The Buzz ~ Compliments of Old Republic Title & Escrow of Hawaii

THE BUZZ
Compliments of Anne Diola
Old Republic Title & Escrow of Hawaii

There’s good news in real estate to report as we enter the fall season. In August, sales of existing homes rose 8.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.47 million in August. What’s important to note is that this rate is 20.2 percent above the 3.72 million pace of August 2010. Also, U.S. home prices were up for the fourth month in a row, according to the latest Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.
Existing home sales increased from July to August in all regions:
Northeast – increased 2.7 percent
Midwest – increased 3.8 percent
South – increased 5.4 percent
West – increased 18.3 percent
Ron Phipps, President of the National Association of Realtors, reports that currently we are experiencing the best housing affordability conditions in a generation. Clearly, buyers are enjoying the benefits of today’s market and historically low interest rates.

JUST ASK
Q: I’m hearing about something called a “conforming loan limit” and how it’s changing. Can you tell me more about this?

A: The conforming loan limit determines the maximum size of a mortgage that the U.S. – specifically, the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – will guarantee. Before the housing bust in 2008, the government-insured loan limit was $417,000. This limit still applies across most of the country. But in areas with high home values — 250 counties, in all — the government increased those limits to bolster the confidence of cautious lenders.

Since 2008 the limit in affected counties has been $729,750. But as of October 1, the new limit has been reduced to $625,500. Home buyers in these counties can obtain non-conforming home loans (known as “Jumbo” loans), but the interest rates are typically higher and require a larger down payment. In a nutshell, the lowering of the loan limit can mean fewer loan options for buyers in affected counties.

MY TOWN
As the nights grow longer and days a bit cooler, you probably find yourself shifting from thoughts of barbeques and swimming pools to pumpkins, harvest festivals and trick-or-treating. As you get ready for October festivities, consider turning your pumpkin carving tradition into a family activity. Whether you’re 2, 22, or 102, carving pumpkins lets you express your creative self.
Disney’s FamilyFun.com site has lots of tips on pumpkin carving and buying (Hint: Visit your local pumpkin patch!). Check out their slide show of creative pumpkin carving and decorating ideas too for some inspiration. Kraft.com includes pumpkin carving stencils you can print and loads of Halloween-themed recipes. About.com is also a good source for carving tips and recipes. Did you know, for example, that you can use your Jack O’ Lantern as an air freshener? Just sprinkle some cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves on the bottom of the lid.
Spread out your newspapers, get a carving knife and pumpkin, and get ready to have some fun celebrating fall. Happy carving!

FYI
On October 15th, from 5:00pm to 9:00pm, drop by the Shops at Wailea for an amazing charity event called: “Sharing, Shopping, and Symphony”. This is sponsored by the Windermere Foundation and all funds raised will stay on Maui! There will be Live Entertainment, Silent Auction, Fashion Show, and more. Looking forward to seeing you all there!

Anne Diola’s Contact Info:
Anne Diola
Account Executive
Old Republic Title & Escrow of Hawaii
33 Lono Ave, Ste 195
Kahului, HI 96732
W: (808) 281-8430
M: (808) 281-8430
adiola@ortc.com