Thursday, January 29, 2009

Safe Neighborhood…or Not?

When people on the news say in surprise, "This kind of thing never happens in our neighborhood" it may be true....Or is it?

One of the number one concerns of buyers is moving into a safe neighborhood. San Diego has many wonderful neighborhoods and others that aren't so great. While there are no guarantees in any community, with a little bit of research, you may be able to decrease your chances of moving into a troubled neighborhood.

The internet is a great source of information! On my website under "About San Diego", I have set up links to some of the most useful websites with local information including "Local Government". Under this tab, you will find many local agency links.

Under “Local Government”, you will find a "Sheriff’s Dept” website link, where you can find lots of law enforcement information. At the top of the Sheriff’s website home page, you will find a link to "Resources". This will lead you to a link "Crime Analysis and Statistics" where you can search by address the crime in the area.

If you have children, you may want to click on Megan's Law. This website shows where sex offenders might be in your neighborhood.

A little bit of research can save a lot of headaches down the road.

--Virginia Hall  

Thursday, January 15, 2009

San Diego Home Prices Turn the Corner or Just a Blip?

According to the San Diego Business Journal, the San Diego Association of Realtors reports the Medium housing prices may have actually turned the corner. Data gathered from Sandicor, the multiple listing services, show housing sales up 60 percent from a year ago, along with a rise in prices from November to December 2008. Resale house prices rose 2.6 percent to $349,450 and a 2.6 percent in condos to $200,000. This does not take away from the fact that housing prices overall dropped 30% from year to year and condos dropped 36%. So we still have a long ways to go.

However, Sellers with homes in good conditions are getting multiple offers starting to drive prices upwards. So I am hopeful, yet wary, the housing prices has hit the bottom. While I think that the housing market is stabilizing, the unemployment rate is still affecting the economy. According to San Diego Metropolitan UpTown Examiner and Daily Business Report the unemployment rate has risen from 4.9 percent in October 2007 to 6.9 percent in November 2008. With the economy still trying to recover, we may still have another year before our home prices actually begin to rise again due to short sales and foreclosures.

So if you missed the opportunity to buy a house in the last few years because the housing prices were too high, now is your chance. The housing prices have rolled back to 2003 prices. How long will this last? Or will the prices drop further? Only those who can foretell the future will know. Why risk missing the boat again? It is time to buy. There are signs that the economy may improve this coming year and you may miss the boat.

--Virginia Hall

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

2009 Brings New Hope!

While no one can predict the future, as President Obama sets up new legislation to turn around the economy, there is a new attitude emerging. One of hope.

Many attribute the recession to cycles and some see it as a self fulfilling prophecy. A year ago when the experts predicted a bad year, we all tightened our belts and trimmed the fat from our budgets. When you multiply this by the millions, you naturally have a recession.

But now a different climate is developing. Many see the Bailout money coming. We are ready to recover. “The economy, including the real estate market, may have finally arrived at, or is just before or just past the bottom,” according to Gary London in the San Diego Business Journal.

The recession has brought hope to many renters. The Housing prices have now rolled back to an affordable level, where renting costs as much as to own.

While First Time Home Buyers must have more money to put down than two years ago, there are still great benefits to buying a home. You have to have a place to live and in the long run, home prices continue to climb. Even with the recession, home prices are still triple what they were twenty years ago. Why pay someone else’s mortgage? The average home owner saves approximately $8000 a year in taxes. Not to mention the $7500 tax First-Time Home Buyer Credit incentive if you buy before July1st 2009. See for more detail.

When I look back at when I was in my mid-twenties, at that time you couldn’t buy a house without having 20 percent down and the interest rates were in the teens. Unlike today when you can get into a home with as little as 3% down and the interest rates still continue to be in the 5 and 6’s.

While price reductions may continue during 2009, until the majority of foreclosures and short sales have been bought up, I agree with London “While it is very unlikely to be a banner year, 2009 will be a new beginning." Looking forward to a Better New Year.

--Virginia Hall