What a great place to be a Dog! San Luis Obispo has some of the mildest weather in the United States. Day time temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees all year round make for great out door activities. With hiking trails beaches and mountains all with in a short drive, life in SLO is perfect for being a Dog. The Bob Jones trail is a great place to start. It winds through shaded tree areas on its way to Avila Beach. If its before 10:00 AM you can walk the main beach with out a leash! Or if its later in the day just move out to the beach near the Pier and you can join many like minded dog owners that love to watch the the off leash activities all day. Just make sure you check the Tides cause high Tide leaves little room to roam. There is also a off leash beach just north of Morro Bay at the highway turn off. In addition to the beach, each community has at least one Dog park for off leash activities. If your a Dog there is nothing better than meeting other Dogs where you can run, smell, play and bark with total freedom. Then just find a place in the shade to lie down and rest. WHAT A GREAT PLACE TO BE A DOG!
We could go on and on about how rates have dropped again (costs fell 1/4 point across the board), but we have been singing the same tune for the past month and we don’t want to be too repetitive. The 30-year fixed is now at 3.5 percent (3.592 percent APR) and the 15-year fixed is at 2.750 percent (2.953 percent APR). For borrowers with certain characteristics, it is possible to find near no-cost loans for rates as low as 3.750 percent (30-year fixed, 3.737 percent APR) and 3.000 percent (15-year fixed, 2.986 percent APR). We find it hard to believe qualified borrowers have not refinanced to record low rates… but if you haven’t, give us a call at 805.543.LOAN for a free, quick and easy discussion about how you can save thousands.
Now that is out of the way, let’s move on to some numbers. We have been seeing economic indicators from Quarter 1, and the numbers are mixed.
– The U.S. GDP (Gross Domestic Product) came in at 2.2 percent growth, which was lower than expected (2.5 to 3.0 percent was the prediction). For some context, the real drop came from a decline in government spending. When taken individually, the private sector components of the GDP actually came in at 3.5 percent growth.
– Consumer consumption stayed strong in the first quarter, logging a 2.9 percent increase in personal consumption expenditures.
– Defense spending dropped 8.1 percent, which accounts for the decline in government spending.
– March jobs numbers took a u-turn. After a quarter full of steady improvements, hiring slowed (just 120,000 new jobs) and more people applied for unemployment benefits (highest four-week average in three months).
– In February, home prices fell to their lowest level in 10 years.
As you can see, it has been a mixed several months. The Fed reported that we will continue with moderate growth for some time, and the expectation is that no further stimulous measures will be instituted (quantitative easing). Meanwhile, the Fed said it will keep rates low through 2014.
Keith Byrd pointed out that we will have the opportunity to enjoy a meteor shower the next two nights. We would like to take the opportunity for some co-marketing – mortgage interest rates, like stars in a meteor shower, are falling with consistency. As we discussed here on April 16, and April 9, and April 6 and March 26 rates have continually improved. This week is no different.
It has been awhile since we last explained what we mean by “rates dropping.” If you know what a “rate cost” is, feel free to skip ahead to the next section. A mortgage interest rate has a cost associated with it (like with anything you buy). The cost is on a spectrum. The lowest rates will require a higher closing cost, while the higher rates actually include a “credit” given back to the borrower to cover closing costs. These costs get funneled into the APR calculation, so you know that costs are dropping as APR decreases. Over the past four weeks, we have advertised the same interest rate – 3.500, however the costs have steadily fallen by between 1/8 and 1/4 of a point, which has meant a lower and lower APR. Remember that prices vary based on each situation.
Now that understand what we mean by “lower rates” (lower rate costs), we can tell you that already favorable closing cost scenarios have again improved. We are advertising the 30-year fixed at 3.500 percent (3.612) and the 15-year fixed at 2.750 percent (2.971 APR). What’s more, rate costs are now low enough that, with certain characteristics, it is possible to get most closing costs covered (nearly free) at rates as low as 3.625 (3.707 percent APR) and 3.750 percent (3.740 percent APR) for the 30-year fixed, and 3.000 percent (3.004 percent APR) for the 15-year fixed.
Other than interest rates, we have been keeping our eyes fixed on the economic indicators that have been coming out lately. Here is some of what we have seen:
Job growth and home sales have slowed after a steady period of good news, which suggests that we will continue with modest growth before making bigger gains. While home sales have slowed, homebuilders have submitted the most plans for construction permits in the last 3.5 years. Increased demand has been influenced by a more optimistic outlook on future growth. Meanwhile, the Dow has dropped below 13,000 after making steady gains up around 13,300. The S&P 500 is down 4 percent off 2012 lows. Declines are as a result of slumping economic indicators and concern about the European (and global) economy.
California (for once) is a little bit ahead of the curve in home sales. California home sales hit a five-year high during March, which was a three percent rise year-over-year. Median home prices for sold homes rose 1 percent year-over-year. On the other hand, the California unemployment rate continues to sit well above the national average of 8.2 percent. The March unemployment number of 11 percent ended two months of gains, which means about 2 million people are out of work.
As you can see, the news is all over the place. Still, as Dan Podesto likes to emphasize (host of Mortgage Matters our weekly radio show on KVEC 920): “To use a baseball analogy, we are just in the third inning of the recovery. We have some time to go, but we are heading in the right direction.”
For more numbers, please see our April 23 article Mortgage Matters Notebook.
If you’re lucky to be in an area where it isn’t cloudy, you may be able to see some falling stars after midnight. The moon isn’t bright so it should be a good time to view. Look to the Northeast sky.
I took my wife to Las Vegas last week since she was on her break from school. In preparing for the trip, I read in a travel forum that the best rental car rates were through Costco. I didn’t even know that Costco.com had car rentals but now I know. The price was great! Sunday – Thursday for a full-size car from Alamo for only $100. I couldn’t find any other place offering close to this low of a rate. Check it out!
Best Buy announced the 50 stores they are closing and the SLO and Santa Maria stores are NOT on the list. This is good news as it would have been a double whammy for the Central Coast if either store was on the list after last week’s announcement that Scolari’s is closing. I went to Scolari’s in Pismo yesterday and it was kinda depressing as the checkout clerk was asking the guy in front of me if he knew of any job openings.
These are the Best Buy stores in California that are closing:
East Palo Alto
For the fourth straight week, we get the pleasure of reporting that interest rate costs have dropped. This drop in particular is notable because we have again reached record low rates. Freddie Mac reports that the national average for the 15-year fixed hit a record low, at 3.11 percent, and the 30-year fixed fell to 3.88 percent. At Central Coast Lending, we advertise our 30-year fixed at 3.500 percent (3.633 percent APR) and the 15-year fixed at 2.750 percent (2.989 percent APR). Overall, costs for these rates have improved by over 1 point the last three weeks. If you have been on the fence about refinance, time to make the call – for more information and a free prequalification, give us a call at (805.543.LOAN). For more rates and information on the movement, see our April 16 Rate Update.
Last week was a busy one for economic statistics and indicators. In the first week of April, jobless claims reversed their positive downward trend and rose 13,000 to their highest level since January (380,000 total). The trade deficit dropped slightly, as exports rose 0.1 percent and imports dropped. Housing news has been mostly negative. For the third straight month, initial foreclosure notices increased (in March they rose 7 percent). MBA purchase applications fell and home prices are down to the 2002 level. For a full rundown of the economic and housing news we monitored, you can go HERE.
The market had another rough week, and the Dow continued its slump below 13,000. To begin this week, though, stocks ralled 71.82 points to settle at 12921.41. The market has been choppy over general concerns about the recovery both here and in Europe.
We had a solid lineup of content last week in our two blogs – Professional Insight and SLO County Locals. In the Professional Insight blog, KD Janni Landscaping wrote in with an article discussing the pros and cons of synthetic grass, Bradley Liggett continued his estate planning basics series on the topic of avoiding a probate conservatorship, and Eric Parkinson gave some tips on how to find the right litigation attorney. On our Locals blog, we did a feature on Morro Bay secret gardens and a review of the cheap and delicious La Parisienne Bakery in Morro Bay.
Patterson Realty continues to grow. As of the end of the first quarter of 2012, Patterson Realty is now the #1 Independent Brokerage on the Central Coast! Kudo’s to Wes Burk (Broker/Owner) and all the other professional Realtors at Patterson. Having a great team of Realtors does make a difference!!
Buyers and sellers both love to know what has sold in their area recently, right? But it can be difficult to find the information you are looking for, all in one place, and in an easy to understand layout. The Keith Byrd Team now creates custom newsletters each month that include the following:
Street Address, City, Original List price, List Price on pending date, and final Sold Price, Total Days on Market, and Listing Detail (Standard Sale, Short Sale, or Bank Owned/REO.)
We break the reports down into 6 areas, so they are tailored to fit your needs. They include North Coast, North County, San Luis Obispo, South County, Santa Maria, and Santa Ynez Valley.
If you are interested in receiving these updates, click the link below, and enter your e-mail address. Newsletters are sent out at the beginning of each month, and will include everything that sold in the previous month.
You are able to unsubscribe at any time, if the reports aren’t fitting your needs.
If you are curious about what these reports will look like, feel free to contact Tanya Knowles, Information Specialist with The Keith Byrd Team, for the most recent reports. You can contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More people are talking about California Valley these days. California Valley is about 50 miles East of San Luis Obispo, but still part of the county. With a population of only about 500 people, it is a small town. When you go to visit, you will find large pieces of land being used for farming, ranching, and recently there has been talk of using land in California Valley as a place to harness solar energy.
Looking for property in California Valley can be tricky! It you search for California Valley, CA, you won’t find any results. Instead, use the search phrase “Santa Margarita, CA.” On SloCountyHomes.com, you can search by map. Under Neighborhood Search, scroll over Santa Margarita, and there will be a choice to view California Valley properties. Then, at the top left of the map, you can choose to search for Single Family Residences or Lots and Land.