Thanksgiving and the Black Friday craziness seem like ages ago as we dive into the last month of 2019. Where has this year gone? Overcast days and powdery snow covering our lawns for the unforeseen future will be our new norm. But you know what? It’s hard not to love it this time of year anyway. As we stare into a new year, let’s take a final dive into the housing market and how 2019 has shaped up. And of course, some killer holiday tips and tricks for my travelers and even those who are taking the leap and hosting the whole gang this year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! ~Alicia
With mortgage rates at a three-year low and a healthy job market, housing affordability rose to its highest level in three years in the third quarter of 2019, according to the National Association of Home Builders. In all, 63.6 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of July and end of September were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $75,500. The national median home price remained steady at $280,000 in the third quarter, flat from the previous quarter, but significantly higher than in the first quarter ($260,000). At the same time, average mortgage rates fell from 4.07 percent in the second quarter to 3.73 percent in the third quarter, reaching a three-year low.
Cue Super Host
Having the whole gang over for the holidays this month? Here’s what you need to know to knock it out of the park. 1. Take Inventory Of Your Serveware: Open up your cabinets, peek into your closet — Knowing which trays, bowls, and platters you have on hand at the beginning of the season will help you know what you may need to buy or borrow. 2. Use Tools That Will Speed Up Clean Up: To maximize time spent hanging out with friends and family, it’s essential to find ways to make kitchen clean-up easier. Lining baking sheets with parchment paper will let you roast vegetables without fear of any burnt, stuck-on bits needing a long soak. 3. Let Guests Help Out With Breakfast: After cooking up a holiday meal the night before, you might not want to spring awake and make a big breakfast the next morning. But if you have overnight guests, they’ll probably appreciate something more than coffee when they wake up. The solution: let guests pitch in at an egg scramble bar! Set out some toppings (cheese, bacon, even leftover roasted veggies) and let guests go to work! 4. Serve Up A Drink Everyone Can Enjoy: A big pitcher of iced tea is your secret to satisfying kids and adults alike. Pair with a bottle of infused simple syrup (I tend to go with something fun and floral like lavender) to appeal to those with a sweet tooth, or a bottle of bourbon for anyone looking for something boozy. **Cough, Cough** Aunt Judy, I’m talking to you!