How inflation changes mortgage rates

 Here is a helpful chart to understand how inflation puts pressure on mortgage rates:

What Is Inflation?

Inflation is an economic term. It describes purchasing power decreasing over time.

More commonly, changes in inflation are referred to as changes in The Cost of Living; the everyday items we buy get more expensive and our heating and gas bills go up, for example.

It’s not that the  goods got more expensive, necessarily, however. It’s that the money we’re using to buy said goods is worth less. That what inflation is. It’s when the money we spend doesn’t “go as far”.

Inflation also does a number on mortgage rates.

Inflation Fears And Mortgage Rates Are Rising

Inflation is a self-reinforcing cycle. The longer it lasts, the more insidious its effects, and mortgage rates are an unfortunate consequence.

Because inflation devalues the U.S. dollar, it devalues everything denominated in U.S. dollars. This includes mortgage-backed bonds, of course, so when inflation is present, demand for MBS starts to fall. Investors don’t want to own an assets that’s likely to lose its value over time, after all.

Falling demand causes prices to fall, too. It’s basic economics. Then, as prices fall, the corresponding yields rise. This translates into higher rates for everyday Americans for all mortgage types — conforming, FHA, jumbo, and portfolio.

Right now, inflation fears are high. Energy costs are higher, the Fed is pumping the economy, and the dollar is sagging. If not for the current unrest across the Middle East, mortgage rates would be blasting off.

Home buyers and rate shoppers are looking a gift horse in the mouth.

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The above is an excerpt from Dan Green’s blog post on How Inflation Contributes to Higher Mortgage Rates.

Dan is an active, multi-state loan officer with Waterstone Mortgage.  I find his posts are always well written, timely and very informative and love to share them.   Email Dan at dan.green@waterstonemortgage.com or call 513-443-2020.

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I help people move in and out of Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!  Thinking of buying? I will help you find the right home and provide you with the best home buying experience possible.

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Marin County Real Estate Market Update – January 2011

Marin County real estate sales were up slightly while prices trended down in January. There is noticeably more activity as serious buyers are attending open houses in greater numbers than usual for the season, with many chomping at the bit as they are unable to find what they are looking for.  Multiple offers on well priced and presented homes, especially in the below $1 million price range, are not unusual but, even with 4 or 5 offers, properties do not sell for much more than the asking price.  Buyers are still very sensitive to price and many are bargain hunting.

Marin County single family home inventory as of January 31 was at 774 units, compared to 753 in 2010.  Months’ supply of inventory was 6.6, up from December’s 4.6, but still far better than 2010’s 8.8 and 2009’s 12.4. Generally 6-7 months’ supply of inventory is considered a balanced market.   The condominium active inventory was the lowest it’s been in more than two years at 265 units on February 1 compared to 270 at the same time last year. Months’ supply of inventory is down at 4.8 from December’s 5.9, as well as both January 2010 and 2009 when they stood at 7.4 and 8.2, respectively. 

Trends at a Glance      

           
(Single-family Homes)      

   
    Jan ‘11      

Dec ‘10      

Jan ‘10      

Median Price      

$650,000      

$750,000      

$665,000      

Average Price      

$818,434      

$995,512      

$1,077,295      

Home Sales      

90      

151      

95      

Inventory      

774      

770      

753      

Sale/List Price Ratio      

93.20%      

93.90%      

92.30%      

Days on Market      

110      

105      

104      

 Marin County home sales were up a tad to 134 in January 2011 compared to 131 in January 2010.   Sales of single family homes were down: as of February 1, year to date SFR sales stood at 90 compared to 95 at the same time last year—a  5.3% decline–  and to 151 in December—a 40.4% decline.  January and February are usually the two months of the year that are the least predictive of upcoming trends for the balance of the year and activity may pick up in the spring. That said, January’s low activity was a continuation of trends we saw last year:  it is the fourth month in a row home sales have been lower than the year before. 

Luxury Waterfront Condominiums - Tiburon, CA

It is worth noting however that demand was artificially inflated at the beginning of last year as buyers rushed to take advantage of the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit before it expired in April.  So the decrease in activity could just reflect this year’s lack of stimulus from the tax incentive. As I mentioned earlier, there are many buyers frustrated at the lack of inventory and many agents have already signed listings that will come on the market in the spring; this should result in a greater number of sales come March and April.  

Condo sales were up to 44 on February 1 compared to 37 in December 2010 and to 36 a year ago.  

Prices have dropped, with the average YTD sold price for a single family home as of February 1 at $818,434, down 24% from $1,077,295 a year ago.  Currently at the lowest it has been since February 2009, the January median prices fell 2.3% year over year to $650,000 and 13.1% compared to December.  These statistics reflect the high number of foreclosures or bank-owned properties and short sales (homes whose owners are struggling to pay their mortgages) in the mix.  These “distressed” properties are attracting strong interest from buyers while higher priced homes languish on the market.  Overall, distressed properties represented about one third of single-family home sales in Marin County in January according to BAREIS (Bay Area Real Estate Information Services).  Average sale prices have tumbled down as well, with an average YTD sold price on February 1 of $327,864 versus $405,645 last year.  This price decline does not represent value erosion as much as a different mix in the sold properties:  lower priced homes have been selling and are dragging down the averages for the county. 

As is always the case in the county, the percentage of listings in contract varies greatly by price range with the below $1 million price segment still representing the lion share of the market with 40% as of February 1, although down slightly from 46.26% last year.  The county overall is 32.82% in contract–which generally is considered a seller’s market–, down a little from 34.26% at the same time last year.  

Marin County – Single Family Residences as of February 2, 2010  

 
  

Total Active  

In Contract  

% In Contract  

Type of Market  

ALL PRICES  

753  

258  

34.26%  

Seller’s  

0-$999K  

441  

204  

46.26%  

Very Strong Seller’s  

1MIL-$1,999K  

183  

39  

21.31%  

Buyer’s  

2MIL-$2,999K  

59  

10  

16.95%  

Buyer’s  

$3MIL +  

70  

5  

7.14%  

Strong Buyer’s  

While improving slightly, sales of higher-cost homes continue to suffer from the credit crunch that struck more than three years ago, making adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) and “jumbo” loan much more difficult to obtain.  In high priced markets like the Bay Area overall and Marin County in which the average home price is higher than the $729,750 high balance conventional loan limit, this tight lending environment makes it very challenging for buyers to secure mortgages. 

According to DataQuick Information Systems, jumbo loans in the Bay Area accounted for 27.1% of January’s purchase lending, down from a revised 31.6% in December, and down from 27.4% in January 2010.  The post-housing boom low was 17.1% in January 2009 and before the August 2007 credit crunch, jumbos accounted for nearly 60% of the Bay Area purchase loan market. Bay Area cash buyers accounted for 28.7% of sales in January, an all-time high. The average is 11.4% going back to 1988. For the state of California, the numbers are similar: 29.4% of the $1 million plus buyers paid cash in 2010 and the median down payment was 40.1% of the purchase price. In Marin, 37 out of 134 buyers paid cash in January.   

 The City-by-City report shows that the percentage of properties in contract in 8 of 13 markets in Marin County is up since December 2010, 4 are down and 1 remains unchanged. 

City by City Analysis-Single Family & Condos February 1, 2011.  All price ranges combined   
City   Total Active  In Contract  % In Contract 
Sausalito  47  11  23.40% 
Belvedere  30  1  3.33% 
Tiburon  65  15  23.08% 
Mill Valley  115  40  34.78% 
Corte Madera  27  5  18.52% 
Larkspur  22  4  18.18% 
Greenbrae  23  8  34.78% 
Kentfield  18  7  38.89% 
Ross  12  4  33.33% 
San Anselmo  49  14  28.57% 
Fairfax  32  14  43.75% 
San Rafael  261  95  36.40% 
Novato  255  109  42.75% 
Total  956  327    

Foreclosures: The number of California homes going into foreclosure dropped again during the fourth quarter of 2010 to its lowest level in more than three years, the result of shifting market conditions as well as evolving lender and mortgage servicer policies, a real estate information service reported. In Marin County, the number of properties receiving either a default notice, foreclosure auction notice or bank repossession dropped also from 234 in December to 194 in January.  Novato and San Rafael are still leading the pack by a wide margin.  

    Foreclosure Activity in Marin County in January 2011 – Source: RealtyTrac   

Interest Rates:  The rate on the 30-year conforming mortgage has risen to a recent 5.1% from 4.2% last October, tagging along behind an even larger rise in the yield of the 10-year Treasury note over that period.    

One of my favorite Larkspur homes

Much has been said in the past week about the Obama administration’s plan to reform the housing finance market and reduce the government’s outsized role in the mortgage funding to allow banks to more effectively compete in offering loans without government guarantees. The proposal includes winding down government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and turning most of the market over to the private sector, as well as requiring larger down payments and raising fees for borrowers. Critics of the plan are concerned that it would raise mortgage rates, which could in turn slam the door on a fragile housing recovery as interest rates greatly affect how much buyers can afford.    

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that a new finance system without Fannie and Freddie could take seven years to put in place, adding that mortgage costs will likely increase in the coming years.  Credit Suisse has estimated that rates on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage may rise as much as 2 percentage points if the government withdraws its backing of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.    Let’s take a look at what this would mean for a Marin County buyer borrowing the current maximum of $729,750 allowed by Fannie and Freddie for 30 years:  at the current rate of 5% the payment would be $3,917 per month and at 7% the payment would be almost $1,000 higher at $4,855 per month.    

To concludewith the job market still weak, foreclosures still piling up, and lending standards much tighter than they were a few years back (and likely to become even more so in the future), there’s no reason to believe that the housing market will regain its footing in 2011.  While some Marin County agents believe we have hit bottom, others suggest we may still be bouncing up and down at the bottom, and I tend to agree with the latter.  What it means for you depends on your needs.  I would love to sit down with you to find out how I can help you make the smartest decision about real estate.  Email me at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or call me at 415.505.4789.   

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I help people move in and out of Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!  Thinking of buying? I will help you find the right home and provide you with the best home buying experience possible.  I am here to help you make the smartest real estate move and build wealth.

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

     

  

   

   

    

  

  

  

  
 

 


Cost of Living Reaches An All-Time High, Pressures Mortgage Rates Higher

Consumer Price Index Feb 2009 - Jan 2011Mortgage rates have trended up 0.875% since mid-November, causing home buyer purchasing power to fall more than 10 percent since. 

Persistent concerns over inflation are a major reason why and this week’s Consumer Price Index did little to quell fears. CPI rose for the third straight month last month.

Wall Street was not surprised.

As the economy has picked up steam since late-2010, the Federal Reserve has held the Fed Funds Rate near zero percent, and kept its $600 billion bond plan moving forward. The Fed believes this is necessary to support the economy in the near-term. 

Over the long-term, however, Wall Street worries that these programs may cause the economy to expand too far, too fast, and into runaway inflation.

Inflation pressures mortgage rates to rise.  Inflation reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money. Something that used to cost $1.00 now costs $1.05, for example. It’s not that the goods themselves are more expensive, per se. It’s that the money used to buy the goods is worth less.

Because of inflation, it takes more money to buy the same amount of product, and Marin County real estate is no exception.

This is a big deal in the mortgage markets because mortgage rates come from the price of mortgage bonds, and mortgage bonds are denominated, bought, and sold in U.S. dollars. When inflation in present, the dollar loses its value and, therefore, so do mortgage bonds.

When mortgage bonds lose value, mortgage rates go up.

Inflation fears are harming home buyers. The Cost of Living has reached a record level, surpassing the former peak set in July 2008. Mortgage rates would be rising more right now if not for the Middle East unrest.

So long as inflation concerns persist, mortgage rates should trend higher over the next few quarters.  Carole Radoni, a well-known and respected authority on Bay Area real estate, predicted yesterday at a meeting of the Women’s Council of Realtors in Marin County that interest rates would rise to 6% by the end of 2011 and 7% by the end of 2012.

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I help people move in and out of Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!  Thinking of buying? I will help you find the right home and provide you with the best home buying experience possible.  I am here to help you make the smartest real estate move and build wealth.

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Weekly Financial Market Update – February 22, 2011

Report provided by Guest Contributor Gina Kemsley – Senior Vice President, Loan Consultant, Terra Mortgage Banking

Email: gkemsley@terramb.com – Website: www.terramortgagebanking.com/loan-officers/gina-kemsley

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 LAST WEEK IN REVIEW

“You sound like a broken record…” or so the cliché goes. And lately that saying certainly applies to the phrase the media has been repeating recently: Don’t fight the Fed.

So what does “Don’t fight the Fed” mean exactly, especially when it comes to home loan rates? Let’s answer that by going back a few months. In early November, when home loan rates were at all time lows, the Fed announced their plan to purchase $600 Billion in Treasuries through mid-2011. Dubbed Quantitative Easing 2 or QE2, the Fed had three goals:

  1. Boost Stock Prices
  2. Lower unemployment
  3. Create inflation

 After just two and a half months, an argument could be made that the Fed has been somewhat successful so far. Stocks are higher, the unemployment rate has improved (though more improvement is certainly needed), and as we saw last week inflation has ticked higher.

  1. Both the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Producer Price Index for January were hotter than expected and, as the chart shows, the more closely watched Core CPI, which strips out food and energy, came in at the highest level since March 2010. And we’re not just seeing hotter inflation here. Reports last week showed inflation is heating up in China and England, too.
  2. So what does all of this mean for home loan rates? Inflation is the arch enemy of Bonds and home loan rates, and usually any hints of inflation cause both to worsen. Yet, you may be wondering why Bonds and home loan rates improved slightly last week. There are two things to note: First, while last week’s inflation data was a touch hotter than expected, overall, it’s still on the tame side. Second, last week’s Initial Jobless Claims was a disappointment, suggesting that the labor market continues to improve but at a very choppy and sluggish snail’s pace.
  3. The bottom line to remember is the phrase we started out with: Don’t fight the Fed. If the Fed wants to create inflation as one of its three-fold goals for QE2, it will likely succeed…and Bonds and home loan rates will likely worsen over time as a result.

    That’s why if you have been thinking about purchasing or refinancing a home, this is a great time to get started! Call or email me if you have any questions at all – I’m always happy to talk to you! Or forward this newsletter on to someone you know who may benefit from today’s historically low rates.

FORECAST FOR THE WEEK

It’s a holiday shortened week, with both the Stock and Bond Markets closed Monday in observance of Presidents’ Day. But there will be lots of news the rest of the week:

  • We’ll get a double read on how the consumer is feeling, first on Tuesday with the Consumer Confidence Report and then on Friday with the Consumer Sentiment Index.
  • We’ll also get a double read on the housing market, with Wednesday’s Existing Home Sales Report and Thursday’s New Home Sales Report.
  • Thursday will also bring another weekly Initial and Continuing Jobless Claims Report – will this week’s report disappoint like last week’s?
  • And there’s one more double read, this one on the health of the economy. Thursday’s Durable Goods Report will update us on consumer and business buying behavior on big-ticket items that are designed to last for an extended period of time (i.e. appliances, furniture, etc). Then on Friday there’s the Gross Domestic Product Report, which is the broadest measure of economic activity.

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.

Bonds and rates have made some improvements since February 9. But keeping in mind the saying about the Fed…and the signs of inflation…I’ll be watching closely to see what happens next.

 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 February 21 – February 25

Date ET Economic Report For Estimate Actual Prior Impact
Tue. February 22 10:00 Consumer Confidence Feb 67.0 70.4 64.8 Moderate
Wed. February 23 10:00 Existing Home Sales Jan 5.23M   5.28M Moderate
Thu. February 24 08:30 Jobless Claims (Initial) 2/19 410K   410K Moderate
Thu. February 24 08:30 Durable Goods Orders Jan 3.0%   -2.3% Moderate
Thu. February 24 10:00 New Home Sales Jan 310K   329K Moderate
Fri. February 25 08:30 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Q4 3.3%   3.2% Moderate
Fri. February 25 08:30 GDP Chain Deflator Q4 0.3%   0.3% HIGH
Fri. February 25 10:00 Consumer Sentiment Index (UoM) Feb 75.1   75.1 Moderate

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I help people move in and out of Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!  Thinking of buying? I will help you find the right home and provide you with the best home buying experience possible.  I am here to help you make smart real estate decisions and build wealth.

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 


Going On Vacation? Don’t Tell The Burglars!

Want to help keep your Marin County home safe from burglars while on vacation? One smart way is to refrain from announcing your plans on various social networks such as Facebook. 

There are other common-sense tips, too, as shared in this 4-minute video from NBC’s The Today Show.

Drawing from a series of interviews with former convicts, you’ll learn that there’s more to keeping your home safe than just locking the doors and windows, and setting the alarm system for “away”. You’ll also want to make sure your home looks “lived in”.

And some of these tricks you may have never thought of. 

For example, while on vacation:

  • Make sure a neighbor is picking up your mail and newspapers daily
  • Set inside lights to a timer, giving the appearance someone is home

In addition, if you don’t have a safe for valuables, consider moving them to a child’s room. It’s among the last places a burglar looks.

You can’t make your home 100% safe from intruders but you can make your home a tougher target. Just use some common sense and follow the tips in the video.


How to repay the home buyer tax credit for 2008 buyers

Did you buy a Marin County home in 2008? Home buyer tax credit repayment begins for 2008 buyers
Most home buyers who claimed the federal tax credit of up to $7,500 for buying their first home in 2008 are required to start repaying the credit in 15 annual installments, beginning with their 2010 tax returns.

The credit—some form of which was offered for qualified home purchases in 2008, 2009, and 2010—has different repayment rules depending on when and under what circumstances the home was purchased. As tax season approaches, this may cause confusion among home buyers who received the tax credit. 

The IRS is sending a letter to taxpayers who claimed the credit that explains if, when, and how the buyer has to repay the credit. There are different IRS letters for different situations, including a purchase of a home in 2008, 2009, or 2010; a sale of a main home; or a change in the use of the main home.

The IRS website at www.irs.gov contains detailed information about repayment requirements for the federal home buyer tax credit.

For information about the tax benefits of homeownership, go to NAHB’s website www.SaveMyMortgageInterestDeduction.com.

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I help people move in and out of Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!  Thinking of buying? I will help you find the right home and provide you with the best home buying experience possible.

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Fed Minutes Show Lower Unemployment And Higher Growth For 2011 and 2012

FOMC November 2010 MinutesThe Federal Reserve released its January 25-26, 2011 meeting minutes Wednesday afternoon. mortgage rates have been in flux since.

Fed Minutes are comprehensive recaps of Federal Open Market Committee meetings; a detailed look at the debates and discussions that shape our nation’s monetary policy. As such, they’re released 8 times annually; 3 weeks after the most recent FOMC meeting.

Fed Minutes can be viewed as the unabridged version of the succinct, more well-known “Fed Statement” that’s released to markets immediately post-adjournment.

Just how much more lengthy are Fed Minutes?

  • The January 25-26, 2011 statement contains 395 words
  • The January 25-26, 2011 meeting minutes contains 6,916 words

If the Fed Statement is an executive summary, the Fed Minutes is a novel. And, the extra words matter.

When the Federal Reserve publishes its minutes, it’s offering clues about the group’s next policy-making steps.  As an example, in the January minutes, the Fed improved its outlook for economic growth; lowered its projections for the Unemployment Rate; and removed its concern for deflation.

In addition, the Fed discussed the potential for food-and-energy-cost-induced inflation, but labeled it as a minor economic risk at this point in time.

Bond markets are mixed on the text of the Fed Minutes.

Although the Fed indicates a willingness to allow inflation to occur, it appears ready to act in case inflation goes too high. One way that the Fed responds to rising inflation is to raise the Fed Funds Rate and many economists believe this will start happening by late-2011 or early-2012.

Rising Fed Funds Rates mean higher mortgage rates. If you have been waiting to buy Marin County Real Estate, now is a good time to start looking.  More inventory is coming on the market every day!

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I help people move in and out of Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!  Thinking of buying? I will help you find the right home and provide you with the best home buying experience possible.

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.h


Homeownership in Marin County still part of the American Dream

I recently went to the Women’s Council of Realtors and National Association of Realtors (NAR) conferences in New Orleans.  Aside from the great excitement of being in the Crescent City for the first time, I enjoyed both conferences tremendously.  There were great speakers, a wonderful expo with all the new, hot tools and offerings available to tech-savvy real estate agents and thousands of realtors from all over the country to network with.   Which reminds me, if you ever need a recommendation for a great Realtor anywhere in the country, thanks to my Women’s Council of Realtors membership, I network with top agents from different states and can help identify the right agent for you or your friends. 

The theme of the NAR conference was “Homeownership Matters.”  The message is that good jobs enable people to achieve the American dream of home ownership. And every time a house is built, bought, or sold, jobs are created—lots of them—right here at home.  Check out the stats below:

  • Home sales in this country generate more than 2.5 million private-sector jobs in an average year. For every two homes sold, a job is created.
  • Each home sale touches 80 different occupations.
  • Every home purchased pumps up to $60,000 into the economy over time for furniture, home improvements, and related items.
  • Housing accounts for more than 15% of the Gross Domestic Product, making it a key driver in our national economy.
  • Housing has led this country out of six of the last eight recessions.

America needs jobs. Housing creates jobs. That’s one of the many reasons home ownership matters to people, to communities, to America.

Trulia’s American Dream Survey

On February 9, 2011,  Trulia.com, a top site for homebuyers, sellers and renters, released the results of its biannual American Dream survey, which has tracked American attitudes towards homeownership since 2009. Harris Interactive conducted this online surveyon Trulia’s behalf in January 2011 among 2,079 U.S. adults aged 18 and over.  They found:

  • 70% of Americans still view homeownership as being part of their American Dream.
  • 78% say their homes are the best investment they ever made.
  • 88% of 18-34 year old renters aspire to be homeowners.

The report went on to say:

“Contrary to popular belief, the American Dream of homeownership has not turned into an American nightmare. In fact, we’re seeing a national resurgence of buyer and seller activity on Trulia.com,” said Pete Flint, CEO of Trulia.

“During the housing bubble, the American Dream of homeownership was beyond reach for many young adults. Stuck with student loans and entry-level jobs, many had resigned themselves to being lifelong renters. But the tide is changing – Millennials are now today’s most serious homebuyers,” says Tara-Nicholle Nelson, Consumer Educator for Trulia. In Marin County, buyers are very actively looking for their dream home, but inventory is still low and they may have to wait until the traditional spring season to have more houses to choose from.  With interest rates on the rise, the incentive is even greater now for buyers to jump in and lock in those great bargain prices. 

It appears that the majority of the country thinks you would be doing the smart thing if you considered purchasing a Marin County home for you and your family. Call me with any questions, I would love to help.

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I help people move in and out of Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!  Thinking of buying? I will help you find the right home and provide you with the best home buying experience possible.

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Best places to enjoy happy hour drinks and food in Larkspur and Corte Madera

Tavern at Lark Creek Inn - Larkspur, CA

 

I am so happy that Larkspur and Corte Madera now have their own Patch, a community enewsletter.  Below is an article from the Patch on where to find happy hour prices in Larkspur and Corte Madera.  I have added my own photos.  

“An ex-boy friend once said, “No matter where we go, dinner is $120.”  

That probably was an exaggeration, but dining out with appetizers hovering around $12, entrees near $20 and dessert $10 and a modest bottle of wine running $35, the tab could easily hit $120 with the tax and tip. 

Now, imagine cocktails discounted, beer at 1980 prices and appetizer-sized plates for around $5 or $6.  

To take advantage of the Happy Hours in Larkspur and Corte Madera, diners have to be willing to dine early and usually only at the bar. One or two establishments are also offering discount food late, in order to keep, or get, some of the area’s notorious early birds to stay out past 9 p.m. 

First let’s get out of the way, local favorites that don’t have a Happy Hour. 

Local favorites without a Happy Hour include Marin Joe’s (www.marinjoesrestaurant.com), Restaurant Picco (www.restaurantpicco.com), and Pizzeria Picco (www.pizzeriapicco.com). 

On the other hand, there are the following establishments: 

Marin Brewing Co., Larkspur, CA

 

• Marin Brewing Company (www.marinbrewing.com) doesn’t have a Happy Hour, per se, but you could say, has a “happy day.” All day Tuesday, from 11:30 a.m. – midnight draft beers are only $3, normally $4 – $4.50. 

• Two places pushing the discounts late are the Wipeout Bar & Grill (www.wipeoutbar&grill.com) in Bon Air shopping center and Left Bank Bistro in Larkspur. 

At the surf-themed restaurant in Corte Madera, Monday through Friday from 3–6 p.m. and from 8:30 p.m. until closing, patrons can enjoy bargain drinks and food in the bar or on the patio.  

Small beers (14 ounces) are $2.75; large ones (23 ounces) are $4.75; red or white wine is $3, while well drinks are $4. Margaritas are never discounted. Crab cake sliders are $2.95 each, small pizzas and jalapeno calamari both $5. 

• At Left Bank, (www.leftbank.com) the delightful French-themed brasserie Monday through Friday sees two Happy Hours: 4–6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. until closing. Dining and drinking deals include Alsatian specialties like their smoked salmon tarte or the tarte landaise with duck confit, pancetta, chorizo, caramelized onion and ricotta, both $6. 

Three oysters are $4.50, steak tartare $5, mussels and a Provencal burger are both $6. Pate, olive tapenade and calamari round out the menu $4-$5. 

A pint of beer is $4, a glass of wine $5 and well drinks are $5. 

• Down the road at the Tavern at Lark Creek (www.tavernatlarkcreek.com), Happy Hour is a short one, from only from 5–6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Look for $3 tap beer, two wines at $4 and $5 wine from their tap. 

Nibbles and bites include (in part) marinated olives and an eggplant-pepper relish for $3.95, Crudités or half a Caesar for $4.95 and for $5.95 artisanal cheeses or mini-mac and cheese croquettes. 

• Two places in Corte Madera have attractive Happy Hours every day. At Max’s Café (www.maxsworld.com) seven days a week, from 3 – 7 p.m., Max’s specialty drinks and six ounce glasses of wine are $2 off; $4 off on select beers and well drinks. For fans, a PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) is only $2. Munchies (in part) include $4 nachos, potato skins, BBQ pork quesadillas and hot dog sliders. 

• In the heart of Corte Madera, Benissimo Ristorante & Bar (www.benissimos.com) also has treats every day. There are $3 draft beers, $5 glasses of wine and $4 well drinks. A $5 margarita is tempting. Taste treats aren’t the usual suspects and include a meatball panini or small margherita pizza for $5, mussels with saffron or Prosciutto and fresh pear both $6. 

• The Melting Pot, (www.meltingpot.com) housed in a former brick kiln, in Larkspur, on the way out of town or into town, depending on your perspective, has some yummy-sounding Happy Hour offerings. 

Happy Hour is Monday through Friday from 5-6:30 p.m. Many of the most popular menu items like cheese and chocolate fondues are 50 percent off. 

Joining that, discount beers, specialty cocktails and wines by the glass priced under $10 are all half off. 

Left Bank, Larkspur, CA

 

Owner John McDonald has a few rules to go along with his attractive deal: Patrons must dine at the bar top; there are no reservations; it cannot be used with any other promotional offers; it’s not valid on holidays and, finally no minors. 

• The Asian-themed P. F. Chang’s (www.pfchangs.com) in Corte Madera’s Town Center is running some of its best dishes, every day from 3-6 p.m. in the entire restaurant, bar and patio.  

Chomp down on three of various dumplings for $3.25; spring rolls are $3; while flaming red wontons are $5; edamame $4 and lettuce wraps $6. (More selections also available.) 

Draft beer is $3, PBR $2; selected wines $5 and a slew of cocktails at $6. 

Please keep in mind; this is not a complete list of every Happy Hour in Larkspur or Corte Madera, just a few highlights where the food deals are especially enticing. 

And remember to drink responsibly or eat a whole lot of bargain bites.” 

And here is an addition to the list published a few days later: 

“In a previous article Patch covered Happy Hour deals in Larkspur-Corte Madera. 

The folks at the Cheesecake Factory missed my deadline and I forgot Brick & Bottle. I know, my bad. 

Here are their Happy Hour offers: 

Cheesecake Factory (www.thecheesecakefactory.com

The Village, 1736 Redwood Highway, Corte Madera 

(415) 945-0777 

These trendy drinks are just $5 at the Cheesecake Factory: mojito, Long Island, margarita, cosmo. Other selected well drinks are $5; wines by the glass $5 and draft beers $4. 

The following appetizers are $5: sliders, spinach and cheese dip, avocado eggrolls, fried mac and cheese, sweet corn tamale cakes, crispy taquitos, fire-roasted artichoke, shrimp summer rolls, guacamole, Tex Mex eggrolls, fried calamari, chicken sliders, pot stickers and crab wontons. 

Happy Hour is 4-6 p.m. in the bar area. 

Brick & Bottle (www.brickandbottle.com

55 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera 

(415) 924-3366 

Brick & Bottle has a long Happy Hour running from 4-7 p.m. everyday, but only in the bar area. 

All beers are $4; the $5 wines include Silver Tap sauvignon blank and Preston of Dry Creek, Rhone blend. Selected cocktails are $6. A slew of bar apps are $5 including deviled eggs, salt cod fritters, pork meatballs, buttermilk and chive biscuits and a steak taco. Both their margherita and mushroom pizzas are half price at $5.50 and $6.50, respectively.” 

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I help people move in and out of Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!  Thinking of buying? I will help you find the right home and provide you with the best home buying experience possible.

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.