Once again San Diego Ranks #1

San Diego Ranks #1 as Favorite Family Vacation Destination
What is America’s favorite family vacation destination on the U.S. West Coast? What U.S. West Coast city is tops for state-of-the-art playgrounds and parks and restaurants for all ages? According to a recent Travel + Leisure magazine poll, taken in conjunction with America Online’s Travel Channel, San Diego ranked #2 overall as America’s Favorite Family Trip Destination, among 25 of the nation’s most popular destinations, with only New York City scoring higher. Within this category, San Diego also ranked #2 for its state-of-the-art playgrounds and parks (Orlando was #1) ; #2 for restaurants for all ages (Orlando was #1); #3 for ideal hotels and resorts, and #4 for up-to-the-minute fun for teens. More than a half a million respondents rated the many things that make a city a great place to visit—from its great attractions and up-the-the-minute fun for teens to standout museums and historic sites. Among the 25 U.S. cities rated in the survey, San Diego stood tall among the competition, which included Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Phoenix-Scottsdale, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.. The results were published in the June 2004 issues of Travel + Leisure and Travel + Leisure Family magazines. For a complete listing of the survey results, visit Travel + Leisure’s Web site, www.travelandleisure.com/afc

Carlsbad Real Estate – Condo Update!

The Carlsbad Real Estate market reported in the Carlsbad North area reported 30 Carlsbad Condo’s sold at a median price of $477,500 and a 14.6% increase for the month of June 2005. While the Carlsbad South area reported 74 Carlsbad Condo’s sold at a median price of $467,500 and a 10.0% increase for June 2005.

San Diego Padres Make Another Trade!

The Padres dealt veteran first baseman Phil Nevin to the Rangers on Saturday for right-handed pitcher Chan Ho Park and cash considerations. Nevin ranks among San Diego’s career leaders in home runs, doubles and RBIs. Park, 35, was 8-5 with a 5.66 ERA in 20 starts for Texas this year. He has compiled a lifetime record of 102-77 with a 4.29 ERA over 12 seasons. Park was the first Korean to play in the Major Leagues when he debuted with the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 8, 1994 against the Atlanta Braves.

USD report: San Diego economy stabilizing!

By: North County Times wire services
SAN DIEGO —- San Diego County’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators was unchanged in June, breaking five consecutive months of decreases, a University of San Diego economist reported Thursday. The economic forecast for the region calls for slow to moderate growth for the rest of the year, according to professor Alan Gin, who compiles the index for USD’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate. “While the outlook for the local economy is not strong, it is not as negative as was thought in recent months,” Gin’s report states.
A drop in initial claims for unemployment insurance, an increase in local stock prices and a better-than-expected outlook for the national economy all reflected positively on the index, according to Gin.Paradoxically, while unemployment claims were dropping, the number of lines of help-wanted ads also declined.Reflecting poorly on the index was a sharp drop in local consumer confidence. “This remains a concern, as consumer spending is typically two-thirds of economic activity,” the report states.Building permits and local help-wanted advertising were also down.However, a change in the methodology used by the Conference Board to figure the national index of leading economic indicators led to sharp upward revisions in that index, which is used as a component of the San Diego index. The result was a revision of recent local values that softened the decline during the last five months and produced a net change of zero from May to June. The index tracks building permits, unemployment insurance, local stock prices, consumer confidence, help-wanted advertising and the national economy to predict the direction of the local economy.

C.A.R. REPORTS MEDIAN HOME PRICE INCREASED 16 PERCENT IN JUNE

The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California during June 2005 was $542,720, a 16 percent increase over the revised $468,050 median for June 2004, C.A.R. recently reported. The June 2005 median price increased 3.8 percent compared with May’s revised $522,900 median price.”Fixed mortgage interest rates have fallen compared with a year ago and remain below 6 percent,” said C.A.R. President Jim Hamilton. “This continues to propel both sales and the median price of a home as consumers gauge current market conditions against future interest rate increases.”Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 656,310 in June at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations statewide. Statewide home resale activity increased 3.6 percent from the 633,660 sales pace recorded in June 2004.

TITLE INSURERS AGREE TO $37.8 MILLION SETTLEMENT

California’s largest title insurance companies have recently agreed to pay $37.8 million to settle allegations of illegal kickback practices. As part of this settlement, they will refund an average of $300 apiece to 82,000 customers who have purchased or refinanced their homes between 1997 and 2004. The companies involved in this settlement are First American Title Insurance Company, Fidelity National Financial Inc., LandAmerica Financial Corporation, and their subsidiaries.This settlement arose from an investigation by the California Department of Insurance into captive reinsurance arrangements. Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi claimed these arrangements were elaborate schemes for shelling out illegal referral fees funded by premiums paid by consumers. The title insurers involved have now agreed to halt their captive reinsurance practices, but do not admit to any wrongdoing.The kickbacks under investigation were purportedly paid by the title insurers to certain real estate brokerages, lenders, and developers. Although Insurance Commissioner Garamendi does not regulate real estate brokerages, lenders, or developers, “The recipients of these kickbacks are just as culpable,” he said. “We have contacted Governor Schwarzenegger’s administration and will turn over all information and materials and request that they investigate those who are on the receiving end of the illegal kickbacks.”For more information, C.A.R. members may contact C.A.R.’s Member Legal Hotline at 213.739.8282, or for office managers, broker/owners, and designated REALTORS®, call 213.739.8350. Access to Member Legal Hotline is also available through C.A.R. Online at http://www.car.org/index.php?id=NTk2.

Existing Home Sales for June increased from May!

Existing Home Sales for June increased from May, but by more than was expected. The strong performance was “broad based”. The West enjoyed the strongest gain in sales, rising 6% from May. The Northeast was +3%, the Midwest +2% and the South +1%. The strength in existing home sales owes a lot to underlying strong economic supporting factors, but it also contributes to the persistence of a strong economy, and thus rates went up slightly and bond prices down slightly on Monday. Speaking of sales, and lending in general, please take a look at today’s Wall Street Journal, page D1: The feature article is “Mortgage Lenders Loosen Standards”, and discusses such programs as Chase’s no-income verification home equity loans, and Wells’ IO program for non-owner loans.
Today analysts expect the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index to change little from June’s three year high of 105.8, but perhaps move slightly higher. (Why? The Michigan sentiment index may have posted a small gain in July, oil prices have declined over the past two weeks, giving consumers reasonable hope that gasoline prices will follow suit, and an ABC News/Washington Post comfort index & Rasmussen daily confidence index posted small gains on a month-to-month basis.) So far mortgage prices are roughly unchanged; many lenders saw large amounts of fallout & expirations yesterday.
Looking ahead, the picture for interest rates is higher, but most analysts do not expect long-term rates (10-year treasuries and
mortgages) to increase substantially between now and year end. With the economy improving, it’s a safe bet that the Fed will continue increasing the fed funds rate to 4.00% by the end of the year. Energy prices are likely to remain at or near current levels, keeping a lid on inflation concerns. China’s currency float isn’t likely to have a major impact on interest rates. The 2-year note should increase to 4.50% as the Fed moves, and we see the long end increasing to 4.60% to 4.75% as long as the Fed squeezes and the economy remains on its 3.5% growth path.