November 11th is the day our country sets aside each year to honor those who have dutifully served our country in times of war. The first Armistice Day was celebrated on November 11th, 1919, on the one-year anniversary of the cease-fire between Germany and the Allied forces, which began on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year. On that first Armistice Day, President Wilson declared, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice…”
Although it was observed every year as a day of reflection, it wasn’t until 1938 that Congress made November 11th a Federal holiday. Following World War II and the Korean War, Congress decided that the word “armistice” was too narrow in its description of what the day was meant to honor, and in 1954, changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day– a day to honor American veterans from all wars. In the late 1960’s, Congress sought to maximize several holidays by making them into three-day weekends and moved Veteran’s Day to the last Monday in October. This however was meet with much resistance, from state legislatures, and also from the American people. Veteran’s Day was meant to be a day of reflection and a celebration of peace, not a chance to recreate on a three-day weekend, so in 1975, Veteran’s Day was moved back to the original Armistice Day– November 11th.
In addition to Veteran’s Day, there are many ways our country seeks to honor and pay tribute to our nation’s heroes. One of these ways is through the Veteran’s Administration Loan program. A VA loan is a great way for our nation’s military members to buy a home. It requires no down payment and offers competitive interest rates with no private mortgage insurance. In addition, the credit-worthiness requirements are not as stringent as conventional loan programs and it makes a great option for first-time home buyers. See the graphic below to learn more about the VA program and how to qualify. We owe our country’s freedom to our veterans and at NextHome PRG, we are proud to support buyers looking to use their well-deserved VA loan benefits.
The Federal Reserve did not act yesterday to raise the interest rate, leaving the question once again, when is it going to happen? After the Fed failed to raise interest rates in September due to international and domestic market instability, forecasters started to wonder whether or not the Fed would take the unusual step to raise the rate in the October meeting, which is typically un-televised and less publicized than the September meeting. But forecasters began doubting the likelihood of a rate hike at all in 2015 when the job reports for August and September came in weaker than expected. Many predicted it was more likely to happen in March of 2016, but the Fed surprised everyone yesterday when it made a statement that alluded to a rate hike in December. “In determining whether it will be appropriate to raise the target range at its next meeting, the Committee will assess progress–both realized and expected–toward its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation.” (FOMC Statement from October 27-28, 2015 Meeting)
This may not seem like an overt statement: “Hey! we are raising interest rates next month and we mean it this time,” but the Fed has not made an official statement pointing to a potential rate hike at the next meeting since 1999. So while there is still speculation for market forecasters that the economy will not be where the Fed wants it to be in time for the December meeting, the Federal Reserve itself thinks that it might. Investors quickly placed bets as to the likelihood of the increase in December and the forecast jumped from 34 percent prior to the meeting to 43 after the meeting.
Will the Fed actually increase the rate in December? Well, “[t]he Committee anticipates that it will be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate when it has seen some further improvement in the labor market and is reasonably confident that inflation will move back to its 2 percent objective over the medium term.”(FOMC Statement from October 27-28, 2015 Meeting) So that settles it, right?
FOMC Statement from October 27-28, 2015 Meeting
“Fed puts December rate hike firmly on the agenda”, REUTERS October 28, 2015
For the seven month in a row, Danville has seen an increase of inventory, with 146 active listings for September 2015. That is the most active listings for the year and a 31% increase over September 2014. As inventory has increased, so has days on market. The average days on market for September was 36, 56% percent longer than the DOM for August and 25% longer than the DOM for September 2014. Despite the increase in inventory and the increase in days on market, prices are holding steady. In fact, September saw a slight price increase with the average sale price at $1,378,258, up from $1,277,872 in August and $1,200,560 from September 2014.
Although price does not seem to be affected by inventory increases at this point, the list price to sale price ratio has dipped below 100%, to 98%–the lowest it has been all year. This may be an indication that with more to choose from, buyers are not finding themselves in bidding wars on properties with multiple offers. It may also mean that listing agents and sellers need to revisit their pricing strategies and expectations in order to continue to attract buyers in a market with increased supply.
Click on the graphics below for more detailed data.
I’m pleased to present 206 Cullens Ct, in San Ramon, CA. At almost 4000 SF of luxurious living, this 5 bed/4 bath house features 1 bedroom and 1 full bath downstairs, as well as a gourmet kitchen with granite, SS appliances, and large island. You can relax in the large, inviting Master retreat. The front door faces NE and the house has beautiful plantation shutters throughout. Located near Limerick Park and award-winning schools, 206 Cullens Ct checks all the boxes. Check out more on this amazing 3-D tour: https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=J8bJiYrrAga
Saturday, September 26th
Sunday, September 27th
206 Cullens Ct
Approx. 3931 sq ft
5 bedrooms / 4 baths
Offered at $1,299,000
The most rewarding part of being a Realtor is knowing that your clients are happy with the service you have provided. Buying or selling your home is a huge emotional and financial decision, and as Realtors we are not only trusted advisors on the logistics of the process, but also therapists walking you through a decision that will have a significant impact on your life and finances. That’s why I take my job so seriously, because I know that people need to trust and respect their Realtor. If they don’t, things can quickly fall apart. So when I receive a positive recommendation on my Reach150 website or know that a new client has come as referral from a past client, it makes me feel like all my hard work to make my clients happy is actually paying off. And in the end, that is why I do the job.
I am thrilled to share NextHome PRG’s first ever 3-D home tour. What better way to tour this stunning 4 bedroom, 3 full bath, 2,420 sq ft house than with the very latest virtual home tour technology available. If you have ever spent hours trying to visualize a floor plan from still photos, then you will love how this 3-D tour takes the guess-work out of how a house flows. You can “walk” through the house using your keyboard arrows and you can step outside the house to get a dollhouse view. This is yet another way that NextHome PRG is “real estate made modern”. Take a tour today: 2379 Magnolia Bridge Dr., San Ramon.
And for those who would like to view the home in person, it will be open Saturday and Sunday, September 19-20th from 1:00 to 4:00 PM.
Asking price: $1,029,000
As typical for August, San Ramon saw a decrease in active and sold listings. Overall, inventory in 2015 remains very tight, with less than a month of inventory available on the market, compared to next-door-neighbor Danville, which had close to 2 months of inventory available. However, the lack of inventory doesn’t appear to be driving up prices the past few months. In fact, the opposite has happened the last three months as the median sale price has fallen from a high of $1,080,000 in June down to $950,000 in August. Still, prices in August 2015 were up almost 9% from August 2014. If the rest of 2015 follows the pattern of 2014, then prices will even out until the inventory drops off again in December and January. Is this the time to buy? Click on the graphics below for more details.
We’ve been seeing a lot of brown lawns on our home tours these days. And that is good news. Last week, news came out that for the second month in a row, California had beat its water conversation efforts. Californians cut back 31% from the summer of 2013, which beat the state-mandated cut-back of 25%. On the whole, each resident used approximately 35 gallons less water than they did in July 2014. Even more promising, of the 406 water agencies in the state, 290 were within 1% or less of their reduction goals–impressive considering July was hot! But as news of a record-breaking El Nino year begins circulating, state water officials are worried that Californians will think they are off the hook. As the months of normal high-use begin to taper off, here are some more ideas on how to keep conversing throughout the rest of the year. Click on the graphic below.
This past week of wild fluctuations in the stock market has me thinking about what the Federal Reserve will ultimately end up doing with the much conjectured short-term interest rate hike that was supposed to happen this fall. It seems the imminent rate hike keeps getting pushed back. We first started hearing rumblings about the Fed raising the rate way back at the beginning of the year. As the year progressed, the projected hike date continued to get pushed back. But as of a few weeks ago, it seemed certain that the Fed would act in September and raise the rate at their meeting on the 16th. Last week’s market rollercoaster could have the Fed reconsidering though. The biggest concern is Chinese market instability. The devaluation of the Chinese Yuan on August 11th seems to have set off the major sell off on Wall Street, but after a huge plummet at the beginning of last week, stocks soared in the second half, with their largest two-day gain since the 2008 financial crisis.
Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer publicly acknowledged that the market still has time to stabilize and pave the way for a rate hike, though some of his colleagues have expressed concern that a rate hike during so much market turmoil could spell trouble. Overall, raising the short-term rate is a good sign that the economy is robust and unemployment is low, but it does mean that long-term interest rates for mortgages could rise. Now could be the perfect time to buy or sell a home, because if the Fed fails to raise rates in September, December will become the new target date.
Here is a great Reuters article for a more detailed discussion on the matter: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/28/us-usa-fed-idUSKCN0QX1CR20150828
School starts here in the San Ramon Valley in just a few days, and it has us thinking about the role a good school district plays in a buyer’s home choice. The San Ramon Valley has some of the best performing schools in the Bay Area, and many of us lucky enough to call it home, chose it specifically because of the high-performing schools. Some buyers identify the school they feel best suits their children’s needs and then are willing to pay a premium to get into that school, or they are willing to sacrifice other amenities in order to find a home in the school district. Of course, this is not just a Bay Area phenomenon. A 2013 survey of home buyers conducted by the National Association of Realtors found that a lot of buyers are willing to sacrifice in order to get their kids into the right schools. Over 35% said they would sacrifice square footage for the right schools! Here are some more interesting results from that survey:
A majority of the home buyers surveyed said that school-district boundaries will have an impact on their buying decision:
- 23.59 percent would pay 1-5 percent above budget
- 20.70 percent would pay 6-10 percent above budget
- 8.98 percent would pay 11-20 percent above budget
- 40.33 percent would not go above budget
For home buyers who said that school-district boundaries will have an impact on their decision, the majority rated the boundaries as an “important” consideration:
- 90.53 percent said school-district boundaries are “important” or “somewhat important”
- 2.04 percent were “neutral” about the importance of school-district boundaries
- 7.43 percent said school-district boundaries are “unimportant” or “very unimportant”
Click on the graphic below to find out more results from the survey.