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The Northgate Area-  Comprised of many neighborhoods with a lot of homes. Located in East Walnut Creek, most of the homes were built in the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's and have long been popular for their traditional style single and two story floorplans. 

New Northgate- Some of the newer constructed Walnut Creek homes are located in the Northgate Area. Subdivisions like Rancho Paraiso were built throughout the 90's by Herald Smith Construction. 

The Woodlands- Once nothing but farmland and walnut groves. This all changed in 1961 and 1962 when several developers, including Leadership, MacKay and Hofman, were the first to break ground and build the Woodlands.

Lake Lakewood Area- It's always a surprise to anyone who doesn't know, that there's a lake in Walnut Creek. Lake Lakewood was man made and has a lot of history. Most of the home development in Lakewood began in the 1930's when it was expected that the opening of the Caldecott Tunnel would increase demand for homes in Walnut Creek.

Crystyl Ranch- Crystyl Ranch is a beautiful neighborhood nestled in the Mt. Diablo foothills of Concord, Ca. Located between Walnut Creek and Clayton, homes in Crystyl Ranch are close in proximity to parks, shopping, dining, entertainment, schools and just about the best the East Bay has to offer.

Elderwood Glen- Elderwood Glen is a subdivision located in Martinez, Ca. There are 55-60 homes, homes range from 3-5 bedrooms and are known for their spacious rooms. Elderwood Glen is also centrally located to downtown Martinez, downtown Pleasant Hill, Concord, Lafayette and Walnut Creek. 

Chateau Ridge- Chateau Ridge is a wonderful neighborhood settled in the foothills of Martinez, Ca. The neighborhood has a private setting with most of the homes backing to the open space and green belt. 

Valley High- These beautiful homes were built by the well know builder, Davidon Homes.  There are many home models to choose from, ranging from single stories to split level homes. The 3-4 bedroom homes have luxury features including skylit entry halls, vaulted ceilings, wet bars, woodburning fireplaces and spacious Master suites.

Alamo, CA- Alamo, CA is an unincorporated community with high demand real estate. It is located in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, nestled between Walnut Creek and Danville. The average home price in Alamo is $1.1 million in comparison to the average home price in the state of California at $347,000.

Sunday
May282017

RECORD-LOW HOUSING INVENTORY IS 'FREAKING ME OUT'

 

The number of homes for sale in America has been falling steadily for the past year, but the situation is apparently getting much worse as our traditional spring demand heats up.

The inventory is reaching historic lows. It's never declined faster than it did last month. It's freaking me out. I think the overall industry for the first time is seeing sales volume really limited by the inventory crunch.

I believe the lack of inventory on a new dynamic in housing:

It's a new landlord nation where everybody is renting out their basement. When somebody moves up they don't sell their old place, they rent it out to somebody else, and it's because they want to keep that 30-year mortgage for 30 years, and it's because they can easily find somebody on Airbnb who will take the place.

Also related:
CALIFORNIA’S HOUSING AFFORDABILITY PROBLEMS
Source: LA Times

California’s housing affordability challenges remain daunting and continue to increase, according to a draft report from the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development. Thirty-two percent of millennials between the ages of 20 and 26 say they owe between $10,000 and $50,000 in student loans. The average student loan balance was $10,205.
The report found:
  • Housing production over the last decade fell more than 100,000 new homes short of demand and continues to lag, leading to surging prices at all income levels.
  • The state’s homeownership rates are at their lowest since the 1940s.
  • One-third of the state’s renters spend more than half their income on housing costs.
  • California has 12 percent of the nation’s population, but 22 percent of the country’s homeless population.
  • The report includes a range of potential solutions, including streamlining local and state land-use and environmental rules and boosting funding for low-income housing.
Sunday
May282017

Consumers Place Personal Loans Atop the Credit Mountain...

When faced with the choice of which debts to pay and which to miss, consumers in financial distress tend to prioritize unsecured personal loans ahead of other credit products such as auto loans, mortgages and credit cards.

The most recent study incorporates unsecured personal loans for the first time since begining to analyze the payment hierarchy dynamic in 2010. Beyond personal loans, this most recent analysis is consistent with prior studies in finding that consumers have historically prioritized auto loans over their mortgages and credit cards, and have done so consistently since at least the beginning of 2004.

“It is quite surprising to us that, for most struggling consumers, unsecured personal loan payments are prioritized over other prominent credit products such as mortgages and auto loans,” said Ezra Becker, senior vice president and head of research for TransUnion’s financial services business unit. “While personal loans have existed for a long time, recent growth in the number of such loans led us to explore this product’s position along the payment spectrum. The prioritization of personal loan payments above all others is counterintuitive, but our study results are clear. We believe the relatively short duration of these loans—usually less than 30 months—is a key factor in the decision process of consumers.”

Wednesday
Apr262017

Check out Las Lomas H/S in Walnut Creek latest news Etc.

Las Lomas Daily Bulletin
 
 

Las Lomas High School

LL Rally Court

 

1460 S. Main St. 
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
Main Office: (925) 280-3920
Fax: (925) 280-3921

 

Welcome to the Las Lomas Daily Bulletin! This bulletin is prepared daily as a service of Las Lomas High School. This information is meant for the students at Las Lomas and is read over the PA system during second period each day.

Announcements for the Daily Bulletin should be turned into the Main Office by 12:00 p.m. the day before the announcement is to run.

You can easily remove your email address from the daily bulletin list by clicking on the words "Update Your Profile/Email Address" at the bottom of this email. For further help with email subscription contact laslomasptsa@yahoo.com

 

 
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MONDAY
APRIL 24, 2017
DAILY BULLETIN
 
GENERAL 
Welcome to C.A.R.E. Week!
Monday:
            Dress-Floral
            Lunch Activity-Beads and fingerprint map-rally court
Tuesday:
            Dress-Wear green
            Lunch activity-Meet a "____" -Library
            After School-Holi-Celebration of Colors-outdoor basketball courts
Wednesday:
            Dress-Wear Pink
            Lunch activity-Feminist Game Show-Rally court
Thursday:
            Dress-Country of Origin
            Lunch activity-Cultural dances-Theater
            Evening-Poetry Slam-Rally Court
Friday:
            Dress-Rainbow
            Lunch-Musical Chairs-Rally Court
            Evening-Potluck and Movie-Theater
 
Get involved and make a difference in our school district.  Join the Acalanes Union High School District Governing Board as the Student Board Member. For more information and to apply, go to the District website.
 
CIF has adopted a new high school sport that will start next spring.  Added to the list of sports will be a competitive sport cheer team. If you are interested in finding out more about this new high school sport, please come to an information meeting on Tuesday April 25th at lunch in room 207.

Come join us for a fun activity in the Library at lunch on Tuesday to the "Meet a _________" CARE week event.  Many people from the interfaith council will be there.

Holi (Celebration of Colors) will take place after school on Tuesday on the basketball courts.

Wednesday is the Feminist Game Show at lunch in the rally court.  Hosted by our very own Zoe Larkin!  It will be full of fun. Don't forget to wear pink!

Come to the cultural dance in the theater on Thursday at lunch for entertainment and education!
The Poetry Slam will be Thursday in the rally court from 6:30-8:00pm.

Come to the rally court Friday at lunch to watch musical chairs!  LGBT+ artists will be featured and so will songs from different cultures around the world.

Open gym for girls basketball will be on Mondays and Wednesdays from 7-8:30. Hope to see you there!

Seniors:  Come to the College/Career Center and put your apple on the "Life After Las Lomas" tree! 
Let the LL community know what you have planned after graduation.

Seniors:  Local Scholarships due this week.  More info in the C/CC
April 24 Alamo Women's Club Scholarship (DEADLINE EXTENDED)         
See Naviance or the C/CC for the many other scholarships available
 
College Rep Visits:
            April 27 - Trinity College Dublin @ 12:00
            May 1 - Northern Arizona University @ 1:30pm
            May 2 - Montana State University @ 1:45pm
            May 5 - University of St. Andrews @ 12:30pm
 
SPORTS
Boys Golf-Transbay Tournament @ Rossmoor
            Varsity @ 12:00pm (10:00am release)
           
CLUBS (at lunch)
Academic Decathlon - Room 505
Club Mindfulness and Meditation-Room 514
Film Club - Room 502
Student Diversity Council 0 Room 403
 


GO KNIGHTS!
Thursday
Apr132017

Today’s home sellers are facing an interesting dilemma: Where can they buy a new residence?

In a survey of 800 real estate agents, 65.6 percent of respondents said that low inventory was the greatest challenge facing the sellers in their markets. And the homes that are available become very popular very quickly: 57.2 percent respondents reported being involved in at least one instance of a home receiving 10 or more offers this year; a mere 1.8 percent of agents said they yet to be involved in a bidding war.
What can sellers do to ensure they can move from their sold home into a new place? Eileen, a real estate agent in the Boston area, insisted that sellers move ahead with their house sale before securing the purchase a new home.
 “They should consider temporary rental options, or moving in with relatives after they sell,” she said. “Then they will be able to take the time they need to find their dream house, know exactly what they'll have to work with financially, and won't end up adding unnecessary contingencies to offers, which will give them a better chance to get the home.”
Take the advice of your local Realtor!

 

Wednesday
Apr052017

11 Trails In Northern California You Must Take If You Love The Outdoors..

Wow! Be sure to check out these 11 Trails In Northern California You Must Take If You Love The Outdoors...

Flickr/ David Dufresne
This is a 5.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Sierra City. Hikers walk on the the world famous Pacific Crest Trail, which ambitious trekkers take from Mexico to Canada each year. This day hike, however, features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

2. Symbol Bridge And Big Painted Cave, Lava Beds National Monument

Flickr/ Jeff Moser
Symbol Bridge And Big Painted Cave is a 1.9 mile out and back trail located within the Lava Beds National Monument near Tulelake. It offers scenic views of the monument and the opportunity to get up close and personal with a lava tube like the one pictured here. The trail follows a mostly collapsed lava tube. It begins at an asphalt paved trailhead near Skull Cave. The trail itself is smooth and gravel surfaced with only a few small steps to hinder a wheel chair. The trail is good for all skill levels and primarily used for hiking and nature trips.

3. Chimney Rock, Point Reyes National Seashore

Flickr/ Joe Parks
This photo shows Point Reyes National Seashore from Chimney Rock at sunset. The hike is a short 2-mile round trip that offers unparalleled views of Drakes Bay and the elephant seals that make their home there.

4. Bumpass Hell, Lassen Volcanic National Monument

Flickr/ Amit Patel
Bumpass Hell Trail is a 2.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Old Station. It takes you to the volcanic and sulfuric area of the park that all Northern Californians should see at some point in their lives. This location in the park is like a mini Yellowstone right here in Northern California. It is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and nature trips and is best used from June until October.

5. Alamere Falls, Point Reyes National Seashore

Flickr/ Jeff
Part of the beautiful Point Reyes National Seashore, Alamere Falls is accessible via a 4 mile hike in from the trail head near Bolinas. In total, it’s 8 miles round trip. It’s a great hike that offers some uniquely spectacular views of the Marin coast. Getting down to the falls and the beach below requires some moderately difficult climbing, so this route is designated advanced.

6. Black Butte Trail, Mount Shasta area

Flickr/ nrg_crisis (off and on)
Black Butte is a 5.1 mile out and back trek that offers breathtaking views of Mt Shasta. The moderate trail features sections with very loose rocks, so sturdy hiking boots are highly recommended.

7. Fern Canyon Loop Trail, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

Flickr/ Kirt Edblom
This hike lives up to its name. It’s a mild one-mile loop through the canyon walls and the ferns that cover them. You will hike up the stream bed, so be prepared to get a little wet as you hike.

8. Castle Dome in Castle Crags State Park

Flickr/ Daniel Parks
This 8 mile trail near Castella will reward you with a 360 degree view at the top. You will be able to see Mount Shasta and the surrounding area from the summit.

9. Whiskeytown Falls, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area

Flickr/ David Wood
This 2.8 mile out and back trail is the ideal trail for someone who doesn’t want to spend all day hiking but wants a big reward for their efforts. This trail begins at the popular Whiskeytown National Recreation Area and take you to an impressive 220 foot cascading waterfall.

10. Wrights Lake, Marble Mountain Wilderness

Flickr/ Gary Robertson
This is a very steep, 4.5-mile hike that starts at the Boulder Creek Trailhead and continues on to the Wrights Lakes. Portions of this trail pass through meadow areas and can be quite obscure. It is not uncommon to come across cattle in the area.

11. Round Lake Trail Hike, Nevada County

Flickr/Ray Bouknight
This is a 6.5 mile hike in the Grouse Ridge area of Northern California. Early in the hike, stop to take in the view from the abandoned lookout atop Grouse Ridge. The elevation here is 7,600 feet and you will see far across a forested canyon. From there, continue along the trail and past several lakes that make great swimming locations on a hot summer day. One of the most picturesque is Island Lake.

Source: http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/

This winery is the largest in the Beehive State, and it's won plenty of awards.
ONLYINYOURSTATE.COM
Monday
Apr032017

8 Questions to ask yourself when you are deciding to rent or buy...

If you're at the age when your peers are making major life moves — getting married, having kids and buying homes – you might be feeling it's time to join them. Or you may simply just be at that stage all on your own.

The decision to rent vs. buy is one you should make carefully. Either way, plenty of young adults are starting to get the home-buying itch. While there are a lot of appealing benefits to homeownership, taking on that kind of debt is not without risk. This is one decision you should make carefully.

If you're trying to figure out your next move, consider asking yourself these eight questions. The answers should point you in the right direction.

1. What Is My Top Financial Priority?

How to determine your down payment on a home. Buying a home will slow down your ability to make progress on other financial goals. You'll need to focus on lowering expenses or increasing your income so you can afford a down payment and monthly mortgage payments. 

Saving for retirement and building an emergency fund, may also have to take a back seat. That extra cash will be funneled toward your mortgage rather than paying off credit cards or student loans if you have them. Other financial goals, such as saving for retirement and building an emergency fund, may also have to take a back seat.

Assess your competing financial goals and decide which ones take priority. Buying a house might come first in your book, or perhaps you'll decide to work toward other money goals before committing to a mortgage.

2. Do I Have Savings For a Down Payment & Closing Costs?

Renting requires some savings – you'll need enough cash to cover the first month's rent and the deposit.

To buy a home, however, the minimum you'll need to have saved is usually 6% or more of the home's value. Even FHA loans require a minimum down payment of 3.5%, and closing costs add another 2-3% to the costs.

But that's the minimum; a 20% down payment is better to give you a decent amount of equity and avoid private mortgage insurance.

If you don't have sufficient savings, you'll need to focus on saving for a down payment before you're in a position to buy. And even if you do have savings, it's worth it to think through the best use of those savings and whether you'd rather allocate that cash to other goals.

3. How Do Home & Rent Prices Compare?

Housing markets also affect whether it's a better idea to rent versus buy. If you're facing sky-high rent prices that climb each year, a mortgage starts making a lot of sense. On the other hand, if you want to live in an expensive area, you could be priced out of buying a home (especially without extensive savings).

4. How Long Do I Plan to Live Here?

The longer you live in a home, the more likely it is that the financial investment of buying a property will pay off.

If you like your city, have a steady job, and are ready to live in the same space for a few years, buying is often more cost effective, but not always. You may want to crunch the numbers to see how long you'd need to live in a home to break even on your initial costs.

5. Will I Qualify for a Good Deal on a Mortgage?

get a mortgage if you have bad credit, but you'll pay a lot more over time. (Haven't checked where your credit stands? Now's the time. You'll need a decent income and good credit to qualify for the lowest rates and best terms on mortgage loans. It's sometimes possible to get a loan if you have bad credit, but you'll pay a lot more over time.

Think of it this way: most mortgages last 30 years. With that in mind, you may see that it's financially worth it to spend a few months to a year rebuilding your credit if it means qualifying for a lower interest rate for those 30 years. For example, if you boost your credit score by 50 points – from the mid-600s to over 700 – you could qualify for a mortgage rate that's 80+ basis points lower, according to MyFICO.com.

6. What Other Costs Will I Be Responsible for as a Homeowner?

When comparing costs of renting versus buying, make sure you're including home-owning costs beyond mortgage principal and interest.

There are escrow costs, homeowner's insurance, and property taxes. You can expect home maintenance costs to equal 1-3% of your home's sale price each year. Then there are homeowners' association fees and new utility costs such as trash collection and water. Meanwhile, renters are usually not responsible for any of these costs.

7. Am I Comfortable with the Risks of Owning a Home?

It's a popular argument that owning is smarter than renting because you're investing in a home. But as with any investment, owning a home has its own inherent risks.

There are no guarantees you'll get a good return on your investment. Just ask the many homeowners who defaulted on their homes after the 2008 mortgage crisis. And even in a strong housing market, there are the everyday risks of unemployment or other financial hardships.

8. How Would Renting vs. Owning Affect my Lifestyle?

Guiding forces in your decision to rent or own are your lifestyle and values. For many, the freedom of choice, privacy, and control that come with owning a home are big selling points. Other people might prefer the convenience, flexibility, and short-term commitment that comes with renting.

Know what you want and choose a housing setup that will help you achieve it. Owning a home can be an admirable accomplishment for some people. Maybe it will be for you, too. Only you know the answer.

Good luck out there!  Steve

Sunday
Mar262017

California home sales start year off strong…but will that last?

California had a lot working in its favor heading in to 2017, but the Federal Reserve’s recent decision to raise interest rates could start to change that.  The Golden State recorded an increase in home sales between December and January this year, which is a major feat given that this hasn’t happened since 2012.  

According to the latest existing-home sales report from the California Association of Realtors, California home sales and median price backpedaled on a monthly basis in February. However, both still showed strong gains on a yearly basis.

CAR, which puts out the report on a monthly basis, uses information collected from more than 90 local Realtor associations and MLSs statewide to create the report.

Existing, single-family home sales totaled 400,500 in February on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, down 4.7% from January and up 4.9% from February 2016.

Despite the decline, this marks the 11th consecutive month closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California remained above the 400,000 benchmark.

“While it’s encouraging to kick off the year with back-to-back yearly sales increases, moving forward, California’s housing market could lose steam in the long term as the Fed begins to adjust the federal funds rate,” said CAR President Geoff McIntosh. “In the short term, however, the specter of higher interest rates may push buyers off the fence to purchase a home before mortgage rates move even higher.”

If Californians do choose to buy, home prices are getting slightly more affordable. The median price of an existing, single-family detached California home fell below the $500,000 mark for the second straight month. Overall though, home prices remain seasonably strong. The median price was down 2.2% from $489,680 in January to hit $478,790 in February. “Despite a strong sales start for the year, the housing supply shortage in California continues to cast doubt on whether the sales momentum can be carried forward into the spring home-buying season,” said CAR Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “The number of active listings has been on a downward trend for the past 20 months and has shown no signs of improvement.”

As it stands, CAR's unsold inventory index, which measures the number of months needed to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate, came in at 4 months in February. This is up from 3.7 months in January. The index stood at 4.7 months in February 2016.

“As we move into the spring home-buying season, we should see a marginal increase in listings, which will be offset by a pickup in sales. The inventory level is not likely to get better in the upcoming months,” said Appleton-Young.

I suppose if we are to all keep think and pushing in the same direstion it will last!  Thank you for reading my blog!

Tuesday
Jul092013

Bay Area home prices reaching record highs!

This month, we have noticed Bay Area home prices reaching record highs that we have not seen in over six years. According to CAR.org, “California home values hit a high that have not been seen since 1980.”   (http://www.car.org/newsstand/newsreleases/2013releases/homepricerecords).   For example, the average price of a single-family home passed $417,000 last month. This is up 32% from June 2012.  Needless to say it is currently a strong seller’s market!

Now is a great time to buy or sell so be sure to call me at 925.330.3878 or email me at stevepoirier@pacbel.net to discuss your options in today's changing Real Estate market!