Archives for December 2009

2009 Costa Mesa Polar Express Video

2009 Polar Express had over 1200 in attendance! Don’t forget to donate to the Spark of Love by dropping off an unwrapped toy or gift at your local Costa Mesa Fire Station.

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Coyotes call Costa Mesa home too!

Coyotes call Costa Mesa home

Coyotes call Costa Mesa home

Have you ever happened to noticed all the lost cat and dog signs in the Costa Mesa communities of Mesa Verde and the Westside of Costa Mesa? Stop and think of how many parents, like me, who have lost animals… Who sympathetically rally up the kids to make lost pet signs,  post them around the neighborhood when we know, deep in our heart,  it probably was a coyote that got our animal.  If you are surprised by what I am telling you then simply ask around, talk to your fellow neighbors. There are plenty of first hand stories of small dogs being attacked in Fairview Park, of packs of Coyotes scurrying away from the trash dumpsters at Mesa Verde Country Club, and the many upon many firsthand sightings of coyotes, and the remains of the animals they have attacked and left behind.

Just this last weekend on Jacaranda Street in Mesa Verde,  good friends,  Paul and Tuesday Ward were wildly awaken by a neighbor’s pounding on thier door, it was 4a.m.  Paul came out of his home to find his beloved Mitts ( a beautiful black and white cat admired by the neighborhood) barely breathing and badly hurt by an apparent coyote attack. Paul rushed Mitts to the vet but it was too late. Upon coming home from the vet, Paul was told by the neighbor that the coyote had returned to finish what he started just a half hour later.

I later spoke with Paul about what had happened, I said to him that I was sorry to hear about the loss of Mitts, he said to me, “Kurt, I was praying that Mitts was not breathing because I knew how much pain and suffering he was in from all the wounds.”  What concerns me the most about what is happening is that if you look at Jacaranda Street on a map, you will come to the same conclusion that I did,  “Wow, Jacaranda is really far from the Santa Ana River bed; the known super highway of coyotes in the area.”

Listen, I am not stoking the fire to get rid of coyotes, they have a right to live in our city. I am sympathetic to their fight for life as well.  But, we can do a better job of educating our community to protect our pets, and our families too. Protect them by bringing pets inside at night;  coyotes can leap over 6 foot walls and fences.

While mother nature is playing out in our communities, is it really my imagination that the coyote problem is getting worse? Is there something proactively we can do to protect the coyotes and our pets too?

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Costa Mesa Real Estate Update- What Needs To Happen Now

December 15, 2009
What Needs To Happen Now

We are subject to many cycles within our economy. Whether we are booming or in a recession, we have seasonal, economic, rate and other cycles which affect our economy’s well being. One very important cycle that is a foundation of our weak economy and financial crisis is the credit cycle. We don’t have to tell you that banks have tightened up their lending requirements on homes, commercial properties, credit cards and more. If it is hard to borrow, it is hard for the economy to grow.

In order for this economic cycle to end, the credit cycle must ease. We know it this has not yet happened as our Treasury Secretary and Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board both have indicated that the tight credit conditions continue. The cycle continues despite the fact that the government has lent billions of dollars to banks in order to ease the financial crisis. So what will ease the credit cycle? For one, creditors need to be convinced that the catalyst of this whole crisis, real estate, is no longer depreciating. We have had some very good signs, including stable prices and rising sales for much of the year. However, with many foreclosures to come, banks are not jumping back to the table on residential or commercial real estate. That is why the government extended the home buyer tax credit and Treasury Secretary Geithner has extended the TARP program as well–to support this important asset. The government is determined to support the most important industry in America. We believe their focus is right on target in this regard.
The Markets. Rates moved up for the first time in several weeks. Freddie Mac announced that for the week ending December 10, 30-year fixed rates averaged 4.81%, up from 4.71% the week before. The average for 15-year fixed rose to 4.32%. Adjustables were mixed with the average for one-year adjustables falling slightly to 4.24% and five-year adjustables increasing to 4.26%. A year ago 30-year fixed rates were at 5.47%. “Following an upbeat employment report, long-term bond yields rose slightly and fixed rates followed,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. “The economy shed only 11,000 jobs in November, far fewer than the market consensus forecast, and the unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 10 percent. In addition, revisions added 159,000 jobs to September and October. Notwithstanding, rates on 30-year fixed loans are almost 0.7 percentage points below those at the same time last year. This translates into an $81 reduction on the payment on a $200,000 loan.” Rates indicated do not include fees and points and are provided for evidence of trends only. They should not be used for comparison purposes.

Current Indices For Adjustable Rate Mortgages
Updated December 11, 2009

  Daily Value Monthly Value
  Dec 10 November
6-month Treasury Security 0.15% 0.15%
1-year Treasury Security 0.32% 0.31%
3-year Treasury Security 1.26% 1.32%
5-year Treasury Security 2.19% 2.23%
10-year Treasury Security 3.49% 3.40%
12-month LIBOR   1.098% (Nov)
12-month MTA   0.481% (Nov)
11th District Cost of Funds   1.259% (Oct)
Prime Rate   3.25%

The number of homes for sale declined 2.4 percent in November in the metropolitan areas covered by ZipRealty Inc. In the last 25 years, the decline in November has averaged 1.8 percent. The data doesn’t include New York, but Miller Samuel Inc., an appraisal firm, reports that inventory was down 7.1 percent from the end of October and down 18 percent compared to November 2008. October was the first month since January to show a rise in bank-owned homes. The number of bank-owned properties declined over the summer because of efforts to prevent foreclosures. As time runs out for many families, the number of foreclosures is increasing. As of the end of October, banks and home-loan investors had 639,000 foreclosed homes for sale across the U.S., Barclays Capital estimates. Source: The Wall Street Journal

President Obama proposed a program last week that would reimburse home owners for installing energy-efficient appliances, windows, and insulation. Under what has been dubbed “Cash for Caulking,” home owners would get a 50 percent rebate on items like energy-efficient air conditioners, heating systems, washing machines and dryers, refrigerators, replacement windows, and insulation up to $12,000, meaning a household could spend $24,000 and get $12,000 back. There will likely be no income restrictions. Steve Nadel, director at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, who is helping to craft the legislation, says they are contemplating having contractors or retailers pay part of the cost upfront to ease the need for home owners to come up with lots of cash. Source:

The IRS has spelled out guidelines for eligibility for the home buyer credit when co-borrowers purchase a property. When a home-owning parent of an adult child co-signs for a home loan and both names appear on the note, the IRS says that under some circumstances, the first-time home buyer can qualify for the whole amount. The IRS says the parent doesn’t qualify for any portion of the credit, but if the child hasn’t owned a home during the three years preceding the current purchase and can qualify based on income, he or she can be allocated the entire $8,000 credit. When unmarried individuals co-purchase a home and only one of them is eligible for the credit, then the full $8,000 can be allocated to the eligible buyer. Source: Washington Post Writers Group

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2009 Polar Express Photos Now Available

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Costa Mesa Economic Update

The Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate fell to 10% in November from 10.2% in October. Employers cut 11,000 jobs, the smallest monthly loss since the recession began in December 2007. Payrolls were forecast to decline by 125,000.

The Institute for Supply Management reported the monthly index of manufacturing activity fell to 53.6 in November after reaching a three-year high of 55.7 in October. However, the new orders component rose to 60.3 from 58.5. A reading above 50 signals expansion.

The Commerce Department reported total construction spending was unchanged in October after dropping 1.6% in September. Economists had expected a decrease of 0.4%. Private residential activity rose 4.4%.

The National Association of Realtors reported that its pending home sales index, a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts, rose 3.7% to 114.1 in October, following a 6.1% increase in September. It was the ninth consecutive monthly increase. On a year-over-year basis, pending home sales are up 31.8%.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage applications for the week ending November 27 rose 2.1% to 613.7. Purchase volume increased 4.1% to 232.3. Refinancing applications gained 1.7% to 2866.4.

The Institute for Supply Management reported the monthly index of non-manufacturing activity was 48.7 in November, down from 50.6 in October. A reading above 50 signals expansion.

The Labor Department reported productivity rose at an annual rate of 8.1% in the third quarter, the largest gain in six years. Labor costs fell at an annual rate of 2.5%.

The Commerce Department reported factory orders rose 0.6% in October, following an upwardly revised 1.6% gain in September. It was the sixth gain in the past seven months.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on wholesale trade on December 9 and retail sales on December 11.

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