Italian Street Painting Marin Back in Scorching Temperatures After Two Years

Italian Street Painting Marin, San Rafael, CA -www.YourPieceofMarin.comAfter two years without what was considered a major cultural event in Marin County, and one of the few events of its kind in the United States, the Carlomagnos—who founded Italian Street Painting Marin seventeen years ago–said so many people implored them to bring it back that they were able to raise $140,000, with the EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases saving the day as the major contributor. That allowed them to put together a small staff and a team of volunteers. To help cover costs, they decided to charge a $5 admission for the first time, which I was happy to pay.

The festival is running this week end—Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30 from 10 am to 6 pm.  The 100 degree heat made it extremely difficult for the artists painting on the burning hot black tarred street. I went at six p.m. and the heat was still oppressive.

According to Paul Liberatore of the Marin IJ in a Mercury News Article tonight the scorching temperatures sent the event’s featured artist to Marin General with a heat stroke.  He also reported that a heart attack hospitalized the founder of Italian Street Painting Marin, Sue Carlomagno.

The Carlomagnos said the strain of reviving the festival without an established producing organization made this year more difficult than even the inaugural event in 1994, produced by the nonprofit Youth In Arts, which ended its participation two years ago due to lack of funds. It recently decided the festival was too expensive to bring back.

Liberatore points out in his article that whether there is street painting in San Rafael beyond this year remains an open question. If there is another festival, someone else will have to produce it.  And I certainly hope someone will!

For now, this may be your last chance, don’t miss it tomorrow!

CLICK HERE for my photo album of some of this year’s paintings.

Italian Street Painting Marin

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Sylvie Zolezzi - www.YourPieceofMarin.comAbout 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 am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I attract clients who demand excellence—in marketing, negotiations, market knowledge—and a genuine concern for their needs. My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to provide a high-end luxury experience to all my clients at every single price point.  It also enables me to leverage our unique combination of local knowledge and global resources, providing unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I view it as a great privilege to be of assistance to people at very important stages of their lives—whether they are newlywed, starting a family, relocating, retiring, divorcing or mourning a loved one—because I view my job as much more than facilitating the sale or purchase of a property, but rather as helping them find their new sanctuary or part with the home where they have raised their children and created so many memories. In addition, I am always excited to help my clients discover Marin County, our stunning sceneries and unmatched lifestyle and find the right home in one of our charming towns:   Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 

 


Case-Shiller Reports San Francisco Leads Month-to-Month Gain in Home Prices

Home Prices Record Record Month To Month GainsThe S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices for April indicate that the housing recovery gained ground.

In April 2013 average home prices tracked in the Case-Shiller 10 and 20-city Composites increased by 11.60 and 12.10 percent year-over-year. On a month-to-month basis, the Composites increased by 2.60 and 2.50 percent respectively.

According to David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the S&P Dow Jones Indices’ Index Committee, the 10-and 20- City Composites experienced their largest month- to- month gains since their inception: “Thirteen cities posted month- to-month gains of two percent or more, with San Francisco leading with a month-to-month gain of 4.90 percent.”

The 10-and-20 City Indices reported the highest year-over-year gains in home prices since 2006.  Cities where home prices gained more than 20 percent year-over-year included Atlanta, Las Vegas, Phoenix and San Francisco. Phoenix posted its 12th consecutive month of double-digit increases in home prices while San Francisco home prices increased year-over-year by an average of 23.90 percent. Home prices increased year-over-year in 19 the 20 cities included in the 10-and 20 City Composites, with home prices in Detroit remaining flat.

According to the S&P Case-Shiller 10-and-20 City Composites, home prices fell approximately 26 to 27percent from their highest in June 2006 to their lowest in March 2012. As of April 2013, average home prices had recovered by 13.10 percent for the 10-City Composite and 13.60 percent for the 20-City Composite.

While rising mortgage rates and home prices may slow demand for homes, economists don’t believe that either factor will halt the housing recovery. A good next step is asking your trusted real estate professional about current home values and loan options.  Feel free to contact me to discuss your specific situation and real estate goals.

In the meantime, check my May 2013 Marin County Market Update for local, up to date information on our market.

Contact me at 415.505.4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com.

Stunning View of Tiburon
Stunning View of Tiburon

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Sylvie Zolezzi - www.YourPieceofMarin.comAbout 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 am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I attract clients who demand excellence—in marketing, negotiations, market knowledge—and a genuine concern for their needs. My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to provide a high-end luxury experience to all my clients at every single price point.  It also enables me to leverage our unique combination of local knowledge and global resources, providing unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I view it as a great privilege to be of assistance to people at very important stages of their lives—whether they are newlywed, starting a family, relocating, retiring, divorcing or mourning a loved one—because I view my job as much more than facilitating the sale or purchase of a property, but rather as helping them find their new sanctuary or part with the home where they have raised their children and created so many memories. In addition, I am always excited to help my clients discover Marin County, our stunning sceneries and unmatched lifestyle and find the right home in one of our charming towns:   Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 


Modern Design and Million Dollar Views of the San Francisco Bay Blend Perfectly in Tiburon

460 Ridge, Tiburon - PHoto by www.YourPieceofMarin.com, Sylvie Zolezzi

I must have spent a whole hour at 460 Ridge Road in the Hill Haven neighborhood of Tiburon last Wednesday while touring properties on brokers’ tour.  I was absolutely enthralled by the views, and the beauty of the home, the attention to every detail, the infinity pool, the use of technology…everything about this home was spectacular and appealed to me.

So it was no surprise to me that the home was featured on the first page of this past Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle Real Estate Section.

As is almost always the case with new construction in Tiburon because there are no lots available in prime locations, the brand new 5,000 square foot home replaced an older home built in the 1950’s that was torn down to make way for the new structure.

In addition to being one of the most beautiful homes I have seen in Tiburon, this home may be among the smartest. It is equipped with a Savant System controlled by wall-mounted iPads and iPods that operates everything from the entry gate to the radiant heating, as well as fireplaces, fountains, intercoms and security systems–and the smartest part in my opinion is that these systems can also be controlled remotely from the owner’s smart phone.

I loved the infinity pool and how it was perfectly integrated in the landscape and the jaw dropping view of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay and the San Francisco skyline.  Walls of glass and Fleetwood multi-slide pocket frameless windows and doors that open to the view create a seamless transition to the outdoors.  You could be sitting in the master bathtub with the pocket door open and feel like you are sitting on the deck…imagine…

The home is also architecturally intriguing and stunningly beautiful in every way, combining Japanese influences, mid-century modern aesthetics and the generous use of natural woods throughout to make it invitingly sober and calm, making you want to linger there as I did.

If you or someone you know is looking for a new pad that fits these criteria, it can be yours for $8,995,000.  I would be happy to represent you in the purchase of this jewel.

I took many pictures while I was there. Click on the link to enjoy my photo album.

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Sylvie Zolezzi - www.YourPieceofMarin.comAbout 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 am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to leverage our unique combination of local knowledge and global resources, providing unmatched exposure to your properties locally and worldwide. I distinguish myself by providing extraordinary service and matching discerning clients with distinctive properties in the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 


What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 24, 2013

Ben Bernanke
Ben Bernanke

Wow! What a week! Comments by Fed chairman Ben Bernanke after last Wednesday’s FOMC meeting caused havoc in financial markets as investors anticipated the potential effects of any rollback of the Fed’s policy of quantitative easing (QE). 

Why rates are going up again

According to Bankrate.com, just as rates started to retreat after six consecutive weeks of increases, Bernanke spooked investors with talk of slowing the bond-purchasing program that has helped keep rates low for so long.  In my opinion, this announcement should not have come as a surprise.  Did anyone out there think the purchase of $85 billion a month was going to continue forever? 

On Wednesday, the Fed decided to continue with the bond purchases, according to a statement released after a two-day meeting of the policymaking Federal Open Market Committee.  But after the statement was released, Bernanke ruined the party for borrowers and announced during a news conference that the Fed could start to trim the bond purchases this year and end the program by mid-2014 if the economy continues to improve.

Financial markets went wild after his comment. Investors pulled money out of the bond market, and the yields on mortgage bonds and Treasury notes spiked. Mortgage rates tend to follow the same direction as those yields.

The markets may be overreacting, and there’s still hope that rates will adjust back to the levels seen before Bernanke spoke, reports Bankrate.com.  But if your refinance or purchase loan makes sense today, don’t bet on lower rates that may not come tomorrow.  Do keep in mind however that we are still at a 45 year low in interest rates!

Several Marin County mortgage brokers emailed me last week recommending I advise my clients/buyer prospects get RE – pre approved or at least confirm their ability to successfully secure a loan at these higher rates and the impact it may have on offers submitted.

Economic News Bodes Well For Housing

The week’s other economic news included good news for housing. The NAHB/WF Housing Market Index for June came in ahead of expectations at 52, which surpassed the expected reading of 45 and May’s reading of 44. Any reading over 50 indicates that more builders surveyed believe that housing market conditions are positive.

Tuesday was busy for economic news. The Consumer Price Index for May rose from April’s reading of –0.40 percent to +0.10 percent in May.

The Department of Commerce released its Housing Starts Report for May; the reading for May missed expectations of 953,000 housing starts and came in at 914,000 which exceeded April’s 856,000 housing starts. Increasing the number of available homes could help steady recently increasing home prices, but existing homes remain in short supply in many areas.

Home sales - www.YourPieceofmarin.comFed Expects Moderate Improvement Continuing For Economy

Wednesday’s news involved the Fed’s FOMC meeting and press conference. The Fed stated after the meeting that it expects moderate improvement in economic condition and noted that housing, which was a primary cause of the economic downturn, is now leading the economy’s recovery.

Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell from 3.98 percent with 0.7 percent discount points to 3.93 percent with borrowers paying 0.8 percent in discount points.  The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage fell from 3.10 percent to 3.04 percent with 0.7 percent in discount points for both weeks. Investor response to the Fed’s mention of possibly reducing its QE program is likely to send mortgage rates up this week.

The National Association of REALTORS® released its Existing Home Sales report for May. Existing home sales came in at 5.18 million and beat projections of 5.00 million and April’s sales of 4.97 million existing homes.

Increasing sales of existing homes is good news as demand has exceeded supplies of existing homes in recent months. High demand drives up home prices and impacts affordability along with rising mortgage rates.

What’s Ahead For This Week

This week’s scheduled news includes a number of housing related reports, FHFA Home Prices, the Case-Shiller Home Prices Report and New Home Sales are set for release Tuesday.

The Gross Domestic Product Report comes out on Wednesday. On Thursday, data for weekly jobless claims, consumer spending and pending home sales will be released.

Friday brings the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index and the Consumer Sentiment Index.

The data released in these reports will continue to inform the Fed’s decision-making with regard to bond purchasing and interest rate policy. It’s possible though, following the aggressive market sell-off activity from last week, that we may see a softening in long-term rates over the course of this week.

Eichler home in Terra Linda
Eichler home in Terra Linda

 

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Sylvie Zolezzi - www.YourPieceofMarin.comAbout 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 am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to leverage our unique combination of local knowledge and global resources, providing unmatched exposure to your properties locally and worldwide. I distinguish myself by providing extraordinary service and matching discerning clients with distinctive properties in 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 – May 2013

Marin County May Market Snapshot

Marin County real estate market - trends at a glance, may 2013 - www.YourPieceofMarin.com

As we are heading into the peak summer season, the Marin Market is seeing a flurry of activity and interesting challenges.

May, June and July are typically our busiest months, and this May did not disappoint. Despite a much lower inventory of active listings compared to May 2012, sales increased by almost 16 percent year over year. Bidding wars in which multiple offers, up to 20-30 in the lower-end, are received on the same property were still common and properties continued to sell quickly and often for a price higher than the list price, resulting in an average 100 percent list to sell price ratio.

In this fast moving market buyers and sellers, however, are both experiencing some ambivalence in the purchase and sale transactions. Buyers who missed the bottom and have to make aggressive offers on properties under $2 million, are lamenting the end of the buyer’s Market and looking to credits from sellers (for repairs or upgrades) in transactions to offset their high offers. Sellers in the under $2 million market segment, where properties are receiving the attention of multiple interested buyers, are questioning if they should sell or wait for the market to continue its upward trend and capitalize on higher pricing.

The Average Sale Price jumped 7% from last month, surpassing the Monthly Average of the Peak in 2007.  It is important to note however that a large percentage of the increase in our prices can be attributed to shifts in the market mix.  Distressed properties, generally lower priced, are representing an increasingly smaller percentage of sales and the high end market has shown definite signs of improvement. Case in point, the Price Per Square Foot is still 11% below the Peak, showing that while Buyers are purchasing more expensive homes, they are getting more value than peak pricing would indicate.

Up to 59% of Homes In Contract in Some Areas

The low inventory has fueled a sellers’ market, but only for those properties that appeal to a mass audience. These are typically finished “move-in ready” properties, walk-to-town locations, homes with level yards or well-priced fixer-uppers in prime locations. The demand is driven by the outstanding schools Marin offers and our unmatched quality of life. San Anselmo was the hottest market in May, with 59% of homes in contract, followed by Corte Madera at 57% and Fairfax at 55%.

The markets with the fewest properties in contract were Belvedere, Ross and Tiburon, at 13%, 19% and 30% respectively, where the homes available for sale have not reflected distressed pricing and where only a small and select group of affluent buyers can afford the home prices.

May13_Marin County Real Estate - Percentage of homes in contract - www.YourPieceofMarin.com

Improving Activity in the $2-$4 million Market

The Market Activity and Home Sales by Price Point analysis   below continues to point out to the below $1 million range as the hottest   segment of our market, with a whopping 60 percent of active listings in   contract.  It also shows improving   activity in the $2-4 million range…very positive news for the luxury market.   The Months of Inventory for those price points has dropped by 1-2 months down   to a 3 month supply (a 5-6 month supply is generally considered a balanced   market.)

May13- Marin County Real Estate Market Sold by Price Point - www.YourPieceofMarin.com

Low Inventory Still Inhibiting Sales

The seasonality of the Marin County real estate market is   clear from the graph below: after a lull in November, December, January and   February, sellers typically come to market in March.

This year, however, inventory in May was significantly below that   of May of the previous year at 406 active listings, compared with 569 the   previous year. Despite the dearth of homes on the market, the number of   single family homes sales were up from last month and the previous year,   leaving fewer options available for buyers. There were 283 Single Family   Homes Sold in May, compared with 230 the previous year and 231 in April.

May 2013 - Marin County Real Estate Number of Homes for Sale vs. Sold - www.YourPieceofMarin.com

Today is the first day of summer, but the market is not slowing down.  Are you thinking of buying or selling your very own Piece of Marin real estate?  Make sure to call me for a free, fact based, no-obligation consultation about your options.  I would love to assist you with your real estate needs.You can reach me at 415-505-4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com. **************************************************************************************************************
Sylvie Zolezzi - www.YourPieceofMarin.comAbout 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 am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to leverage our unique combination of local knowledge and global resources, providing unmatched exposure to your properties locally and worldwide. I distinguish myself by providing extraordinary service and matching discerning clients with distinctive properties in the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

photo by: 401(K) 2013

Quick Tips To Get Your Garden Blooming This Summer

Summer Gardening Tips For JuneSummer is officially here in Marin County, and if you are finally finding time to tend your garden, don’t feel guilty — just get dirty!

In one weekend, you can have your yard looking colorful and smelling sweet, just in time for your summer barbecues. All it takes is a shovel, a design idea and a knowledgeable trip to one of our great Marin nurseries. See list of my favorites below.

Whether you already have some favorites–I love roses and lavender–or you know nothing about flowers, and have a green thumb or not, you can make you yard beautiful without being a professional landscaper. Below are several types of flowers that will have your garden looking gorgeous this summer and you blushing from all your neighbors’ compliments.

Snowdrift Rose – The perfumed petals of this vigorous plant will provide a pleasant scent to your outdoors. Also, the stems are nice and long for cutting and creating indoor arrangements.

Black-Eyed Susan – After these vivid yellow flowers have bloomed, cut them back in order to ensure a second round of blossoms.

Dwarf Sunflower – If you love the large varietal, but don’t have the room, consider this smaller cousin.

English Lavender – This dark blue and purple flower is a tough plant that does well in even the hottest of climates.

Hydrangea – To take up more space, these little shrubs produce beautiful white clusters of flowers that fade to shades of pink and green.

Marigold – These traditional crimson blooms grow low and spread quickly, which makes them the perfect plant for a flowerbed border.

Petunia – The newer varieties of these full-sun flowers are low maintenance because they self-clean. The old blooms drop off without you needing to prune.

Summersweet – If you have a shady spot, this pink or white plant with its gold colored leaves will have the space feeling vibrant.

Zinnia – These long-lasting yellow, red and orange flowers will bloom well into fall.

Make sure to plant them in the right spot in your garden and to feed them with bloom food regularly to ensure gorgeous flowers all summer. Avoid toxic fertilizers that can send your pets to the hospital, I talk from experience…

We have several great nurseries in Marin County. My all time favorites are Green Jeans and Sloats, but here is a list of other good options:

1. Sunnyside Nursery, San Anselmo – (415) 453-2701 – 130 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo – Directions

2. California Bay Nurseries Inc., Novato – (415) 883-6383 – 399 Entrada Dr., Novato – Directions

3. Sloat Garden Center – offering quality products, broad plant selection and knowledgeable customer service – four locations in Marin County

  • 2000 Novato Blvd, Novato · (415) 897-2169
  • 1580 Lincoln Ave, San Rafael · (415) 453-3977
  • 700 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Kentfield · (415) 454-0262
  • 401 Miller Avenue, Suite D, Mill Valley – (415) 388-0365

4. West End Nursery,  San Rafael – Great selection of plants. The staff have been working there forever, and are helpful and knowledgeable – (415) 454-4175 – 1938 5th Ave, San Rafael

5. Green Jeans Garden Supply, Mill Valley – Specializing in organic fertilizers. Offers a full line of plant material: trees, shrubs, perennials, vines, annuals, vegetable starts, edibles, natives, succulents, ground covers, seeds, bulbs, house plants and orchids. Friendly staff.  (415) 389-8333 – 690 Redwood Highway, Mill Valley CA 94941

6. Home Depot Garden Center, San Rafael – Great prices and selection, but not advisable for beginners because there is no staff to advise you. – (415) 458-8675 – 111 Shoreline Pkwy., San Rafael

Beautiful rose garden in Belvedere
Beautiful rose garden in Belvedere

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Sylvie Zolezzi - www.YourPieceofMarin.comAbout the author:  The above Marin County community informatione was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I attract clients who demand excellence—in marketing, negotiations, market knowledge—and a genuine concern for their needs. My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to provide a high-end luxury experience to all my clients at every single price point.  It also enables me to leverage our unique combination of local knowledge and global resources, providing unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I view it as a great privilege to be of assistance to people at very important stages of their lives—whether they are newlywed, starting a family, relocating, retiring, divorcing or mourning a loved one—because I view my job as much more than facilitating the sale or purchase of a property, but rather as helping them find their new sanctuary or part with the home where they have raised their children and created so many memories. In addition, I am always excited to help my clients discover Marin County, our stunning sceneries and unmatched lifestyle and find the right home in one of our charming towns:   Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 

 


What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 17, 2013

What's Ahead This Week - June 17, 2013Last week’s news was relatively quiet with no data significant to the mortgage lending released until Wednesday, when the federal government announced a $138 billion budget deficit for May.

According to the U.S. Treasury this figure is 11 percent higher than for May of 2012, but the federal budget is expected to come in with less than a -$1 trillion deficit for the 2013 fiscal year, which runs from October to September.

The Treasury estimates that the 2013 budget deficit will come in at approximately -$642 billion, well below fiscal 2012’s deficit of -$1.1 trillion. The federal budget has been running deficits over -$1 trillion since 2008.

Employment Market Continues To Strengthen

On Thursday, the Weekly Jobless Claims report brought good news; jobless claims fell from the prior week’s 346,000 jobless claims to 334,000 jobless claims. This was also less than expectations of 350,000 jobless claims. As more workers gain steady employment, this will enable more would-be home buyers to become active buyers.

May Retail sales also showed slight improvement as they moved from 0.60 percent from April’s 0.10 percent.

According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), the average mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose from last week’s 3.91 percent to 3.98 percent with discount points unchanged at 0.70 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose from last week’s 3.03 percent to 3.10 percent with discount points holding at 0.70 percent.

Whats Coming Up This Week

This week’s economic news schedule has a number of reports due including Wednesday’s FOMC statement and Fed Chair Ben Bernanke’s press conference. This meeting and press conference are significant as any move by the Fed to reduce or cease its current quantitative easing (QE) program could cause mortgage rates to rise further.

Monday’s news includes the Home Builders Index for June. Tuesday brings the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for May and the Core CPI, also for May. The indices measure prices paid by consumers for goods and services; the Core CPI eliminates the volatile food and energy sectors included in the CPI. Rising or falling consumer costs influence how much discretionary income consumers have for saving toward buying a home.

No news is scheduled for Wednesday other than the FOMC statement and press conference.

Thursday brings the Existing Home Sales Report, Weekly Jobs Report, Freddie Mac PMMS and Leading Indicators. These reports are expected to provide news about U.S. housing markets, mortgage rates and economic influences impacting consumers.

There is no economic news scheduled for Friday.

Bon Air Shopping Center, Greenbrae, CA
Bon Air Shopping Center, Greenbrae, CA

 

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Sylvie Zolezzi - www.YourPieceofMarin.comAbout 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 am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to leverage our unique combination of local knowledge and global resources, providing unmatched exposure to your properties locally and worldwide. I distinguish myself by providing extraordinary service and matching discerning clients with distinctive properties in the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 


Homeowners — Are You Making These Mistakes Planning Next Year’s Taxes?

Planning For Your Next Year Tax Deductions

Filing your taxes is never pleasant, but a bit of planning can make it less complicated. If you are a Marin County home owner you may have many different home tax deductions (State and Marin County property tax) and credits to consider.

Since we thankfully just passed the filing date for 2012 taxes, it may be a good time to plan for next year and get your tax tracking systems in place. Check carefully to make sure that you are not making any of these common homeowner tax mistakes – which could cost you money or get you in trouble with the IRS.

Miscalculating Your Home Office Tax Deduction

If you work from home, you will be able to deduct a percentage of your housing costs for your home office. However, most people don’t know how to calculate this and don’t realize that it also has to be recaptured when you eventually sell your home. You will only want to claim it if it is worth it, so check with your tax advisor to make sure you know exactly what you can write off.

Failing To Keep Track Of Home Expenses

Don’t forget to keep a record of home maintenance, repair expenses and any other relevant documents as you go along.   The money you spend on improving your property can help offset future capital gains tax. Keeping good records will save you a lot of headaches when tax time comes around. It will also come in handy when you are preparing your disclosures and the list of your home’s benefits when selling the house.

Forgetting To Pay Tax On Capital Gains

If you have sold your primary residence this year, you will need to pay capital gains tax on any profit that you have made. Capital gains are the amount that you gained on the property’s value – so if you bought it for $150,000 and sold it for $300,000, your capital gains are $150,000. You may be able to exclude $250,000 of any profits for taxes, or $500,000 if you are a married couple if this exclusion stays the same as in 2012.

Deducting The Wrong Year For Property Taxes

Remember that you must take the tax deduction for your property taxes in the year that you have actually paid them. No matter what the date is on your Marin County property taxes bill, you should enter the amount that you paid in the calendar year. If you confuse this part, you might end up claiming the incorrect amount for the year.

These are just a few of the common mistakes that home owners can make when filing their taxes. Avoiding these mistakes will ensure that you pay the right amount and avoid any hassle from the IRS.  Also, please make sure to double-check all of these suggestions with a qualified, licensed tax preparer in the  area.

Charming office in Hacienda in San Anselmo
Charming office in Hacienda in San Anselmo

 

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Sylvie Zolezzi - www.YourPieceofMarin.comAbout 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 am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to leverage the brand’s unique combination of local knowledge and global resources, providing unmatched exposure to your properties locally and worldwide. I distinguish myself by providing extraordinary service and matching discerning clients with distinctive properties in the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 


What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week — June 10, 2013

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week -- June 10, 2013Last week’s economic reports provided a mixed bag of results. On Monday, the Department of Commerce reported that construction spending increased by 0.40 percent in April and fell shy of the expected reading of 1.0 percent, but exceeded the March reading of -0.80 percent.

Home Prices Increase Fastest Since 2006

On Tuesday, CoreLogic released its Home Prices Report showing that the national average home price had increased by 12.10 percent year-over-year in April. The comparable year-over-year reading for April 2012 was 11.00 percent. This represents the fastest pace of home price increases since 2006.

The national average home price expanded by 3.20 percent as compared to March,  but average prices grew faster in the West, which is experiencing a pronounced lack of available homes and developed land for building.

More specifically, CoreLogic noted that, including distressed sales, the five states with the highest home price appreciation were:  Nevada (+24.6 percent), California (+19.4 percent), Arizona (+17.3 percent), Hawaii (+17 percent) and Oregon(+15.5 percent).

Marin County and the home appreciation in our local market

The average sales price of a Marin County home increased from $896,000 in April 2012 to $1,037,000 in April 2013, a 17.73 percent increase. The median price increased from $654,000 in April 2012 to $858,000 in April 2013, a whopping 31.19 percent increase as fewer distressed (and lower priced) properties and more high end homes are being sold all over Marin County.

New Jobs Created Showing Improvement Over April Revisions 

ADP released its private-sector Payrolls Report for May on Wednesday; 135,000 new private sector jobs were added as compared to investor expectations of 170,000 jobs added in May. The May reading surpassed April’s downwardly-revised reading of private-sector jobs added.

Friday’s Jobs Report, issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, consists of the Non-Farm Payrolls Report and the National Unemployment Rate. Non-Farm Payrolls added 175,000 public and private sector jobs and surpassed both the consensus reading of 164,000 new jobs and the prior week’s reading of 149,000 jobs added. The National Unemployment Rate ticked up from 7.50 to 7.60 percent. The Department of Labor attributes this increase to more people joining or returning to the labor market.

Investors Watching Fed Mortgage Backed Security Buying Activity Closely

The Federal Reserve Beige Book Report was also released Wednesday. It contained no surprises and noted modest to moderate economic growth in 11 of 12 Federal Reserve Districts. The Dallas Federal Reserve District reported strong growth, but investors will be watching next week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting closely for proposed changes to the Fed’s current policy of buying bonds and mortgage backed securities (MBS) with the goal of keeping long term interest rates lower.

Thursday’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey brought disquieting news of rising mortgage rates. Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage had risen from the prior week’s rate of 3.81 percent to 3.91 percent. Discount points fell slightly from 0.80 percent to 0.70 percent with buyers paying all of their closing costs. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose from last week’s average rate of 2.98 percent to 3.03 percent with discount rates remaining the same at 0.70 percent for buyers paying all of their closing costs.  Click here to read more about rising interest rates.

Whats Ahead for This Week

There is no news scheduled for release today, Monday. The rest of the week’s calendar includes the NFIB Small Business Index on Tuesday and the Federal Budget for May on Wednesday. Thursday’s scheduled releases include Weekly Jobless Claims, Average weekly mortgage rates as reported by Freddie Mac, and Retail Sales for May. Friday’s schedule includes the Producer’s Price Index for May and June’s Consumer Sentiment Report.

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Sylvie Zolezzi - www.YourPieceofMarin.comAbout 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 am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

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