Monday, July 28, 2014


Inconsistent is probably the best way to describe the housing data as of late.  Whereas existing home sales improved dramatically, new homes sales reversed course from strong to weak.

Existing home sales picked up nicely for the second quarter after we experienced a rather slow market in the first quarter. Sales increased 2.6 percent in June which was higher than most analysts expected.  The annual rate of sales is currently at just over 5 million. The May report was revised upward to show a jump of 5.4 and the April figures were also revised higher to 1.5 percent.

A strong indicator in the June reports is that the gains were balanced between single family homes, and condominiums.  Single family homes increased by 2.5 percent and condo sales grew by 3.4 percent.  All regions of the U.S. showed gains.  The Midwest was the strongest region with a jump of 6.2 percent.

The best part of the report is that the growth in existing home sales did not come at the expense of home prices.  Median prices rose 5.3 percent to $223,300. Home prices overall are up 4.3 percent compared to sales, which despite being stronger as of late, are still lower than the same time last year by 2.3 percent.  The good news is that the gap between this year and last year is closing.

The word is getting out to sellers that home prices are rising and more and more sellers are jumping into the market.  Supply of homes for sale rose to 2.30 million vs 2.25 million in May.  June last year only had a supply of 2.16 million.

On the flip side new home sales continues to be very volatile.  The recent reports in this sector have been strong however the latest report showed a reversal in the sales trend.  New home sales came in at a low rate of 406,000 annually for the month of June.  The report for May, which was very strong, was also revised lower by 62,000.

All regions in the U.S. market showed declines in the month of June.  The South appeared to be hit the hardest with a decline of 9.5 percent.  The decline in new home sales has pushed inventory up to 5.8 months from 5.2 months.  The final kicker in this segment of the market is that new home sales are down 11.5 percent from the same time last year.  As mentioned before, there is significant volatility in this housing sector so let?s wait and see what happened next month before deciding if there is a real direction in new home sales.

Next week there are 2 significant housing reports, Pending Home Sales and Case-Shiller HPI.

The complete schedule of major market reports for next week are:

        Monday July 28th ? Pending Home Sales
        Tuesday July 29th ? Case-Shiller Home Price Index nd Consumer Sentiment
        Wednesday July 30th - MBA Applications, ADP Employment Report, GDP & FOMC Meeting
        Thursday July 31st - First Time Jobless Claims
       Friday August 1st ? National Employment, Consumer Sentiment and Construction Spending

As your mortgage professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends.  I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can.  Please feel free to reach me at (707) 455-7070.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pace of U.S. home resales rises to eight-month high

(Reuters) - U.S. home resales rose in June to their fastest pace in eight months, a signal that the housing market was pulling out of a slump.
The National Association of Realtors said on Tuesday existing home sales increased 2.6 percent to an annual rate of 5.04 million units.
That was above analysts' expectations and marked the third straight month the pace of home resales accelerated.
U.S. homebuilder stocks rose following the release of the data, with the Dow Jones index for home construction up 1.7 percent.
The U.S. housing recovery stalled in the second half of 2013 as interest rates increased and a dwindling supply of properties available for sale pushed prices sharply higher.
But mortgage rates have eased a bit in recent months and the nation's job market has improved, helping the market for homes.
May's rate of sales was revised upward to a 4.91 million unit pace from the previously reported 4.89 million unit rate.
In June, the average existing home sold after being on the market for only 44 days. It was the sixth straight month in which that rate had declined.
"Things are flying pretty fast," said Lawrence Yun, the NAR's chief economist.
More homes also are being put on the market, keeping prices from rising as quickly and providing potential buyers with more choices.
The number of homes on the market for resale rose to 2.3 million in June, the highest level since August 2012 and 6.5 percent more than in June of last year.
The median price was $223,300. That was 4.3 percent higher than in June 2013 and the slowest pace of appreciation in more than two years.

(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Paul Simao)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Meet Chuck Norris

Part of the Solano Lender Team, I am a California BRE licensed broker with experience operating my own mortgage company branch prior to joining Big Valley Mortgage.

Along with my brother Chris, I grew up in the property management business dating back to 1968 when our family purchased a 16 unit apartment complex which along with other investment property is still family owned and operated today.
My wife Vicki and I currently reside in Fairfield where we are active in our church and have been blessed to have had the joy and privilege to assist family and friends in achieving their dreams and goals in today’s changing real estate market.

CA BRE Lic# 01319252

NMLS # 218649

479 Mason St. Suite 109
Vacaville, CA 95688-4505

Phone: 707-455-7070 ext. 308
Fax: 707-455-8337

Friday, July 18, 2014

Meet Penny Kristine Hathaway

I love people! One of the greatest pleasures in my life is to help people achieve their dream of home ownership and financial stability. As a mother of three and grandmother of 9 I understand the importance of preparing to purchase that first home as well as preparing for retirement years utilizing a reverse mortgage. With patience and understanding I explain the complex process of obtaining a mortgage to both the young and the mature.
My mission is to provide the highest level of help in every step of the loan process. I am driven by service and committed to the principle of the Golden Rule:
  •  You will be treated as though you are family
  • You will learn the loan process and your options
  • Your transaction will be handled with the highest integrity

My focus is to guide you through the process so effectively you feel compelled to help others by introducingthem to me. 
Services I offer are:
  • Purchase mortgages – Conventional, FHA and VA
  • First time home buyer programs
  • Reverse Mortgages
  • HARP 2 Refinances
  • FHA and conventional Refinances
  • Budgeting counseling – Debt snowball
  • Credit Counseling
I look forward to being of help to you.
Let’s talk soon!

CA BRE LIC # 01257425/01215943

NMLS # 231913/1850
479 Mason St. Suite 109
Vacaville, CA 95688-4505

Phone: 707-455-7070  ext. 320
Fax: 707-455-1439

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Wall Street's Trading Machine Did Not Completely Break Down In The Second Quarter

For most of this year, there have been worries on Wall Street that the trading boom that defined the investment banks in this era was coming to an end. In recent years, the big banks that relied on trading revenue to boost profits have seen their trading operations slump and by May big banks like JPMorgan and Citigroup C +1.38% were warning of drops in trading revenue of as much as 20% to 25% in the second quarter.

But as second-quarter financial figures roll in, it appears that trading revenues at the big banks fell by 10% to 15% in the second quarter of 2014 and strengthened somewhat in June. Those are still unhealthy declines, but Wall Street desks that specialize in fixed-income, commodities and currency trading showed some signs of life.

No firm relies more heavily on such trading than Goldman Sachs and its CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, has made a bet that the trading slump will reverse itself at some point. Goldman Sachs reported on Tuesday that its fixed income, currency and commodities trading unit generated $2.22 billion in the second quarter, a 10% decline from the same period a year earlier. The bank reported second-quarter net income of $2.04 billion, or $4.10 a share, up from $3.70 in the same period a year earlier. Analysts had expected Goldman Sachs would report $3.09 a share.

At JPMorgan Chase JPM +3.71% & Co., which also reported earnings on Tuesday, fixed-income trading generated revenues of $3.5 billion in the second quarter, down 15% from the same period last year. Equity-trading revenue was $1.2 billion, down by 10%. In May, JPMorgan had warned that its trading revenue could fall by 20%.

Similarly, Citigroup on Monday reported that its trading revenue fell by 15% in the second quarter from the same period last year. Those results included a 12% fall in its fixed income trading, which generated $3 billion of revenue, and a 26% drop in its equity trading, which posted $659 million of revenue. John Gerspach, Citigroup’s CFO, had warned in May that Citi’s trading revenue would fall between 20% and 25%.

Nevertheless, the Wall Street trading machine is not humming and the drops in revenue remain a problem for the big banks that do not appear to be going away anytime soon. JPMorgan Chase ’s CFO, Marianne Lake, said on Tuesday that the strengthening of the bank’s trading operations in June has not continued into July and that the general weakness in trading will likely persist through the year.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Random Acts of Recognition - Motivating your Team Regularly

At a company I once worked for, I once received a card in the mail, handwritten by the president, stating something like "In our leadership meetings, I have heard many times the great work you are doing for the team." There was a token gift along with the card as well. But to me, the card meant more than any jackpot I had won - it boosted my confidence, morale, and motivation, made me happy, and more than anything - made me realize that the work I was putting in, was meaningful.
One of the least recognized ways to motivate people is.. recognizing them on a timely basis! Not via formally established processes or competitively, not at the end of the quarter or year, but truly for what they have done at any given point. Not a measure, but simply a recognition.
To give a runner's analogy - think of recognition as water as you run a long distance - you need it on a regular interval to keep going, and not simply at the end. More importantly, every runner needs water to keep going, not just the ones who are ahead. Of course, you will award the winner the prize, but you need water for everyone to keep running.
In keeping the recognition random, without much tangible benefits, and with no formality, you are not asking for a change in performance, but truly rewarding the person for the work done. Also, given the randomness, it doesn't encourage others to alter their performance just to win the award.
Most importantly, it costs almost nothing, and yet the benefits and impacts to the individual, team, and the company are numerous - almost too many to list.

Here are some tips to institute random acts of recognition in your workplace:
  • Have a generic name for the award or no name at all. Let it reflect the work for which the person is being recognized and not some "Hero of the week."
  • Don't create a process around it - like taking votes, or having people suggest on a weekly basis. Instead, keep a open-door policy on people to suggest. No specific timelines - and as the name suggests, keep it random.
  • Don't set a criteria - it should be random that people don't gear up to be competitive to win the next round of recognition. It can be for someone who brought in a huge deal, or someone who helped out in mailing holiday envelops. Remember, this is recognition, and not an award. By doing this, you also send a message that little things, and not just big things, matter to the company.
  • Base it on inputs from the teams - If you are the manager, you can choose whom to recognize based on what you see and hear from teams. There is nothing more rewarding than hearing that your team values you.
  • Keep it simple and genuine - and if there is a token prize, keep it the same for any level of recognition. And, the token prize should be just that, a token. So, cookies - yes, golf clubs - no. And even a simple "good job!" would do.
  • Hand-write your note - the art of writing notes is fast disappearing. By writing a small note of recognition, you communicate to the employees that you do value their contribution, by taking time to write.
  • Make it public - even if you send a note, follow-up in an email to employees on who were recognized. Acknowledge it as if it were a formal award. And, if physical proximity allows, also follow-up in person or even a quick phone call.
  • Let it come from the leadership. Doing so, makes it feel contribution being recognized at higher levels.
  • Don't make it feel competitive. The fundamental idea is to recognize people for things they do, and not compare people for the often different types of work they do. Have multiple "winners" if you'd like.
  • Keep it random, which means no schedules, no formality, no set number of winners, and so on. Have it regularly, but randomly.
I would like to hear your thoughts on this, and if you are or have been a part of such random acts of recognition.
And for all your inputs, I can't offer you all a cookie, but I will definitely say a "Thank you!"

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Meet Chris Norris

As Part the Solano Lender team, I’m a California Licensed Broker who obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a focus in Real Estate and Land Use Affairs in 1991. My work experience in this industry dates back to 1968 when my family entered the exciting world of real estate. I have had the pleasure of helping people achieve their dreams and goals as a lender since 1993.

Whether It’s taking my past management experience to tackle obstacles that get in the way of the loan process or just the ability to explain a document in a way that a child could understand, my life’s work is to help my relationships achieve their vision for themselves.

Thanks you for letting me help.

479 Mason St. Suite 109
Vacaville, CA 95688-4505

Phone: 707-455-7070 ext. 308
Fax: 707-455-7568
Cell: 707-365-8700

CA BRE LIC # 01130448/01215943
NMLS # 220663/1850

Thursday, July 3, 2014

4th of July Striped Carved Watermelon Bowl- Happy 4th Of July! Nita Gill Presents - How to make beautiful watermelon fruit salad bowls that are more impressive than your ordinary watermelon basket or watermelon bowl. Star spangled red, white and blue fruit salad makes this perfect for 4th of July celebrations.

Lots of people have been asking so here is the name of the app. It's called iWatermelon. But I don't necessarily recommend it. Turns out, it's not very accurate.

Here are a couple of answers to questions that come up a lot.

Yes, apples and pears are white and can be used for the fruit salad. The reason I choose not to use them is because they oxidize and brown easily.

Yes, you can dip in lemon juice to slow down the oxidization. The lemon juice will slow it down but will not prevent the browning. Soaking your cut apples in cold salted water will also slow down the browning (but not prevent it). Some apples brown more quickly and easily than others.

That white root vegetable that sounds like Hikama is spelled Jicama.

Of course you can use honeydew melon or other melon that is almost white. It's your fruit salad. You may be creative in whatever way you like.

Have fun carving your own watermelon bowl.