I really like High Street Deli in SLO. I can’t say it’s their store, which is cramped and always busy at lunch. But the sandwiches I get their are so yummy and others seem to agree.
So why don’t other deli’s try to be like High Street Deli? They also show how to use a Facebook page, by posting daily specials.
I’ve been watching the new TV show, Bar Rescue. A guy comes into a failing bar, finds the problems, and changes things. For someone in the deli business, I’d say “just be like High Street Deli”.
Last week, the Federal Reserve announced an attempt to stimulate growth and lower interest rates. The plan, dubbed “Operation Twist”, calls for the Fed to swap short-term bonds for long-term ones in its portfolio. In theory, the “twist” should influence lower interest rates and long-term stability, thus incentivizing investment in riskier securities and boosting investor confidence. Some analysts thought the action did not do enough to combat economic sluggishness, and others argued the Fed should stay on the sidelines. Few seem satisfied.
The market fell off a cliff last Wednesday after the announcement, which had an impact on mortgage interest rates. The drop was caused by an array of concerns about the global economy. Influences include: European debt concerns, a long term negative outlook by the Fed (recovery is years away), and concern about political deadlock in Washington. In response to the nearly 400 point drop in the Dow, investors flocked to US treasury bonds as a safe haven. Commodities fell along with everything else (including gold), suggesting the last (and real) safe haven is government bonds. As a result of demand, bond prices rose and yields fell. The 10-year bond yield fell to 1.72, a new low. The average rate on fixed loans has accordingly fallen, and the 30-year fixed hovered around 4.09 percent at the end of last week.
Today the market rallied. The Dow increased 272 points, and other major indexes also fared well (the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both enjoyed solid gains). Once again, the market moved on news from Europe… this time on optimism that European leadership is putting together a Tarp-like bailout plan in case of emergency. Expect the same volatility (as we keep warning) as we move forward.
Some local news before we sign off: home sales grew 43 percent in San Luis Obispo County year-over-year in August. Over that same time, median overall home sales price fell 10.5 percent to $340,000.
Central Coast Lending offers the following rates: 30 Year Fixed 3.750% (3.758% APR), 15 Year Fixed 3.250% (3.231% APR), 30 Year Jumbo 3.750% (4.597% APR), 30-Year Fixed FHA 3.750% (4.597% APR), 30 Year Fixed VA 3.750%, (3.737% APR). Make sure to check in with our Facebook for daily rate updates in this volatile market, and our Blog for an in-depth discussion about market news.
I just bought my tickets for the October 80’s bands concert at the Madonna Expo Center in October. The bands that are playing are: The Fixx, Berlin, English Beat, Missing Persons, and Bow Wow Wow.
I’ve seen The Fixx and Berlin in Santa Barbara in the early 80’s (when I was attending Cal Poly). Bow Wow Wow opened for The Pretenders at the Cal Poly Gym around the same time which I attended. English Beat recently played at the SLO Downtown Brewery and it was a good show. And I sort of saw Missing Persons at Magic Mountain but was on a roller coaster when they were playing and only caught a glimpse of them. Looking forward to seeing all these bands again!
Info and Tickets here
Wall Street logged five positive days last week before dropping over 100 points today on the back of Europe debt concerns (see Greece issues). We have written that sentence enough over the past few months to say with certainty – the stock market will not settle down until Europe can find some lasting resolution to its debt problems.
We have plenty of housing news in recent days, and a few important numbers that will be coming out this week. Mortgage default warnings jumped 33 percent in August, which is the largest monthly gain in 4 years. According to City analyst Josh Levin, there are 3.7 million homes in foreclosure above what is normal for a healthy market. Nearly one in four homes houses in the US are in some stage of foreclosure. The one positive of the increased foreclosures is that it will begin the process of clearing the market of extra supply.
Average home prices in California have fallen 4.2 percent from August 2010, down to $249,000 from $260,000. California is also struggling with unemployment. In August, the jobless rate increased to 12.1 percent, which is second highest in the nation behind Nevada.
This week we will see three important housing reports. We will see the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) September index that details builder’s confidence of sales conditions. On Tuesday, we will see August housing starts and on Wednesday we will see August existing home sales. We say “important reports” but in all reality, the numbers are expected to be fairly low and simply a further indicator of market struggles. Despite record low interest rates, demand in the housing market just isn’t there.
Rates remain low and refinance activity is up accordingly. Here at Central Coast Lending we offer the 30-Year Fixed at 3.875% (4.028% APR) and the 15-Year Fixed at 3.250% (3.420% APR). Last year, we saw a drop in interest rates at this time before the winter season brought them back up. Keep checking in with our Facebook for daily rate updates and Blog for in depth information about important economic developments.
Took a quick trip to Vegas this week using Allegiant Air out of Santa Maria. The fares have dropped since the summer season is over and got a $39 fare each way. Of course that’s not what it cost me as there are plenty of other charges that you have the opportunity to pay for. One is priority boarding, which allows you to get on the plane first. I didn’t select this so not sure how much it cost but there were only a few people that boarded when they called it so not sure if it’s worth it. The next potential charge is seat selection. I did go for this and it cost me about $11 each way. I found that not that many people went for this either and chose general seating instead for the 50 minute flight.
You would think that paying for priority boarding or seat selection would get you on the plane first so you can get an overhead bin space for a carry on. But, what they did in Santa Maria is hand out 60 tags for carry on baggage (first come, first get). I got to the Santa Maria airport about an hour and fifteen minutes before the takeoff time and they were already out of the tags so I had to check my bag (no charge though). I got to the Vegas airport extra early so I would get one of the tags but they said they didn’t do that in Vegas (the employee then told me they ran out of the tags to use).
I got a rental car as part of the airline package (a compact car from Alamo). I picked the car up on Wednesday afternoon and returned it Friday morning. Here’s the cost breakdown:
|FED EXCISE TAX:
|SEAT SELECTION FEE:
Not a bad price but when I returned the rental car on Friday, I got a $49 charge for taxes that weren’t included in the package price. So, flight and compact car cost me around $244.
The flight out from Santa Maria leaves at 1:40 pm which isn’t bad. But the flight back from Vegas leaves at 7:40 am. I pulled an all-nighter on Thursday as I was playing in a poker tournament until about 1 am. Even with getting to the Vegas airport at 4:30 AM (after returning the rental car), the line for security was still pretty long. Too bad Allegiant’s return flight isn’t in the afternoon.
It’s nice to have the Allegiant Air option as any other airline that went to Vegas from SLO or Santa Maria costs a lot more. It’s also nice that Santa Maria doesn’t charge for parking like the SLO airport does.
I took my 10-month old Golden puppy to Templeton last week to swim in the pool. They do this every year at the end of the season and it’s a great opportunity to let the dogs do a little swimming. Lots of retrievers and labs when we were there.
I didn’t even realize a TV station was taping. My dog is the light colored golden with the black collar. He’s shaking at :57 and the scared one with the 3 ladies at 1:22. I had him in the wading pool for awhile, then we went to the big pool. One of the people in the pool called him and he went right in…head first and then went to the bottom of the pool. That was his first swimming opportunity and obviously it caught him by surprise. He was a bit more confident later on. The people in the pool were GREAT!
US News and Reports issued their college ranking lists. Cal Poly was named #7 on the West Regional University list.
“Regional Universities offer a full range of undergrad programs and some master’s programs but few doctoral programs.”
1. Trinity University, TX
2. Santa Clara University, CA
3. Gonzaga University, WA
4. Loyola Marymount University, CA
5. Mills College, CA
6. Seattle University, CA
7. CAL POLY SLO
8. Chapman University, CA
9. University of Portland, OR
10. Whitworth University, WA
See rankings here
President Obama announced his job creation plan on Thursday, September 8. We have a rundown of the nuts and bolts of the plan on our blog, but generally the $447 billion plan touts $240 billion in employment-related tax relief. The plan will offer tax breaks to companies that hire new workers and cut payroll taxes in general for employers and employees alike. The plan would add additional spending for extending unemployment ($49 billion), modernizing schools ($30 billion), and investing in infrastructure ($50 billion). The President vowed to push the plan forward in the proceeding weeks and asked Congress to act swiftly. He also allowed that he would find cuts to offset the loss of revenue to keep from increasing the deficit even more.
Wall Street didn’t respond with enthusiasm. Instead, investors were preoccupied with European debt concerns. Another terrible Friday brought the Dow down just below 11,000. This comes a week after we ended the week with a 253 point drop in the Dow after an awful jobs report. This week?… a 300 point drop in the Dow, but this time over concern about European debt. This should show that poor domestic economic news is certainly not the sole driving force behind stock volatility. On a related note, the Euro fell against the dollar to a 6.5 month low (1.3656 EUR/USD).
As a result of the sell-off, the 10-Year Treasury yield fell to a 60-Year low as investors remain cautious. This sharp drop could yield even lower interest rates, which have already been bordering on 50-year lows, but banks don’t seem to be in a rush to lower anything. Rates are low as is, banks are inundated with business, and as such have little incentive to strip away the extra profits to keep in line with the dropping 10-Year yield.
Here at Central Coast Lending we offer the 30-Year Fixed at 3.875% (4.028% APR) and the 15-Year Fixed at 3.250% (3.420% APR). These have been steady for over 3 weeks now and should only drop more given the opportunity. Keep checking in with our Facebook for daily rate updates and Blog for more information.
I just ran the analysis for the August website stats and our site continues to grow in popularity. For August, we have over 600,000 views of MLS listings! I’d bet that we have more local listing views than Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, or any other real estate web site with Central Coast listings.
We also had millions and millions of “hits” in August but that’s a meaningless statistic. “Hits” count the amount of graphics that are downloaded when a web page is loaded in a browser. You can have a home page with a bunch of small graphics (like buttons or bullets). Each time that home page is loaded, every graphic on that page counts as a “hit”. Someone can create a web page with a bunch of small graphics on it and then sit at their desk and hit the “refresh” button on their browser over and over. Just 10 minutes doing this and you can run up the hit count by many thousands. This is what some webmasters did in the early 1990’s to make it look like there were a lot of visitors coming to their site and impress their bosses.
If you see anyone using “hits” to promote their website, you need to ask for other stats. Unique visitors, bounce rate, search engine click-throughs, pages visited, and other statistics are used to analyze a web site’s performance.