Something fishy is happening in Tiburon

If you have noticed these signs along the road while driving around Tiburon and thought something fishy was going on, you were right!

It is  the annual salmon release which will take place this Saturday, April 30 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at Blackie’s Pasture. 

The event is sponsored by the The Tiburon Salmon Institute.

More than 2,000 salmon fry raised by high school students in Petaluma will be released by local children.

A barbecue will be provided by the Tiburon Fire Department and there will be live music and educational events about salmon.

Make sure you lock your car and do not leave valuables in sight as there have been burglaries in the Blackie’s Pasture parking lot recently.

Save the date for another event in Tiburon and Belvedere: Walk your history.  Meet at Belvedere Park at 9:30 am on May 7.

For information, visit www.tiburonsalmoninstitute.com.

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About the author: The above Marin County community information 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.

I am here to help you make the smartest real estate move and build wealth, providing you with reliable real estate information and advice you can trust.

My knowledge and passion for Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you successfully navigate the process of buying and selling a home.  My business model enables me to provide superior service and a better client experience.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

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.


A Simple Explanation Of The Federal Reserve Statement (April 27, 2011 Edition)

Putting the FOMC statement in plain EnglishEarlier today, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to leave the Fed Funds Rate unchanged within its current target range of 0.000-0.250 percent.

The vote was 10-0 — the third straight meeting after which the FOMC vote was unanimous.

In its press release, the FOMC noted that since its March 2011 meeting, the economic recovery is proceeding “at a moderate pace” and that labor markets conditions are “improving gradually”. Household spending and business investment “continue[s] to expand” but the housing sector remains “depressed”.

Furthermore, the FOMC’s statement discussed the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate of (1) Managing inflation levels, and (2) Fostering maximum employment. The statement acknowledged recent inflation pressures on the economy, but it expects those pressures — because they’re related to oil and food prices — to be “transitory”. Unemployment remains “elevated”.

The FOMC statement also re-affirms the group’s plan to keep the Fed Funds Rate near zero percent “for an extended period” of time, and to keep its $600 billion bond market support package — more commonly called “QE2” — intact.

The statement’s verbiage suggests that a third support package may be created after QE2 ends in June 2011, depending on the needs of the economy.

Mortgage market reaction to the FOMC statement has been positive thus far. Mortgage rates are unchanged, but leaning lower.

The FOMC’s next scheduled meeting is a 2-day event, June 20-21 2011.

___________________________________________________________________________

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.

I am here to help you make the smartest real estate move and build wealth, providing you with reliable real estate information and advice you can trust.

My knowledge and passion for Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you successfully navigate the process of buying and selling a home.  My business model enables me to provide superior service and a better client experience.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

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 – April 26, 2011

Report provided by guest contributor Gina Kemsley – Senior Vice President – Loan Consultant, Terra Mortgage Banking

Office: (415) 464-3144 – Cell: (415) 828-0218 – Email: gkemsley@terramb.comWebsitewww.terramortgagebanking.com/loan-officers/gina-kemsley

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LAST WEEK IN REVIEW

WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS… With the US already facing tough decisions over its national debt, the credit rating firm Standard and Poor’s last week cut its credit outlook on the US from stable to negative. Standard & Poor’s also said the US’s AAA credit rating could be cut within two years, if headway isn’t made in closing the budget gap. This is important because countries have credit ratings, just like individuals.

But what does all this mean? Let’s break it down…

First of all, it’s important to note that the downgrade to the credit outlook was a long time coming, and Traders in the pits even joked that S&P is late to the party with this call. For more information about different countries credit ratings – as well as your own state’s credit ratings – check out this Credit Ratings Link.

All joking aside, this is a serious issue, as the last thing the US wants to endure is an outright credit downgrade. That would make the interest expense on the US debt even more burdensome – and, remember, we are all on the hook for this debt and the carrying costs.

But if this was a long time coming, what sparked the change in outlook? The S&P cited the wide political divide amongst Congress as a major hurdle to meaningfully lower the federal budget deficit. Both parties want to lower the deficit but there is stark disagreement on how to get there. Hopefully, the S&P’s actions will spark a fire in Congress to get serious and get something done.

How does this issue impact Bonds and home loan rates?

The national debt concerns won’t be addressed easily, especially when you remember that the country is approaching the debt-ceiling limit on May 16th. So in the immediate future, this will make for more volatility in the markets as headlines gyrate both Stocks and Bonds. Bonds are in an even tougher spot in the long term – and here’s why:

First… if the US government is successful in taking action to lower the budget deficit and avoid an outright credit downgrade, then we should expect a longer duration of accommodative Fed monetary policy, as the Fed doesn’t want an economic slowdown to recreate a “deflationary” environment. If things do slowdown significantly, we may start hearing debate for a QE3 (or a third round of Quantitative Easing), which would not be good for Bonds and home loan rates.

Second… if the US debt received an outright downgrade, it would be really bad for Bonds. As it stands now, this doesn’t seem likely and you shouldn’t be overly alarmed. But, it’s important to understand what is at stake here. The bottom line is that with some extra belt tightening as a result of this issue, we could expect to see slower economic growth in the future, as government spending would have to slow immensely to help close the budget gap.

That said… home loan rates remain historically low right now. However, there are a lot of headwinds for Bonds down the road and last week’s credit outlook downgrade was just another one.

Now’s the time to learn more about these issues and see how you can take advantage of the current low home loan rates and affordable home prices. It only takes a few minutes to look at your specific situation. Call or email to get started.

____________________________________________________________________

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.

I am here to help you make the smartest real estate move and build wealth, providing you with reliable real estate information and advice you can trust.

My knowledge and passion for Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you successfully navigate the process of buying and selling a home.  My business model enables me to provide superior service and a better client experience.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

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.

 

FORECAST FOR THE WEEK

This week will be jam-packed with economic reports that can have a big impact on the markets and home loan rates:

  • We’ll see more housing news this week with the New Home Sales report right away Monday morning, followed by the Pending Home Sales report on Thursday.
  • Consumers are also in the news this week. First, we’ll see the Consumer Confidence report on Tuesday, followed by the Consumer Sentiment Index on Friday. Both those reports give us some insight into how confident consumers are in the economy. Second, we’ll get a look at Personal Spending and Personal Income on Friday – which provide insight into the financial picture of consumers.
  • The Federal Reserve holds its FOMC meeting this Tuesday and Wednesday, with the release of its Policy Statement coming Wednesday afternoon. As always, what the Fed says could impact home loan rates.
  • Speaking of the Fed, we’ll see the Fed’s favorite gauge of inflation this Friday in the Personal Consumption Expenditures report.
  • We’ll also get a read on the economic recovery with Wednesday’s Durable Good Orders, which gives us an update on consumer and business buying behavior on big-ticket items that are designed to last for an extended period of time, like furniture, televisions, appliances, vehicles, copy machines, and so on.

 

  • On Thursday, the markets will see the latest report on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – which is the broadest measure of economic activity – as well as Friday’s Chicago PMI, which is a good indicator of overall economic activity.
  • The Jobless Claims report also comes out Thursday. In the latest week’s report, Initial Jobless Claims fell but still remained above that pesky 400,000 level as the job market continues to be a thorn in the side of the economy. Until we can see a pattern of unemployment claims well below 400,000, we will not see a significant fall in the Unemployment Rate.
  • Finally, on Friday the Employment Cost Index (ECI) will be released. The ECI is one way to evaluate wage trends and the risk of wage inflation, as well as possible price pressures. This is important to the housing industry because if wage inflation threatens, it is possible home loan rates will rise through Bond prices dropping.

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 hovered in a tight range and were unable to improve much last week due to rising Stocks and inflation concerns.

Those two elements only add to the headwinds for Bonds and indicate that now may be the ideal time to take advantage of low home loan rates. Call or email to see how you can benefit by acting now.

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 April 25 – April

Date ET Economic Report For Estimate Actual Prior Impact
Mon. April 25 10:00 New Home Sales Mar 280K 300K 270K Moderate
Tue. April 26 10:00 Consumer Confidence Apr 64.4 65.4 63.4 Moderate
Wed. April 27 02:15 FOMC Meeting Apr NA   0.25% HIGH
Wed. April 27 08:30 Durable Goods Orders Mar 3.0%   -0.6% Moderate
Thu. April 28 08:30 Jobless Claims (Initial) 4/23 390K   403K Moderate
Thu. April 28 08:30 GDP Chain Deflator Q1 2.3%   0.4% HIGH
Thu. April 28 08:30 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Q1 1.7%   3.1% Moderate
Thu. April 28 10:00 Pending Home Sales Mar 1.5%   2.1% Moderate
Fri. April 29 08:30 Employment Cost Index (ECI) Q1 0.5%   0.4% HIGH
Fri. April 29 08:30 Personal Consumption Expenditures and Core PCE Mar 0.1%   0.2% HIGH
Fri. April 29 08:30 Personal Consumption Expenditures and Core PCE Mar 0.2%   0.2% HIGH
Fri. April 29 08:30 Personal Spending Mar 0.5%   0.7% Moderate
Fri. April 29 08:30 Personal Income Mar 0.4%   0.3% Moderate
Fri. April 29 08:30 Personal Consumption Expenditures and Core PCE YOY NA   0.9% HIGH
Fri. April 29 09:45 Chicago PMI Apr 62.0   70.6 HIGH
Fri. April 29 10:00 Consumer Sentiment Index (UoM) Apr 69.6   69.6 Moderate

 


Mortgage Rates — And Home Affordability — At The Whim Of The Federal Reserve

Fed Funds Rate and Mortgage Rates 1990-2011

The Federal Open Market Committee starts a two-day meeting today, the third of its 8 scheduled meetings this year.

The FOMC is a special, 12-person committee within the Federal Reserve. It’s led by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and the group is responsible for voting on our nation’s monetary policy. This includes setting the Fed Funds Rate, the rate at which banks borrow money from each other overnight.

The general public tends to confuse the Fed Funds Rate for “mortgage rates” but, as shown in the chart at top, the two interest rates are very different. There is no direct correlation between the Fed Funds Rate and everyday mortgage rates.

Since 1990, the two benchmark rates have been separated by as much as 5.29 percent, and have been as close as 0.52 percent.

Today, the separation between the Fed Funds Rate and the national average for a standard, 30-year fixed rate mortgage is 4.625 percent. This spread will widen — or shrink — beginning 12:30 PM ET Wednesday. That’s when the FOMC adjourns and releases its public statement to the markets.

According to Wall Street, there’s a 100% chance that the FOMC leaves the Fed Funds Rate in its current “target range” of 0.000-0.250 percent, the same range in which it’s been since December 2008. Depending on the verbiage in the press release, plus the comments of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke in his scheduled, 2:15 PM ET press briefing, mortgage rates aren’t expected to steady as well.

If the Fed projects higher growth in late-2011/early-2012, or hints at new market stimuli, expect mortgage rates to rise on concerns about inflation. Inflation is bad for mortgage rates, in general.

On the other hand, if the Fed indicates that the economy is slowing down, or that it plans to withdraw its existing, $600 billion bond market stimulus, look for mortgage rates to fall.

It’s hard to be a home buyer when the Federal Open Market Committee meets. There’s just so much that can change mortgage rates and rising mortgage rates can affect purchasing power in a flash.

In the 6 months since November 2010, home affordability is off 9%.

So, if you’re shopping for mortgages, or just floating a rate, consider getting locked in before the FOMC issues its press release Wednesday. Once the statement hits, mortgage rates could soar.

If you need a referral to a mortgage professional you can trust, please feel free to contact me.

____________________________________________________________________________

About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate wasprovided 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.

I am here to help you make the smartest real estate move and build wealth, providing you with reliable real estate information and advice you can trust.

My knowledge and passion for Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you successfully navigate the process of buying and selling a home.  My business model enables me to provide superior service and a better client experience.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

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 – March 2011

Listening to the news these days can be very confusing when it comes to the housing market.  Some claim that we are going to experience a “double dip” housing recession.  Others assert that the market is recovering based on the following encouraging NATIONAL statistics:

  • Home re-sales rose 4 percent last month,
  • March marked the 6th month out of eight in which sales volume has increased and sales are up 32 percent from July 2010 lows. 
  • Home supply has resumed its downward trajectory, too.

But there is no such thing as a national real estate market.  Each region in the country experienced a different market to make up the national average with some experiencing increases in sales while others experienced declines.  So when it comes to real estate, make sure you are talking to a local real estate expert.  Within Marin County, each community, and each price range within each community, tells a different story. 

MARIN COUNTY MARKET UPDATE FOR MARCH 2011

Trends at a Glance
(Single-family Homes)
  Mar 11 Feb 11 Mar 10
Median Price: $819,000 $620,500 $785,000
Average Price: $1,039,812 $883,085 $937,560
Home Sales: 179 110 145
Sale/List Price Ratio: 94.8% 94.3% 95.4%
Days on Market: 100 144 95

Sales of single family homes rose 62.7% in March from February. Year-over-year, sales were up 23.4%. Year-to-date, home sales are up 16.1%.  The number of accepted offers for March rose to 307 from 159 in February.  In March 2010, the number was 144 even with the Federal Income Tax Credit.

Beautiful Ross Home

Months’ supply inventory is currently a very low 3.9 vs. February 7.0 and last March 7.5.  This represents the time it would take to sell all the current inventory if no new listings came on the market at the current sales rate. A 6-7 months’ supply inventory is generally considered a balanced market.

The median price for single-family, re-sale homes rose 32% in March compared to February. It was up 4.3% year-over-year. The average price went over $1,000,000 for the first time since last November. Year-over-year, the average price was up 10.9%.

With respect to condominiums, the number of sold listings increased to 52 from February’s 42.  In March 2010, the number was 43 even with the Federal Income Tax Credit. 

The number of accepted offers for March was 90, versus 59 in February and 57 in March 2010.  Months’ supply inventory was 4.6 in March, 6.7 in February and 7.8 in March 2010. 

Home prices are based on the basic economic theory of Supply and Demand. So, with home supplies dropping and demand for homes rising, it’s reasonable to expect home values to rise later this year.

ACTIVITY BY PRICE RANGE

Marin County – Single Family Residences as of April 5, 2011       
  Total Active In Contract % In Contract
ALL PRICES 956 305 31.90%
0-$999K 575 231 40.17%
1MIL-$1,999K 213 50 23.47%
2MIL-$2,999K 76 13 17.11%
$3MIL + 91 10 10.99%

While the bulk of the activity is still in the below $1 million range, activity continues to increase in the higher price ranges. http://www.marinij.com/marinnews/ci_17484630?IADID=Search-www.marinij.com-www.marinij.com

MARIN COUNTY CITY BY   CITY HOUSING ANALYSIS

City by City Analysis-Single Family & Condos April 5, 2011. All price ranges combined    
City Total Active In Contract % In Contract
Sausalito 57 19 33.33%
Belvedere 32 5 15.63%
Tiburon 99 18 18.18%
Mill Valley 146 36 24.66%
Corte Madera 38 9 23.68%
Larkspur 29 10 34.48%
Greenbrae 35 18 51.43%
Kentfield 28 7 25.00%
Ross 20 6 30.00%
San Anselmo 71 24 33.80%
Fairfax 28 12 42.86%
San Rafael 282 98 34.75%
Novato 302 120 39.74%

What a difference a month makes!  Kentfield was leading the pack in February with 47.37% of listings in contract and is now at 25% in contract.  The difference stems from a drastic change in inventory: active listings increased from 19 to 28 and homes in contract from 9 to 7.  As the new listings get in contract, the numbers should change again.  Except for Tiburon and Belvedere, all Marin cities are in a balanced market—generally considered at 25% in contract—or sellers’ market—over 25% in contract.  Greenbrae has taken the lead in March with an amazing 51.43% in contract!

Waterfront home in Tiburon

Multiple offer situations are becoming more common on well priced homes.  Rarely does the price go significantly over asking however, as it did during the boom years, due to strict appraisal and lender standards as well as buyer reluctance to enter into bidding wars.  Cash sales and distressed property sales are also holding prices down.  

For more information on distressed property sales in Marin County, please read my article. 

 

DISTRESSED PROPERTIES IN MARIN COUNTY

Marin County is bucking the Bay Area trend with respect to foreclosures.  The number of Marin foreclosures in the first quarter of this year spiked 28.1 percent compared with the same period last year, by far the biggest increase in the Bay Area. The number of additional homeowners who fell behind on their mortgage also edged up in Marin, the only county in the region to see such an increase. For additional information about foreclosure activity in Marin County, please read my One in every 399 housing units received a foreclosure notice in March 2011.

Foreclosures in Marin appear to be spreading beyond the relatively low-cost cities of Novato and San Rafael, which once contained the lion’s share of foreclosure activity. Among the 1,307 Marin properties in some stage of foreclosure, 582, or nearly 45 percent, now lie outside those two cities, including 193 properties in third-highest Mill Valley, according to tax records compiled by CoreLogic, a Santa Ana database company.  For additional information and charts on distressed property activity, please read my Marin County Foreclosure Activity Report.

If you– or someone you know–are thinking of buying or selling Marin County real estate, time is of the essence to take advantage of the spring selling season. 

_____________________________________________________________________________

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.

I am here to help you make the smartest real estate move and build wealth, providing you with reliable real estate information and advice you can trust.

My knowledge and passion for Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you successfully navigate the process of buying and selling a home.  My business model enables me to provide superior service and a better client experience.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

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.

 For frequent updates on community news and acitivities, and photos galore, please visit my www.Facebook.com/YourPieceofMarin and www.Facebook.com/LiveinLarkspur pages.



Marin County Foreclosure Activity Update – April 25, 2011

Marin County is bucking both the Bay Area’s trend and the national trend with respect to foreclosure activity.  The number of Marin foreclosures in the first quarter of this year spiked 28.1 percent compared with the same period last year, by far the biggest increase in the Bay Area. The number of additional homeowners who fell behind on their mortgage also edged up in Marin, the only county in the region to see such an increase. One in every 399 housing units received a foreclosure notice in March 2011.

Foreclosure activity in Marin County

 

Many are puzzled as to why Marin is experiencing an increase in activity with respect to distressed properties while the rest of the Bay Area is not.  I believe that it may be due to the fact that our population is more well off in Marin–we led the state with the highest household median income for the 2009 tax year at $108,465.  The number of high end property owners defaulting on their mortgage has been increasing as home owners with substantial means who have been able to weather the economic storm so far are now at the end of their savings.  The large number of divorces I am witnessing is also likely to be contributing to this increase.

This explains why, as documented in a recent article in the Marin IJ, foreclosures in Marin appear to be spreading beyond the relatively low-cost cities of Novato and San Rafael, which once contained the lion’s share of foreclosure activity. Among the 1,307 Marin properties in some stage of foreclosure, 582, or nearly 45 percent, now lie outside those two cities, including 193 properties in third-highest Mill Valley, according to tax records compiled by CoreLogic, a Santa Ana database company.

Foreclosure activity in Marin County - March 2011

The only Marin County city that did not register a foreclosure was Ross in March.

_____________________________________________________________________________

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.

I am here to help you make the smartest real estate move and build wealth, providing you with reliable real estate information and advice you can trust.

My knowledge and passion for Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you successfully navigate the process of buying and selling a home.  My business model enables me to provide superior service and a better client experience.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

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.

For daily community news, pictures and videos on Marin County please visit my www.Facebook.com/YourPieceofMarin and www.Facebook.com/LiveinLarkspur pages.


How To Make More Space In Your Garage

How do you use your garage? If you’re like most homeowners, you park your car(s) in it, then use the remaining available space for the random storage of “things that don’t go in the house”. 

Your garage can do so much more — all it needs is a little bit of organization.

In this 4-minute video from Lowe’s YouTube series, you’ll see how cabinetry, shelving, hooks and a master plan can add purpose to the non-car areas of your garage, and help you “make space”. You’ll even de-clutter parts of your home.

The video is rife with pointers for doing your garage right, including:

  • How to create “storage zones” of exactly the right size
  • How to organize sporting goods for easy access and optimal space-saving
  • Where to place trash receptacles, garden equipment, and seasonal decorations

According to the video, building out a garage should be a weekend project. You may finish faster, or slower, however, depending on the complexity and size of your garage and your storage needs.

Finishing a garage creates “space” — a helpful addition to any home. In addition, it enhances a home’s appeal to prospective buyers. Use the video above as a starting point and inspiration, and consider shopping storage specialty stores to finish out your project.

____________________________________________________________________________

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.

I am here to help you make the smartest real estate move and build wealth, providing you with reliable real estate information and advice you can trust.

My knowledge and passion for Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you successfully navigate the process of buying and selling a home.  My business model enables me to provide superior service and a better client experience.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

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 – April 18, 2011

Report provided by guest contributor Gina Kemsley – Senior Vice President – Loan Consultant, Terra Mortgage Banking

Office: (415) 464-3144 – Cell: (415) 828-0218 – Email: gkemsley@terramb.comWebsitewww.terramortgagebanking.com/loan-officers/gina-kemsley

_________________________________________________________________________

LAST WEEK IN REVIEW

“YOU’RE HOT THEN YOU’RE COLD…” Katy Perry’s hit song “Hot N Cold” is all about contradictions. And each week the markets receive their share of news that seems contradictory… but may not be. The inflation reports from last week provide an excellent example – so let’s see what they really said and why it matters!

Last week, two inflation reports came in. The Core Producer Price Index (PPI) reported that inflation was slightly hotter than the expected. However, the Core Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation at the consumer level, came in slightly cooler than expected.So why the contradiction between the two indices? What does this mean?Although the reports seem contradictory, they’re not really. They actually focus on different aspects of inflation. The PPI shows us what’s going on at the wholesale or production level, while the CPI focuses on what’s happening with people like you and me who consume products.So, looking back at the reports, we see that the PPI indicates inflation is on the rise at the wholesale level. But the CPI report indicates that the inflation isn’t being passed on to consumers – like you and me – at least not yet. The bottom line is that inflation is most certainly on the rise, but it remains somewhat tame for the moment in terms of what consumers are experiencing.Speaking of production, last week we saw that manufacturing in the New York State region rose for the fifth consecutive time and came in at the best level in a year. Similarly, Industrial Production came in better than expected. Higher productivity keeps operating costs lower, lessens the need for hiring, and helps keep prices down. Also last week, Capacity Utilization – which simply means how much of a factory’s production capacity is being used – was reported at the highest reading since mid-2008, which means it is on the rise. However, until this reading climbs a little higher, the available slack within the production cycle will inhibit some hiring and also inflation growth.Overall, the reports indicated that business conditions and production continue to improve. However, we’re not quite where we want to be, and more growth is needed to really help boost the labor market.In terms of how the news impacted Bonds and home loan rates, last week’s reports were friendly to Bonds and home loan rates in a couple of ways. First, they promoted low inflation for the time being – and inflation is the archenemy of Bonds and home loan rates. Second, the slack in production and slowed pace of hiring is Bond friendly. Remember, Bonds actually like negative economic news because it normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve.

All of this means that home loan rates are still very attractive. If you have been thinking about purchasing or refinancing a home, call or email me to learn more about how you can benefit from the current situation. Or forward this newsletter on to someone you know who may benefit.

 

 FORECAST FOR THE WEEK

In the early days of this week, the news will shift to the health of the housing industry, and then end with more labor and manufacturing news. Here are some of the reports to watch:

  • We’ll start out Tuesday morning with new reports on Housing Starts and Building Permits in March.
  • Those reports will be followed on Wednesday by a report on Existing Home Sales in March. So by mid-week, we’ll have a good look at the health of the housing industry. Feel free to call or email me to discuss how these reports came in and what impact they may have.
  • Thursday we’ll see the weekly Initial Jobless Claims Report. In the report released last week, Initial Jobless Claims climbed higher to 412,000, and above the psychologically significant 400,000 mark for the first time since March 5th. Funny how those round numbers work with our brains – it’s the same logic as why something at the store costs $7.99, instead of $8.00. Overall, the report indicated that employment growth continues to muddle along.
  • Also on Thursday, we’ll see more manufacturing news – this time in the form of the Philadelphia Fed Index, which is considered an important indicator of the manufacturing industry and, therefore, has the potential to move the markets depending on how it comes in.

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 climbed at the end of last week, due in large part to the report that inflation remained contained for now.

Remember, inflation is the archenemy of Bonds and home loan rates. So the news of contained inflation was good for Bonds and home loan rates – making this a good time to purchase or refinance a home. Call today to get started.

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 April 18 – April 22

Date ET Economic Report For Estimate Actual Prior Impact
Tue. April 19 08:30 Housing Starts Mar NA   479K Moderate
Tue. April 19 08:30 Building Permits Mar NA   517K Moderate
Wed. April 20 10:00 Existing Home Sales Mar 5.00M   4.88M Moderate
Thu. April 21 08:30 Jobless Claims (Initial) 4/16 390K   412K Moderate
Thu. April 21 10:00 Philadelphia Fed Index Apr 32.9   43.4 HIGH
Thu. April 21 10:00 Index of Leading Econ Ind (LEI) Mar 0.2%   0.8% Low

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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.

I am here to help you make the smartest real estate move and build wealth, providing you with reliable real estate information and advice you can trust.

My knowledge and passion for Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you successfully navigate the process of buying and selling a home.  My business model enables me to provide superior service and a better client experience.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities, I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

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.


Foreclosures Drop 35 Percent Year-Over-Year

Foreclosure concentration by stateForeclosure activity is much slower this year than last.

According to foreclosure-tracking firm RealtyTrac, the number of national foreclosure filings plunged 35 percent in March 2011 as compared to March 2010. 

A “Foreclosure filing” is defined as any of the following : a default notice, a scheduled auction, or a bank repossession. Foreclosure filings were down in all but 8 states last month.

Activity remains concentrated, too. More than half of all bank repossessions can be tied to just a handful of states.

In March, 6 states accounted for 51% of activity.

  1. California : 15% of all repossessions
  2. Florida : 9% of all repossessions
  3. Arizona : 7% of all repossessions
  4. Michigan : 7% of all repossessions
  5. Texas : 6% of all repossessions
  6. Nevada : 5% of all repossessions

At the other end of the spectrum is Vermont. With just 5 repossessions for all of March, Vermont accounted for 0.008% of repossessions nationwide.

In Marin County, however, we seem to be bucking the trend as both the number of REO (foreclosures) and pre-foreclosures has gone back up after a steady decline starting in November 2010:

We may be seeing the beginning of a return to higher foreclosure activity however by the end of the first half of 2011.  The numbers are currently artificially low because of the paperwork issues that arose in the last quarter of 2010 and have rolled over into 2011.

Distressed homes remain in high demand among today’s home buyers, accounting for almost 40% of all home resales. It’s no wonder, either. Distressed home typically sell at a steep, 15 percent discount as compared to non-distressed properties.

Buying foreclosures can allow you to get a great “deal”. However, make sure you’ve done your homework.

Buying a home from a bank is different from buying a home from a regular homeowner. Contracts and negotiations are different, and homes are often sold with defects.

If you plan to buy a foreclosure, therefore, make sure you speak with a licensed real estate professional before submitting a bid. You can research a home online and learn a lot about the process, but when it’s time to purchase, put an experienced agent on your side.

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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.

I am here to help you make the smartest real estate move and build wealth, providing you with reliable real estate information and advice you can trust.

My knowledge and passion for Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you successfully navigate the process of buying and selling a home.  My business model enables me to provide superior service and a better client experience.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities, I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

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.


Inflation Pressures Mounting; Mortgage Rates Rising

Consumer Price Index (March 2009 - February 2011)Inflation pressures are mounting in the United States. And, Friday, the Consumer Price Index should prove it.

More commonly called “The Cost of Living Index”, CPI measures cost changes in the typical items bought by American households. Among others, CPI measures goods and service in apparel and recreation; medical care and education; and housing and transportation.

The March CPI data is expected to show an increase in the cost of living for the 17th straight month — a reading that would take CPI to an all-time high.

If you’ve filled your gas tank, sent a child to school, or shopped for groceries, you’re likely not surprised. Household budgets have been squeezed from all angles lately. The dollar’s purchasing power is waning.

This is inflation, defined. And a weaker U.S. dollar is bad for mortgage rates. 

The connection between the U.S. dollar and mortgage rates is direct. When inflation pressures rise, mortgage rates tend to rise, too, because mortgage rates are based on the price of mortgage-backed bonds — a security bought, sold and paid in U.S. dollars

Inflation, in other words, renders mortgage bonds less valuable to investors, all things equal, so investors sell them as inflation pressures grow. More sellers leads to lower prices which, in turn, causes mortgage rates to rise.

It’s why March’s Cost of Living data is so important to rate shoppers and home buyers. Higher levels of CPI can harm home affordability, and stretch your household budget uncomfortably.

As Memorial Day approaches, gas prices are projected to spike, offering little relief from the inflationary pressures in the economy. It’s one reason why mortgage rates should trend higher over the next few months.

If you’re wondering whether to lock or float your mortgage rate, consider locking in. At least today’s rates are a sure thing. Tomorrow’s rates could be much higher.

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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.

I am here to help you make the smartest real estate move and build wealth, providing you with reliable real estate information and advice you can trust.

My knowledge and passion for Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you successfully navigate the process of buying and selling a home.  My business model enables me to provide superior service and a better client experience.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

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.