Hat tip to Mr. T!

We all remember Tom Cruise in the Movie “TOP GUN” when he makes a low pass near the control tower and causes an officer to spill coffee down his shirt. Well, here are short clips of the top 10 low pass flybys ever filmed … and of course for nostalgia, let’s see that Top Gun low pass again.

Pay particular attention to the last shown low pass. It is number one. Watch the halo of water around the plane.  It happened during a Blue Angels event over San Francisco several years ago. It was the pilot’s last show with the team and he had nothing to lose.  Many of the boats in the bay lost windows to the sonic blast. It’s a kick to watch. Number 3 was pretty impressive too.

Multiple Offers Down

2015-01-19 12.35.48

We have demand – the pending-home index is rising! From C.A.R.:


Pending home sales posted higher on a year-over-year basis for the first time since January 2013 and as expected, declined from the previous month due primarily to a seasonal slowdown toward the end of the year, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said today.

Additionally, with the specter of a better economy, greater job growth, and increasing household formation, C.A.R.’s new Market Pulse Survey found that many REALTORS® expect market conditions to improve in 2015, as does C.A.R.

• In the fourth quarter of 2014, the vast majority (87 percent) of REALTORS® expected market conditions to either improve or stay the same over the next year.

• More REALTORS® (61 percent) closed a transaction in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to the first quarter (53 percent).

• In an indication of stabilizing home prices, fewer homes (24 percent) sold above asking price in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to 46 percent in the first quarter.

• Homes selling below asking price rose from 19 percent in the first quarter of 2014 to 48 percent in the fourth quarter, indicating home sellers’ expectations moved more in line with buyers’ expectations toward the end of the year and competition between sellers attempting to appeal to affordability-strapped home buyers increased.

• More than half (58 percent) of properties received multiple offers in the fourth quarter of 2014, down from 69 percent in the first quarter.



While we’re considering other options like shipping containers for homes, aren’t the flower children from the 1960s still interested in communes? Indeed – there are 130 cohousing communities in the country! Hat tip to daytrip.


That communal spirit extends beyond the utility bill. Alexander says daily life among her “true neighbors” is a stark contrast with the suburban subdivisions of her native northern Virginia, where she lived in single-family homes for decades before discovering cohousing.

“I did what everybody did. I was in commuter hell, I didn’t know my neighbors, all that. There wasn’t a choice, or we didn’t know another choice existed,” Alexander says. “Baby boomers are demanding a better way to live. We want to be sustainable; we want community, happiness.”

Joani Blank, 77, lives in Swan’s Market Cohousing in downtown Oakland, California. She has spent 22 years across three cohos and has visited dozens more. Blank says senior citizens struggle with the public perception that cohos are like other senior housing or retirement homes.

“I like living with younger adults. I want to live in a diverse community. That’s the way humans used to live—in multigenerational groups,” says Blank, who founded San Francisco’s Good Vibrations sex shop in 1977.


Affordable Housing Option


Hat tip to daytrip!


All you need is around $2000 to begin building one of these epic homes – made from recycled shipping containers!

A luxury home doesn’t always necessarily mean thousands of square footage, towering great rooms and gilded toilets. Take these homes for example: to begin building one of these epic houses, all you need is $2,000. That $2,000 will buy you a shipping container. What you do with that shipping container… well, that’s completely up to you. Some creative people have found a way to transform this rudimentary “room” with metal siding into luxury housing that blows us away. These homes are epic.


3.25% Mortgage Rates On The Way?

Need more frenzy food?

This guy thinks we’ll see the yield for 10-year-treasuries at 1.50% (and maybe lower).  Mortgage rates have run traditionally about 1.75% above the 10-Y yield:

In August, Komal Sri-Kumar predicted that yields on the U.S. 10-year Treasury note would fall below 2 percent within six months. The 10-year yield sits just above 1.8 percent, and he projects that U.S. bond yields will tank even more.

If the Federal Reserve decides not to raise interest rates in the near future, the U.S. 30-year Treasury yield will slide toward 2 percent while the 10-year will continue lower to about 1.5 percent, Sri-Kumar, president of Sri-Kumar Global Strategies, said Wednesday.

If the Fed decides to raise rates, Sri-Kumar believes the amount by which rates are hiked will determine reaction in both U.S. bond and equity markets. The federal funds rate jumping by a quarter of a point would not have a “significant” effect on U.S. Treasurys, he said.

He also contended that the Fed is more likely to resume quantitative easing by the end of 2015 than raising interest rates by June.

Big Bombers

Just when you think the McMansion might be dying off….these Santaluz-ish new tract homes range from 4,396 sf to 7,384 sf!

They don’t have the mello-roos listed on the price sheet, and I couldn’t find any mention of it on their website either – which means it’s probably in the $400-$500 per month category?

Capital-Gains Tax on Real Estate


Last night we heard a proposal to raise the capital-gains tax.  Can we cut to the chase and dive into reforming the tax code instead?

I don’t want to get into the politics of it, let’s leave that for other bloggers.  Everyone can agree that some sort of tax reform is wanted and needed – and hopefully somebody will pull it off someday.

Realtors hear about it all the time, especially from the long-time owners of rental properties.  The thought of paying a huge tax bill makes them immediately dismiss the idea of selling, because they know if their leave it to their heirs, the stepped-up basis will apply.

We shouldn’t have a tax code that influences real estate decisions. Tax reform should include a neutral stance on when you sell real estate – it should be taxed the same, whether you are dead or alive.

What about the MID, the mortgage-interest deduction?  Let’s get rid of that too, and create a pure marketplace where people buy homes to live in, and raise a family, and not because they get a tax break.

If you have any other reason to buy a house – investment, etc. – then great, but tax benefits shouldn’t be one of those motivators, because they won’t apply to all citizens.

‘Oh Jim, now you’re asking for it. The NAR is going to punch your ticket and throw you out of the club for that kind of crazy talk.’

Yeah?  The National Association of Realtors needs to play a bigger game.  The millions they spend on lobbying could help champion tax reform, instead of sounding like a broken record on the MID.

Here are two articles discussing the topic:

1.  This guys says that something has to give:


2.  This guy points out how small the MID benefit really is:


How Bleak?

Those in the hunt for a house have noticed how tough the inventory has been.  How bad is it?

If you don’t mind spending $2,000,000 or more, there are plenty of choices – in fact, there are 344 NSDCC houses for sale listed at or above $2,000,000.

It’s the lower ranges that are really suffering.

Here are the counts of houses listed for sale at or under $1,000,000:

City or Area
Houses For Sale Under $1,000,000
Avg. LP-per-sf
Carmel Valley
La Jolla
Del Mar
Solana Beach

For an area with a population of 300,000, that’s not much meat on the bone!  The only choices for buyers are uncomfortable too:

1. Figure out how to go higher in price.

2. Consider fixers or condos.

3. Go further out.

4. Wait, and hope it gets better.

December is the slow month for new listings.  The last two Januarys have had the 5th and 6th highest new-listing counts of the year.  Here is how we stack up to previous years:

January New Listings

2011: 515

2012: 409

2013: 410

2014: 413

2015: 230 (so far)

When is the best time to sell? When everyone else isn’t!

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