I really like to answer my client's real estate questions via blog posts.  I've found via analytics, you like to read them too.  Ask me your questions, and I'll research the real news.  Contact button is at the top of the page :)

April 19, 2019

Calling In The Inspection Experts

Calling In The Inspection Experts

Posted in Tips and Tricks
April 5, 2019

Market Update: March 2019

California Association of Realtors Market Snapshot

Tight Supply » Low Affordability » Outmigration

Outmigration continues to be a big concern for the California housing market. Caused by the state’s housing affordability issue, outmigration has resulted in about 800,000 people leaving California since 2010. As of the fourth quarter of 2018, only 28 percent of California households could afford to purchase the median-priced home. While this number is up from 27 percent in the third quarter of 2018, it is down from 29 percent one year ago. The high cost of housing is forcing Californians out of their current county or out of the state entirely.

Those who are leaving California are mostly middle class and almost entirely comprised of people who make less than $100,000. In 2017, the minimum income required to buy a median-priced home in California was $110,890, while the annual mean wage for a variety of professions, including Registered Nurse ($102,700), Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officer ($93,550), Elementary School Teacher ($77,990), and Firefighter ($73,860) was well below that minimum.

Outmigration is even more problematic in areas that have poor affordability, most notably the Bay Area. In San Francisco the minimum income required to buy a median-priced home reached $290,630 in 2017, while the income of those same professions did not even reach half the income requirement.

Outmigration is a direct consequence of tight inventory in the housing market in California. Home building has not kept pace with housing demand in the last 12 years. Between 2005 and 2016, California only added 270 units for every 1,000 new inhabitants, and the Golden State lagged other states in housing per capita by as much as 40 percent. The more California “underbuilds”, the higher prices grow, and the lower homeownership rate becomes. In fact, California is ranked the second lowest in homeownership across all states, out ranked by only New York.

Because of the state’s low housing affordability and its difficulty in achieving homeownership, Californians are leaving and headed to more affordable states such as Texas, Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon. Businesses and jobs follow the California exodus as well, with companies such as Toyota, Jamba Juice, and Comcast leaving the state, resulting in fewer jobs for those still in the state, higher income inequality, and a reduction in the access of less skilled workers to high-wage labor markets.

That said, California is still a place where people want to live. Results from a recent poll of those who live in California show that 63 percent would not be willing to move out of California to achieve homeownership. In addition, 31 percent of home buyers surveyed in the California Association of REALTORS® 2018 Consumer Survey said they did consider purchasing a home in another state that met their needs but ultimately ended up staying in California because they like the city that they live in/like living in California as a whole (38%), didn’t want to leave their job or friends and family (20%), and California is either their home state or they have deep familiarity with the area (11%).

Housing Units Added Per Capita (2005-2016).png

Posted in Local Market
March 22, 2019

Homebuying Decisions

Homebuying Decisions

When it comes to purchasing a home there are a lot of factors to take into consideration.  Here are the top 5 factors home buyers in California say are the most important in their decision to purchase a home.

  • 38% Prices
  • 23% Personal Finances
  • 22% Availability of a Home I Like
  • 9% Down Payment
  • 9% Interest Rates

Whether you're currently in the market for a new home or just thinking about it, talk to me today about your options and how the marketing is looking in your area.

Posted in Tips and Tricks
March 8, 2019

Market Update: February 2019

California Association of Realtors Market Snapshot January 2019

2019 Market Outlook - Sales Soften, Prices Flatline

2018 was a lackluster year for the California housing market. While remaining above the 400,000 benchmark, home sales fell 5.2 percent to 402,750, the state’s first decline in four years. Sales have been declining on a year-over-year basis for eight consecutive months since May 2018 and hit the lowest point in nearly four years with 372,260 units sold in December 2018.

Sales declined in all price segments at the end of 2018 but falling the most in the high-end market in recent months. Home sales in the million-dollar market started showing steeper declines with sales dropping 16.7 percent for the $1 million to $2 million price segment, and 18.2 percent for the $2 million and above price segment.

Despite a steep decline in interest rates at the end of 2018, potential home buyers remained on the side-line as the uncertainty on housing and the volatility of the financial market continued to cast doubts on the future of the market. The murky outlook not only led to decrease in sales as buyers became more cautious with their buying decision, but also put a cap on price growth throughout the state. For the year 2018, the statewide median price reached $570,010 and increased 6 percent from 2017. Home price appreciation, however, remained near recent low at 1.5 percent at the end of 2018, the lowest increase observed since February 2012.

The inventory level continued to increase for the eighth consecutive month on a year-over-year basis with the state’s Unsold Inventory Index (UII) reaching 3.5 months in December. The double-digits decline in sales and the more than 30 percent increase in active listings both contributed to the hike in UII. Active listings have been growing strong since April 2018 and have been increasing by double-digit for the last six months. The year-over-year surge of 30.6 percent in December was on par with the growth rate in November 2018, which was the highest gain since April 2014.

What should we expect for 2019? The outlook for the economy and the housing market is a mixed bag for the upcoming year. With interest rates expected to increase this year and home prices remain elevated, affordability will continue to hamper home sales in 2019. While the economy will stay solid this year, there is currently a high level of market uncertainty, especially from the standpoint of consumers. Wildcards such as the government shutdown, the trade conflict with China, and the stock market volatility are just a few to keep in mind.

The lack of clarity creates a mismatch in price expectation between buyers and sellers and could puta drag on home sales going forward. As such, existing home sales in California are expected to decrease 6.9 percent in 2019, as potential buyers will remain on the side line. The softening in housing demand will put downward pressure on home prices, leading to weaker price growth in the upcoming year. The statewide median price will dip slightly by 0.2 percent from 2018, reaching $568,800 in 2019. Supply should improve in the upcoming year, but housing affordability will likely get worse as interest rates climb further.

California 2019 Real Estate Market Outlook

Posted in Local Market
Feb. 23, 2019

Remodeling ROI

Remodeling ROI

Posted in Tips and Tricks
Feb. 8, 2019

Mortgage Industry Update January 2019

Here's a friendly letter from a long time loan agent. 

I thought you'd enjoy the read, if you're looking for loan advice.

Interest rates have dipped slightly in the past several weeks which is good news for your buyers in a real estate market that seems to be going through a correction. Borrowers who got loans in the late summer 2018 may want to explore refinancing to a better rate. Borrowers who are already in the adjustable phase of their older ARM's are seeing their rate resets above 5% now, so a good idea to have them explore refinancing to a fixed product, which of course I can help with. 

Low down/zero down buyers?- The CalHFA program offers loan programs with no down and no closing costs! Ask for details, in a less competitive market these buyers may have a good opportunity to buy NOW! 

Self employed borrowers-12 month bank statements programs to qualify using deposits and NOT looking at income tax returns, let me know if you have buyers like this. 

Available to my office- HIGH balance up to $726,525 to 90% LTV even in NON high cost counties, like San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Sacramento, Solano, so basically ANY county in California that didn't have the high cost limit, is now eligible for a high balance limit up to $726,525. This product is only available to a very select group of brokers, and I have it! Call me for the details,

CONDO's in litigation- YES I can do them, construction defects etc.. let me know your scenario.

As always, have a safe and successful weekend and let me know how I can assist any of your current and previous clients in smooth, efficient and timely loan closings!

Thank you,

Eric Chauhan
Sr. Loan Officer
Associated Mortgage Group
39180 Liberty St #101
Fremont, Ca 94538
PH: 510-494-2625
CELL: 510-676-8939
FAX: 510-744-9835
BRE: 01314394
NMLS: 240203

Posted in Local Market
Feb. 4, 2019

Remodeling Regrets

Remodeling Regrets

Posted in Tips and Tricks
Oct. 14, 2018

3d Tour: 2025 Olivera Rd Unit B in Concord

2025 Olivera Rd Unit B, Concord, CA 94520

Read the seller interview and watch the 3d tour here: https://www.elizabethrusso.com/contra-costa/concord/listing-agent/sold-homes-near-2025-olivera-rd-apt-b-concord-ca-94520/


2BD    1.5BA    975 SqFt    $310 per month HOA

Posted in Listings
Aug. 7, 2018

Retirement Communities in the East Bay Area of California

Retirement Communities in the East Bay Area of California

Are you looking to live in the East Bay Area CA and only want to be in one of the best retirement communities? My favorites are: Rossmoor, Trilogy, Summerset, Trilogy at Vineyards, and The Village at Ironwood.  Check out the most current listings here... 

Click here and let's go and see a few today!

Remember, you have to be a Senior Citizen (55+ years old) to live in these communities.  There are special circumstances that allow non-seniors to live in these communities.  Questions?  I've got answers.

Elizabeth Russo, your favorite Realtor

Posted in Listings
July 21, 2018

Homes with Land for Sale | Residential Agricultural Homes

My Favorite Contra Costa Homes with Land for Sale

Click here to see: Homes with Land for Sale | Residential Agricultural Homes

Ok, coming from a construction background, I still get a lot of clients looking for homes with a large lot, or just a lot of land.  Who isn't a fan of a little home on a large lot or just a big home on a large lot of ag land?  I personally grew up in a big home with ag land. I woke up during harvest with Italians yelling, to do this that or the other, our grapes were old vine zinfandel grapes, and we sold them to local wineries (grapa or vino?).  I fell in love with the culture, so much so, I married a 1st generation genius Italian straight from Sicily.

I really must tell you, I never understood there were so many different grape varietals, until I decided to volunteer at the local wine lounge to learn more... Here are my favorite residential agricultural homes with land in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties

Contact me, I'm ready when you're ready!

-Elizabeth Russo

Posted in Listings