A house is for sale in Point Loma. Photo by Chris Stone
A house for sale in Point Loma in September. Photo by Chris Stone

Residential real estate services provider Redfin says 60% of offers written by its agents nationally faced competition—similar to the number in September but down from the feverish COVID-19 pandemic peak of 74.5% in April.

But the ease-up hasn’t hit markets here in the West, including San Diego.

Salt Lake City had the highest bidding-war rate of the 42 U.S. metropolitan areas in this analysis, with 79.5% of offers written by Redfin agents facing competition. Next came Sacramento, CA at 77.1% and Indianapolis at 74.1%. San Diego and the Bay Area rounded out the top five, with rates of 72.1% and 69.5%, respectively.

Redfin says the surge in multiple offers has fallen as the typical seasonal cooling in the housing market has arrived, but the drop has leveled with buyers resurfacing.

“There’s still a housing shortage,” according to economist Daryl Fairweather, adding, “which means some homes continue to receive as many as 22 offers and go for $100,000-$150,000 over list price.”

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San Diego’s Jack in the Box fast food purveyor recently announced financial results for the fourth quarter ended Oct. 3. And there were some not-so-subtle hints about the future, as well as what the company achieved in the past.

The company said sales for the quarter increased 8.6%, or just 0.2% when excluding a 53rd week for the sake of comparison to last year. Sales for full year 2021 increased 13.1%, or 11.0% when excluding that annoying 53rd week.

What I found interesting is the company’s expectations on inflation, which is now surging through the economy. The report indicted commodity prices would increase 6%-7% in 2022 vs. 2021, and it noted wages would jump $8%-10%.

The company also said that due to “an anticipated unique cost environment,” it is providing one-time company-owned restaurant level margin annual guidance for 2022. The restaurant level margin is expected to be 20-21%, “which includes mid-to-high single digit price increases.”

So, inflation has been baked in for next year.

Jack in the Box says it is one of the nation’s largest hamburger chains, with more than 2,200 restaurants in 21 states and on the island of Guam.

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New Flight Charters, a San Diego-based operation that provides on-demand private jet charters, recently noted that it had enjoyed a 72% year-over-year increase in October.

The company attributes the jump in the charter business in part to its full-industry aircraft availability, not limited by a defined fleet or specific operator arrangements. The industry includes 2,722 charter jets, plus 778 executive turboprops for economical regional travel.

“When demand is outpacing supply, having wide availability of vetted quality aircraft and operators in every corner of the country for our clients is key,” commented company President Rick Colson.

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The San Diego office of accounting and consulting firm Ernst & Young recently said that Cesar Enciso, founder and CEO of Evotek, has been selected as one of its Entrepreneur of the Year national finalists.

According to a release, E&Y picked Enciso from a pool of 222 regional winners representing 185 companies nationwide. E&Y’s awards program recognizes entrepreneurs who create the products and services that “define how we live, work and play, as well as those designed to better the communities they serve”

Evotek self-describes as “premier enabler of digital business with a focus on innovation.”

A third-party panel of judges nominated Enciso considering factors such as leadership, financial prowess and successfully navigating obstacles to achieve success, the release said.

The prestigious awards program is now 35 years old.

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Anaheim-based Northgate González Market teamed up with online personal loan provider Oportun and car-maker Hyundai over the Thanksgiving weekend to donate 5,000-plus vouchers for turkeys, groceries and cash cards to provide relief and cheer for those in need.

Northgate says it has worked with more than 65 nonprofits, schools, and elected officials to identify the families in need. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, about eight food distribution events took place in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside and San Diego, according to a news release.

The 41-year-old chain, which operates five stores in the San Diego region, says it has donated more than $1 million to local food banks and other organizations since the start of the pandemic.

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Some good news for those concerned about the spread of omicron, the new COVID-19 virus variant recently discovered in South Africa.

San Diego med tech company Cue Health said Nov. 29 its COVID-19 test, which uses molecular technology, can detect the omicron variant which is now a topic of concern among world health authorities.

Cue said it has found that more than 99% of the available 127 published sequences in the virus match the primers used in its tests.

The company’s test provides accurate, lab-quality results directly to a mobile device in 20 minutes.

The 11-year-old Cue Health claims that its products allow customers to put “diagnostic information at the center of care.” The company says its COVID-19 test was the first FDA-authorized over-the-counter molecular diagnostic test to be used at-home without a prescription.

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Finally, this bit of good news.

The Oceanside Chamber of Commerce will host its second Rising Star student recognition breakfast Dec. 7. The chamber is organizing the program to recognize high school seniors who have overcome significant challenges, but “who have managed to keep, or get back on track with their education.”

The students so honored can apply for scholarships at the end of the current school year.

December’s honorees are Jesus “Chuy” Rivera from Surfside Educational Academy, Angel Padilla from Oceanside High School, and Javier Murillo, Jr. from El Camino High School.

Scott Ashton, the chamber’s CEO, said the organization hosts the program as part of its larger workforce development initiative.

“We are focused on engaging with our educational partners to ensure a strong workforce pipeline for Oceanside businesses,” Ashton said. “

Genentech contributed a $20,000 scholarship sponsorship to get the program off the ground.

SDG&E and Tri-City Medical Center are sponsoring the event.

Click here for more information.

Tom York is a Carlsbad-based independent journalist who specializes in writing about business and the economy. If you have news tips you’d like to share, send them to tom.york@gmail.com.