Another Southern California home-price boom is cooling. Is a crash looming?

The Southern California housing market has been on a nearly seven-year tear, with prices in many communities reaching all-time highs. But now, as mortgage rates rise, the boom appears to be fading. Sales are dropping; inventory is swelling; more sellers are scaling back their ambitious asking prices.

The annals of postwar Southern California real estate history are full of boom-and-bust cycles, with periods of sharp price appreciation that suddenly skid to a halt. Whether those ups and downs offer any guidance — or hope — for today’s homeowners is a subject for debate.

Some of those who study the housing market predict annual price increases will slow. Others think values could dip. But there is general agreement that a meltdown is not in the offing, given a healthy economy and dearth of home building. The current slowdown, said Christopher Thornberg of Beacon Economics, “is a bump in the road.”

The article is written by Andrew Khouri for LA Times. You can read the full article here.

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Sheila Abai is a senior mortgage consultant at PNC Bank. She utilizes her 20+ years of finance and mortgage experience to identify the best mortgage and refinancing solutions for her clients. Sheila can be contacted via email at Sheila.Abai@PNC.com or via telephone at 310-666-5959.

Southern California, home to nation’s most overvalued housing — at least, by this math

Los Angeles County homes are the most overpriced in the nation, according to a curious new study. And Orange County and the Inland Empire don’t score much better.
By one Fed researcher’s math, Los Angeles County had the most overvalued U.S. homes, an eye-catching 68.6 percent above what research showed was normal. That was ahead of Miami (64.6 percent overvalued) and San Francisco (61.9 percent overvalued).

Bill Emmons, a researcher at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, looked at the changing relationship between state incomes and regional home pricingbetween 2000 and 2018’s first quarter to determine a “fair value” for local housing in 41 major metropolitan areas. Then Emmons considered how far current pricing deviated from each area’s norm. By his math, Los Angeles County had the most overvalued U.S. homes, an eye-catching 68.6 percent above what research showed was normal. That was ahead of Miami (64.6 percent overvalued) and San Francisco (61.9 percent overvalued).

The article is written by Jonathan Lansner for TheOCR. You can read the full article here.

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Sheila Abai is a senior mortgage consultant at PNC Bank. She utilizes her 20+ years of finance and mortgage experience to identify the best mortgage and refinancing solutions for her clients. Sheila can be contacted via email at Sheila.Abai@PNC.com or via telephone at 310-666-5959.

Looking For Your First Property Deal? 12 Important Things You Should Do First

The real estate market is an exciting one, and there’s no shortage of would-be investors drawn in by the possibility of big profits. Just like any investment, though, finding a property to flip or rent is rarely as easy as they make it look on real estate reality shows.

Although you likely know you need to conduct your due diligence before making an offer on a property, it never hurts to go back to basics to make sure your first deal goes smoothly. We asked a panel of Forbes Real Estate Council members what every aspiring real estate investor should do when searching for a property deal. Their best answers are below.

The article is written by Forbes Real Estate Council for Forbes. You can read the full article here.

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Sheila Abai is a senior mortgage consultant at PNC Bank. She utilizes her 20+ years of finance and mortgage experience to identify the best mortgage and refinancing solutions for her clients. Sheila can be contacted via email at Sheila.Abai@PNC.com or via telephone at 310-666-5959.

Home Buyers Growing Attached To Thought Of Townhome Living

Soaring land and building costs, higher median single-family home prices, growing preference for dense, walkable environments and the need for a bridge between renting and first-home purchases are all helping bring back a staple of the 19th Century. That Victorian-era essential is the townhome.

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) analysis of the most recent census data of “Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design” found townhouse construction starts continuing to grow. Over the four quarters ending with the first quarter of 2018, townhouse starts nationally totaled 105,000, seven percent higher than the prior four quarters. Employing a one-year moving average, new townhome market share is at 12.3 percent of all single-family starts.

The article is written by Jeffrey Steele for Forbes. You can read the full article here.

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Sheila Abai is a senior mortgage consultant at PNC Bank. She utilizes her 20+ years of finance and mortgage experience to identify the best mortgage and refinancing solutions for her clients. Sheila can be contacted via email at Sheila.Abai@PNC.com or via telephone at 310-666-5959.

This Is The Best Time To Buy Your First Home

If you want to buy a home, why is that? Here are some common answers:

  • Because I’m throwing money away on rent.
  • Because we want to start a family and owning provides more stability than renting.
  • Because I want a place of my own.
  • Because buying is always a good investment

Buying a home is fine if you can afford it, actually want to do it, and it doesn’t limit your ability to do other things that you truly value. But renting is fine, too. Don’t assume buying a house is a must, a requirement to be an “adult,” or a necessary milestone to hit before you can call yourself successful.

The article is written by Eric Roberge for Forbes. You can read the full article here.

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Sheila Abai is a senior mortgage consultant at PNC Bank. She utilizes her 20+ years of finance and mortgage experience to identify the best mortgage and refinancing solutions for her clients. Sheila can be contacted via email at Sheila.Abai@PNC.com or via telephone at 310-666-5959.

Mortgage rates soar to 7-year highs

According to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average climbed to 4.72 percent with an average 0.5 point. Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount. It was 4.65 percent a week ago and 3.83 percent a year ago.

The 15-year fixed-rate average jumped to 4.16 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 4.11 percent a week ago and 3.13 percent a year ago. The five-year adjustable rate average rose to 3.97 percent with an average 0.3 point. It was 3.92 percent a week ago and 3.20 percent a year ago.

The article is written by Kathy Orton for The Washington Post. You can read the full article here.

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Sheila Abai is a senior mortgage consultant at PNC Bank. She utilizes her 20+ years of finance and mortgage experience to identify the best mortgage and refinancing solutions for her clients. Sheila can be contacted via email at Sheila.Abai@PNC.com or via telephone at 310-666-5959.

Interest on Home Equity Loans Is Still Deductible, but With a Big Caveat

The interest paid on that home equity loan may still be tax deductible, in some cases.

Many taxpayers had feared that the new tax law — the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, enacted in December — was the death knell for deducting interest from home equity loans and lines of credit. The loans are based on the equity in your home, and are secured by the property. (Home equity is the difference between what the house is worth and what you owe on your mortgage.)

But the Internal Revenue Service, saying it was responding to “many questions received from taxpayers and tax professionals,” recently issued an advisory. According to the advisory, the new tax law suspends the deduction for home equity interest from 2018 to 2026 — unless the loan is used to “buy, build or substantially improve” the home that secures the loan.

The article is written by Ann Carrns for NY Times. You can read the full article here.

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Sheila Abai is a senior mortgage consultant at PNC Bank. She utilizes her 20+ years of finance and mortgage experience to identify the best mortgage and refinancing solutions for her clients. Sheila can be contacted via email at Sheila.Abai@PNC.com or via telephone at 310-666-5959.

Should You Move From California? Or Your High-Tax State?

The new Tax Plan went into effect for 2018 and the full extent of how many high earners (if any) will flee high tax states to lower taxed locales remains to be seen. States like California, New York and New Jersey which have high income tax rates that are aligned with high property values.

A recent report in the San Francisco Chronicle indicated that dozens of millionaires fled California after the 2012 tax increase. The report quotes a study noting that 138 high-income Californians left the state after the that tax increase. This is out of the 312,000 Californians expected to be hit with the new 2012 state specific tax.

Should you move to a low tax state to avoid a big tax hit under the Tax Plan?

The article is written by David Rae for Forbes Online. You can read the full article here.

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Sheila Abai is a senior mortgage consultant at PNC Bank. She utilizes her 20+ years of finance and mortgage experience to identify the best mortgage and refinancing solutions for her clients. Sheila can be contacted via email at Sheila.Abai@PNC.com or via telephone at 310-666-5959.

Home Buying Goes High-Tech As Millennials Become Largest Real Estate Buyers

Millennials who grew up with a smartphone attached to their hip are much more comfortable buying everything from clothing to a house over the Internet. According to a Redfin survey released earlier this year 45% of millennial homebuyers made offers sight-unseen in 2017.

Millennials, as well as their older counterparts, start their home searches online. But they are willing to take it a step further and the real estate fintechs know that. Fintechs are rolling out virtual reality tours, speedy online mortgage applications and live streaming open houses.

The article is written by Donna Fuscaldo for Forbes Online. You can read the full article here.

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Sheila Abai is a senior mortgage consultant at PNC Bank. She utilizes her 20+ years of finance and mortgage experience to identify the best mortgage and refinancing solutions for her clients. Sheila can be contacted via email at Sheila.Abai@PNC.com or via telephone at 310-666-5959.

The Most Essential Advice For A First-Time Homebuyer

The idea of buying a home for the first time can seem like a daunting task with the pages of documents that will cross your path. It’s essential to stay on top of emails and requests from your real estate agent, escrow officer and lender in order to have the smoothest possible escrow and close your home purchase on time.

A bit of preparedness can make the process much less scary than it may initially seem, and well worth the labor in the end. Following this advice will help you with buying your first home.

The article is written by Beatrice de Jong for Forbes Online. You can read the full article here.

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Sheila Abai is a senior mortgage consultant at PNC Bank. She utilizes her 20+ years of finance and mortgage experience to identify the best mortgage and refinancing solutions for her clients. Sheila can be contacted via email at Sheila.Abai@PNC.com or via telephone at 310-666-5959.