Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Your real estate hasn't dropped like this property.

In a stunning transaction, a Los Angeles luxury today. The developer Fifield Cos. has sold an unfinished Wilshire Corridor condo development - once touted as the city's most high-end - to a Dubai developer for $95 million, some $30 million less than a recent valuation. The recent tightening in the luxury mortgage market and declining real estate values in CA forced a sale. Foreign investors are flush with cash and the steady decline of the dollar vs their currencies has made the U.S. an attractive investment opportunity for large real estate players overseas. This is reminiscent of the flood of money from Japan during the 80's. Now it is oil money from the middle east that is searching for an attractive home in the U.S. market. I wouldn't be surprised to see more deals in the coming months especially for luxury condo and hotel properties.

A ray of sun for borrowers and investors.

The long awaited Fed decision arrived with a bang! The Fed surprised many economists and traders with a half percent cut in both the Fed Funds and Discount Rates. Stocks soared higher and enjoyed their largest gain since 2003.
What does the Fed cut mean? Rates on consumer debt, car loans, and Home Equity lines will all benefit. But because Home Loan rates are tied more closely to inflation, it is not uncommon to see less of a reaction...or even an opposite reaction in mortgage rates.
The Fed cut also hurts rates of return on investments, which gives foreign investors less incentive to invest in US securities. This has sent the Dollar much lower against the currency of most major foreign countries. This makes foreign goods more expensive for us to buy, which adds to inflation pressures.
Overall, the Fed cut is good news for the economy, but may nudge inflation a bit higher long term. In the short run, we have seen an improvement in mortgage rates for prime credit borrowers especially within the jumbo and super jumbo market.