Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’Category

Time Running Out on Van Damme Ferry Preservation Effort

Time is running out for a local group aiming to save the iconic Charles Van Damme ferry, or what’s left of it, anyway, as the remaining parts of the ship are scheduled to be demolished on August 15th if the group fails to raise another $45,000.  Most of the boat was destroyed by bulldozers in 1983, leaving only the enormous paddle wheel and steam stack, which have stayed to this day along the shoreline near Sausalito.  Organizers of the Charles Van Damme Ferry Project are hoping to move the remaining pieces and launch an exhibit to honor the ship’s colorful history.

Originally constructed in 1916, the Van Damme was first used to ferry people, cattle and cars between Richmond and San Rafael.  The ferry route ended in the mid-50s and the ship was moved just north of Sausalito, where its remnants remain today.  Since then the Van Damme has been used as a restaurant and most ntably as an after-hours club called the Ark, a favored hangout for influential rock musicians of the 1960s including Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Carlos Santana and the Grateful Dead.  The boat also appeared in a 1965 Jimmy Stewart / Brigette Bardot film called “Dear Brigette.”  The Van Damme was condemned as a fire and safety hazard in the 70s, and has sat vacant since despite ambitious plans to turn the ship into a library, community center or youth hostel, all of which fell through because of lack of funding.

According to  Charles Van Damme Ferry Project co-founder Dona Schweiger, organizers have raised enough money to move the Van Damme’s steam stack, but another $45,000 is needed to move the paddle wheel.  The group is making one last push to raise the funds they need before the August 15th deadline, set by developers planning a park for the land the boat’s remnants occupy near Waldo Point Harbor.  For more information about the  Charles Van Damme Ferry Project, or to donate to the effort, Click Here.

01

08 2013

Home Construction Bounces Back from April Slide

The US housing sector got back on track in May according to a report issued Tuesday by the Commerce Department.  The report shows a strong rebound in the construction of new single family homes following a steep dropoff in building activity in April, when housing starts slipped a staggering 15 percent.  Last month’s rebound underscores the sentiment of numerous analysts that believe the housing sector is currently fueling the economy’s recovery from the worst recession since the 1930s.

Last month, housing starts rose 6.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 915,000 units, according to Tuesday’s report, which also showed a significant improvement in building permits for single family dwellings.  The rise in permits bodes well for construction over the next few months, as it typically takes several months after a builder applies for a permit before he actually breaks ground on the project.  Overall building permits were actually down last month, thanks to a steep slide in multifamily units, but analysts point out that multifamily permits are always volatile, and its more important to focus on permits for single family homes, which rose about 1.3 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 615,000.

Tuesday’s report further enhances the belief of many economists that the housing sector has finally become one of the strongest drivers of US economic growth.  Home construction is vital to the broader US economy, as it has outlaying effects on other sectors.  Manufacturing, for example, gets a boost from sales of building materials when home construction is strong, and consumers tend to spend more because new homes drive up prices in neighborhoods, making them feel wealthier.  And, as the National Association of Home Builders points out, each new home built in the US creates an average of three jobs for a year and $100,000 in tax revenue.

18

06 2013

Controlled Burns in Mill Valley

You may see or have seen smoke in the Mill Valley area this week.  The city is doing controlled burns in the Fort Barry area to prevent / reduce the danger of fire.  If you would like more info you can call GGNRA’s fire education officer @ 415 464-5133.

13

06 2013

Buyers seeing a surge in bidding wars on houses in Marin County

21

05 2012

Mortgage Rates end 2011 under 4%!

Average fixed mortgage rates in the U.S. over the past week finished the year near all-time lows, with the 30-year home loan at 3.95%.

According Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of mortgage rates, the rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has been at or below 4% for the past nine consecutive weeks and only twice in 2011 did it average above 5%.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.95% for the week ended Thursday, up from 3.91% the previous week and below 4.86% a year ago. Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.24%, up from 3.21% last week and below 4.20% a year earlier.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARM, averaged 2.88%, up from 2.85% yet below 3.77% of a year ago. One-year Treasury-indexed ARM rates averaged 2.78%, up from 2.77% in the prior week and below 3.26% last year.

To obtain the rates, 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages required payments of 0.7 percentage point and 0.8 percentage point, respectively. Five-year and one-year adjustable rate mortgages required an average payment of 0.6 percentage point. A point is 1% of the mortgage amount, charged as prepaid interest.

05

01 2012

Results for May 2011 Marin County Real Estate

05

07 2011

Is the Real Estate Market Getting Better?


U.S. homebuilders are concerned that the struggling housing market won’t recover this year and some feel it may be getting worse.

Builders’ outlook for the industry in May was unchanged at 16, the National Association of Home Builders said Monday. It has been at that level for six of the past seven months.

Any reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the market. The index hasn’t been above that level since April 2006.

When asked about where they see sales of single-family home heading over the next six months, the builders offered their most pessimistic outlook since September.

Last year the number of people who purchased previously owned homes fell to a 13-year low. Sales of new homes were even worse, hitting the lowest level on records dating back nearly a half-century.

Builders are struggling to compete because foreclosures are forcing down prices for previously occupied homes. The median price of a new home was about 34 percent higher in March than the median price for a re-sale. That’s more than twice the markup in healthy housing markets.

In response, builders are breaking ground on fewer homes. The seasonally adjusted annual pace in March was 549,000 new homes per year, less than half the 1.2 million units annually that economists consider healthy. The Commerce Department will release the April data on new-home construction Tuesday.

“You can get existing homes at a much cheaper price now, mainly due to foreclosures,” said Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics. “New homes really aren’t competitively priced.”

Fewer new homes mean fewer jobs. Each new home built creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in taxes, according to the builders’ trade group.

The trade group cited a handful of factors weighing on the housing market. Some were familiar — tighter lending standards, high unemployment and an increase in the number of homes sold at foreclosure.

But the builders’ group also noted that higher gas prices were creating “consumer anxiety and reluctance to go forward with a home purchase,” said the group’s chairman, Reno, Nev., home builder Bob Nielsen.

About 90 percent of the builders surveyed said potential buyers are also holding back on purchases because they are concerned they won’t be able to sell their current home at a favorable price.

Economists expect home prices will continue to struggle this year before a modest recovery takes hold. The hardest-hit states, including Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada, are inundated with foreclosures and short sales, when a lender allows a borrower to sell their property for less than what is owed on the mortgage.

Builders had been hopeful that a strong spring season, traditionally the best time for home construction, could help power a turnaround. But that has yet to happen.

Regionally, the West saw a two-point gain and the South received a one-point gain in their index of construction activity, both to 16. The Midwest held steady at 14. The Northeast fell five points, to 15.

The index gauging current conditions rose one point, to 16, while the recorded foot traffic of prospective buyers also rose by a point, to 14. But the outlook for the next six months fell two points, to 20. That was the lowest level in eight months.

The survey is analyzed by the builders’ trade group and Wells Fargo. This month’s survey was based on the responses of 339 builders.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/05/16/national/w070100D39.DTL

31

05 2011

Mill Valley, California Real Estate Overview

From February 11th to April 11th,2011, the median sales price for homes sold in Mill Valley was $874,000.  The median is 0.6% lower than the median from the prior quarter, and 7 % below the median from the same quarter the year before.  Average sales prices have now declined nearly 16% over the last five years in Mill Valley.  In the week ended May 4th, the average listing price for homes on the market in Mill Valley was $1,370,000, about 0.3% higher than the average listing price the week before, and about $52,000 higher, or 4%, than the average price a month earlier.  The average price per square foot during this time for Mill Valley homes listed for sale was just over $490, representing an 11% decline from the same period in 2010.

10

05 2011

Mortgage Applications Down 5.6 Percent

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday that applications for U.S. home mortgages fell last week as an increase in insurance premiums for government-backed loans hurt demand.  The MBA’s seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes data for both purchase and refinance loan requests, fell 5.6 percent in the week ended April 22nd.

The report denotes the reversal of a recent trend, in which mortgage activity has increased for several straight weeks, a trend analysts say was likely driven by buyers trying to beat the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s raising of insurance premiums.

The agency’s seasonally adjusted index of purchase loan applications fell 13.6 percent, while its measure of refinance loan requests slipped 0.6 percent.  Interest rates dipped during the week, meanwhile, with the average rate for a 30 year, fixed-rate mortgage falling from 4.83 percent to 4.80 percent.

08

05 2011

Kentfield Single Family Sales Historical Results

Kentfield Data Historical:

YEAR AVERAGE

SALE PRICE

MEDIAN

SALE PRICE

PERCENT ±
TOTAL

SALES

AVG.

DOM*

2010 $1,893,380 $1,837,000 14.63% 62 77
2009 $2,185,576 $1,602,500 -14.53% 38 98
2008 $2,329,732 $1,875,000
-4.53%
41 75
2007 $2,460,331 $1,960,000
24.64%
76 67
2006 $1,656,764 $1,575,000
-12.13%
53 58
2005 $2,290,289 $1,797,500
3.20%
64 77
2004 $1,859,451 $1,740,000
20.67%
76 73
2003 $1,690,521 $1,450,000
-3.45%
79 86
2002 $1,735,034 $1,500,000
26.17%
79 92
2001 $1,526,932 $1,182,500
-9.94%
52 89
2000 $1,637,076 $1,300,000
9.01%
69 63
1999 $1,351,379 $1,192,500
46.77%
88 70
1998 $988,564 $812,500
16.87%
72 72
1997 $842,113 $699,800
8.53%
77 93
1996 $718,645 $645,000
-9.15%
64 85

04

02 2011