The state-run Keep Your Home California program is making some changes that will hopefully allow more underwater homeowners in Fresno and other communities qualify for a principal mortgage reduction.
Homeowners no longer have to show a hardship in addition to being underwater on their mortgage to apply for the program. Now, homeowners just have to show that they owe more than 40% of the value of their home.
“Although the housing market has improved dramatically over the last few months, there are still areas of the state where home prices are not rebounding as quickly, and many homeowners in those areas have exhausted all of their resources just trying to hold on until that recovery reaches them,” said Claudia Cappio, executive director of the California Housing Finance Agency which oversees Keep Your Home California.
The $2 billion program was created in February 2011 to help low- and moderate-income homeowners who suffered a financial hardship such as a job loss, cut in pay, extraordinary medical bills or a divorce.
In addition to principal reduction help, Keep Your Home California also has an unemployment assistance program, a mortgage reinstatement assistance program and a transition assistance program.
For more information, visit Keep Your Home California or call (888) 954-5337.
This will be my last blog post on this site. Follow me to The Fresno Bee website, fresnobee.com/real-estate-blog, for future real estate and business news. See you there!
(Mark Chu, broker, Big Realty in Fresno.)
The Big Realty office in Fresno is growing and its business model is changing as the real estate market recovers.
The company, which opened its Fresno real estate office on West Shaw Avenue in 2009, specialized in foreclosure properties and helping struggling minority homeowners make decisions about their homes.
“Now our focus has changed into growing as a company and helping agents build their business,” said Mark Chu, broker. The company also wants to help educate today’s buyers, he said.
Big Realty, which has 23 agents, moved into a new 5,000-square-foot office at 1273 E. Shaw Ave., near Fashion Fair Mall, early last month. A grand opening will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. today to tour the office and meet with real estate experts including those from the mortgage and insurance industries.
The company plans to add more agents in the future. The new office gives Big Realty an additional 3,000 square feet of space to conduct training classes for agents and to hold homeownership classes for first-time buyers or veterans.
A first-time homebuyer education class will be held on Dec. 7. For more information, call (559) 389-7777.
(Photo provided by the California Apartment Association. The late Paul Chubick of Buckingham Property Management received a Lifetime Achievement award.)
The California Apartment Association of Greater Fresno celebrated and recognized the area’s top rental housing and property professionals during an award ceremony on Saturday.
Nearly 650 members attended the 16th Annual Mark of Distinction Awards at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in downtown Fresno where the group’s Lifetime Achievement Award was given to the late Paul Chubick, owner of Buckingham Property Management in Fresno.
Chubick, died in January. He was a longtime association member and served on the Fresno board of directors. His widow, Barbara, accepted the award on his behalf.
The association, a trade group that represents owners, investors, developers, managers and suppliers of apartment communities, gave out another 19 awards during the event. Award categories included grounds person of the year, maintenance person of the year, leasing consultant and manager of the year.
For a list of award winners, visit the California Apartment Association.
Foreclosure activity in Fresno County and across California inched up in October compared to September, but remains at or below pre-housing crisis levels, according to PropertyRadar’s monthly foreclosure report.
In Fresno, 229 notices of default – the first step in the foreclosure process – were filed last month compared to 202 in September.
The notices of sales, which set the time of an auction, increased slightly to 207 from 204.
About 104 foreclosure sales were cancelled in October, compared to 91 in September, because a homeowner may have had a successful loan modification or short sale, or there was a filing error.
Only 43 properties were sold to a third party or investor, one more than the month before. That’s a nearly 60% decrease from last year at the same time.
(Bee File Photo 2010.)
Update: The new home building market in Fresno is gaining some steam after taking a fall in September.
Like Visalia, builders in Fresno pulled more single-family building permits in October than they did the month before.
Last month, Fresno issued 84 single-family building permits compared to 66 in September, according to the city’s latest monthly building report. In August, builders pulled 111 permits.
Original Post Nov. 4:
Single-family homebuilding may be on its way up in Visalia
Homebuilders pulled more permits to build new houses in October than the month before, according to a city report released Friday.
Last month, builders pulled 57 permits compared to 26 in September. A year ago, only 17 permits were issued for the construction of new homes.
Fresno building permit numbers for October have not been released yet, but the September report shows 66 new home permits were issued that month. In August, builders pulled 111 permits.
(Fresno Bee file photo. Sign for house for sale in the Fresno High area.)
The California Association of Realtors has some good news and bad news to report.
The good news is that home prices continue to rise or at least remain stable. But the bad news is that the rise in home price continues to drive home affordability down in Fresno and other central San Joaquin Valley counties.
In Fresno County, 56% of prospective homebuyers could afford a median-priced single-family house compared to 61% during the second quarter of the year, the association said in its third quarter report released last week.
Last year at the same time, affordability was much higher at 69%.
A Fresno buyer would have to earn $37,920 a year to afford a median-priced home at $184,550.
Home affordability levels have also fallen in other Valley counties. About 62% of the buyers in Kings and Madera counties could afford to buy a home compared to 70% and 71% during the second quarter, respectively. In Tulare County, 61% of the buyers could qualify compared to 66% the previous quarter.
Even with the declines, the Valley still remains one of the most affordable areas statewide to buy a home.
Only 15% of the buyers in San Mateo could afford to buy a home and 16% in San Francisco. In the Sacramento area, 50% of the homebuyers could buy while 35% of the buyers in Los Angeles could afford a home.
A San Francisco Giants coach will be in Fresno on Saturday to help the Fresno Association of Realtors boogie down and raise money for a newly established foundation that will help students and Realtors expand their education.
Tim Flannery, the Giants’ third-base coach, and the Lunatic Fringe will play folk and bluegrass music at the Fresno County Sportsmen’s Club where the association and its Affiliates Foundation will hold their biggest fundraising event of the year.
Flannery has played music for 30 years when not coaching baseball. He is friends with local Realtors Bob and Colleen Wiginton who were instrumental in getting him to stop in Fresno.
The event will raise money for college scholarships and to help Realtors who are association members apply for different real estate designations.
(Submitted photo. Mike, Marc and Rick Schuil of Schuil and Associates Real Estate in Visalia.)
Visalia real estate company, Schuil and Associates, is celebrating 30 years in business this month.
The company, run by three brothers, started in Dinuba in 1983 and over the years opened three other offices in Kingsburg, Reedley and Visalia. Back then, the business handled residential, commercial and agricultural property sales. Each brother — twins Mike and Marc and younger brother Rick — managed an office.
Then in 2007, the brothers decided it was time to consolidate locations. The company built a nearly 4,000-square-foot building on Mineral King Avenue and Akers Street in Visalia six years ago where the brothers and all employees reunited under the same roof.
What’s it like to work with family all these years?
“Obviously family businesses always offer challenges,” Rick Schuil said. “The fact that we consolidated rather than moving farther away (from each other) is a testament that we get along pretty darn well.”
The company made its name specializing in agricultural and dairy sales. It shed the residential portion of the business just before the economic downturn to concentrate on agricultural and commercial property.
“The economic downturn really affected residential sales,” Rick Schuil said. “We were proactive before that happened.”
While the residential market suffered, farmland prospered allowing the Schuils to remain stable in recent years.
“Agricultural sales and values have dramatically increased in the last five years so our timing was very good.”
A new artist venue is getting ready to open its doors in downtown Fresno.
The M Street Arts Complex, a collaboration between local artists and Fresno homebuider Darius Assemi of Granville, will have its grand opening on Saturday in conjunction with its first exhibition.
The complex was built in an old warehouse space on the corner of M and Tuolumne streets. Granville bought the property a few years ago with plans to convert it into commercial, retail and office space.
But the plans changed and an idea to create gallery space and artists studios with security and private parking took its place. The 10,000-square-foot complex has a large gallery, five galleries with attached private studios, three warehouse style spaces with roll up doors, and seven other studios. The curators are artists Christina Rea and Julia Woli Scott.
The grand opening will include a ribbon cutting at 3 p.m. followed by the unveiling of two public art installations. The exhibition, “Spectacle, A Closer Look at Fresno,” highlights the work of 13 artists. The event is free to the public.
Real estate investors flipped more homes in the Fresno metropolitan area in the third quarter of this year compared to last year and made a sizable profit, according to a report released Thursday.
Investors bought, renovated and sold 182 homes in Fresno during the third quarter, a 47% increase from 124 properties at the same time last year, the quarterly home flipping report said.
RealtyTrac, an online housing data company, compiled the report showing a 13% drop nationally in home flipping, but an increase in the average gross profit of each home sold.
In Fresno, the average purchase price of a house was $141,908. Investors then renovated and sold the home for an average of $192,585 — a profit of $52,704, or 36%. That’s quite a jump from last year when investors made a profit of $29,977.
Nationally, home flips were down 13%. Investors made an average profit of $54,927 off each home — a 12% increase from last year.
As the inventory of cheap homes falls, investors are being driven to more high-end homes, which sell for $750,000 or more, allowing them to make a bigger profit, RealtyTrac said.
“Increasing home prices over the past 18 months combined with decreasing foreclosures have created a market less favorable to the high quantity of middle- to low-end bread-and-butter flips,” said Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac’s vice president.
“But the sharp rise in high-end flipping indicates there is still good money to be made for flippers willing and able to take on the additional risk of buying and rehabbing more expensive homes.”