Market Analysis – Feb 2008

I ran the numbers for downtown San Jose (including the Rose Garden & Naglee Park neighborhoods) for February and found some interesting info.

InventoryLet’s start with inventory numbers. Inventory is up 82% in Downtown San Jose. Quite a big jump really. Sales were down 56% over this time last year. What does all this mean? Well, seasonally we see an increase of inventory build up starting in spring and peak during the summer months. But the sales numbers are interesting, they’ve been pretty flat the last three months (16 in Feb., 19 in Jan, & 15 in Dec.) we’ll have to watch the numbers next month to see if trends start to appear. From a buyer’s perspective there are a lot of houses to choose from, and seller’s are willing to negotiate. We’ve finally seen some decent homes priced in the $400,000 for the first time in a couple of years.

Sales Interestingly sales prices keep ticking up. Traditionally we see a pretty clear bell curve for sales price, with the peak hitting during the summer months. But with this much inventory we’ll have to wait and see how that effects home prices. Especially since we only had 16 sales in February and numbers may have been effected by the big sale of $2,486,000 on Hanchett Ave. Also of note, we had 6 houses sell below $500,000.

Days on market Days on Market went up significantly this month over last year as well. It’s showing the upward trend that we’ve been watching the last few years. Though the numbers could have been effected by the 3 houses that sold in February with over 200 days on market.

questions? comments?  want the full report? contact me at jamesf@remax.net

Seattle Turning Point Retreat

Buffini Logo

Last Monday and Tuesday I spent two days in Seattle attending the Buffini & Company Turning Point Retreat. The head of the company Brian Buffini is an amazing speaker and I walked away from the event not only pumped up about real estate but inspired in many aspects of my life.
Brian discussed how right now is one of the most exciting times to be a real estate professional. With the longer listing times, increased inventory on the market, and negative press, most people think Realtors are out holding signs that say “I’ll sell your house for food”. However, now more than ever, we provide a service that can amount to a huge win for our clients. The agents role in the process is more important than ever. Being more than an agent…a resource, a friend, and a “hub” of information will set a professional full time agent far above the rest.

One of the biggest “ah-ha” moments for me was on the discussion of finances. Maybe because we are going through our financial plan now, or because I was just ready to hear it but the idea of saving, planning for the future and investing for future sources of income really hit home with me. It got me started on a path to dig a little deeper and I’ve already started the reading. (more on that later)

The most enjoyable part of the weekend though was the mixer on the first evening were I got to meet some really great people from all around the Pacific Northwest. I really had a great time and can’t wait for the Master Mind event in San Diego in August.

Stimulus Package effects

 Just when you thought some relief may be on the horizon for that new home you’re thinking about purchasing, due to the adjusted conforming loan limits  of to close to $750,00, you read this.

 This was e-mailed to me from a friend:

Stimulus plan may lead to higher mortgage rates

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A key element of the stimulus package aimed at jump-starting the ailing U.S. housing market may have the unintended consequence of raising mortgage rates, said analysts studying the plan.

A federal proposal to increase the size limit on loans eligible for purchase by mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has unsettled traders in the $4.5 trillion market for bonds backed by the “conforming” mortgages.

Increasing the eligible loans to $729,750 from $417,000 would change the characteristics of mortgage-backed securities, leading traders to exact a premium for increased interest-rate risk.

Borrowers with large, jumbo loans are more likely to refinance since their savings are greater for each incremental drop in rates than for a smaller loan. The loans will taint the bonds since traders don’t initially know the make-up of the securities known as “agency” MBS.

Higher mortgage rates would make it even harder to unload already high housing inventories and existing homes on the market, delaying any housing recovery and potentially extending the U.S. economic slowdown….

*email me for the entire article.

Interesting. We’ll have to see if this holds true. If it does, I’m interested to see how it will effect the different markets in our area (1st time home buyers at about $550,000 vs move up buyers at $750,000-$1,000,000.)

Economic Stimulus Package for Housing

Quite a few people have asked me recently about the Economic Stimulus Package bouncing around Capitol Hill. The most important aspect of the package being “how will it effect the housing market, and more importantly, my ability to buy a home”. 

The answer is a little gray right now, but it could be very important. Both the House and the Senate agree that we need to raise the limits on the maximum size mortgages our government will insure (FannieMae & FredieMac).

Why is this a big deal? Because in California and more specifically the Silicon Valley the average price of a home is well over $500,000 (closer to $750,000 in some areas).  Quite a bit more than the $417,000 than our government will currently buy.

Under the  proposed stimulus plan, the maximum mortgages for  the government programs will jump to 125 percent of a local area’s median house price-with a top limit just under $730,000.

That’s huge. How will this play out? Will it help the current housing market? We’ll just have to wait and see.

100 Greatest Movies

While on vacation in Mexico, my brother Brett brought up how he had downloaded the “100 Greatest Film” list from AFI. (http://www.afi.com/tvevents/100years/movies.aspx) Which got us started on how we felt about the list and what movies had not made it.  It was surprising to note that not one Mel Brooks movie made the list. Blazing Saddles is a classic and one of our family favorites.

We are discussing putting together the “Fucillo Family’s top 100” and will post it when we start working on it.

Cabo Trip

Cabo Trip

On January 3 we took off for a few days in Los Cabos. We had a fantastic time, caught (and released) a total of 11 marlin between the 5 of us, and got a little crazy at CaboWabo Cantina. The weather was great, around 80 degrees all week. And luckily enough, missed all the northern california storms over the weekend. We stayed at the Rui Santa Fe in Cabo San Lucas which was a real downer (more on that later), but even with all the drama at the hotel we had a great time and look forward to going again soon.

Accountability

This tip came to me as a weekly e-mail from Keith Ferrazzi. I thought it was a good idea and made me start to think about who I would want to team up with.

It’s a new year and 2008 is going to bring you what you want, I promise. How can I make that promise? Because I promise you are more likely to stick to your resolutions WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM YOUR FRIENDS. I just spent seven days in life-planning bootcamp that I put on for a group of my friends and I have all my goals clearly laid out.  A complete first draft of my next book by June. Getting my blood pressure down to 130/70 without meds. Going to a spiritual service every week… list goes on.


To be a successful goal-getter, you must first define your goal. It will likely fall into one of the seven aspects of what I call our personal success wheel: health & wellness, spirituality, job & career, intellectual & cultural, financial, deep relationships and giving back. Your goal must be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound.
 
But you can’t do it alone. This is the key to success where in the past you may have slipped! Choose three friends to serve as your accountability buddies. Knowing they are watching you will help you to stick to and reach your goals. I like to call it peer-to-peer pressure. They can cheer you on, send you inspirational songs and helpful website links, whatever it takes. I’m doing this with my sister and a few friends already.
 
But then you should also rally your friends to make improvements in their own lives. Don’t leave them in your dust – bring them along with your success.
 
To help you and your friends get your goals, my team has developed an application called Goal Post on Facebook. It is an easy and visual way to set your goals, choose your accountability buddies and keep track of your progress.
 
Come on, do it now, this works and will significantly increase your likelihood of achieving your goals, but will also be another way to PING your friends and associates and invite them in to be closer to you. And for you to encourage them to count on you to do the same for them! This not only good for you, but it will build your relationships, I promise.
 
So, to a healthier, happier and more successful year and you!

Setting goals

As part of my goal setting plan for December, I’ve been reading a lot of info. I came across this article about setting clear goals on Brian Tracy’s Blog (http://blogs.briantracy.com/public/blog/187468). I hope you find it as helpful as I did.

The Law of Clarity

Clarity accounts for probably 80% of success and happiness

Clarity accounts for probably 80% of success and happiness. Lack of clarity is probably more responsible for frustration and underachievement than any other single factor. That’s why we say that “Success is goals, and all else is commentary.” People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine. This is true everywhere and under all circumstances.

The Three Keys to High Achievement
You could even say that the three keys to high achievement are, “Clarity, Clarity, Clarity,” with regard to your goals. Your success in life will be largely determined by how clear you are about what it is you really, really want.

Write and Rewrite Your Goals
The more you write and rewrite your goals and the more you think about them, the clearer you will become about them. The clearer you are about what you want, the more likely you are to do more and more of the things that are consistent with achieving them. Meanwhile, you will do fewer and fewer of the things that don’t help to get the things you really want.

The Seven Step Process for Achieving Goals
Here, once more, is the simple, seven-step process that you can use to achieve your goals faster and easier than ever before.

First, decide exactly what you want in each area of your life. Be specific!

Second, write it down, clearly and in detail;

Third, set a specific deadline. If it is a large goal, break it down into sub-deadlines and write them down in order;

Fourth, make a list of everything you can think of that you are going to have to do to achieve your goal. As you think of new items, add them to your list;

Fifth, organize the items on your list into a plan by placing them in the proper sequence and priority;

Sixth, take action immediately on the most important thing you can do on your plan. This is very important!

Seventh, do something every day that moves you toward the attainment of one or more of your important goals. Maintain the momentum!

Join the Top 3%
Fewer than three percent of adults have written goals and plans that they work on every single day. When you sit down and write out your goals, you move yourself into the top 3% of people in our society. And you will soon start to get the same results that they do.

Review Your Goals Daily
Study and review your goals every day to be sure they are still your most important goals. You will find yourself adding goals to your list as time passes. You will also find yourself deleting goals that are no longer as important as you once thought. Whatever your goals are, plan them out thoroughly, on paper, and work on them every single day. This is the key to peak performance and maximum achievement.

Action Exercises
Here is how you can apply this law immediately:

First, make a list of ten goals that you would like to achieve in the coming year. Write them down in the present tense, as though a year has passed and you have already accomplished them.

Second, from your list of ten goals, ask yourself, “What one goal, if I were to accomplish it, would have the greatest positive impact on my life?” Whatever it is, put a circle around this goal and move it to a separate sheet of paper.

Third, practice the seven-step method described above on this goal. Set a deadline, make a plan, and put it into action and work on it every day. Make this goal your major definite purpose for the weeks and months ahead.

Get ready for some amazing changes in your life.

The Kaizen Way

Over the past couple of years December has become an important month for me. December is about looking back at the past year and planning for the year to come. As part of all this reflection and planning I decided to read One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way by Dr. Robert Maurer. It was a very quick read but very interesting. The key point of the book is that by taking small steps you can accomplish big goals.

All changes, even positive ones, are scary. Attempts to reach goals through radical or revolutionary means often fail because they heighten fear. But the small steps of kaizen disarm the brain’s fear response, stimulating rational thought and creative play. 

This point really hit home for me. We are often told that only huge, fast, dramatic accomplishments matter, but the truth is most successful people are not “overnight successes”. So far it’s a great start to my month of goals.