Homeownership is Still a Sound Investment

According to a recent survey by the National Association of REALTORS® the vast majority of Americans believe that buying a home is still a solid financial decision and most believe they could sell their home for at least its initial purchase price. The 2015 National Housing Pulse Survey also found that a preponderance of Americans think that NOW is a good time to buy a home. Can’t disagree with that at all! With interest rates still hovering a little over the 4% mark, it’s almost cheaper to buy than to rent!
We are still doing okay in our market here in Kingsburg. Our inventory went up just a little, SOLD homes went from 11 up to 8 and the PSF (price per square foot) moved down slightly to $145. It is taking an average of 31 days to sell a home. Of the 8 SOLD homes, 3 of them sold in less than 1 week. Of course, we are coming into the fall months with the holiday’s right behind, so that usually means the market will slow down.

Halloween

The Rotary’s Taste of the Town is coming up this Sunday on October 18th at the Historical Park starting at 5:30 pm and ending at 8:00 pm. If you have not been to this awesome event, you really need to go. It is so much fun. Tickets are $30 each and they are available at the Chamber of Commerce office in downtown Kingsburg.
And as an alternative to the Trick or Treat tradition, the Chamber of Commerce presents the First Baptist Church’s Annual Fall Carnival and Trunk or Treat event on Halloween night starting at 6:30 and ending at 8:00 pm at Memorial Park. This is a free event for the kids and lots of fun for the adults who are still kids at heart. We will be there as always ….. with a circus theme this year. No comments about the clown outfit please!
Thank you for taking the time to read this real estate blog each month and remember to contact me if you have any comments. They are all welcome.
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Kingsburg Magnetic Emergency Cards

Kingsburg magnetic emer # card
Take a look at this awesome magnetic card with local emergency numbers made just for Kingsburg. If you are on our mailing list, you probably already received one. But, if you are not, and you would like us to drop one (or two) in the mail to you please let us know. Text your address to 647-1812 and tell us how many you would like. It also has all the schools phone numbers too. Great to have on your refrigerator at home or on your filing cabinet at work. These are provided by New Era Financial and The Housing Connection just for you!
There has been slight movement in the real estate market here in Kingsburg. Our inventory went up a little, SOLD homes went from 7 up to 11 in August and the PSF (price per square foot) moved up to $150. Just to put that in perspective, May was $136 PSF, June was $143 PSF and July was $148 PSF. So you see, we are in a slight incline in values, about 10% over a 4 month period. Let us know if you would like to see the value of your home in your neighborhood. Takes about 5 minutes, so give us a call at 897-4077.
Don’t forget the Harvest Moon Festival coming up September 26th in downtown Kingsburg. I heard a rumor that there will be lots of “taco/food trucks” on hand, similar to the successful Grizzlies Taco Truck Throw Down held in July. Should be a great evening with lots of music, food and fun. Look for The Housing Connection booth on the corner of Draper and Marion and pick up your very own orange mardi gras type beads. We’ll be the crazy people in the bright orange cowboy hats!
Thank you for taking the time to read this real estate blog each month and remember to contact me if you have any comments. They are all welcome.
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Summer doldrums

Drawing into and through the month of July almost always seems to bring on the real estate Summer Doldrums. It’s a period of time between the surge of activity in the spring and the rush to get homes sold before the fall and winter months.
doldrums
Our inventory here in Kingsburg is up from 26 Active listings in June to 31 in July, Sold homes are down from 11 in June to 7 in July and Price Per Square Foot stayed pretty much the same at $148. So in essence our pricing is staying firm, but fewer homes are closing escrow. We had 12 Pending escrows by the end of July, just waiting to close escrow, so August should be a good month.
Mark your calendars for the evening of September 26th for the Harvest Moon Festival held in downtown Kingsburg. I heard a rumor that there will be lots of “taco/food trucks” on hand, similar to the successful Grizzlies Taco Truck Throw Down held in July. Should be a great evening with lots of music, food and fun. Look for The Housing Connection booth and pick up your very own orange mardi gras type beads.
Thank you for taking the time to read this real estate blog each month and remember to contact me if you have any comments. They are all welcome.
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Which Generation Are You?

One cool thing July 2015
Silent Generation: born between 1920 & 1945
Baby Boomers: born between 1946 & 1965
Generation X: born between 1966 & 1976
Generation Y: born between 1977 & 1994
Generation Z: born between 1995 and 2012
As you can see from the info graphic above, generation Y has the most first time home buyers at 66% and the silent generation has the least at 3%. So in other words, the youngsters are still out there making their first home purchases. To us old folks, it is the children of our children that are entering the home buying market. It is these Millennials that are the biggest share of home buyers today. And boy are they tech savvy. Their smart phones/tablets/laptops connect them to available listings with all photos and they are very aware of what is for sale.
Here in Kingsburg our inventory has dropped slightly. Last month we had 33 homes on the market and now there are only 26. We Sold & closed escrows on 10 homes in June, which was one more than May. It’s taking about the same number of days to sell and the Price Per Square Foot (PSF) ticked up to $143. So bit by bit our market continues to improve.
Don’t forget the Concerts in the park! There are two more Thursday evenings filled with music and ice cream (a plug for the Kiwanis booth).
The Kingsburg Police Department is putting together a 2nd group to train for Citizens on Patrol. The first group is just about finished with their training and will be hitting the streets next week. Anyone interested in volunteering for this 2nd group, please contact the Kingsburg Police Department non-emergency number at 897-2931.
National Night Out this year will be held on August 4th in Memorial Park from 6:00 pm until 9:00 pm. Bring the little ones out for a night of fun and entertainment. There will be lots of free stuff for the kids plus activities and food.
Thank you for taking the time to read this real estate blog each month and remember to contact me if you have any comments. They are all welcome.
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California Drought Effects New Homes

New home builders are getting creative in order to comply with stricter use of water. KB Homes in Santa Clarita is installing underground irrigation systems and other methods that don’t lose water to evaporation by spraying it high in the air.
california-drought-2 (1)
Some builders are installing minimal, if any, turf in front of their newly built homes, instead opting for rock, mulch and drought-tolerant vegetation. And some like Granville Homes in Fresno are installing artificial turf. It will make for a pretty interesting picture as those of us who have the real thing allow our lawns to turn brown. Or we could do what a couple in San Jose did and spray paint a very large American flag across their entire front yard. Pretty cool actually!
Doesn’t have much to do with our real estate market here, just thought the whole thing interesting!
The real estate market here in Kingsburg has seen a recent increase in the number of homes on the market, so inventory is starting to go up. We Sold & closed escrows on 9 homes in May, which was one more than April. It’s also taking more days to sell than last month and Price Per Square Foot (PSF) dropped from $149 down to $136.
It’s time for the Concerts in the park! This season marks the 129th concert. They begin on June 18 in Memorial Park at 8:00 pm. Musical Director Dale Engstrom has planned another great season of exciting music featuring many great soloists in addition to the stellar band. Start making plans now to attend the concerts in cool, shady Memorial Park. The Farmers Market will be held from 5:00pm until concert time so make an evening of it for the entire family. Concert season runs each Thursday from June 18 through July 23. New Era Financial (our sister mortgage company) is sponsoring the June 25th session. AND don’t forget that wonderful Kiwanis ice cream! Hope to see you there!
Thank you for taking the time to read this real estate blog each month and remember to contact me if you have any comments. They are all welcome.
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Festival, Water & Market Status

I guess the headline this month should read “Market, Festival and Water”!  Lets talk about the status of the Kingsburg real estate market first.  In looking back at the past 4 months of 2015, our numbers are almost exactly the same each month. Approximately 20 to 22 homes For Sale and 8 to 10 Sold homes each month.  The only real change is the DOM or days on the market that it is currently taking to sell a home.  April had a small 17 day period , whereas, the other three months were around a 40 day period.  This means that homes are selling faster, but the market still remains in the same category for Active and Sold listings.  It is hard when inventory does not keep up with demand. Also, values are still increasing a bit. All of this together means that we are in a slight incline in a market holding and steady.
Below please find a brief schedule of the Swedish Festival beginning tonight with the pea soup and pancake dinner downtown on Draper Street. I know it sounds wierd, but take if from me …… it does taste very good!

Kingsburg’s 49th Annual Swedish Festival

The ultimate Scandinavian Vacation the third weekend in May invites all who dare to experience and taste the rich culture of Sweden in Kingsburg. This event is filled with entertainment, food and fun. It all begins on Friday night with a Swedish Smorgasbord. Start your Saturday morning with a traditional Svenska Pancake Breakfast. The Swedish Village is filled with specialty shops, there you can also see more of the Swedish Culture in the Swedish Cultural Village on Draper Street and discover many food, craft booths and entertainment.

Thursday May 14th:
Pea Soup & Pancake Supper / Farmer’s Market., 5pm to 8pm
Crowning of the Swedish Queen., 6:30pm

Friday May 15th:

Swedish Smorgasbord Dinner., 5:30pm to 7:30pm
Police Department Dress Review & Awards., 4pm to 5pm
‘Instagram’ Scavenger Hunt for Teens., 6pm to 8pm
Miniature Garden & Flower Show., 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Movie at the Park., 8:30pm to 10pm
Saturday May 16th:
Swedish Pancake Breakfast., 6:30am to 10am
Rotary’s Dala Horse Trot., 7am
Swedish Festival Grand Parade., 10:30am
Street Fair with Craft & Food Vendors., 8am to 4pm
Miniature Garden & Flower Show., 8am to 4pm
City of Kingsburg’s Launching Pad Presentation., 4pm
Viking Battle Reenactment at Memorial Park (times vary)
Swedish Entertainment All Day!

Sunday May 17th:

*Festival at Memorial Park*
Viking Battle Reenactment / Renaissance Fair
Food & Craft Vendors., 9am to 3pm
Kids Area & Music

6 Water-Saving Landscaping Ideas
Here are some tips on saving landscaping water during this drought. And don’t worry, none involve a complete overhaul!
#1 Choose native plants.
#2 Put plants into groups.
#3 Mulch, mulch, mulch.
#4 Water efficiently.
#5 Minimize steep slopes.
#6 Shrink the lawn.

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A Brightly Shining Spotlight!

Fresno County held their 12 Annual Real Estate Forecast event last week and the predictions from local experts is that multi-family, residential, commercial and agricultural conditions will continue to improve and that the spotlight shines brightly on all aspects.

“All the fundamentals are in place for a healthy 2015”, says Colleen Wiginton, President of the Fresno Association of Realtors. Yay ….. real good news!

Our market here in Kingsburg shows somewhat the same bright future.  It is spring and the real estate business has started to pick up.  March was a good month with 8 closings and it looks like April will travel along the same path.  There are 17 Pending transactions in escrow now and some of those could close in April and spill over into May.  With interest rates still very low at 4.5% – 5%, now is the time to sell and to buy!

For all you car buffs, this weekend is the Car Show from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm on Draper Street in downtown Kingsburg.  There will also be a Friday night cruise down Draper from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm.

Coming up on May 2nd is the Klaas Kids Print-A-Thon held at the Kingsburg Fire Department from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.  This FREE event includes fingerprinting and photographs.  Parents will also receive a FREE DNA collection test kit.  There will be FREE ice cream, games, bounce houses, etc.  This event is brought to you by the Kingsburg Public Safety Committee and underwritten in part by the Hilblom Foundation. Be sure and tell your friends, neighbors and relatives about this awesome event and bring the kids down.

Thank you for taking the time to read this real estate blog each month and remember to contact me if you have any comments.  They are all welcome.

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Call the police! This house is for sale…huh?

cop

Call the police! This house is for sale…huh?

The competition in today’s housing market is suddenly fierce in some locations, so fierce that some are calling the police.  A Seattle agent had to hire an off-duty policeman to direct traffic to an open house.  The officer stopped counting at 150 vehicles.  Now, we are not quite there yet, but Fresno is experiencing some of this frenzy.  I had two offers that were out bid on homes within the past week in Fresno.  We are seeing multiple offers with prices accepted over asking price.  The problem, of course, is no inventory.  We have more Buyers than there are homes to sell.  I have been lamenting over this issue for over a year now.  We went from somewhere around 100 Kingsburg homes for sale in 2012 to only 25 this past February.  Maybe with spring around the corner, Sellers will decide that now is the time to put their homes up for sale.   Comparing the January Active listings and the Sold listings, the numbers are almost the identical across the board for February.  So that indicates to me that our market is still stagnant.  No need for the police to direct open house traffic here.

Please join the Kingsburg, Selma & Fowler joint Chamber of Commerce mixer Wednesday evening, March 18th, out at the SKF facility at 11301 E. Conejo starting at 5:00 pm..  The Housing Connection is proud to host the evening’s event.  Food, raffle prices and a detailed look at the sanitation facility is on the agenda.

We all here at The Housing Connection and New Era Financial wish you and your family a blessed Easter.

Remember to contact me if you have any comments. They are all welcome.

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A Forecast of 2015

Last month we did a recap of 2014 Kingsburg real estate, so let’s do a forecast of 2015 this month.

California Association of Realtors states that the outlook for 2015 will probably be at a slow and steady rise. They predict that actual sales will go up 5% and the median price will go up 7.1%. That’s pretty good news to me. They also predict that interest rates will hold steady at 4.5%. More good news.

Nationally, the spring housing seasons kicks off in March and stays strong into August before going into its winter lull. But the “seasonality of the market” – like everything else about housing – is local. Our market here is starting to get more active, even a little more sooner than usual. We are currently representing multiple Buyers and Sellers now and it’s almost like the first daffodils of spring. Here they come and boy are they pretty!

To compare actual numbers with December, January sales and inventory were almost identical. January sales were up by 1 and inventory up by 3. Still taking an average of 6 weeks to sell homes, which has been pretty consistent for the past year or so.

Please join in the fun on Saturday, February 28th, for the 7th Annual Kiwanis Pancake Supper and Silent Auction, from 5:30 to 8:00 pm.  Held at the Orchard Bible Fellowship Church, 2400 Stroud Ave.  The proceeds from this event funds senior scholarships. Adult tickets are $6 and children 12 and under are $3. The auction includes several new bikes, lots of local gift certificates, miscellaneous items and toys galore for the kids to bid on. Oh, and don’t forget the auction desert table: scrumptious pies, breads, cookies and such!! One thing is for sure ….. you won’t leave this event empty handed or hungry!

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A Recap of Kingsburg’s Real Estate For 2014

First of all  here are December numbers: As normal for this time of year, we only had 5 SOLD homes in the month of December, coming in at $142 psf (price per square foot). Last year this time we were at $119 psf. Inventory is still very low with only 19 Active listings in the MLS within the Kingsburg City limits.

Following is a comparison of 2013 to 2014:

  •        2013                    123 units SOLD                $125 psf average
  •        2014                    116 units SOLD                $133 psf average

So you see we are still in an increasing market, with a little bit of gain over the year. New construction has a tendency to increase the price per square foot as new homes sell higher, which in turn helps the overall market.

And speaking of new homes …… Kings Crossing at the corner of 10th and Kamm is fast at work completing the underground utilities, the streets, the perimeter fencing and landscaping. We are told that they will begin actual construction soon on 2 models and 3 specs. If you are interested in obtaining more information, please give us a call at 897-4077. We’ll be glad to register you and connect you with the builder’s staff.

Remember, if you or someone you know is looking to either buy or sell real estate on the coast, we can help.  We are members of the Scenic Coast Multiple Listing System, which covers San Simeon to the north and Nipomo to the south.

And here is the “toot your own horn” segment:  A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 17 trips to carry that many people from downtown San Francisco to the wharf. 17 trips! Love the image!

cable car

This blog  marks our 70th consecutive month of postings.  Please feel free to comment (or not).   We love to review them.

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