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Mortgage rates hit 20-year highs

 October 28, 2022 at 3:23 PM PDT

S1: Home prices are dropping as interest rates rise.

S2: Prices in San Diego are down now for a fourth month in a row.

S1: I'm Jade Hindman. This is KPBS midday edition. A preview of San Diego's opera , The Last Dream of Frida and Diego.

S3: And this opera has everything an opera should have. So you have politics , you have sex , you have love , you have passion , you have art , you have death.

S1: Plus , we'll take you on a tour of the art scene in your weekend preview. That's ahead on Midday Edition. Yesterday. Mortgage rates reached the highest they've been in 20 years. The average rate for a 30 year fixed mortgage , the most common mortgage in the nation , topped 7% , according to Freddie Mac. That news coincides with recent figures showing the largest San Diego housing price declines since the Great Recession. But have home prices dropped enough to offset the high interest rate for home buyers ? And is this any indication of a recession ? I'm joined now by Phillip molnar , senior business reporter with the San Diego Union-Tribune. Philip , welcome back to Midday Edition.

S2: Thank you for having me.


S2: So the median home price that includes every type of house , you can imagine that 795,000. So that's down from our all time high of 850,000 in May. So it's sort of a substantial drop , a 6% drop in a year. But there has been a huge run up on prices before this. So that kind of balances it out.


S2: But San Diego is going down a little bit faster than other parts of the nation. That's according to the S&P Case-Shiller indices. So for our latest report , it shows that San Diego home prices were down 2.5% from July to August. So that was the third fastest just behind San Francisco and Seattle. So we are experiencing a quicker slowdown than a lot of places.

S1: You mentioned this earlier. The price drops we are seeing today come on the heels of incredible price increases over the past couple of years.

S2: I mean , it's crazy to think how much our prices have gone up. You know , if you look at the median sale price , say , around February 2020 , right before lockdowns , right before we had this crazy run of the market. So at that time , according to Redfin , our median sale price just for a single family home was around 670,000. Today , it's at 900,000. So it would take a lot of work to wipe out all these gains we've had in two years.


S2: And it's kind of tricky because even I find myself looking at home prices , I'm like , Oh , that's down a little bit. Maybe I could afford a San Diego home. Nope. So the big thing right now is higher mortgage rates mean larger monthly payments. So that makes the income required to qualify even bigger. So let me just give you an example. So this is just for last month when mortgage rates were still at the low number of 6%. The monthly costs , let's say , for a median priced resale condo in San Diego County was 600,000. So assuming you put 20% down , there would be around 3001 95 a month. That would be your payment. But a year earlier , with lower interest rates , it would have been 2281. So it makes a huge jump on a monthly payment. Wow.

S1: Wow. And so really , it just seems like there's a shift in who's making the lion's share here from seller to lender.

S2: Yeah , you know , it's kind of interesting. I've talked to a lot of real estate agents about what sellers are thinking right now. Some sellers that are maybe a little more aware of current market trends , you know , they maybe been in their home a while. If they decide to put their home on the market right now , the thinking is , well , you know , even though the market's down quite a bit from the spring , at least my home is appreciated like crazy over the last like three years. However , one problem that real estate agents are writing to you because they want to get more listings , you know , is that there are certain sellers that just cannot accept that their home is not worth what it was six months ago. It's a hard pill to swallow for a lot of them. So that's kind of why we're seeing inventory here in San Diego. There are more homes on the market than usual. But it's not like a huge amount of homes that are going to make a big difference as far as competition. Interesting.

S1: Interesting.

S2: It depends on what economists you ask. Most say we are not in a recession. But every once in a while you get an economist that says we are in a recession. It depends on which politician you talk to. There's a very heated debate whether or not we are. One of the things that's different now compared to the Great Recession is there isn't a lot of homes on the market. For a number of Americans. So there was a big run up in building. Homes during the housing boom right before the crash. So there was a ton of homes on the market. Now , there just really isn't as many. So most economists aren't anticipating that there's going to be this huge downturn in the economy that's going to force a bunch of people to sell. The credit requirements are a lot stronger to get into homes nowadays. So it's not like people are in $1,000,000 house in San Diego. They shouldn't have been there , didn't have the money to do so. Most people don't think the housing market is going to have a big factor in whatever recession comes or a downturn in the economy.


S2: So that's actually sort of rosy when you consider that San Diego is already down 6% from our peak. So most people are anticipating that home prices will continue to drop until the end of the year. You know , not anticipating a huge crash. But then again , things have changed really rapidly over the last couple of years with the pandemic and interest rates are going up so quick that , you know , it's kind of like you have to sit back and wait and see. The crystal balls here might be a bit cracked because every every analyst I've seen and stuff going on in the last couple of months has to keep changing it. But as of right now , yeah. Goldman Sachs research says , yeah , it could drop about 10% by the end of the year. Wow.

S1: Wow. I've been speaking with Philip molnar , senior business reporter with the San Diego Union-Tribune. Philip , thank you.

S2: Thank you so much.

S1: San Diego Opera holds the world premiere of The Last Dream of Frida and Diego on Saturday. The new Spanish language opera explores the relationship between iconic Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. It also uses the celebration of DIA de los Muertos as the backdrop for a love story that crosses into the afterlife. KPBS arts reporter Beth ACCOMANDO has this preview.

S4: A picture might be worth a thousand words , but a Frida Kahlo self-portrait speaks volumes about her life.

S3: She painted her autobiography always.

S4: Lorina Massa is directing The Last Dream of Frida and Diego.

S3: Her art was so personal , and I think the more personal , the more universal. And also because she depicted herself completely as a woman and she was disabled and the strength , she was never a victim. She dignified herself through her painting.

S4: Kahlo's intensely personal , often witty and always boldly imaginative. Paintings reveal more about her life experience than any carefully researched biography.

S5: She just painted her reality.

S4: Mezzo soprano Guadalupe Paz sings the Role of Frida.

S5: People thought it was like surrealism and it was not. She was like very original in that sense. And I think that appeals to us because when we see a painting of her , it's like she's talking or telling us a story about that moment in her life.

S4: Bringing Kahlo's story to life through opera fell into the hands of composer Gabriela , Lena Frank and librettist Nilo Cruz.

S6: I heard a piece that Gabriela had composed , which the theme of it was A Day of the Dead. And when I heard the piece and heard the beautiful music , I said to her , And that is the entry into this world. And we should not do a biopic of the Ego and Frida , but maybe , perhaps Frida coming back to the world on the day of her dead.

S4: DIA de Muertos or Day of the Dead gave them something to artistically build on , says Frank.

S3: The Day of the Dead is just incredible. There's an element of fantasy. There's an element of fiction that is more real than the non-fictional. The result. You have to stretch , I think , as an artist to be able to imagine a universe that doesn't really exist but seems very authentic.

S4: The dramatic trigger for the story is Rivera's last day on Earth , says Mesa.

S3: He comes to the graveyard in the other martyrs to invoke free , then call her back to help him cross to make a plan to the underworld. The Aztec underworld.

S4: In the opera. Carlo returns from the dead without any of the pain she experienced in the real world from a horrific accident and dozens of surgeries. But she reenters the world of the living with a warning , says Mesa.

S3: But don't you dare touch the angel. Don't you dare touch your painting brushes. You cannot do that. Because if you do that , you'll feel the agony again.

S4: But pain defined Kahlo's life and her art , says Paz.

S5: The relationship that she has on stage in this opera with the paintings is so beautiful. Because in the moment that she finds the easel , she revisits the pain.

S4: Kahlo discovers she cannot paint without the pain. Her suffering and her art were impossibly intertwined , so she can't help but embrace both Rivera and her former agony , says Moser.

S3: She allowed him to embrace her in order for her to remember the pain , because it's only then that she can regain her identity as a painter. It's the pain. When she was alive , that really was her inspiration.

S4: Kahlo died almost seven decades ago , yet her art remains vibrantly alive in pop culture , where her depictions of femininity , sexuality and disability all seem strikingly relevant.

S3: What is amazing is that every new generation takes her image and makes it their own again and again and again.

S4: San Diego Opera is poised to introduce its Frida Kahlo to the world this weekend in a new Spanish language opera that sings the praises of Mexico's iconic artist. Beth ACCOMANDO , KPBS News.

S1: You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman. For our weekend preview , we're taking a look at some Halloween and DIA de los Muertos performances and exhibits. Joining me with the details is KPBS arts producer and editor Julia Dixon Evans. Julia , welcome.

S7: A.J. , thanks for having me.

S1: Let's start at the Old Globe , where they're holding their free access Day of the Dead event.

S7: It's through their arts engagement wing. And one of the big events they do each year is this Day of the Dead celebration. And this year it's hosted by Alejandro and Cesar Tadashi. And they'll have theater performances , puppetry from the center , a guild of puppetry , Aztec dance music. And they'll also present a performance of their newest collab play. This is written by Gerardo Flores Tonia. This is all at the Globe's outdoor Plaza. And it's for all ages and it's free. It'll be held from 11 to 130 on Sunday.

S1: In visual art. A group of artists is hosting what they're calling an experimental art haunted house at Bread and Salt. What do you know about that ? Right.

S7: So it's 16 regional artists and they're taking over the brick room at Bread and Salt , and they've been building out this kind of maze or a haunted house style layout. And so it's a series of immersive installations that you kind of wander through. There's sculpture , light installations , sound installations , and there's lots of spooky stuff , but also things that are just festively , campy or kind of weird. Some of the artists are sound installation artist Margaret Noble. There's Wendell Kling , Max Dailey and the duo Brian and Ryan. This is 5 to 10 on Saturday night at Bread and Salt. And while you're there , be sure to check out the special Andrew Alcasid exhibition and book release that's happening in the main gallery. This is his collection of 138 watercolor paintings that he made around the time of a recent bone marrow transplant , and the works represent the mundane but specific objects that surrounded him on this ongoing medical journey , like the little cup of cubed Jell-O from the hospital meat meal , but rendered in this really beautiful watercolor. So you can check out both exhibitions. And keep in mind that these are both just one day only shows and Saturday is your only chance.

S1: And here's a special silent film screening with live pipe organ music for the soundtrack. Tell us about this event.

S7: Yeah , so this is the Spreckels Organ Pavilion , and the Organ Society does this pretty often where they'll screen a silent movie while the organist plays a live accompaniment of the score. And for the Halloween edition , they're showing the 1925 version of The Phantom of the Opera , which famously portrayed that mysterious opera ghoul with this really exaggerated , grotesque makeup. And if the Broadway version is more of your style before the screening. Local opera singers Victoria Robertson and tenor Bernardo Bermudez will sing some of the tunes from Broadway , the Broadway version of Phantom of the Opera. And that starts at six. And then the movie is at 630 , and this is all free.

S1: Next is a musical called Murder Ballad at Patio Playhouse. That sounds pretty spooky. Tell us about the play.

S7: So first off , this is a rock musical with a live band. And I think knowing that you get these grandiose expectations that it'll be this huge cast and this really big experience , this big sound. But this play , it's by Julia Jordan and Juliana Nash , it's actually a really intimate musical. It's a small cast of four people , including a narrator , and that makes the audience feel more like they're part of the action. Here's a clip from the original cast recording Denied by. Skin.

S3: Skin.

UU: At least one key.

S7: And of course , the subject matter here is definitely more moody. It's a heartbreak story about a happily married wife who turns to a former lover , this bad boy type bartender. And yes , there is a murder mystery. This is , as Candy does , Patio Playhouse , and it runs through November 6th. The shows this weekend are 8:00 tonight and Saturday night and then 2 p.m. on Sunday.


S7: It's called Fiesta de Rays , and it runs daily from mid-October through November 2nd. This one has crafts and dance and music and then various altars. There's also an Anthony dress. And what I like about this one is that it's both in-person and livestreamed. And there's also a community altar that's noon to four on Saturday at the City of Encinitas Community Center , and then in City Heights at the Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park , also on Saturday from 11 to 6. They have theater , dance , ballet , folklorico , puppetry , drumming , all sorts of performances , and then multiple altars at Chula Vista , right in downtown Chula Vista. They'll have folklorico performances , mariachi funk music , costume contests and a community altar. From 3 to 8 on Saturday. And then if you're in Oceanside , the Hill Street Country Club's altar will be open to live offerings from 3 to 6 on Saturday , the 29th. But then it will be on view through November 5th. That's the Hill Street Country Club.

S1: For more details on these and more arts events or to sign up for Julia's weekly KPBS arts newsletter , go to KPBS dot org slash Arts. You'll also find a link to our Halloween Events calendar. I've been speaking with KPBS arts producer and editor Julia Dixon Evans. Julia , thank you.

S7: Thank you , Jane. Have a good weekend.

S1: You , too.

Mortgage rates topped 7% for the first time in 20 years, meanwhile San Diego home prices continue to decline. Then, San Diego Opera holds the world premiere of “The Last Dream of Frida and Diego” on Saturday. The new Spanish language opera explores the relationship between iconic Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Finally, in our weekend preview, we take a look at some Halloween and Día de los Muertos performances and exhibits.