Opt’ed Out of PGE SmartMeter

While I like new technologies, I’m not able to explain why my electric bill shot up the month they installed a SmartMeter.  For the last several years, our home electrical usage has been pretty consistent…until this Winter.  The lightbulbs in our home are all changed to the low wattage ones and we’ve even disconnected a freezer in the garage and still our electric bill is higher than pre-SmartMeter. So…I opt’ed out today.  It will cost me $10/month to have the meter read each month but I’m going to like having the meter back where I can see the disc turning inside so know how much power we’re using at a given time.




Mortgage Rate Costs Improve by Half Point

After a sharp turn for the worst over the past couple weeks, rates have improved and evened out. The costs aren’t quite as dirt cheap, but they are much more favorable than we have seen in recent weeks.

Last week, we explained why rates have worsened and where they will go in the future. Here is the LINK. If you missed it, here are the basics:

Rates have increased due to a sell off in the bond market. Currently, there is more supply than demand. When the bond market drops, rates increase. So why the excess supply and lack of demand?

  • The economy has improved. As a result, investors feel more confident and are leaving the relative “safe haven” of U.S. Treasuries and putting money into equities.
  • The Treasury sold off the last of its mortgage backed securities. This final sell off has resulted in excess supply in the market, and there isn’t enough demand to cover, thus dropping prices and increasing yields.
  • Banks are selling off bonds to show better Q1 profits.

As a result of all this movement rate costs increased by about a point (and a quarter in some cases). Are the days of dirt cheap rates over? We think not. Rising gas prices should put pressure on the economic recovery, and we expect money to move back into the bond market, thus moving rates downward. But be patient – rates are always slower to move down (rather than up).

As a result of this movement, rates are moving up from all-time lows. Last week, the Tribune posted an article that reported the national average of the 30-year fixed is above 4.000 percent. Here on the Central Coast, we are offering mortgage rates that are still well below this national average. It is still a perfect time to buy or refinance and save on monthly interest payments. 

If you would like to learn more about current interest rates and what current costs mean for your loan, give us a call: 805.543.LOAN.

Seller’s Market?

An article in the San Jose Mercury reports on the low home inventory is creating a Buying frenzy (see article here).  Higher end homes are also selling, thanks to Google and Facebook employees selling their stock plus the Bay Area is getting asian investors too. But, the lower priced homes is where the real demand is.

Looking at  the San Luis Obispo County real estate market, we too have low inventory. If you look at our inventory statistics, you’ll see that inventory started dropping the middle of last year and is a the lowest level it has been in years.

I ran some reports to look at the first 25 days of March 2012 vs. 2011. This month, there has been 167 new single family home new listings, of those, 57 have gone Pending Sale already or 34%.  For March 1-25, 2011 there were 193 new listings with 32 of those going Pending Sale or 17%.

Hmmmm….sure seems like Buyers are out there ready to buy.  It will be interesting to see if the statistics dashboards point to any other trends when we update them next week with March data.



Rooster Creek Tavern Cheese Fondue

I took my wife to dinner at Rooster Creek Tavern in the Village of Arroyo Grande.  We’ve been wanting to try but figured we wait until the crowds thinned down some and they worked out the snags of being a new restaurant.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the menu was they had a Cheese Fondue appetizer in a bread bowl.  Both my wife and I were hoping a Central Coast restaurant would serve a cheese fondue so this was something we were definitely was going to order.  When it came, we dipped our bread pieces into it and the first thing that I thought was “this is clam chowder in a bread bowl, minus the clams”.  I didn’t say anything to my wife but after 5 minutes eating it, she said “this tastes like clam chowder”.  I don’t know if it had any cheese in it and for $10, it was a huge disappointment.

So I guess we’re still searching for fondue in SLO County….


CSU to Accept Fewer Students

The CSU has stated they will not allow Spring enrollment at State colleges and plan to reduce the number of student enrollment in the Fall too. Not sure how many fewer students for Cal Poly that may be. Now that all new student complexes are finished that were built to increase enrollment, there will be plenty of on-campus housing for students who are not Freshman. I wonder how this is going to effect rental properties in SLO?

Rate Update 3/19/12

As we discussed on our website last week, rates took a turn for the worse as a selling wave hit the Treasury market. The news was bad for us but positive for the economy in general – because it suggests that investors feel more confidence in the long-term fundamentals of the economy. So how are rates to begin the week?

Rates have continue to worsen– but don’t be too alarmed. We are still seeing rates near the lows we have been seeing for months now, but the cost of these low rates has increased in part due to perceived strength in the economy.

If we can take you back a bit, this post from Jason VanDyke discusses why interest rates plummeted to begin in January of 2012. Recently, the element that has changed has been the “European debt issues.” Europe is still not out of the woods yet, but the financial markets sighed in relief after the restructuring of Greece debt was finalized last week.

We begin the week with a one point cost increase in the 30 year fixed, a quarter point increase in the 15 year fixed and a 1.5 increase in the 30 year high balance. We are advertising the 30 year fixed at 3.625 percent (3.810 percent APR) and the 15 year fixed at 2.875 percent (3.151 percent APR).

If you would like to learn more about current interest rates and what current costs mean for your loan, give us a call: 805.543.LOAN.

Rain and Reservoirs

It will be nice to see some rainfall as forecasted. Wondering how full our local reservoirs are I surfed over to KSBY.com and this is what I found:

San Antonio Lake – 73% of capacity
Lake Nacimiento – 68% of capacity
Santa Margarita Lake – 76% of capacity
Whale Rock Reservoir (Cayucos) – 78% of capacity
Lopez Lake – 87% of capacity