News from Atascadero

Atascadero is making some changes!  The new Galaxy Theatre construction is underway with 10 screens, 3D, state-of-the-art sound.  We are one of only three movie theatres in the US that has this level of technology. As a movie buff, I cannot wait to see this open.

 Hot August nights is coming on August 20 with classic cars from all over the US and Canada.  It’s a chance to step back in time and cruise down El Camino in classic car – Big dance to follow. 

 Confirmation that bonds have been approved and repairs are started on the stately historic City Hall building located in the sunken garden. We will soon have this beauty back to its original glory! 

Summer nights are family fun with a free kids movie in the Sunken Gardens Park starting at 8:15. This week is ‘Kung Fu Panda’.  Atascadero Lake Park has free concerts on Tuesdays (5 bbq, 7-8 music) and Saturdays from 6:30 to 8:30. Bring your lawn chairs and a yummy or buy some of the food and wine available on site.

Light, Bright and Airy Home Staging

I was so excited to share a great new listing with you all today, but as soon as it was finished it went into escrow with a back-up offer in place.  This goes to show you that proper staging and pricing can make all the difference when selling a home!!

So instead I will share with you about a great local event coming to SLO county on September 18, 2010.  The Central Coast Cancer Challenge- a great day of fun for the whole family to raise money and awareness for cancer support in our county.  Spots are filling up quick, so get over to to register to walk, run, ride or volunteer for this great community event, since cancer effects so many lives!  Join us in the fight to help cancer patients in this county!

The Importance of Being Pre-Qualified/Pre-Approved

One of the very first steps one should take when considering a home purchase is speaking to a lender(s) to get pre-approved. I’ve had a number of people inquire recently about new REO listings in SLO and by the time they call me it’s either too late because multiple offers have already been submitted and/or they haven’t spoken to a lender to figure out if they can qualify. It is very important to be ready to move quickly with an offer on any well priced property, especially REO’s and short sales. Pre-Qualification letters are an essential piece of a solid offer. And as the saying goes, “Snooze You Lose”.

Rate Update

The Fed policy change announced Tuesday led mortgage rates lower for the sixth week out of the last seven. As expected, the Fed made no change to the fed funds rate, currently between zero and 0.250%, where it’s been for almost two years, and left the “extended period” language in place regarding the outlook for low interest rates. In response to a stalling economic recovery, the Fed implemented a new policy to reinvest principal payments on their $1.25 trillion mortgage holdings into long-term Treasury securities to reduce borrowing costs throughout the economy, instead of letting its balance sheet shrink. Not surprisingly, US Treasuries rallied today, sending 10-year yields to the lowest level in more than 16 months, closing at 2.58%. The July Consumer Price Index continued to show that inflation is not a concern in the short-term, and some Fed officials are worried that inflation is too low. The Core CPI increased at a 0.9% annual rate, below the 1.5% to 2.0% range targeted by the Fed. Currently, the 30-Year Fixed is at 4.000% (4.148% APR) and the 15-Year Fixed is at 3.750% (3.760% APR). Later this week, we will see Housing Starts, Producer Price Index and Leading Economic Indicators.

Solvang’s new downtown plaza design; on time for Centennial celebration

Plan’s for a new plaza design are on track and undergoing the process for approval in anticipation of the city’s year long “Centennial Celebration” commencing in January. The proposed sites are a vacant space on the east side of Alisal Road and a city parking lot just south of Mission Drive. Among concerns cited and noted were; to include architecture that blends with the current design, preserving pedestrian flow, parking and restrooms. One of the major concerns remaining were the monies required to fund the project, although, the city and it’s residents appear to be very motivated to get it moving. It appears that a certain amount of funds are allocated by the city’s budget for 2010-2011, however, The Santa Ynez Valley Visitors Association has stated; it still needs to raise money to add historical components. The aforementioned is a very anticipated event in celebration of the past one hundred years for this community.

Meteor Shower Tonite

The Perseids meteor shower will be peaking in the skies tonite.  From what I’ve read, best time to take a look is after 10 pm.  Best if you find a place without city lights, the darker the better!

If you want to take photos of it, one suggestion I found was to use a wide angle lens and set your camera to F4.0, ISO3200, manual focus to infinity, and keep your lens open 30 seconds – 2 minutes.

Pismo Poop Study Completed

The $600,000 study to determine the source of the bacteria around Pismo Pier has been released. They found 40% of the ecoli strains come from bird poop which isn’t surprising because of all the pigeons on the pier. What I did find interesting is that they found 20% of the ecoli strains to come from dog poop.  I guess a lot of owners aren’t picking up after their dogs before high tide comes in.

Homes and Condos Sold This Past Decade

The first chart shows the number of homes and condos sold per year in SLO County from 2000 to 2009. When the number of home sales were dropping, the number of Realtors was increasing which is one reason 87% of Realtors on the Central Coast sold 3 or fewer properties to Buyers in 2009.

The second chart for Santa Maria/Orcutt tells the story of a different market in action.  Santa Maria sales volume has rebounded, mostly due to the percentage of foreclosure properties.

The third chart is the activity in Santa Ynez Valley (Buellton, Solvant, Santa Ynez). Looks more like SLO County…