Gordon Ramsey’s Meatballs in Fragrant Coconut Broth

What You’ll Need:

For the Meatballs

  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 500 g (about 1 lb) ground beef
  • 75 g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 3–4 tbsp milk
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Sauce

  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1–2 tsp dried chili flakes, to taste
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, trimmed, bashed and cut into batons
  • 2 in piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 400 ml chicken stock
  • 1 x 400 ml tin coconut milk
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime

On the Side

  • Jasmine rice cooked according to directions.

What You’ll Do:

  1.  First prepare the meatballs. Sauté the onion and garlic with seasoning in a hot oiled frying pan for about 5 minutes until soft and lightly colored, adding the chili flakes after a minute or two.
  2.  Place the mince in a large bowl and add seasoning. Put the breadcrumbs in a separate bowl and moisten with the milk. Add seasoning, then stir the breadcrumbs and onion mixture into the mince and combine well.
  3.  With wet hands, shape the mince mixture into balls about the size of a golf ball. Transfer to a lightly greased plate or tray and chill for 30 minutes until firm.
  4.  Brown the meatballs in a cleaned oiled pan for 4–5 minutes, turning frequently until nicely coloured on all sides.
  5.  Add the coriander seeds, cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon, chili flakes, lemongrass and ginger. Heat through, stirring, until aromatic, then add the stock and coconut milk and bring to a gentle simmer. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
  6.  Simmer for 8–12 minutes until the sauce is flavorful and thickened and the meatballs are cooked through.
  7.  Add the lime zest and juice and serve hot with a side of Jasmine rice.

This amazing recipe is perfectly paired with InterCoastal Vineyard’s incredible new 2019 Pinot Grigio, just released a few weeks ago.  This new exciting wine is like no other Pinot Grigio I have ever tasted.  Its subtle hint of citrus pops with every sip and compliments this meal so beautifully.  This Pinot Grigio is not yet on InterCoastal’s website, but if you would like to order a few bottles (believe me, you will want AT LEAST a few) contact Rachele Spaletta (my fabulous sis) — rachele@intercoastalwine.com.


Posted on September 12, 2020 at 12:19 am
Denise Hallerbach | Posted in Favorite Recipes | Tagged

The Latest Unemployment Rate Fell to 8.4%

Last Friday Sept 4, the Bureau for Labor Statistics released their Employment Report for August 2020. The big surprise was that the unemployment rate fell to 8.4%, a full percent lower than what many analysts had forecasted earlier in the week. Though it is tough to look at this as great news when millions of Americans are still without work, the number of unemployed is currently much lower than most experts had projected it would be just a few months ago.

Not Like the Great Depression or Even the Great Recession

Jason Furman, Professor of Practice at Harvard explained:

“An unemployment rate of 8.4% is much lower than most anyone would have thought it a few months ago. It is still a bad recession but not a historically unprecedented event or one we need to go back to the Great Depression for comparison.”

During the Great Depression, the unemployment rate was over 20% for four consecutive years (1932 – 1935). This April, the rate jumped to 14.7%, but has fallen each month since.

During and after the Great Recession (2007-2009), the unemployment rate was at 9% or greater for thirty consecutive months (April 2009 – October 2011). Most economists believe the current rate will continue to fall monthly as the economy regains its strength.

What Happens Going Forward?

The outcome will be determined by how quickly we can contain the virus. In their last Economic Forecasting Survey, the Wall Street Journal reported the economists surveyed believe the annual unemployment rates will be 6.6% in 2021 and 5.5% in 2022. Though that will still be greater than the 3.5% rate that we saw earlier this year, it is lower than the annual rate reported in 2011 (8.5%), 2012 (7.9%), and 2013 (6.7%).

Bottom LineU

There are still millions of Americans struggling through this economic downturn. There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel. The unemployment situation did not get as bad as many had predicted, and the recovery is taking place faster than most thought would happen.


Posted on September 10, 2020 at 2:49 pm
Denise Hallerbach | Posted in In-The-Know Real Estate Blog | Tagged , ,

How Will the Presidential Election Impact Real Estate?

The year 2020 will be remembered as one of the most challenging times of our lives. A worldwide pandemic, a recession causing historic unemployment, and a level of social unrest perhaps never seen before have all changed the way we live. Only the real estate market seems to be unaffected, as a new forecast projects there may be more homes purchased this year than last year.

As we come to the end of this tumultuous year, we’re preparing for perhaps the most contentious presidential election of the century. Today, it’s important to look at the impact past presidential election years have had on the real estate market.

Is there a drop-off in home sales during a presidential election year?

BTIG, a research and analysis company, looked at new home sales from 1963 through 2019 in their report titled One House, Two House, Red House, Blue House. They noted that in non-presidential years, there is a -9.8% decrease in November compared to October. This is the normal seasonality of the market, with a slowdown in activity that’s usually seen in fall and winter.

However, it also revealed that in presidential election years, the typical drop increases to -15%. The report explains why:

“This may indicate that potential homebuyers may become more cautious in the face of national election uncertainty.”

Are those sales lost forever?

No. BTIG determined:

“This caution is temporary, and ultimately results in deferred sales, as the economy, jobs, interest rates and consumer confidence all have far more meaningful roles in the home purchase decision than a Presidential election result in the months that follow.”

In a separate study done by Meyers Research & Zonda, Ali Wolf, Chief Economist, agrees that those purchases are just delayed until after the election:

“History suggests that the slowdown is largely concentrated in the month of November. In fact, the year after a presidential election is the best of the four-year cycle. This suggests that demand for new housing is not lost because of election uncertainty, rather it gets pushed out to the following year.”

Will it matter who is elected?

To some degree, but not in the overall number of home sales. As mentioned above, consumer confidence plays a significant role in a family’s desire to buy a home. How may consumer confidence impact the housing market post-election? The BTIG report covered that as well:

“A change in administration might benefit trailing blue county housing dynamics. The re-election of President Trump could continue to propel red county outperformance.”

Again, overall sales should not be impacted in a significant way.

Bottom Line

If mortgage rates remain near all-time lows, the economy continues to recover, and unemployment continues to decrease, the real estate market should remain strong up to and past the election.


Posted on September 10, 2020 at 2:43 pm
Denise Hallerbach | Posted in In-The-Know Real Estate Blog | Tagged , , ,

Homebuyer Demand Is Far Above Last Year’s Pace

Homebuying has been on the rise over the past few months, with record-breaking sales powering through the market in June, July and August. Buyers are actively purchasing homes, and the momentum is continuing into the fall. It is, however, becoming harder for buyers to find homes to purchase. If you’ve been thinking about selling your house, the coming weeks might just be the timing you’ve been waiting for.

According to the Pending Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

Pending home sales in July achieved another month of positive contract activity, marking three consecutive months of growth.

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings, rose 5.9% to 122.1 in July. Year-over-year, contract signings rose 15.5%. An index of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001.”

This means that for the past several months, buyers have signed an increasing number of contracts to purchase homes – well above where the market was at this time last year. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR notes:

“We are witnessing a true V-shaped sales recovery as homebuyers continue their strong return to the housing market…Home sellers are seeing their homes go under contract in record time, with nine new contracts for every 10 new listings.”

Below is a graph that shows the impressive recovery of homes sales compared to previous years. The deep blue v marks the slowdown from this spring that turned into an exponential jump in sales that followed through the summer, skyrocketing above years past (see graph to right):

What Does This Mean for Sellers?

If you were thinking about putting your house on the market in the spring, but decided to wait due to the health crisis, it may be time to make your move. Buyers are in the market right now. With so few homes available to purchase, homeowners today are experiencing more bidding wars, creating an optimal time to sell.

Is This Trend Going to Continue?

As CNBC notes, there are no signs of slowing buyer demand this fall:

The usual summer slowdown in the housing market is not happening this year. Buyers continue to show strong demand, spurred by the new stay-at-home world of the coronavirus and by record low mortgage rates.”

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, concurred:

“In a typical year in the housing market, buyer interest begins to wane before seller interest causing the usual seasonal slowdown as we move into the fall. Due to a delayed spring season and low mortgage rates, we could see buyer interest extend longer than usual into the typically quieter fall. Whether this means more home sales will depend on whether sellers participate or decide to stay on the sidelines.”

As Hale mentioned, homeowners who are willing to sell their houses right now will play a big role in whether the trend continues. The market needs more homes to satisfy ongoing buyer demand. Maybe it’s time to leverage your equity and move up while eager home shoppers are ready to purchase a house just like yours.

Bottom Line

If your current home doesn’t meet your family’s changing needs, let’s connect to help you sell your house and make the move you’ve been waiting for all year.


Posted on September 10, 2020 at 2:37 pm
Denise Hallerbach | Posted in In-The-Know Real Estate Blog | Tagged , , , , ,

September 2020 Market Report

** Data in this report reflect market activity from AUGUST 2020 compared to the previous month and year.  Information is gathered from the Reno-Sparks Association of Realtors® (RSAR) for the Greater Reno-Sparks region via Northern Nevada Regional Multiple Listing Service (www.nnrmls.com).  Data accounts for single-family resale residences only, and excludes townhouses/condos, manufactured/modular and new construction.

  • In August 2020, the Median Sales Price for single-family re-sale properties in Reno and Sparks continues it’s upward trend for the 3rd straight month.  The Median Sales Price increased 2.5% month-over-month and 11.5% year-over-year to $444,900.

  • The Average Sold Price per Square Foot has also been steadily rising over the last several months.  The average single-family residence sold in Reno-Sparks in August for $239/sqft, a 7% increase year-over-year.

  • Though the Average Sold Price per Square Foot is $239/sqft, homes selling over $750k appear to be the reason the average is pulling upward.  Homes that sold between $750k and $1M averaged $259/sqft, homes that sold between $1M and $1.5M averaged $334/sqft, and homes that sold for over $1.5M averaged $375/sqft.

  • The # of Units Sold dipped 13.4%, month-over-month from 744 to 644.  The # of Units Sold in August 2020 is 3.2% higher than August 2019.  Please note that sales closing in August likely went into contract in July 2020, accounting for a typical 30-day escrow.

  • August’s Absorption Rate continued to steadily decline and is at a historic low of 0.8 Months Supply of Inventory. a significant 65% drop from August 2019 and a 14% decrease from July 2020.  MSI absorption rate represents the time it would take to “sell out” of the Reno-Sparks inventory at the current rate of sale if no new listings were to come to market.  A balanced market is around 5-6 months of supply, therefore, we are solidly in a “seller’s market.”

  • The Average # of Days from Listing to Contract in August 2020 inched down one day compared to July 2020.  It took an average of 36 days from listing on MLS until acceptance of an offer.  Single family residences are taking about 18.3% less time to receive and acceptable offer this year than in August 2019.  These averages account for all price ranges.

  • With competition among buyers in multiple offer situations, the average SFR in Reno-Sparks received 99.5% of asking price in August 2020.  Many homes are selling above asking price and buyers are waiving appraisal outcomes to secure the property today.

  • The # of New Contracts popped up in August 2020 with 794 accepted offers in the pipeline to close escrow in September.  August 2020 saw 33% more new contracts than the same month last year and 15% more new contracts than the previous month.

  • The # of New Listings to hit the market dipped 1% month-over-month, while decreasing 12.4% compared to August 2019.

SUMMARY:

  • Californians continue to seek relief from a hostile tax environment, the destruction of wildfires, severe COVID-19 restrictions and ongoing congestion to find that Northern Nevada is their refuge.
  • Low 0.8 months supply of inventory and high buyer demand is fueling the very hot residential real estate market today.
  • The Median Sales Price and Average Sold Price per Square Foot are steadily rising.
  • Average days from listing to contract continues to drop.
  • Mortgage rates are still historically low, making home purchasing more affordable regardless of rising prices.
  • The # of New Contracts in August 2020 continue to rise.
  • If you are considering selling your home to upsize, downsize or relocate, I am here to assist you with experienced, professional services to make your transition as smooth as possible.  Email direct dhallerbach@intero.com or reach me by cell at 775-233-0682.  I am so happy to help!
  • Buying a home in Northern Nevada?  Whether it’s your first home, second or third, vacation home or investment property, I have the knowledge and highest level of skill to navigate you through the process.  Call me at 775-233-0682.

Posted on September 10, 2020 at 2:00 pm
Denise Hallerbach | Posted in Reno-Sparks Market Report | Tagged , , ,

Reno Ranked #1 “Best Small City” in 2020

Reno, Nevada, also known as “The Biggest Little City in the World,” has recently been crowned #1 Best Small City in America by Resonance Consultancy!  Resonance ranks American cities (principal cities of metropolitan areas with populations of more than 100,000) by using a combination of statistical performance and qualitative evaluations by locals and visitors in 23 areas grouped into six core categories. Principal cities are defined as the largest city in each metropolitan statistical area:

  • Place
  • People
  • Programming
  • Product
  • Prosperity
  • Promotion

It’s no surprise Reno is at the top of the list.  With substantial job growth and economic strength, companies and individuals are converging on Reno to take advantage of tax benefits and a desirable lifestyle.  Learn more about why Reno tops this prestigious list at http://bit.ly/Resonance2020Best.


Posted on August 19, 2020 at 4:08 pm
Denise Hallerbach | Posted in In-The-Know Real Estate Blog | Tagged , , , ,

Lemon-Basil Grilled Shrimp & Couscous

What You Need:

  • 1-1/2 cups uncooked pearl (Israeli) couscous or Near East Couscous (Roasted Garlic & Olive Oil flavor)
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh basil, divided
  • 2 pounds uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined (I recommend Trader Joes “Wild Uncooked Argentinian Red Shrimp”)
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

What To Do:

  1. Cook couscous according to package directions; remove from heat. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk lemon juice, oil, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper until blended; stir in 1/4 cup basil. Stir 1/4 cup dressing into cooked couscous; reserve remaining dressing.
  2. Thread shrimp onto metal or soaked wooden skewers. Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, rub on grill rack to coat lightly. Grill shrimp, covered, over medium-high heat 2-3 minutes on each side or until shrimp turn pink.
  3. Remove shrimp from skewers; toss with reserved dressing. Serve with couscous. Sprinkle with lemon zest and remaining basil.

Credit for this simple and delicious recipe is made to TasteofHome.com.


Posted on August 18, 2020 at 10:07 pm
Denise Hallerbach | Posted in Favorite Recipes | Tagged

The Beginning of an Economic Recovery

The news these days seems to have a mix of highs and lows. We may hear that an economic recovery is starting, but we’ve also seen some of the worst economic data in the history of our country. The challenge today is to understand exactly what’s going on and what it means relative to the road ahead. We’ve talked before about what experts expect in the second half of this year, and today that progress largely hinges upon the continued course of the virus.

A recent Wall Street Journal survey of economists noted, “A strong economic recovery depends on effective and sustained containment of Covid-19.” Given the uncertainty around the virus, we can also see what economists are forecasting for GDP in the third quarter of this year (see graph).

Overwhelmingly, economists are projecting GDP growth in the third quarter of 2020, with 5 of the 9 experts indicating over 20% growth.

Lisa Shalett, Chief Investment Officer for Morgan Stanley puts it this way:

“Indeed, the ‘worst ever’ GDP reading could be followed by the ‘best ever’ growth in the third quarter.”

As we look forward, we can expect consumer spending to improve as well. According to Opportunity Insights, as of August 1, consumer spending was down just 7.8% as compared to January 1 of this year.

Bottom Line

An economic recovery is beginning to happen throughout the country. While there are still questions that need to be answered about the road ahead, we can expect to see improvement this quarter.


Posted on August 18, 2020 at 2:45 pm
Denise Hallerbach | Posted in In-The-Know Real Estate Blog |

Looking For Foreclosures? Surge NOT in the Forecast

With the strength of the current housing market growing every day and more Americans returning to work, a faster-than-expected recovery in the housing sector is already well underway. Regardless, many are still asking the question: will we see a wave of foreclosures as a result of the current crisis? Thankfully, research shows the number of foreclosures is expected to be much lower than what this country experienced during the last recession. Here’s why.

According to Black Knight Inc., the number of those in active forbearance has been leveling-off over the past month (see graph):

Black Knight Inc. also notes, of the original 4,208,000 families granted forbearance, only 2,588,000 of these homeowners got an extension. Many homeowners have once again started to pay their mortgages, paid off their homes, or never went delinquent on their payments in the first place. They may have applied for forbearance out of precaution, but never fully acted on it (see graph):

The housing market, and homeowners, therefore, are in a much better position than many may think. Much of that has to do with the fact that today’s homeowners have more equity than most realize. According to John Burns Consulting, over 42% of homes are owned free and clear, meaning they are not tied to a mortgage. Of the remaining 58%, the average homeowner has $177,000 in equity. That number is keeping many homeowners afloat today and giving them options to avoid foreclosure.

While ATTOM Data Solutions indicates that there is a potential for the number of foreclosures to increase throughout the country, it’s important to understand why they won’t rock the housing market this time around:

“The United States faces a possible foreclosure surge over the coming months that could more than double the number of households threatened with eviction for not paying their mortgages.”

That number may sound massive, but it is actually much smaller than it seems at first glance. Today’s actual quarterly active foreclosure number is 74,860. That’s over 7.5x lower than the number of foreclosures the country saw at the peak of the housing crash in 2009. When looking at the graph below, it’s clear that even if the number of quarterly foreclosures today doubles, as ATTOM Data Solutions indicates is a possibility (not a given), they will only reach what historically-speaking is normalized range, far below what up-ended the housing market roughly 10 years ago.  Equity is growing, jobs are returning, and the economy is slowly recovering, so the perfect storm for a wave of foreclosures is not realistically in the housing market forecast. As Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist for First American notes:

“Alone, economic hardship and a lack of equity are each necessary, but not sufficient to trigger a foreclosure. It is only when both conditions exist that a foreclosure becomes a likely outcome.”

While our hearts are with anyone who may end up in foreclosure as a result of this crisis, we do know that today’s homeowners have more options than they did 10 years ago. For some, it may mean selling their house and downsizing with that equity, which is a far better outcome than foreclosure.

Bottom Line

Homeowners today have many options to avoid foreclosure, and equity is surely helping to keep many afloat. Even if today’s rate of foreclosures doubles, it will still only hit a mark that is more in line with a historically normalized range, a very good sign for homeowners and the housing market.


Posted on August 18, 2020 at 5:02 am
Denise Hallerbach | Posted in In-The-Know Real Estate Blog | Tagged , , ,

How Historically Low Interest Rates Positively Impact Affordability

Today, home prices are appreciating. When we hear prices are going up, it’s normal to think a home will cost more as the trend continues. The way the housing market is positioned today, however, low mortgage rates are actually making homes more affordable, even as prices rise. Here’s why.

According to the Mortgage Monitor Report from Black Knight:

“While home prices have risen for 97 consecutive months, July’s record-low mortgage rates have made purchasing the average-priced home the most affordable it’s been since 2016.

How is that possible?

Black Knight continues to explain:

“As of mid-July, it required 19.8% of the median monthly income to make the mortgage payment on the average-priced home purchase, assuming a 20% down payment and a 30-year mortgage. That was more than 5% below the average of 25% from 1995-2003.

This means it currently requires a $1,071 monthly payment to purchase the average-priced home, which is down 6% from the same time last year, despite the average home increasing in value by more than $12,000 during that same time period.

In fact, buying power is now up 10% year-over-year, meaning the average home buyer can afford nearly $32,000 more home than they could at the same time last year, while keeping their monthly payment the same.”

This is great news for the many buyers who were unable to purchase last year, or earlier in the spring due to the slowdown from the pandemic. By waiting a little longer, they can now afford 10% more home than they could have a year ago while keeping their monthly mortgage payment unchanged.

With mortgage rates hitting all-time lows eight times this year, it’s now less expensive to borrow money, making homes significantly more affordable over the lifetime of your loan. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, shares what low mortgage rates mean for affordability:

“In July, house-buying power got a big boost as the 30-year, fixed mortgage rate made history by moving below three percent. That drop in the mortgage rate from 3.23 percent in May to 2.98 percent in July increased house-buying power by nearly $15,000.”

The graph to the right shows the last time homes were affordable by state.

Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, and West Virginia – homes have not been this affordable in more than 25 years.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of making a move, now is a great time to take advantage of the affordability that comes with such low mortgage rates. Whether you’re thinking of purchasing your first home or moving into a new one and securing a significantly lower mortgage rate than you may have on your current house, let’s connect today to determine your next steps in the process.


Posted on August 17, 2020 at 2:27 pm
Denise Hallerbach | Posted in In-The-Know Real Estate Blog | Tagged , , ,