Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Michael Jackson All Paid Up!

I ran across this while doing a little research. We all know how much trouble Mr. Jackson has found himself in as a result of owning the Neverland Ranch.

His most recent challenge was having a lien filed against him for not paying his property taxes. Well, after paying one Bernice James the sum of $13,373.47 he is all paid up.

For those of you interested in proof, I have a copy of the lien and the release documents below.

I wonder what will be next in this ongoing struggle of his to own Neverland Ranch.

I haven't seen anything like a new trust deed recorded on his property yet. Maybe that will be next, because we all know he has had trouble with his previous lender. Good Luck Mr. Jackson!

Where Are All The Local Loan Agents?

Zillow has created a Mortgage Market Place, where borrowers can request loan quotes. Any lender who has been approved by Zillow (it's easy) can then begin giving quotes to borrowers who have submitted requests.

I must have looked at 20 actual requests and the quotes given by the lenders who are members of the Zillow Mortgage Market Place.

One thing that was very noticeable to me, was that there were ZERO local lenders giving quotes to borrowers from the Santa Barbara area.

I'm not certain that this is a good way to earn loans. I do know that many loan people I have spoken with would be happy to be giving quotes to borrowers in an effort to earn a loan.

With Zillow's program you can put in your criteria on the types of loans you would like to give quotes on. It sounds pretty easy to me.

This is really just a public service announcement to the local residential lending community, in the hopes that if these borrowers are doing loans that one of our local folks is doing the transaction.

Check out the requests below. You can click on the details to see the quotes along with additional information on the borrower.

This borrower makes $1,400,000 annually!

This borrower is looking for a $1,200,000 loan on a $12,000,000 property

Nobody quoted a loan for this person on a purchase. Maybe 89% loan to value is not doable.

Check it out, and I'll See You In Escrow!

Friday, April 25, 2008

March REO's In Santa Barbara County

One of the nice benefits of working at such a good company is that we have a group that specializes in generating information on all kinds of property statistics.

Most recently I have been playing with the information they have on REO's and Notice of Defaults and Notice of Trustee Sales.

I think one of the hot topics these days is where are all the bank owned properties and so my thoughts are to publish this information monthly using the same mapping product that I use for the monthly sales maps.

There were 92 properties that went back to their respective lenders in Santa Barbara County in March. By looking at the map it is very obvious to see that most of the new bank owned properties are in the Santa Maria and Lompoc areas.

I counted 8 properties in the Santa Barbara area, so with a little math that leaves 84 properties in the Lompoc, Santa Maria areas.

Here is a link to a map representing information on REO's for January and February.

I hope this map is helpful, and See You In Escrow!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Lompoc Residential Loan Activity

Lompoc has been one of the communities in Santa Barbara County that has been hardest hit by the economic slowdown that we have all been witnesses of.

They have experienced, foreclosures, declining prices, and a generally poor economy.

In reviewing the residential lending numbers for March, I am seeing a really good sign. The residential purchase numbers have been on a slow and steady climb since October of last year except for a small downturn in February. That doesn't surprise me since February is a short month.

March's number (40) picked up the pace again and ended up being the highest number since August of 2007 which hit 53. Depending on how you look at the long term trend you could say that we have had 6 months of growth.

The residential refinance number is a little harder to figure out. Since a pretty severe drop in August of last year it has bounced around and been between about 70 and 100 except for a real slow down in January.

What is probably the best news the residential refinance business could ask for is a steady improvement in the purchase market. If this is happening I would picture prices beginning to bottom out, this would make appraising a property on a refinance a more predictable job.

See You In Escrow!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Residential Lending In Santa Maria

Santa Maria has recently been experiencing a pick up in residential real estate transactions. I am not surprised.

I believe the price of properties in that area is certainly affordable when you compare them to Santa Barbara or the Santa Ynez Valley.
When looking at the residential lending numbers for Santa Maria it is pretty easy to see a pick up as well.

The non purchase market had 219 loans close in March. This is the highest number since October of 2007 and the second straight month there has been an increase. I would hope that some of the Economic Stimulus Package is beginning to give this area some help. The additional money that is available for refinancing certainly can't hurt.

The residential purchase market in Santa Maria is also showing a little bit of growth. There were 95 transactions for March which is the highest number going all the way back to August of 2007 if you exclude February's number. Another situation where for the last 2 months the purchase market is showing increased activity. Probably what is giving this area the most help is that properties are priced well enough to be desirable again.

I think there is a bit of a rebound going on in this market. I can hardly wait to see what happens when the April numbers come in.

See You In Escrow!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Santa Barbara's Height Restriction Debate, Time Out!

One of the most covered topics recently has been the issue of building heights. Well, there has been a truce called in the battle to put in new restrictions. Both sides came to the conclusion that this would be a good topic to let the general plan take control over, for now. ;o)

Earlier this month I wrote a post entitled Santa Barbara Building Height Restrictions which outlined who most of the players were and linked to many of the recent news articles being written. Today I thought I would just give a quick update to some of the articles that have been published since.

Remember to visit the general plan website if you want to get involved and or informed.

Hopefully those will keep you updated on the latest regarding the battle for building height restrictions here in Santa Barbara

See You In Escrow!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Santa Barbara's Loan Activity Showing Signs Of Life

So what does showing signs of life mean?

The patient has a heartbeat and despite what has been quite a few months of mixed messages in the home loan business there has been a pick up in the number of loans happening in the Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Montecito, and Goleta areas.

The number of purchase loans increased by 66% over February's number. There were 93 loans recorded which is the highest number since August of last year when there were 123 purchase loans reported.

How about the heartbeat of the non purchase market in these areas?

March of 2008 showed an increase over February and reported 400 loans as compared to 377 for February. March's number of non purchase loans was also the highest since August of 2007.

I would say the patient is recovering. It is weathering the sub prime drama that saw Bear Stearns, Countrywide, WAMU and many others real from the pain.

With interest rates remaining very low and if Bill Watkins is right they will remain low in to 2009 and maybe beyond. I see very little reason for someone considering purchasing or refinancing to not take advantage of this terrific climate.

Sure, you may actually have to prove you have an income and are able to pay back what you would like to borrow. Heck you may even have to come up with a down payment, but isn't this how things should have been done to begin with?

See You In Escrow!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Santa Barbara County Foreclosure Trends

In reviewing the statistics on the foreclosure chart. You can see that having some historical data is a good thing.

The number of Notice of Defaults that have recorded the last few months are hanging around the 250 to 280 ish mark. I think this is probably where Santa Barbara County is going to be for a while.

I say this because I can see that the numbers of loans adjusting is going to continue to rise through August which is the latest month I have.

August's number is 222, which is the exact same number of loans that were scheduled to adjust in the county in November. November was the highest month on the chart to date. It will be interesting to see if that number goes any higher this year. I suspect it could.

The number of Trustees Deeds peaked in January and so did the number of Notice of Defaults. It is good to see a correlation between those 2 numbers.

The number of REO sales hit an all time high in March of 25, one more than we saw in February. I would expect these numbers to be consistently at this level or higher for the coming month. This is a particularly good sign, because that means the lenders are getting these properties off of their books.

From what I'm hearing it sounds like the lenders who are taking these properties back are doing what they can to move these properties quickly, and our markets seemed to have adjusted to it.

You may notice on the chart that the number of REO's and Trustees Deeds are converging. This is also good, because the number of properties being sold to end consumers and the number of properties that banks are taking back are coming closer together.

In other words the number of bank owned properties on the market will be less of an influence since they are moving about as soon as they come on. The faster this inventory turns over the better and closer we are to having a market less influenced by these foreclosed properties.
See You In Escrow

Friday, April 11, 2008

Lompoc And Santa Ynez Valley Sales

March was a month you would expect to see the home sales activity pick up in Santa Barbara County. Just a brief observation of the numbers tells me that the low end of the market appears to be getting the price point figured out.

Lompoc would be one of those communities. There were significantly more sales in Lompoc in March than there had been in about a year. Maybe that is because of all the beautiful flowers in the area this time of year.

Something a bit uncharacteristic is that Lompoc had the highest sale for the Lompoc Santa Ynez Valley area. According to the CORT figures it was a property at 2210 Point Sal Loop which sold for $4,543,500. You might get an argument that this property is closer to Santa Maria than Lompoc.

Everything else over 1 million on the latest map was in the Santa Ynez, Buellton, Solvang, Los Olivos areas. Some of the properties didn't have specific addresses. I can only assume they were vacant parcels.

$1,300,000 386 Meadowlark Rd Santa Ynez
$1,500,000 Refugio Rd Los Olivos
$1,600,000 W Oak Trail Rd Los Olivos
$1,737,500 1525 Dove Meadow Rd Buellton/Solvang
$1,850,000 3290 Buck Canyon Rd Los Olivos
$2,200,000 Mesa Verde Rd Buellton/Solvang

Now on the other end of the spectrum there were 6 properties that transferred in March according to CORT for under $200,000. They were all in Lompoc.

$17,600 3/13/2008 1321 W Lime Ave Lompoc
$115,000 3/18/2008 520 E Chestnut Ave Lompoc
$138,500 3/18/2008 3980 Celestial Ave Lompoc
$163,000 3/14/2008 202 N R St Lompoc
$175,000 3/31/2008 922 N O St Lompoc
$184,000 3/14/2008 3821 Cassini Cir Unit 2 Lompoc

Make sure you check out the property map for all the sales information reported by CORT in Lompoc and the Santa Ynez Valley.

See You In Escrow!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Santa Maria Area Sales

The Santa Maria Area sales map is up and viewable for March. This map will show all the property sales in that area reported by CORT. This includes Condos, Homes, Vacant Land, Commercial Property, and any other land transfer. The maps for Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, and the Lompoc area are always available on the right hand side of the blog for future reference.

There are 105 properties located on the map, with the highest sales price being 2.4 million on McCoy Lane in Santa Maria. That looks to be a sizable piece of land. The next 2 highest priced sales also appeared to be land. $2,150,000 The Sal Beach area in Guadalupe and $1,579,500 on La Brea in Santa Maria.

The lowest price reported by CORT is 408 S. Smith St. for $5,665. You are going to have to figure out what that may have been on your own.

I asked good ole Excel to figure out the median price for all the properties that sold and the number is $335,000.

See You In Escrow!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Check Out Zillow's New Mortgage Marketplace!

Zillow, who has become known for it's zestimates has now ventured in to the mortgage world by launching it's Mortgage Marketplace.

One feature that should be a real draw if you are a borrower is, you can submit a request for a quote and remain anonymous until you are ready to contact a lender who gives a quote worth follow up on.

The second feature that I think should really keep the system honest is that the borrower can rate the lender they have interactions with. This information will go a long way in helping borrowers determine if they are dealing with someone that is reputable.

I'm not sure if you have ever bought something from Ebay, but I really like to be able to get a review of the person who is selling me something from people who have purchased from them before.

Zillow has a program for mortgage professionals which makes it very easy to take part in. I didn't read all the fine print, but paying a $25 sign up fee was really all I saw one would have to do.

A loan person can then plug in particulars that will notify them when requests they would like to make quotes on become available. Pretty cool if you ask me.

Inman News has posted a couple of articles worth reading if you want some opinions on this new strategy from Zillow. Hey Can I Get A Loan Offer Here, and Zillow Launches Mortgage Rate Quote Platform.

All in all it sounds like a great approach for borrowers who want to use the Internet to see what their options are and it sure looks like a good way for a mortgage professional to generate some new leads.

See You In Escrow

Monday, April 7, 2008

March Property Sales Information For Santa Barbara

I have received the sales data for March a little earlier than I expected. I was able to upload the latest information for Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Montecito, Goleta, and the entire south coast today in to the property sales map.

In looking it over there were a couple of sales where the price was not available. The prices ranged from as low as $1 and as high as $8,450,000.

The property that sold for $1 was 434 E. Olive St. which looks to be part of a package deal that included 506 E. Haley St. The only reason I'm guessing this is that the same LLC purchased them and they closed on the same day.

The $8,450,000 purchase appears to be a single family residence on Lilac Dr. in Montecito. That was a pretty popular street last month as there was another sale showing for $7,925,000. I suppose there needs to be a welcome to the neighborhood get together soon.

Those were the highest priced sales that I found recorded for March on the South Coast. Montecito looked like it had another good month with a number of sales over the 4 million dollar mark.

Just a reminder, that the most recent property sales map is at the bottom of the blog and is always available by clicking on the appropriate link on the right of this page.

See You In Escrow!

Friday, April 4, 2008

101 Project, Get Ready!

You would have to be living under a rock to not notice the publicity the 101 freeway widening is receiving. Just about every blog and newspaper locally has had a headline letting us all know that the bid went out and the winner was Security Paving.

View Larger Map

The bid came in at 46 million dollars. That is a little under budget, for now! How many yards of cement does 46 big ones buy you. Good Luck to Security Paving and the rest of us while this 4 year project gets going.

There is a website that has been set up to view additional information about the scope of the entire project. You can find out about possible detours, get a look at the roundabout, even get traffic updates.

The traffic updates aren't ready yet, but that should be fun. Checking in on the action from a live video camera.

I'm not sure what impact this project is going to have on our communities traffic situation while it is getting completed, but one thing is for sure, this project is a big one and will take quite a while. So Get Ready!

See You In Escrow

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Santa Barbara Building Height Restrictions

Talk about a hot topic! I'm not certain anything in Santa Barbara has been getting more press than the issue of Building Height Restrictions.

We've even seen someone start a blog specifically focused on the building height issue. The author goes by the name of Captain Haley.

Speaking of blogs, one of the hottest posts at Blogabarbara which elicited 42 comments was on the subject of building heights.

The Daily Sound has run articles on the 76 station as well as on the building height issue.

The Santa Barbara Housing Bubble did a post on one of the developments on Chapala which caught the attention of the developers who made some comments that were attacked by many and stirred up the emotion of this topic.

Noozhawk has one of the more comprehensive articles on the issue. They received comments from both sides of the battle and do a terrific job of reviewing the issues.

Organizations have sprung up like Save Coast Village Road who rallied behind doing what they could to stop the development of the 76 station on Coast Village Road.

The owner of the 76 station John Price even put up a website to express his side of the story.

Save El Pueblo Viejo is working to put an initiative on the ballet to limit building heights.

This battle is really heating up and I'm not quite sure if it will ever end. The never ending battle between property owners who are trying to make the most out of a very valuable investment and many people who would like Santa Barbara to continue to have a very small town feeling, emphasis on the small is going to continue.

My hopes are that the City Council and the organizations that are involved take a very prudent and responsible look at what needs to be done to continue to respect all the issues we are faced with. I don't think that limiting the heights or density or any other regulation is going to be the answer that makes things work. I think it is going to be the diligence and good judgement of many of our community members and elected officials that will allow us to make the necessary changes one building at a time to keep Santa Barbara one of the most desirable places to live and work in the world.

See You In Escrow

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Fools Day History

I asked the question this morning, where did April Fools day come from and someone politely reminded me that I could Google that. They had a bit of a grin on their face knowing I'm doing a presentation this afternoon about Google Tools. So I found this via Google and on a website called April Fools R Us. Enjoy, and be careful out there.

April Fool's Day History

The history of April Fool's Day or All Fool's Day is uncertain, but the current thinking is that it began around 1582 in France with the reform of the calendar under Charles IX. The Gregorian Calendar was introduced, and New Year's Day was moved from March 25 - April 1 (new year's week) to January 1.

Communication traveled slowly in those days and some people were only informed of the change several years later. Still others, who were more rebellious refused to acknowledge the change and continued to celebrate on the last day of the former celebration, April 1. These people were labeled "fools" by the general populace, were subject to ridicule and sent on "fool errands," sent invitations to nonexistent parties and had other practical jokes played upon them. The butts of these pranks became known as a "poisson d'avril" or "April fish" because a young naive fish is easily caught. In addition, one common practice was to hook a paper fish on the back of someone as a joke.

This harassment evolved over time and a custom of prank-playing continue on the first day of April. This tradition eventually spread elsewhere like to Britain and Scotland in the 18th century and was introduced to the American colonies by the English and the French. Because of this spread to other countries, April Fool's Day has taken on an international flavor with each country celebrating the holiday in its own way.

In Scotland, for instance, April Fool's Day is devoted to spoofs involving the buttocks and as such is called Taily Day. The butts of these jokes are known as April 'Gowk', another name for cuckoo bird. The origins of the "Kick Me" sign can be traced back to the Scottish observance.

In England, jokes are played only in the morning. Fools are called 'gobs' or 'gobby' and the victim of a joke is called a 'noodle.' It was considered back luck to play a practical joke on someone after noon.

In Rome, the holiday is known as Festival of Hilaria, celebrating the resurrection of the god Attis, is on March 25 and is also referred to as "Roman Laughing Day."

In Portugal, April Fool's Day falls on the Sunday and Monday before lent. In this celebration, many people throw flour at their friends.

The Huli Festival is celebrated on March 31 in India. People play jokes on one another and smear colors on one another celebrating the arrival of Spring.

So, no matter where you happen to be in the world on April 1, don't be surprised if April fools fall playfully upon you.