Bay Area adds 21,000 jobs in July, strongest month of 2017

Bay Area adds 21,000 jobs in July, strongest month of 2017

Led by Santa Clara County and the East Bay, the Bay Area’s job market powered up to its strongest showing of the year in July, erasing worries that the region’s economy could swerve into a downturn, a new state report indicated Friday.

Santa Clara County added 7,400 jobs during July, while the East Bay gained 6,600 jobs, according to a report from the Employment Development Department. The San Francisco-San Mateo region added 3,500 positions. All the numbers were adjusted for seasonal changes.

“The hiring was awesome in July,” said Stephen Levy, director of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. “We are having some very good gains now, and we are hearing about more companies planning to expand, to lease office space, to buy land.”

The nine-county Bay Area added 21,000 jobs in the single strongest month of hiring for the region so far this year. Santa Clara County’s gains were also the best for that region in 2017.

“The expansion will continue,” said Mark Vitner, senior economist with San Francisco-based Wells Fargo Bank.

The upswing in Santa Clara County offered a welcome counterpoint to economic setbacks in the first third of 2017. During three of the initial four months of 2017, the South Bay lost jobs, but the area has now added jobs for three consecutive months.

“The economy in the Bay Area is still strong and healthy, yet the pace of expansion is inevitably slowing down,” said Jeffrey Michael, director of the Stockton-based Center for Business and Policy Research at University of the Pacific, noting that job gains in prior years have been greater than much of 2017. “There is no concern of a slowdown or recession in our near-term forecast.”

California added 82,600 jobs during July, the EDD reported. But the statewide unemployment rate worsened and increased to 4.8 percent in July compared with 4.7 percent in June. The figures for payroll jobs and unemployment are derived from two different surveys and can sometimes move in different directions.

“We are effectively at full employment both in the Bay Area and in California,” said Robert Kleinhenz, director of economic research with Beacon Economics and UC Riverside’s School of Business.

The technology industry was a major factor in the employment boom in Santa Clara County. Tech companies added 2,000 jobs in the South Bay during July, according to a Beacon Economics analysis of seasonally adjusted EDD figures. The tech industry, however, shed 300 jobs in the San Francisco-San Mateo area and 1,200 in the East Bay.

In addition to the robust tech gains, Santa Clara County also added 2,300 hotel and restaurant jobs and 1,200 health care positions. Retail also was sturdy, adding 700 jobs in July, the Beacon analysis showed.

The East Bay’s strongest employment sectors in July were hotels and restaurants, which added 2,300 positions; construction, which gained 1,300; and health care, up 1,000.

The strongest industry in the San Francisco-San Mateo area was hotels and restaurants, which added 1,100 positions, according to the Beacon assessment.

Experts believe the East Bay has benefited from overflows of companies that have fled from San Francisco, the Peninsula and the South Bay.


Average US Mortgage Rates Edge Lower; 30-Year at 3.89 Pct

Average US Mortgage Rates Edge Lower; 30-Year at 3.89 Pct. | Business News | US News

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates edged lower this week.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages slipped to 3.89 percent from 3.90 percent last week. While historically low, that's still above last year's average of 3.65 percent. The benchmark rate stood at 3.43 percent a year ago.

The rate on 15-year, fixed-rate home loans, popular with homeowners who are refinancing their mortgages, fell to 3.16 percent from 3.18 percent last week.

Record-low interest rates have helped spur home purchases and boosted the housing market. Yet despite the low mortgage rates to lure prospective homebuyers, the housing market has remained hampered by tight mortgage credit, rising home prices and tight supply of homes on the market.

In the latest indication of low inventory constraining home purchases, real estate brokerage Redfin reported Thursday that sales in July declined 3.5 percent from a year earlier. The number of homes for sale fell 11 percent, marking 22 straight months of year-over-year declines in inventory, according to Redfin. There was a three-month supply of homes in July, higher than June's record-low 2.5 months but well below the six months that represents a market balanced between buyers and sellers.


To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week. The average doesn't include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was 0.4 point, down from 0.5 point last week. The fee on 15-year loans was unchanged at 0.5 point.

Rates on adjustable five-year loans rose to 3.16 percent from 3.14 percent last week. The fee declined to 0.4 point from 0.5 point.


Tips for first-year real estate agents

Tips for first-year real estate agents

New to

Real Estate

CONGRATULATIONS – you have yourself a real estate license! It’s official: you are now a real estate agent.

So, what’s next? Garrett Lenderman, lead writer and researcher for Keller Williams’ publishing division, offers valuable insight.


“Your database is your business.”

Oftentimes, the difference between an average business and a mega business can be pinpointed to the number of times an agent communicates with members of their database.  

“Each time you touch people in your database, you gain a piece of mindshare, which will help position you as someone they need to talk to when they think about buying or selling real estate. The more frequently you communicate with your database, the more mindshare you gain, and the more you’re able to profit from the relationships you build within it,” Lenderman explains.

He also emphasizes that how you talk to your database matters. While the world continues to invent new, easier ways for us to communicate with one another, for real estate agents, the number one weapon of choice is still the phone. This isn’t because real estate agents are old-fashioned; it’s because voice-to-voice communication is extremely efficient and effective. When engaging with someone else, what we say is only one half of the equation – there’s also how we say it. When speaking with someone else, we constantly send and receive millions of signals that all add up to our interpretation and understanding of what’s being said. When using simple forms of communication like text messaging, we restrict our ability to use our full arsenal of communication tools.

So go out and talk to people, and make sure what you say counts. Lenderman suggests, at the very least, you should pick up the phone and call everyone in your database at least once a quarter. When designing touch plans to add to that, remember that the more personal you make it, the more effective it will be.

“No is a spectrum.”

The importance of learning that “no” and “yes” fall on a spectrum is key to becoming a successful agent. When someone tells us “no,” there’s usually a condition associated with it. When talking with people who are interested in real estate, it’s important to gauge how strongly someone is committed to their current decisions and what needs to happen for them to change their minds. Sometimes you’ll find that you have the ability to help people turn their no into a yes.

Learning to interpret people’s needs is part of being a good communicator, which is why it’s important to focus on building your skills through scripts and dialogues, as well as experience, on a daily basis.

“You have to invest in your business and you have to invest in yourself.”

Starting out viewing your job as just that – a job – is a mistake. Agents should view and handle themselves as business owners. By treating real estate as an enterprise from day one, you set yourself up for future growth and success. This means operating off of a schedule that allows you to take control of your time, investing in a database that provides you and those you’re looking to serve with continuing value, continually educating yourself so that you can educate your customers, and pairing big goals with big actions and big accountability that will guide you to the future you desire. 

“It’s never that hard again.”

Starting something from scratch is always going to be hard. Your first cold call is hard. Selling your first home is hard. The good news is that it is only going to get easier from here. Repetition, making mistakes, and learning as you go will help make things exponentially easier. Experience is a great teacher, and relying on your own and asking others to share theirs will help you on your own personal and professional growth journey.

“Take a leap.”

Jumping into a new career in real estate can be challenging. Working on outreach, making real connections with customers, creating a strong database, and treating real estate like a business are all key ingredients for success.

MREA_copy_1287094641101.jpgAssuming you’ve chosen to hang your license with Keller Williams, you’ve already started your career off on the right foot. Plug in to your market center by taking advantage of the training and expertise all around you. And, if you haven’t already, start memorizing the proven models and systems of The Millionaire Real Estate Agent –  a book that has sold more than 1,000,000 copies and helped agents just like you create a business worth owning.



Americans believe home price correction imminent

Americans believe home price correction imminent | 2017-08-09 | HousingWire

Americans increasingly believe the housing market is overheating and home prices continue to rise, and said they suspect a housing price correction may be imminent, according to the latest Modern Homebuyer Survey from ValueInsured, a provider of down payment protection for homebuyers.

However, housing confidence continues on a positive trajectory due to high home prices and low inventory. The company’s Housing Confidence Index score increased one percentage point from the first quarter to 68.7 in the second quarter on a hundred-point scale.

And nearly eight in 10 Americans, or 79%, saying homeownership is an important part of the American Dream.

But despite this commitment to homeownership, they are less confident in buying a home now and don’t believe it will hold its current value. The survey showed 57% of Americans said home prices are overvalued and unsustainable in the second quarter this year. This is an increase of seven percentage points from the first quarter.

The fear was even higher in urban areas, where 65% of Americans said homes are overvalued and unsustainable.

Prospective homebuyers were also more wary as 63% of all homebuyers and 72% of all Millennial homebuyers said they are concerned with the timing of the market and want to make sure they are not buying high.

“We see more homebuyers concerned with timing the market,” ValueInsured CEO Joe Melendez said. “This is especially true for Millennials, who are more likely to switch jobs, relocate or need to upsize in the next few years. No one wants to buy at the peak and find themselves underwater as so many did a decade ago.”

While experts explained living in a home more than seven years could lower the homebuyer’s exposure to market fluctuations, only 37% of Millennials plan to live in their next home more than six years.

“Beyond the jitters, I see in our survey an increasingly informed nation of homebuyers, who understand the risk of the market,” Melendez said. “To those concerned about a price correction, or waiting to time the market, I recommend a proactive approach. Have an exit plan, then anytime you find a home you love is a good time to buy.”


We’re Definitely Not In A Housing Bubble

We're Definitely Not In A Housing Bubble | Seeking Alpha

By FS Staff

In 2005 and 2006, Financial Sense regularly warned that US housing was in a bubble. Now, with the national average above the 2006 peak (see below), does that mean we are in a bubble again?

This was the subject of our recent FS Insider interview with Rick Sharga, a leading expert at the largest online real estate marketplace in the world, Ten-X.

Rick Sharga: We’re Are Definitely Not in a Housing Bubble

We're definitely not in a bubble. We have a handful of markets that are frothy and probably have hit an affordability wall of sorts but the fact of the matter is, while prices nominally have surpassed the 2006 peak, we're not talking about 2006 dollars. We've had 9 years of inflation to factor into home prices today...and, in fact, if you really dug into the analysis what you would find is that home prices today have basically recovered to about where they were in 2004."

This is true. If you look at a chart, inflation-adjusted home prices are exactly where they were in the first half of 2004.

But, then again, doesn't that mean that we could be just a year or two away from entering one? Not necessarily - it all depends on the growth rate.

From 2002 to the final peak in 2006, home prices were consistently growing 7.5% or greater every year and even jumped to as high as 16% on a year-over-year basis during the blow-off phase in 2005. Currently, home prices are appreciating around 6.5% each year. That's still pretty good, but still below bubble-level growth rates.


Many Bay Area homes have yet to recover pre-recession values

Many Bay Area homes have yet to recover pre-recession values

With double-digit price appreciation returning to some Bay Area markets, we’re used to hearing that the region’s homeowners are a lucky bunch, richer by the minute.

It’s often true, but not always.

A new report by Trulia, the real estate website, finds that only 60.4 percent of single-family homes in the Oakland metropolitan area have recovered their pre-recession peak values, compared with 84.3 percent in metropolitan San Jose and 98 percent in the San Francisco metro area. Out of 100 U.S. metros whose housing recovery was measured by Trulia, Oakland ranks 34th, while San Jose ranks 19th and San Francisco is No. 2 in the nation.


San Jose, Oakland job surges power Bay Area hiring boom

San Jose, Oakland job surges power Bay Area hiring boom

The Bay Area gained more than 12,000 jobs in March in a hiring surge led by the East Bay and Santa Clara County, state jobs data showed Friday, easing concerns about an economic slowdown.

The East Bay added 9,900 jobs in March, Santa Clara County gained 3,000 and the San Francisco-San Mateo area added 200 positions, according to the state’s Employment Development Department.

The gain of 12,400 jobs in the Bay Area — the most in a month since last October — banished job losses that pummeled the nine-county region in January and February. Those setbacks had raised the specter of an economic slump hitting the region.

“The March gains take the collapse of the Bay Area economy off the table,” said Stephen Levy, director of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. “We will continue to see steady growth in the Bay Area.”


New Year. New Career?

Attend a Free Career Session - Tuesday, January 3rd - 6:30 pm -- 7:30 pm - Career Session - Keller Williams Realty Silicon City, 2520 Mission College Blvd., #102, Santa Clara CA. - Can be attended by internet broadcast!


CLICK HERE to Register for the Next Career Session!


Not Licensed? Get your California Real Estate License!

Yelp says this about my classes:


  • LIVE CLASSES -- There are 12 two-hour classes conducted live and broadcast over the internet.

  • FREE GUEST LESSON -- Attend one lesson as our guest; no cost or obligation. You can try before you buy! CLICK HERE to register for a FREE Guest Lesson

  • VIDEO REPLAYS -- This is an added convenience for students with busy schedules or those who miss a class, want to repeat a class, or who want to accelerate the program because of an upcoming state exam date.

  • CLASS HANDOUTS -- You will receive copies of the lesson slides which will make it easy to follow along with the class and review the material. You don't have to become a stenographer.

  • BULLET OUTLINE -- This handy book makes studying for the state exam much easier and more efficient by condensing the testable information into a digestible outline.

  • PRACTICE TESTING PROGRAM -- Our questions parallel those used on the state exam and you take the practice tests online.

  • SATURDAY EXAM WORKSHOP -- This intensive session will give you the final push you need before your state exam.

  • PASS, OR YOUR MONEY BACK, COURSE GUARANTEE - Virtually all of our students pass the state exam on their first try. If you don't pass, we will refund your tuition in full. 100%

  • Free placement assistance. Join the fastest growing real estate company in the world


Advantages of a career at Keller Williams!

  • Industry-leading training and support

  • Proven business models to build your business

  • Make a six-figure income

  • Generous commission splits

  • Top-notch facilities

  • Work your own hours

  • Fun work atmosphere

  • No bosses or mandatory meetings

  • No experience necessary - we have all the training you need to get your real estate license!

  • Call (408) 357-0285 for further information.


Why Smart People Don’t Multitask

Why Smart People Don't Multitask | Dr. Travis Bradberry | LinkedIn

Why Smart People Don't Multitask

Dec 21, 2016

You may have heard that multitasking is bad for you, but new studies show that it kills your performance and may even damage your brain. Every time you multitask you aren't just harming your performance in the moment; you may very well be damaging an area of your brain that's critical to your future success at work.

Research conducted at Stanford University found that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.

A Special Skill?

But what if some people have a special gift for multitasking? The Stanford researchers compared groups of people based on their tendency to multitask and their belief that it helps their performance. They found that heavy multitaskers—those who multitask a lot and feel that it boosts their performance—were actually worse at multitasking than those who like to do a single thing at a time. The frequent multitaskers performed worse because they had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another.


Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully.

Multitasking Lowers IQ

Research also shows that, in addition to slowing you down, multitasking lowers your IQ. A study at the University of London found that participants who multitasked during cognitive tasks experienced IQ score declines that were similar to what they'd expect if they had smoked marijuana or stayed up all night. IQ drops of 15 points for multitasking men lowered their scores to the average range of an 8-year-old child.

So the next time you're writing your boss an email during a meeting, remember that your cognitive capacity is being diminished to the point that you might as well let an 8-year-old write it for you.

Brain Damage From Multitasking?

It was long believed that cognitive impairment from multitasking was temporary, but new research suggests otherwise. Researchers at the University of Sussex in the UK compared the amount of time people spend on multiple devices (such as texting while watching TV) to MRI scans of their brains. They found that high multitaskers had less brain density in the anterior cingulate cortex, a region responsible for empathy as well as cognitive and emotional control.

While more research is needed to determine if multitasking is physically damaging the brain (versus existing brain damage that predisposes people to multitask), it's clear that multitasking has negative effects.

Neuroscientist Kep Kee Loh, the study’s lead author, explained the implications:

"I feel that it is important to create an awareness that the way we are interacting with the devices might be changing the way we think and these changes might be occurring at the level of brain structure.”

The EQ Connection

Nothing turns people off quite like fiddling with your phone or tablet during a conversation. Multitasking in meetings and other social settings indicates low Self- and Social Awareness, two emotional intelligence (EQ) skills that are critical to success at work. TalentSmart has tested more than a million people and found that 90% of top performers have high EQs. If multitasking does indeed damage the anterior cingulate cortex (a key brain region for EQ) as current research suggests, doing so will lower your EQ while it alienates your coworkers.

Bringing It All Together

If you’re prone to multitasking, this is not a habit you’ll want to indulge—it clearly slows you down and decreases the quality of your work. Even if it doesn’t cause brain damage, allowing yourself to multitask will fuel any existing difficulties you have with concentration, organization, and attention to detail.


Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world's leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. Dr. Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, TIME, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.

If you'd like to learn how to increase your emotional intelligence (EQ), consider taking the online Emotional Intelligence Appraisal® test that's included with the Emotional Intelligence 2.0 book. Your test results will pinpoint which of the book's 66 emotional intelligence strategies will increase your EQ the most.


Resolve to Buy a Home Early in 2017

Resolve to Buy a Home Early in 2017 |®

Let’s finish out the year with a holiday basket packed with good news: We’re ending 2016 in better economic shape than in recent years. Unemployment is down to 4.6%, its lowest level since August 2007; consumer confidence is higher than it has been since July 2007; and home values nationally and in more than half of the major markets in the country have recovered.

We’re employed, confident, and have recovered equity in our homes. The stock market is up and flirting with all-time highs.

That sounds like the perfect backdrop to buy a home in 2017, whether it’s a first-time purchase, a move up, a downsize, or a relocation. Right?

Maybe. But before you take the plunge, you’re going to have to come to grips with two factors that are now decidedly worse for buying than they were at the end of last year: Mortgage rates are higher, and the inventory of homes for sale is lower.

Mortgage rates are a bit more than a quarter of a point higher now than they were at the end of 2015. That translates into payments that are 3% higher. Still, that increase can be managed by most.

The key challenge for potential buyers is that rates are now likely to move up more—as much as three-quarters of a point in 2017. That would be increasing payments by an additional 9%.

Tight inventory levels have been a problem for more than four years. As sales have grown, supply has fallen. We’ve seen the age of inventory—how long homes sit on the market—drop dramatically as home buyers burn through the available stock.

We’ve had an abnormally strong autumn for home sales because frustrated buyers are keeping at it even after the end of peak buying season. We also saw more new buyers emerge later in the peak season. Then as mortgage rates started to move up in October and then accelerated their rise in November and December, a new sense of urgency was added to the mix.

As a result of this unusually strong demand in the slower time of the year, we will end this year with at least 10% fewer homes for sale than we had last year. And we thought last year was bad!

Get started on your home hunt now

If your New Year’s resolutions include buying a home, I would suggest getting an early start. January and February typically are the slowest months of the year for sales, as harsh weather in most of the country dissuades most potential buyers.

Buyers in January and February face far less competition from other buyers, yet inventory is only marginally lower than in the spring.

Since mortgage rates are likely to move up as the year progresses, the beginning of the year represents the best time to lock in rates before they get even higher.

Early-year buyers can use the holidays to get ready. Organize your financial information to make getting pre-approved for a mortgage easier. Use® to find an expert local Realtor® to help you. And while you are there, sign up for alerts on new homes and price changes on neighborhoods that interest you.

Jonathan Smoke is the chief economist of, where he analyzes real estate data and trends to develop market insights for the consumer. Follow @SmokeonHousing