2.3 months in May to 2.4 months in June. The index for short sales rose from 4.3 months in May to 4.8 months in June, while the index for equity sales rose from 3.7 months to 3.8 months.

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/real-estate/13108-distressed-sales-unchanged-in-fresno-tulare-counties 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Monday, July 21, 2014

Pets' amenities rising trend for homebuilders

Source: The Business Journal
Written by SUE MANNING, Associated Press

(AP) — These homes are set apart by their amenities — for dogs. Standard Pacific Homes is building and selling homes in 27 developments from Florida to California and is believed to be the first to offer a pet suite as an option in every one. The suite is a 170-square-foot pet paradise with a step-in wash station, handheld sprayer and leash lead; tile walls and floors; a designated drying area with a commercial sized pet dryer; a water station; automated feeders; a large bunk-style bed; cabinets for toys, treats and food; a stackable washer and dryer; a French door that opens to a puppy run; and a flat-screen television set. Standard Pacific, based in Irvine, decided to offer pet suites after conducting livability studies with homeowners. Pets were a constant theme, said Jeffrey Lake, vice president and national director of architecture for Standard Pacific. "Devotion to pets is second-to-none," he added. "They are family." The American Pet Products Association reports that 68 percent of Americans own pets and contribute to an industry worth more than $55 billion annually. Real estate officials say building homes designed to cater to pets is a new concept, but that remodels for pet owners have been available for some time. Adam Cowherd Construction in Ozark, Missouri, installs pet-friendly additions to homes. Cowherd said he recently finished a job where there was an open shelf on the end of a kitchen island to hold pet bowls. "Owners want it uniquely functional, very contemporary and something that catches the eye," Cowherd said. However, only once in the last 10 years has he been asked to build a whole room for a pet, he added. Melanie Dean lives with her family near Dallas in a Standard Pacific home with a pet package for their dog, Lola. Lola's room "makes life much easier," Dean said. "We don't have to use the kitchen sink to wash yucky stuff anymore." Standard Pacific Homes' newest community, called Avignon at Blackstone in Brea, about 25 miles south of Los Angeles, features homes that start at $710,000. The pet spa option adds $35,000 to the price, Lake said. Only the largest suite is available in Brea, but in some of the other communities, there are smaller sizes and prices, starting at 60 square feet for $8,000, he said. During some of the model grand openings at different communities, several potential buyers brought their dogs to look at the homes, said Danielle Tocco, the company's director of communications. Around 70 percent of those looking for a home have pets, said Mollie Carmichael, principal at the John Burns Real Estate Consulting firm in Irvine. Pet adoptions were also held at some model grand openings, she said, just in case somebody didn't have a dog but wanted one. For cat owners, things can be rearranged and swapped out, like a scratching post for the dryer. And if no one is using the bath, it can be used for sporting equipment, like golf clubs. Those looking to sell their homes may find their pet additions to be a benefit. Laundry rooms and mud rooms toward the back of homes are popular, said Amy Bohutinsky, chief marketing officer at Chicago-based Zillow. Pet washrooms can also be used as multipurpose mud rooms, which may attract buyers.

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/state/12981-pets-amenities-rising-trend-for-homebuilders 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Valley home sales, prices see uptick

Source: The Business Journal

Home sales grew throughout the Valley in June, albeit slowly, as housing inventory also inched up over last year's supply. According to a new report from the California Association of Realtors, home sales increased just 0.4 percent in Fresno County during the month and 7.4 percent compared to June 2013. The price of a median home in Fresno County stood at $201,080 in June, up 0.8 percent from $199,540 the prior month and up 14.4 percent from $175,820 a year ago. Sales in Tulare County fell 0.7 percent during the month but grew 4.7 percent in the year-over-year comparison. The county's median home price fell 0.4 percent in June to $176,520 from May's price of $177,140. That's still up 11.2 percent from $158,710 a year ago. Kings County saw its home sales increase 1.3 percent in June but fall 2.5 percent compared to a year earlier. The average home price in the county stood at $194,440 in the month, up 13.3 percent from $171,670 in May and 31.6 percent from $147,780 in June 2013. Home sales in Madera County increased 23.8 percent compared to May but fell 21.2 percent year-over-year. The county's median home price was up 16.7 in the month, going from $176,670 in May to $206,250 in June. That's also 37.5 percent higher than $150,000 last year. Prices aren't the only thing that picked up in the month as housing supply increased throughout the Valley. Fresno County's unsold inventory index, or number of months to deplete the supply of homes at the current sales rate, stood at 4.5 months in June, up from 4.4 months in May and 3.4 months in June 2013. Tulare County's index was up to 3.9 months in June compared to 3.8 months in May and 3.2 months a year ago. Kings County's index went from 3.1 months a year ago to 3.3 months in May and 3.5 months in June. Madera County's index was flat at 3.6 months in June but higher than the 2.6 month supply last year. Statewide, home sales totaled 394,930 units in June, up 1.5 percent from 389,060 in May but down 4.8 percent from 414,830 in June 2013. "While June home sales rose at the statewide level, the market is still constrained by tight supply and low housing affordability in areas of high demand, where job growth is robust and international buyers have a strong presence," said C.A.R. President Kevin Brown. "Overall, however, with inventory improving and home sales slowly moving back up, the market is more balance, and we could see further market normalization in the upcoming months as interest rates remain at the lowest levels we've seen so far this year."

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/real-estate/12989-valley-home-sales-prices-see-uptick 

 For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Friday, July 11, 2014

Freddie Mac: 3 ways to improve your credit score right now

Source: Housingwire
By: Jacob Gaffney

 Next year's homebuyers need to start today Believe it or not, the mortgage business is showing signs of life again. Wells Fargo earnings show mortgage originations increased by 20%, compared to negative growth the quarter prior, and they expect that to grow. So signs point to a gradual loosening of credit standards for potential mortgage borrowers, but most people still think they won’t qualify, which is a large part of the reason people aren't trying to get a mortgage in the first place. But will you want to try to get a mortgage next month? Next year? If so, mortgage securitizer Freddie Mac recently posted a blog on three ways to improve your credit score, starting today. As the blog states: “If you're thinking about buying a home, you need to be aware of your credit because it can affect your ability to qualify for a mortgage.” I take that one step further. While you may or may not be interested in refinancing or even entering home ownership, tips to improve one’s credit score are helpful across the board. An improved credit score does offer more leverage when engaging the debt markets, in terms of choosing better deals from multiple lenders — that is true. More importantly, a higher FICO [credit] score indicates better financial acumen in individuals and shows a greater prowess when managing money. In short, the better the credit score, the greater the financial freedom. “Don't despair if your credit is low, there are ways to repair your credit and improve your score,” the Freddie Mac blog states. “As Fair Isaac [the company that provides the FICO] points out, the best advice for rebuilding credit is to manage it responsibly over time.” So here is Freddie Mac’s way to start today, taken from the more comprehensive advice on the Fair Isaac website: 1. Check Your Credit Report Annually "Your credit report contains the data used to calculate your score and it may contain errors. In particular, check to make sure that there are no late payments incorrectly listed for any of your accounts and that the amounts owed for each of your open accounts is correct," FICO advises. If there are errors, you can dispute them with the credit bureau. 2. Set up Payment Reminders "Making your credit payments on time is one of the biggest contributing factors to your credit score. Some banks offer payment reminders through their online banking portals that can send you an email or text message reminding you when a payment is due," FICO states. Automatic payments are also a great option for those on a salary. The down side in this case is that auto payments are not actively made by you, so may not instill a greater satisfaction of money management. 3. Reduce the Amount of Debt You Owe "This is easier said than done, but reducing the amount that you owe is going to be a far more satisfying achievement than improving your credit score. The first thing you need to do is stop using your credit cards," FICO reports. OK, wait — so stop using my credit cards so that I can get more credit? That may not make sense, on the surface, but you can't put the cart before the horse when building your credit. And you'll never qualify for a mortgage (secured debt) if you can't manage short term credit cards (unsecured debt). So what's a good attack plan if you owe big time on multiple cards? "Come up with a payment plan that puts most of your available budget for debt payments towards the highest interest cards first, while maintaining minimum payments on your other accounts." Want more tips on how to fix your credit score and maintain good credit? Hit up the Fair Isaac site for 5 more FICO tips.

URL to the original article: http://www.housingwire.com/blogs/1-rewired/post/30624-freddie-mac-3-ways-to-improve-your-credit-score-right-now 

 For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Friday, June 27, 2014

$1.75M in grants boost Valley housing projects

Source: The Business Journal

Four planned affordable housing developments in the San Joaquin Valley were awarded $1.75M in the latest round of grants from the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. In all, bank members supporting 76 projects throughout the country will see a portion of the $49.4 million in grants as part of the San Francisco bank's 2014 Affordable Housing Program funding competition. Ranging from $25,000 to $1.5 million each, the grants support construction projects like rental housing for low-income families, transitional permanent housing with supportive services for veterans and sustainable developments that will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified or GreenPoint rated. Out of the total, $470,000 will go to Rabobank in Fresno County to help fund the Kingsburg Senior Village being built by the Pacific Southwest Community Development Corporation. The project, which will include 48 rental units for senior residents, aims to achieve gold rating in the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED program. Rabobank will also distribute a grant of $450,000 to the Fresno Housing Authority as it builds the 46-unit Marion Villas Apartments in Kingsburg. Located in Kingsburg's Central Commercial District, the development is close to a grocery store, public library and park and will include a community room with a kitchen and lounge area. Another $800,000 will come from Rabobank as the Fresno Housing Authority rehabilitates the Orange Cove Rental Assistance Project. When complete, the multi-family, scattered-site affordable housing development will have new flooring and windows, exterior paint and roofing as well as upgraded mechanical and electrical systems. The development will also be improved with more than 6,300 square feet of new space for community activities and recreation. In Tulare County, Central Valley Community Bank will funnel its $30,000 grant to Habitat for Humanity as it works on the Building Hope affordable housing community in Porterville. The project will consist of two single-family homes being built using Habitat for Humanity's self-help sweat equity model in which homebuyers are credited for their contributions on building their new homes.

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/banking-and-finance/12715-1-75m-in-grants-boost-valley-housing-projects 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Trulia: Housing shaking off spring slump?

Source: Housingwire
 Barometer shows recovery gains, but something still missing

By: Trey Garrison

Trulia (TRLA) is making the case that the underlying fundamentals of the housing industry are on track, and that only a few components are missing from a full-on charge out of the late winter, whole of spring downturn -- first-time buyers. Prices, sales, and starts are recovering, and prices are near normal levels, but first-time buyers are missing from the housing equation. First-time homebuyers are still missing from the housing recovery, making up just 27% of existing-home buyers according to the May report from the National Association of Realtors. That’s down a bit both from last month and from last year. That, they say, is what is dragging down housing. Trulia notes that home-price levels are 79% back to normal, up from 44% one year ago. Prices should reach their long-term norm relative to fundamentals late in 2014 or early in 2015. Further, they say, delinquency plus the foreclosure rate continued to drop and is now 74% back to normal, from just 53% back to normal one year ago. Existing home sales, excluding distressed sales, are 64% back to normal – roughly the same as one year ago and up slightly from 61% last quarter. Trulia’s Bubble Watch shows prices were 3% undervalued in 2014 Q2, compared with 15% at the worst of the housing bust; that means prices are nearly four-fifths (79%) of the way back to their “normal” level of being neither over- nor under-valued. New construction starts have reached the halfway mark, at 50% back to normal, boosted by apartment construction. Year-to-date, multi-unit starts are the highest share of overall construction in 40 years. On the downside, they note, the employment rate for 25-34 year-olds, a key age group for household formation and first-time homeownership, fell back to 35% back to normal, down from 39% one quarter ago. So what’s holding off first-time buyers? Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia, says would-be first-timers are stuck: rising prices and mortgage rates have reduced affordability before young adults have been able to recover from the jobs recession. “A full recovery that includes first-time homebuyers is still years away; many young adults still need to find jobs and keep them long enough to save for a down payment and qualify for a mortgage. Until that happens, the clearest signs of recovery will be apartment construction and renter household formation, not first-time home buying,” he says.

URL to original article: http://www.housingwire.com/articles/30436-trulia-housing-shaking-off-spring-slump 

 For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

CoreLogic: Fresno area foreclosures fall

Source: The Business Journal

Foreclosure rates in Fresno decreased for the month of April over the same period last year, according to newly released data from CoreLogic, a global property information, analytics and data-enabled services provider. The CoreLogic data shows the rate of Fresno area foreclosures among outstanding mortgage loans was 0.90 percent in April, a decrease of 0.49 percentage points compared to April of 2013 when the rate was 1.39 percent. Foreclosure activity in Fresno was lower than the national foreclosure rate, which was 1.77 percent for April. Also in Fresno, the mortgage delinquency rate decreased. According to CoreLogic data for April, 3.18 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared to 4.88 percent for the same period last year, representing a decrease of 1.70 percentage points.

 Madera

Foreclosure rates in Madera decreased for the month of April over the same period last year, according to the CoreLogic data. The rate of Madera area foreclosures among outstanding mortgage loans was 1.02 percent for April, a decrease of 0.60 percentage points compared to April of 2013 when the rate was 1.62 percent. Also in Madera, the mortgage delinquency rate decreased. According to CoreLogic data for April, 3.60 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared to 5.17 percent for the same period last year, representing a decrease of 1.57 percentage points.

 Visalia-Porterville

 Foreclosure rates in Visalia-Porterville decreased in April over the same period last year, according to CoreLogic data. The data shows that the rate of Visalia-Porterville area foreclosures among outstanding mortgage loans was 0.91 percent for the month of April, a decrease of 0.51 percentage points compared to April of 2013 when the rate was 1.42 percent. Also in Visalia-Porterville, the mortgage delinquency rate decreased. According to CoreLogic data for April, 3.44 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared to 4.78 percent for the same period last year, representing a decrease of 1.34 percentage points.

 Hanford-Corcoran

Foreclosure rates in Hanford-Corcoran decreased for the month of April over the same period last year. The CoreLogic data shows the rate of Hanford-Corcoran area foreclosures among outstanding mortgage loans was 1.11 percent for April, a decrease of 0.51 percentage points compared to April of 2013 when the rate was 1.62 percent. Also in Hanford-Corcoran, the mortgage delinquency rate decreased. According to the data for April, 3.90 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared to 5.62 percent for the same period last year, representing a decrease of 1.72 percentage points.

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/real-estate/12659-corelogic-fresno-area-foreclosures-fall 

 For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fortune Associates named a small business of the year

Source: The Business Journal

Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Modesto, on Monday recognized Fresno area real estate company Fortune Associates as a small business of the year. The recognition came at a ceremony and luncheon in Sacramento sponsored by the California Small Business Association (CSBA). Fortune Associates has been in the Fresno real estate business for 35 years. Larry Fortune, president of Fortune Associates, and his wife Jane attended the luncheon. "Larry Fortune built his business on integrity and with a dedication to our community,” Berryhill said in a release. “It is a real honor to recognize him at the CSBA luncheon in Sacramento." Larry Fortune is past president of the Fresno Association of Realtors, an honorary director for life of the California Association of Realtors and in 1986 was named realtor of the year by the Fresno Association of Realtors. In addition he has been appointed to or involved in numerous other positions within the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Among other affiliations, Fortune currently serves as chairman of the Center for Advanced Research and Technology and is on the board of directors of the Economic Development Corporation serving Fresno County. "Congratulations to Larry Fortune and all the other hard working folks at Fortune Associates for a job well done," Berryhill said.

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/real-estate/12555-fortune-associates-named-a-small-business-of-the-year 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Valley sees rise in home sales in May

Source: The Business Journal

Much of the Valley saw an increase in home sales during May and even had the inventory to match. According to a new report from the California Association of Realtors, home sales increased just 0.4 percent in Fresno County during the month and 6.7 percent compared to May 2013. The price of a median home in Fresno County stood at $199,540 in May, up 3.5 percent from $192,880 the prior month and up 18.9 percent from $167,770 a year ago. Sales in Tulare County climbed 13.8 percent during the month but fell 3.5 percent in the year-over-year comparison. The county's median home price rose 2.7 percent in May to $177,140 over April's price of $172,500. That's also up 12.5 percent from $157,500 a year ago. Kings County saw its home sales jump 13 percent in May but fall 14.3 percent compared to a year earlier. Home prices in the county stood at $171,670 in the month, up 3.3 percent from $166,250 in April and 15.2 percent from $149,000 in May 2013. Madera County was not as fortunate in May, with sales dropping by 27.6 percent compared to the prior month and a year ago. The county's median home price was also down by 3.2 percent in the month, going from $182,500 in April to $176,670 in May. However, that's 24.4 percent higher than $142,000 last year. Fresno County's unsold inventory index, or number of months to deplete the supply of homes at the current sales rate, stood at 4.4 months in May, up from 4.3 months in April and 3.6 months in May 2013. Madera County's index was up to 3.9 months in May compared to 3.3 months in April and 3.6 months a year ago. Kings County's inventory dropped to 3.3 months in May compared 3.7 months in April and 2.5 months a year ago. The inventory index for Tulare County stood at 3.8 months in May compared to 4.3 months in April and 2.7 months in May 2013. Statewide, home sales totaled 391,030 units in May, down 0.6 percent from 393,480 in May and 9.5 percent from 432,140 in May 2013. "Since last summer, the market has been transitioning to a slower pace of sales, somewhat higher inventory and less upward pressure on prices," said C.A.R. President Kevin Brown, in a release. "Generally spacing, buyers are feeling less urgency to buy as affordability has become more of an issue and lending standards continue to remain tight. However, a recent surge in mortgage applications, due partially to declining interest rates, may indicate that higher housing demand can be expected in the coming months."

 URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/real-estate/12568-valley-sees-rise-in-home-sales-in-may

 For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com