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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.

Entries by Steve Poirier (72)

Tuesday
Jul092019

WOW! HOME OWNERSHIP ANNUAL GAINS LOWEST SINCE 2015

It is hard for me to beleive this-The prices in California are consistantly through the roof! This type of information is always inteeresting to me.  From what i found reviewing the results from the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Data that was released, it shows me that the Rate of Home Price Increases across the U.S. has continued to Slow.  See below:

YEAR-OVER-YEAR The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 4.3% annual gain in January, down from 4.6% in the previous month. The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 3.2%, down from 3.7% in the previous month. The 20-City Composite posted a 3.6% year-over-year gain, down from 4.1% in the previous month. Las Vegas, Phoenix and Minneapolis reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities. In January, Las Vegas led the way with a 10.5% year-over-year price increase, followed by Phoenix with a 7.5% increase and Minneapolis with a 5.1% increase. Only one of the 20 cities reported greater price increases in the year ending January 2019 versus the year ending December 2018. The charts on the following page compares year-over-year returns of different housing price ranges (tiers) for the top two cities, Las Vegas and Phoenix

Friday
May112018

This could be a very big issue...

California may soon become the first state in the nation to require that virtually every new home be equipped with solar panels.

The California Energy Commission on Wednesday is expected to mandate solar arrays on almost all new single-family houses built after Jan. 1, 2020, as part of the state’s fight against global warming. The rule also would apply to new multifamily buildings up to three stories tall.

The proposal, years in the making, would provide an immense boost to the state’s solar industry, which lost jobs in 2017 after years of rapid growth. It would also move California closer to a long-held goal of creating "zero net energy buildings" which generate as much electricity as they use over the course of a year.

But the solar requirement would come at a cost.

Together with tough new efficiency standards for windows and insulation that the commission will consider Wednesday, the solar mandate could add $10,538 to the cost of building a house, by the agency’s own estimate. The extra expense would hit at a time when California is suffering a severe and deepening housing affordability crisis.

The move’s supporters insist the solar homes would save their owners money by slashing monthly utility bills. That savings could be worth $16,251 over the 30-year life of the house, according to the commission.

“We do not minimize the cost of housing in the state — everyone recognizes that’s an issue,” said Andrew McAllister, one of the Energy Commission’s five voting members. “Their cash-flow position will be improved with the addition of solar. It won’t make it worse.”

Although housing developers had concerns about the move, Bob Raymer with the California Building Industry Association said the commission had given the new rule enough flexibility to make it work — for example, if the roof is too small or shaded, the builder can compensate by using energy-efficiency measures inside the house. And he agreed that the energy savings for the new solar homes would offset the up-front costs.

“We’re going to be able to look the home buyer in the eye and say, ‘You are going to get your money back,’” said Raymer, the group’s technical director.

California first started imposing new energy-efficiency standards for homes in the 1970s, slowly ratcheting them up over time. As a result, per-capita electricity demand in the state largely stayed flat, even as it grew elsewhere in the country.

The fight against global warming gave those standards new urgency. In 2007, both the Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission set a nonbinding goal of having all new residential construction by 2020 be zero net-energy.

That same year, the state initiated solar programs both for new homes and owners of existing houses. But the state’s solar market was still in its early stages, and it wasn’t clear whether or how California could meet its zero net-energy goal.

“If you think about the context of 10 or 12 years ago, things were a lot different,” McAllister said. “Solar was not an everyday thing. Well, now it is.”

About 20 percent of new homes in California are built with rooftop solar arrays, Raymer said. And prices have tumbled as the solar industry, both in California and around the world, matured.

The national average installed cost of a new residential array has fallen by more than half since 2007, according to the annual "Tracking the Sun" survey from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In California, the median price hit $4.3 per watt in 2016, the most recent year for which data are available. For a 3-kilowatt system, that adds up to $12,900.

California’s solar industry endured a rough 2017 as a longer-than-usual rainy season and state regulatory changes drove down both new solar installations and employment for the first time in years. About 86,400 Californians worked in solar power last year, down 13 percent from 2016.

Then in January, President Trump dealt the industry another setback when he imposed temporary tariffs on imported solar panels, which will push up the installed price of new solar arrays unless installers find ways to trim their own operational costs.

McAllister said the commission revised its calculations following the tariff announcement and concluded that the new rule would still make financial sense.

“It’s very clear that solar will be cost-effective,” he said.

To environmentalists, the move is an important step to curbing greenhouse gas emissions. When the electricity they use is factored in, buildings represent the second-largest source of greenhouse gases in the state, behind only transportation. California law calls for cutting the state’s total carbon emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

“This is a key measure to reduce (greenhouse gases) in the building sector, which is one area in California where there hasn’t been enough attention,” said Rachel Golden, a senior campaign representative for the Sierra Club. “We have strong policies to clean up the utility sector, strong policies on transportation, but we don’t have strong policies on the decarbonization of buildings.”

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