Monthly Archives: May 2014

Foreclosures are Down, Housing Prices are Up, and Unemployment is Down, Reports Say

John LaRosa 05/29/2014

california real estate market foreclosures, housing price index

A whole slew of good indicators in two CoreLogic reports this past month as well as another key economic indicator. Whether the numbers were up or down the reports represent a return to a previous state of prosperity without all the speculation (hopefully).

The Numbers are In

The March 2014 CoreLogic Foreclosure Report indicates that 48,000 foreclosures were completed in March, this number is down 10% from a year before and has been slowly falling for several years. From 2000-2006 the average number of completed foreclosures was 21,000 per month.

Additionally, CoreLogic’s March 2014 Housing Price Index Report shows that home prices continue to climb with a 11.1% year-over-year increase from last March. This number has been dropping slowly over the past two years and the report predicts it will continue to drop. So let’s see what these ups and downs actually mean for the housing market.

Foreclosures and The Economy

Foreclosures are a reality of the housing market, they occur during times of prosperity and they occur more frequently during times of economic depression. Foreclosures happen for a variety of reasons. Divorce, loss of work, disability, or a medical burden can all lead to a family or individual no longer being able to pay their mortgage. However, the increase in foreclosures that we saw due to the housing market crash of 2008 was by no means typical.

In the early 2000’s home values were increasing at a frenzied pace and everyone wanted a piece of the action. Many lenders and loan officers were approving borrowers for loans they couldn’t actually afford, often with Adjustable Rate Mortgages. When these borrowers began to default on their mortgages en masse in 2006, the financial institutions that owned the mortgages began to lose money at a cataclysmic rate. Thus began the snowball effect that knocked the economy in to state of recession and depression that we’ve been living in for the past six years. Consumers were losing their jobs left and right and the number of foreclosures began to skyrocket while the housing market lost value at an alarming rate.

Case-Shiller Historical Housing Price Index

A quick glance at the Case-Schiller Housing Price Index historical data shows how drastic the increase and ensuing descent in home values was compared to the previous 80 years. In a word, it was unprecedented.

Returning to the norm

We’ve been living in a period of Economic Extremes for so long now that it’s hard to tell what a healthy or “normal” housing market looks like any more. Indeed, over the past decade the housing market has been anything but “normal.” However,  these reports as well as another key economic indicator (I’ll get to that shortly) are hopeful signs that we are returning to a period of healthy growth in the housing market. Like the market that existed before this recent period of unbridled price increases and outlandish speculation.

You can see how far we’ve come in returning to a healthy housing market, a housing market that isn’t played like the stock market and that represents home prices that buyers can actually afford.

The fact that the growth in home prices is beginning to slow shows that progress. The past 24 months have seen consecutive increases in the HPI at a national rate of around 13% per year. By no means a sustainable rate. But the rapid increase in prices over the past two years had more to do with how far the market had fallen in value due to the Crash. Now that prices have rebounded significantly from the losses, the market is likely to slow the increase in home prices to a more sustainable rate.

CoreLogic’s prediction of a 6.7% HPI increase in the coming year is a good indicator of this. A market where the value of homes has more to do with median incomes than with speculation that previously strong increases in home prices will allow homebuyers to “get rich quick.”

Finally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the Unemployment Rate fell to 6.3% in April 2014, the lowest it has been since September 2008. Just before the Crash this number was down to 4.7%, a historic low. So taken together, more Americans are employed, making their mortgage payments, and watching the equity in their homes increase their net worth. That sounds like good news to me.

The value of homes in our economy, society, and our daily lives transcends mere monetary value. The act of taking care of a part of the world for an indefinite period of time has the power to enrich our lives, our communities, and our nation. The value of putting time and effort in to a worthwhile and empowering task as opposed to the expectation that simply holding on to a home for a year will net a significant profit when sold in a booming market. A “normal” housing market is one that favors long-term care over short-sighted profit motivations. We’ll be keeping an eye on the numbers in the hopes that this is what we are truly seeing happen.

Stay tuned.

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Roseville, California has Year-Round Appeal

John LaRosa 05/18/2014

Roseville, Calif. offers entertainment and activities for families, couples, and individuals year round. Regardless of interests or hobbies, there is something for everyone, any time of the year in Roseville. Homes and condos in Roseville are often hard to come by because so many people want to be close to the fun and activities.

In the summer, take a turn around the Miners Ravine Trail Loop as it slowly meanders through Roseville following the Miners Ravine and Dry Creek. It winds through a wooded area, ten suburban neighborhoods, and then through the downtown area. The length of the trail runs from Sierra College Blvd. to Darling Way.

When fall arrives, get in the spirit of things with a visit to Callson Manor Haunted House. Owned by a Hollywood filmmaker, and an engineer in special effects, the Manor is among the most extreme haunted houses in the Sacramento area. Indulge in Zombie Paintball, visit the Ghost Town, and enjoy barbeque-style refreshments in the Haunted Courtyard.

The Maidu Interpretive Center Museum is open year round, but makes a great place to visit during the school year when education is what it’s all about. Nisenan Maidu families lived here for roughly 3,000 years and left behind hundreds of bedrock mortar holes, and stunning petroglyphs and rock art. It offers interpretive programs, presentations, and learning through special events, year round.

Another indoor activity center is Roller King Skating & Blading, a family-owned-and-operated skate center in Roseville. When it comes to living close to the excitement, Roseville has everything that you could ever imagine — and more.

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Family Fun in Rocklin California

John LaRosa 05/18/2014

Rocklin, California is a community that puts family first. This is evidenced by the wide variety of things there are to do in Rocklin that are designed for family, fun, and entertainment. Rocklin, Calif. homes don’t stay on the market very long because families love the rich, cultural environment and the opportunity to spend time having fun and making memories together.

Sky Zone recreation is one such place where families can have a blast. Located at 1091 Tinker Rd, Ste 200b, near the intersection of Tinker Rd and Industrial Avenue, this recreation center offers an indoor trampoline court. This popular attraction offers a wide range of activities for kids of all ages, with scheduled times for open jumping, fitness classes, and dodge ball. The facilities can be rented for birthday parties and corporate events, as well.

LaserCraze in Rocklin is another activity center where families can have fun playing together. It is one of Northern California’s biggest high-tech laser tag centers. It has more than 18,000 square feet of fun and employs a 7,000 square foot multi-level laser tag complex to dazzle and amaze visitors. There are also inflatable bounce houses, an arcade, and a cafe on site.

While golf may not come to mind as a family pastime, the Whitney Oaks Golf Club thinks it should be. On Sundays, they offer Family Day at Whitney Oaks. It includes a sit-down meal in their Pyramid Bar and Grill, followed by a family game of golf where kids under 18 golf for free. Adults can play for the fee of renting a golf cart: just $20. These activities are just a small part of why Rocklin, Calif. is growing in popularity.

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Roseville, Home of Golfland and Sunsplash Waterpark

John LaRosa 05/08/2014

There are plenty of available Roseville homes and condos, which is good news for fans of outdoor activities. That’s because Roseville is home to Golfland and Sunsplash Waterpark, where folks can enjoy engaging in some of their favorite pastimes. There are indoor and outdoor activities, making this the perfect getaway for family outings and adventures with friends or for a fun-filled date with that special someone.

Golfland offers two 18-hole miniature golf courses. Adventure Golf is course number one, and Lost Continent Golf is the second. Both are completely different and will keep visitors putting for hours. There is also an arcade with more than 200 games of all skill levels. Earn tickets for playing and redeem them for prizes. Looking for something a little more active? Try the Lazer Knights laser tag facility. Guests who are 58 inches tall or more can drive at the Fastcar Raceway. Smaller and younger guests can ride along with a licensed driver over the age of 16.

At Sunsplash Waterpark, there are more attractions than can be listed here. The Double Dare is a trap-door-in-the-floor, power dropout, thrilling slide, for example. Try The Revolution, a ride that catapults guests into an open bowl, or Thunder Falls, a family raft ride with three heart-stopping drops.  These attractions are popular with all generations and make Roseville a great spot for entertaining the entire family.

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Historic Rocklin – A Great Place to Call Home for History Buffs

John LaRosa 05/08/2014

History buffs will love living in Rocklin, California because of the vast number of historical sites there are to enjoy. Some celebrate the community’s Finnish ancestry, while others are reminders of the city’s connection to its quarry roots. Fans of Rocklin’s history and its contributions will appreciate the many beautiful sites in this wonderful town.  Living in Rocklin is like living in history.

Finnish Sites

The Rocklin community has a strong Finnish background that has not been lost to the ravages of time. The Old Finnish Picnic grounds just past the end of China Garden Road were once a gathering place for area Finns. Finnish Temperance Hall sits on the corner of Rocklin Road and South Grove Street. The granite industry of the late 19th and early 20th centuries gave rise to an abundance of saloons and, with them, came community-wide drinking problems. The hall was built to help with the problem and acted as a social gathering place beginning in 1905.


The Union Granite Company once operated a quarry in the early 20th century, now occupied by the lake that can be seen at the corner of Rocklin Road and Granite Drive. The Quinn Quarry situated on Winding Lane was run by the Quinn family in the mid- to late-1800s. The Capitol Quarry is also known as the Big Gun Quarry. It opened in 1864 and remained open and active until 2005, when it became the last of Rocklin’s 62 quarries to close. Other quarry sites to visit include the Brigham and Hawes Quarry.

The Rocklin Cemetery was started in the 1850s when an inebriated citizen was buried right in the spot where he died. Rocklin’s City Hall was built in 1912, originally as a company store for the employees of Adolf Pernu’s 20th Century California Granite Company. It has housed everything from a market to a library. There are even a few historic Rocklin, CA homes for sale from time to time. 

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History and the Arts, All in Grass Valley

John LaRosa 05/08/2014

It can be tough to find Grass Valley homes for sale because so many people want to live in this beautiful and culturally rich community. With a storied history that anchors its place in the world and a modern center for the arts, Grass Valley bridges not only time, but vast areas of social and cultural interest, as well.

The Empire Mine State Historic Park houses the remains of what was once one of the West’s most productive and lucrative gold mines. It operated for 106 years and produced 5.8 million ounces of gold. Visitors can take tours of the Bourne Cottage, the home of one of the mine’s past owners; the mine yard; and can even take underground tours. The museum also stages “living events” for the enjoyment and education of its guests.

The Center for the Arts also enriches the community through cultural and educational programs using literary, visual, and performing arts. It has become a hub of activity, serving Nevada County with a wide range of programs that include music, dance, theater, film, visual arts, and more. Located in downtown Grass Valley, the center consists of a 21,000 square foot, multi-purpose facility, a 300-seat main theater, a 90-seat black box theater, 2 art galleries, and classrooms for educational programs.

Grass Valley homes don’t stay on the market long, because buyers realize the value they are getting with a home in such a culturally rich area. If you want to move to a quiet community that is close to a cultural hub of the West Coast, this area might be perfect for you. 

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Museums in and around Granite Bay CA

John LaRosa 05/08/2014

Granite Bay, CA is situated in Placer County in Northern California. It is primarily a residential suburb of Sacramento, but, as such, it is in a wonderful position to offer the best combination of peaceful living with easy access to culture and entertainment. Those interested in Granite Bay real estate may be surprised to know that there are no less than three interesting museums in close proximity to the city.

In nearby Folsom, residents and visitors can see the historic Folsom Prison, now a museum, made famous in the Johnny Cash song. The Folsom Prison Museum has displays on how the compound was built using gray granite from nearby quarries. Old hemp ropes that were used to hang prisoners are on display, as is memorabilia from the shows Johnny Cash once put on here. There are also weapons fashioned by inmates, and an 8-foot motorized Ferris wheel built by a 1930’s prisoner, which was made with nearly 250,000 toothpicks.

In nearby Sacramento, Granite Bay residents can visit the California State Railroad Museum or the Towe Auto Museum. The railroad museum features 21 meticulously restored locomotives and cars, along with many exhibits that demonstrate how the railroad has changed the world. The auto museum features dozens of fine automobiles sure to excite any car buff, from the 1880s, to contemporary models of the 21st century.

With so much to offer, Granite Bay really is the perfect place to live. It is close enough to the big city to find work and have access to entertainment and shopping, while being remote enough to relax and enjoy a slower more leisurely pace. To experience these wonderful attractions year round, Granite Bay real estate could provide a dream come true for you.

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