Coastal San Diego Living

Analysts Say San Diego Housing Is on the Way Up; Bottom Hit Late 2010

by Tisha Carney 26. April 2011 07:49

Analysts at both Standard & Poor’s and Barclays Capital agree that the uptick in home resales last month is a favorable sign of things to come. Because pending home sales — an indicator of future activity — were up in February, S&P believes transaction volume SAN DIEGO HOUSING MARKET IN RECOVERYwill rise for April.

Barclays, meanwhile, says March’s 3.7 percent gain in existing-home sales merely reinforces its position that the housing market actually hit bottom in late 2010. Aligned with the national housing market, the San Diego housing market has also seen a significant improvement.

Existing home sales in March rose 3.7 percent from February to an annual rate of 5.10 million units, the National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday. Economists had expected a smaller increase to a 5.0 million-unit pace.

"The underlying trend for existing home sales is improving, but only at a gradual pace," said Michael Gapen, an economist at Barclays Capital in New York. "Demand should gradually firm as labor market SAN DIEGO HOUSINGconditions continue to improve."

With U.S. and San Diego unemployment beginning to fall and significant job growth seen in February and March, economists are cautiously optimistic home sales will continue to rise as the year progresses, putting a floor under prices.

Analysts also cited a jump last week in demand for home loans as boding well for the housing recovery. The Mortgage Bankers Association said on Wednesday that its purchase loan index rose 10 percent to its highest since early December.

"The housing market in terms of demand has bottomed. We have some reason for modest optimism as we go through 2011," said Peter Muoio, a senior principal at real estate research firm Maximus Advisors in New York.

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81% of Americans Believe Buying a Home is Still the Best Long-term Investment

by Tisha Carney 18. April 2011 10:43

The real estate bust appears to have done little to alter Americans' confidence in the investment value of homeownership. A robsan diego american dreamust 81% of adults said buying a home is the best long-term investment a person can make, according to a national survey by the Pew Research Center in Washington.

"Owning a home is really a part of the American dream, and that is just part of the American psyche and something that people aspire to," said Kim Parker, associate director for the center and one of the study's authors.

The study's results were unexpected, given the deep plunge in home prices and the fallout from the mortgage crisis, she said. Homeownership topped the list of long-term financial goals for Americans, according to the study; respondents rated homeownership, as well as living comfortably in retirement, more important than sending children to college or leaving offspring an inheritance.

The public's faith in real estate has been bruised since the last time a comparable survey asked people about the wisdom of investing in real estate. A total of 37% of respondents said they "stronglyBUYING A SAN DIEGO HOME agree" that homeownership is the best investment a person can make while 44% said they "somewhat agree." The same question was asked by a CBS News/New York Times survey in 1991, and at that time 49% "strongly agreed" and 35% "somewhat agreed."

While home prices have entered a renewed decline after showing some improvements last year, many economists believe that the worst of the housing crisis is probably over. That sentiment could help to explain the resiliency in Americans' optimism.

"People may have the feeling that the worst is behind us," Parker said.

Though other investments such as stocks tend to produce a better return, the housing market has generally avoided the wild swings that the stock market has over time, potentially helping to explain real estate's lasting allure, Parker added.

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Coastal Commission Approves First Phase of San Diego Bay’s Embarcadero Improvements

by Tisha Carney 15. April 2011 09:00

The California Coastal Commission has approved first-phase plans for the long-discussed renovation of San Diego’s North Embarcadero waterfront district. San Diego port district officials said construction on the nearly $30 million first phase is expected to get under way by year’s end.

Meeting in Santa Barbara, commissioners voted 8-1 on April 13 to back an earlier recommendation by coastal commission staff to approve the project with conditions.

The Coastal Commission denied a development permit last year, saying a previous plan for the first phase was inconsistent with the Unified Port District of San Diego’s long-term master plan for port development, and lacked elements including sufficisan diego embarcadero, san diego waterfrontent park space.

The port district has since worked with coastal commission staff and project opponents to address those concerns.

The North Embarcadero renovation is a public improvement project covering about 1.5 miles of waterfront along Harbor Drive from Laurel Street to Navy Pier. It includes plazas, public art, improved landscaping and improvements to adjacent roadways.

The first phase incorporates Harbor Drive from Navy Pier to the B Street Pier, and a small portion of West Broadway.

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Foreclosure Filings Drop to Lowest Level in Three Years

by Tisha Carney 14. April 2011 07:28

Foreclosure filings in the U.S. fell in the first quarter to the lowest level in three years as lenders worked through their backlog of flawed paperwork related to home seizures, according to RealtyTrac Inc.

san diego foreclosure filingsDefault notices fell 17 percent from the previous three months and 35 percent from a year earlier, while auction notices dropped 19 percent and 27 percent, respectively.

A total of 681,153 U.S. properties received default, auction or repossession notices in the three months through March, down 15 percent from the fourth quarter and 27 percent from a year earlier, the Irvine, California-based data seller said today in a report. Delays from the documentation scandal accounted for the low tally, the smallest since the first quarter of 2008, RealtyTrac said.

“It may take another quarter to work itself out,” Rick Sharga,  the company’s senior vice president, said in a telephone interview. The extended crisis means “a longer period of high foreclosures, and that portends a longer downturn in housing,” which may not end until 2015, he said.

An agreement with regulators announced yesterday requires the 14 largest U.S. mortgage servicers to identify and pay back homeowners who lost money from mishandled foreclosures or loans. The banks that are party to the settlement, which outlines the first penalties related to the scandal, didn’t admit or deny findings of faulty mortgage processing.

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