Mountain View March 31, 2015

2015 Spring and Summer Events in Los Altos

The end of the school year brings a lull to the hustle and bustle of daily life for parents and students alike as they have more time on their hands. What better way to spend it than outdoors. Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View offer a wide variety of family-friendly events, some of which are long-standing traditions. Listed below are upcoming events scheduled in Los Altos:

Easter Egg Hunt

10 a.m. to noon March 28

Main and State streets The Los Altos Village Association-sponsored event for children ages 1-10 features crafts, face painting, a balloon artist and the Easter Bunny. Attendees should bring their own baskets.

Egg Hunt & Teen Egg Launch

9:30 a.m. April 4

Hillview Soccer Field 97 Hillview Ave.

The Los Altos Recreation Department’s Egg Hunt is open to children up to age 10. There are different start times depending on age group. Attendees should bring their own baskets.

The Teen Egg Launch is open to youth 11-17. The challenge is to build a container that protects an egg from breaking when launched onto the soccer field. Admission is free. Register by April 1.

For more information, visit losaltosca.gov/recreation/page/egg-hunt-teen-egg-launch.

Los Altos Live! talent show

7:30 p.m. April 25

Eagle Theater, Los Altos High School, 201 Almond Ave.

Local residents unveil their musical, theatrical and dance skills at the annual community talent show, sponsored by the Los Altos Cultural Association.

For more information, visit facebook.com/pages/los-altos-live/384838871544571.

Los Altos Farmers’ Market

4-8 p.m. Thursdays May 7 through Sept. 24

State Street, between Second and Fourth streets

Local farmers offer fresh seasonal fruits, vegetables, plants and cut flowers. A host of vendors sell a variety of specialty foods, including cheeses and dairy products, meats, breads and baked goods. The weekly events feature family-friendly entertainment and food trucks.

For more information, visit downtownlosaltos.org/events/fm.html.

Kiwanis Pet Parade

10-11 a.m. May 16

Main and State streets

A community tradition since 1948, the Kiwanis Pet Parade attracts thousands of spectators. Children walk, pull wagons and ride bicycles in downtown Los Altos, showcasing their pets. Youth groups, marching bands and local dignitaries in vintage cars travel the route.

For more information, call 988-9900 or email info@losaltoskiwanis.org

Fine Art in the Park

10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. May 16 and 17

Lincoln Park, University Avenue

Attendees can browse the fine art, ceramics, sculpture, jewelry and unique gifts from more than 180 artists in the juried open-air art show, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Los Altos. The annual event features live entertainment, food and beverages. Proceeds support the Rotary Club’s local and international service projects.

For more information, visit rotaryartshow.com.

Arts & Wine Festival

10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 11 and 12

Downtown

The Arts & Wine Festival, sponsored by the Los Altos Village Association, showcases the work of artisans from more than 12 states. The 36th annual event will feature a select group of vintage wines and a variety of cuisines from Thai to Mexican in addition to all-American choices like sausage and roasted corn. The festival includes booths to browse, wine to sample and free concerts.

For more information visit downtownlosaltos.org/events/aw_main.html.

Friday Movie Nights

8:30-10:30 p.m.

Intersection of Main and Third streets

The Los Altos Village Association is scheduled to host family-friendly outdoor movie nights Fridays Aug. 7-28. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants should bring chairs, blankets, pillows, sleeping bags and picnics.

For more information, visit downtownlosaltos.org/events/fmn.html.

Los AltosLos Altos HillsMarket StatisticsMenlo ParkMountain ViewPalo Alto January 7, 2015

4 Reasons to Buy Before Spring!

The holiday season is behind us, time to focus on what exciting new experiences 2015 can bring! If you are planning on becoming a homeowner, or moving up to the home of your dreams in 2015, here are four great reasons to consider buying a home now, instead of waiting until spring.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 15.1% (most pessimistic) and 32.8% (most optimistic). The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Although Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have softened recently, most experts predict that they will begin to rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will be up almost a full percentage point by the end of 2015. An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.

3. Either Way You are Paying a Mortgage

As a paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:
“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise. But, what if they weren’t? Would you wait? Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe it is time to buy. If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

Los AltosMenlo ParkMountain View November 18, 2014

Harvard’s 5 Financial Reasons to Buy a Home

by The KCM Crew on November 17, 2014 in For Buyers

Eric Belsky is Managing Director of the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University. He also currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Housing Research and Housing Policy Debate. Last year, he released a paper on homeownership – The Dream Lives On: the Future of Homeownership in America. In his paper, Belsky reveals five financial reasons people should consider buying a home. Here are the five reasons, each followed by an excerpt from the study:

1.) Housing is typically the one leveraged investment available.
“Few households are interested in borrowing money to buy stocks and bonds and few lenders are willing to lend them the money. As a result, homeownership allows households to amplify any appreciation on the value of their homes by a leverage factor. Even a hefty 20 percent down payment results in a leverage factor of five so that every percentage point rise in the value of the home is a 5 percent return on their equity. With many buyers putting 10 percent or less down, their leverage factor is 10 or more.”

2.) You’re paying for housing whether you own or rent.
“Homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord.”

3.) Owning is usually a form of “forced savings”.
“Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”

4.) There are substantial tax benefits to owning.
“Homeowners are able to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes from income…On top of all this, capital gains up to $250,000 are excluded from income for single filers and up to $500,000 for married couples if they sell their homes for a gain.”

5.) Owning is a hedge against inflation.
“Housing costs and rents have tended over most time periods to go up at or higher than the rate of inflation, making owning an attractive proposition.”

Bottom Line
We realize that homeownership makes sense for many Americans for an assortment of social and family reasons. It also makes sense financially.

Uncategorized November 5, 2014

Modest Bay Area Homes Hit Mind-Boggling Prices

Excerpts From Article Written by Pete Carey – San Jose Mercury News

Two years of tight supply and intense demand have pushed prices for modest Bay Area homes in trendy neighborhoods to mind-boggling heights.

In Palo Alto, tiny homes sell for multiple millions of dollars. In Oakland’s sought-after Rockridge district, a home
just sold for $500,000 over the asking price.

On both sides of the bay, it’s the location that commands the biggest price, even as the amount paid per square foot reached new peaks in more than a third of 155 Bay Area ZIP codes analyzed for this newspaper by CoreLogic DataQuick.

With the price of homes in Palo Alto skyrocketing, Ken Plourde, a 79-year-old retired jazz bass player, decided it was time to sell the home he bought for $35,000 in 1970. “I was sitting on a gold mine,” said Plourde, whose income from music gigs has been declining with his advancing years and changes in the live music business.

The 992-square-foot-home within walking distance of Stanford University was snapped up in one day by a wealthy Stanford graduate in China for $3 million, a price that comes to just over $3,000 a square foot.

“They’re going to flatten it, but what the hell, I can’t do anything about that. Life goes on,” said Plourde. “It’s a fortune to  me, for a guy who’s never made more than $30,000 a year.”

Market Statistics November 5, 2013

2013 Q1-Q3 Market Update

Since 2009, we’ve seen the local market increase annually, and 2013 was no different.  The average sales price of single-family homes in Santa Clara County rose 19% (Los Gatos 7%, Los Altos 9%, Saratoga 11%, Palo Alto 16%, Mountain View 17%, and Sunnyvale 19%).  San Mateo County rose 24% (Menlo Pk 15%, San Carlos 17%, San Mateo 18%, Redwood City 20%, Burlingame 21%, and Hillsborough 25%). This rapid rise in price was driven by low inventory, historic low interest rates, and abundant buyers who had the financial backing to bid up list prices, significantly over the asking price in most cases.  So what should you do if you or someone you know are thinking of selling or buying….here are my thoughts:

Sellers:  There is no better time than now since it’s a seller’s market.

Dollar HousesBuyers:  Don’t despair and don’t try to time the market.  Although prices have increased, the prices in 2012 are about the same as the 2008-peak level, so the double-digit growth this year is the net growth over the past 5 years, so it’s not that exorbitant. If you’re buying for the long-term, then it’s a good time to buy.

Investors:  Yes prices for multi-unit properties have gone up but so have the rents!  Rental properties are excellent options to diversify anyone’s investment portfolio, and real estate has some excellent tax shelters that does not exist elsewhere.