THANKSGIVING 2016 SURVIVAL GUIDE: HOW TO GET THROUGH THIS YEAR’S GATHERING WITH A SMILE ON YOUR FACE

For many people across the country, Thanksgiving represents a time of togetherness when the entire brood can gather around the table and sink into some family love – and a vat of mashed potatoes. For others, it’s a terrifying time of strife and stress.

Well, get ready for the “normal” fabric of family dynamics to be stretched to its limits this year. In the aftermath of the most contentious U.S. election of our time, nerves are frayed, and two distinct and disagreeable (and that’s putting it mildly) camps of voters could make sitting across the table from each other more challenging than usual.

So how can you get through it, and maybe even enjoy yourself? Here’s your Thanksgiving 2016 Survival Guide.

Cocktails Any One?

Depending on your family dynamic, you may already be quite familiar with the whole drinking at Thanksgiving thing. But this year may call for more – and stronger – imbibing.

Make dinner a multicultural affair

What better way to make a statement about acceptance than by bringing in some new cultural dishes? Thanksgiving dinner is conventionally associated with very specific foods. Turkey. Pumpkin pie. Stuffing. Try blending American tradition and familial culture with food.

Play a game

Thanksgiving Bingo is a fun way to get through a strained holiday, but cards from years past probably won’t do this year. Generate your own Thanksgiving Bingo cards and pass them out to a few family members, or give them to friends who you know could really use some help at the dinner table next year. Keeping your ears open for the next winning phrase by making it a game could help soften the tension.

Thanksgiving bingo

Thanksgiving bingo

Volunteer

Maybe what your family needs this year is to not sit down to eat together at all, but, rather, to be of service. Volunteering at Thanksgiving can be rewarding for those who are on both the giving end and the receiving end.

Be truly, sincerely, thankful

It’s easy to get lost in the minutiae of sorrow or regret, especially when the big picture is also not one you can find much solace in. Whether you’re feeling dread at what the next four years hold, or if you’re feeling joy, or somewhere in between, taking a moment to get in touch with what you’re grateful for can be powerful. Health, wealth, a good job, strong friendships, a loving family (even if this year some are a tad less so), and a table full of food to enjoy offer plenty of reasons to be thankful, which, not coincidentally, is the name of the game on this holiday.

The Kingsburg real estate market held steady through the month of October.  Our inventory went up to 26 Active listings, which is still incredibly low, and our sales creeped up a little. We closed escrow on 8 properties as opposed to 7 in September.  What is notable, is the fact that the price per square foot jump up to an average of $157, for both Active and Sold properties.  Days on the market (DOM) also decreased down to an average of 30 days, which is real good, as this means inventory is moving.  We do anticipate a softening of the market as we head into the holidays.

And speaking of the holidays, the entire staff at The Housing Connection and New Era Financial wish all of you the very happiest of Thanksgiving and truly hope you are able to share your day with family and friends.

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Rock the Vote!

Register by Oct. 24 to Rock the Vote. This year is an election year (just in case you haven’t noticed), with the upcoming presidential election on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. If you’ve moved or need to vote by mail, you can easily register online. http://registertovote.ca.gov/.  Permanent absentee is the easiest way to vote; your ballot arrives by mail and you can vote at your convenience.  So if you have not registered ….. hop to it!

The Kingsburg market update for September mirrors the August numbers almost exactly.  Inventory is down 4 to 21 Active listings and there were 7 sold properties (same as Aug). The average price per square foot of Sold homes was $149, compared to $145. Property values are increasing ever so slightly.  We do anticipate a slowdown of the market as we head into the holiday and winter months.  So far we haven’t seen that here in our office.  Still listing and selling about the same as the past several months.

Upcoming event:

Fall Carnival, Saturday, October 31, 2016 at Memorial Park, 5pm to 8 pm

The First Baptist Church of Kingsburg does an awesome job treating about 3,000 kids to an evening of fun in a safe environment.  Kids get to play carnival games, participate in costume contests, run through a great maze plus so much more.  They also can trick or treat their way through the Trunk or Treat Alley. This is all FREE to the community and a huge blessing to the families of Kingsburg.  Bring your kids or grandkids down for an exciting evening of fun! Look for our own Winnie the Pooh with his “hunny” pot in the Trunk or Treat Alley.  He will be at Pooh Corner near the entrance to the ‘hundred acre wood.  Can’t miss him!

We appreciate all of you who take the time to read our local real estate blog each month and respond with comments.  Thanks a bunch!

 

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Aging Gracefully

Boy oh boy …… can I talk about this subject!  Seems like all my friends are aging, some gracefully, some not so gracefully. I think this aging thing is contagious and vastly overrated.

And for those of us who are “aging gracefully”, the biggest real estate  trend now is for Next Gen & Granny Pod homes.  These homes provide a small studio or 1 bedroom apartment detached or attached to a traditional single family residence.  In fact, there is a new subdivision here in Kingsburg that offers this type of home.  Several years ago we were seeing homes with “Casitas”, which were typically detached from the main dwelling.  As you can see from the info graphic below, 90% of seniors today want to stay in their homes & communities up to the time they need to go into assisted living facilities and this newer style of home provides these two benefits.

aginggracefully_sta_300dpi_9-08-16-01

The past several months the real estate market has pretty much stayed stagnant.   We had 25 Active listings (which is still very low inventory) and had 7 sold properties. The average price per square foot of Sold homes was $145, down a little from July. Property values have dropped just a little over the past few months and lower appraisals are driving that train.  Maybe we are being too optimistic about values when we list to sell homes.

Upcoming event:

Saturday, September 24, 2016. A tribute festival to local farmers. Featuring bands, famous food trucks, beer garden, Crayfish Chowder, and more! A fun early-fall evening.

harvest_moon_flyer1

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.  If you have any questions, please feel free to send us your comments.  We welcome your response.

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Children and their Grandparents

Saw this article the other day and thought it was worth sharing.  Talk to your grand kids if you have them!

Children want grandparent stories.  Most children enjoy hearing their grandparents tell stories.  Here are some of the tales that are certain to pique the grand kids’ interest:

Describe how their grandparents met.  Describe the day their parents were born and how you felt. Describe the day they were born and your feelings about being a grandparent.  Talk about your first job and what you learned from it.  And be sure and tell them of your proudest achievements.  They do want to hear!

Grandfather and grandchild walking in nature path

Okay, on to real estate.  Inventory in Kingsburg went up a tick and sales dropped by one half.  We currently have 24 homes for sale within the city limits and we had 8 sales in the month of July. Price per square foot (PSF) held pretty steady for the sold properties, coming in at $150.  It looks like the big spring/summer push is winding down.  It seems like once school starts, the market slows way down and tends to stay that way through the fall and winter months.  Last winter was an anomaly in that February and March were real busy months. It will be interesting to see what this winter holds.  Interest rates are still very low, inventory is still way down in the low 20’s and values have been creeping up for the past 18 months.  All good indicators of a strong real estate market.

Remember that we can help you with all your real estate needs, whether it’s buying, selling or renting properties and if you are looking for that perfect loan.

As always, thank you for reading this blog about Kingsburg real estate.  The time you take to read it is appreciated.  And please feel free to comment, as we do love to hear from you.

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Foreclosures.  Another red flag??

Every Monday, I access the data of foreclosure property in Kingsburg for several clients and have been doing so since 2011. Over the past couple years I have noticed a significant reduction in our local numbers.  The report was 4 pages during that time and now it is down to only 1. For example; July 11, 2016 indicated a total of 21 properties is various stages of the foreclosure process, from pre-foreclosure, auction to properties going back to the bank for lack of meeting minimum bids at auction. In July or 2012, there were 61 properties.  So it is very safe to say that this area of the real estate market has diminished greatly, which is a very good thing as it means people are no longer losing their homes at the rate in 2012.  However, with all that said, RealTrac data shows a record share of foreclosures – 31% – are being snapped up by “mom & pop” investors with little or no experience (gotta love HGTV).  When you see a high percentage of properties going to third-party investors, that could be a sign of over-inflating the market.  And this was a red flag prior to our market crash in 2006 and could be considered an indication of a down turning market today.  But …… I have yet to see any indication to that effect here in Kingsburg.  Stay tuned for future developments.

And speaking of the real estate market in Kingsburg, in June 16 homes sold and closed escrow, which is way up from April and May.  Inventory is still low with only 22 homes for sale within the city limits.  The Price per Square Foot (PSF) for Active listings is at $160 and for actual Sold properties it is $149.  Expectations versus reality!

We have a two more weeks of Concerts in the Park, July 21st and 28th.  The last one they do each year is awesome with the live cannons. It seems that a nice breeze comes up each evening and makes for a great way to spend a very pleasant evening.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.  If you have any questions, please feel free to send us your comments.  We welcome your response.

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 Summer Fun and Sun

The summer months are here and with them, lots of fun & sun.  Thought I would start this month’s blog with a rundown of the Kingsburg upcoming events.

This coming Monday evening, June 20th,  The Big Big Bank from Sweden’s Celebration Tour will be performing at the Memorial Park at 7 pm.  This concert is FREE and is presented by Concordia Lutheran Church.

June 23rd marks the beginning of the Summer Bank Concerts Under the Stars in Memorial Park and will run every Thursday night through July 28th.  Food venders open at 5 pm and the concerts start at 8 pm.  June 30th will be sponsored by New Era Financial & Hal Collin, our sister mortgage company right here in Kingsburg.  We will be handing out FREE “Pride in American” flag clings.  So please join us for this awesome musical tradition since 1887.  A true slice of Americana.

Sunday, July 3rd, will be our Annual Independence Day celebration with the gates opening at 6 pm and the show starting at 9 pm. Look for the Kiwanis booth and buy an ice cream or root beer float.  With your entry ticket, you will receive a FREE slice of watermelon provided by Adam Castaneda’s awesome family.  Another grand slice of Americana.

And speaking of New Era Financial, see the photo below from the Dala Horse Trot in May.  This group of young people drove all the way from Madera to run in the race. It was organized by none other than Yesi Rodriguez, a treasured loan processor from our Fresno office for over 18 years.  Way to go Yesi!

Yesi at Dala Horse Trot

On to the real estate market in Kingsburg. In May 10 homes sold and closed escrow, which is up from the 6 in April.  What is really telling is our inventory of Active listings.  We are only showing 16 homes for sale.  Wow.  I cannot remember a time when there was so few homes on the market.  Our “days on the market” is only lasting an average of 22 days, which means that it is only taking about 3 weeks from Active to Pending. The feds are still holding mortgage rates down, which is a good thing.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.  If you have any questions, please feel free to send us your comments.  We welcome your response.

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The Middle-Class Squeeze

The American middle class is losing ground due to the widening gaps in wealth. But a home is often the single most important asset of lower and middle-income families, and homeownership is a tool for wealth creation. The broad class of consumers in the U.S. is undergoing a rapid transition as economic insecurity lingers and consumers redefine how to live within their means. As the attached infographic shows, 61% of American adults lived in middle-income households in 1971. Today that number is 50%.
MiddleClassSqueeze
Our real estate market here in Kingsburg would fit mostly in the middle-class bracket. Locally we really haven’t seen much of a decline in either wages or consumers struggling to live within their means. Another good reason to live in Kingsburg.
Our market dropped somewhat in the month of April. We had 24 Active listings (which is still very low inventory) and had 6 sold properties. In March we had 28 Active and 16 Sold. The average price per square foot in April ticked down to $138 compared to $151 in March. Normally, the market this time of year is pretty hot, but for some reason, all sales are down. I knew in February looking at the upcoming escrow closings that March would be a banner month.
Upcoming events:
Kingsburg Farmer’s Market: May 19th through August 25th on Thursday. 5-8pm, Memorial Park
Kingsburg Swedish Festival: Friday and Saturday, May 22nd at 5:30pm, Friday, Smorgasbord and Heritage Program
9am to 6pm, Saturday, Festival with Parade, Vendors, and Heritage Activities
Concerts Under the Stars: June 23rd & 30th; July 7th, 14th, 21st, & 28th, Memorial Park (Vendor area opens at 5pm) (Concert starts at 8pm).  Please join us on June 30th as our sister company, New Era Financial will be sponsoring that night.  We have awesome “Pride in America” cling flags as a give-a-way.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. If you have any questions, please feel free to send us your comments. We welcome your response.

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