OAK NOTES from Grace Bishop
December 2020


The diversity of the East Bay is quite inspirational - it offers a little something for everyone. To protect the variety of local businesses that make our community unique, let's choose to buy from small businesses we know and love. Here are a few that we hope you'll want to support this year. 

Foodies & Chefs 
For food lovers in your life, here are a few local eateries we think they'll enjoy:.

For Those Needing to Unwind
Stress abounds in these uncertain times. Consider a few relaxation "techniques":

Coffee & Tea Lovers
Stay warm during those cold mornings:

Bookworms & Audiophiles
Books and music are some of the best ways to buy local:

Green Thumbs
For your gardening-loving and eco-conscience friends: 

Gift Stores
Having a difficult time thinking of what to get for the hard-to-gift someone? Consider a few special stores:

This hardly scrapes the surface of what the East Bay has to offer, but it should serve as a helpful resource for your last minute shopping needs. Let's do what we can to support our local business and ensure that we uphold the beautiful diversity of our community.





This year, the East Bay real estate market has been anything but usual. Hard to believe that only 8 months ago we didn't know if there would even be a market at all! 

For the first few months after shelter-in-place went into effect, the market struggled to get back to normal. Now it is thriving. In November, the number of sales jumped 40% over last year, the highest November we've seen since 2005. Median price grew 18% to $1,100,000, close to an all-time high (which was $1,120,500 in July). In addition, homes sold further over asking at an average of 12% over list, and at the fastest speed ever recorded: an average of just 16 days on market.

Looking forward through December, expect the market to be more active than previous years. For example, we usually expect new listing activity at this time of year to be about 1 per week; on the week of 11/30, 154 listings came to market. In addition, pending inventory is 50% higher than last year. This also suggests that January will be unusually active, maintaining a high level of competition among East Bay buyers. 

Drop a line if you'd like to know how these trends affect your real estate goals.



Interest rates have maintained record low levels throughout 2020 but many bond market watchers are fearing that the party may be coming to an end. Risks are beginning to mount for the rate outlook - at least in the sense of mortgage rates being relatively impervious to broader bond market weakness. In other words, if Treasury yields fall, mortgage rates can easily continue to lower. However, if yields continue to rise, mortgage rates will be finding it harder and harder to resist the urge to follow. At the time of this report, the fiscal stimulus is the biggest near-term risk. If there is no agreement on stimulus before the 12/16/20 Fed announcement, the Fed will be more likely to extend the maturity of its bond portfolio (buying longer-dated bonds but not increasing the number of purchases). This would be good for rates. The opposite scenario (fiscal stimulus and no Fed maturity extension) would be bad. On the more distant horizon, a surprise democratic sweep in Georgia (senate), or an unexpected shift toward stronger economic data are risks for rates as well. They may or may not be offset by a wintertime surge in COVID case counts and lockdowns. Either way, traders seem to be planning on a COVID-free economy by this time next year, leading to higher rates. 

If you are interested in refinancing or getting preapproved for a mortgage, now is the time.  Please contact Faramarz Moeen-Ziai at CrossCountry Mortgage via fmz@myccmortgage.com or 510.254.4697.

FMZ TEAM Crosscountry Mortgage
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Grace Bishop
Realtor | #01245471