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Pasadena Braces for a Wave of Bank Foreclosures

Pasadena Braces for a Wave of Bank Foreclosures

I’ve been talking for awhile now about banks holding on to their Real Estate Owned (REO) properties to help close out 2008 in a better financial position.

As the new year begins, Pasadena is seeing a lot more foreclosure listings hitting the real estate market as banks are trying to push out the backlog of repossessed homes up for sale. I expect the inventory of foreclosed homes in Pasadena to swell over the next few months.

Currently, we’re begining to see some Pasadena condos, some even next to South Lake Avenue district, in the $200,000 range. Pasadena single family homes are now more affordable and the interest rates are the lowest they’ve been in the last fifty years even with a bit of a climb over the last week into the 5% range.

According to a recent foreclosure prevention report by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), repossessions by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac grew by nearly 25 percent from the second quarter to the third quarter of 2008, hitting 15,196 homes nationwide.

Looking at Pasadena real estate foreclosure statistics, we’ve seen a tremendous jump in volume.

      2nd quarter of 2008, there were only 7 foreclosed homes for sale and sold in Pasadena;

 

      3rd quarter of 2008, there were 21 foreclosed homes for sale and sold in Pasadena;

 

    4th quarter of 2008 saw the highest increase in Pasadena foreclosures for a total of 54.

The next few months will be telling.

In the meantime, keep track of available foreclosure homes in Pasadena, by clicking on this foreclosure link.

 

If you would like more information about any of these Pasadena homes, please call me at 626-629-8439.

Posted on January 26th, 2009
Posted by: Irina Netchaev

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What does the Federal Reserve do Anyway?

What does the Federal Reserve do Anyway?

WHAT DOES THE FEDERAL RESERVE DO ANYWAY?

With the economy in the news every day, more attention is being focused on the Federal Reserve than ever before. Let’s look at some of the facts, and understand exactly what they do and how they do it.

The Federal Reserve System was created on December 23, 1913 by President Woodrow Wilson to act as the central bank of the United States. It was created to provide the nation with a safer, more flexible, and more stable monetary, banking and financial system.

The Federal Reserve System is made up of twelve Federal Reserve Banks, overseen by the Board of Governors. The Board of Governors is located in Washington DC and is comprised of just seven members, who are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The full term of each member of the Board of Governors is 14 years, and the appointments are staggered such that one term expires on each even-numbered year. This system ensures that “fresh blood” will be brought to the Board every two years. When your term is up as a Board Governor, you are done, and cannot be reappointed. But if a member leaves the Board before his or her term expires, the person appointed to fill the remainder of the term can be reappointed for another full term. The terms for the Chairman and Vice Chairman are four years, but may be reappointed for additional four-year terms. The current Chairman, Ben Bernanke, and Vice Chairman Donald Kohn lead the Board of Governors.

So What Does the Fed Do on a Daily Basis?

The main responsibilities of the Fed include:

  1. Researching US national and regional economies
  2. Providing financial services to depository institutions, the US government, and foreign official institutions
  3. Supervising and regulating banking institutions to ensure the safety of the nation’s financial system and protect the credit rights of consumers
  4. Conducting the nation’s monetary policy by influencing the monetary and credit conditions in the economy (i.e. hiking or cutting the Fed Funds Rate, as they did recently) in pursuit of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates
  5. Communicating information about the economy via publications, speeches, seminars and websites

But the communication method that typically grabs the attention of most individuals is the statement given by Federal Chairman Ben Bernanke, following the eight formal meetings that take place about every six weeks throughout the year. At these meetings, the Fed has the opportunity to make changes to the Federal Funds Rate, and make their decision by reviewing economic and financial conditions. They can also make adjustments to the Fed Funds Rate outside of these meetings, but rarely do so because they don’t want to deliver a surprise that could rattle the financial markets.

Overall, the Fed’s main responsibility is to keep the economy growing at a steady pace by keeping inflation stable and rates moderate.

When inflation is low and stable, businesses and households can spend, knowing that their purchasing power can remain strong.

Teaching Moment for Children…

While you’re watching the news on television or listening to it on your car’s radio, your kids can probably hear–but not completely understand–the news too. That means now’s a perfect time to turn the current economic news into a lesson on money and finances. One terrific website can be found at www.federalreserve.gov/kids, which gives a very simple overview of the Fed and what they do, including a great definition of inflation that any small child can understand.

Posted on January 18th, 2009
Posted by: Irina Netchaev

1 Comment »

Duarte California Real Estate: Five Years in Review

Duarte California Real Estate: Five Years in Review

I am meeting with a Duarte home seller this morning.  In preparation for the meeting or as we in real estate call a listing presentation, I looked at statistical data for real estate market performance in Duarte from 2003 and 2005.

Honestly, there were no major surprises.  When comparing Duarte’s real estate performance to Pasadena, San Marino and South Pasadena, the trends are very similar:

The home sale volume dropped significantly over the last couple of years:

An almost 50% decline in the volume of Duarte home sales from 2006 to 2008.

The most significant Duarte home price increases took place between 2003 and 2005.

The MAJOR difference between Duarte and its neighboring cities to the West is that the down-trending in home sales prices is more significant and home prices are still on the decline.

Duarte home prices moved down 16% in 2008 from 2007 and almost 20% over the last two years.

READ MORE: Pasadena Real Estate Market Review 2003-2008
South Pasadena Real Estate Market Review 2003-2008
San Marino Real Estate Market Review 2003-2008

Here’s Duarte California real estate data of sold homes for 2003 to 2008 for your review:

DUARTE 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
# of Units Sold 205 247 217 204 136 104
Ave List Price/Sq.Ft. $239 $314 $374 $402 $412 $312
Ave Sold Price/Sq.Ft. $239 $314 $376 $399 $401 $305
Ave List Price $320,765 $409,257 $492,193 $525,804 $507,589 $427,150
Ave Sales Price $320,296 $409,291 $494,184 $520,358 $495,663 $416,326
% of Sold to List 99.9% 100.0% 100.4% 99.0% 97.7% 97.5%

Notice that the year ended with home sales closing at $305 per square foot.  The last month of December 2008 ended at $283 per square foot – 8% lower than the average home price sold of last year.  Not a good trend for Duarte home sellers, but a great opportunity for Duarte home buyers.

Duarte Real Estate Market statistics for December 2008:

Duarte, California Dec-08
New Listings 9
Total Listings 61
Sales Pending 9
Homes Sold  9
Listings Expired 11
Average Days on the Market  120
Average Price Per Sq. Ft. $283
Median Selling Price $339,000
Average Selling Price $351,989
Absorption Rate (# of weeks to sell current inventory at present rate of sales) 29.4

Currently, there are 61 houses available for purchase in Duarte California.

SPosted by Irina Netchaev, Real Estate Agent.

»crosslinked«

Posted on January 15th, 2009
Posted in Duarte
Posted by: Irina Netchaev

4 Comments »

Can a Pasadena home escrow be cancelled by seller?

Can a Pasadena home escrow be cancelled by seller?

An interesting question was just posed on Trulia. A home buyer was told by her real estate agent that the realtor representing the home seller was going to cancel escrow since loan and appraisal contingencies were not released. The question was – can the seller cancel the escrow?

Absolutely!

When you make an offer to buy a Pasadena home or any California property, your realtor will discuss with you the three main contingencies of the home purchase. These contingencies are:

  1. Loan Approval Contingency:  A home buyer can back out of the escrow and NOT lose their earnest money deposit if that home buyer can not qualify for a home loan within the contingency time period.
  2. Appraisal Contingency:  A home buyer can cancel the escrow if the home doesn’t appraise to the full purchase price offered. 
  3. Home inspection:  A home buyer has an opportunity to hire a home inspector to check the property condition.  Don’t forget that sewer inspection!  If the inspector finds issues that the home buyer was not aware of before and the buyer is unable to negotiate repairs with the home seller or is unwilling to purchase the house after learning of these issues, the buyer can cancel the escrow.  This home inspection contigency would also include any reports that have been provided to the buyer by the home seller.  If it’s a condominium or a townhome, a review of the financial statements and other relevant information about the complex is done at the same time.

These contingencies are in place to protect the home buyer’s earnest money deposit.  In essence, it’s a free look at the property for the buyer without any penalties.

READ MORE:  The fastest way to lose your earnest money deposit

For a home seller, this contingency period or a “free look” is a period of uncertainty.  The deal is not sealed unless and until the home buyer signs off and releases all contingencies.

A good real estate agent representing the seller will ensure that all contingencies are released within the contractual time frames allowed and agreed to.  Usually, the buyer will have anywhere between 7 to 17 days to complete their inspections, get approved for the loan and get the appraisal completed. 

If home purchase contingencies are not released within the agreed upon time frames, a Notice to Perform is sent to the buyer by the seller and if the buyer still does not sign off and releases the contingencies than a home seller is totally in their right to cancel the escrow and move on with the marketing of their Pasadena home.

READ MORENine Stupid Things Buyers Do to Mess Up their Home Purchase

Posted on January 13th, 2009
Posted by: Irina Netchaev

5 Comments »

South Pasadena Real Estate Analysis – 2003-2008 housing review

South Pasadena Real Estate Analysis – 2003-2008 housing review

South Pasadena real estate has experienced an amazing five years of growth and 2008 has proven that values for South Pasadena homes are holding fairly steady while adjacent cities are seeing declines.

Single family homes in South Pasadena fared much better than condos and townhomes, but overall the real estate market held.

Read More:  South Pasadena Real Estate Market Report for December 2008

San Marino, adjacent to South Pasadena, another very affluent city has done extremely well in 2008 as well.  With San Marino property values declining just slightly from an already high numbers of previous years.

Read More:  San Marino Real Estate Analsyis – Five Years in Review

Here are the statistics for your review (analysis is below this chart):

 

SOUTH PASADENA 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
SFR
# of Units Sold 255 180 179 185 145 79
Ave List Price/Sq.Ft. $344 $401 $481 $510 $518 $524
Ave Sold Price/Sq.Ft. $344 $415 $488 $513 $517 $510
Ave List Price $656,128 $796,551 $937,169 $1,037,107 $1,023,445 $1,152,025
Ave Sales Price $646,771 $819,416 $957,034 $1,042,387 $1,017,776 $1,095,100
% of Sold to List 98.6% 102.9% 102.1% 100.5% 99.4% 95.1%
Ave # of Days on the Market 37 34 32 42 44 81
SOUTH PASADENA 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Condo/Townhomes
# of Units Sold 54 71 76 65 55 30
Ave List Price/Sq.Ft. $252 $314 $399 $426 $431 $399
Ave Sold Price/Sq.Ft. $252 $317 $404 $422 $429 $390
Ave List Price $338,313 $404,019 $477,004 $560,290 $607,253 $550,240
Ave Sales Price $337,435 $407,825 $483,327 $554,302 $602,763 $537,503
% of Sold to List 99.7% 100.9% 101.3% 98.9% 99.3% 97.7%
Ave # of Days on the Market 21 27 25 38 60 95

 

Data gathered from ITEC (Pasadena Foothill Association Multiple Listing Service)
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Here’re my thoughts and observations on the data for South Pasadena’s last 5 years in real estate:

  • The volume of units for both Single Family Residences (SFR) and Condos and Townhomes was drastically lower in 2008 compared to previous years.  South Pasadena volume of sold homes dropped almost 50% from 2007.
  • Price per square foot of sold homes remained pretty much stable and ended the year at $510 per sq. ft. That is only 1.4% lower than the selling price per square foot in 2007.
  • Condo and townhomes didn’t do as well as single family homes and the price per square foot dropped 9.1%, but has been dropping each month in the 4th quarter of 2008.  December closed at $346 per sq. ft.
  • Last quarter of 2008 has been tough for both South Pasadena homes, condos and townhomes, with prices moving below the average sold prices for 2008.  Take a look at December 2008 South Pasadena Statistics.
  • It is taking longer to market and sell South Pasadena real estate.

How will South Pasadena real estate market do in 2009?

  • South Pasadena home prices will move down a bit more in 2009 especially for condos and townhomes.
  • Inventory of homes for sale will increase due to additional short sales and foreclosures on the market.
  • Homes will stay on the market longer due to lenders tightening of funds.
  • South Pasadena home buyers will need to come up with more cash: conforming rate limit dropped to $625,000 and 2nd Trust Deeds will be more difficult to get and will be a lot more expensive.
  • South Pasadena schools will continue to be the #1 driving force for home sales in South Pasadena.

Read more: South Pasadena City Guide

If you have questions about any of the data listed above or would like a private consultation to sell or purchase your South Pasadena home, please call Irina Netchaev at 626-627-7107.

Posted on January 7th, 2009
Posted by: Irina Netchaev

11 Comments »

Pasadena Real Estate Housing Analysis – Five Years in Review

Pasadena Real Estate Housing Analysis – Five Years in Review

Pasadena real estate housing market has been on a bumpy ride in 2008, as we enter 2009, it’s always interesting to look at historical trends.

Every month, Pasadena real estate blog brings you a statistical report highlighting Pasadena housing trends.  For December’s 2008 Pasadena real estate statistics, visit Pasadena housing trends and real estate market report for December 2008.

Looking at historical data and trends is critical in understanding what the Pasadena future real estate market can bring.

So, without further ado, here’s the analysis of where Pasadena real estate has taken us:

SFR 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
# of Units Sold 1402 1390 1294 1069 811 657
Ave List Price/Sq.Ft. $339 $402 $472 $502 $496 $440
Ave Sold Price/Sq.Ft. $336 $408 $479 $497 $489 $428
Ave List Price $620,750 $717,994 $835,039 $938,407 $977,794 $880,432
Ave Sales Price $616,489 $728,126 $847,985 $928,328 $959,394 $851,702
% of Sold to List 99.3% 101.4% 101.6% 98.9% 98.1% 96.7%
Ave # of Days on the Market 27 24 26 37 96
Condos & Townhomes 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
# of Units Sold 664 744 731 683 597 374
Ave List Price/Sq.Ft. $268 $341 $410 $437 $442 $409
Ave Sold Price/Sq.Ft. $269 $346 $420 $431 $432 $388
Ave List Price $343,168 $425,945 $499,323 $526,625 $571,055 $529,495
Ave Sales Price $344,487 $430,696 $507,887 $519,946 $557,042 $504,093
% of Sold to List 100.4% 101.1% 101.7% 98.7% 97.5% 95.2%
Ave # of Days on the Market 24 23 31 50 66 95

First of all, the most significant change each year has been the volume of Pasadena homes and condos sold:

  • 2003 has seen the highest number of Pasadena homes sold – 1,402 units.  Compare that to 657 Pasadena homes sold last year in 2008.  That’s a drop of over 50%.
  • Pasadena condo and townhome sales have peaked in 2004 at 744 units sold.  Again, the volume of condo and townhome sales in 2008 has dropped by more than 50% from 2004.
  • Each year, it’s taking longer and longer to market Pasadena homes.  Still, the average days on the market was a bit over 3 months for both Pasadena homes and condos/townhomes.  We are still very much in the seller’s market even though it doesn’t feel like it to those of us that has experienced the real estate market over the last several years.  The official definition of a buyer’s market is when properties stay on the market for six months or more.

Pasadena real estate is still selling close to asking price:

  • 2008 closed at 96.7% of asking prices for homes sold and 95.2% of list to sold price of condos and tonwhomes sold in Pasadena California.

Price per square foot for Pasadena Real Estate:

  • Pasadena real estate started seeing price per square foot decreases in 2007 where it dropped slightly to $489 per square foot for homes sold and then a more significant drop in 2008 of 12.5% to $428.
  • Pasadena condos and townhomes sold price per square foot was pretty flat from 2004 through 2008 and dropped by 11% this year.

Average Pasadena home sale prices:

  • Pasadena home sale prices are back to 2005 levels, ending 2008 at $851,702.
  • Pasadena condos and townhomes are paralelling, Pasadena single family homes and are also back to 2005 levels at $504,093.

So what can we anticipate in 2009:

  • More foreclosures and short sales – no surprise there.
  • Great interest rates for Pasadena home buyers and refinancing.
  • Banks tightening up lending requirements and making financing dollars more difficult to get.
  • Buyers needing to come up with more down payment funds.
  • Home sellers providing more incentives to buyers.
  • A much longer marketing period to sell Pasadena homes.
  • Internet marketing and social media playing a significant role in selling homes.

Read More:  Pasadena Real Estate Outlook for 2009
South Pasadena Real Estate Review – 2003 – 2008
San Marino Real Estate Review – 2003 -2008
Duarte Real Estate Review – 2003 – 2008

Posted by Irina Netchaev, your Pasadena Realtor.

Posted on January 2nd, 2009
Posted by: Irina Netchaev

2 Comments »

Pasadena Mortgage Rate Update: January 1, 2008

Pasadena Mortgage Rate Update: January 1, 2008

The average Pasadena mortgage rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 5.14 percent last week to a new record low, according to Freddie Mac.

A year ago, the rate was 6.17 percent for a comparable loan.

As a result, mortgage applications last week jumped to the highest level in five years, with more than 80 percent of the applications for refinancings.

There also was an 11 percent increase in applications for home purchase loans.

If you have questions about any of these Pasadena homes for sale, call Irina, Pasadena Real Estate Agent at 626-629-8439.

Posted on January 1st, 2009
Posted by: Irina Netchaev

1 Comment »

Mojitos Time on New Year’s Eve

Mojitos Time on New Year’s Eve

This post is dedicated to Ines, a Miami Beach Realtor, who inspired me to make a Mojito for the first time. Here’s a video dedicated to Ines. I challenge all of you to make your own Mojitos using the most creative tools!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oheWS90eBw[/youtube]

For the original Miamism Mojitos recipes, visit Mojitos Central.

Posted on December 31st, 2008
Posted in Fun Posts
Posted by: Irina Netchaev

7 Comments »

Pasadena Real Estate Outlook for 2009

Pasadena Real Estate Outlook for 2009

A lot of folks are happy to see 2008 come to an end.  It’s been a difficult year for many given the financial crisis and the natural disasters that occurred making it one of the deadliest years on record.

Is there a reason for optimism in Pasadena for 2009?

There’s an interesting overview of what caused the financial crisis by Barry Habib of Mortgage Success Source which provides an easy overview of the “whys”, “hows” and “whats” coming up in 2009.  Here’s his perspective:

The financial crisis we are in today was not caused by mortgages or housing, although they were both catalysts. The real reason was an accounting rule called “Mark to Market” (also known as FASB 157).

Few people have a strong grasp of this rule, and even those who do have a tough time explaining it on air due to time restrictions. So let’s take a few minutes to break it down, so you can have the inside track on this very important concept and understand why it represents some great opportunities.

Why does ‘Mark to Market’ exist?

Let’s go back to the stock market crash, which occurred between 2000 and 2002. With the S&P down 49% and the NASDAQ down 71%, many people lost much of their life savings and they were very angry.

Companies like Enron and Arthur Andersen were able to find ways to make their books looks more attractive, which was reflected in an artificially inflated stock price.

Both the public and Congress had a call for more transparency in business and hastened the passage of “Mark to Market” accounting.

This is the notion that all assets should be valued as if they were sold on a daily basis. Under the letter of the law, failure to do this conservatively can now result in jail time.

So what’s the problem?

Before we get into what this means for banks, let me make a quick analogy using a scenario that should make perfect sense to you.

Let’s imagine that you own a house in a Pasadena neighborhood where all of the houses are priced at around $300,000. Unfortunately, your neighbor, who owns his home free and clear, falls ill and needs emergency cash quickly. Because he is under duress, he must sell the home for $200,000 in order to get the cash he needs right away, even though the home is worth considerably more.

 before-and-after-house

Now would this mean that your home is now worth the same $200,000 that your neighbor sold his for? Of course not, because you are not forced to sell under duress. It just means that your new neighbor got a great deal.

However, if you were a publicly traded company and had to abide by Mark to Market account rules, you and the rest of your neighbors would now have to say, by law, that your home was worth only $200,000 – not the $300,000 you would get for it if you actually sold. So what’s the big deal? Read on.

So how does this principle apply to banks?

Let’s say we decide to start a bank . . . call it XYZ Bank. We raise $2 Million to open our doors. Remember that our capital account is $2 Million. Banks make money by taking in deposits and paying low rates of interest to those depositors (maybe throw in a toaster too). We then take that money and make loans with it at higher rates. We keep the difference.

So, we turn that money into $30 Million worth of loans. This puts our ratio of loans to capital (our Capital Ratio) at 15:1 ($15 Million in Loans to $1 Million in Capital). This level is acceptable, as long as we can shoulder some losses and recover.

Because we are very conservative here at XYZ Bank, the loans we make require a minimum down payment of 30%, a credit score of 800 or better (that’s nearly an 850 which is perfect), proof of income and assets, a reserve of at least two years of mortgage payments (normal is two months) and income requirements that only allow 10% of monthly income to cover all expenses (normal is 40%).

bank-before-and-afterWe do this and our loans perform perfectly. We make lots of money. Nobody is paying late and our clients are sending us holiday cards. They love us . . . it’s a party. You and I are celebrating as we see our stock price soar.

But real estate values decline and, even though all of our loans are paying perfectly, we must re-assess the loan portfolio to account for the decline in real estate values, which leaves us with less of an equity cushion. We had a minimum 30% down payment, which means the loans were 70% of the value of our assets – until we account for the decline in the market. Now, our position goes from 70% to 90%. That’s riskier and, therefore, worth less than when our loans had a 70% safety position.

Our accountants tell us that we must “Mark to Market” or risk jail. They say our value is now reduced by $1 Million. Whoa!

We must take (or write down) this loss against our capital account. It is a paper loss – we don’t write a check, we have no late payers, no defaults, no bad business decisions. Still, we must reflect this $1 Million paper loss in our Capital Account, which drops from a $2 Million to $1 Million in value.

Here’s where things get problematic.

At this level, with $30 Million in loans outstanding, we now have a capital ratio of 30:1. At
this level of leverage, alarms begin to sound.

Our ratios are out of the safe zone; we could go under with just a few losses, deposits are in jeopardy. Hello FDIC examiner, we are on the watch list, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is asking questions and our stock starts to tumble. The business networks are showing coverage of our now troubled bank. We are in big trouble.

The problem, we are “over leveraged”. The solution? We have to “de-lever” . . . and do so
quickly. But there are only two ways to do that, and one of them isn’t really an option.

The first way is to raise capital, but that’s not going to happen when our ratios are out of whack and we are in serious trouble as well as on the FDIC watch list. It is unlikely that anyone will be willing to invest cash in XYZ Bank.

The other option is that we can sell assets, like the outstanding loans, which are increasing our capital ratio. Like your neighbor, who owned his home outright but needed cash for medical bills, we are now under duress. The paper we are holding has a lot of value, but we have to sell it quickly and, because of that, cheaply. So, we offload the loans at a loss, which exacerbates the problem because those losses further reduce our capital account.

Very quickly, like a flushing toilet, things start to spiral – we are going down.

The problem multiplies

 

The problem doesn’t stop there. The fire sale we just had on our loans makes things worse – even for the banks that bought them up and thought they were getting a great deal.

bank-workflow

 

Under Mark to Market, the loans we just sold must be included in the comparables that other financial institutions use to value their assets. This is how the problem spread and got so bad so fast. Other good institutions, with good loans, have to mark down. Just like us, they become over-leveraged. It’s a chain reaction, all triggered by a well intentioned, but over-reaching accounting rule.

Financial institutions fold, sell, or freeze. Credit – the life blood of our economy – is cut off at the source. Because of a lack of available credit, home sales and refinances crawl, auto sales drop and jobs are lost. Additionally, the economy enters a recession.

During the last recession in 2001, the economy recovered relatively quickly thanks to $3 Trillion worth of home equity withdrawals. But, more restrictive programs, a lack of available credit, and lower home values will make it difficult for us to use home equity to help pull us out of a recession this time around.

Fixing the problem

The Federal Reserve has passed a rescue plan, which, over time, will provide some level of help. Some banks will get money to infuse into their capital accounts. Others can sell some assets to the government in an effort to “de-lever”.

But, the big thing that is not talked about, not well understood, is the part of the rescue plan that traces this financial crisis back to the source.

The US Congress has given the SEC its blessing to modify “Mark to Market” accounting. And by January 2, SEC Chairman, Chris Cox has to get back to Congress with ideas, if any, on how to fix Mark to Market accounting.

It won’t be eliminated, as we will not want to go back to the Enron days. But he is likely to adjust the Mark to Market provisions.

Here’s one potential solution – even rental or commercial real estate properties can be valued two ways:

1. The comparable sales method, which determines the value based on what other assets have sold for, which is the way Mark to Market work currently.
2. A cash flow method, which values the property based upon cash coming in.

If we see Mark to Market modified to use cash flow to value assets, without requiring a large percentage discounting mechanism – wow! What a shot in the arm that would be. We’d likely see the stock market rally, with financial stocks leading the uphill charge.

Consider that, in today’s market, fund managers are holding 27% of their assets in cash, compared with just 3% they held in cash when the stock market peaked in October of 2007. That means there is a lot of money on the sidelines that can push stock prices higher.

Additionally, think about the redemptions from hedge funds that eventually need to be put
back to work. That’s another reason to be optimistic about stocks in the first quarter of 2009 – provided that Chairman Cox modifies Mark to Market accounting in a meaningful way. And a good stock market helps individuals feel better about purchasing homes.

Additionally, stronger balance sheets for financial institutions will allow them to lend more money.

The bottom line

With some potentially very good news around the corner, there might be reason for optimism as we head into 2009.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens and we’ll keep you updated on the changes to the Mark to Market accounting rule.

In the meantime, I’ll take this opportunity to take my 2009 crystal ball out and share my Pasadena real estate market predictions with you:

  1. Pasadena mortage rates will remain under 6% through the 2nd quarter of 2009 and will begin to rise in the 3rd quarter of the year.
  2. We will see an influx of REO (bank-owned) properties hit the Pasadena real estate market around March and April of 2009. 
  3. A lot more Pasadena sellers will try to negotiate a short sale with their banks which will provide opportunities for first time buyers and real estate investors.
  4. Pasadena housing units available for sale will begin increasing as more foreclosures and short sales hit the real estate market.
  5. Pasadena SFR (single family homes) have seen a drop of 10.5% in price per square foot from 2007 to 2008.  I believe the market will continue to see a decline in prices through June of next year of another 4 to 5%. 
  6. We will start seeing a turn around in the market place by July of 2009 with the changes in the Mark to Market rules, additional first time housing programs and availability of conventional programs.

READ MORE:  Pasadena real estate market comparison between 2006 and 2007

What do you think of my Pasadena real estate predictions?  Agree or disagree?  Put your 2009 predictions in the comments below.

Would love to hear from you.

Posted by: Irina Netchaev

No Comments »

Sierra Madre California Information

Sierra Madre California Information

Sierra Madre is set against the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains just 10 miles North of downtown Los Angeles.  Pasadena and Altadena is to the South West and Arcadia is South East of Sierra Madre California.

It’s a small town, with population of a bit over 10,500 per 2000 US Census.

As you’re driving through Sierra Madre, please slow down – Sierra Madre has no traffic lights within its city limit.  This town is also home to the only remaining volunteer fire department in the Greater Los Angeles area.

This small village in the Sierra Madre Canyon area is noted for being a distinct and unusual community. The Canyon is characterized by narrow and winding roads, lush vegetation, views of the San Gabriel Valley, and small bungalows or cabins.  The downtown has small restaurants and shops.

If you are thinking of taking a day trip to Sierra Madre consider the following:

E. Waldo Ward & Son – a small family farm that’s been canning fabulous jams and jellies since 1918.  Its tiny gift hop sits among the last remaining commercial orange groves in Los Angeles.  It is located at 273 East Highland Avenue and is closed Sundays.  Call 626-355-1218 for more info.

Mt. Wilson Trail – the winding 7.5 mile trek to historic Mount Wilson Observatory climbs from chaparral into pines, with spectacular views along the way.  Call 818-899-1900 for trail conditions before setting out on your journey.  It is located at Mira Monte Avenue and Mt. Wilson Trail Drive.

Some places to eat:

Bean Town – the gum-ball machine still costs a penny at this cozy coffee bar and bakery with yummy ice cream and live music on weekends.  Located at 45 North Baldwin Avenue – 626-355-1596.

Cafe 322 – craving Italian?  Cafe 322 is the place to go.  Try their manicotti al forno.  Located at 322 W. Sierra Madre Blvd.  626-836-5414.

Interested in learning more about Sierra Madre real estate?  Visit our Sierra Madre real estate page.

Posted by Irina Netchaev – Pasadena area realtor® focusing on helping buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals.

Interested in more information about Pasadena and surrounding cities, check out our City Guides below:

Alhambra City Guide

Altadena City Guide

Arcadia City Guide

Eagle Rock City Guide

Monterey Hills City Guide

Pasadena City Guide

San Gabriel City Guide

San Marino City Guide

Sierra Madre City Guide

South Pasadena City Guide

And, if you are interested in fun activities to do in Pasadena, take a look at our 365 Things To Do in Pasadena® page.


Thinking of selling your Pasadena area home? Interested in finding out the current market value of your single family home, condo or investment property? Then call Irina Netchaev at (626) 629-8439 to discuss what is happening in today’s Pasadena Real Estate Market.

Posted on December 26th, 2008
Posted in Sierra Madre
Posted by: Irina Netchaev

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