August Update

August is here and the local schools are in session. It’s been a little tough to watch the young grand kids get used to the new schedule. They rather liked the summer schedule, which was really no set schedule. Now they all have to be at school before 8AM. What a bummer. It gets me thinking about all the things you learn in school that are not really “academics” but life skills. Being on time, respect for others, respect of things, communications, learning is fun, influence, friendship…. and the list goes on. I so appreciate the teachers who shape our children’s lives.


The great pheasant experiment has about drawn to a close. When I went to open the pen to let some out, all of them began drifting out and I decided to not stop the flow, so rather than keep a few to adulthood, I released them all to the neighborhood.  A few come back for food and water now about 4 weeks after the release, but the little dog (16 pounds and 10 inches tall) has proven to be a proficient hunter and keeps the pheasants on the run. Unfortunately we lost a few to the dog being faster than they were, but we have decided that Pheasants have very little brain. They can fly and the dog can’t yet, the dog still managed to capture several. Joann says no more, it’s too much drama, but we shall see, I may have to try this again and make some changes to the plan to get more into adulthood. If I don’t see any around the area come spring I think I may try to raise some more next summer.


When is it the right time to refinance? I hear this questions in various forms almost every week. And I wish I had a one size fits all answer because it would make my life easier. But I can’t figure out that single answer. Like many financial decisions what is right for one person is not right for the next one. I ask clients to look at the short term (2 yrs) and longer term benefits/costs of a refinance and compare these to their goals with regards to the home in question. For example if someone owns an investment property with a high rate, but low mortgage amount and plan on selling the property in the next two years… it’s hard to justify a refinance, even though the short term benefits might be very attractive. I also try and discourage people from taking out money from their homes, unless that money would be used to increased the value of the home, or the borrower’s investment portfolio. Bottom line when refinance it’s important to look at both long and short term benefits and don’t get overly excited about the interest rate as it is almost secondary to the plan.


The following historical tidbit reminds me of several recent scare stories I’ve read in the press about housing prices.


In August of 1900, American and European forces broke through Chinese lines around the Imperial City of Peking (now Beijing).  They freed hundred of terrified non-Chinese hostages and thus broke the back of the “Boxer Rebellion”.
History books will tell you that the original anti-foreign rebellion in China was sanctioned by the Dowager  Empress and driven by the secret “Society of the Harmonious Fists” (Boxers – get it!).  While those facts are true, the real facts are more ironic.
What is not widely known is that The Boxer Rebellion may have started somewhat by accident in America. According to some reports, about a year or more earlier, a bunch of hard drinking reporters were sitting around exchanging their frustrations that the “event du jour” had failed to appear. How could they meet their deadlines?  Being good journalists, who needed the meager paycheck, they agreed to do the obvious thing – – make up a story.
But it had to be a good story.  And it also had to be a lulu. But these guys were pros. So they invented a story that wealthy Americans and Europeans were planning to buy, dismantle and transport the Great Wall of China. What the hay — it was fun — it met the deadline — it sold papers.  But somehow the story, short-lived in America, reached China.
There, Nationals were inflamed. Word of mouth spread the story that foreigners wish to rape our heritage and national treasures. Hostility turned to aggression and then became the Boxer Rebellion.

Comparing median $/sq.ft figures. San Jose comes in at $475/sq.ft., Morgan Hill is $379/sq.ft, Gilroy is $318/sq. ft.  If you really want a wallop, look at San Francisco at $781/sq.ft.  Location, location location baby. 



Market data for San Jose CA August 2015

  • 1,091 homes on the market, flat from a year ago.
  • 23 median days on market compared to 20 a year ago
  • Median price: $750,000 vs $660,000 a year earlier
  • Median size: 1,521 sq. ft.

This includes condo’s and single family homes. Data pulled from



Mortgage rates are almost flat from 30 days ago, they have moved up and back down during the last moth. We continue to see uncertainty in the market with inflation concerns, as well as international market influences, this last week it’s been the China economy and stock market.


Product Today 1 yr Low  1 yr. High
30 Yr FRM 3.94  3.55  4.26
15 Yr FRM 3.20  2.95  3.41
FHA 30 Year Fixed 3.60  3.25  3.85
Jumbo 30 Year Fixed 3.73  3.57  4.11
5/1 Yr ARM 2.96  2.95  3.25
Updated: 8/21/15