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Books of Summer and a Shifting Real Estate Market

Summer in Sonoma

Summer is the season of leisure and mixing up the routine, whether this involves a hammock on a warm afternoon in the backyard, or a day in the woods.  I’d like to share with you a few of my favorite books of summer as well as some additional recommendations by the Wall Street Journal.  The subjects range from golf to outdoors to foods, and one of my favorite subjects: bees and pollinators.  Many of these have been around for a while, with a few new reads included.  I hope that you have a relaxing summer filled with the Art of Leisure that we each experience in our unique ways.


Books of Summer
Outdoor Scenes Expressed by International Artist Foad Satterfield
Available at Christina Maybaum’s Maybaum Gallery.


Books of Summer

Brenda’s Summer Favorites for Kids of all Ages:

Food and the Grill:

The Great Outdoors:

Outdoor Trips & Golf:

In Sonoma Valley, we often wander into the family owned bookstore Readers Books to peruse their well stocked shelves of great titles.  They are located just off lovely Sonoma Plaza.  You can also often find these books at your local bookstore or library to pick up at a moments notice, in addition to online.

A Brief Real Estate Market Update

We are in a shifting housing market.  Following are three highlights from the last couple of weeks in which we have seen the market slowing down:

VALUE: Homes are not losing value at this time; experts are forecasting continued appreciation.  Are we in a housing market correction?  The technical answer is no, as a correction is considered a decline of 10% or greater in the price of a security, asset or financial market.  Median house prices are increasing, according to the National Association of Realtors.  The median price for existing-housing types in May was up 14.8% from May 2021 nationally, NAR reports.  We are in a market that is attempting to rebalance itself.

Estimate Home Price Performance
A graph from the Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES) that displays forecasted appreciation over the coming years.

RATES: We have seen a quick and dramatic rise in mortgage rates this year.  This has been successful in slowing purchase demand with a decrease in new purchase applications.  To bring perspective, the average mortgage rates over the past 5 decades ,from the 1970’s to 2010’s, has varied from 4.09 to 12.70%, per Freddie Mac.  The Federal Reserve wants to see the housing market reset to more balance, with supply and demand closer together and lower inflation.

Mortgage Rates
Mortgage rates over the past year. Provided by Freddie Mac.

SALES: Existing-home purchase applications have declined with the economic slowdown.  Current data shows that we are heading in the direction of pre-pandemic demand and sales.  This is coming off two years of demand and price increases that we had not previously seen.

Existing Home Sales

The market currently has a housing supply shortage, which will take new home construction and existing home inventory increases to correct.

It is very important at a time like this, when the market is adjusting at a quick pace, that you work with a professional that is familiar with all the data to support your real estate investment needs.  Feel free to call me anytime.  If you need a referral to someone in another area of the country, I have contacts in most cities.  Also, I send a monthly market update to many friends and clients across the world; it would be my pleasure to include you–just let me know.

Beautiful Outdoor Art and Paths For Inspiration + Real Estate Data

As we embrace the New Year, this is a wonderful time to pause, eat warming and delicious foods, enjoy the outdoors, and take a closer look at the home that surrounds us.  Both the housing and home improvement markets remained strong in Sonoma and Napa Valley through 2021.  Thus, so that you may remain well informed, please find below the most recent expert real estate data + stats as we look together into the future.

But first, to remind us all of how much fun it is to be outside, here are a few paintings by the artist Alireza Varzandeh that evoke the pleasure of a stroll.


In the Sonoma and Napa Valley we do walk a lot around town, in the parks, neighborhoods, and sidewalks near the shops.

It is the movement and imperfection which these paintings portray that seems so welcome at this time.  Alireza portrays subjects in physical and emotional motion.  With blurred faces, their identities are mysterious, yet each figure’s posture and form suggests a unique personality and history.  Scenes of youth, summer, and vacation come alive on his canvases.

This art can be viewed at Caldwell Snyder Gallery in San Francisco and Saint Helena.  Senior Art Consultant Colleen Mulligan ( 714.906.2819 ) knows this artist very well.  Alireza has a quite inspiring story and history.

Real estate data highlights:

  • Inventory: Recent data shows that in December, California had 27.8% less inventory than in December 2020. Future housing inventory levels will be the key market indicator for sales in 2022.
  • Past price growth has been at its highest level in 45+ years.
  • Homeowner equity continues to surge, an important data point from the recent past. Equity remains a key element for those transitioning out of forbearance.  Core Logic reports a 31.1% year-over-year percentage increase in equity for U.S. homeowners with mortgages.
  • Seven industry experts forecast on average a 5.2% home price increase this year, a deceleration of price increase rates from last year.  Maiclaire Bolton-Smith, Core Logic Senior Leader of Research, predicts that home sales will continue to rise and actually reach a 16 year high in 2022.
  • Buyers continue to enter the market and remain very active.  Data reports show that strong activity in property showings (which precedes offers and sales) have been unseasonably high over the recent holidays.

It is widely recognized that the low interest rates combined with a higher personal appreciation of “home” were significant contributors to the current housing supply.

It is my hope that wherever you may be, you find a few moments to enjoy a bit of fresh air and participate in the pleasurable “Art of Leisure.”   For your convenience in finding a special place to wander, following is a list of favorite areas in wine country with inspiring scenery.


Having moved from the Bay Area to Sonoma Valley almost 30 years ago, I have curated a few favorite “everyday paths” around the Sonoma Valley.  Due to my exploring both the hills and in town, these local outdoor areas range from challenging, to super easy, with opportunities for kids & dogs to run.  I hope that you find something here to capture the beautiful Sonoma Leisure Lifestyle experience.  Please let me know.

A Few Lovely Outdoor Areas

Above City of Sonoma

Anticipating Spring flowers along the path

A place to relax alongside the trailhead at Bartholomew Estate

Sonoma Bike Path, Vallejo’s Home & Field of Dreams:

  • Explore this trilogy of natural wetlands with plant and aquatic life, historic Vallejo’s Home with a turtle pond, and the open space of Field of Dreams, all located walking distance from the Sonoma Plaza.  Wonderful spots for kids of all ages.

Bartholomew Estate Vineyards and Winery:

  • A 3 mile hike within Bartholomew Park, taking in the duck pond, mature trees, views, and flowers. Dogs welcome.

Jack London State Park:

  • Scale the summit with an 8-mile hike over moderate, varied terrain and view historic remains of property.

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park:

  • Hike to the top of Bald Mountain on a 6-mile stretch.  The 1.500 foot elevation change will reward you with a 360-degree view to San Francisco on a clear day.  More moderate hikes starts at visitor’s center.  Not for dogs.

Sonoma Valley Regional Park:

  • Rolling green hills with picnic areas, a dog park, & hiking, biking and horse trails.

Gundlach Bundschu Winery:

  • Lovely hiking area behind the winery.  Dog friendly .

Montini Open Space Preserve:

  • Hike among oak woodlands, grasslands, and rock outcroppings.  Not for dogs.

Wish you much happiness and success in the unfolding year.  Feel free to contact me anytime or let me know if I can help you or a friend.