Home Front

A blog about the economy and the Sacramento-area real estate market.

September 10, 2010
That's a wrap...
This half of Home Front is walking into the sunset, taking a new writing job with California state government. One last Home Front column explains. A big thanks to readers who frequent our  real estate/economy niche here in the mass expanse of the World Wide Web.
September 7, 2010
Sacramento hotels: filling more rooms than last year
Sacramento hotels are filling more rooms in 2010 than last year, hospitality industry analysts PKF Consulting USA and Colliers International reported today.
That's the good news. 
Here's the glass-is-half-empty scenario: Room rates are down from 2009.
New convention bookings appear to be boosting the occupancy rates announced this morning by PKF Consulting and Colliers International.  (Capital-area details, page 5-7).
The San Francisco analyst reported that occupancy rates from January through July in the capital region are 3.5 percent higher than the same time in 2009. In July, occupancy soared 17 percent above July 2009.
That's testament to new weekend gatherings this year of the Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses at the Sacramento Convention Center. The group, meeting in Sacramento for eight weekends, has booked nearly 3,000 rooms at 13 hotels in the downtown area, hotel officials say.
PKF and Colliers said 66.7 percent of Sacramento-area hotel rooms were occupied in July. That's up from 57 percent in July 2009. 
Occupancy averaged 62.2 percent from January through July, compared to 60.1 percent the same time in 2009.
Room rates averaged $91.52 from January through July 2010. Last year at the same time they, averaged $97.72, said PKF and Colliers.
September 7, 2010
CalHFA introduces 30-year first-time buyer fixed loan at 4%

The California Housing Finance Agency announced this morning that it's making new, less expensive 30-year fixed-rate loans for-first time homebuyers who meet low- and moderate income guidelines.

Details are here in this news release. More details are in this Web page from CalHFA, including county-by-county income limits for the program.

CalHFA Executive Director Steven Spears says the option helps qualified first-time buyers get around the some of today's extremely tight rules set by conventional lenders.

 Spears said: "Housing finance agencies around the country have historically played an important role in each state's housing market. With the disruption in the credit markets over the last two years, we have been limited in our ability to help finance home purchases. This new program offers California families another way to purchase their first home with reliable, fixed rate financing."

Those interested can check with a CalHFA-approved lender or call CalHFA at 1-877-922-5432.







September 1, 2010
Small businesses expect a double dip

Most small business owners in California are afraid the economy will go into a double-dip recession.

A survey released today by Citibank says 85 percent of the state's small business owners are concerned about a double dip.

The findings are in line with growing pessimism among some economists.

The survey added that 74 percent believe they've prepared themselves for another downturn. Some 67 percent say they've changed the way they're doing business, with many reducing their debt, increasing cash reserves or imposing hiring freezes.

Only 28 percent said their businesses are better off today than a year ago; 51 percent said they believe their business will do better over the next year.



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