January 2008

There are 21 blog entries for January 2008.

If you have been looking at real estate around the  University Circle area, you may want to hurry up and make a decision.  Match day is coming up for graduating medical students hoping to land jobs and Cleveland Clinic and University Hospital.  On the 17th of March, at about 12pm, thousands of hopeful grads will get their news followed shortly there after by a frenzy of people trying to find a place to live for the next 1-4 years.  Low maintenance condos around University Circle and Cleveland Heights’ Coventry area will be prim for the pick’n.  

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   REMINDER...12 days from today, all cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sale calls.

To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone: 888-382-1222. It is th e National DO NOT CALL list. It will only take a minute of your time.. It blocks your number for five (5) years. You must call from the cell phone number you want to block. You cannot call from a different phone number.
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So what about Congress’s stimulus package? The House approved HR 5140 yesterday, 385-35. It would send one-time rebates to 111 million families, provide tax breaks to businesses, and ease mortgage loan limits. (The “tax breaks to businesses” is already coming under fire: what good will come of helping a company pay for machines to produce something that consumers can’t buy because they’re spending their money on fuel and food and their home equity is tapped out?) Section 201 of the bill temporarily increases the conforming loan limit until December 31, 2008 to as high as $729,750 in high cost housing markets. The bill also includes a FHA loan limit increase from $362,790 to the same $729,750. The bill now must be approved by the Senate, with every attempt…
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Museum Place, the development co-developed by TLC Urban and JaGee Holdings, LLP at the Camp Bowie/West 7th Street intersection is steaming along. I talked with a representative from the marketing company and he tells me the condos in the 7-11 cornerstore will be available in the next month and range in size from roughly 1,500 - 2,200 square feet. Pricing is still not set, but I believe they will be a good bargain for a large space in an amazing new development. If you haven't seen this development I will attach some pictures and pricing to this blog in the coming days.

Also, the large building, One Museum Place that is being built currently will be selling soon and should have units available to move into by the end of this year or the very first of

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If you see a home listed for sale, who’s selling it? According to an article by Kenneth Harney over the weekend, in the Bakersfield area, 45% of current sales listings are REO properties. They have become the new comps for appraisers.

Merrill Lynch is predicting Fed Funds to hit 1% and the yield on the 10-yr Treasury to get to 3.0% by the end of 2008. Are they the smartest guys in the room? I sure hope so… So far this morning things are pretty quiet with the 10-yr coming in at 3.60% and mortgages roughly unchanged from Friday afternoon.

The latest on FHA limits are that the proposed changes raise the current cap of 95% of median sales price to 125% and also raises the maximum from $362,790 to $725,000. For example, if 95% of the median sales

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In an unexpected move by the The Federal Reserve yesterday, interest rates were cut by 3/4 of a percent.  This brings the federal funds rate down from 4.25% to 3.5%.

As if rates weren't already super low this move has seemed to send the message to buyers on the fence that the time to buy is now!   Its like a stock you have been watching for weeks as it falls and waiting for the perfect time to buy. 

This rate reduction in downtown Cleveland creates an almost ridiculous investment opportunity.  Because of the NCHAMP program (see NCHAMP blog) you can go ahead and take an additional 1.5% off the already unprecedented rate. 

All jokes aside people, you have the opportunity to get a new luxurious condo in a quickly gentrifying area for less than it

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Interestingly, California accounted for 49% of the dollar volume of securitized jumbo mortgages and only 14% of agency (Fannie/Freddie) mortgages. The same study found that 92% of the affected mortgages would be California loans. So increasing the loan limits would lead to a higher concentration of California loans in agency pools, which may or may not be desirable from an investor’s viewpoint. Also, with the additional potential supply of FNMA/FHLMC securities, some wonder if that will actually move their prices down and rates up, relative to other mortgages!


What is the latest on loan limits? There are two bills (HR 1427, the House version, and S 2036, the Senate version) that would raise the conforming loan limit among other things, both

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Kuleto readies latest S.F. restaurants

Sunday, January 20, 2008


As construction was wrapping up on Pat Kuleto's two new restaurants opening on San Francisco's Embarcadero later this month, it was decided that an olive tree would grace the piazza that joins them.

The idea seemed simple enough. An order went out for a small tree, a few inches in diameter.

When Kuleto heard about the size of the tree, he balked.

"I said we can't do that. I want a big, gnarly, massive tree," said Kuleto, a bear of a man who, were he an olive tree, would surely be a Sevillano, the noble olive of martinis.

Kuleto headed north, to an olive ranch near Corning (Tehama County), where he found a nearly

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I was privileged to be taken on a tour of the latest improvements to Battery Park yesterday.  Most people don’t even know what’s going on over there on 73rd Street just north of Detroit but with 32 units closing last year, it is obvious that they found something special in the small city by the lake. 


For those of you who are unfamiliar with Battery Park it is a Vintage Development Group project that began in 2005.  Vintage Group Development has close ties to Marous Bros. Construction and a reputation for putting together a quality product.  


This 13acre community sits between Detroit and the West Shoreway overlooking Edgewater Park.  Its first few phases have been completed offering attached townhomes and stand alone single family homes

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I know there has been a lot of talk that Starwood might bring their Aloft boutique hotel to Fort Worth. According to the Dallas Business Journal and developer Richard Garvey it is a done deal!  Read on...

"The style of the aLoft hotel matches the design of our development and the landscape of the Cultural District," said Richard Garvey, Museum Place Development Group president and co-developer.

(Fort Worth) - Champ Hospitality in Carrollton will develop a 140-room aloft hotel as part of Fort Worth's upscale Museum Place development. The aloft hotel, a Starwood Hotels and Resorts property, will be built between Camp Bowie Boulevard and Seventh Street, with the main entrance on Arch Adams. Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring 2008, with

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