Spotlight on Bay Park’s Caffe Vicino!

By Caroline Abkar, 3/25/2019

Caffe Vicino is a little gem of a coffee shop in Bay Park, San Diego and I had the pleasure of chatting with owner Marina Mathias!

Watch this short interview to learn about where their coffee comes from, their various menu options, and the fidelity card!


Posted on March 25, 2019 at 1:58 am
Caroline Abkar | Posted in Local businesses | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

2019 Economic and Housing Market Forecast

2019 Economic and Housing Forecast

Thinking about making a real estate move in 2019 but wish you knew where the market is headed? Will prices drop? Will interest rates rise? Is it the right time to buy or sell? Is the bubble about to pop?

We all wish we had a crystal ball to see into the future. What we do have though is knowledge, and that is power. Please take a moment to read this 2019 Economic & Housing Forecast by Windermere’s Chief Economist Matthew Gardner because that may just answer some of these questions you have on your mind. Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics and has more than 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K. 

Before you read the forecast, remember: every situation is unique. If you are planning to remain in your new home for at least a few years, your decision will not be based on how likely you are to make a return on investment after 2 years. Or, if you’re renting and your monthly payment would be very similar as a homeowner, there are benefits you may be missing out on if you compare your net cost of renting vs owning. Depending on your age, income, debt situation, credit profile, and goals there may be programs out there for you to benefit from. Or there may not. If you’re an investor looking for that perfect rental property, then your angle will definitely be more focused on your cash on cash return. I am here to help if you have any questions and happy to put my resources to good use for you.

Enjoy the read!


2019 Economic and Housing Forecast – by Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist, Windermere Real Estate

What a year it has been for both the U.S. economy and the national housing market. After several years of above-average economic and home price growth, 2018 marked the start of a slowdown in the residential real estate market. As the year comes to a close, it’s time for me to dust off my crystal ball to see what we can expect in 2019.

The U.S. Economy

Despite the turbulence that the ongoing trade wars with China are causing, I still expect the U.S. economy to have one more year of relatively solid growth before we likely enter a recession in 2020. Yes, it’s the dreaded “R” word, but before you panic, there are some things to bear in mind.

Firstly, any cyclical downturn will not be driven by housing.  Although it is almost impossible to predict exactly what will be the “straw that breaks the camel’s back”, I believe it will likely be caused by one of the following three things: an ongoing trade war, the Federal Reserve raising interest rates too quickly, or excessive corporate debt levels. That said, we still have another year of solid growth ahead of us, so I think it’s more important to focus on 2019 for now.

The U.S. Housing Market

Existing Home Sales

This paper is being written well before the year-end numbers come out, but I expect 2018 home sales will be about 3.5% lower than the prior year. Sales started to slow last spring as we breached affordability limits and more homes came on the market.  In 2019, I anticipate that home sales will rebound modestly and rise by 1.9% to a little over 5.4 million units.

Existing Home Prices

We will likely end 2018 with a median home price of about $260,000 – up 5.4% from 2017.  In 2019 I expect prices to continue rising, but at a slower rate as we move toward a more balanced housing market. I’m forecasting the median home price to increase by 4.4% as rising mortgage rates continue to act as a headwind to home price growth.

New Home Sales

In a somewhat similar manner to existing home sales, new home sales started to slow in the spring of 2018, but the overall trend has been positive since 2011. I expect that to continue in 2019 with sales increasing by 6.9% to 695,000 units – the highest level seen since 2007.

That being said, the level of new construction remains well below the long-term average. Builders continue to struggle with land, labor, and material costs, and this is an issue that is not likely to be solved in 2019. Furthermore, these constraints are forcing developers to primarily build higher-priced homes, which does little to meet the substantial demand by first-time buyers. 

Mortgage Rates

In last year’s forecast, I suggested that 5% interest rates would be a 2019 story, not a 2018 story. This prediction has proven accurate with the average 30-year conforming rates measured at 4.87% in November, and highly unlikely to breach the 5% barrier before the end of the year.

In 2019, I expect interest rates to continue trending higher, but we may see periods of modest contraction or levelling.  We will likely end the year with the 30-year fixed rate at around 5.7%, which means that 6% interest rates are more apt to be a 2020 story.

I also believe that non-conforming (or jumbo) rates will remain remarkably competitive. Banks appear to be comfortable with the risk and ultimately, the return, that this product offers, so expect jumbo loan yields to track conforming loans quite closely.


There are still voices out there that seem to suggest the housing market is headed for calamity and that another housing bubble is forming, or in some cases, is already deflating.  In all the data that I review, I just don’t see this happening. Credit quality for new mortgage holders remains very high and the median down payment (as a percentage of home price) is at its highest level since 2004.

That is not to say that there aren’t several markets around the country that are overpriced, but just because a market is overvalued, does not mean that a bubble is in place. It simply means that forward price growth in these markets will be lower to allow income levels to rise sufficiently.

Finally, if there is a big story for 2019, I believe it will be the ongoing resurgence of first-time buyers. While these buyers face challenges regarding student debt and the ability to save for a down payment, they are definitely on the comeback and likely to purchase more homes next year than any other buyer demographic. 

Posted on January 11, 2019 at 10:47 pm
Caroline Abkar | Posted in Market News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What You Need to Know About California Proposition 5

 By Caroline Abkar | Windermere Homes & Estates | October 2018


The California Association of REALTORS® submitted the ballot initiative for Proposition 5 stating that almost 75% of homeowners 55 and older haven’t moved since 2000 in fear of the moving penalty they cannot afford. With elections right around the corner, there is so much information out there, much of which is unfortunately incomplete or plain biased. You may think I am partial as a REALTOR®. Truth is, I am a big proponent of making informed decisions in all aspects of life so let’s take a deep dive into Proposition 5 as well as the main arguments in favor and against this initiative so that you feel equipped and confident when voting.

In order to illustrate the impact of Proposition 5, I will use a real life example (clients’ name changed to protect privacy).

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Posted on October 25, 2018 at 10:38 pm
Caroline Abkar | Posted in Real Estate Tidbits | Tagged , , , ,

Farmer’s Table opens in Bay Park, San Diego!

Excitement is through the roof as I meet with Sabrina Martins, General Manager at the new and gorgeously designed Farmer’s Table here in Bay Park adjacent to Sprouts in Clairemont Village. This family owned eatery experienced tremendous success when they opened Farmer’s Table in La Mesa, and are elated to bring their award winning concept to our community here. Farmer’s Table is not a chain, but rather, family owned and operated. What makes them so unique is the source of their high quality ingredients, which are all locally sourced from sustainable producers. If you ever wished you could have your own farm to be able to make the freshest meals with the most delicious ingredients, then this might be as close as it can get, right in our backyard.

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Posted on October 18, 2018 at 1:28 am
Caroline Abkar | Posted in Local businesses | Tagged , , , , , ,

Up Close & Personal with Jennie Groom, Founder and Owner of Studio Flo Pilates

Studio Flo Pilates

There is palpable excitement in the air as I enter the studio and meet Jennie Groom, founder and owner of Studio Flo Pilates in Bay Ho.

We casually sat in the Barre room and chatted about why she founded Studio Flo, what she loves about Bay Park/Bay Ho and what the near future holds for her studio. As a relative newbie to Pilates, I left the studio with a desire to come back and experience what it’s all about, thanks to Jennie’s patience and passion for her studio which I could sense through her eyes beaming with pride during the entire interview. Enjoy the read and please share your comments as always!

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Posted on October 16, 2018 at 5:20 am
Caroline Abkar | Posted in Local businesses | Tagged , , , ,

Your San Diego Events Calendar for October 2018 is here!

 By Caroline Abkar | October 2018

October is an exciting month with a welcome breeze, and not so welcome darkness, although it does make for cozy evenings around a fire! For many, October is synonymous with fall and its beautiful colors, and the obligatory trip to a pumpkin patch if you happen to have little’s. Regardless of your situation though, here is the calendar of events for San Diego county for the month of October 2018! There are lots of happenings and something to fit everyone’s taste, from the San Diego Film Festival to comedy, beer, wine, sports, theater and of course… Halloween celebrations 🎃

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Posted on October 5, 2018 at 5:43 am
Caroline Abkar | Posted in San Diego Events | Tagged , , , ,

5 Reasons Rising Interest Rates Won’t Wreck the Housing Market

This blog post is written by our Chief Economist Matthew Gardner at Windermere Real Estate and originally posted on the Windermere site here:

I found the content too valuable not to share on my own blog!

5 Reasons Rising Interest Rates Won’t Wreck the Housing Market

Written by Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist, Windermere Real Estate

Interest rates have been trending higher since the fall of 2017, and I fully expect they will continue in that direction – albeit relatively slowly – as we move through the balance of the year and into 2019. So what does this mean for the US housing market?

It might come as a surprise to learn that I really don’t think rising interest rates will have a major impact on the housing market. Here is my reasoning: 

1. First Time Home Buyers 

As interest rates rise, I expect more buyers to get off the fence and into the market; specifically, first time buyers who, according to Freddie Mac, made up nearly half of new mortgages in the first quarter of this year. First-time buyers are critical to the overall health of the housing market because of the subsequent chain reaction of sales that result so this is actually a positive outcome of rising rates.

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Posted on September 20, 2018 at 2:40 am
Caroline Abkar | Posted in Market News | Tagged , , ,

Rebuilding my Real Estate blog, one post at a time!

Thank you for stopping by! I recently joined Windermere’s stellar team and with that process came this brand new website which provides awesome features for you: my readers and followers. This also means that I am sorting through all my blogs posts to bring back the most relevant ones here and also carve time out to keep bringing you valuable and fun content.

Don’t forget to sign up for Neighborhood News right here on my Homepage for the very latest market trends and statistics for any zip code you choose. It’s the most up-to-date and relevant way to stay on top of YOUR areas of interest!

Yours truly,

Caroline Abkar , REALTOR®
DRE# 01998434

Posted on September 20, 2018 at 1:37 am
Caroline Abkar | Posted in Real Estate Tidbits | Tagged

Best tips to prepare your home for selling

 By Caroline Abkar | July 2017

Just a few days ago, I walked into a home with my clients where we were greeted with the overpowering scent of a deodorizing spray which really was just blending in with whatever odor had to be deodorized. Not off to a great start. Then, we took a look at the bedrooms and saw clothes piled everywhere on the beds and even on the floor.  As we peaked into the bathroom, we were struck by the musty smell of bike gear lying on the counter top. We stepped outside for a breath of fresh air and the grass was covering half our legs. I tend to attract fleas and got itchy pretty quickly 

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Posted on September 20, 2018 at 1:31 am
Caroline Abkar | Posted in Real Estate Tidbits | Tagged , , , ,

How I helped this military family find their dream home in Imperial Beach!

 By Caroline Abkar | April 2017

When I was called upon to help a Navy Seal and his wife with the purchase of their first home, I didn’t take the job lightly. I usually pride myself on taking on challenges and going the extra mile for my clients and this was yet another wonderful opportunity to do that. I also felt incredibly privileged to serve this military couple, and somehow be helpful in return for their tremendous service.

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Posted on September 20, 2018 at 1:26 am
Caroline Abkar | Posted in Real Estate Tidbits | Tagged , , , , ,