California Housing Market Report & Predictions 2021
60% of California Realtors® feel prices and listings will be rising this week in February. Growing vaccinations are likely raising buyers’ and investors’ intent and action, yet listings are shrinking. READ MORE
Ralene Nelson, REALTOR®
Real Estate News
Mortgage Interest Rates Forecast
On Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose six basis points to 2.915% APR. The average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose two basis points to 2.315% APR and the average rate on a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage rose four basis points to 2.975% APR, according to rates provided to NerdWallet by Zillow. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is one basis point higher than one week ago and 91 basis points lower than one year ago. A basis point is one one-hundredth of one percent. Rates are expressed as annual percentage rate or APR. READ MORE
What Will Real Estate Look Like In 2021?
3 Homebuying Trends You’ll See This Year
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected every industry, but perhaps none as surprisingly as real estate. Triggered by job and financial changes, the push to stay at home, and low-interest rates, a record number of people have bought homes during the pandemic, even as a recession lingers and unemployment rates remain high. And the trend will continue throughout 2021.
The real estate boom is far from over. Here are three key home buying trends to look for in 2021. READ MORE
Best Places to Visit in Northern California
Visit Santa Cruz, Oakland, Sacramento, Napa and other unique destinations. From the sophistication of San Francisco, CA and high tech advances of San Jose to ancient sequoia forests and the untamed wilderness of its many parks, Northern California is land of contrasts, breathtakingly beautiful, cherished and protected, visited by millions, and painted, described, and loved by artists for centuries. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1. Northern California Coast: Big Sur
Big Sur is a spectacularly beautiful stretch of California’s central coast located between Carmel and San Simeon, snuggled between the steep slopes of the Santa Lucia Mountains and the Pacific. Most tourists see this scenic area from the narrow State Route 1, which winds and turns beside steep seaside cliffs, offering lookout points every now and then.
The whole wild and misty area is very sparsely populated and offers great opportunities for hiking, beach combing, exploring, whale watching, and camping. Artists and writers discovered the area in the 1950s and ‘60s, finding inspiration in the rugged beauty and untamed wilderness. You can visit the house of Henry Miller, today a memorial library, McWay Falls and Cove, Bixby Creek Bridge, many small, quaint inns and restaurants, small picturesque beaches that are not easy to access but well worth it, and a richness of rare plants and animals. Things to Do in Big Sur
2. Yosemite National Park
The most famous, and the oldest, national park in the world, Yosemite National Park in north California is 1,200 square miles of some of nature’s most beautiful creations, from deep valleys, wildflower-covered meadows, and 3,000-year-old giant sequoias to the vast High Sierra Mountains wilderness and thundering waterfalls that dry up in August, and so much more. Start your exploration in the valley, a one-mile-wide and seven-mile-long canyon created by a river and shaped by glaciers.
It is surrounded by enormous walls of towering domes and pinnacles, with El Capitan, the world’s largest exposed granite monolith, towering above the valley. From here, you can take one of the many marked trails that offer 800 miles of hiking through the park, from easy walks through forests to week-long endurance tests up the High Sierras. Along the way, you can spot the chipmunks, mule deer, brush rabbits, marmots, and warblers. Take a walk through towering red fir and pine forests, flowering dogwood and dwarf willows, enormous ancient sequoias, pass spectacular waterfalls and cool brooks. And once you leave the valley, you will not have to worry about the four million people that come to the park each year, you can be as alone as you wish, just you and nature.
3. Santa Cruz
Located on the northern end of Monterey Bay about 32 miles from San Jose, Santa Cruz is a quintessential small coastal town with beautiful sandy beaches, world-famous surf, spectacular mountains covered with ancient redwood forests, serene organic farms, and a thriving wine and beer scene.
Students from the University of California Santa Cruz add to the lively atmosphere and tourists love the combination of natural beauty and the old-town charm of historic Santa Cruz as well as the fantastic entertainment options at the oceanfront amusement park and the beautiful Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Santa Cruz is a great place to learn to surf, watch experienced surfers, and get into the surfing spirit at Steamer Lane or at Pleasure Point. Things to Do in Santa Cruz
4. San Jose
Snuggled between South Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains, San Jose is the heart of Silicon Valley and the Bay Area’s main technological hub. Known as the home of many tech giants, San Jose is also a beautiful modern city with a vibrant downtown that has 250 restaurants, nine theaters and many art galleries and museums.
Its beautiful architecture showcases the city’s rich past. Some of the most popular tourist spots are the Winchester Mystery House and the New Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum. While exploring the city, you will pass through Japantown, one of the few left in the US, the artsy SoFA District, lively San Pedro Square, or the Convention and Cultural District, which has rich performing arts offerings. Things to Do in San Jose
A large port city just across the bridge from San Francisco, Oakland is a place of its own and has the most ethnically diverse population in the country. It is famous for its political activism as well as for its festivals, theatres, and galleries. Surrounded by many parks and with a spectacular view of the Bay and San Francisco, Oakland is great place to visit.
Go star-gazing or watch the future unfold at the Chabot Space & Science Center, learn stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Merritt, hike through towering redwood forests at Redwood Regional Park, see more than 450 species of animals at the Oakland Zoo, and let the kids go wild at Children’s Fairyland. Then stroll down to Jack London Square on the city’s vibrant waterfront for some great food, people or boat watching, or to take a ferry to San Francisco. Things to Do in Oakland
6. Mendocino National Forest
The Mendocino National Forest, only a three-hour drive north of San Francisco, is 913,306 acres of mountains and canyons in the coastal mountain range, luring those who seek solitude and quiet. From 750 feet in the Grindstone Creek Canyon in the foothills of the Sacramento Valley to the 8,092 feet of South Yolla Bolly Mountain, the elevation changes dramatically and with it the flora and wildlife at home there.
Check out the rustic old Pine Mountain Lookout at 4,000 feet, surrounded by dense pine and fir forest, or visit the Red Bluff Recreation Area where you will find a mix of oak forests, grasslands covered with wildflowers, wetlands and the cool, clear Sacramento River, home to 125 species of birds and many wild animals. There are four miles of trails offering great views of Mount Lassen, Mount Shasta and the Yolla Bolly Mountains.
825 N. Humboldt Ave., Willows, CA 95988, Phone: 530-934-3316
7. Redwood National Park
Redwood National and State Parks is a group of four old-growth temperate rainforests located along the coast of northern California: Redwood National Park, Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks. Together, they cover 139,000 acres and protect 45 percent of all globally remaining coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forests. Sequoias are the tallest species of tree on Earth and can live up to 3,000 years.
Besides sequoias, the parks also protect grassland prairie, rivers, streams, animals, and other plants living in this ecosystem, many of them endangered or threatened, as well as 37 miles of pristine unspoiled coastline. Take a hike through the massive redwood groves, visit pristine sandy beaches and quaint little hamlets like Klamath, where the Klamath river spills into the sea. The Klamath overlook offers a fantastic spot to watch passing whales.
Highway 101, Orick, CA, Redwood National Park, Phone: 707-464-9150
Next read: Best Things To Do in Santa Rosa
8. Sonoma, Northern California
Just an hour’s drive from San Francisco, Sonoma County is a world apart with its lush and verdant space that lures wine lovers to its almost 500 wineries. But even if you are not interested in wines, Sonoma is a beautiful area to visit, with miles of spectacular Pacific coastline, sandy beaches, magnificent rivers, ancient redwood forests, fantastic world-class restaurants, quaint bed and breakfasts, and a lot of history.
There are more than 50 parks to explore in Sonoma that are great for hiking, biking, or canoeing, and where you are always surrounded by towering redwoods. Walk from inn to inn, try local cheeses, visit lovely markets, and enjoy festivals – there always seems to be one happening. If you are in Sonoma to enjoy the wines, like so many others, hire a driver or take a bus tour and taste as many as you wish without having to worry about driving. Things to Do in Sonoma
9. Modoc National Forest
Called “The Smiles of Gods” by the native Modoc people who first settled the area, the Modoc National Forest is located in northeastern California and is a 1,654,392-acre diverse and mountainous area full of pine forests, lakes, meadows, streams, canyons, wetlands, lava beds, and vast high desert plateaus.
The lower foothills are mostly covered by bitterbrush and curl-leaf mahogany, but as you go higher, you will encounter dense forests of ponderosa pine, red and white fir, aspen, and incense cedar. Even higher, they are succeeded by lodgepole and western white pines. Almost 43,400 acres consist of old-growth forests. Scenic drives, hiking trails, and camping grounds provide easy access to this magnificently wild and tranquil area. Swim at Medicine Lake, fish Ash Creek, ride a bike or horse, watch the birds or look for wildlife; Modoc will give you an unforgettable time.
225 West 8th Street, Alturas, CA 96101, Phone: 530-233-5811
10. Calaveras County
Calaveras County is a charming region in Northern California’s Gold Country and High Sierra regions, home to a population of more than 40,000 residents. The region is known nationwide as the home of Calaveras Big Trees State Park, which showcases a spectacular collection of Giant Sequoia trees originally discovered in 1852 by bear trapper Augustus T. Dowd, including the world-famous “Discovery Tree,” known for its mid-19th-century bark tour, one of the nation’s first traveling tourist attractions. It has also been immortalized in Mark Twain’s famed story The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and hosts an annual Jumping Frog Jubilee festival each year in connection with the author’s legacy. Visitors can explore immense show caves such as Mercer and California Caverns, sample fine wines at the Ironstone Vineyards and Amphitheater, or enjoy outdoor recreation opportunities at sites such as Lake Tulloch and New Melones. Best Things to Do in Oakhurst