It’s Wassail Time! Our Favorite Holiday Tradition

Johnson Team Holiday TraditionsHope you and your family are enjoying the holiday season and all that it brings!

No matter what holiday you embrace and choose to celebrate, there is always some sort of tradition that symbolizes the holiday season to you. For The Johnson Team, that holiday tradition is Lylene making her famous “Wassail.” Wassail is a wonderful holiday drink that is a combination of fruit juices and spices that will keep your home smelling like the holidays and provide a cup of cheer for all ages. We all enjoy the incredible smell and holiday memories we hold dear.

If you would like to try making Wassail for yourself or your next holiday party follow the recipe below:

  • 1 can frozen apple juice concentrate
  • 1/2 can orange/pineapple juice concentrate
  • 3 1/2 cans water
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 10-12 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg

Make in a pot on the stove, a crock pot, or a coffee maker used solely for wassail.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays from The Johnson Team!

Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve Hiking

We have some pretty awesome hiking locations in Whatcom County. If you love beautiful scenery, the addition of 4 miles of new trails in the Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve will definitely be something you will want to check out! These trailheads are the most recent trails built for Whatcom county parkland, and are accessed adjacent to Sudden Valley. The new trails span 8,844 acres on both sides of Lake Whatcom. The land used for the trails was transferred from the state to Whatcom County in 2014. Currently, all new trails are open for use, with the exception of Cougar Ridge Trail, as crews are working on this trails completion.

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The new trails include:

Rufus Creek Trail
Starting at the Lookout Mountain Trailhead, Rufus Creek Trail gently climbs for 4.3 miles. It goes through a variety of forest types, streams, wetlands, and has amazing views of sandstone cliffs.

Waterfall Trail
A stunning waterfall is accessed by a short loop trail near the junction of Rufus Creek Trail and the LM-2000 Road.

Baneberry Trail
This steep trail makes a large loop out of Rufus Creek Trail. Bikes travel uphill only on this trail.

Leila June Trail
This is a hiker only trail and is part of the original Lookout Mountain Loop. There are plenty of options for shorter or longer hikes with this trail!

Cougar Ridge Trail
Cougar Ridge Trail is a descending only mountain bike trail, and is more difficult with optional harder sections. This trail contains technical terrain including drops, steep sections, cliff edges, and sharp corners. Currently closed but is nearing completion.

With the new routes, there are currently over 8 miles of new trails. These new trailheads will eventually total about 98 miles when finished.  The network of larger and smaller trails allows you to decide how long (or short) of a hike you would like to take!

Parking is free, and there is a restroom at the trailhead. Dogs are allowed, as long as they are on a leash. The WTA also provides bus service to the trailhead on the 512 line.

How to get there:

The trailhead access point is at 2537 Lake Louise Road. The Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve trails connect to the mountain bike trails on Galbraith Mountain via 4000 Road. Get out there and do some exploring in our own back yard!!

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Wage Increases Make Home Buying More Affordable

Wage Increases Make Home Buying More Affordable | MyKCM

Everyone knows that housing affordability has been negatively impacted by rising prices and increasing mortgage rates, but there is another piece to the affordability equation – wages.

How much a family earns obviously impacts how easy or difficult it is for them to afford to own a home. Because of an improving economy, wages are finally beginning to increase – and that dramatically affects home affordability.

According to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) September 2018 Housing Affordability Index,wages have increased in every region of the country:

Wage Increases Make Home Buying More Affordable | MyKCM

After applying current salaries, home prices, and mortgage rates to their Home Affordability Index equation, the index, though still lower than this time last year (160.1 to 146.7), increased over the last month (141.2 to 146.7). For the complete methodology used by NAR, click here.

The percentage of income needed to own a home has also decreased each of the last three months. It currently sits at 17% which is substantially lower than historic numbers.

Wage Increases Make Home Buying More Affordable | MyKCM

Bottom Line

If you are a first-time buyer or a move-up buyer who believes that purchasing a home is not within your budget, let’s get together to determine if that is still true.

Where are Home Values Headed over the Next Few Years?

Where are Home Values Headed over the Next Few Years? | MyKCM

There are many questions about where home prices will be next year as well as where they may be headed over the next several years to come. We have gathered the most reliable sources to help answer these questions:

The Home Price Expectation Survey – A survey of over 100 market analysts, real estate experts, and economists conducted by Pulsenomics each quarter.

Zelman & Associates – The firm leverages unparalleled housing market expertise, extensive surveys of industry executives, and rigorous financial analysis to deliver proprietary research and advice to leading global institutional investors and senior-level company executives.

Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) – As the leading advocate for the real estate finance industry, the MBA enables members to successfully deliver fair, sustainable, and responsible real estate financing within ever-changing business environments.

Freddie Mac – An organization whose mission is to provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the U.S. housing market in all economic conditions extending to all communities from coast to coast.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) – The largest association of real estate professionals in the world.

Fannie Mae – A leading source of financing for mortgage lenders, providing access to affordable mortgage financing in all markets always.

Here are their projections of prices going forward:

Where are Home Values Headed over the Next Few Years? | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Every source sees home prices continuing to appreciate – just at lower percentages as we move through the next several years.  Have questions? Call us today at 1-888-713-3056!

Where Are Mortgage Interest Rates Headed In 2019?

Where Are Mortgage Interest Rates Headed In 2019? | MyKCM

The interest rate you pay on your home mortgage has a direct impact on your monthly payment; the higher the rate, the greater the payment will be. That is why it is important to know where rates are headed when deciding to start your home search.

Below is a chart created using Freddie Mac’s U.S. Economic & Housing Marketing Outlook. As you can see, interest rates are projected to increase steadily over the course of the next year.

Where Are Mortgage Interest Rates Headed In 2019? | MyKCM

How Will This Impact Your Mortgage Payment?

Depending on the amount of the loan that you secure, a half of a percent (.5%) increase in interest rate can increase your monthly mortgage payment significantly.

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, national home prices have appreciated 6.2% from this time last year and are predicted to be 5.1% higher next year.

If both the predictions of home price and interest rate increases become a reality, families would wind up paying considerably more for their next homes.

Bottom Line

Even a small increase in interest rate can impact your family’s wealth, so don’t wait until next year! Let’s get together to evaluate your ability to purchase your dream home now.

Is Housing Affordable?

As home prices continue to rise due to a lack of inventory, many people are becoming more concerned about housing affordability. Taking a look at NAR’s Housing Affordability Index puts that concern to rest. Let’s get together to go over your specific market and determine whether or not you are ready to buy today!

Here’s a great video detailing the facts and the subject.

Have questions on the local Bellingham and Whatcom County Real Estate Market?

Contact us today at 1-888-713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com to learn more!

Tips for Keeping your Pets Safe and Secure This Fourth of July!

Keeping pets safeIf you are anything like me then your pets are an important part of your family.  The 4th of July is an exciting fun time for us, but is can be a huge  source of anxiety and fear for our pets.  Many dogs become startled and run off during the holiday. This 4th of July weekend take a minute and think about the tips below to help keep your pets happy and safe this 4th of July.

–  Dig out some recent photos of your pet or pick up your digital camera and snap a shot. Nothing would be worse than not being able to give people a visual of your pet in the even that they should become lost.

– Make sure your pet is micro chipped and has proper identification tags on their collar in the event that they should become lost and then found.

–  Secure your pets in a safe area whether you decide on a kennel or a crate so you are confident they will not become startled and run off.

– If you plan on having house guest over inform that guests on your wishes to keep you pet safe. If you animals are indoor pets only make them aware of your wishes to not have them let outside.

– Many pets do not like loud and noisy environments so consider keeping the noise away from your pet or playing a calm music in their area to help ease their anxiety with all the commotion going on around them.

– In the event that your pet may become lost you can contact the Whatcom County Humane Society to see if they have found your pet you can visit them online at http://www.whatcomhumane.org/

Have a happy and safe 4th of July!

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Geneva Neighborhood Open House this Sunday from 1pm to 3pm

FOR SALE(1)

Join me this weekend for an open house at 1363 S Parkstone Ct in Bellingham this Sunday from 1pm to 3pm.

Tucked away at the end of a private cul de sac is this gorgeous 4 bedroom home. The minute you enter, you know you are in for a real treat as you experience well-designed spaces, natural light flooding through the windows, gleaming hardwood floors that appear to be brand new, soaring ceilings & high grade finishes used throughout. Whether it’s early morning coffee on the front porch, a thoughtful moment in the gardens or a special celebration on the back deck, this home is built for enjoyment.

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Join us for an open house on Sunday, June 24th from 1pm – 3pm at 1363 S Parkstone Court in Bellingham. Don’t miss out on this turn key home in a great neighborhood.

For more information, visit the virtual tour here.

Are We Feeling the Shockwaves of Seattle’s Market?

The headline on the front page of The Seattle Times this morning is “Home Prices Jump in South Seattle”.  The article goes on to say the City’s median house price is now nearly $820,000. We feel the shock waves of the Seattle market here in Whatcom County as more Seattleites search up & down the I-5 corridor to find an affordable home.

More often than not, one hears “how can local folks afford to buy a home here”? Many times the buyers are people displaced by the high prices of the Seattle market & searching out a place for their family. Terms we are hearing now include “Pressure Cooker Market”, “Surging Prices”, “Instant Response Market” rather than a “Quick Action Market”.  No matter what terms you prefer to use, know that our local real estate market will continue to rise, inventory will be in short supply & while interest rates will continue to rise, it’s doubtful to me that it will do much to slow things down.

Here’s a great visual on the number of homes available overtime:

April 2018 Snap Shot

If you or your friends or family have questions about the market, Mike & I would be more than  happy to help you make some sense out of it.  Give us a call at 360 303 2734.

 

Waterfront Lot For Sale!

Sandy point lot

Looking for an incredible waterfront lot? Just minutes from Ferndale and Bellingham?

4435 Saltspring Drive is currently listed for just $105,000

All the work has been done and this lot is ready to build. SPIC water has been paid and the meter is set, Sewer is on the lot and the power pole is up. Plans included and ready to submit for a building permit. Over 65 feet of waterfront on the Lake at Sandy Point. Enjoy incredible sunsets to the west and the snowcapped hills to the east. Amenities for Sandy Point- pool, golf, boat launch, sports court and fresh air. Some of the best walking in the county.

To learn more, or to schedule a tour of the property visit our website today or call (360) 201-5088.