Summer Heats Up Home Sales

Home sales are soaring this summer, despite limited supply across many areas of the country. Sales of previously owned U.S. homes climbed 3.2 percent to an eight-year high in June according to the National Association of REALTORS®. In addition, existing home prices rose 6.5 percent over last year because of limited supply.
U.S. markets and home loan rates were subject to volatility this summer after economic crises in Greece and elsewhere made investors nervous. This led to a “flight-to-safety” into the U.S. Bond market. Home loan rates are tied to Mortgage Bonds,so when Bonds improve, home loan rates improve as well.

Posted on August 25, 2015 at 8:17 am
Nancy Low | Category: News

Where is Housing Headed for Late 2015?

According to Kiplinger, the housing recovery will step up its pace heading into the second half of the year and beyond. Existing homes sales will climb 7%, while new home sales will be up by 9%. In 2016, existing home sales will rise 6%, while new homes will rise 23% from this year.
Two groups of buyers will have impact on future sales:
1. 1st time buyers of existing homes, who now comprise 32% of all purchasers, up in May from 29% a year ago. Their presence in the market will rise and be around 35% by the end of 2016. First-time buyers are older, delaying marriage and home purchase because of the job market, student loan debt and other factors.
2. Buyers with non-stellar credit. More of them are able to secure home mortgage loans as lenders loosen credit terms. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has had an increase in acceptance of borrowers with credit scores less than 640, and higher debt-to-income ratios.
Higher rents are causing more first-time buyers to buy a home. Gradually rising mortgage rates through the rest of the year encourage buyers to take the plunge.

Posted on August 25, 2015 at 8:16 am
Nancy Low | Category: News

Orange County Sales Show Solid Signs of Maintaining Health

J. Lansner of the O.C. Register compared the market trends of the six counties in Southern California. He considered Orange County #1 in healthy, sustainable growth.
“What defines a healthy housing market? To me, it’s rising prices and growing sales activity backed by solid job growth. After the last boom-to-bust cycle, the durability of the upswing is paramount.
My study found that when it comes to housing, as in other areas of the economy, the closer it is to the ocean, the stronger the business climate.

No. 1 Orange
• Median Price, April: $600,000, up 4.2 percent in a year
• Sales, first four months of 2015 vs. previous seven: Up
14 percent
• Months to sell inventory, as of May 21: 2 vs. 2.61 a year
• Jobless rate, April: 4.4 percent vs. 5.5 percent a year ago

The region’s healthiest market saw its median selling price reach the highest point since August 2007 – within 7 percent of the old, bubble-inflated peak. No Southern California county is closer to record high pricing.
Home sales in the first four months of the year were up 4 percent vs. 2014; it was the fastest start to a year since 2006; and Orange County posted the biggest sales increase, compared with its seven-year average, of all the Southern California counties.
Sales of old problems in Orange County are minimal. Just 3 percent of listed homes are categorized as “distressed properties,” the smallest share of any county in Southern California.
And powering the surge is the lowest unemployment rate in the region at 4.4 percent.
Yes, Orange County will stretch any house hunter’s wallet with the region’s highest prices and lowest affordability (22 percent).
But an above-average rate of home purchases amid a hiring spree seems very sustainable…”

Posted on June 28, 2015 at 11:03 am
Nancy Low | Category: Buyers, News, Sellers

Get the Most For Your Home




Statistics are out – improving your home before it goes to market makes a difference in what Buyers will pay!
Make the changes you need to show your home at its best before you come to market. You only have one chance to make a good first impression!


How much you want to spend and where you want to spend your money is a choice you make to get the most bang for your home improvement buck.


Beyond your budget? Even the little things help – decluttering, deep cleaning, and small details.
Need more? Star Real Estate has a program that may help you with the projects you need to get done to reap higher rewards for your home. Call Nancy at 714-496-5950 for a free assessment.

Posted on May 13, 2015 at 1:04 pm
Nancy Low | Category: News, Sellers

Making Heads or Tails of the Real Estate Marketplace

We’ve moved into a Seller’s market in recent weeks, with exciting mortgage rates enticing more Buyers to investigate home ownership. This is a very good time to re-finance, as well, with interest rates still under 4%. Days on market are decreasing, with savvy Sellers pricing strategically. Redfin reports a 7.6% gain for California sellers in the last year.
It was a busy holiday season, with Buyers making offers on tightening inventory. Prices are proceeding at a steady march towards good equity build-up versus the heady boom of a few years ago.
If you are buying, now is the time to talk to your lender to find out what you can afford, and start shopping. If you are selling, the next few months will reveal the developing market trends, and determine your market strategy.

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Posted on February 24, 2015 at 1:58 pm
Nancy Low | Category: Buyers, News, Sellers

Increase Your Home's Value in 5 Easy Steps

Thinking about some small home improvement projects to boost the value of your home? Here are some smart upgrades and fixes that don’t cost a lot, but could help you clinch a deal if you’re trying to sell.
Consider curb appeal – First impressions are everything, and potential buyers often decide as they’re walking toward your house, asking “Could I live here?”
Keep the walkway swept and tidy, and spruce up your entryway landscaping with well-placed shrubs, new plants and trimmed hedges. Spruce up the front door, fence and/or mailbox.
Buff up the bath – Small cosmetic changes can reap big rewards. Consider replacing dated frosted glass, older/corroded fixtures, painting, removing wallpaper, re-grouting the tile, replacing an old vanity with a new one, using new towels, soap dispensers, etc.
Make your kitchen cook – The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where the family congregates, guests gather and the kids do their homework. This space has to look clean, inviting and warm to appeal to potential buyers.
Beyond making sure your appliances work well and look shiny, consider updating cabinet doors and drawers, light fixtures and faucets. And a new coat of neutral paint can go a long way towards attracting buyers.
Let there be light – Take care of dated chandeliers and/or lamps that age the room. Open drapes/blinds.
Increase the wattage in dark rooms that lack natural lighting. They will seem larger and more open. Visual space — or how large a home feels — is crucial.
Reconfigure the layout – Assuming you’ve already covered the basics, such as removing clutter and personal belongings to make rooms look larger, why not take it one step further and think about reconfiguring the layout? Try different furniture arrangements that increase flow – be creative!

Posted on February 24, 2015 at 1:55 pm
Nancy Low | Category: News, Sellers

Orange County Housing Market – Pricing versus Affordability

Though newest CoreLogic DataQuick figures show that median home prices and sales volume climbed in December, the number were weakest in Orange County, in the 6 county Southland region.
While median prices rose 5.1% in the Southland from December 2013, Orange County rose 3.7% to $591,000.
“Orange County powered out of the housing crash faster than the rest of the region, with prices there up 36% from their bottom.” said Esmael Adibi, an economics professor at Chapman Unitversity. Those gains have priced many buyers out of the market once again, he notes. “Everything goes back to affordabililty,” Adibi said. “The increase in income is not really keeping up with the increase in home prices.?
In a recent report from Trulia, measuring home prices, incomes and long-term treands, Orange County is the 2nd most overvalued housing market in the country. Chief economist Jed Kolko noted that while Orange County has seen fast home price gains in recent years, economic growth has been middling relative to other big markets.
Sellers will be the key to a stable market this spring, said Andrew lePage, an analyst with CoreLogic. If people start listing their homes, tight supply will open up, prices will remain in check and buyers will have more opportunity, he said. If not, rising job and wage growth could heat up the market again.
If therre aren’t more homes for sale, prices will keep outpacing incomes and more and more people will move either east to the Inland Empire or north to pockets of Los Angeles County that are still relatively affordable.
-From L.A. Times areticle pub. 1/14/15 by Tim Logan

Posted on January 27, 2015 at 9:05 am
Nancy Low | Category: News

Mistakes Sellers Make

* Not keeping resale in mind when renovating.
Make sure any big changes you make will
increase, rather than decrease, your home’s value.
* Sticking around during the open house.
No one wants the current homeowner hovering
over them as they tour the house. It can prevent
them from giving the honest feedback that could
ultimately help you sell your home.
* Waiting to list until spring or summer.
List your home when it’s available and you’ll
reach those buyers who need a home now and
aren’t finding much on the market.
* Setting the price too high.
What you think your home is worth and what it’s
worth on the current market can be very different.
Take a good look at comparables in your area and
be realistic about your home’s value.
* Not doing enough marketing.
Just putting up a “for sale” sign isn’t enough. Talk
with your realtor about other options.
* Not getting a real estate agent.
Realtors can give you crucial insights, marketing
advice and, most importantly, can get your
property on the multiple-listing service (MLS),
which gets it in front of other agents.
* Not staging your house.
You need to help buyers envision themselves in
your home. Remove any clutter and overly
personal items (like family photographs) and
make sure furnishings flow well and demonstrate
the purpose of each room.


Posted on October 6, 2014 at 2:19 pm
Nancy Low | Category: News, Sellers


The NAR’s pending home sales index increased 3.3 percent in July to 105.9, its highest level since August 2013.

Based on contract signings, the increase came in much stronger than expected.

Pending home sales have climbed in four of the past five months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said that favorable housing conditions spurred increased contract activity last month.”Interest rates are lower than they were a year ago, price growth continues to moderate and total housing inventory is at its highest level since August 2012,” he said.

“More importantly, steady job additions to the economy are helping family finances and giving them added confidence to enter the market.”

Posted on August 28, 2014 at 11:35 am
Nancy Low | Category: Buyers, News, Sellers

2nd Annual E-Waste Event

Save the date! September 13, 2014 from 10-12 at 20951 Brookhurst Street, Huntington Beach, California

Star Real Estate is holding it’s 2nd Annual E-Waste Event.


Posted on August 18, 2014 at 9:27 am
Nancy Low | Category: Events, News