Paso’s Newest Restaurant

second press 1 second press 2Second Press Wine Bar and Eatery – Paso’s newest restaurant –  has a special option for special events such as football night with friends or maybe a smaller holiday or birthday party……a separate room for 7 to 15 people at no additional charge! Lovely and  modern in style, this  classy restaurant is downtown across from the park on 11th.  I am told that the things people are raving about are fried brussels sprouts (yes, they tell me that patrons are raving about brussel sprouts!) and stuffed flank steak.  Check out the full menu at


Fewer underwater loans will help real estate market recovery

Pending home sales fell in October for the fifth straight month, dropping the sales pace  to its lowest point since December of 2012. The October government shutdown is partially to blame for the figures, but “structural issues” have primarily caused the drop. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the The National Association of Realtors, listed job creation, higher mortgage rates, and limited inventory as “headwinds” working against sales figures moving into 2014.

The good news is that the housing market is working through each of these issues slowly but surely.

Negative equity has been one of the largest obstacles to the recovery. As home sales prices rose through 2007, property values ballooned. After the crash, prices plummeted between 30% and 50% (and often more) across the nation. The median sales price in San Luis Obispo County, for example, dropped 37% between 2006 and 2011, according to the statistics dashboard.

The drop in home values resulted in owners owing more than their home was worth. At peak, 31.4% of total mortgages were “underwater” in the first quarter of 2012, according to Zillow research.

That number has dropped to 21% by the third quarter of 2013. Since the beginning of 2012, 4.9 million fewer homeowners owe more than their home is worth, while about 10.8 million owners remain underwater.

Homeowners have come out from underwater as home prices appreciate. A recent report from Lender Processing Services showed prices up 0.2% monthly and 9.0% yearly in September of 2013.

Tight supply  has been one of the obstacles for the real estate market as it returns to normalcy. Negative equity hurts the fluidity of the market, keeping potential buyers and sellers stuck in their homes. As fewer owners have negative equity, more houses will be put on the market, and more people will be looking to purchase.

As supply increases, borrowers will need to focus on qualifying for a loan. We have created a handy guide to help potential homebuyers improve their credit. See HERE for more. You can also read here to see how to qualify for a loan after a negative credit event, which can take just two or three years depending on the conditions.

Have a happy holidays!

New Listing! 1512 Tanglewood Dr., SLO


Adorned with sophisticated style, this lovely 3 bedroom, 2 bath home is nicely
situated on a large corner lot. A remodel extended the kitchen and added storage
space to the garage while also allowing for a more open flow to the living room.
The extra space created a nice dining area and gave access to the backyard from
the kitchen. In the front yard, easy maintenance landscaping was enhanced with a
retaining wall and stairs for easy access to guest parking on the street. Sunny,
terraced landscaping in the backyard is ready for your gardens, the patio is
perfect for the BBQ and there is still room for kids toys. Call your agent to
schedule a showing right away as this one is a gem and all ready for a new

Is Government-based Uncertainty Hurting the Housing Market?

Good morning! With Thanksgiving and the December / January holiday season on the horizon, remember to take a few moments for yourself every once in awhile. Lucky for all of us, the Central Coast provides any number of beautiful places to contemplate our relative (in)sanity. Here are a few, courtesy of Holly Dickson:

dsc_0310-1024x685 slo-from-the-hills

[Holly is a Cal Poly journalism major and Central Coast Lending intern. She writes about local technology for our SLO Locals blog. Check her stuff out: she has written about SLO County’s contribution to the Mars Rover and Cal Poly’s own “Silicone Valley.” ]

One more note before we get to the weekly column. Veterans and their families are given extremely unbeatable terms on the VA home loan. Read here for more information, and give us a call with any questions at 805.543.LOAN. Now to the column:


The U.S. government has been a punching bag lately, and in some cases it really seems to deserve the abuse. Rick Judson, Chairman of the National Association of Homebuilders, put it best when he noted that the housing market recovery and construction activity has been slowed by government-induced uncertainty.

Home builders have a positive outlook for the housing market, but only just. The score of 54 on the monthly National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) survey was unchanged from the previous month. A reading of 50 is the dividing line between a “positive” and “negative” outlook.

Judson said, “Consumers continue to show interest in purchasing new homes, but are holding back because Congress keeps pushing critical decisions on budget, tax and government spending issues down the road.”

Judson refers to the U.S. debt ceiling, the U.S. budget, and U.S. budget cuts, the drama of which has played out prominently on the national stage over the past several years.

Most recently, clashes over  the borrowing limit and the implementation of a new budget were resolved with extensions into the new year. When Congress couldn’t agree on a plan, it once again kicked the can down the road.

Is this uncertainty slowing economic growth? The dips in the market over the past few years – European debt, the fiscal cliff, the U.S. borrowing limit – each forced investors to contemplate the future. As stocks zigzag in the lead-up to various government deadlines, mortgage rates, employment markets, and more are also effected. Still, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 have pushed to record highs, even as U.S. economic growth remains mostly middling.

Another example of “instability” that typically gets brought up involves the Federal Reserve’s stimulus program quantitative easing (QE).

The Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program helped fuel the recent buyers market, pushing mortgage rates to record low levels in late-2012 and early-2013.  QE, however, won’t last forever. The FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) used the stimulus program to support (and jumpstart) the slow U.S. economic recovery and support the housing market.

Though it hasn’t given as many specifics as the markets may want, Bernanke has been very clear about slowing the program with employment expansion and U.S. economic growth. This seems almost favorable to the government’s open-ended struggles to resolve anything of consequence. Now, investors expect QE to end sometime in early-2014. This will increase mortgage rates, but at least we are able to plan ahead. Now remains a good time to buy a home.

On a more local level, the issue that matters most to families is more likely to be something like job security. On this count, SLO County is one of the better places to live in the state of California. In August, SLO County’s unemployment rate was just 6.4 percent, which as tied for seventh best among CA’s 58 counties. The county also bests national and state-wide rates.

A home purchase is one of the more serious bets that a person can make on stability, representing some measure of security in income, family, and future. As the economic recovery continues to unfold, it can be helpful to have your questions answered in an honest, straightforward manner. Give us a call at 805.543.LOAN for a free consultation about your finances and the possibility of homeownership. We are happy to help.

My Friend is a Real Estate Agent

As a full time Central Coast real estate agent, I have instant access to the Multiple Listing Service – MLS, experts than have depth and breadth of knowledge in real estate, excellent resources (licensed contractors, electricians, mortgage brokers), and California real estate attorneys.  No real estate transaction is the same and each home is different  so it surprises me when I hear someone say, “my friend is a real estate agent” I’m going to use them.  Would you use that same friend to help you buy stocks, or buy a car?  Real Estate is not easy and it can be very contentious.  Think twice before using your “friends” – this is one of the biggest purchases of your life!


Mortgage Rates Rise: GDP and Employment Data Influences Rate Movement

Mortgage rates registered some upward movement last week after the release of third quarter U.S. GDP data and the October employment report.

GDP (Gross Domestic Product), the measure of U.S. economic output, grew 2.8 percent in the third quarter. The number came in above economist’s projection of 2.0%. Expectations were muted after the U.S. government shutdown, quantitative easing uncertainty (we will come back to this in a moment), and mixed economic data.

A “healthy” pace of growth would be about 3.0%, and though the headline number is approaching that baseline, the underlying data isn’t as strong. The Wall Street Journal noted that economic progresses “continued to plod along,” as “businesses cut investments and consumers moderated their spending.”

Retail sales will play a large roll in Q4 GDP
Retail sales will play a large roll in Q4 GDP

The 2.8% growth primarily represented a “one-time buildup of inventory,” without which the rate would be 2%. The U.S. economy continues to remain “stuck” at this 2% pace over the past four years, and we seem to be moving from crisis to crisis – European debt, U.S. government gridlock (debt ceiling, budget shutdown), and more.

Aided by the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing (QE) program, the recovery – though slow – has moved forward. QE in particular has helped the housing market recover by lowering interest rates. The most recent iteration of QE (3) has included a $40 billion per month in mortgage bond purchases. Movement in the mortgage bond market affects mortgage rates, and by guaranteeing a source of demand for bonds, the Fed has been able to keep rates low.

(Mortgage rate movement is more complicated than that simple metric, but a general way to look at it  is this: when the U.S. bond market – specifically mortgage bonds – is active with demand, mortgage rates feel downward pressure. U.S. bond markets tend to get more activate in times of economic uncertainty, when investors look for a safer bet.)

The Federal ReserveThe Fed has said that it will keep its stimulus action until the economy shows sustainable growth and though GDP remains weak, employment seems to be moving in the right direction.

The U.S. economy added 204,000 jobs in October, which was about 25% stronger than expected (economist consensus was in the mid-100,000s).  The jobless rate ticked up to 7.3%, but this number was affected by temporarily furloughed government workers during the shutdown.

Investors took the report well, and the market recovered from Thursday’s post-GDP slide. Of particular relevance for mortgage rates, the positive report renewed speculation that the Fed could “taper” QE by early-2013.

Mortgage rates jumped after the report came out. Less Fed activity in the bond markets means higher rates, and investors began to prepare for that eventuality.

We will have a full mortgage rate report up by late-Wednesday. If you would like CCL’s biweekly rate update delivered to your inbox, contact and include your preferred email address.

New Listing! 7705 Yesal Ave., Atascadero


This Cozy Country Bungalow with an open concept floor plan, is perfect for your
family and entertaining. A stacked stone wood burning fireplace is the focal
point of the living room. The open concept kitchen is bright and functional with
granite counter tops, upgraded appliances and an island breakfast bar. French
doors off of the dining room let in lots of light and showcases a beautiful view
of the spacious grassy yard and expansive deck area perfect of entertaining or
soaking in the hot tub. The spacious Master bedroom suite also has french doors
to the deck and has new carpeting and lots of natural light. Included with the
home is a wooden play structure with swing and plenty of room to play in this
fully fenced in yard. Fruit trees surround the yard including: 2- Apple, 1-
Plum, 1- Olive, 2- Pineapple Guava and a Pomegranate Bush. Lots of large outside
storage for tools, projects, toys and yard equipment.


New on the Market!

IMG_2469Cute home in North Atascadero with 2 beds and two full baths plus office (with a closet) on almost 1/3 acre in North Atascadero. Built in 2005, this sweet home backs to green space, community walking path and river. Nice views from the comfy patio with rural feel and only minutes to town. Perfect for small family with plenty of room for kids and pets.  1041 square feet for $315,000.

New Listing 1535 Laurel, San Luis Obispo


Royal accommodations! This thoughtfully designed estate property boasts of quality throughout. Entry through wrought iron gates to a walled courtyard will immediately transport you. Pause to enjoy the gentle sound of the water feature and spa as well as the stone crafted fireplace and handsome outdoor kitchen. Massive arched wood double doors open to an expansive foyer with a custom tile medallion detail, wide plank hardwood floors, gracious stairwell with beautifully detailed railing. Stop to appreciate the cathedral ceilings, gallery windows and decorative exposed wood beams. Fully appointed the gourmet kitchen will impress the connoisseur and the neophyte alike. Details of exquisite natural stone counters and an abundance of custom cabinetry will make this the center of activity. Gorgeous wood cased French doors are a natural transition to the outdoors. No detail has been left unattended! A must see for the discriminating buyer!