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One of the Tri-Cities favorites spots this time of year is just north of Pasco, Country Mercantile is one of the fall hot spots for a great selection of yummy comfort food, great variety of pumpkins, and of course just some country bumpkin fun for the kiddos!

Windermere Tri-Cities loves to support our local community events and this is one event you don’t want to miss.  Country Mercantile Fall Festival, features an assortment of rides, a petting zoo, yummy food, and fun for all ages!  Of course don’t forget you find the perfect pumpkin at the pumpkin patch too!  To see more information about the Country Mercantile Fall Festival visit their website at http://www.countrymercantile.com/blog/fall-harvest-festival-2012/

 
 
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As one of the many supporters of this great event, Windermere Tri-Cities would like to invite all of you to help support this year’s Gala D’Vine fundraiser for the KGH Foundation, that is so dear to our community.  Windermere Tri-Cities will have a table and we look forward to seeing all of our community partners at the event for a great cause and a fun evening.  For more information you can visit www.kghf.org

2012 Gala D’Vine
KGH Gala D’Vine Kickoff!!
The KGH Foundation has scheduled its annual Gala D’Vine on Saturday, October 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the Three Rivers Convention Center. The event is a major fundraiser for the Foundation, featuring over 500 guests, entertainment, a social hour, dinner, auction, tribute, and dancing.

In preparation for the event, the KGH Foundation is pleased to announce that John and Priscilla Cadwell will be the honorees at this year’s event to receive the 2012 Tribute to Excellence.   The Tribute to Excellence is often a pillar in the community with strong ties to KGH. Previous honorees include Dr. Nik and Josie Wannarachue, George Jones, Dr. Rod and Thelma Coler, Wanda Briggs, Mike McWhorter, Bill Lampson, Leland and Nancy Kerr.

 
 
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Windermere Tri-Cities is both thrilled and honored to have been picked as “The Best Real Estate Company”, by this year’s Senior Times Readers Choice Awards.  This award means so much to each and every one of our agents and staff in the Windermere Tri-Cities office.  To be recognized as the best and most trusted real estate company in the community is a privilege and we appreciate the recognition more than words can express.  To all of the Senior Times readers thank you for choosing us and we look forward to many more years of helping our senior community buy and sell homes.

 
 
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Below is a great article highlighting the commercial side of our real estate market.  Often times we get so caught up in the residential side of our local market that we lose sight of what is happening around us in the community as a whole.  From the sounds of it, the Tri-Cities is experiencing great activity on the commercial side, which means great things are coming to the Tri-Cities in the near future. That means new small businesses, possibly new franchises, and all of that helps create more jobs.  When new business opportunities arise, that is surely a sign of a healthy and strong local economy.  Commercial Real Estate is a big part of the Windermere Tri-Cities’s office in Kennewick, in fact we dedicate an entire separate staff to our commercial division to help support our Commercial Brokers any way we can.   Rob Ellsworth, Windermere Tri-Cities Commercial Broker, talks about his perspective on our local commercial market in the article below.

Commercial Building Acitivity Stays Steady – Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business August 2012

Local commercial real estate professionals said they are seeing an upswing this year in commercial leasing activities and interest.

The value of commercial and industrial building permits throughout the Tri-Cities for the first half of the year was about $137 million, up 3 percent from the same time in 2011, according to statistics compiled by the Tri-Cities Home Builders Association.

And there are several large commercial projects still in the planning stages that are scheduled to begin construction this year.

“I think people have a firm grasp that our economy hasn’t suffered as much in the Tri-Cities and that things are strong here,” said Rob Ellsworth, managing broker, Windermere Real Estate Tri-Cities, Commercial. “That has prompted a lot of local business.”

In addition, the area has received a lot of national publicity over the past two years touting the strong local economy, growth and livability.

Ellsworth said that has prompted more interest from companies outside the area, as well.

“The come in, see the low cost of living, the low cost of power and that we have water — that is huge,” he said.

The change in the Washington State liquor laws has also prompted movement in the market and is bringing new businesses to the area, he said.

“New liquor distributors, who have main hubs in Seattle and Spokane, are siting facilities here and using it as a cross-docking area,” he said, noting that Southern Wine & Spirits has signed a lease with the company and will be moving into a space at 501 N. Quay in Vista Field.

Dirk Stricker, of Dirk Stricker Commercial Real Estate, said commercial lease rates in the area have started to stabilize and there seems to be a lot of people looking for space.

“The activity has picked up quite a bit,” he said.

Many people, especially doctors, dentists and others in the medical field are taking advantage of low interest rates on Small Business Administration loans.

Stricker said the SBA rules on those loans require the buildings to be owner occupied, but the low interest rates have spurred more medical office building construction. Often doctors or dentists build a facility capable of housing additional specialists to help offset their mortgage costs.

Lance Bacon, principal at NAI Tri-Cities said he’s been hosting a lot of market tours for people coming from outside the area, like regional and national franchisees and developers.

“Retail seems to be the strongest, followed by the financial and service industries,” he said. “People are looking to be in strong, visible corridors, like near the mall.”

Another commercial growth hot spot in the Tri-Cities is at the Queensgate-Duportail off Interstate I-182 in Richland, where a new Les Schwab Tire Center is under construction, and the new Sterlings Restaurant and Bobs Burger & Brew opened earlier this year.

Jeff Fairchild of Fairchild Cinemas purchased 11 acres from the Kennewick Irrigation District north of I-182 and south of Duportail, behind Gold’s Gym, Wal-Mart and Home Depot, where he plans to build a multi-plex theater. The Richland Planning Commission conditionally approved a site plan for the project in late June.

Bacon said he is also seeking a lot of activity in the Southridge area, where Kennewick General Hospital recently broke ground on its new facility.

A new 52,000-sq.-ft. Yoke’s store is planned at 380 Keene Road, just west of Badger Mountain Park. Glen Englehard, the site developer, also plans to build a 14,000-sq.-ft. strip mall at the 17.4-acre site, where other commercial pads are available.

Two new hotels are currently under construction in Richland. A $6.5 million Marriott Towneplace Suites at 591 Columbia Point Dr. and The Hilton Homewood Suites Extended Stay Hotel at 1060 George Washington Way.

Five other hotels are in the planning stages in Richland. Tom Drumheller, CEO of Escape Lodging and owners of Cousin’s Restaurant in Pasco, is planning to build a boutique hotel at Columbia Point between Anthony’s Restaurant and the Marriott Courtyard.

Kadlec Medical System has an agreement with a private developer to build a hotel within walking distance of the hospital campus to serve patient family members.

Stew Stone, a Portland developer, has ambitious plans to build two hotels, including an Embassy Suites by Hilton and an extended stay hotel, at Horn Rapids Golf Course.

And in June, the Richland Planning Commission approved a site plan submitted by Gramor Development Washington LLC for a new four-story La Quinta hotel at 355 Bradley Blvd., across from the Shilo Inn.

Ellsworth said the robust commercial real estate movement is a good sign for the area, which has experienced large layoffs since stimulus money provided to Hanford through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act has been used.

“We’re just seeing a lot of activity, but none of it is directly related to Hanford,” Ellsworth said. “As the rest of the country starts to recover, the perception of all regions is improving.”


Mary Hopkinby Mary Hopkin
Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business. 

This entry was posted on Monday, August 13th, 2012 at 3:11 pm

 
 
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Finally an article that puts things into perspective!  It is sometimes hard to feel positive about where the economy and our local market are headed, when all you hear about is the day to day gloom & doom of the national news.  Windermere Tri-Cities is so thankful to have someone like Denise Lones reporting on our local area and giving us a fresh look into the positive things that are happening around us in the Tri-Cities area.  Although every market has challenging areas, we must also recognize the positives points in our market.  Read Denise’s full blog post below.

There’s Always More To The Story – Posted By:  Denise Lones

Recently one of my clients forwarded an articleto me about unemployment in their area.  The gist of the article was that jobless claims are up in the Kennewick area.

When the contents of this article hit my client’s marketplace (Kennewick, a town in Eastern Washington), he told me the article had people so concerned that it felt as though the residents were running amok in the streets in fear of Godzilla. It was very much an atmosphere of doom, gloom, and fear.

As you can imagine, this made me absolutely crazy.

The whole picture of what’s happening in Kennewick is very different. In fact, Fiscal Times recently named Kennewick as the #1 city people are moving to in a recent article.

So here’s the question – what is the truthabout the Kennewick area?

The article talking about increases in unemployment discounts – or completely ignores – the many other factors that make this area a phenomenal place to live. Great health care (three hospitals – and folks, that also translates into great employment opportunities).  Wonderful weather (300 days of sunshine each year!).  Superb wineries (which support a $350 million tourism industry). Fantastic opportunities for outdoor recreation.

And there are employment opportunities in the area. Don’t let one media source fool you into thinking the area is sinking into a huge recession. Yes, employment is an important indicator of a community’s health. But it’s only one measure of the desirability of any given area. And of course, employment fluctuates over time. It’s not a static measure of an area’s performance. Before you panic based on one measure of economic health it’s important to take a more global look – one that includes other measures of performance.

Actually, the article about Kennewick reminds me of an article written about the Seattle real estate market a couple of years ago, when it was reported that the area had record low rates of depreciation. Yes – home prices did depreciate in Seattle, just as they did in almost every community across the country. What the article didn’t report was that, since 1976, homes in the Pacific Northwest have appreciated an average of 6.9% per year. So let’s put that article in perspective. Many years of strong appreciation, followed by a year or two (or even three or four) of depreciation still equals a good thing. In fact, a very good thing.

In Kennewick, unemployment claims are up. But I think the reporter hurriedly glossed over the fact that unemployment numbers were lower in this area for several years due to the enormous amount of stimulus money eastern Washington communities received as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Prominently featured was a story about a woman, aged 62, who has been out of the work force since she last worked as a nanny – 11 years ago. The reality is that anyone who has been out of the work force for over a decade would likely struggle to find work in most communities in the United States today. Using this woman’s story to make an emotional point about employment opportunities in Kennewick is an example of the kind of bias in reporting that tugs at readers’ emotions rather than allowing them to assess the situation based on the facts.

In time, no one will remember this one biased article about Kennewick. It will fade away, and likely will be forgotten.

What won’t fade away are the fundamental attributes of Kennewick. It is a thriving and growing community. I’ve long said that this part of Eastern Washington will continue to grow at a healthy pace. It simply has too much going for it… and with housing very reasonably priced, homeowners get real value for their housing dollar.

If I was a betting person, I’d be “all in”on the future of Kennewick.

Next time you read an article that predicts gloom and doom based on one or more factors, I encourage you do look at the numbers carefully before buying in to the hysteria.  Do a little research of your own to uncover mitigating factors.

More importantly, I hope that you will challenge the information. Touch base with the reporter and ask questions. Write to the editor and share your point of view, backed up with data you may have. It’s important for every one of us to take action when we discover inaccuracies in reporting.

 
 
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Windermere Tri-Cities invites you to join us for this very worthwhile cause & fundraiser.  This event is close to the hearts of our Windermere family and we are eager to help in any way we can to raise funds for Cooper’s memorial  baseball field.  Please contact our office if you have any questions regarding the car wash at 509.783.8811. 

 
 
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Top Ten Cities People are Moving To – The Fiscal Times
The Tri-Cities has made the cut again as one of the most popular places to live. Seems the rest of the nation is realizing just how great a place the Tri-Cities is to live, the Tri-Cities offers a safe and enjoyable place to raise a family, enjoy the single life, or retire and play golf on one of our many great golf courses.  Whatever the reasons are, and there are many, the Tri-Cities is a truly great place to live and that’s what makes our job so rewarding, selling homes and the Tri-Cities lifestyle day after day, Windermere Real Estate /Tri-Cities is glad to be doing business in such a supportive community.  The article below highlights the Tri-Cities as one of the Top 10 Places People Are Moving To, according to The Fiscal Times. 

1. Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, WA: Up 4.3%

This remote area of Washington is home to a decommissioned nuclear facility that’s been the target of the nation’s largest environmental cleanup. The project attracted nearly $2 billion in federal stimulus money and about 3,000 contract jobs. The area is also home to three hospitals—one local CEO predicts that health care spending in the region will continue to increase, which will further bump up the number of health care-sector jobs. And the three cities draw tourists, who spend about $350 million each year there, including $48 million in retail and $118 million at restaurants.

Photo: iStockphoto

By STEVE YODER,

July 12, 2012

 
 
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Although the Tri-Cities economy and housing market stays consistent over the years, it is nice to hear that the rest of the nation is starting to see some relief, and the housing market has turned.  We forget how lucky we are to live in such a great community that often times stays stable when the rest of the nation experiences drastic highs and lows, especially in the housing market.  Windermere Tri-Cities is always eager to share positive news and we welcome a strong finish to 2012!  Read the full article below for the rest of the story on the rising house market across the nation.  For questions about our local real estate market contact a Windermere Tri-Cities agent today at 509.783.8811.

Yes, the U.S. Housing Bust is Over  – online.wsj.com 

The housing market has turned—at last.

The U.S. finally has moved beyond attention-grabbing predictions from housing “experts” that housing is bottoming. The numbers are now convincing.

Nearly seven years after the housing bubble burst, most indexes of house prices are bending up. “We finally saw some rising home prices,” S&P’s David Blitzer said a few weeks ago as he reported the first monthly increase in the slow-moving S&P/Case-Shiller house-price data after seven months of declines.

The U.S. finally has moved beyond attention-grabbing predictions from housing “experts” that housing is bottoming. The numbers are now convincing, according to David Wessel on The News Hub. (Photo: Bloomberg News)

Nearly 10% more existing homes were sold in May than in the same month a year earlier, many purchased by investors who plan to rent them for now and sell them later, an important sign of an inflection point. In something of a surprise, the inventory of existing homes for sale has fallen close to the normal level of six months’ worth despite all the foreclosed homes that lenders own. The fraction of homes that are vacant is at its lowest level since 2006.

The reduced inventory of unsold homes is key, says Mark Fleming, chief economist at CoreLogic, a housing data-analysis firm. For the past couple of years, house prices have risen in the spring and then slumped; the declining supply of houses for sale is reason to believe that won’t happen again this year, he says.

Builders began work on 26% more single-family homes in May 2012 than the depressed levels of May 2011. The stock of unsold newly built homes is back to 2005 levels. In each of the past four quarters, housing construction has added to economic growth. In the first quarter, it accounted for 0.4 percentage points of the meager 1.9% growth rate.

“Even with the overall economy slowing,” Wells Fargo Securities economists said, cautiously, in a note to clients, “the budding recovery in the housing market appears to be gradually gaining momentum.”

Economists aren’t always right, but on this at least they agree: A new Wall Street Journal survey of forecasters found 44 believe the housing market has reached its bottom; only three don’t. (The full results of the Journal’s July survey will be released at 2pm ET)

Housing is still far from healthy despite the Federal Reserve’s efforts to resuscitate it by helping to push mortgage rates to extraordinary lows: 3.62% for a 30-year loan, according to Freddie Mac’s latest survey. Single-family housing starts, though up, remain 60% below the 2002 pre-bubble pace. Americans’ equity in homes is $2 trillion, or 25%, less than it was in 2002 and half what it was at the peak. More than one in every four mortgage borrowers still has a loan bigger than the value of the house, though rising home prices are reducing that fraction slowly.

Still, the upturn in housing is a milestone, a particularly welcome one amid a distressing dearth of jobs. For some time, housing has been one of the biggest causesof economic weakness. It has now—barely—moved to the plus side. “A little tail wind is a lot better than a headwind,” says economist Chip Case, the “Case” in Case-Shiller.

From here on, housing is unlikely to drag the U.S. economy down further. It will instead reflect the strength or weakness of the overall economy: The more jobs, the more confident Americans are about keeping their jobs, the more they are willing to buy houses. “Manufacturing had led growth and construction had lagged,” JPMorgan Chase economists said last week.”Now the roles are reversed: Manufacturing growth has slowed as private construction comes to life.”

Plenty could go wrong. The biggest threat is a large shadow inventory of unsold homes, homes which owners won’t put on the market because they are underwater, homes that will be foreclosed eventually and homes owned by lenders. They have been trickling onto the market, slowed in part by government efforts to delay foreclosures; a flood could reverse the recent rise in prices. Or the still-dysfunctional mortgage market could get worse. Or overly zealous regulators or a post-election change in government policy could unsettle mortgage lenders or home buyers.

But the housing bust is over.

Write to David Wessel at capital@wsj.com

 
 
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Another year is in the books for Windermere  Tri-Cities Community Service Day.  This year’s project at Kadlec Regional Medical Center was a huge success and we are looking forward to seeing those garden areas used.  Check out our Windermere Tri-Cities Youtube Channel to see a couple of our Community Service Day videos. 

http://www.youtube.com/user/WindermereTriCities?feature=mhee 

Windermere Tri-Cities is already looking forward to planning next year’s community project!  Thanks for allowing us to give back, live and work in such an amazing community!

 
 
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