Archives for June 2011

Costa Mesa homes sell 20% faster vs. O.C.

Costa Mesa homes sell 20% faster vs. O.C.


I can definitely attest to this, my last listing at 3205 Colorado Place in the Mesa Verde Community of Costa Mesa was put in escrow within two days of putting it in the MLS. In fact, the offer was wrote at my very first open house at the home. Need to sell your home fast? Call me- 714-957-6677 Kurt Galitski

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Real estate for sale in Costa Mesa looks brighter by one set of statistics.

Every two weeks, Orange County broker Steve Thomas publishes a report on the supply of local homes for sale. Here’s what the latest report — as of June 23 — has to say about Costa Mesa …
  • 244 residences listed in brokers’ MLS system with 82 new deals opening in the past 30 days.
  • By Thomas’s math, this community has a “market time” (months in would take to sell all inventory at current pace of new escrows) of 2.98 months vs. 3.19 months found two weeks earlier vs. 3.42 months seen a year earlier. Countywide, latest market time was 3.72 months vs. 3.37 months a year ago.
  • So, homes in this community — in theory — sell 20% faster than the countywide pace.
  • Of the homes listed for sale in this community, 86 were either foreclosures being resold or short sales, where sellers owe more than the home’s value. So distressed properties were 35.2% of supply of homes for sale vs. 33.5% countywide.
  • Homes for sale in Costa Mesa represent 2.1% of Orange County inventory — and 2.3% of all the distressed homes listed for sale in Orange County. New escrows here are 2.7% of all Orange County’s new pending sales.

Compare these trends to countywide patterns:

  • Cities with highest level of distressed properties among their listings? Portola Hills was tops — 65.0% — followed by Anaheim at 61.6% of listings and Rancho Santa Marg. at 60.2% of listings.
  • Fewest? Corona Del Mar was tops — 3.8% — followed by Seal Beach at 4.7% of listings and Laguna Woods at 7.6% of listings.

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    Costa Mesa Real Estate Week In Review

    For the week of Jun 13, 2011 — Vol. 9, Issue 24

    In This Issue…
    Last Week in Review: Ben Bernanke spoke, but did the markets listen? Find out what he said, and how home loan rates reacted.

    Forecast for the Week: A full week of economic reports is ahead, with news on inflation, housing, manufacturing, and more.

    View: Still wondering what to do for Father’s Day, coming on Sunday June 19th? Check out the View article for some great ways to celebrate Dad.

    Last Week in Review
    They say “actions speak louder than words.” But last week, words had a big impact on the market, especially those by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. What did he say, and what was the impact on home loan rates? Read on for details.

    Last week, Bernanke essentially made some downbeat and economically depressing comments, saying that “the economy is still producing at levels well below its potential.” Remember that weak or negative economic news and comments normally hurt Stocks and helps Bonds, as investors will move money from Stocks to what they see as safer investments like Bonds (including Mortgage Backed Securities, upon which home loan rates are based). And that’s part of what we saw happen last week: Bonds and home loan rates improved on these negative economic comments, while Stocks weakened.

    But that’s not all Bernanke said last week. He also spoke about inflation, saying, “FOMC participants currently see the recent increase in inflation as transitory and expect inflation to remain subdued in the medium term.” Why is this significant? Inflation is the arch enemy of Bonds and home loan rates, because it erodes the value of the fixed return provided by a Bond, which causes home loan rates to rise. This means that Bonds, and therefore home loan rates, typically worsen at the first sign of inflation. But Bernanke playing the role of inflation dove last week (an inflation “dove” believes inflation will have a minimal impact on the economy, the opposite of an inflation “hawk”) also helped Bonds and home loan rates improve.

    So what does this mean for the markets and home loan rates in the short- and long-term? Here’s a visual that will help explain things. Imagine a child playing with a yo-yo riding on an escalator. If Bond prices are the yo-yo, you can see how they would be moving up and down like the action of the yo-yo in the short term. And this is what we are seeing right now: Bond prices and home loan rates are moving day to day in somewhat volatile fashion but continue to move in an improving trend. But just like the child will reach the end of the escalator, Bonds and home loan rates will eventually reach the end of their improving trend… and when they do they will likely worsen quickly, as history attests.

    The bottom line is that home loan rates still remain near some of the best levels we’ve seen this year, and it’s important to take advantage of these levels while they remain. If you have been thinking about purchasing or refinancing a home, call or email me to learn more about why now is a great time to benefit from today’s historically low rates. Or forward this newsletter on to someone you know who may benefit.

    Forecast for the Week

    After last week’s quiet economic report calendar, this week’s calendar is jam-packed. Look for:

    • Tuesday’s Retail Sales Report: If sales turn out to be weak, this will add evidence to the belief that our economy is slowing down. And though we want the economy to improve, a weak report could help Bonds and home loan rates.
    • A double dose of inflation news with Tuesday’s Producer Price Index, which measures inflation at the wholesale level, and Wednesday’s Consumer Price Index. Will these reports coincide with Bernanke’s remarks on inflation from last week?
    • Job news with Thursday’s weekly Initial and Continuing Jobless Claims Report. Last week’s Initial Claims came in at 427,000, showing that the job market still has some work to do to get below and stay below – the psychologically significant 400,000 mark once again.
    • Thursday also brings housing news, with reports on both Housing Starts and Building Permits, and manufacturing news with the Philadelphia Fed Index, which is considered an important indicator of the manufacturing industry.
    • Rounding out the week is Friday’s Consumer Sentiment Index. This index is important because the level of consumer sentiment is directly related to the strength of consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of the economy.

    Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result.

    As you can see in the chart below, Bonds and home loan rates continue to improve, though as discussed above, volatility remains rampant. Give me a call or send me an email if you have any questions at all about your personal situation.

    Chart: Fannie Mae 4.0% Mortgage Bond (Friday Jun 10, 2011)
    Japanese Candlestick Chart
    The Mortgage Market Guide View…
    Fun Facts – and Activities – for Father’s Day!

    Father’s Day is this coming Sunday, June 19, 2011. To help mark the occasion, here are some fun facts and a list of activities that can help you give Dad the gift of family memories.

    One in a Million?

    According to the US Census Bureau, there are 70.1 million fathers across the US. Although they all share the experience of fatherhood, each dad is unique. That means, your dad isn’t just one in a million; he’s one in 70.1 million!

    Want to learn more fun facts about this special holiday for dads, check out the US Census Bureau’s Father’s Day Facts page.

    Simple, Special, and Inexpensive Activities for Dad

    Go for a hike – If your dad enjoys nature and relaxing walks, plan a hike on Father’s Day. Whether you make it an easy stroll or a more challenging climb, a hike is a great way to spend some quality time away from the chaos of everyday life. Here are some hiking tips and packing ideas that can make the day as safe as it is fun.

    Visit a museum or history center – Whether your dad enjoys art or history, you’re sure to find a museum or history center in your area that will fit his interests. Plan the special day as a surprise and be sure to allow plenty of time to let Dad set the pace, so he can take his time. The American Association of Museums offers an online directory of museums near you. Try it today to search by city, state, and even the type of museum you want to visit.

    Go fish – Take Dad to his favorite fishing spot for the afternoon. Of course, if Dad’s not much of a fisherman, consider pulling out a deck of cards and playing a game of Go Fish with the younger children. Take a few minutes to read the rules to Go Fish, as well as find other game ideas.

    Play ball – There are plenty of baseball fields and open parks where the family can gather for a game of baseball with Dad. Whether you play a more competitive game of fastball or softball with older children or Wiffle ball with youngsters, it’ll be a day you all remember. Here’s a fun site with the official Wiffle Ball rules.

    Hand over the remote – Father’s Day isn’t always sunny and warm. But even if the weather doesn’t cooperate this year, you can still make the day special for Dad. Consider curling up on the couch with your dad for a couple hours of his favorite shows or movies. You can even plan ahead by renting some of his favorite old movies as a surprise.

    Fill the frames – You don’t need to spend a lot of money to give Dad the perfect gift. If you have some old picture frames around the house that are sitting in a closet or have out-of-date photos in them, consider giving them a new look. An inexpensive can of paint and some new photos of the kids can go a long way. If the children are older, consider reprinting some old photos of the kids when they were younger. Or you could even take some before and after photos of the kids by retaking photos of them today in the same place and pose of an old photo. Then combine the old and new photos using a photo editing software program or simply place the photos side-by-side in a frame. It’s a gift any dad will be sure to cherish.

    Watch home movies – Don’t just limit your movie watching to Dad’s favorite Hollywood films. Instead, spend some time watching some of those home movies that feature Dad and the kids – or even older home movies of Dad when he was a kid. If you don’t have many home movies, put together a slideshow of photos; it’s easy to do and you can even add music on your computer. Of course, if technology isn’t your thing, there’s no need to worry – grab the family photo albums and gather around Dad for a couple hours of laughing and sharing.

    Don’t forget Dad’s favorite meal – Whether it’s breakfast in bed or a favorite dinner, make sure you dedicate at least one meal to Dad.

    Happy Father’s Day to all the dads across the country – all 70.1 million of you. And may your special day be filled with memories as unique as each of you!


    Economic Calendar for the Week of June 13-17, 2011

    Remember, as a general rule, weaker than expected economic data is good for rates, while positive data causes rates to rise.

    Economic Calendar for the Week of June 13 – June 17

    Date ET Economic Report For Estimate Actual Prior Impact
    Tue. June 14 08:30 Retail Sales May -0.7% 0.5% HIGH
    Tue. June 14 08:30 Retail Sales ex-auto May 0.2% 0.6% HIGH
    Tue. June 14 08:30 Core Producer Price Index (PPI) May 0.2% 0.3% Moderate
    Tue. June 14 08:30 Producer Price Index (PPI) May 0.1% 0.8% Moderate
    Wed. June 15 09:15 Capacity Utilization May 77.0% 76.9% Moderate
    Wed. June 15 09:15 Industrial Production May 0.2% 0.0% Moderate
    Wed. June 15 08:30 Empire State Index Jun 10.0 11.9 HIGH
    Wed. June 15 08:30 Core Consumer Price Index (CPI) May 0.1% 0.2% HIGH
    Wed. June 15 08:30 Consumer Price Index (CPI) May 0.1% 0.4% HIGH
    Thu. June 16 08:30 Jobless Claims (Initial) 6/11 421K 427K Moderate
    Thu. June 16 08:30 Housing Starts May 540K 523K Moderate
    Thu. June 16 08:30 Building Permits May 548K 551K Moderate
    Thu. June 16 10:00 Philadelphia Fed Index Jun 7.0 3.9 HIGH
    Fri. June 17 10:00 Consumer Sentiment Index (UoM) Jun 73.5 74.3 Moderate
    Fri. June 17 10:00 Index of Leading Econ Ind (LEI) May 0.4% -0.3% Low
    The material contained in this newsletter is provided by a third party to real estate, financial services and other professionals only for their use and the use of their clients. The material provided is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment and/or mortgage advice. Although the material is deemed to be accurate and reliable, we do not make any representations as to its accuracy or completeness and as a result, there is no guarantee it is without errors.
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    Virus phone scam being run from call centres in India


    Beware cold callers – especially those claiming your computer has a virus. Photograph: Corbis

    The scam always starts the same way: the phone rings at someone’s home, and the caller – usually with an Indian accent – asks for the householder, quoting their name and address before saying “I’m calling for Microsoft. We’ve had a report from your internet service provider of serious virus problems from your computer.”

    Dire forecasts are made that if the problem is not solved, the computer will become unusable.

    The puzzled owner is then directed to their computer, and asked to open a program called “Windows Event Viewer”. Its contents are, to the average user, worrying: they look like a long list of errors, some labelled “critical”. “Yes, that’s it,” says the caller. “Now let me guide you through the steps to fixing it.”

    The computer owner is directed to a website and told to download a program that hands over remote control of the computer, and the caller “installs” various “fixes” for the problem. And then it’s time to pay a fee: £185 for a “subscription” to the “preventative service”.

    The only catch: there was never anything wrong with the computer, the caller is not working for Microsoft or the internet service provider, and the owner has given a complete stranger access to every piece of data on their machine.

    An investigation by the Guardian has established that this scam, which has been going on quietly since 2008 but has abruptly grown in scale this year, is being run from call centres based in Kolkata, by teams believed to have access to sales databases from computer and software companies.

    Matt, a Londoner who has recently set up his own company, had just arrived home at 7pm when the phone rang and someone with an Indian accent asked for him by name, quoting his address. “It’s Windows tech support here,” said the caller. “We have reason to believe that there’s a problem with your computer. There have been downloads of malware and spyware, and they’re slowing down your computer.”

    He went along with the caller’s demands to log into a website and enter a six-digit code into his computer. “I thought it was a new service from [Microsoft] Windows,” he said. “I could see them moving the cursor about. It took about half an hour.”

    The caller could not have obtained Matt’s name via HP or PC World, where he bought the machine, because he gave his business address, not his home address, during the purchase.

    This suggests that the caller was using the phonebook to find names. Patrick McCarthy, who lives in Dublin, received a call from one of the companies – but they addressed him by the name of the apartment block where he lives instead of his own name, a longstanding error in the Irish phone book.

    Often, the victims are inexperienced or elderly, convinced by the apparent authority of the callers and the worrying contents of the Event Viewer. In fact, such “errors” are not indicative of any problems.

    Investigators who have spoken to the Guardian on condition of anonymity say that one man, based in the city of Kota in Rajasthan, is behind the centres running the scams.

    He has provided fake documentation to a number of payment companies including PayPal and Alertpay, a Montreal-based online payment company, to set up accounts which route money to a bank account in Kota with Axis Bank.

    Though people on dozens of web forums have recorded their experiences with the scammers, police and trading standards officers in the UK are powerless to stop them.

    UK telephone numbers for contacting the company on the sites are not “geographical” ‑ tied to a location ‑ but instead allocated to voice-over-internet providers.

    That means that the calls connect internationally, but cost the scammers almost nothing when anyone calls them.

    In the same way, it costs them virtually nothing to make the calls because the international part of the call goes via the internet.

    If the payment has been made on a debit card ‑ as many are ‑ there is no hope of reversing the payment. A number of payment organisations used by the scammers have shut down their accounts. PayPal, the eBay-owned credit transfer company, and AlertPay have both taken rapid action against scam sites which used them.

    In March, site hosting company Hostgator shut down one of the longest-running sites used for the alleged scam,, after complaints.

    After confirming with Microsoft that the site was not acting for it, Hostgator immediately shut it down. Josh Loe, Hostgator’s co-founder, said that following the initial complaint, “we asked for more information regarding this to confirm. We received a message from a Microsoft representative via this particular person who contacted us first about this. At that time it was enough evidence to close the site and it was done so the same day.”

    But one investigator who has been tracking the growth of the scam says the challenge is that new sites offering the same fake “service” keep popping up “like mushrooms”.

    At first the scammers tried desperately to maintain the reputation of their sites, by flooding any forum which garnered enough criticism of their activities with postings claiming that the site helped fix their machine.

    But the poor spelling and grammar of the replies – allied to internet addresses which show that the commenters are based in India – contrasted sharply with that of people in the UK, US and Australia complaining about the attempted scam.

    Now they have shifted to creating multiple sites from templates, using stock phrases and photos. However, investigators are sure that the same man ‑ and central operation ‑ is behind all of the schemes. “I don’t think that this could really have spread that far. Even if they can see that some of their friends are making money from this, the calls are too similar every time,” said one. “It’s got to be the same organisation each time.”

    Microsoft denies any connection with the companies that call people up offering these services.

    When contacted about the scams, Microsoft said it was “currently investigating a series of instances in which the business practices of an organisation within the Microsoft Partner Network [that] have given rise to significant concerns from a number of sources. We take matters such as these extremely seriously and will take any action that is appropriate once our investigation is complete.”

    Three weeks after being contacted by the Guardian, it issued another statement: “We confirm that we have taken action to terminate our relationship with certain partners who are clearly misrepresenting their relationship with us and using our company name in order to facilitate their telephone scam operations.”

    However, this week, two sites alleged to be involved were still listed as “Microsoft Gold Certified Partners”, which Microsoft says means that they must have “demonstrated expertise” and “must employ a minimum number of Microsoft Certified Professionals”.

    The company has noticed the problem. “Microsoft does not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer,” it says on its website.

    “If you receive an unsolicited call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft Tech Support, hang up. We do not make these kinds of calls.”

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    Mesa Verde Open House Today and Tomorrow From 1-4 In Costa Mesa

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