The elephant seals are in town! December thru March they are breeding on the coast near Hearst Castle. 5 miles north of the Castle is a large parking lot for visitors and a nice walking deck to view the seals. There are at least 200 Elephant seals covering the beach. It’s a nice drive and you won’t be disappointed.

Also Cambria has their Art and Wine festival on January 25, 26,27th. For more info go to http://www.seecambria.com/artwine

Announcing a New Listing from the Keith Byrd Team…

A 3 Bedroom, 2.5 bath located within blocks to the ocean in Oceano.

This uses our new 2008 property website design. There are two types of floor plan tools on this site. One is an interactive floor plan where you can click on the photo icon to see a view from that part of the room. The other is a 2D Planning Tool where you can drag furniture into the floor plan, resize it, and move it around.

Check it out!!

www.1460Railroad.com

There’s a foreclosure in Pismo that just came on the market. $383,000 for a multifamily duplex. Two 1-bedroom units, 500 sq ft each. The property sold for $670K in March 2006.

For more details, go to my Pismo Beach MLS Map search, choose multi-family, $400K max price. You won’t have a problem finding it as it will be the only house icon on the map!

It was reported yesterday that because of proposed budget cuts, Poly will be accepting 500 fewer freshman next year. Just as the closing of Montana De Oro and Morro Strand parks threat, I’m not sure if these budget cuts will end up happening.

If they do cut the educational budget and Poly does lower incoming freshman levels, I’ve been asked what effect that will be on the local rental market. With the new Poly Canyon city being constructed right now, the increased number of beds was to be offset by an increased enrollment. The Poly Canyon Village is planned to provide 2700 beds when it is all finished with the first 1000 available starting next fall. Poly is planning to increase its enrollment which would offset the increased housing on-campus. But, if for next fall, they decrease the number of incoming freshman by 500 at the same time they add 1000 beds, it will have an impact on off-campus housing if they fill those rooms.

I think that the off-campus housing complexes will be impacted the most (Stenner Glen, Mustang Village, Valencia, etc.) but it will also lessen the demand for off campus homes and condos. Student housing outside of SLO would be probably be effected next. This past September, there were plenty of students panicing because they couldn’t find a place to rent in SLO so I really don’t see too big of an impact within the city limits, especially for housing closer to campus.

Through the middle of the month, here where we stand:

321 New Listings
558 Price Changes
174 Pending Sales

If the second half of the month is similar, we’ll end at the same activity September and October of last year were at but with fewer Pendings than last January.

Last January we ended with:

666 New Listings
714 Price Changes
475 Pending Sales

If you want to get away to Vegas and you can travel mid-week, Allegiant air has some good deals. They sent me an email promotion but the small writing down at the bottom said it was only good out of Fresno. I checked a date close to the promotion they had for Fresno and here’s what I found:

Leaving Sun Feb 10th
Returning Wed Feb 13th
From Santa Maria

3 nights at the Imperial Palace on the strip (most other popular hotels were available)

2 round trip shuttle rides to/from the airport

Costs $445 for two people ($221 each). Not bad for round trip airfare and a hotel for 4 days/3 nights!!

http://www.allegiantair.com/

Some of my peers don’t believe I should be providing the information I do on this blog, http://www.slowatch.com/, and on my SloCountyHomes.com site. They’ve rather be the key holder to information that they control. I was delighted to see this message today from the President of the National Association of REALTORS:

“Give Consumers the Facts”

This is what I strive to do with all my sites. I approach everything I do thinking that if I am a Buyer or Seller of real estate on the Central Coast, what information would I want to know. A home transaction is one of the most expensive transactions that you will make in your lifetime and the more educated you are, the better the chances you will make the right decisions. I don’t agree that a Realtor should be the gatekeeper of all information. Sure, there is valuable information that a Realtor brings to the table as part of their service but facts about houses on the market or current and historical market statistics is something everyone should have access to.

The lack of info to clients isn’t always because the Realtor is purposely keeping it from them. They just may not know. Ask a Realtor what the current months of inventory is for the cities they focus on and what the trends are. I think you’ll be surprised with the answers (or non-answers) you receive. If that’s knowledge that you expect a Realtor to know that is guiding you on your financial transaction, then I’d definitely ask the question!

I’ve assembled a great team of REALTORS throughout the Central Coast to assist you. They complement the online services I offer and I feel the combination provides the best service you’ll find from any other Brokerage. I hope you give us the opportunity to assist you if you’re looking to Buy or Sell real estate here on the Central Coast.

We’re always looking to improve our services too. You need to stay on your toes and modify your services as the market or industry changes. Here’s a good question to ask…
“Do you have 10 years of experience…or 1 year of experience that you’ve repeated 9 times?”

Looking at an agent’s Internet offerings is a good way to gauge the answer to this question to see how current they are with todays real estate industry.


House Price Risk Map (from the report linked below)

PMI Mortgage Insurance company released their updated report of the U.S. Market Risk Index. The reports looks at what areas are at risk of having lower housing prices in the next 2 years.

All but two of the 13 highest-risk markets were in California and Florida. In California, the report noted, markets in the Central Valley and Southern California are weaker than those in Northern California , where employment continues to be strong.

The metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) with the highest risk scores were Riverside, Calif., where PMI forecasts a 94 percent chance of a two-year price decline; Las Vegas (89 percent); and Phoenix (83 percent).

You can download the report here

I went to Borders in SLO and noticed that our hometown champion, Chuck Liddell, is signing his new book at the store on February 12th at 7:00. But you might want to verify this as I just Googled it and found KSBY reporting it is to happen February 17th at 7:00. I think I know what I’m going to get my nephew for his birthday!