Sacramento Real Estate Resource Guide - Sacramento County, El Dorado County and Placer County Realtors

Tuesday, October 17, 2006, 05:27 PM
Economists Say Housing Downturn Isn't So Bad
By Kenneth R. Harney, Washington Post Writers Group
Daily Real Estate News | October 16, 2006

New mortgage applications are up. Pending home sales are up. The economy is expanding. Unemployment is at 4.6 percent. And mortgage rates are still historically low.

What kind of housing bust is this anyway?

All the dismal reports about the real estate market overlook the realities in the market place, some housing experts say.

The housing correction — expressed through new home starts— "may be closer to [its] trough than to [its] peak," says Federal Reserve vice chairman Donald L. Kohn.

Today's "unusually low" long-term mortgage-rate environment "stands in sharp contrast to some past downturns in the housing market that followed actions by the Federal Reserve to tighten credit conditions significantly," Kohn adds.

James Glassman of JP Morgan Chase is equally optimistic. He says 30-year fixed-rate mortgages at 5.75 percent are a distinct possibility if long-term rates in the global bond market keep easing. The current cyclical downturn in housing "is not your classic interest-rate story" he says.

Perhaps the most blunt appraisal comes from Mike Moran, chief economist of Wall Street’s Daiwa Securities America. Moran says the financial press is taking a normal and long-predicted cyclical rebalancing and “portraying it as a catastrophe.”

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006, 12:55 PM
The Importance Of Socializing Your Buyers
by Blanche Evans
RealtyTimes | October 11, 2006

One of the advantages of specializing in a neighborhood niche is that such an agent knows everything that's going on and most everyone who lives there. She's an active participant in the community, its events, and its goals. She impacts her community by helping to develop new construction or preserve historical homes. She serves on commerce and community boards to help attract jobs and economic development. She's intimately familiar with the homes that have sold and scrutinizes the homes that are currently on the market. She knows the history of the neighborhood's homes and its residents. In many cases, she has sold the same home more than once. She is the local expert.

If making new friends is part of the fun of moving to a new neighborhood, few are in a better position than the local real estate expert -- you -- to make introductions. The quicker your home buyers "feel at home" in their new neighborhood, the quicker they'll be passing along referrals to you. Here are some quick ways to get started:

. Ask questions
. Get organized
. Be committed
. Be visible
. Remember conversation starters
. Ask permission
. Entertain

What makes socializing work best is thinking of others before you consider what you want to accomplish. As their wants and needs pop into your head, you'll soon find making social and business connections is easy, and new business will take care of itself. Not only will you be the neighborhood expert, you'll also be the binding agent that keeps the neighborhood together.

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Tuesday, October 3, 2006, 03:57 AM
Pending Home Sales Index Rises 4.3%
Daily Real Estate News | October 2, 2006
— REALTOR® Magazine Online

Pending home sales have increased, showing that the housing market continues to stabilize, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in August, rose 4.3 percent to a level of 110.1 from a reading of 105.6 in July, but is 14.1 percent lower than August 2005.

David Lereah, NAR’s chief economist, says the higher index reading is a hopeful sign for the real estate market.

“Our sense is that home sales may have reached a low in August,” he says. “The Pending Home Sales Index shows home sales should be fairly stable over the next two months, although a minor decline is possible.

. Regionally, the index reading for the West rose 9.2 percent in August to 112.7 but was 16.9 percent below August 2005.
. The index in the South increased 4 percent to 126.8 in August but was 9.4 percent below a year ago.
. In the Northeast, the index rose 3.6 percent in August to 95.4 but was 12.4 percent below August 2005.
. The index in the Midwest was unchanged at 93.8 in August and was 20.4 percent lower than a year ago.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006, 06:19 AM
Cool Market Keeps Mortgage Rates Affordable
Daily Real Estate News | September 22, 2006
— REALTOR® Magazine Online

The national average interest rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 6.4 percent for this week, down from the previous week’s 6.43 percent, according to Freddie Mac. Last year, the average rate for 30-year, fixed mortgages was 5.8 percent.

“A slowing housing market and signs that inflation is leveling off have helped to lower mortgage rates lately and keep them more affordable,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. “For example, housing starts dropped to a three-year low in August and the Producer Price Index (PPI) fell below market expectations.”

The average rate for 15-year, fixed mortgages was 6.06 percent, compared with 6.11 percent the previous week and 5.37 percent a year ago.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 6.08 percent, down from the previous week’s 6.1 percent. A year ago, the five-year ARM averaged 5.31 percent.

The average rate for one-year ARMs was 5.54 percent, compared with 5.6 percent a week earlier and 4.48 percent a year ago.

“Going forward, the economy is expected to expand at a somewhat slower rate than it did in the first half of the year," Nothaft says. "This should continue to keep inflation in check, and therefore, mortgage rates low.”

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006, 06:16 AM
Gender Marketing Web Design Differences
September 22, 2006
By Joseph Carrabis
iMedia Connection

If you're building a website for female consumers, then you need to do it differently than if your site is for males or for everybody. The NextStage CRO explains how.

Growing up, I navigated the worlds of men and women with equal ease. Several indigenous peoples I've studied with have told me I carry my grandmother and grandfather energies reversed. Perhaps that accounts for my facility, I don't know. I do know that the differences and similarities between the genders have always fascinated me and became part of NextStage's marketing research a few years back.

THE THREE MAIN ONLINE GENDER DIFFERENCES - The differences between men and women show up in so many ways that to ignore them in marketing is to defeat marketing's purposes. Three differences that directly apply to designing marketing material are:

. Women purchase strategically; men purchase immediately.
. Women are cogno-emotionally placial; men are spatial.
. Women consider other's opinions as a guide to making their own decision; men consider others' decisions as a guide to forming their own opinions.

What I found fascinating about item #1 was that, once I looked at the data as an anthropologist, it was -- duh! -- obvious. Item #2 is something I was taught and teach in evolutionary biology. Item #3 is the new one, and it intrigues me as it applies to marketing methodologies.

PUTTING GENDER DIFFERENCES INTO PRACTICE - If you know your target market is women, don't sell them on now, sell them on now (the near bars) and again (the middle bars) and yet again (the far bars), or make sure they buy enough so that what they buy is useful again and again and again.

If your target is men, make them happy now because they'll probably forget you before the next page loads or they leave the store. This plays into branding in that men are more difficult to brand than women in an open, competitive market.

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