Archive for the ‘Fast Facts’ Category

 Santa Claus, Ind., is on the list

From Zillow blog

By Inman News

The average American city jump-starts the holiday season with the usual kind of merrymaking activities: tree-lighting festivals, the opening of ice skating rinks, and holiday concerts beckoning celebrants to get in the spirit.

But then there are cities and towns where the very name of the place conjures visions of sugar plum fairies, elves and reindeer 365 days a year. From Christmas Cove, Maine, to Saint Nicholas, Pa., and, of course, North Pole, Alaska, it’s hard not to adopt the yuletide glow.

Here’s a roundup of some of the most seasonally themed community names, and a sampling of their respective real estate.

North Pole, Alaska

Source: Wikipedia.com.

History: The naming of this northern town was no accident. According to a National Geographic profile on the tiny city, the town council renamed it North Pole in 1952 (from “Davis Homestead”), “hoping that toy manufacturers would come for the “Made in North Pole” bragging rights despite its inconvenience … as a manufacturing site.” No companies came for the manufacturing rights, so North Pole remains a bedroom community for nearby Fairbanks, which is located 14 miles away.

Holiday tradition: The North Pole’s claim to fame, of course, is its responsibility regarding children’s letters to Santa. Every year, North Pole middle and high school students respond to the letters that pour in.

North Pole home for sale:
Nhn Aaron Ave, North Pole, Alaska (below)
List price: $219,900

This recently constructed home sits in a newer North Pole subdivision with quick access to schools and shopping. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom home has 1,196 square feet of living space on nearly an acre-sized plot.



Rudolph, Wis.

Source: visitrudolphwi.org.

History: Although this Wisconsin dairy community was not inspired by the red-nosed reindeer, it has incorporated the fictional sleigh-leader in many seasonal festivities. The small town was actually named for the first male born in the community: Rudolph Hecox.

Holiday tradition: Like North Pole, Alaska, thousands of Christmas letters are sent to Rudolph each year. Other letters are directed through the village post office just to get the village’s sought-after Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer postmark. The town also features an illustration of Rudolph on all of its street signs.

Rudolph, Wis., home for sale:
5150 Stoney Brook Road, Rudolph, Wis. (below)
List price: $369,900

How about a Rudolph, Wis., home with a lot big enough to host a team of reindeer? This four-bedroom, three-bath home sits on an acre of lakefront land. The 4,400-square-foot home features a custom kitchen with granite countertops and high-end appliances, stone fireplaces, media room and sauna.



Santa Claus, Ind.

Source: virtualtourist.com.


History: The birthplace of good ol’ St. Nick? According to RoadsideAmerica.com, Santa Claus, Ind., was originally named Santa Fe and was asked by the postmaster in 1856 to change the name. At the time, the community apparently couldn’t think of anything other than Santa Claus. Today, the town completely capitalizes on its moniker with holiday-themed streets and St. Nick statues.

Holiday tradition: The post office is busy here, too, postmarking over a half-million holiday cards and processing about 10,000 letters from children.

Santa Claus home for sale:
918 S December 25, Santa Claus, Ind. (below)
For sale: $131,900

The newer-built home on the Santa Claus real estate market has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and 1,445 square feet of living space on a large, level lot. The one-story house has an open floor plan and spacious master bedroom with walk-in closet and attached bath.



Christmas, Fla.

Source: postcardfile.blogspot.com.

History: It’s an unusual community name, but this town’s history is rather basic. On Dec. 25, 1837, at the height of the Second Seminole Indian War, American troops built a fort 20 miles east of Orlando. They named it Fort Christmas, which was later adapted into the small town’s name.

Holiday tradition: The city celebrates all year long with an enormous lighted and decorated tree display. The town’s postal staff also works overtime each season postmarking holiday cards.
Christmas home for sale:

23524 Seneca Ridge Ct, Christmas, Fla. (below)
List price: $319,000

The four-bedroom, 3.5-bath home is a spacious ranch that sits on five acres and is a few miles southeast of nearby towns Chuluota and Oviedo. Built in 1988, the house has a large wraparound front porch, mudroom, and updated solar-heated pool.



Snowflake, Ariz.

Source: ci.snowflake.az.us.

History: You may not think snow when you picture Arizona, but this small town is nestled just north of the White Mountains and gets an occasional dusting. The town wasn’t named for the winter weather, but rather for its two founders: Erastus Snow and William Jordan Flake.

Holiday tradition: Twelve Days of Christmas that culminates in a grand parade where the city serves up to 1,000 cups of hot cocoa.

Snowflake home for sale
28 County Road 8572, Snowflake, Ariz. (below)
List price: $250,000

This brick colonial-style home is situated on a “mini ranch” with solar power and battery backup. Built in 1995, the home has five bedrooms, three bathrooms and 3,367 square feet of living space.



Bethlehem, Pa.

Source: travel.webshots.com.

History: Bethlehem, Pa., is by no means the only Bethlehem in the U.S. There are several scattered throughout the states, and nearly all are named for the ancient city in the Middle East.

Holiday tradition: The city wraps its downtown in 5,500 strands of lights every year — not as many as Clark Griswold (the lights-happy father portrayed by Chevy Chase in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”) but long enough to stretch two miles.

Bethlehem, Pa., house for sale:
1015 Stone Stack Dr., Bethlehem, Pa. (below)

Located in the “prestigious Saucon Fields” neighborhood, this Bethlehem home is a far cry from a hay-strewn manger. The stone and stucco home has three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, 2,562 square feet of living space and a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace.



Evergreen, Ala.

Source: Flickr/jimmywayne.

History: Like Evergreen, Colo.; Evergreen, Ala., was named for its greenery. The small town is located in central Alabama, about midway between Montgomery and Mobile.

Holiday tradition: In honor of the town’s name, Evergreen residents line their main street with more than 30 decorated trees for the duration of the season.

Evergreen house for sale:
10951 U.S. Hwy 31, Evergreen, Ala. (below)
List price: $122,000

Built in 1935, this three-bedroom, two-bath home has been remodeled and features refinished hardwood floors, crown moldings, and gas-log fireplace. A rear, screened-in porch looks out over a backyard pond.


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Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California dropped 4.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted 458,440 units in July, according to information collected by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.).

July home sales were up 4.5 percent from the 438,850 units sold in July 2010. The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2011 if sales maintained the July pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

“Although July sales improved over last year, they were somewhat weaker than expected, given current prices and mortgage rates,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “Economic uncertainty and recent developments in financial markets have caused hesitation among buyers, the effects of which we may see in the coming months. We must see sustained job and income gains along with an increase in consumer confidence before we can expect to see consistent improvement in the housing market.”

The statewide median price of an existing, single-family detached home sold in California dipped 0.3 percent in July to $294,230 from a revised $295,210 in June. July’s median price was down 7.6 percent from the $318,550 recorded in July 2010.

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Calif. median home price: November 2010: $296,820 (Source: C.A.R.)

Calif. highest median home price by C.A.R. region November 2010: Santa Barbara So. Coast $874,500 (Source: C.A.R.)

Calif. lowest median home price by C.A.R. region November 2010: High Desert $124,580 (Source: C.A.R.)

Calif. First-time Buyer Affordability Index – Third quarter 2010: 64 percent (Source: C.A.R.)

Mortgage rates: Week ending 12/23/2010 30-yr. fixed: 4.81 Fees/points: 0.7% 15-yr. fixed: 4.15% Fees/points: 0.7% 1-yr. adjustable: 3.40% Fees/points: 0.7% (Source: Freddie Mac)  


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