Last weeks news!

Sales of existing homes surged 4.5% in April to the highest pace on record while the sales prices of those same homes zoomed up 15.1% from a year earlier, the biggest annual gain in almost a quarter century, the National Association of Realtors reported May 25.

Despite the record increases in both sales prices (a national median of $206,000) and sales volume (a seasonally adjusted rate of 7.18 million units), Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has said that although there may be some “froth” in the market, he does not see a national housing bubble.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said May 25 that sales of new homes rose 0.2% in April to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.316 million units, also a record. Wall Street analysts had expected sales to decline 0.1%.

Keeping pace, the country’s gross domestic product, or GDP, grew at a revised rate of 3.5% for the first quarter, up from a 3.1% estimate last month, the Commerce Department reported May 26. Investors welcomed the report as a sign that the economy was still growing and inflation risks had lessened.

In another favorable economic report, new orders for durable goods — big ticket items meant to last three months or more — jumped by a larger-than-expected 1.9% in April, the Commerce Department said May 25.

Overnight real estate rates edge higher

30-year fixed rate at 5.22%; 10-year Treasury holds at 4.08%
Inman News

Long-term mortgage interest rates were up Thursday, and the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond yield remained at 4.08 percent.

The 30-year fixed-rate average increased to 5.22 percent, and the 15-year fixed-rate rose to 4.8 percent. The 1-year adjustable was down at 3.67 percent.

The 30-year Treasury bond yield stayed at 4.43 percent.

Rates are current as of 7:15 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Mortgage rate figures are according to Bankrate.com, which publishes nightly averages based on its survey of 4,000 banks in 50 states. Points on these mortgages range from zero to 3.5.

In other economic news, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 79.8 points, or 0.76 percent, finishing at 10,537.6. The Nasdaq rose 21.12 points, or 1.03 percent, closing at 2,071.24.

Stock and bond figures are current as of 7:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Brought to you by the California Association of REALTORS®

DOCUMENT SHREDDING AND OTHER SAFEGUARDS REQUIRED
As far as office equipment goes, real estate offices first couldn’t do without the telephone, and then it was the fax machine, the computer, and now . . . the paper shredder. Beginning June 1, 2005, federal law will require the proper storage and disposal of consumer credit reports and related information. This rule aims to protect consumers from “dumpster diving” by identity thieves. The rule is part of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 or FACTA which generally aims to prevent consumer fraud.

This new federal law merely serves as a reminder that REALTORS® must currently comply with even stricter California law for handling customer records. Under existing California law, a business must generally take all reasonable steps when destroying customer records containing “personal information” by shredding, erasing, or otherwise modifying the personal information to make it unreadable or undecipherable through any means. Whereas the new federal law only pertains to credit reports, California law broadly defines “personal information” as any information that identifies, relates to, describes, or is capable of being associated with, a particular person. This California law, which came into effect on January 1, 2001, is set forth at California Civil Code sections 1798.80 and 1798.81.

California law also generally requires a business to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices to protect from unauthorized access certain personal information of a more sensitive nature (such as social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, and account numbers). If a business discloses this type of personal information pursuant to a contract with a nonaffiliated third party, the business must require by contract that the third party also implements and maintains reasonable security procedures and practices. This law, which came into effect on January 1, 2005, is fully set forth at California Civil Code section 1798.81.5.

For more information, C.A.R. members may contact C.A.R.’s Member Legal Hotline at 213.739.8282, or for office managers, broker/owners, and designated REALTORS®, call 213.739.8350. Access to Member Legal Hotline is also available through C.A.R. Online at http://www.car.org/index.php?id=NTk2.

Brought to you by the California Association of REALTORS®

One hundred years ago yesterday, nearly 100 men gathered at the Lankershim Hotel in Los Angeles, envisioning an organization that would work to create a bond of trust and respect between REALTORS® and homebuyers and sellers throughout California. That vision became a reality, and today, the California Association of REALTORS® provides educational programs and business services to more than 165,000 members, enhancing the ability of REALTORS® to conduct successful real estate transactions, and produce satisfied clients.

For 100 years, C.A.R. has worked diligently to preserve and promote a commitment to excellence, professionalism and integrity within the real estate industry. Our Centennial marks the beginning of a second century where, together, we will work to bring the dream of homeownership within reach of all Californians.

If you have not already done so, please visit C.A.R.’s Web site dedicated to the Centennial Celebration at http://centennial.car.org. The site chronicles the heritage, history and good works that REALTORS® have contributed to California.

Later this year, I hope to see you in San Diego, where REALTORS® from across the state will help commemorate C.A.R.’s legacy of leadership at the C.A.R. Centennial REALTOR® EXPO, taking place September 20-22 at the San Diego Convention Center. With C.A.R.’s Centennial Celebration front and center, this year’s EXPO also will feature special festivities highlighting people, events and achievements from C.A.R.’s 100-year history. You can register online for the C.A.R. Centennial REALTOR® EXPO at http://www.realtorexpo.org.

Please join me in acknowledging C.A.R.’s milestone achievements as we prepare to lead the way in California real estate for another 100 years.

Sincerely,

Jim Hamilton
2005 C.A.R. President

C.A.R. e-Blasts are published by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, a trade association representing more than 165,000 REALTORS® statewide.

Executive offices:
525 South Virgil Ave., Los Angeles CA 90020
phone (213) 739-8200; fax (213) 480-7724

Legislative offices:
980 Ninth Street #1430, Sacramento CA 95814
phone (916) 444-2045; fax (916) 444-2033

Copyright (c) 2005 California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.)

San Diego’s retail real estate sector going strong!

Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Brokerage Co. on Thursday released its retail research report for San Diego, which indicates San Diego’s retail sector continues to be one of the nation’s strongest performers.
The report indicates that employment will grow by 2.5 percent for the retail market as approximately 32,000 positions will be added this year. The leisure and hospitality sector is creating the most jobs, with an increase of 5,800 positions.
Developers are expected to deliver 1.1 million square feet this year, which is a decrease of 45 percent compared to last year. Retail vacancy will continue to trend downward, and asking rents will climb 4.9 percent. The regionwide average asking rent is on track to reach $2.06 per square foot.
Additionally, demand for single-tenant properties is expected to remain high through 2005. Single-tenant prices have increased 19 percent over the past year to $270 per square foot. Fast-food restaurants command the highest median price at $497 per square foot, up $63 from last year. Median prices for multitenant properties have increased 17 percent since last year to $175 per square foot.

CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF CALIFORNIA REAL ESTATE

This Friday marks the 100th anniversary of the California Association of REALTORS®. On May 27, 1905, nearly 100 men gathered at the Lankershim Hotel in Los Angeles to create an organization dedicated to building a bond of trust and respect between REALTORS® and homebuyers and sellers throughout California. Today, with more than 165,000 members of C.A.R. working diligently to preserve and promote a commitment to excellence, professionalism and integrity within the real estate industry, that vision is a reality.

Last weeks Economic Update!

The Commerce Department reported that housing construction jumped by 11% in April, compared with a 17.6% drop in March. Rates on 30-year and 15-year mortgages last week also dropped to their lowest levels since late February.

Meanwhile, consumer prices climbed 0.5% in April, the Labor Department said May 18. Yet when excluding energy and food prices, core inflation was flat, a big improvement over March when core inflation shot up 0.4%.

Wholesale prices, however, rose a hefty 0.6% in April, surprising economists who had been forecasting a 0.4% rise, the Labor Department reported May 17. The increase came on top of a sizable 0.7% gain in March.

The Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators, a closely watched gauge of future business activity, fell in April for the fourth monthly decline in a row, the Conference Board reported May 19. Although expected, the decline offers some evidence that economic growth is losing steam.

For the week ending May 14, the number of new people signing up for jobless claims fell by 20,000 to 321,000, the Labor Department said May 19. The drop was double that anticipated by economists.

This week look for updates on durable goods orders and new home sales on May 25.