Forbes Magazine’s Take on the Rising Housing Market

With home prices rising every year, a question on many people’s minds has been, “Are we headed for another housing market crash?” For anyone who was affected by the last crash, or nearly escaped its clutches, this is a very real concern and question to be asking when we see prices rising the way they are.

However, while from the outside looking in it may appear as though things are escalating in a very similar fashion as they did ten years ago, when you look at the numbers and statistics comparatively, they are a lot different. The overall housing market is actually in a much better state than it has been in awhile and it is far better than it was when the crash occurred last time.

Recently we came across an article in Forbes magazine that will help explain the current housing situation further and perhaps ease some of the concerns we’ve all been having with this rising housing market.

Click here to read the article on forbes.com titled “Mortgage Debt Nears A Pre-Crash High, But That’s No Cause For Concern.”

Acker Night 2018!

Acker Night is TONIGHT and we are so excited!

For those who are not from Prescott and do not know what Acker Night is, here is a bit of history:

Acker Night is an event that was created to fulfill the wishes of Prescott resident and patron James S. Acker. Living from 1865 to 1955, James S. Acker stated, “All the residue of my estate… I give to the City of Prescott to be used for parks and for promotion of music, particularly for children.”

When Mr. Acker died in 1955, he wanted much of his estate to go towards supporting and promoting music with the youth, which is where Acker Night comes from and why it was created.

Not only did he donate his estate for music, but he also donated a good number of parcels of land he owned to the City of Prescott to be used for parks. Today, from his generosity, we have Acker Park, an 80 acre parcel of natural parkland near the downtown Prescott area. The park includes a one mile loop trail, picnic areas, restrooms with a mural on the outside of the building depicting the history of the land and the nature there, mosaic art walls, an amphitheater, geocaching spots, and more!

Due to Mr. Acker’s generosity – and to fulfill his wishes – we now have Acker Park and one of our favorite Prescott Christmas events; Acker Night!

From 5:30 to 8:30 tonight Acker Night will take place, an event produced solely by volunteers. A tradition continuing for thirty years now, there will be over 500 performers dispersed throughout the downtown area to sing, play instruments, and raise money for music programs and instruments for the youth in Prescott. Nearly every shop in the downtown area will have someone performing accompanied by complimentary hot cocoa, apple cider, and goodies to eat that they kindly provide free of charge for our delight.

You do not want to miss out on this time honored tradition that has such a beautiful history behind it. The courthouse will be lit up, there will be carolers and performers everywhere gracing us with their musical talents, there will be dancers performing in the streets, and do we need to mention the hot beverages and treats again? Bring your friends and family, and enjoy the show!

BUT, don’t forget your layers because after 5PM the temperature will drop below 50 degrees and will be almost below 40 degrees by 8PM! Grab that winter scarf, put on those wool socks and ear muffs, and snuggle up in your coziest jacket. Grip a complimentary hot beverage to warm your belly as you walk around engulfed in music and joy, and take in the Christmas season festivities.

Happy Acker Night to you all! Stay warm!

Should Flood Insurance be government funded?

On the list of interesting articles this week on Prescott Area Association of Realtors news was an article on The Hill, a blog that talks about recent news and things going on around the world. This particular article titled, “Reauthorization of National Flood Insurance Program should be priority during the lame duck,” posed the question of whether or not National Flood Insurance should get reauthorized as it expires at the end of this month.

The term used in the article’s title, “lame duck,” is a called lame duck session in regards to the Congress and it is when Congress meets after its successor is elected, but before the successor’s term actually begins. What the National Association of Realtors and many individual Realtors across that nation believe should happen during this meeting is for the National Flood Insurance to get reauthorized.

The article goes on to point out that flooding is one of the most common disasters in the United States. Every year flooding effects people nationwide in both coastal and inland locations, adding up to about 22,000 communities across the country.

However, does this mean that flood insurance should be a government funded endeavor? While there are arguments for both sides – flooding is something you cannot control and it is the government’s duty to help those whose lives are ripped apart by it VS. many people knowingly buy/build in a flood plain area or a place known to be prone to flooding and it is their responsibility to therefore pay for their own flood insurance – it is certainly not an issue to get brushed aside lightly as there would be repercussions in either decision.

CLICK HERE to read the article and comment below to share your thoughts. We’d love to know how you feel about whether or not flood insurance is a government responsibility, or an individual one.

Hanukkah!

Yesterday, December 2nd, began the Jewish Holiday of Hanukkah. Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that last eight days, beings on the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar, usually falls in November or December, and commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the second century B.C.

The word Hanukkah means “dedication” in Hebrew and, according to history, it is when the Jews rose up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt. As many know the object/symbol of the Menorah, the holiday is often called the Festival of Lights and is celebrated by lighting this object, as well as participating in eating traditional foods and games, and exchanging gifts.

Here is an account of the Hanukkah story and history from History.com:

“The events that inspired the Hanukkah holiday took place during a particularly turbulent phase of Jewish history. Around 200 B.C., Judea—also known as the Land of Israel—came under the control of Antiochus III, the Seleucid king of Syria, who allowed the Jews who lived there to continue practicing their religion. His son, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, proved less benevolent: Ancient sources recount that he outlawed the Jewish religion and ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods. In 168 B.C., his soldiers descended upon Jerusalem, massacring thousands of people and desecrating the city’s holy Second Temple by erecting an altar to Zeus and sacrificing pigs within its sacred walls. Led by the Jewish priest Mattathias and his five sons, a large-scale rebellion broke out against Antiochus and the Seleucid monarchy. When Matthathias died in 166 B.C., his son Judah, known as Judah Maccabee (“the Hammer”), took the helm; within two years the Jews had successfully driven the Syrians out of Jerusalem, relying largely on guerilla warfare tactics. Judah called on his followers to cleanse the Second Temple, rebuild its altar and light its menorah—the gold candelabrum that’s seven branches represented knowledge and creation and were meant to be kept burning every night. According to the Talmud, one of Judaism’s most central texts, Judah Maccabee and the other Jews who took part in the rededication of the Second Temple witnessed what they believed to be a miracle. Even though there was only enough untainted olive oil to keep the menorah’s candles burning for a single day, the flames continued flickering for eight nights, leaving them time to find a fresh supply. This wondrous event inspired the Jewish sages to proclaim a yearly eight-day festival. (The first Book of the Maccabees tells another version of the story, describing an eight-day celebration that followed the rededication but making no reference to the miracle of the oil).”

Some Hanukkah traditions include lighting a new branch of the menorah for every passing day of the eight day holiday and reciting blessings during the lighting, having your menorah displayed in the window for all to see and remember the miracle of the holiday; playing with dreidels, having all your foods fried in oil, and exchanging gifts.

Happy Hanukkah to all our friends out there who celebrate! We hope you have an amazing and blessed holiday!

The 64th Annual Yavapai County Courthouse Christmas Lighting!

Join us in downtown Prescott tomorrow for the 64th Courthouse lighting.

Arguably the main event of the season for Arizona’s Christmas city, it is a festivity you will not want to miss.

At 5PM there are musical groups performing Christmas songs followed by a reading of the nativity story from the Bible to bring joy and cheer, and a reminder of the reason for the season. The lighting of the courthouse is at 6PM where the entire downtown area is lit up in a spectacular show of Christmas lights and celebration.

Nearly every tree is wrapped in colorful lights, the gazebo is a beacon on display of Christmas radiance, and the courthouse building itself it aglow with Christmas lights and light up decorations to showcase its historic beauty.

Enjoy the lights, an awing sight to see, and hang around afterward to take it all in. With countless restaurants, coffee shops, bars, vintage shops, and so much more, you will have no trouble finding something to do with your friends and family after the lighting tomorrow night.

We hope you come out to see the show, to take in the Christmas season, and connect with your loved ones!

Thumb Butte

If you are from Prescott, or have visited before, it’s impossible to miss one of its most prolific landmarks standing tall and proud on the western horizon of the town: Thumb Butte. Standing at 6,500 feet tall, the well known landmark rises about 1,200 feet from the downtown Prescott area and is easily spotted from nearly anywhere in town. The derivative of its name is obvious enough with its thumb like appearance sticking out from the Sierra Prieta mountain range for all to see.

The Sierra Prieta mountain range spans fourteen miles long in central-northwest Arizona, creating a natural barrier to the western most point of the town of Prescott. Thumb Butte is held within that mountain range, a natural outcropping of rock that actually has some debate around it as to how it occurred geologically.

One theory is that it is a geological formation known as a volcanic plug. A volcanic plug is a configuration that occurs when a much larger volcano’s exterior erodes and deteriorates after millions of years, and what is left behind is that volcano’s hardened center.

A second theory that is supported by the evidence of the composition of the surrounding mountains and the composition of Thumb Butte itself, is that Thumb Butte is actually a major basalt flow. A basalt flow is really just a tall lava flow, which means that at one point millions of years ago, Thumb Butte was a point at which lava escaped, built upon itself, hardened, and eventually turned into the landmark we see today. Either way you spin it, at some point in time, Thumb Butte was a volcano.

From a recreational stand point, Thumb Butte and the Sierra Prieta mountain range are an outdoor enthusiasts dream. Rock climbing, mountain biking, and countless hiking trails, the park offers something for everyone and includes trails for both novice and the more experienced adventurer. Climbing to the top of Thumb Butte itself using trail #33, you are gifted with jaw-dropping views of all of Prescott, Prescott Valley, and even some of Williamson and Chino Valley. While hiking clockwise to the top can be steep at times and definitely gets one’s blood pumping, it is made easier with a paved trail of switchbacks including safety rails and plenty of benches for resting spots. If that feels to be a little outside of your abilities, no worries, you can head up the trail counter-clockwise, which is far easier and still brings you to the peak with all its amazing views. And, if you’re feeling especially adventurous, you can even climb the boulders to the very tip top of Thumb Butte, though caution is seriously recommended as this can be a treacherous trek.

Thumb Butte and the surrounding area is a site to be seen both from afar and up close. If you’re looking for a good day hike, or a good place to explore, the trails surrounding this mountain range should definitely be on your list if they aren’t already.

The Holiday Light Parade!

We hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving holiday with your family and friends yesterday eating all the best foods, and giving thanks for all you have.

Now that Thanksgiving is over, those of us who have been waiting eagerly for the Christmas festivities have to wait no longer!

Tomorrow night, November 24th, is Prescott’s 23rd annual Holiday Light Parade.

The Holiday Light Parade happens every single year on the weekend after Thanksgiving Thursday. The parade starts at 6PM and begins at the corner of South Cortez Street and Carleton Street in downtown Prescott. As one might guess from the name, this isn’t any ol’ parade. No, this parade is a spectacular sight to see with everything in it adorned with Christmas lights from bottom to top! Floats, dancers, marching bands, and so much more – all decked to the nines in lights to truly give meaning to the name “Holiday LIGHT Parade.” This is the first “Christmas event” that takes place in Arizona’s Christmas city and there’s nothing else like it to help you jump into the Christmas season and cheer.

After the parade, there are plenty of festivities going on around downtown to keep the fun going. There will be a bonfire and party at the Mile High Middle School field after the parade. Grab a bite to eat with family and friends at one of the many local restaurants within easy walking distance around downtown like The Raven, Bill’s Pizza, Bills Grill, The Park Plaza and Liquor Deli, Prescott Brewing Company, Rosa’s, and many more. Meet with friends for coffee or hot chocolate at one of the numerous coffee shops downtown such as Wild Iris and Cuppers Coffee House. Or, meet them out for a drink on the famous Whiskey Row with bars like The Point, Jersey Lily’s, and Matt’s Saloon to name a few.

There is much to do and see to kick of your Christmas Holiday season this weekend in downtown Prescott. We hope you’ll join us there, and bring your friends and family to enjoy the show!

Black Friday!

Not to skip over the Thanksgiving Holiday and the many things we have to be thankful for, but speaking of things… Black Friday is almost here!

Black Friday used to just be on the day which is in its title: Friday. However, that soon became not soon enough for many stores and people, and now Black “Friday” often begins in stores on Thursday night, the night of Thanksgiving!

Black Friday signifies the first day of the traditional Christmas shopping season in the United States and is a day that stores offer up special discounted deals in order to sell more merchandise. This day has caused much pandemonium in the past with deals to good to be true. People camping out outside of stores, lines around corners to get into the store first to grab all the Black Friday gifts they’ve eyed in the sales catalog, and even so far as to have mobs of people all pushing to get into the store first causing shoving and injuries that land people in the ER! When it comes to sales, people do not mess around! Once that 60” TV you’ve had your eye on is gone, it’s gone, so one can understand the urgency to grab yours before they’ve all been taken.

Perhaps taking some of the pressure off the Black Friday holiday is Cyber Monday, which has almost become just as big. Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving promoted by online retailers who sell their merchandise at exceptional discounts comparable to Black Friday deals. The best part about Cyber Monday is all your shopping is done online, so you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your own home!

When researching what some of the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals were going to be this year, what we came up with mostly ranged on the technological side and it seemed as though the best deals will be taking place at affordable retail stores like Walmart and Target. Big screen TVs, tablets, phones, smart watches, video game consoles, Bluetooth speakers and headphones, laptops, and more. Nearly anything technological you could name seems to be being sold at an incredible discount this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So, whether you normally partake in these days as part of your holiday season or not, it might be worth taking a look at the sales ads if you’ve been seeing a new TV or device in your near future.

All that being said, it is good to remember, and remind ourselves, that this holiday season isn’t about buying new “toys” and receiving all the things on our Christmas lists. The true meaning of the holidays is to give and give thanks. To be with loved ones and friends, and tell them how much we care for them. To be thankful for all that we have and are blessed with, not focus on what more we can attain. We pray your holiday season is filled with good food, good conversation filled with laughter and joy, and good time spent with those you cherish most.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Black Friday hunting!

When is the Right Time to Decorate for Christmas?

With Thanksgiving only three days away, we’re sure you’ve seen eager friends and family members already setting up for the Christmas Holiday. Every year after Halloween it becomes more and more common for many people to seemingly skip right over Thanksgiving (not the actual holiday – because we still love a good excuse to stuff our faces with amazing food) and go straight to the tree trimming and light hanging.

Imagine sitting down at the family table for your Thanksgiving meal with the Christmas tree already set up in the corner. This is a common thing for many families and some of you may be asking, “What’s wrong with that?” Nothing at all! However, it does beg the question: is there a right and wrong time to set up for Christmas?

For those of us who love our fall decorations, waiting to set up for Christmas until Thanksgiving has passed makes the most sense. While we love Christmas decorations, we also love our pumpkins, fall leaves, and cute little scarecrows. Having these decorations up for the fall Holiday makes it feel more like Thanksgiving and removing them to set up for Christmas before the Holiday has passed would feel like skipping over it. As soon as that Thursday is done and over with though, we’re pulling out the tree and blasting Christmas music for all to hear.

On the other hand, there are those of us who somewhere between the first of November and Thanksgiving just can’t help ourselves! Out come the Christmas decorations and away go the fall decorations. To those people, one month is just not long enough time to get in all the Christmas joy and cheer they’ve been waiting to have all year round. Because that is what Christmas brings right? It’s not called “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” for nothing. We love our Christmas lights that bring awe and wonder, our joyful songs to which we know all the lyrics, the cookies and treats overflowing, the gifts to show your loved ones you care, caroling, hot cocoa, family gatherings, and the list could go on! There is just something about the Christmas season that makes it nearly everyone’s favorite holiday.

Maybe you land somewhere in the middle with your fall and Christmas decorations out at the same time? Maybe you don’t decorate for Christmas until two weeks before? Or, maybe you don’t decorate for the holidays at all? Write your comments below; we’d love to hear what your family does as far as decorating for the holidays.

Though everyone has their own opinions, I’m sure we can agree that there is no right or wrong time to decorate for the holidays. To each their own we say! So, whether your Christmas tree is waiting to be put up this weekend, or is already up, Happy Thanksgiving and Merry early Christmas to you and your family!

Save The Dells

In Prescott, Arizona, we love our outdoor recreational activities! Mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking, trail running, kayaking, rock climbing… you name it, we love to do it! Not only do we love doing all those activities, but we have a plethora of places in our beautiful town in which to exercise these activities. Hundreds of trails, Thumb Butte recreational area, Prescott National Forest, Granite Mountain Recreational area, numerous lakes dispersed throughout Prescott, and the Granite Dells.

The Granite Dells are a well known recreational area in Prescott, Prescott Valley, and are a commodity with their dramatic boulder outcroppings, Peavine Trail, and amazing outdoor recreational use. Members in our community enjoy using them for kayaking, rock climbing, the numerous trails, bird watching, and more.

Currently, the 15,000 acre land that is the Granite Dells is owned by a company called Arizona Eco Development (or AED). AED has proposed to build homes on 2,500 acres of that 15,000 acres in the Granite Dells and surrounding area. As with any kind of development proposed on a beloved piece of land, the town of Prescott and a group called “Save The Dells” have stepped up to combat this proposed building plan in the heart of their beloved nature rich Dells. They hope to preserve the Granite Dells and its recreational uses, not have it be developed and therefore ruined. There is a lot of misconception out there about what the group Save The Dells actually wants, so here is a quote from their website to help clarify:

“AED owns over 15,000 acres. The 500 acres we are concerned with is only about 3% of their total land. According to their recently submitted development application, AED wants to annex about 2,500 acres of their property into the City in two separate annexations: ‘South Annexation’ and ‘North Annexation.’ It is imperative that these two annexations are processed and considered as one annexation and rezoning transaction. The City of Prescott Land Development Code already requires developers to dedicate 25% of their land for open space, so in total AED is required to dedicate a minimum of 620 acres to open space. We are asking that 500 of the 620 acres be where the public wants it, and that the open space allocation is contiguous functional open space, not simply cul-de-sacs and drainage ditches” (www.savethedells.org).

With that 500 acres, they also hope to contribute to the growing open space lands that could form the foundation to have a Granite Dells Regional Park. They do not seek to force the developers to hand over the land free of charge, rather to, as the quote says, have the open acreage be where the public and community want it.

“We recognize that protecting the Dells is the right choice for our economy, our quality of life, and our community identity. We are thinking BIG about what’s best for our town for generations to come. We can choose a future where treasured landscapes are spared from destruction.”

This is just one groups opinion, though it seems to be the general feel of the community here in Prescott. We shall have to wait and see what AED and developers decide.