Harvest in the wine country is a long drawn out affair, beginning in August in the eastern vineyards of Napa, and with the grapes going to sparkling wine. The long harvest season closes with the old vine zinfandels in my part of the Russian River Valley in October. If your grapes are in a cool spot like mine are, that could even mean a Halloween harvest, with prayers that the rains wait till the sugars get up there. This year harvest got started late due to an exceptionally cool summer. Tomatoes are barely ripening, let alone wine grapes....Continue Reading!
This week, the Press Democrat newspaper confirmed the analysis of Sonoma County home sales reported here a couple of weeks ago, proof yet again that a local blogger can more nimbly provide the latest hard core real estate data. My reports are based upon the exact same data the Press Democrat is getting. ;) The headline featured July's drop in CLOSED home sales. If you read through the article, however, you will also learn that pending sales (newly ratified purchase contracts) are up to a two year high in July, indicating that sales activity is still strong, and has...Continue Reading!
This year marks the 100th! Anniversary of Sebastopol's first ever Gravenstein Apple Fair in 1910. Billed as "The Sweetest Little Fair" in Sonoma County, it is a celebration of Sonoma County's long tradition of agricultural delights. Now many of the apple orchards have given way to vineyards, and Sonoma County apples have long been less competitive on the world markets than those from Washington State and China, but the early ripening Gravenstein apple is still a hallmark of the best in local farming and fruit! Thanks to Sonoma County Farm Trails for keeping this tradition alive! ...Continue Reading!
We are having a very cool summer here in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County. The last few days as I walk the vineyards I spot grape clusters that seem all of a sudden to have turned from bright green to dark purple. This normally occurs here in late July or the first week of August. It is part of the process called veraison. I love the rhythm of living in wine country. Part of it is this important step, now they look more like the prime red wine they will become! ...Continue Reading!
There are no hugely exciting sales trends to proclaim this month. Trendlines we have noted in the past continue in unspectacular fashion which is good news as the market continues to stabilize. The best news is that newly pending sales (ratified home purchase contracts that have yet to close) rose up in July to nearly the same level as April. The pending sales figures for April 2010 were very high, following several months of increase leading up to the expiration of the $8,000 federal tax credit, only available to homes "under contract" by April 30, 2010. Throughout much of the country...Continue Reading!
I am embarrassed about my infrequent posts as of late. I have been on the run, working with buyers and sellers of Sonoma County real estate. Out of town buyers are out in force, looking for that special retreat property, horse property or wine country second home, from Sebastopol to Healdsburg, Santa Rosa to Guerneville. In the last year I have worked with buyers from San Francisco, Berkeley, Marin County, Provence, St. Louis, New York, Las Vegas, Seoul, Los Angeles, Burlingame, Palo Alto and San Jose, all in one stage or other of the Sonoma County...Continue Reading!
The first quarter home sales figures are now available and we will take a more in-depth at them later this week, but I thought I would point out this article in today's Press Democrat newspaper, which reported the latest home sales figures as presented at the Santa Rosa Realtor's breakfast this morning by Rick Laws of Coldwell Banker. Rick uses data from the Bay Area Real Estate Information Services Multiple Listings, which is the same source I use for the reports I produce every month. (NOTE: Until this data was available to me, Rick kindly shared it...Continue Reading!
Otilia and I have seen several articles that are claiming double tax credits for buyers who go into contract by April 30, 2010. Kathleen Pender in the San Francisco Chronicle last week detailed how some home buyer's were tweaking their purchase timeline to take advantage of both the federal tax credit and the recently revised state home buyers' tax credits mentioned here a couple of days ago. The federal government currently is offering a credit of up to $8,000.00 if a buyer has an accepted purchase contract by April 30th and closes escrow by the end of June. The...Continue Reading!
Last month I posted the startlingly high "PENDING SALES" figure for the short, rainy month of February, in which the highest number of pending sales was recorded for the last two years. Today the national press reported that nationwide, pending sales rose sharply throughout the US. The interpretation is that the soon to expire Federal Tax Credit of $8,000 for first-time and $6,500 for existing home owner tax credits were promoting the increased buyer activity. Interestingly, the article reported that strong sales in the Midwest lead the charge, and that sales have declined in the Western States. As yet...Continue Reading!
(NOTE: Today I welcome Otilia Sullivan of Princeton Capital, as a first time contributor to Wine Country and Horses. Otilia has provided sage mortgage advice to many of my clients and I trust her ability to find the right mortgage for my clients in a timely manner. She is extremely knowledgeable about the mortgage markets and what it takes to qualify for a home, or to refinance. Since there are so many changes on nearly a daily basis, please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions you might have.) Welcome Otilia! Don't forget that the end of the federal...Continue Reading!
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