Fans of Coastal San Diego

This site is for the many fans of coastal San Diego, those who have lived here for years, as well as those new to the area. Here you can learn more about the different communities, the many things to do and places to visit in and around San Diego, share your experiences, and ask for advice and recommendations for restaurants, shopping, visitor activities, places to live, and more! Buyers thinking about moving here will find lots of information to help, too!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Something to Do This Weekend

I heard about the Chinese New Year Celebrations at Mira Costa College from a friend of mine, Kathryn Holt (who, BTW, is a Feng Shui expert and will be contributing some aticles to my blogs - this one, as well as my blog on Relocation and the other for First Time Home Buyers).

It might be a fun thing to do this weekend. The celebration, however, runs from Feb. 2 through the 17th.



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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

New Golf Course

It's been in the works for years! And it's about ready.

Yes, Carlsbad's 18-hole public golf course is scheduled to open this summer. There is a 23,000 SF clubhouse (with restaurant and bar, plus outdoor events setting), and 5 bridges where golfers will cross streams, a road, trails and habitat areas (which gives the course its name).

The Crossings at Carlsbad is located along the north side of Palomar Airport Road.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

NEW Daylight Savings Time

The days are getting longer (in terms of the amount of daylight - never long enough for everything I try to get done) and we are getting closer to daylight savings time.

I have always liked it when the time changed in April - "spring ahead, fall back". Even as a kid this was a big deal - being able to play outside in the light longer in the evening was huge! And it meant summer was getting close. Here's a fun article about DST and its history.

Conversely, I hate when the time changes back, and it always takes days for me to adjust. While living in Boston the change in time always signaled the beginning of much colder weather, at least for me. And I hated that. Especially leaving work in the dark.

But that's not the point here. You are probably aware, but in case you are not - daylight savings time will be different this year. Congress approved the change last year, which means we will have 3 more weeks of DST.

So put it on your calendar:

DST will start on the second Sunday in March and end on the first Sunday in November (i.e., after Halloween).


Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Museum of Making Music

If you are a music enthusiast, you will probably enjoy visiting the Museum of Making Music at 5790 Armada Drive Off Palomar Airport Road close to the 5, in Carlsbad.

We were there last night for the annual meeting of the Carlsbad Friends of the Arts (we are members). There was a wine and cheese reception afterwards in the museum, followed by a jazz concert.

This is a great place to visit if you have any interest in music. There are mutiple rooms that portray the history of music, with many instruments, some dating back a couple of hundred years, including some wonderful harp guitars which are making quite a come back. There are lots of opportunities to listen to different music and the sounds of many of these instruments, plus a well-stocked museum store. Definitely worth a visit.
The Museum also offers concerts periodically:
  • Last night was a jazz duet (piano and acoustic guitar)
  • Harp Guitar Exhibition Opening and Concert on February 3 at 7 PM
  • Blues concert ("Shades of Blues") on February 24 at 1 PM
  • Sure-to-please harp guitar concert by John Doan, a master of the rate 20-string guitar, on March 24 at 7 PM.

Tickets typically range from $15 - $20 with a discount for Museum members.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Another Great Play at the Rep

Wow, it's gotten busy all of a sudden. Some new buyers found their home and were ready to put in an offer. Several important meetings at the real estate office on legal stuff, starting to train for the Acura bike ride as part of the La Marathon (nope, I'm not a runner - just do the bike stuff), putting together my monthly newsletter, reading a couple of great books on the Internet and blogging, (Realty Blogging, for one - it's rather specialized, but since I'm in real estate...) and doing some early "almost spring" yard work."

I need to get more writing done I think (BTW I have been asked to contribute some writings on being a first time home buyer at - a new consumer site focused on buyers. Since I do a lot of writing on and for first time buyers, my focus there will be that niche on the first time home buyers blog portion of their site - so stop by and visit.

Last night we went to see another great play at the San Diego Rep Theater as part of our season ticket series - Don Quixote. Wacky, zany, political satire, great music, lots of humor, terrific juggling - a great evening and a nice start to (almost) the weekend. If you have never been to this theater you should check it out - they do some really good plays with lots of creativity (some are new to the theater and start their touring here in SD) and ticket prices are quite reasonable. They are at Horton Plaza (which has, I think, the most confusing garage I've seen, despite the fruit and vegetable labels - finding your way from the garage to the mall and back to the same place, for me at least, is almost always a struggle) downtown.

I am planning to write some more over the weekend - have a great one!


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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Foreclosures and Other Housing Stuff

I expect you have been reading the papers and have noted the various articles and headlines on the housing market. If you haven't, you are in the minority.

Recently, the news has gotten a bit better, in the overall scheme of things. But you have to read BEYOND THE HEADLINES, since those are there to attract readers and sell papers. They are not necessarily an accurate picture of what is going on in the market. Am I biased since I am in the biz? I don't think so. I watch it carefully for that reason and I track the MLS statistics myself. And I am out there everyday talking with buyers, sellers, agents, and the newspapers just do not, for the most part, describe what is really going on in the market. Or the information is taken out of context. And often the headlines have little to do with the content of the article.

Case in point - the headlines screamed at us the other day on the front page of the business section about the 660% increase in foreclosures. But did you read beyond? The news is not all bad.

I wrote a post about this on my ActiveRain blog - here's the link to the post, which also talks more about other housing market news. Take a look.

The rates are great right now - and predictions are for them to remain so for some time (they may hit 7% by the end of the year, per some folks, while others say they may be closer to 6%). Inventory is great too. Prices are stable. And buyer activity is definitely picking up. If you are thinking of buying, this is a great time. And as a seller, if you are realistic vis-a-vis current pricing, your home will sell fairly quickly.

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Some New Tax Laws

Are you starting to think about taxes? I know, not a pleasant thing to ponder, but tax time is here in 3 months.

Here are 10 new tax laws you should know. Below is the list, but see the article for more details. And consult your tax professional to find out if and how they impact YOU.

  • Telephone tax credit

  • Multiple direct deposit option

  • Energy-saving home improvements

  • Alternative fuel auto credit

  • Tougher donation rules

  • Older philanthropist rules

  • Kiddie tax tightened

  • Foreign income adjustments

  • Rolling over retirement money

  • Old deductions are new again

It might be useful to take a look - you could save some $$$.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Wow, It's Been Cold

Is it my imagination, or has it been really cold? I hate to complain, since it's nothing compared to what some parts of the country are having, but it seems unusual to me.

I escaped the Boston winters in 2005 and moved here in April. My first San Diego winter was great. It was such a pleasure to be outside every day, with most days in the low 60s (in Boston during the winter months that a veritable heat wave). I enjoyed not having to use the heat but a few times (we always had it on in the winter in Boston, and the utility bills were horrendous).

This winter seems quite different. Or maybe I am spoiled. But the heat has been on a lot more, and there are many more cooler days, and more nights in the 30s and low 40s than I remember from last year. So, is it my imagination or not? I don't think so.

However, despite the chillier weather, we don't have the multiple snow storms that have plagued the Pacific Northwest and Denver, and the ice storm hitting New England today. When I do watch the weather it seems I am always reminded of how much warmer it is here - and there's no snow, except in the mountains. So, I'm still thrilled to not be in New England at this time of year. Even if I complain more about the cooler weather.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Nutritional Drinks

Perhaps this sounds like an odd topic, but bear with me.

The reason for the post is two-fold. One, the nutritional supplements industry had boomed, along with the overall increased awareness and concerns about health, wellness and anti-aging. I am a pretty avid health club type so this resonates with me pretty well. And it interests me.

Secondly, in living here for a year I have gotten to know quite a number of entrepreneurial people who have their own businesses, work at home, and are involved in the network marketing industry (Google "network marketing" - you'll be amazed at what you get). Maybe you are as well...or have an interest in it. This industry can be a terrific way to either supplement your income OR provide you with a stay-at-home busines with long-term residual income.

There are several of the products in the nutritional drink category that I have tried and which were rather appealing. The first is Frutaiga (Contact Lee Stegall if interested). The second is Tunguska Blast, a Cyberwize product (the person I know here is Erika Stephens). Another is Tahitian Noni, offered through Josephine Wright. And, finally, Betty Potter is actively involved with a product called FrequenSea, from ForeverGreen.

So, I am passing this along, not because I am necessarily recommending you try these, but because it is part of living here in San Diego. And you never know - it might pique YOUR interest in some way.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

More Vanity Plates

I love some of the vanity plates I see from time to time.

Spotted today - KIDZBIZ, DROZONE and 007 JEFF.

A recent sighting - ICDAOCN (got it?)



Let me say it right up front - I am not a surfer. Nor is it likely I will ever step onto a surfboard, despite having moved to a part of the country where it is so popular, and so much in evidence daily.

As a casual observer, I have to admit the whole surfing culture fascinates me. And since I don't surf, I don't expect to understand, or really appreciate, the influence that surfing has had here. While surfing is popular back East where I used to live, especially in some areas (such as on Cape Cod in Massachusetts), it does not have the kind of impact that is so apparent here, nor is there the history associated with the growth of the sport which Southern California is known for.

Surfing has been a part of the growth of a number of coastal towns (Encinitas, especially Leucadia, Cardiff, and Carlsbad, as well as more southerly towns including Ocean Beach and Pacific Beach) for decades. There are numerous surfing shops scattered along the coast, as well as restaurants that cater to the surfing enthusiast. And learning how to surf has become big business, as witnessed by the many instructors and surfing schools for kids and adults.

For those of you have have not been here, it is common to see surfers at every time of the day, and every day, scattered along Highway 101 and other local streets, making use of the many beaches known for the best surfing - Swami's in Encinitas being just one example. And there is a huge environmental component, with erosion causing problems with many of the area's beaches, and the growth of the Surfrider Organization, dedicated to the preservation of, and access to, beaches here and elsewhere in the world.

I love this aspect of being in San Diego, even though I have no interest in climbing on a surfboard. It's a large part of what makes Southern California such a popular place to live and enjoy the beaches and beautiful weather that we sometimes take for granted. While you may not be an enthusiast, you have to appreciate the tremendous influence, and the daily presence, of surfing in our area. And admire those who take surfing so seriously.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Barefoot in the Park

I'm not going to talk about the movie (and there was a TV show by this name, too...). This is personal.

I love going barefoot. It's one of the things I truly love about summer weather. I'm not sure why, but being barefoot has been something I have enjoyed for many years - indoors and out. Of course in Boston you are a bit more limited as to good barefoot time, as compared to being here in San Diego. While I have not sat down to figure it out, my guess is my barefoot time has increased to about 90% of the time. I do wear shows to go to the gym, and when I am out showing homes to clients (or doing other real estate stuff), but otherwise my feet are, for the most part bare.

With the winter here, I have started wearing socks on occasion, since my feet get pretty cold. And I have developed a reputation with my neighbors, who know me as being fond of going without shoes. In fact, I am helping our next door neighbor's son find a new home and took him (and his parents) out the other day to look at houses. I was good - I wore shoes - and didn't they comment about it, jokingly, of course.

Because of my fondness for warm weather, my wife and I, while living in Boston, took a winter trip to St. Martin every year. I was in my glory - once I get to the hotel I took my shoes off and hardly ever wear them the entire week. There are restaurants on the beach so no shoes are needed - ever. When we go to Grand Case (THE town for foodies in St. Martin) I wear shoes but that's the only time.

Needless to say I am very happy with the weather here. And it was 79 today - I enjoyed the spool twice! It just doesn't get much better.
Maybe I need to market myself as the Barefoot Realtor! Hmmm....

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

House Prices in San Diego

Now that we are in the new year I have finished some of the year end reports I do for my real estate business.

Given the tremendous interest in San Diego's housing market in the last few years, I took a look at median prices in a number of communities over the last 5 years. The numbers, for some of you, may be pretty surprising (especially the amount of appreciation).

TOWN ____MDN 11/06 __MDN 11/04 __MDN 11/01 _1-yr % _2-yr %_ 5-yr %
Carlsbad ____$770,000____ $731,500____ $417,500____ -5%____ 5%____ 84%
Encinitas ____$835,000 ____$790,000 ___$455,000____ -6%____ 6%____ 84%
Cardiff _____$1,110,000 ____$875,000 ___$580,000____ 14%___ 26%____ 90%
Solana Beach _$1,225,000 ___$1,149,000___$680,000 ____5% ____7%_____80%
Del Mar ____$1,670,000 ____$1,450,000 __$825,000___ -2%____ 15%____ 102%
La Jolla ____$1,690,000 ____$1,432,000__ $900,000 ___-1% ____18% ____88%
RSF ______$2,791,000 ____$2,047,500 ___$1,740,000 __11% ____36%____ 60%
San Marcos __$587,500 _____$554,995 ____$292,000 ___-1%____ 6%_____ 101%
Oceanside ___$537,000_____ $475,000 ____$256,000 ___0% ____13%____ 110%
AVERAGE __$1,245,000 ____$1,056,111 ___$682,833 ____3%____ 18%____ 82%
(sorry, the formating is a bit weird in a blog)

Some other interesting stats so far. Inventories are down in all of these towns (ranging from 14 - 2%) since the end of November. Much of that may be due to the holiday season. We should see anb increase in inventory as the spring market kicks in. Prices seem to be stable but the December numbers are not yet available from the MLS. I'll let you know what they are in a later post.

If any of you are thinking of buying or selling and would like more details on the market conditions, please feel free to let me know.

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Jeff Dowler (RE/MAX Associates): Real Estate Agent in Carlsbad, San Diego County, California on