Upgrading your Landscape Appeal for Spring | Home Tips

Gardening and landscape design are not only about creating a beautiful outdoor space but also about enhancing the overall value and appeal of luxury homes. A well-designed garden can serve as a tranquil retreat and a vibrant place for entertainment. Here’s how homeowners can create or enhance their luxury home garden and landscape, focusing on seasonal plants, sustainable practices, and trending designs.

Choose Seasonal Plants That Complement Your Home

Selecting the right plants is crucial for a garden that looks great all year round. For spring, consider bulbs like tulips and daffodils, which offer a burst of early color. Summer favorites include lavender and roses, which thrive in warmer temperatures and full sun. For autumn, plant chrysanthemums and ornamental grasses that provide texture and color as the weather cools. Winter-resistant plants like holly or evergreen shrubs ensure your garden remains vibrant throughout the colder months.

Incorporate Sustainable Gardening Practices

Sustainability is a key trend in luxury gardening, appealing to environmentally conscious buyers and enhancing property value. Implementing a rainwater harvesting system to irrigate the garden is an excellent way to reduce water usage. Choosing native plants can also minimize maintenance and water consumption, as they are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions. Additionally, organic mulches, such as bark or cocoa shells, not only suppress weeds and retain soil moisture but also add nutrients as they decompose.

Utilize the Latest Landscape Design Trends

Landscape design trends can significantly influence the aesthetic and functionality of luxury home gardens:

– Outdoor Rooms:

Extend the living space by creating distinct outdoor rooms. An outdoor kitchen for al fresco dining, a fire pit area for evening relaxation, or a secluded garden nook can add substantial appeal and functionality to the landscape.

– Smart Landscaping:

Integrating smart technology into your garden design is increasingly popular. Automated irrigation systems, smart lighting, and weather sensors can enhance the efficiency and ease of garden maintenance.

– Texture and Color Layering:

Use a mix of different textures and colors to create a visually engaging space. Combine glossy and matte finishes, soft foliage with bold blooms, and varying shades of greens accented with vibrant flowers.

– Vertical Gardening:

Ideal for properties with limited space, vertical gardens can add greenery without sacrificing square footage. They can also serve as natural privacy screens or green walls enhancing the architectural features of a home.

– Pollinator-Friendly Gardens:

Designing gardens that attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators not only supports biodiversity but also ensures healthier plant populations. Include a variety of plants that flower at different times of the year to provide continuous nectar sources.

Maintain Regularly for Lasting Appeal

Regular maintenance is vital to keep your garden looking its best. Seasonal pruning, pest control, and disease management are essential to maintain the health and aesthetics of your plants and lawn. A well-maintained garden not only enhances day-to-day life but also increases the overall market value of your property.

In conclusion, whether you’re looking to revamp your existing garden or start anew, these tips will help you create a luxurious and sustainable outdoor space that enhances both your quality of life and your property value.

Economic Update | Week Ending April 20, 2024

This week stocks fell and interest rates rose to their highest levels since last November. Rates have increased steadily since the beginning of the year as economic data has shown that the economy is heating up and inflation has begun to rise since the start of the year. This week retail sales for March were announced. Consumers spent well over what experts had anticipated, another sign of the economy heating up. Several Fed members spoke this week. Investors now fear that it’s possible that there may be no rate cuts this year. In January experts expected four cuts in 2024. Oil prices dropped from last week’s highs as it appears that tensions between Israel and Iran are not going to spread into a larger conflict.

Stock markets – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 37,986.49, unchanged from 37,983.24 last week. It is up 0.8% year-to-date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 4,967.23, down 3.1% from 5,123.41 last week. The S&P is up 4.2% year-to-date. The Nasdaq closed the week at 15,281.01, down 3.5% from 16,175.09 last week. It is up 1.8% year-to-date.

U.S. Treasury bond yields – The 10-year treasury bond closed the week yielding 4.62% up from 4.50% last week. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 4.72%, up from 4.61% last week. We watch bond yields because mortgage rates follow bond yields.

Mortgage rates – Every Thursday Freddie Mac publishes interest rates based on a survey of mortgage lenders throughout the week. The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that mortgage rates for the most popular loan products as of April 18, 2024, were as follows: The 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 7.1%, up from 6.88% last week. The 15-year fixed was 6.39%, up from 6.16% last week.

The graph below shows the trajectory of mortgage rates over the past year.

Freddie Mac was chartered by Congress in 1970 to keep money flowing to mortgage lenders in support of homeownership and rental housing. Their mandate is to provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the U.S.

Year-over-year home prices jumped almost 8% in March. – The California Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales totaled 267,470 in March, down 7.8% from 290,470 closed sales in February, and down 4.4% from a revised 279,700 homes sold on an annualized basis last March. There was a 2.6-month supply of homes on the market in March, down from a 3-month month supply of homes in February and up from a 2.1-month supply one year ago. T he statewide median price paid for a home in March was $854,490 up 7.9% from a revised median price of $793,260 last March.

Have a great weekend!

From the Atlas 2 Robot to AI on Meta and more! | Tech News

As we get to the close of the week, it’s time to wrap up the latest in tech and media headlines. From the Atlas 2 Robot to AI on Meta and more, we have you covered with the news you’d like to know. Read on below and stay connected with what’s happening this week in the world of tech!

Boston Dynamics Unveils Newly Upgraded Atlas 2

A day after retiring its hydraulic robot Atlas, Boston Dynamics unveiled a new all-electric version, enhancing its movement capabilities significantly. This next-generation Atlas is designed with swiveling joints, making it more adept at handling tasks that are dull, dirty, or dangerous. The company has redesigned Atlas to be stronger, more dexterous, and more agile, exceeding human movement capabilities. The new Atlas design is more humanoid, with longer limbs, a straighter back, and a swiveling “head” with a built-in ring light, devoid of any visible cables. It also incorporates advanced AI and machine learning tools, setting a new standard for its robotic capabilities.

Google Merges Android and Hardware Teams to Focus on AI Integration

Google is undergoing a major organizational transformation to accelerate its integration of AI across all products. Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, announced the formation of a new “Platforms and Devices” team, headed by Rick Osterloh, which will oversee Google’s Pixel products, Android, Chrome, ChromeOS, Photos, and more. This restructuring aims to enhance full-stack innovation by combining hardware and software expertise, exemplified by Google’s advancements in AI-enhanced Pixel camera technology. The reorganization also includes merging AI research and product teams to streamline the development and deployment of new applications, reflecting Google’s urgent focus on AI as a critical area of development. This shift represents a strategic pivot towards more tightly integrated hardware and software efforts, positioning Google to respond more swiftly and effectively in the rapidly evolving tech landscape.

The Xbox’s Future is Shaping Up to Resemble a PC

Microsoft is moving closer to integrating its Xbox and PC platforms, as indicated by recent statements from Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer and internal memos. The forthcoming generation of Xbox aims to incorporate more PC-like features, with a strong focus on game preservation, forward compatibility, and easing the development process through projects like GameCore. The new “Platforms and Devices” team, led by Rick Osterloh, will manage all of Xbox’s hardware and software, streamlining operations and potentially leading to third-party Xbox consoles. Changes also suggest a future where Xbox could open up to rival PC stores, which could alter the economic model of Xbox hardware sales. Additionally, Microsoft is rumored to be developing an Xbox handheld that blends the strengths of Windows and Xbox, potentially competing with devices like Valve’s Steam Deck, which has shown success in making PC games more portable.

Meta Integrates Real-Time AI Image Generation into WhatsApp

Meta is introducing real-time AI image generation to WhatsApp users in the US, enabling dynamic image creation as users type their prompts. For instance, typing “Imagine a soccer game on Mars” in a chat with Meta AI transforms the image from a simple soccer player to a complete Martian soccer field. This feature, part of the beta testing, is accessible by starting a prompt with “Imagine” in a chat with Meta AI. The underlying Meta Llama 3 model now produces sharper, higher-quality images and enhances text visibility. Users can also animate these images into GIFs. This real-time image generation is available not only on WhatsApp but also via Meta AI for the web, marking a significant expansion of AI capabilities across Meta’s platforms including Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger.

Comprehensive Guide to Disney, ESPN, and Bob Iger’s Return as CEO

Since returning as CEO of Disney, Bob Iger has initiated significant changes, especially in streaming and content. Iger reversed some policies from his predecessor and merged the Disney Plus and Hulu apps for US bundle subscribers. Additionally, Disney is preparing to launch a streaming-only ESPN version alongside a new live sports partnership with Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery. Plans also include enhancing the Marvel Cinematic Universe and film offerings. Upcoming features for Disney Plus might include always-on channels for Star Wars, Marvel, and classic animations, possibly with ads. Disney is also setting up measures against password sharing, starting in June, and has invested $1.5 billion in Epic Games for a new entertainment universe. Furthermore, a joint streaming service with ESPN, Disney, and Fox Sports is set to launch, featuring content from major sports leagues.

TikTok Notes Launches as Instagram’s Latest Competitor

TikTok has introduced a new photo-sharing app called TikTok Notes, positioning it as a competitor to Instagram. Currently, in limited testing in Australia and Canada, the app features unique elements like customizable headlines for images above captions, a layout that differs from Instagram with a homepage split into two sections—one for following and a ‘For You’ page inspired by Pinterest’s smaller, two-column grid. Despite these distinctions, TikTok Notes largely mirrors Instagram’s functionality, marking a role reversal as TikTok, traditionally the target of feature replication by platforms like Meta, now adopts a similar strategy. The app, which will use users’ existing and future public TikTok photo posts unless they opt out, has yet to announce a broader rollout schedule beyond the initial test markets.

Weekend Events | April 19 – April 21

If you plan on staying in LA and skipping all the Coachella madness, we have you covered! Check out what’s happening this weekend in your neighborhood from book festivals to art exhibits and more. Read below for the events to attend from April 19 through April 21.

Los Angeles Weekend Events | April 19 – April 21 

Festival of Books

When: April 20 – April 21, 2024 

Where: USC Campus

What: Book lovers gather at USC for the L.A. Times-hosted event on April 20 and 21, featuring stalls from over 300 exhibitors and panels with literary stars. The event boasts over 500 speakers including José Andrés, Ed Begley Jr., and others, along with a cooking stage featuring Nancy Silverton.


First Fridays at the Natural History Museum

When: Until June 7

Where: Natural History Museum | USC/Exposition Park

What: Escape the usual First Friday crowd for a unique experience at the Natural History Museum, where dinosaurs meet DJs. From February through June, on the first Friday of each month, enjoy a KCRW-sponsored night of music, museum tours, and scientist-led talks, suitable for all ages. Each event features a fresh lineup of musical acts and DJs, making for a memorable evening at the museum.


Bob Baker Day

When: April 21 

Where: Chinatown

What: Celebrate Bob Baker at the annual puppet festival in Los Angeles State Historic Park, from 10am to 5pm. Enjoy puppet shows, crafts, and activities like bubbles and balloons. This year features David Arquette as Bozo the Clown, a kid’s talent show hosted by Kate Micucci, music by Very Be Careful, and an opening by puppeteer Sid Krofft.


Westside and Beach Communities Weekend Events | April 19 – April 21 

Wild Things Are Happening: The Art of Maurice Sendak

When: April 18 – September 1, 2024 

Where: Westside

What: Celebrate the legendary Maurice Sendak at the Skirball Cultural Center, where over 150 sketches, storyboards, and paintings from the creator of “Where the Wild Things Are” will be on display. Let the wild rumpus begin!


CicLAvia: Venice Blvd

When: April 21 – December 8, 2024 

Where: Venice

What: Cycle through Palms, Mar Vista, and Venice at this Westside bike event, which features a car-free 5.75-mile stretch along Venice Boulevard.


The Mean Girls Experience

When: Until April 21

Where: Santa Monica

What: Get ready for echoes of “you can’t sit with us!” at this “Mean Girls”-themed event in Santa Monica. With every ticket, enjoy a meal and side dish (options include “Stab” Caesar salad and cheese fries) served in a cafeteria-style environment, alongside entry to the Cool Mom Bar and numerous photo opportunities (featuring iconic setups like Regina’s bedroom mirror, the Burn Book, and the talent show). Head over to 2020 Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica for this unique experience during its final weekend.


San Fernando Valley Weekend Events | April 19 – April 21 

Earth Day with Friends of the LA River

When: April 20 – April 21 

Where: Van Nuys

What: This Earth Day, FoLAR offers two volunteer opportunities: a habitat restoration day at Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve on April 20 from 8am to noon, and a family-friendly festival at Frogtown’s Lewis MacAdams Riverfront Park on April 21 from noon to 4pm, featuring music, food trucks, and an eco-marketplace. Both events are free but require registration.


Filipino California: Art and the Filipino Diaspora

When: April 20 – September 8  

Where: Glendale 

What: Explore the works of seven contemporary artists—Eliseo Art Silva, Allison Hueman, Anthony Francisco, Maryrose Cobarrubias Mendoza, Christine Morla, Maria Villote, and Junn Roca—at the Forest Lawn Museum. Their pieces delve into Filipino culture and the Filipino-American experience.


2024 Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival

When: April 19 – April 21 

Where: William S. Hart Park | Santa Clarita 

What: The 2024 Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival is back at William S. Hart Park, showcasing the essence of cowboy life with sights, sounds, and style. Attend various ticketed tours and performances from Friday, April 19, to Sunday, April 21. Be sure to check ticket descriptions for specific event details.


Conejo Valley Weekend Events | April 19 – April 21 

27th Annual Neal Taylor Nature Center Fishing Derby 

When: April 20 – April 21

Where: Cachuma Lake Recreation Area

What: This year’s fishing derby features prize categories for several fish types including crappie, catfish, trout, bass, sunfish, and carp. With an increased prize pool, participants have the opportunity to win substantial cash prizes, fishing gear, and more!


1st Annual Spring Arts, Crafts & Antiques Festival

When: April 20

Where: Stagecoach Inn Museum

What: The 1st ANNUAL SPRING ARTS, CRAFTS & ANTIQUES FESTIVAL invites the public to a free one-day event at the Stagecoach Inn Museum Complex. While touring the Inn costs $5, visiting the outbuildings is free. Attendees can explore a variety of artisanal works in a prominent park setting.


Ventura Earth Day Festival

When: April 20

Where: Plaza Park, E Thompson Blvd | Ventura

What: The Earth Day Festival will make its return to downtown Ventura on Saturday, April 20, 2024, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm at Plaza Park on East Thomson Street. This year’s event is hosted by the MERITO Foundation, in collaboration with the City of Ventura Sustainability Division, and features over 40 environmentally-focused nonprofits, government agencies, transportation and utilities industries, outdoor recreation businesses, and vendors of sustainable food and goods. The theme for the Ventura Earth Day Festival 2024 is “A celebration of our Blue Planet, Earth!”

Mortgage Rate Update | April 18, 2024

Mortgage rates – Every Thursday Freddie Mac publishes interest rates based on a survey of mortgage lenders throughout the week. The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that mortgage rates for the most popular loan products as of April 18, 2024, were as follows: The 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 7.1%, up from 6.88% last week. The 15-year fixed was 6.39%, up from 6.16% last week.

The graph below shows the trajectory of mortgage rates over the past year.

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Freddie Mac was chartered by Congress in 1970 to keep money flowing to mortgage lenders in support of homeownership and rental housing. Their mandate is to provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the U.S.

Top New Brunch Spots | LA Eats

Los Angeles is bustling with an array of exciting new brunch spots that cater to every palate. Whether you’re in the mood for a Mediterranean feast, a classic American breakfast, or some Parisian flair, LA’s latest additions have you covered. Here’s a roundup of the must-visit destinations for your weekend brunch escapades:

1. Ladyhawk

A new gem in West Hollywood, Ladyhawk offers an Eastern Mediterranean-inspired brunch. The Ladyhawk platter, perfect for sharing, includes cheeses, labneh, olives, and more, capturing the essence of a leisurely Mediterranean morning.

2. Liu’s Cafe

In the heart of Koreatown, Liu’s Cafe serves unique dishes like pineapple bun pastries and Hong Kong-style French toast. It’s a tight menu but filled with distinctive flavors, ideal for those looking for something different.

3. Moonlark’s Dinette

Located in The Hoxton, Downtown LA, this spot by Boka Group features Midwestern comforts from chef Chris Pandel. The deluxe breakfast sandwich and chilaquiles verdes are standout dishes that bring hearty Midwestern flavors to the West Coast.

4. Prima Donna

Not just a pizzeria, Prima Donna in Culver City offers a morning menu with fresh pastries, lemon ricotta pancakes, and a market frittata. Starting your day here means enjoying top-notch dishes in a relaxed setting.

5. Stanley’s Wet Goods

More than just a wine shop, Stanley’s in Culver City cooks up an impressive brunch. Try the Turkish eggs or the sourdough toast with prosciutto, pesto, and arugula, all complemented by their extensive wine list.

6. Tapizon

For those who enjoy a lively brunch, Tapizon in El Segundo offers a Bossa Nova brunch with bottomless mimosas and Brazilian dishes like feijoada and picanha steak and eggs. It’s a festive atmosphere that’s perfect for weekends.

7. Mangette

In Long Beach’s Zaferia District, Mangette is a breezy French cafe brought to life by seasoned LA restaurateurs. Their menu offers both sweet and savory delights, including an olive oil cake and a classic jambon beurre sandwich.

8. Casalena

Nestled in Woodland Hills, Casalena offers a coastal Mediterranean vibe. Their weekend brunch is a delightful affair with options like challah French toast topped with orange whipped cream and a classic French omelet. The ambiance is as exquisite as the menu, making it a prime spot for a leisurely brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

9. Lemon Grove

High above Hollywood at the Aster, Lemon Grove combines rooftop views with Marcel Vigneron’s creative Californian dishes. Notable are the bananas foster pancakes and the lighter, vibrant dragonfruit chia pudding. Pair your meal with a glass of bubbly while soaking in the views of the Hollywood Hills.

10. Linden

A true cultural mosaic, Linden in Hollywood offers a brunch that blends the flavors of New York, the Caribbean, and Jewish cuisines. From the iconic bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich to bucatini carbonara and tres leches French toast, Chef Jonathan Harris’s menu is as diverse as it is delicious.

11. Norma

Known for its dinner service, Norma in West Hollywood also dazzles with its Sunday brunch menu. Feast on a pork belly breakfast burrito or indulge in their gluten-free waffles and a hearty breakfast burger from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

12. Coucou West Hollywood

Following the success of its Venice sibling, Coucou brings a slice of Paris to West Hollywood. The brunch menu features croissants, a French-style omelet with caviar, and steak frites, all enjoyed best on their charming patio.

Each of these spots offers something unique, making them perfect for any brunch aficionado looking to explore LA’s vibrant culinary scene. Whether you’re planning a casual meet-up or a special occasion, these new brunch destinations are sure to impress.

Wonders of Architecture Around SoCal | Out & About

Spring in California brings more than just blooming wildflowers and warm breezes. Spring revitalizes some of the most spectacularly designed luxury homes, blending iconic architecture with vibrant gardens. This season, we take a closer look at how these homes not only display extraordinary design but also harmoniously integrate indoor and outdoor living spaces, creating seamless transitions that are both luxurious and inviting.

Embracing Nature with Open Spaces

In the world of luxury real estate, the relationship between a home’s interior and its surroundings is crucial. Architects design spaces that celebrate natural light and views, with large glass walls and disappearing doors that open up to expansive gardens. This architectural style is particularly enchanting in the spring when gardens are in full bloom and the distinction between indoors and out blurs, allowing residents to live amidst nature’s beauty without leaving the comfort of their homes.

Iconic Homes and Their Signature Gardens

The Glass Pavilion in Santa Barbara

The Glass Pavillion is a prime example of how modern architecture can embody the essence of indoor-outdoor living. This minimalist structure is made almost entirely of glass, setting a stark yet stunning contrast against the lush. Likewise, the surrounding oak trees and carefully curated greenery bloom vibrantly each spring. The home is designed not just to be looked at but lived in, with the garden serving both as a visual feast and a serene space.

The Getty Villa in Malibu

The Getty Villa is inspired by ancient Roman country houses and showcases classical architecture. The museum’s expansive gardens include herb and flower beds that are historically accurate to the period. During spring, these gardens are particularly spectacular, offering a peaceful retreat filled with the scents and colors of seasonal blooms. The villa’s design encourages wandering and exploration, turning a simple walk through the grounds into a journey through time.

The Neutra VDL House in Los Angeles

The Neutra VDL House reflects mid-century modernism with its clean lines and integration of water features. The house is designed to incorporate reflective pools that catch the light and colors of the spring sky and blossoming plants, enhancing the home’s ambiance and bringing a sense of calmness and clarity to its spaces.

Gardens as Extensions of Living Spaces

Luxury homes often treat gardens as extensions of the living space. Landscape architects play a critical role in creating environments that complement the architectural style of the home. Features like outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, and covered seating areas take full advantage of the spring season.

Sustainability Meets Luxury

Increasingly, luxury homes are also embracing sustainable practices in both design and landscaping. This includes the use of drought-tolerant plants and innovative irrigation systems. This ensures gardens are not only beautiful but also environmentally conscious. Such practices demonstrate how luxury and sustainability can coexist, enhancing the value and appeal of the property.

California’s architectural wonders with their spring gardens are more than just homes. These retreats offer a perfect blend of art, nature, and technology. These properties exemplify how luxury living can go hand-in-hand with a deep appreciation for architectural ingenuity and ecological sensitivity.

Allergy Proofing For Spring | Home Tips

As trees bloom and the weather warms, spring can bring more than just a welcome change of scenery; it’s also the peak season for allergies. Dust, pollen, and other airborne irritants can turn your home from a safe haven into a sneeze-inducing nightmare. To help you keep the air in your home clean and your family healthy, here are effective strategies for allergy-proofing your home.

Upgrade Your Air Filters

One of the most effective ways to combat indoor allergens is by using high-quality air filters in your HVAC system. Filters rated with a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) standard can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns, which includes most allergens. Make sure to replace these filters every three months, or more frequently if you have pets or live in a high-pollen area. Additionally, consider adding air purifiers with HEPA filters in frequently used rooms like bedrooms and living areas to further reduce allergen levels.

Implement Regular Deep Cleaning Practices

Regular cleaning is crucial in minimizing allergy irritants in your home, but spring calls for a deep clean. Focus on areas where allergens are likely to accumulate, such as:

  • Carpets and Rugs: Vacuum at least twice a week using a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter. Consider professional cleaning annually or biannually, especially in high-traffic areas.
  • Upholstery and Curtains: Fabric can trap allergens, so wash or steam clean curtains and clean upholstery according to manufacturer recommendations.
  • Hard Surfaces: Dust can collect on surfaces like shelves, baseboards, and ceiling fans. Use a damp cloth to wipe these areas weekly to prevent dust from circulating back into the air.

Maintain a Dust-Free Environment

Reducing clutter can significantly decrease dust and allergens in your home:

  • Declutter: Keep surfaces clear of unnecessary items, and store books, magazines, and decorations in closed cabinets to reduce dust accumulation.
  • Bedding: Use an allergen-proof mattress and pillow covers, and wash bedding weekly in hot water to kill dust mites and remove allergens.
  • Pets: Keep pets groomed and bathed regularly to reduce the amount of pet dander in your home. Restricting pets from certain areas, especially bedrooms, can also help.

Control Humidity and Ventilation

Maintaining the right humidity level can discourage the growth of mold and dust mites, both of which are common allergens. Aim to keep your home’s humidity around 30-50%. Use dehumidifiers in damp areas and ensure that your home is well-ventilated to prevent mold growth in places like bathrooms and kitchens.

Consider Your Outdoor Connection

Limiting how much pollen you bring into your home can also reduce allergy symptoms:

  • Entryways: Keep windows and doors closed during high pollen times. Use doormats and a shoe station at entryways to reduce the amount of pollen entering from outside.
  • Clothing: Change clothing and take showers after being outdoors to wash away pollen.

By following these tips, you can significantly reduce the presence of allergens in your home, making it a more comfortable and healthier environment for everyone this spring. Regular maintenance and a few adjustments to your cleaning habits can go a long way in keeping your indoor air fresh and free from allergens. Stay healthy and breathe easier with a home that supports your well-being all season long!

Economic Update | Week Ending April 13, 2024

It was another tough week for stocks and interest rates. The March Consumer Price Index was released on Wednesday. It showed that consumer prices rose 3.5% year-over-year, up from 3.2% year-over-year in February, and 3.1% in January. Inflation was trending down at the end of 2023 but has begun to trend higher. That added fuel to last week’s jobs report which showed that the country added almost double the number of jobs that analysts expected in March and the unemployment rate dipped again, leading investors to feel that the economy was heating up. More people working leads to higher consumer confidence and more people spending, which fuels inflation. Mortgage interest rates and bond yields have risen steadily to their highest levels since November after beginning the year at their lowest levels. Oil prices rose as well over the past two weeks. Experts fear that a conflict between Israel and Iran could cause oil prices to rise another 20%.

Stock markets – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 37,983.24, down 2.4% from 38,904.04 last week. It is up 0.8% year-to-date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 5,123.41, down 1.6% from 5,204.34 last week. The S&P is up 7.4% year-to-date. The Nasdaq closed the week at 16,175.09, down 0.4% from 16,248.52 last week. It is up 7.8% year-to-date.

U.S. Treasury bond yields – The 10-year treasury bond closed the week yielding 4.50%, up from 4.39% last week. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 4.61%, up from 4.54% last week. We watch bond yields because mortgage rates follow bond yields.

Mortgage rates – Every Thursday Freddie Mac publishes interest rates based on a survey of mortgage lenders throughout the week. The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that mortgage rates for the most popular loan products as of April 11, 2024, were as follows: The 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.88%, up from 6.82% last week. The 15-year fixed was 6.16%, up from 6.06% last week.

The graph below shows the trajectory of mortgage rates over the past year.

Freddie Mac was chartered by Congress in 1970 to keep money flowing to mortgage lenders in support of homeownership and rental housing. Their mandate is to provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the U.S.

Home sales data for March will be released next week by the National Association of Realtors and the California Association of Realtors. We have that data tabulated now and you can view that data for your city or zip code at RodeoRe.com.

Have a great weekend!