Market Observations

Market Observations

Market Observations, October 2020

October 2020

The lack of inventory in Nevada County continues.

The numbers are consistent with previous months. 548 houses for sale September 2019 vs 148 houses for sale September 2020. That’s a reduction from 4.4 months of inventory to 1.5 months of inventory. A very strong SELLER’S MARKET continues, especially considering Nevada County’s attractiveness as one of the premier work-from-home communities.

Average SOLD price per square foot is up 17% year to year ($224 vs $264). Average price sold is up 16%, from $434,000 to $569,000. Higher list prices are prevailing.

Nevada County continues to be strongly attractive to buyers looking for safer havens, especially coupled with the myriad lifestyle opportunities and community connections the foothills offer.

We are seeing a slight slowing of the market in our own area, likely due to national elections looming coupled with the coming holidays. That said, good houses are still commanding significant attention from buyers and garnering strong offers. While prices are climbing, appraisals tend to lag the market a bit, so some circumspection in pricing is smart.

Don’t hesitate to call us for evaluations of your home’s value or to tour homes on the market you have interest in. We are here for you, and Alisa (almost) always answers her cell phone, 530-559-4871.

A MARKET perspective from CA Association of Realtors – Covid 19 colors a strong housing recovery.

October 13, 2020

C.A.R. releases its 2021 California Housing Market Forecast

California housing market recovery hinges on widespread availability and usage of effective coronavirus vaccine in early 2021. 


LOS ANGELES (Oct. 13) –

Low mortgage interest rates and pent-up demand from a desire for homeownership will bolster California home sales in 2021, but economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic and continued supply shortage will limit sales growth, according to a housing and economic forecast released today by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.)

The baseline scenario of C.A.R.’s “2021 California Housing Market Forecast” sees a modest increase in existing single-family home sales of 3.3 percent next year to reach 392,510 units, up from the projected 2020 sales figure of 380,060. The 2020 figure is 4.5 percent lower compared with the pace of 397,960 homes sold in 2019.

The California median home price is forecast to edge up 1.3 percent to $648,760 in 2021, following a projected 8.1 percent increase to $640,330 in 2020 from $592,450 in 2019.

“An extremely favorable lending environment and a strong interest in homeownership will continue to motivate financially eligible buyers to enter the market,” said C.A.R. President Jeanne Radsick, a second-generation REALTOR® from Bakersfield, Calif. “While the economy is expected to improve and interest rates will stay near historical lows, housing supply constraints will continue to be an issue next year and may put a cap on sales growth in 2021.”

C.A.R.’s forecast projects growth in the U.S. gross domestic product of 4.2 percent in 2021, after a projected loss of 5.0 percent in 2020. With California’s 2021 nonfarm job growth rate at 0.5 percent, up from a projected loss of 12.7 percent in 2020, the state’s unemployment rate will dip to 9.0 percent in 2021 from 2020’s projected rate of 10.8 percent.

The average for 30-year, fixed mortgage interest rates will dip to 3.1 percent in 2021, down negligibly from 3.2 percent in 2020 and down from 3.9 percent in 2019, remaining low by historical standards.

“While home prices rose sharply in 2020, driven by strong sales of higher-priced properties and a limited inventory of homes for sale, the pace of price growth will be more moderate in the coming year,” said C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “The uncertainty about the pandemic, sluggish economic growth, a rise in foreclosures, and the volatility of the stock market are all unknown factors that could keep prices in check and prevent the statewide median price from rising too fast in the upcoming year,” Appleton-Young continued.



2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020p 2021f
SFH Resales (000s) 409.4 417.7 424.9 402.6 398.0 380.1 392.5
% Change 7.0% 2.0% 1.7% -5.2% -1.2% -4.5% 3.3%
Median Price ($000s) $476.3  $502.3  $537.9  $569.5  $592.4  $640.3  $648.8 
% Change 6.6% 5.4% 7.1% 5.9% 4.0% 8.1% 1.3%
Housing Affordability Index 31% 31% 29% 28% 31% 32% 31%
30-Yr FRM 3.9% 3.6% 4.0% 4.5% 3.9% 3.2% 3.1%

p = projected
f = forecast

* = % of households who can afford median-priced home



Cinnamon-Swirl Pumpkin Rolls

Cinnamon-Swirl Pumpkin Rolls

Cinnamon-Swirl Pumpkin Rolls

Halloween is a-comin’. We are a little sad that Covid has changed the trick or treat fun this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun in the kitchen!…here’s a good pumpkin recipe from our friends at King Arthur Baking. (We’re suddenly hungry ☺)



  • 1 cup (227g) pumpkin or squash purée
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup (28g to 57g) lukewarm water*
  • 4 tablespoons (57g) butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups (300g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 3/4 cups (198g) King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/4 cup (28g) Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves, optional
  • 3 tablespoons (43g) brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast

*See “tips,” below.

  • 3/4 cup (113g) Baker’s Cinnamon Filling*
  • 3 tablespoons (43g) water
  • 1/2 cup (57g) mini diced ginger, raisins, or dried cranberries, optional

*See “tips,” below.

  • 1 cup (113g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (21g) milk, or enough to make a pourable glaze



  1. To make the dough: Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients together — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until you’ve made a soft, fairly smooth dough.
  2. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise for 1 1/2 hours, until it’s almost doubled in bulk.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased surface. Roll it into a 14″ x 22″ rectangle; the dough will be thin.
  4. To make the filling: Mix the cinnamon filling and water. Spread a thin layer over the dough, leaving one short edge free of filling.


Pumpkin cinnamon rolls


  1. Sprinkle with crystallized ginger or dried fruit (or both), if desired.
  2. Starting with the short end that’s covered with filling, roll the dough into a log.
  3. Cut the log into 9 rolls (1 1/2″ slices).
  4. Place the rolls into a lightly greased 9″ x 9″ square pan that’s at least 2″ deep (or equivalent). Set aside, covered, to rise for 1 hour, or until the rolls look puffy.
  5. Bake the rolls in a preheated 375°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until they’re lightly browned and feel set. Remove the pan from the oven, turn the rolls out of the pan, and allow them to cool for about 15 minutes. Toward the end of the cooling time, make the glaze.
  6. To make the glaze: Heat the butter and milk together until the butter melts. Whisk into the sugar.
  7. Drizzle the warm rolls with the warm glaze. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired.
  8. Store any leftovers, well wrapped, at room temperature for a couple of days; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Adjust the amount of water by the time of year or your climate. For summer, or in a humid environment, use the lesser amount of water. In winter, or in a dry climate, use the greater amount. It’s always best to start with the lesser amount; you can always add more, but once it’s in you can’t add less!
  • Substitute 3/4 cup granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon for the Baker’s Cinnamon Filling and water, if desired. If you use sugar and cinnamon, DO NOT ADD THE WATER called for in the recipe.
  • For a topping that stays white and remains on top of the rolls rather than partially melting in, allow the rolls to cool completely before glazing.


Have a great October! 

Buying, Selling at the Same Time

Buying, Selling at the Same Time

Nearly a Third of Home Sellers’ Top Stressor is Buying, Selling at the Same Time



Published on: July 27th, 2020 

For many home sellers, the most anxiety-inducing part of the home-selling process is trying to simultaneously sell their current place while buying their next dream home.

That’s according to findings from a new survey commissioned by LendingTree, which also found that sellers are planning to spend an average of more than $10,000 on repairs and upgrades to sell their home.

Key findings

The No. 1 stressor for nearly one-third (29%) of home sellers is buying and selling a home at the same time.

Another 16% of sellers report that costly repairs and upgrades are the most stressful part of selling a home, and 15% stress most about failing to sell their home.

More than 1 in 5 (22%) of home sellers have felt pressure from their agent to accept a lower-priced offer.

Another 22% felt their real estate agent pressured them to spend a significant amount of money on repairs and upgrades before selling their home. Still, 31% of sellers reported not feeling any pressure at all.

When broken down by age group, millennials (70%) were more likely to feel some sort of selling-related pressure than older generations such as Gen X (49%) or baby boomers (14%).

More than 4 in 10 (43%) strongly agree that the home-selling process is more expensive than they anticipated.

Another 43% of home sellers somewhat agree that they’re spending more than expected on their home sale. Meanwhile, more than half (51%) of millennials strongly agree with that sentiment, compared with just 28% of baby boomers.

Other takeaways

Nearly 1 in 5 (18%) millennials said the top stressor of selling a home is deciding on an asking price, compared to just 10% of Gen Xers and 6% of baby boomers.

More than 1 in 5 (21%) baby boomers are most stressed about making costly home repairs and upgrades to sell their home. Another 22% of baby boomers fear that their home won’t sell, compared with 15% of Gen Xers and 10% of millennials.

When asked how long they think their home will stay on the market before it’s sold, more than 4 in 10 (44%) sellers said one to three months. More than 1 in 4 (27%) think it will take four to five months to sell their home.

Home sellers expect to spend more than $10,000 on average for repairs and upgrades in order to sell their home. Millennial sellers anticipate spending $13,727 on average, which is the highest amount of all age groups.

After removing decorations and decluttering, the top three repairs and upgrades home sellers have made are:

  • Fresh interior paint (48%)
  • Bathroom upgrades (45%)
  • New kitchen appliances (45%)

4 factors to consider when selling your home

The cost to sell a home can reach more than $20,000, depending on your home’s sales price. Keep the following factors in mind as you prep for a home sale:

  1. Be mindful of your timeline. If you’re buying a home while selling your current one, it’s important to bake in enough time to find your new home. The average time close on a home purchase is 47 days, according to Ellie Mae’s June Origination Insight Report.
  2. Get a home inspection. Before you list your home for sale, pay for a home inspection to identify issues with your home’s condition that may need to be addressed right away. If the buyers discover the issue during their inspection, negotiating repairs could postpone or derail the sale.
  3. Negotiate your selling costs. You’ll have to pay several closing costs, including commissions for both your and the buyer’s real estate agent. It’s in your best interest to negotiate these fees, as they can cost several thousand dollars.
  4. Reduce your mortgage debt. Your mortgage will need to be paid off first before you receive any sales proceeds. In the months before you begin the home-selling process, consider dedicating any bonuses, refunds or windfalls to paying down your outstanding loan balance.


For this survey, LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics, an experience management firm, to gather responses from 964 home sellers, with the sample base proportioned to represent the overall population. The survey was conducted April 24-30, 2020.

Generations were defined by the following age ranges:

  • Millennials are ages 24-39
  • Generation X are ages 40-54
  • Baby boomers are ages 55-74

Our survey also included responses from members of Generation Z (ages 18-23) and the silent generation (ages 75 and older). Their responses were factored into the overall percentages but excluded from the generational breakdowns, due to the low sample size among both age groups.

Sierra Lifestyle Team Note: A good Real Estate Team on your side is essential to reducing your stressors as you prepare to sell your house and go through the process. Your agent(s) should be prepared to discuss their value proposition to assist you in selling your home, maximize your offer price, and minimize the time frame for selling.

Nevada County Market Observations

Nevada County Market Observations

Market Observations 

September 2020

 Lack of inventory in Nevada County continues to be a feature of the current real estate market.

The numbers are nearly identical to previous months. 641 houses for sale August 2019 vs 265 houses for sale August 2020. That’s a reduction from 4.6 months of inventory to 1.3 months of inventory. A very strong SELLER’S MARKET continues, especially considering Nevada County’s attractiveness as one of the premier work-from-home communities.

The average SOLD price per square foot is up 6% year to year ($233 vs $239). Average price sold is up 13.4%, from $463,000 to $524,000. Higher list prices are prevailing.

Nevada County continues to be strongly attractive to buyers looking for safer havens, especially coupled with the myriad lifestyle opportunities and community connections the foothills offer.

We are seeing multiple offers for good listings here, with a number of houses going for over asking prices. If you are contemplating selling a property, we have rarely seen a better time!


Don’t hesitate to call us for evaluations of your home’s value or to tour homes on the market you have interest in. We are here for you, and Alisa always answers her cell phone, 530-559-4871.


by Karissa Johnson

Social Media has many benefits, especially for businesses.

It is a tool that many people tend to overlook. Having a good social media presence is especially important as we move further and further into a world dependent on technology. Perhaps the best way to get business is by word of mouth and advertising, social media combines those. When a business posts something on social media, not only is it being spread to more people than you can reach with typical advertising, but it also creates a personal connection between the business and the consumer making them more likely to pick that business over any other. Social media can help businesses grow immensely in size, and reach new younger customers that are essential to keeping a business alive.

Overall, Social Media is only a positive for businesses looking to grow, reach more customers, and to create more personal connections with customers.

The Sierra Lifestyle Team utilizes our robust Social Media skills to benefit the sale of your home, reaching thousands of qualified buyers on Facebook. We don’t rest on our laurels…and are pleased to announce a new INSTAGRAM manager, Karissa Johnson.

Karissa will head up our new Instagram program to highlight your properties to thousands of interested buyers, giving you significant new exposure to interested real estate buyers.   

Brought to you by Johnson’s Sierra Lifestyle Team!

Sellers Are Calling the Shots, But for How Much Longer?

September 11, 2020

The housing market continues to outperform historical standards as prices accelerate to new highs and homes sell faster, according to realtor.com®’s latest Weekly Recovery Report.

“Sellers are calling the shots in today’s market,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “Prices are rising and housing inventory is vanishing almost as fast as it appears.”

However, Hale points to two housing indicators that may hint at a turn in the market.

Housing demand from buyers has cooled slightly, while new listings showed a smaller decline than previous weeks, Hale says. “This could be a hiccup in weekly activity, or, if these trends continue, they could signal a shift in market dynamics leading into the fall when political, economic, and health-related uncertainties abound,” she says.

Realtor.com®’s Housing Market Index reached a reading of 107.7 for the week ending Sept. 5. That’s 7.7 points higher than its pre-COVID-19 baseline in January. Buyer demand dropped 3.3 points since last week, and inventory showed improvement, rising 3.2 points higher—though it still remains below its pre-COVID-19 baseline.

Meanwhile, home prices continue to escalate.

Median listing prices are up 10.8% annually, which is the fastest pace of growth in more than two years, realtor.com® reports. Time on the market is now 12 fewer days than a year ago. “Buyers are moving much faster than this time last year to beat out competition and lock in low mortgage rates,” realtor.com® reports. “This means homes are sitting on the market for much less time, despite notably higher price tags.”

Roasted Tomato Tart Recipe

Roasted Tomato Tart Recipe

Roasted Tomato Tart With Ricotta and Pesto


  • YIELD 4 servings
  • TIME 1 hour

Christopher Testani for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

Save those wider-than-tall, about-to-burst tomatoes for slicing and showering with flaky sea salt. For this recipe, you want smaller, sturdier varieties like kumato, Campari or petite heirlooms. Brushing the uncooked puff pastry with crème fraîche adds a subtle tanginess that you won’t necessarily notice, but the tomatoes will taste better for it. You might be tempted to skip salting your tomatoes, but don’t: It helps prevent a soggy crust while intensifying the flavor of your tomatoes. This tart is best enjoyed straight out of the oven, at its flaky prime, but it’s also great at room temperature, or even cold, devoured directly from the fridge.


  • 4 small, multicolored tomatoes, such as heirloom, kumato or Campari (about 12 ounces total), sliced crosswise 1/4-inch thick
  •  Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 sheet packaged puff pastry, thawed (about 7 ounces) 
  • 3 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream
  • ¼ small red onion, very thinly sliced
  •  Aleppo pepper or red-pepper flakes, for garnish (optional)
  • ¾ cup fresh ricotta
  •  Store-bought or homemade pesto, for drizzling
  •  Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  •  Fresh basil leaves, for garnish (optional)



  1. Line a large baking sheet with paper towels. Set the sliced tomatoes on top in a single layer. In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Use it to season the tomatoes evenly on both sides, cover with another paper towel and let sit, 15 minutes, allowing the salt to draw moisture out of the tomatoes.
  2. As the tomatoes sit, heat the oven to 400 degrees and set a rack in the middle of the oven. Working on a large sheet of parchment paper, roll out the puff pastry into a 9-by-11-inch rectangle, trimming any uneven edges. Prick the inside with a fork every few inches, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Using a pastry brush, coat the center of the puff pastry with the crème fraîche, leaving the border unbrushed.
  3. Working within the border, layer the tomatoes and red onion on top of the tart, allowing them to overlap slightly. Transfer to a sheet pan and bake, rotating halfway through, until puff pastry is browned and puffed, 30 to 35 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle tomatoes with Aleppo pepper, if using. Dollop with fresh ricotta. Thin pesto with olive oil until it reaches the proper consistency for drizzling; drizzle on top of tart to taste. Top with basil, if using, and serve warm or at room temperature.


Market Observations

Nevada County Market Observations

Market Observations

August 2020

Lack of inventory in Nevada County continues to be a feature of the current real estate market.

621 houses for sale July 2019 vs 297 houses for sale July 2020, a significant 52.6% decline. That’s a reduction from 4.3 months of inventory to 1.3 months of inventory, a very strong SELLER’S MARKET.

THE average SOLD price per square foot is up 6.7% year to year ($255 vs $239). Average price sold is up 13.4%, from $493,000 to $559,000. Higher list prices are prevailing.

Units PENDING are up 86.3%. While Nevada County has long been a magnet for buyers from the SF Bay Area, and to a lesser extent, the Los Angeles region, we believe the relative safety of our area continues to drive interest and sales. The pending numbers support that.

If you are contemplating selling a property, we have rarely seen a better time!

Don’t hesitate to call us for evaluations of your home’s value or to tour homes on the market you have interest in. We are here for you, and Alisa always answers her cell phone, 530-559-4871.

Fed ‘Not Even Thinking’ About Raising Rates, Real Estate on the Rebound

By Liz Dominguez

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) met this week, leaving interest rates near zero to help buoy an economy heavily hit by the current health crisis.

“The path forward for the economy is extraordinarily uncertain and will depend in large part on our success in keeping the virus in check,” Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell said in a statement, adding that the “pace of recovery looks like it has slowed,” as more states continue to battle a second wave of increasing coronavirus cases.

The Fed will continue to monitor the markets but, as of now, is not “even thinking about” raising rates and will keep rates low “until it is confident that the economy has weathered recent events.”

Recent data shows just how much the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the economy. According to the Commerce Department, the U.S. GDP (gross domestic product) fell 9.5 percent in the second quarter of the year—on an annualized basis, GDP fell at a rate of 32.9 percent.

“As expected, economic activity collapsed in the second quarter due to the total virus-lockdown in April and only partial re-openings in May. The GDP contraction of 33 percent on an annualized basis is the steepest ever experienced in the U.S.,” said Dr. Lawrence Yun, chief economist, National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). “Even with the stimulus and enhanced unemployment benefits, consumer spending collapsed by a massive 35 percent. Business spending also collapsed by 27 percent. Even residential investments—comprising of home sales, home building and remodeling activity—dropped by nearly 40 percent.

“This morning’s advance report on second quarter GDP showed that the economy contracted 32.9 percent—the largest single quarter drop on record—as COVID-19-driven business closures and restrictions on in-person activity sharply reduced consumer spending and business investment,” said Joel Kan, AVP of Economic and Industry Forecasting, Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). “In recent weeks, housing demand has rebounded sharply, and we expect the rest of the economy to recover in the second half of the year.

Third quarter data should be more optimistic as states began reopening amid a decline in COVID cases.

“The good news is that this data is backward-looking. Third quarter data will show a massive increase. Personal savings rates are the highest ever, with massive deposits at banks,” said Yun. “There will be an unleashing of spending in the upcoming months as economies open further. Home sales have already been rising strongly and will continue to do so. GDP growth in the third quarter could be as high as 30 percent. Note: This data will come out three days before the November election.”

However, with the last few weeks showing deterioration across various states, the economic rebound could slow. Unemployment filings totaled 1.43 million last week, according to the Labor Department—the second weekly increase.

“The adverse impacts to the job market and hardships for many households may persist—especially if virus cases continue to rise in several parts of the country,” said Kan. “There are still many workers who have not returned to work, households in need of mortgage or rent forbearance, and an overall sense of uncertainty ahead. We expect the Federal Reserve to keep rates low, and monetary policy supportive, until there are clearer signs of an economic recovery.”

An upside to the Fed’s near-zero lock-in? Fed rates can indirectly influence mortgage interest rates, which just decreased slightly according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®).

“It’s Groundhog Day in the mortgage market as rates continue to remain near historic lows, driving purchase demand over 20 percent above a year ago,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Real estate is one of the bright spots in the economy, with strong demand and modest slowdown in home prices heading into the late summer. Home sales should remain strong the next few months into the early fall.”

Here’s the breakdown:

– 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage: Averaged 2.99 percent with an average 0.8 point for the week ending July 30, 2020, down slightly from 3.01 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.75 percent.

– 15-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage: Averaged 2.51 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.54 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.20 percent.

– 5-Year Treasury-Indexed Hybrid Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM): Averaged 2.94 percent with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.09 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.46 percent.

“We expect that the Fed may strengthen their forward guidance on the future path of interest rates at their September meeting, providing more explicit signals as to which factors could lead them to eventually raise short-term rates,” said Mike Fratantoni, SVP and chief economist of MBA. “In the meantime, we expect mortgage rates will stay near all-time lows. These record-low mortgage rates will continue to provide stimulus to homeowners who refinance and lower their monthly payments, while also boosting homebuyer demand and their purchasing power.”

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior online editor. 

Emergency Go Bag Checklist

Emergency Go Bag Checklist

Living where we do in the foothills, among the trees and beauty of nature means that we may at some time be faced with the threat of wildfire. What can we do to be prepared if that time arises?

Well, let’s think about your situation. Do you have pets,  medications, pictures, and important documents? Of course, you do! We all have something we couldn’t bear to lose or at the very least would make life difficult if we did.  Let’s make a list and prepare a bag now. My emergency checklist may be different than yours so really think about it and make changes as needed so you don’t have to think about it when under the pressure of evacuation. Get your emergency go bag ready, NOW. Here is a sample checklist. Print the PDF and hang it up where you can easily see it. Place items in a bag or laundry basket where they are easy to grab on your way out the door.

Pack your go bag so you can grab it and go!


EMERGENCY EVACUATION GO BAG CHECKLIST: Click here for a printable version

Emergency Go Bag Checklist

Important documents

  • Birth certificates

  • Driver’s license

  • Social security cards

  • Passports

  • A list of personal contacts

  • Proof of insurance

  • Pink slips for cars

  • Deed to your house

  • Life insurance policies

  • Passwords

  • Thumb drive/memory card

  • Laptop


  • Fire extinguisher

  • First aid kit

  • Flashlights

  • Extra batteries

  • Phone chargers

  • Food and water, 3 day supply

Medications- prescription and non-prescription



  • Carrying crates

  • Medications

  • Food/water for three days

  • Leashes

  • Food bowls

Personal items

  • One change of clothing and shoes for every member of the family

  • toothbrush/toothpaste

  • Hairbrush

Items that cannot be replaced

  • Special photographs

  • Family Recipes

Other items to consider adding to your emergency go bag

  • Eyeglasses, contacts, contact solution

  • Infant formula, wipes, bottles, diapers

  • Sleeping bags or blankets and pillows for each person in the household

  • Feminine hygiene items

  • Paper plates, bowls, plasticware, cups

  • Paper and pen

  • Books, games, puzzles


Let’s make a list and prepare a bag NOW.

Click here for a printable version

Mortgage demand spikes As Rates Set Another Record Low

Mortgage demand spikes As Rates Set Another Record Low

Mortgage demand spikes 33% as rates set another record low




  • Mortgage applications to purchase a home rose 5% for the week and were a remarkable 33% higher than a year ago.
  • Home prices gains continue to accelerate, so low mortgage rates are giving buyers much-needed help.

Homebuyers rush back into the market as mortgage rates hit new low

After a brief pullback at the end of June, homebuyers rushed back into the mortgage market last week, taking advantage of record-low mortgage rates.

Mortgage applications to purchase a home rose 5% for the week and were a remarkable 33% higher than a year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s index, which was seasonally adjusted, including for the Fourth of July holiday.

Buyer demand has been incredibly strong since mid-May, after the coronavirus shut down most housing activity in April. The only thing standing in the way of more sales is the record low supply of homes for sale.

Home prices gains continue to accelerate, so low mortgage rates are giving buyers much-needed help. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances of up to $510,400 dropped to 3.26% from 3.29%. Points, including the origination fee, for loans with a 20% down payment decreased to 0.35 from 0.36.

“Mortgage rates declined to another record low as renewed fears of a coronavirus resurgence offset the impacts from a week of mostly positive economic data, such as June factory orders and payroll employment,” said Joel Kan, an MBA economist. “The average purchase loan size increased to $365,700 — also another high — as borrowers contend with limited supply and higher home prices.”

Applications to refinance a home loan, which are generally more sensitive to weekly interest rate moves, rose just 0.4% from the previous week but were 111% higher than one year ago. Because interest rates have been low and refinance demand has been strong for so long, only a limited number of borrowers can still benefit significantly from even the new record low rate.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 60.1% of total applications from 61.2% the previous week.

Mortgage rates continued to drop at the start of this week, especially after the stock market sell-off Tuesday. Mortgage rates loosely follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury.

“Prediction is tough, but what I can say is that a lot of us who watch the market very closely are on high alert for signs that the low rate environment is under imminent threat,” said Matthew Graham, chief operating officer at Mortgage News Daily. “While that could change with even one major coronavirus headline, we’re not seeing that threat as of today.”

Credit: CNBC

After plunging to nearly the lowest level in its history in April, an index measuring consumer sentiment in the housing market bounced back significantly in June. Renters were especially optimistic about homebuying.

The share of consumers who think it’s a good time to buy a home increased from 52% to 61% month to month, according to the Fannie Mae survey, while fewer Americans said it was a bad time to buy. Renters drove much of that improvement.

“The share of renters who say it’s a good time to buy a home is now at its highest level in five years, suggesting favorable conditions for first-time homebuying, consistent with the recent rebound in home purchase activity,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae senior vice president and chief economist.

Current homeowners are also getting slightly more optimistic about the sales market, especially given the lack of housing supply. The percentage of respondents saying now is a good time to sell a home increased from 32% to 41%, although nearly half still think it’s a bad time to sell.

Home sales jumped dramatically in May, after grinding to a halt in March and April. While new listings are coming on the market, the total inventory of homes for sale at the end of May was 19% lower than May 2019, according to the National Association of Realtors. Pending sales in May, which represent signed contracts on existing homes, jumped a record 44% compared with April.

“However, this activity may cool again in the coming months, depending on the extent to which it can be attributed to consumers having chosen to delay or to accelerate homebuying plans due to the pandemic,” said Duncan. “We believe the continuing uncertainty regarding the coronavirus’ containment suggests an uneven and potentially volatile course toward economic recovery.”

Consumers are still very concerned about their job security, even as the employment picture improves slightly. Renters and homeowners with a mortgage are particularly worried, according to the survey, given the sudden record-high unemployment brought on by the pandemic.

More Americans now think home prices will strengthen, which is a double-edged sword in the market. Home prices were already elevated going into the pandemic, and affordability was weakening despite record-low mortgage rates.

On that front, more respondents said they expect mortgage rates to rise over the next year.


What does this mean to us?  First, it may a good time to re-finance. Second, Real Estate will continue to be one of the best investments available for years to come.

Mortgage demand spikes As Rates Set Another Record Low

Nevada County Market Observations

Nevada County Market Observations

July 2020


What is striking is lack of inventory in Nevada County

607 houses for sale June 2019 vs 343 houses for sale June 2020, a significant 43.5% decline. That’s a reduction from 4.3 months of inventory to 2.1 months of inventory and presages a SELLER’S MARKET.

The average SOLD price per square foot is stable year to year ($251 vs $248). Units sold were 140 in June 2019 and 160 in June 2020, an increase of 14.3%. 

Units PENDING are up 100.8%. While Nevada County has long been a magnet for buyers from the SF Bay Area, and to a lesser extent, the Los Angeles region, we believe the relative safety of our area is significantly driving interest and sales. The pending numbers belie that.


If you are contemplating selling a property, we have rarely seen a better time!
Don’t hesitate to call us for evaluations of your home’s value or to tour homes on the market you have interest in. We are here for you, and Alisa always answers her cell phone, 530-559-4871.



A MARKET MINUTE perspective from CA Association of Realtors

July 9, 2020


The California and national economies and housing markets continue to show improvement across a broad spectrum of indicators

However, we continue to face both ongoing and new challenges that we, as real estate professionals, need to be aware of to best serve our clients. Business has been improving, consumers are feeling better, and we are still enjoying all-time low interest rates. However, uncertainty has also increased in recent weeks, so we need to continue to hustle and avoid the temptation to celebrate the recent improvements because we still have a long row to hoe in California.

California home sales exceed pre-COVID levels: 

Despite the short holiday week, home sales in California home sales ticked up last week. On average, 801 homes closed on the MLS each day last week—up from 795 the previous week. In addition, closed sales have now been above the pre-COVID levels of early march for the past 4 weeks consecutively. This largely owes to the rebound in pending sales that began in mid-April.

Labor market recovery continued in June: 

Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a larger than expected drop in unemployment. Although there remain some issues with the classification of temporarily unemployed workers, the decline to 11.1% in June from 13.3% in May represents the second consecutive monthly decline. The payroll survey of employers also showed a second monthly gain with the U.S. economy adding back another 4.8 million of the 20.8 million jobs lost in April.

Buyer demand remains strong: 

New purchase mortgage applications actually declined last week by 5.3% from the previous week. However, that was solely due to the short holiday week. In fact, last year the 4th of July decline in mortgage applications was much larger such that the year to year increase in new purchase applications surged by 33%—the largest increase since before shelter in place orders were issued. In addition, the growth in buyers requesting showings through ShowingTime.com remains ahead of last years pace by more than 11% as rates remain at all-time low levels.

California REALTORS® saw business improve during short holiday week: 

33% of California REALTORS® surveyed over the weekend reported holding a listing appointment last week despite the short holiday week. That was steady from the week before and continues the consistent improvement from 27% in late May. 26% of members listed a property last week—up from 23% the previous week and at its second highest level since May. 32% entered escrow on a transaction last week—a 4th consecutive weekly increase. Finally, 26% of respondents closed a transaction last week—the highest percentage since we began asking this question in mid-May.

Discounted home sales decline for second consecutive week: 

Last week, 54.2% of closed sales were below their original listing price on the MLS. That is down from 55.1% the previous week and marks the second consecutive decline showing that low rates, strong buyer demand, and a lack of available inventory has prevented significant discounting or price impacts to California’s housing market in the wake of the pandemic.

Many remain on unemployment despite recent improvement: 

Although labor markets continue to make progress nationwide and in California, many workers continue to face difficulties. Between May and June, the economy added back 7.5 million of the 20.8 million jobs lost in April, but that still leaves U.S. payrolls roughly 13 million jobs shy of the pre-recession peak. Thus, even as things continue to improve, there is still a lot of healing left to be done.

Lack of supply limits momentum of recovery: 

In addition to ongoing economic fallout associated with job loss, California’s housing market also has to contend with tighter inventory—particularly as demand and sales have grown in recent weeks. The number of new listings being added to the MLS each week has been declining for the past month, which will limit the momentum of the current rebound. Buyers who are still employed are attracted to the market by historically low rates, but a lack of available supply will mean fewer get into homes than would like to.

Buying season appears to be winding down “on time”: 

One question about the effects of COVID-19 was whether it would extend the buying season due to pent-up demand accumulating as families and individuals sat home under shelter-in-place orders. However, data on both mortgage applications and requests for home showings, while remaining elevated compared with last year, does appear to be showing the typical slowing that is observed in July. Many of the homes that will close between now and the theoretical beginning of the school year are the result of transactions that have gone pending already or will go pending very shortly, and that seems to be consistent in 202 as well.

Recent rise in COVID cases threatens recent progress: 

The big wild card for the economy and the housing market is the recent surge in new COVID cases. Like many other states, the number of new infections has increased as the economy has reopened gradually over the past month. This increases the uncertainty about how much momentum the nascent recovery will be able to maintain and whether businesses will be able to remain open and the recovery will be able to continue, or whether we see economic activity drop off under another round of more stringent restrictions.

There continues to be many positive signs in the economic data, whether it pertains to the labor markets, consumer confidence and spending, REALTOR® sentiments in California, signs of buyer demand, of the housing market data itself. However, the economy still had a lot of healing left to do even before this recent rise in new infections. For the past few months, we have said that a second wave of the virus would likely result in a slower recovery period and greater impacts to the economy and housing market so we will be monitoring this closely and making any necessary adjustments to our forecast so that we can share them with you. We’ve made tremendous progress so far, but we’ve still got a long road ahead.


Crispy Cheesy Pan Pizza

Crispy Cheesy Pan Pizza

From our friends at KING ARTHUR FLOUR: Crispy Cheesy Pan Pizza

Out of all the styles of pizza, we’ve chosen Crispy Cheesy Pan Pizza as our 2020 Recipe of the Year.

With its crispy golden edges, gooey layer of cheese (right to the edge!), and thick yet delicate crust, it has a texture and taste that make you want more. Plus, the crust has just five simple ingredients: it’s easy to pull off in a home kitchen.

Our recipe incorporates four baking “tricks.”

An untraditional, nearly no-knead method of folding the dough creates airy pockets in the crust. An overnight refrigerated rest allows the dough time to develop maximum flavor. Baking in a cast iron pan makes an audibly crispy crust for your flavorful assortment of toppings. And finally, the unique layering of cheese beneath the sauce acts as a barrier to minimize sogginess.

Crispy Cheesy Pan Pizza | King Arthur Flour


  • 6 ounces (170g) mozzarella, grated (about 1 1/4 cups, loosely packed)*
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup (74g to 113g) tomato sauce or pizza sauce, homemade or store-bought
  • freshly grated hard cheese and fresh herbs for sprinkling on top after baking, optional*
  1. Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess.

  2. Place the flour, salt, yeast, water, and 1 tablespoon (13g) of the olive oil in the bowl of a stand mixer or other medium-large mixing bowl.

  3. Stir everything together to make a shaggy, sticky mass of dough with no dry patches of flour. This should take 30 to 45 seconds in a mixer using the beater paddle; or about 1 minute by hand, using a spoon or spatula. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to gather the dough into a rough ball; cover the bowl.
  4. After 5 minutes, uncover the bowl and reach a bowl scraper or your wet hand down between the side of the bowl and the dough, as though you were going to lift the dough out. Instead of lifting, stretch the bottom of the dough up and over its top. Repeat three more times, turning the bowl 90° each time. This process of four stretches, which takes the place of kneading, is called a fold.

  5. Re-cover the bowl, and after 5 minutes do another fold. Wait 5 minutes and repeat; then another 5 minutes, and do a fourth and final fold. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest, undisturbed, for 40 minutes. Then refrigerate it for a minimum of 12 hours, or up to 72 hours. It’ll rise slowly as it chills, developing flavor; this long rise will also add flexibility to your schedule.

  6. About 3 hours before you want to serve your pizza, prepare your pan. Pour 1 1/2 tablespoons (18g) olive oil into a well-seasoned cast iron skillet that’s 10” to 11” diameter across the top, and about 9” across the bottom. Heavy, dark cast iron will give you a superb crust; but if you don’t have it, use another oven-safe heavy-bottomed skillet of similar size, or a 10” round cake pan or 9” square pan. Tilt the pan to spread the oil across the bottom, and use your fingers or a paper towel to spread some oil up the edges, as well.

  7. Transfer the dough to the pan and turn it once to coat both sides with the oil. After coating the dough in oil, press the dough to the edges of the pan, dimpling it using the tips of your fingers in the process. The dough may start to resist and shrink back; that’s OK, just cover it and let it rest for about 15 minutes, then repeat the dimpling/pressing. At this point the dough should reach the edges of the pan; if it doesn’t, give it one more 15-minute rest before dimpling/pressing a third and final time.

  8. Cover the crust and let it rise for 2 hours at room temperature. The fully risen dough will look soft and pillowy and will jiggle when you gently shake the pan.
  9. About 30 minutes before baking, place one rack at the bottom of the oven and one toward the top (about 4″ to 5″ from the top heating element). Preheat the oven to 450°F.

  10. When you’re ready to bake the pizza, sprinkle about three-quarters of the mozzarella (a scant 1 cup) evenly over the crust. Cover the entire crust, no bare dough showing; this will yield caramelized edges. Dollop small spoonfuls of the sauce over the cheese; laying the cheese down first like this will prevent the sauce from seeping into the crust and making it soggy. Sprinkle on the remaining mozzarella.

  11. Bake the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and the bottom and edges of the crust are a rich golden brown (use a spatula to check the bottom). If the bottom is brown but the top still seems pale, transfer the pizza to the top rack and bake for 2 to 4 minutes longer. On the other hand, if the top seems fine but the bottom’s not browned to your liking, leave the pizza on the bottom rack for another 2 to 4 minutes. Home ovens can vary a lot, so use the visual cues and your own preferences to gauge when you’ve achieved the perfect bake.

  12. Remove the pizza from the oven and place the pan on a heatproof surface. Carefully run a table knife or spatula between the edge of the pizza and side of the pan to prevent the cheese from sticking as it cools. Let the pizza cool very briefly; as soon as you feel comfortable doing so, carefully transfer it from the pan to a cooling rack or cutting surface. This will prevent the crust from becoming soggy.
  13. Serve the pizza anywhere from medium-hot to warm. Kitchen shears or a large pair of household scissors are both good tools for cutting this thick pizza into wedges.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Our base cheese of choice is a block of low-moisture mozzarella, coarsely grated. Want to experiment with different cheeses? Choose those that melt well: Fontina, cheddar, Jack, provolone, Gouda, and Muenster are all good candidates.

  • Want to add your own favorite toppings beyond red sauce and cheese? Vegetables or meats should be cooked before arranging them in a single layer atop cheese and sauce. Feel free to experiment with other sauces, too; pesto or white sauce are great alternatives to tomato. One hint: To avoid potential sogginess, stick to the same quantities and layering process for sauce and cheese listed above.

  • For an extra hit of flavor, sprinkle freshly grated hard cheese (e.g., Parmesan, Asiago, Romano) and/or fresh herbs (oregano, basil, thyme) over the hot pizza just before serving.

  • If you’re serving the entire pizza (no leftovers) right away, you can serve it right from the pan if desired. We don’t recommend using a knife to cut the pizza in the pan; it might mar your cast iron’s surface. Instead, after loosening the edges, use a spatula to partially lift the pizza out of the pan, then cut a wedge using a pair of standard household scissors or kitchen shears. Remove the wedge and repeat until you’ve cut and served all of the pizza.

  • Feeding a larger group? Double all the ingredients in the recipe and follow the recipe instructions as written, dividing the dough into two pans (mix and match from the choices listed in step #6 above).

  •  Want to make a gluten-free version of this recipe? Check out our Gluten-Free Pan Pizza.

    let’s EAT!