Job Growth – How do we Rank?

Posted in Economic Updates, by Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist on April 10, 2014

    • North Dakota has been dethroned, knocked from the top as the best job creating state in the latest state level jobs data. Nevada moved to the top with a 3.8 percent job addition rate over the past 12 months versus North Dakota’s 3.7 percent. Despite this change, North Dakota is still the king in terms of longer-term job growth.
    • Colorado, Florida, and Oregon round out the top-five fastest job creating states.
    • On the bottom, New Mexico and Kentucky encountered very modest net job losses. New Jersey, Virginia, and Alaska had minimal or no job creation.
    • Large cities are doing relatively well. That means traffic jams are getting worse in these markets, simply a byproduct of more people driving to work. San Jose in particular is red hot, with a 4.4 percent job growth rate. That is why both rent and home prices are escalating as more people seek housing in areas where there is minimal new home construction
    • Detroit is reversing some of its recent gains in jobs. In the latest data, Detroit shed 4,200 jobs. But the western part of the state is doing well, with Grand Rapids job growth rising by 3.0 percent.
    • Irrespective of short-term job market trends, over the long haul job creation will favor large major cities because job growth will be faster in professional services than in manufacturing or agriculture. Jobs like accounting, software development, legal services, management consultants, and medical services will principally be in cities. Moreover, people are drawn to large cities because of cultural amenities that only a large city can justify, such as concerts, museums, and zoos. Companies, knowing that talented workers are drawn to cities, will want to be based in large cities to have access to a large pool of potential job candidates. Traffic unfortunately will get hellish. That is why developers of condominiums near downtowns in traffic congested cities can anticipate turning a good profit.

California is ranked 9th in the country with a job growth rate of 2.3% over a 12-month period.

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Tricks of the Trade to Get Top Dollar for your Home

Selling Secret #10: Pricing it right Find out what your home is worth, then shave 15 to 20 percent off the price. It takes real courage and most sellers just don’t want to risk it, but it’s the single best strategy to sell a home in today’s market.

Selling Secret #9: Half-empty closets Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what’s left in there.

Selling Secret #8: Light it up Maximize the light in your home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine.

Selling Secret #7: Play the agent field Make sure you have a broker who is totally informed. They must constantly monitor the multiple listing service (MLS), know what properties are going on the market and know the comps in your neighborhood.

Selling Secret #6: Conceal the critters Not everybody is a dog- or cat-lover. If you’re planning an open house, send the critters to a pet hotel for the day.

Selling Secret #5: Don’t over-upgrade Get a new fresh coat of paint on the walls. Replace door handles, cabinet hardware, make sure closet doors are on track, fix leaky faucets and clean the grout.

Selling Secret #4: Take the home out of your house One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it. Consider hiring a home stager to maximize the full potential of your home.

Selling Secret #3: The kitchen comes first You’re not actually selling your house, you’re selling your kitchen — that’s how important it is.

Selling Secret #2: Always be ready to show Your house needs to be “show-ready” at all times — you never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door.

Selling Secret #1: The first impression is the only impression No matter how good the interior of your home looks, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door.


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Quick Safety Test for Your Outlets

A receptacle tester or outlet tester is a device used to verify that a 3-prong wall outlet is wired properly. The tester is a small device containing a power plug and several indicator lights. The tester determines if the outlet has power connected and that the outlet is properly wired for safe operation.

In order for an outlet to be functional it must have, at a minimum, a live or “hot” connection to a varying electrical voltage, and a neutral connection to complete the circuit.

The more important role of the outlet tester is to not only verify that electricity is present in the outlet but that the outlet is properly wired, with each plug being connected to the proper wire.

Simple three light testers cannot detect two potentially serious house wiring errors: (1) neutral and ground reversed at the receptacle, and (2) a “bootleg” ground, where the neutral and ground pins have been connected together at the receptacle. (Done by someone to attempt to fool the three light tester, typically if 3-prong outlets have been retrofitted to an old house with only two physical wires in the conduit.)

Receptacle Tester

The receptacle tester is a quick test only – consultation with a licensed electrician is always recommended if you have questions regarding the wiring in your home.  If you have purchased an older home and want to test your outlets you can buy a simple receptacle or outlet tester for about $10.

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Housing Inventory in the Mid-Peninsula

For a balanced real estate market, there should be approximately 5-6 months of inventory for sale (example: if 100 homes sold last month, we would need 500-600 homes available for sale). The spring selling season typically begins to heat up in February, so we should see inventory increasing. As you can see, housing inventory for the last two months of 2013 was very low in Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale.

We continue to see a high demand and multiple offers for “good” homes.

November 2013


Month-End Inventory

Closed Sales

Median Sales Price

Los Altos




Los Altos Hills




Mountain View




Palo Alto




Santa Clara








December 2013


Month-End Inventory

Closed Sales

Median Sales Price

Los Altos




Los Altos Hills




Mountain View




Palo Alto




Santa Clara








Posted in Bay Area - General, Buying, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Selling, Sunnyvale | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

3 Housing Projections for 2014

Excerpt from The KCM Blog, January 2, 2014

The KCM Blog is an excellent site which shares real estate and market information, primarily for agents.  Their opinions and forecasts are reasonable and in my opinion, accurate.  These are just 3 of their predictions for 2014:

1.    Home Sales Will Surge – Home sales will skyrocket with increases of 10-15% in 2014. In 2013 we saw increases of 20% in values in some areas in the mid-Peninsula.

2.    Supply Will Struggle to Keep Up with Demand – Nothing new here, Deja vu…

3.    Interest Rates Will Increase Significantly – Rates will be closer to 6% than 5% by year’s end.

Do you know what a 1% change in interest rates does to buying power?


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Identity Theft During the Holidays…

Last month I was one of those affected by the Target security breach in which credit card information was obtained by hackers.  My card was automatically replaced by my vigilant credit card company.  I also received a letter from the US Post Office today that a suspect had been arrested last month who was in possession of stolen mail, including some of my personal mail.  Seriously? Two thefts of my personal information within a few weeks?

The holidays are a busy time for all of us, including thieves. 


1.  Remove mail from your mailbox as soon after delivery as possible

2.  Don’t have packages delivered to an address where no one is at home

3.  Watch your credit card statements carefully during the holidays, report unexpected charges to your credit card company immediately

Today I made another purchase at Target, this time I paid cash…


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Mandated Update of Fixtures? CA Senate Bill 407…

I just heard this on the radio and thought I should check it out.  Senate Bill 407, passed in 2009 and effective on January 1, 2014, requires any homeowner doing a permit-mandated remodel (including updates to a bathroom, kitchen, or expansion of a home) to replace all water fixtures in the home (toilets, sink faucets, shower heads, bath faucets).  All.

This is actual text from the bill:  “This bill would establish requirements for residential and commercial real property built and available for use on or before January 1, 1994, for replacing plumbing fixtures that are not water conserving, as defined as noncompliant plumbing fixtures. On and after January 1, 2014, the bill would require, for all building alterations or improvements to single-family residential real property, as defined, that water-conserving plumbing fixtures replace other noncompliant plumbing fixtures as a condition for issuance of a certificate of final completion and occupancy or final permit approval by the local building department. By creating a new duty to inspect for local officials, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would require, on or before January 1, 2017, that all noncompliant plumbing fixtures in any single-family residential real property shall be replaced by the property owner with water-conserving plumbing fixtures.”

What do you think?

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