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The Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation donated $44,800 in 2010 to different non-profit organizations that help low-income individuals and families in Silicon Valley. The Charitable Foundation is a trust which makes grants available to organizations from donations by REALTORS®, affiliate members and friends of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR).

The grant recipients are from SILVAR’s five districts – Los Gatos/Saratoga, Cupertino/Sunnyvale, Los Altos/Mountain View, Palo Alto and Menlo Park/Atherton. The 2010 recipients include Abilities United (formerly Community Association for Rehabilitation), Assistant League of Los Gatos/Saratoga, Child Advocates of Silicon Valley, Christmas Bureau of Palo Alto, Cleo Eulau Center, Community Health Awareness Council, East Palo Alto Kids Foundation, Family & Children Services-F&CS – (including FAST-Families and Schools Together), Friends for Youth, Friends of Deer Hollow Farm, Friends of Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo, JustREAD (on Campus of Mountain View/Los Altos Union High School District), Kara, Reading Partners, Support Network for Battered Women, Via Services, Westwind 4-H Handicapped Riding Institute and Youth Community Services.

Also in 2010, as part of its Scholarship Program, the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation presented a $1,000 scholarship grant to each of 18 graduating seniors from public high schools in the Silicon Valley communities. 2010 is the 11th year the Foundation has been assisting students with the scholarship grants.

“Local nonprofits have been hit hard by the weak economy and unemployment,” said 2010 Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation president Lisa Keith. “We thank our members and friends who, even in this difficult year, have been very generous with their donations.”

At a recent Menlo Park/Atherton District meeting, the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation Trust presented $2,500 to the Westwind 4-H Riding Program for the Handicapped. Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation President Lisa Keith (right) presented the grant to Judy Lookabill, board member of the Westwind Riding Institute.

Non-profit organizations operating within the areas served by the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® are eligible for grant consideration provided they meet the evaluation criteria below. Grant applicants are evaluated on the following guidelines:

  • The community need for the expenditure, as well as the number of people who will be served;
  • The impact on the recipient organization;
  • The location of the community served; (Although requests for state, national and international projects are considered, preference is given to projects with a more local base.)
  • The financial soundness and efficiency of the organization;
  • Accuracy and completeness of the application;
  • The structure of volunteer organization and level of volunteer support; and
  • Appropriate use of the Foundation’s previous grants (if applicable).

The Charitable Foundation Trustees meet quarterly (March, June, September, and December) to evaluate applications. Applications must be received by Feb. 15, May 15, Aug. 15, and Nov. 15 in order to be considered at the quarterly meeting. For more information and details about the Charitable Foundation grants and an application form, visit www.silvar.org, or call SILVAR at (408) 200-0100.

Sales in November picked up from the previous month in the state of California and nationwide. This is a sign that the market is recovering on its own, according to REALTOR® officials.

The California Association of REALTORS® reported last week  that California home sales rose in November, though down from the previous year. Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 490,950 in November, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations statewide. Sales were up 9.2 percent from October’s revised pace of 449,480, but down 8.6 percent from November 2009. 

The statewide median price declined from both the previous month and previous year. The November 2010 median price was $296,820, down 2.4 percent from October’s $304,220 median price and down 2.5 percent from the revised $304,550 median price in November 2009.

Santa Clara County home sales rose 6 percent in November from that of the previous month, but were down 8.6 percent from November 2009. The November median sales price of a single-family detached home was $589,980, down 7.5 percent from October when it was $637,750, and down 2.5 percent from November 2009, when it was $605,000.

“Sales last year were spurred by the government home buyer tax credit program,” said Jeff Bell, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®. “We are now seeing market gains, without help from the stimulus program, and this is a positive sign.”

The Silicon Valley cities of Saratoga, Los Gatos and Cupertino continued to rank among the top 10 cities with the highest median home price during November 2010. Saratoga’s median home price in November was $1,235,000; Los Gatos, $850,000; and Cupertino, $850,000.

The National Association of REALTORS® also reported last week  that November’s existing-home sales (completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops) rose 5.6 percent to 4.68 million from 4.43 million in October, but are 27.9 percent from November 2009. The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $170,600 in November, up 0.4 percent from November 2009. Distressed homes accounted for 33 percent of November sales.

“Continuing gains in home sales are encouraging, and the positive impact of steady job creation will more than trump some negative impact from a modest rise in mortgage interest rates, which remain historically favorable,” says NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

Yun says the relationship between mortgage interest rates, home prices and family income continues to be the most favorable on record for buying a home since NAR started measuring in 1970.

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