Incline Village at Lake Tahoe, Nevada Real Estate and Community News

July 24, 2017

REAL ESTATE AND MORTGAGE RATES - LAST WEEK IN REVIEW AND FORECAST FOR THIS WEEK

After three straight monthly declines, Housing Starts jumped in June. Building Permits did too.

Housing Starts surged 8.3 percent from May to an annual rate of 1.215 million units, the Commerce Department reported. This is the highest level since February. Single-family starts, which represent the largest share of the residential housing market, rose 6.3 percent. The multi-family dwelling sector soared as well. Housing Starts also were up 2.1 percent from June 2016.

June Building Permits, a sign of future construction, also rose 7.4 percent from May's revised figure to an annual rate of 1.254 million.

While the increase in Housing Starts and Building Permits is positive news, both have some ground to cover. Inventories for existing and new home sales are still running below what is considered the normal six-month supply. In addition, higher prices for lumber and shortages of workers and land space could be potential hurdles to jump in the near future for new homebuilding.

At this time, home loan rates remain just above historic lows.

If you or someone you know has questions about home financing or home loan rates please contact me. I'd be happy to help.

Forecast for the Week

Fed monetary policy could be the cherry on top of this week's five-layer data cake.

Housing data kicks off on Monday with Existing Homes Sales, followed by the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index on Tuesday and New Home Sales on Wednesday.

Consumer Confidence will be delivered on Tuesday while the Consumer Sentiment Index releases on Friday.

Though not an economic report, the Federal Open Market Committee meeting begins Tuesday and will end on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. ET with the release of the monetary policy statement.

Durable Goods Orders and weekly Initial Jobless Claims will be delivered on Thursday.

And last but not least, the first reading on second quarter 2017 Gross Domestic Product will be released on Friday along with the wage-inflation-reading Employment Cost Index.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve. In contrast, strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond on which home loan rates are based.

When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving. When Bond prices are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.

To go one step further, a red "candle" means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green "candle" means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes are on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.

As you can see in the chart below, Mortgage Bond prices have edged higher in recent days leaving home loan rates in attractive territory.

Chart: Fannie Mae 3.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday Jul 21, 2017)

Posted in Real Estate News
July 24, 2017

BUYER, BEWARE: 5 HOME-BUYING NEGOTIATION TACTICS THAT CAN BACKFIRE

There's no denying that buying a home is a costly endeavor—in fact, it's likely the most expensive purchase you'll ever make.

So it makes sense to try to negotiate where you can. Save a few bucks here, get a few things thrown in there, right? We hear ya—we're all about making a smart offer that doesn't leave you house-poor.

But when it comes time to negotiate, there are a few strategies you should avoid, lest you risk offending the seller and losing your shot at your dream home. This is especially true in a red-hot seller's market, where the seller might have a number of tempting offers and is looking for anything that breaks the tie.

Of course, the key to smart negotiating is having the right team in place to advocate for you without alienating the other party. Sellers (and their agents) might be reluctant to deal with you if your agent is perceived as being difficult or—worse—shady, says Cara Ameer, a Realtor® in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. And if a seller is dealing with multiple offers, that could be enough to get you sent to the bottom of the pile. So find out the word on the street about your agent by talking to people you trust.

And then help your agent help you into a great home by not trying to pull off one of these misguided maneuvers.

1. MAKING A LOWBALL OFFER

How low can you go? That seems to be the game some buyers play, assuming that if they start really low, they’ll end up getting the house for a song.

Gary Lucido, president of Chicago-area firm Lucid Realty, says that buyer’s agents commonly dissuade their clients from this tactic because they fear it will “insult” the seller. But the problem might be bigger than just hurting someone’s feelings.

“The real issue in starting well below the market value is that it costs you credibility,” he says. “The seller either thinks you don’t know the market or you are looking to take advantage of someone, and in either case, they don’t want to deal with you.”

The bottom line: The seller has a number in mind, and whether you start at $1 or $300,000, it only matters if you can hit the seller’s lowest target selling price.

“You’re not going to lower their target by starting at a lower number,” Lucido says.

2. ASKING FOR A BUNCH OF ADD-ONS

You’ve found a place that's within your budget. What's more, you've fallen in love with the home—and everything in it.

You might be feeling emboldened to ask for more than just the house, but you should resist that temptation, says Ameer. She’s seen buyers who think it’s a good idea to ask for furniture or appliances to be thrown in for free, or expect that the sellers will just leave their patio furniture because it “goes so well” with the house.

Apparently the adage “it doesn't hurt to ask” doesn’t apply in this situation.

“Sellers become totally offended when you keep asking for more, and you risk alienating them,” Ameer says. “Even if they don’t like their patio furniture anymore, they’d typically rather sell it on Craigslist than leave it for a greedy buyer.”

Of course, you can always ask to buy their stuff—in that case, they'd probably be flattered!

3. USING THE INSPECTION AS A RENEGOTIATION TOOL

So, your offer was accepted, but then you start to get cold feet and you subconsciously (or consciously!) start searching for flaws that you could use as leverage to lower the price.

“Most inspectors are going to find something to recommend—such as adding gutters, improving the drainage, or upgrading all the smoke detectors—but those aren’t repairs that the seller is responsible for,” Ameer says.

If the inspection turns up something major (like a cracked foundation), by all means that should be discussed. But you shouldn’t demand that the sellers fix every minor thing or lower their price.

“You can’t expect a perfect house,” Ameer says. “If you’re constantly nickel-and-diming the seller, they might decide you’re not someone they want to do business with.”

Mind you, the sellers generally can't just back out because they're unhappy, but if both parties are unable to come to an agreement regarding repairs, they can both decide to abandon the deal.

Remember how much you have already invested in the process, in terms of time and money, and be willing to let the little things go.

4. NEGOTIATING WITH INCREMENTAL AMOUNTS

Nobody wants to pay more than they have to for a home—why offer $350,000 when you could have it for $325,000? But if you engage in too much back-and-forth, you'll risk alienating the seller. When buyers insist on making incremental counteroffers, they're just giving sellers a chance to move on to the next buyer, says George Theodore, a senior real estate adviser in Miami.

So, for example, if you’re ultimately willing to go up $8,000, don’t make four additional offers of $2,000 each.

“This tactic just tires out both sides and prolongs the transaction since you usually give each party 48 hours to reply," Theodore says. It "actually gets you nowhere tactically or psychologically.”

5. MAKING A 'ONE-WAY OFFER'

Just as the seller has a target price in mind, you probably have a point at which you'll be unwilling to budge. But one of the worst things you can do is advertise this to the seller.

Ameer calls this the "one-way offer," where buyers dig in their heels and state right off the bat, "This is our offer, you have X amount of time to respond, and if you don't take it, we're moving on."

"This just puts the seller on the defensive and usually is a path to a dead-end offer," Ameer says.

It seems like an obvious no-no, right? Well, even in this red-hot seller's market, Ameer has seen buyers push for this tactic despite her warnings—especially if the buyer is offering all cash, or if the property has been on the market for a while. She calls it the "seller-is-lucky-to-have-me syndrome."

"Sometimes buyers have to try this tactic themselves to see how it really ends up before they decide to get with reality," Ameer says.

Posted in Buying a Home
July 10, 2017

REAL ESTATE AND MORTGAGE RATES - LAST WEEK IN REVIEW AND FORECAST FOR THIS WEEK

More Americans were headed to work, but take-home pay stayed about the same.

Employers added 222,000 new jobs in June, well above expectations, the Labor Department reported. April was revised up from 174,000 to 207,000, and May was revised up from 138,000 to 152,000 jobs. With these revisions, employment gains in April and May combined were 47,000 more than previously reported. The unemployment rate was little changed at 4.4 percent. Employment growth has averaged 180,000 per month in 2017, in line with the average monthly gain of 187,000 jobs in 2016.

However, average hourly earnings showed just a 0.2 percent gain from May and 2.5 percent gain year over year. May's reading was revised lower to just 0.1 percent.

Also of note, the minutes from the June Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting were released. While investors were looking for a signal to when the Fed might start trimming its $4 trillion balance sheet, the minutes showed a divided group on the timing. Mixed economic growth and tame inflation remained central to FOMC discussions as the committee crafted monetary policy. Strong economic news and rising inflation can negatively impact Bond prices and the home loan rates tied to them.

A big market mover this week came courtesy of the Fed's equivalent overseas, the European Central Bank. Positive economic outlook catapulted yields in Europe.

For now, home loan rates here at home remain in attractive territory.

Please contact me today if you have any questions about home loan rates or loan products. I'm here to help.

Forecast for the Week

Inflation and Retail Sales numbers are the ones to watch.

Although not an economic report, the Fed's Beige Book releases Wednesday, giving anecdotal information on business and economic conditions across the country.

Thursday brings wholesale inflation via the Producer Price Index as well as the usual weekly Initial Jobless Claims.

The Consumer Price Index, Retail Sales and Consumer Sentiment Index are scheduled for Friday.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve. In contrast, strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond on which home loan rates are based.

When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving. When Bond prices are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.

To go one step further, a red "candle" means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green "candle" means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes are on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.

As you can see in the chart below, Mortgage Bonds buckled under some pressure from positive economic news out of the European Central Bank recently. Home loan rates remain attractive.

Chart: Fannie Mae 3.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday Jul 07, 2017)

Posted in Real Estate News
July 10, 2017

SIERRA SOTHEBY'S RELEASES Q2 LAKE TAHOE MARKET DATA

2nd Quarter | Lake Tahoe, Truckee & Surrounding Areas

Lake Tahoe, Truckee and surrounding area real estate market trends can vary dramatically from neighborhood to neighborhood. Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty compiles quarterly micro market statistics from four different multiple listing services to help you better understand values, identify opportunities and make informed real estate decisions. Follow the links below to review regional Micro-Market reports drilled down by specific neighborhoods.

If your community is not listed or you’re unsure what the data means for your situation, please don't hesitate to contact me.

CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW TO ACCESS YOUR AREA OF INTEREST

EAST SHORE | INCLINE VILLAGE | NORTH & WEST SHORE | RENO | SOUTH LAKE | TRUCKEE

Posted in Market Updates
July 3, 2017

REAL ESTATE AND MORTGAGE RATES - LAST WEEK IN REVIEW AND FORECAST FOR THIS WEEK

Families may find themselves living on love as they invest more on increasing home prices.

The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index saw another gain of 5.7 percent from April 2016 to April 2017. Price increases are due in part to limited supply of housing in many areas across the nation. Plus, low home loan rates are inspiring people to purchase homes or upgrade their homes, taxing limited inventory.

The overall economy performed better than previously reported in the first quarter of 2017, according to the Commerce Department. The final read on first quarter Gross Domestic Product came in at 1.4 percent, above the second read of 1.2 percent, and well above the first read of 0.7 percent. Consumer spending, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of all economic activity, got a nice boost, rising 1.1 percent from 0.6 percent, though this is still a low level.

Consumer inflation remained tame in May, as the Core Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) was in line with expectations at 0.1 percent. The Core PCE reading excludes volatile food and energy costs. Year over year, Core PCE fell to 1.4 percent, well below the Fed's target range of 2 percent. Inflationary pressures can reduce the value of fixed investments like Mortgage Bonds and worsen the home loan rates tied to them.

At this time, despite a volatile week in the markets, home loan rates remain just above historic lows.

If you or someone you know has any questions about the home loan process or current rates, please contact me today. I'd be happy to help.

Forecast for the Week

The Jobs Report could launch fireworks in an otherwise quieter week. Stock markets close at 1:00 p.m. ET and Bond markets at 2:00 p.m. ET, Monday, July 3. Markets will be closed Tuesday for the July 4th holiday.

The ISM Index will be released on Monday followed by the ISM Services Index Thursday.

Though not an economic report, the June Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes will be released Wednesday and could spur volatility.

The onslaught of employment data begins Thursday with the ADP National Employment Report and weekly Initial Jobless Claims.

Look for the June Jobs Report on Friday, which includes Non-farm Payrolls, the Unemployment Rate and Hourly Earnings.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve. In contrast, strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond on which home loan rates are based.

When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving. When Bond prices are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.

To go one step further, a red "candle" means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green "candle" means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes are on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.

As you can see in the chart below, Mortgage Bonds lost ground in recent days heading into what should be a quiet holiday trading week.

Chart: Fannie Mae 3.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday Jun 30, 2017)

Posted in Real Estate News
June 24, 2017

12 BILLION GALLONS OF WATER POUR INTO LAKE TAHOE AMID THIS WEEK'S HEAT WAVE

The process of the Sierra Nevada spring snow melt sped up this week as a heat wave brought triple-digit temperatures to parts of the Western United States.

A thawing snowpack that's massive after a brutal winter fed rivers and reservoirs with high-flowing runoff.

One place that saw a stunning impact from all the runoff is Lake Tahoe.

More than 12 billion gallons of water poured into the lake over the past week.

That's a staggering amount of water, and resulted in the lake level rising four inches since June 16.

That rise occurred while intense heat increased evaporation rates from the lake's surface. What's more, water managers have been releasing water from the lake into the Truckee River for the past 120 consecutive days to make room for snow-melt runoff.

"It's not typical to spill at all," says U.S. District Court Water Master Chad Blanchard. "It's only on the big years when you have to release water."

To further understand the significance of a four-inch gain in a week consider that during the spring snow melt season at the height of the California drought in 2015, the lake rose two and a half inches across several months.

With all this water, the lake is now only three inches from filling — and will likely reach full capacity in mid-July, Blanchard says.

If it fills it will be for the first time in 11 years, and the total amount it will have risen across the water-year between Oct. 1 and Sept. 30 will be record-breaking.

Straddling the California–Nevada border, Tahoe is the sixth largest lake in the United States, an outdoor playground for people around the world, and the main water source for the Reno-Sparks area in Nevada, as reported previously on SFGATE. The renowned ecological wonder is fed by 63 tributaries that drain 505 square miles known as the Lake Tahoe Watershed. With a vast surface area of 191 square miles, Tahoe requires an immense amount of water to fill, especially because roughly 100 billion gallons of water evaporates annually.

Lake Tahoe's natural rim is at 6,223 feet above sea level. The lake can store an additional 6.1 feet in its reservoir and climbs up to 6,229.1 feet at full capacity, its legal maximum limit. The only outlet, a dam at Tahoe City, regulates the upper 6.1 feet above the low water mark, and this winter water is being released into the Truckee River as billions of gallons flow into the lake.

When thunderstorm clouds moved over lake Tahoe on June 18, 2017, it created the perfect tableau for a gorgeous sunset.

As of Friday morning, the lake was at 6,228.84 feet, and Blanchard says they are releasing 800 cubic feet per second this week to prevent flooding. Releases in June have reached as high as 1,600 cubic feet per second.

The lake still needs some 30,000 acre feet of water to fill and a lot more than that will be dumping into Tahoe in coming months.

"All that high snow lasts so long," Blanchard says. "We're trying manage it to ensure that we fill, but we have to be able to adjust and compensate for variations in the actual runoff compared to the forecast. We could have filled it months ago, the inflow can be so much higher than your release capacity."

Posted in Community News
June 23, 2017

RENO IS STARTING TO LOOK MORE LIKE SILICON VALLEY

Reno Is Starting to Look More Like Silicon Valley

Run-the-robots jobs at Tesla’s Gigafactory and elsewhere are turning the city into a hipster haven.

 

“Are you with Tesla or Panasonic?” the waitress asks with a smile. It’s morning in Reno, and it’s natural to assume anyone eating breakfast among the rustic wood walls and Instagram-worthy succulents of the Whitney Peak Hotel would work at the mammoth Tesla Gigafactory, jointly run by the two tech companies. For transplants landing in Reno, the boutique hotel, formerly a casino, has become a common crash pad—albeit one wrapped by an outdoor rock-climbing wall.

Around 8:30 a.m., the men arrive in waves. The Panasonic workers from Japan head for one buffet, with rice, pork, and miso soup; the Tesla crowd favors eggs. Soon they’re gone, traveling by carpools and shuttles 20 miles east into the desert to the factory, where they’ll make lithium ion batteries to power Tesla’s electric cars.

 

Not long ago, Reno was a home foreclosure capital and fading casino town. “There was only one place to go, and that was up,” says Mayor Hillary Schieve. Unemployment peaked at almost 14 percent in 2011, when Governor Brian Sandoval signed a law aiming to diversify the state’s economy, recognizing that gambling alone can’t sustain a workforce.

The Reno area scored some early wins, such as a new, highly automated factory run by Ardagh Group SA that churns out 3.5 million cans of tomato paste and other food products a day. Then came the big get in 2014, when Tesla Inc. chose the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center to build what will be the largest factory in the world and promised to create 6,500 permanent jobs in exchange for $1.3 billion in tax incentives.

“What Tesla did was it took our success and made it huge by reinforcing the message,” says Mike Kazmierski, president of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada. More companies have expanded or moved to the area since. Reno’s unemployment rate is below 4 percent for the first time since 2006, and the fastest job growth in the region comes from manufacturing, employing almost 15,000 workers, up 15 percent in the past two years.

 

While 21st-century U.S. manufacturing depends on robots and automated systems, squeezing out many of the traditional middle-class jobs associated with industrial production, there’s still room for humans in new factories. They just need a lot more training to work alongside the robots, monitor their performance, code their brains, and maintain their systems.

The telltale signs of gentrification in Reno are creeping in. Thousands throng to the weekly Food Truck Fridays near downtown, dudes play cornhole while sipping cold brew coffee at a cafe by the river, and a local bartender can’t quite keep track of the number of craft breweries. Kristen Jaskulski opened Sol, a Polynesian kava bar, a few months ago and says the business is hitting its stride. The hipster scene helps young workers imagine moving to Reno, and those who can land these new kinds of factory jobs tend to have cash to spend once they arrive.

Sitting on a balcony overlooking the Truckee River, Jake Warner, the young chief executive officer of cloud-computing startup Cycle, says he considered moving his company and its handful of employees from Toledo, Ohio, to Austin, Seattle—or Reno. “Elon Musk is just my idol,” he says. “I bought Tesla on IPO day.” While Cycle doesn’t manufacture products, he figured Musk must have seen something special in Reno and that other techies would follow the hype.

Tesla may have put Reno on Warner’s radar, but it alone didn’t seal the deal. “Have you been to the Basement?” Warner asks, gesturing across the river to an old post office, where the bottom floor’s been converted to a food hall and marketplace. “That,” he says, “was the closer.” There, visitors can get a straight razor shave at the old-timey barbershop Beautiful Bearded Man or taste a bourbon truffle from Sugar Love Chocolates. A West Elm opened upstairs last fall, and a Patagonia store opened a block away in February.

 

For years, students at the University of Nevada at Reno mostly left town after graduation. But after the state’s tax deal with Tesla was announced, UNR’s engineering college booked a large auditorium for an information session with the electric-car maker. When 800 students showed up, “we had to open up another room in a hurry,” says Indira Chatterjee, associate dean of engineering. At Tesla’s request, the department created two academic minors, one in battery engineering and the other in manufacturing quality, she says, but the excitement over Gigafactory work outpaced the reality of the time it took before hiring would start. “In our view, it was not fast enough,” Chatterjee says. Her grads have slowly started getting jobs; on a recent tour of the Gigafactory, she ran into three alumni.

Construction on the Gigafactory began in 2014, and Tesla and Panasonic Corp. are finally staffing up in real numbers. In January, Panasonic told Nevada that it’ll hire as many as 3,000 workers this year. In a state with an $8.25 minimum wage, the entry-level position at Panasonic starts at $14 an hour, and the next level up is $17. A technician starts at about $23 an hour, Panasonic tells applicants on its Facebook page. Nevadans can enroll at Truckee Meadows Community College in a free training program on the Fanuc robots used at the factory.

While many residents may say good riddance to the Reno of $5.99 prime rib casino dinners, the change has come so quickly, it can be tough for the region to adapt. Some locals were outraged that Reno has been spending money to install Burning Man art around the city instead of fixing potholes or adding beds at homeless shelters. The art is “supercool, but people went crazy,” says Mayor Schieve.

 

Other industries are feeling a squeeze. “If there is a dark side, it’s that you can’t snap your fingers and create 20,000 light industrial workers overnight,” says Celeste Johnson, president of the local staffing firm Applied Cos. The boom, she says, has driven up wages at employers such as the warehouses for online retailers. But raises aren’t keeping up with costs for everyone, so some longtime residents are worried about being displaced. Median home prices are up 18 percent in the past two years, according to the Reno/Sparks Association of Realtors. This summer, new Tesla employees will live in UNR dorms, a temporary fix.

Until then, there’s always home back at the Whitney Peak Hotel. As the sun sets over the Sierra Nevada, shuttle buses cycle by in front of the hotel, and Panasonic workers scramble down. Some cram into the hotel elevator in search of their beds. Others fan out into the downtown streets.

Posted in Community News
June 21, 2017

INCLINE VILLAGE MARKET ACTION INDEX

Incline Village Market Action Index

Posted in Market Updates
June 19, 2017

LAKE TAHOE’S WATERS RUN DEEP

Whether you call it Big Blue, the Lake of the Sky — or, as Mark Twain so famously wrote in his masterpiece Roughing It, "the fairest picture the whole earth affords" — one thing is for certain: We all are here because of Lake Tahoe.

But just how much do you know about this magical body of water and the Lake Tahoe Basin as a whole?

For example, did you know that scientists have determined the basin was formed by geologic block faulting about 2 to 3 million years ago?

"A geologic block fault is a fracture in the Earth's crust causing blocks of land to move up or down," according to the U.S. Geological Survey. "Uplifted blocks created the Carson Range on the east and the Sierra Nevada on the west. Down-dropped blocks created the Lake Tahoe Basin in between."

Whether you call it Big Blue, the Lake of the Sky — or, as Mark Twain so famously wrote in his masterpiece Roughing It, "the fairest picture the whole earth affords" — one thing is for certain: We all are here because of Lake Tahoe.

But just how much do you know about this magical body of water and the Lake Tahoe Basin as a whole?

For example, did you know that scientists have determined the basin was formed by geologic block faulting about 2 to 3 million years ago?

"A geologic block fault is a fracture in the Earth's crust causing blocks of land to move up or down," according to the U.S. Geological Survey. "Uplifted blocks created the Carson Range on the east and the Sierra Nevada on the west. Down-dropped blocks created the Lake Tahoe Basin in between."

“Uplifted blocks created the Carson Range on the east and the Sierra Nevada on the west. Down-dropped blocks created the Lake Tahoe Basin in between.”U.S. Geological Survey

From there, a combination of snow, rain and streams filled the southern and lowest part of the basin, forming the ancestral Lake Tahoe, according to the USGS, and modern Lake Tahoe was eventually shaped and landscaped by scouring glaciers during the Ice Age.

So there you have it. A deep history, indeed.

With that in mind, here are Tahoe Magazine's Top 10 need-to-know numbers and fun facts about the greatest lake in the world, courtesy of staff research, historic reports and information published by the USGS.

1. A Long History: While the Lake Tahoe Basin had been occupied for centuries by members of the Washoe Tribe, the lake was "officially" discovered in 1844 by U.S. Gen. John C. Fremont.

2. What's In A Name: By 1853, the lake's official name was "Lake Bigler," in honor of California Gov. John Bigler. The U.S. Department of the Interior introduced the name Tahoe in 1862, and both names were used until 1945, when the lake received its official and final designation as Lake Tahoe.

3. Golden State Dominates: The Lake Tahoe Basin is divided by the Nevada-California state line at Stateline on the South Shore and Crystal Bay to the north. Casinos at both shores make it clear where the state lines exist. About 1/3 of the basin lies in Nevada, with the other 2/3 in California.

4. Now That's Deep: A maximum depth of 1,645 feet in Crystal Bay makes Tahoe the second deepest lake in the United States (behind Oregon's Crater Lake at 1,949 feet) and the third deepest in North America (behind Great Slave Lake in Canada's Northwest Territories at 2,015 feet).

5. High In The Sky: Lake Tahoe's natural rim is at 6,223 feet in elevation, and the maximum legal limit is 6,229.1 feet. Since 1987, levels have fluctuated from 6,220.26 feet during the prolonged drought in 1992, to 6,229.39 feet during the flood of January 1997.

6. Record-Setting: As of late April 2017, Lake Tahoe's water level hovered at 6,228 feet, the highest its been in years thanks to a record-setting 2016-17 winter in terms of snowfall. Water officials predict levels will breach the 6,299.1-foot legal limit by July 2017.

7. Perfect Peaks: About 78 percent of the basin is at altitudes from about 6,500 feet to greater than 10,000 feet. At 10,881 feet, Freel Peak is the tallest peak in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Jobs Sister is just behind at 10,823 feet, followed by Mt. Rose (10,778 feet) in third place.

8. A Big Footprint: The Lake Tahoe Basin is 506 square miles: The surface area of the lake is 192 square miles, and the watershed area is 314 square miles. To put it another way — Tahoe's 192-square-mile surface area equates to 122,880 acres.

9. Cold Waters: Tahoe's water temperature generally cools to 40-50 degrees in February and March and warms to 65-70 degrees in August and September. Below a depth of 600-700 feet, the temperature remains a constant 39 degrees. And nope, the lake does not freeze.

10. Taking Up Space: The length of Lake Tahoe is roughly 21 miles (north to south), and its width is 11.9 miles (east to west). The floor of the Lake Tahoe Basin is at an elevation of about 4,580 feet, which is lower than the surface of the Carson Valley to the east.

.”U.S. Geological Survey

From there, a combination of snow, rain and streams filled the southern and lowest part of the basin, forming the ancestral Lake Tahoe, according to the USGS, and modern Lake Tahoe was eventually shaped and landscaped by scouring glaciers during the Ice Age.

So there you have it. A deep history, indeed.

With that in mind, here are Tahoe Magazine's Top 10 need-to-know numbers and fun facts about the greatest lake in the world, courtesy of staff research, historic reports and information published by the USGS.

1. A Long History: While the Lake Tahoe Basin had been occupied for centuries by members of the Washoe Tribe, the lake was "officially" discovered in 1844 by U.S. Gen. John C. Fremont.

2. What's In A Name: By 1853, the lake's official name was "Lake Bigler," in honor of California Gov. John Bigler. The U.S. Department of the Interior introduced the name Tahoe in 1862, and both names were used until 1945, when the lake received its official and final designation as Lake Tahoe.

3. Golden State Dominates: The Lake Tahoe Basin is divided by the Nevada-California state line at Stateline on the South Shore and Crystal Bay to the north. Casinos at both shores make it clear where the state lines exist. About 1/3 of the basin lies in Nevada, with the other 2/3 in California.

4. Now That's Deep: A maximum depth of 1,645 feet in Crystal Bay makes Tahoe the second deepest lake in the United States (behind Oregon's Crater Lake at 1,949 feet) and the third deepest in North America (behind Great Slave Lake in Canada's Northwest Territories at 2,015 feet).

5. High In The Sky: Lake Tahoe's natural rim is at 6,223 feet in elevation, and the maximum legal limit is 6,229.1 feet. Since 1987, levels have fluctuated from 6,220.26 feet during the prolonged drought in 1992, to 6,229.39 feet during the flood of January 1997.

6. Record-Setting: As of late April 2017, Lake Tahoe's water level hovered at 6,228 feet, the highest its been in years thanks to a record-setting 2016-17 winter in terms of snowfall. Water officials predict levels will breach the 6,299.1-foot legal limit by July 2017.

7. Perfect Peaks: About 78 percent of the basin is at altitudes from about 6,500 feet to greater than 10,000 feet. At 10,881 feet, Freel Peak is the tallest peak in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Jobs Sister is just behind at 10,823 feet, followed by Mt. Rose (10,778 feet) in third place.

8. A Big Footprint: The Lake Tahoe Basin is 506 square miles: The surface area of the lake is 192 square miles, and the watershed area is 314 square miles. To put it another way — Tahoe's 192-square-mile surface area equates to 122,880 acres.

9. Cold Waters: Tahoe's water temperature generally cools to 40-50 degrees in February and March and warms to 65-70 degrees in August and September. Below a depth of 600-700 feet, the temperature remains a constant 39 degrees. And nope, the lake does not freeze.

10. Taking Up Space: The length of Lake Tahoe is roughly 21 miles (north to south), and its width is 11.9 miles (east to west). The floor of the Lake Tahoe Basin is at an elevation of about 4,580 feet, which is lower than the surface of the Carson Valley to the east.

Posted in Community News
June 19, 2017

REAL ESTATE AND MORTGAGE RATES - LAST WEEK IN REVIEW AND FORECAST FOR THIS WEEK

Despite gains in April, consumers slowed down their purchases in May.

Retail Sales in May saw the biggest decline since January 2016, the Commerce Department reported. Retail Sales were down 0.3 percent from April, in contrast to the 0.1 percent increase expected. Sales for motor vehicles and discretionary spending both fell. But, on a positive note, Retail Sales are up nearly 4 percent from a year ago.

Housing Starts fell 5.5 percent in May from April to an annual rate of 1.092 million units, below expectations per the Commerce Department. It was the lowest rate since September 2016 and the third straight month of declines. Single-family starts, which account for the biggest share of the residential housing market, fell to the lowest level in eight months. Builders cited a lack of skilled workers and a rise in building materials for the decline. Housing Starts are also down 2.4 percent from May 2016. Building Permits, a sign of future construction, fell 5 percent from April to May.

Consumer inflation remained tame in May. Year over year, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell to 1.9 percent after hitting 2.7 percent four months ago. Wholesale inflation as measured by the Producer Price Index was unchanged in May due to lower energy costs.

The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark Fed Funds Rate by a quarter percent after its June meeting, as forecasted, bringing the new target range to between 1.0 and 1.25 percent. This is the rate at which banks lend money to each other overnight and it does not directly impact long-term rates like home loan rates.

Despite recent volatility in the Bond market, home loan rates remain near historic lows.

If you or someone you know is in the market for a home, please contact me today. I'd be happy to answer any questions

Forecast for the Week

April Existing and New Home Sales data disappointed. We'll find out if May's data heated up.

Existing Home Sales will be shared on Wednesday followed by New Home Sales on Friday.

As usual, weekly Initial Jobless Claims will be released on Thursday.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve. In contrast, strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond on which home loan rates are based.

When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving. When Bond prices are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.

To go one step further, a red "candle" means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green "candle" means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes are on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.

As you can see in the chart below, the Mortgage Bond market saw volatility this past week. Home loan rates remain near historic lows.

Chart: Fannie Mae 3.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday Jun 16, 2017)

Posted in Real Estate News