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Image result for indian john hill traffic washingtonIt was a few weeks ago now – but my Father’s Day was great, and I hope yours was as well. I was in Seattle with my daughter Melanie, son Josh, and their special partners for dinner and nice conversation.  It was great!  Sunday we headed to a Mariners game and then back to Walla Walla. In Bellevue at 4:30 PM that Sunday it was 87 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. Driving back was a breeze going east on 90, but the West 90 was bumper to bumper from West of the Summit to Indian John Hill. It was ugly!

Image result for walla walla hobby lobbyIn local news, Walla Walla Town Center is starting up. More and more stores are opening their doors. Sportsman’s Warehouse was first to be up, MOD Pizza is under construction on the far west end of the Center on Myra – you can see the blocks being stacked. Ulta and Bed Bath and Beyond are up and running with Hobby Lobby was the most recent to get rolling. This is exciting to watch.

Image result for walla walla foundry sculptureWe are also blessed with wonderful arts, theater, entertainment; and one of the best in the world in producing sculptures with brass, stainless steel, and wood with Mark Anderson’s Foundry. We have the Little Theater, Power House Theater, and Shakespeare Walla Walla.

The Gesa Powerhouse Theatre is producing two musicals this year in late July and early August. “Annie” will be the first, and another great Image result for gesa powerhouse theatre annieproduction to bring out the entire family with a really funny, entertaining show “9 to 5”. Almost all of the actors and actresses are from the Walla Walla valley and we have some great talent. Little Theater has their season in place with several productions that will be a real treat for Walla Walla. Shakespeare Walla Walla is doing “The Tempest” which is a powerful production and will be awesome to view.

The Walla Walla Association of Realtors joined forces with Blue Mountain Action Council for the annual Care and Share Golf Tournament on June 15th, and they raised an amazing amount! $40,000 plus dollars which will produce over 200,000 meals in our Valley. Great job Walla Walla.

Image result for care and share golf tournament 2018

Image result for sweet lou walla wallaOur famous Walla Walla Sweet Onions are out. The Arbini onions on Wallula Road are out and I think they are some of the best. Locati’s are great as well. Get your onions soon! I really enjoy cutting one in half, putting salt, pepper and butter on it and wrapping in foil to put on the grill or oven. It makes a wonderful addition to your Summer BBQ.

Call if I can assist, have a great weekend.

 

Dennis M. Ledford, Owner/Broker
Coldwell Banker First Realtors®

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May has been a good month for the Valley. We’ve had good rain, mixed with sun. I love living in our valley!

Walla Walla Town Center is moving ahead rapidly. Landscape, black top, and curbing all going in and it is very attractive. It should help with the sales tax dollars that are escaping out of our area.

I just attended the Port’s EDAC meeting this past Tuesday and found Image result for wallula junctionout some amazing information about sales tax dollars in the State.  King County represents 41% of all sales tax generated in our state at $15,473,396,000 and Walla Walla County has $230,382,000 which represents .6% of the sales tax revenue in our state. I see why King County is so powerful..

Unemployment is average for the State. Walla Walla County for March of 2018 was 5.3%, Yakima 7.6%, Benton 6%, Franklin 7.7%. We are doing alright with unemployment and our work force is growing a little with 29,639 vs. 28,602 in 2017. We will see a lot of sales tax dollars with all the new construction coming for the Port at their Wallula projects. Millions are being invested with the paper mill making the change over from white paper to corrugated materials.

Image result for starbuck washingtonThere is a ton of new business throughout the area. Columbia Pulp plans to open a June opening for the conversion of wheat straw to a paper product. It will have a lot of employees which I do not know the total, but it will grow. My question is: where will they live? Rentals in Waitsburg and Dayton are almost non-existent. I do not feel Starbuck has anything and Walla Walla is over 95% full. We will see!

The MLS residential sales in comparison to 2017 are positive. In January through April of 2017, our MLS had 210 sales – where in the same time period this year, we’ve had 239. The average days on market have decreased since last year, which reflects the low inventory and quick movement of homes when they come on the market.

We still have short inventory, and prices are moving up as well as mortgage rates. Now is a good time to make a move, before prices and rates make it harder for you.

Thanks for reading,

 

Dennis M Ledford, Owner/Broker
Coldwell Banker First Realtors

Image result for walla walla valley blue mountainsWell, I’m back from a great Spring trip! We landed first in San Diego and spent 4 nights in Old Town. I love Mexican food so it is the perfect spot for Donna and me. We had great weather, mid 70’s and mostly sunny. We stopped in Palm Desert, Laughlin Nevada, Peoria Arizona, Porterville California – then back to Portland, and then to our Condo on the Oregon Coast; and finally to Bend. We were out almost a month, but when I come over Nine Mile Hill, I reflect that I did not see anything on our trip that was more beautiful than our Valley.

https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/union-bulletin.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/71/97123d82-31e9-11e8-ab0d-5713a35ad96f/5aba882ca2031.image.jpg?resize=750%2C499News that is happening in Walla Walla while I was traveling – Sonic has signed a contract to be in Walla Walla Town Center. They have over 3,500 locations and serve 3,000 customers a day – that is big! It will be great to have them in Walla Walla. Also, the moving of the Amtrack Car at Jacobi’s – getting ready for the renovation of the building, to house thehttps://www.fireandvinehospitality.com/wp-content/uploads/crossbuck-sm.png Walla Walla Steak Co. and Crossbuck Brewing; which will be opening this Spring. I am excited to have another Brewery and a Steak House in our little valley. I love a good steak!

I just heard this morning that Pacific Power had a big issue in the Wallula Junction area that shut down several of those businesses for hours – someone had broken into one of the main boxes and stolen or attempted to steal the copper wire inside so that they could sell it. They were out for 9 hours because of this! Pacific Power, as always worked hard to get it repaired. They do a great job.

Interest rates have moved a little higher, but they’re not scary. It is about 4% currently, but you can do some searching to find a good rate, good amortization, and fee. Just take some

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time to look. We are still getting listings and they are selling reasonably fast. Not quite at the level they are seeing on the West Side – the days on market in Seattle is 8 days. WOW!

If you are Downtown and near my office, go to the front window and look at our new interactive window. It will give you access to the entire MLS with the touch of your finger, and you do not have to have a computer or a phone to find out information on homes for sale in Walla Walla. It’s a great interactive tool.

Remember, if I can assist give me a call!

Dennis M. Ledford, Owner/Broker

Coldwell Banker First Realtors®

Office - Phillip

It’s a good Winter day! The sun is out and a really nice day. I love getting into my hot tub in the morning and feeling the jets working on my back.

New out recently is that Key Technology was sold to a privately owned company, Duravant. They own several companies, and some similar to Key – but they feel they need Key to complement their ownership group. All indications are that they plan to stay in Walla Walla, which is good news.

Walla Walla Town Center is moving along. We might see some completion in the next 120 days. It has been a long time coming!

Construction is happening in several spots. Old Nita’s Auction is down and a small strip mall is going in. Big car wash, coffee shop, and maybe a couple of other small spaces to fill. It will be great to see that entry to Walla Walla cleaned up. Good luck to the new group moving in, it should be a great location.

Short notes of the Port EDAC meeting I would like to share.

  1. Boise Cascade at Wallula has made the decision to re-tool their plant and move from white paper to corrugated products. This is a 150 million dollar investment.   We feel they will stay, with that heavy of an investment.
  2. Rail-Ex sold to Union Pacific. They have increased traffic from three departures a week to five departures.  This is a positive move to get our products back to the East Coast.
  3. Simplot has agreed with the Port after some zoning changes by the County to move ahead with the building of a new Potato French Fry plant. Good news for our County tax base!
  4. Hi-Way 12 Phase #7 is fully funded with a start date in 2019-20. Once phase 8 is funded and approved we will have four lanes to the West side of the State which will be great for our area in many different ways.
  5. All the economic news we received from the Port was very positive for our area.

Image result for el sombrero walla wallaEl Sombrero will be starting construction of their new building just off Second Street in 60-90 days. They are excited to get it going and have felt very good about the cooperation the City has given them. They feel they will only be down for two weeks. Thank you City for helping this great business.

Real Estate is picking up with listings coming on and sales continuing to move up. Prices and rents are moving up.

Related imageWe have definite housing issues for the homeless and low income families but as rent moves up and sales prices increase, our core group of families are pressured as well.   Our new teachers, firemen, policemen, and other community groups need affordable housing as well and if they cannot find it in Walla Walla they will go to other communities where they can find affordable housing. If we cannot house them, it will create a real issue of the strength of our community.

Let me know if I can help, and if you have some news let me know. I am sharing an aerial shot of the progress on the Mall for your entertainment.

Thanks

Dennis M. Ledford, Owner/Broker
Coldwell Banker First Realtors®

Thank you all for reading. Today I’ll be featuring a guest blog written by my granddaughter, Haley J. Ledford – I think she has a great young-persons perspective on this topic!


We’ve all heard the stories of people being fired from their jobs because of something they posted on Facebook or Twitter and it has made us all somewhat more conscious of what we say online. It seems, however, that in light of the social media boom, we’ve forgotten to be conscious of what we say and do in real life – and not just online. If you can get fired for something on Facebook, you certainly can lose out on opportunities for things you do in real life, and that’s why good references matter.

https://cdn0.iconfinder.com/data/icons/admin-panel-glyph-black/2048/608_-_Referrals-512.pngThis is not your parent’s pep talk about managing a credit card so you have a good credit score, and it’s not your grandma’s sermon on being a good person either. We all have our moments where we don’t behave as we should, but make it a habit and soon no one will be able to vouch for your character; no one can give you a good reference. When you want to rent an apartment, you need references. When you find an opening for a job so much better than the one you have now, you need references. When you are in the running for most adult things, you need references – and good ones at that. If your only reference is your old landlord who kicked you out for noise complaints, you’re out of luck.

Image result for reference pngYes, “adulting” is hard, but part of “adulting” is building references of your character and your ability to act responsibly. Think of it as your stats for how good you are at “adulting”. If your references read more like a rap sheet than glowing praise, know now that it’s time to suit up and take things more seriously. It only gets harder getting older, so don’t stop yourself from realizing your dreams by getting poor references everywhere you end up. References matter because in the same way you don’t want Facebook to get you fired, you don’t want your actions to get you denied from your next home.

“Why Good References Matter”
By: Haley J. Ledford

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WOW, the Christmas Light Parade was fantastic, this last Saturday. We served over 500 cookies, cups of cocoa, and hot coffee to a big crowd – and ran out of everything! We know some of the kids had more than one cookie and several people had more than one cup of coffee or cocoa, but it worked out well.  Thank you Macy’s for sponsoring such a fun event. We must have had the largest number of floats we have seen over the last five years.

https://www.99acres.com/microsite/articles/files/2016/02/development_charge.jpgI attended the Port Economic Development Advisory Committee Meeting last Tuesday and found out a lot of interesting facts about their activity, and data on growth and housing which I find interesting. The median price of housing has gone up 45% from 2012 to 2017 – to a median price of $220,000. This isn’t crazy in comparison to King and Pierce Counties, where their median price is above $600,000. How does a young family afford to own a home in those areas? It is tough enough with a median price in our Valley of $220,000. The 220,000 does not sound terrible but it is a 45% increase while income has only increased by 15% during that period.

https://i1.wp.com/orlando-rising.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/populaton-growth-750x400.jpgPopulation growth is at 1%. Which is comparable to most of Eastern Washington during the year. Our growth is families moving to Walla Walla and not just new born. Most of the big dollar companies are at Wallula. Boise Cascade is making a huge upgrade from white paper to cardboard products. Several million is being invested, so Pat Rae feels that will keep them in place for several more years.

Unemployment in Walla Walla is in good shape at a 4%. We are the 6th lowest in the State. Benton and Franklin are higher than our County, at 4.5% and 4.8% so all in all, we are looking okay.

Housing is tough. The local MLS on listed 50 homes in November. Many went under contract in the same month. My suggestion is, do not wait for Spring to list your home.   Start now, and you will find a buyer and a better price. Give it some thought. Mortgage rates are still low and who knows what will happen in the coming year.

UntitledSome big changes for College Place for the land that has been sitting vacant for several years just South of Home Depot and East of the Water Tanks. Bob Price and Farran Development have formed a new group to develop that parcel with the Western Segment will be high end multifamily apartments. The East 2/3 will be retail /mixed use. The group have the funds to move forward on the west 1/3 first and break ground in the first part of 2018.

There’s always something happening! If you hear of new things, let me know.

Call if I can assist.

Dennis M. Ledford, Owner/Broker
Coldwell Banker First Realtors

End of October Blog

https://chambermaster.blob.core.windows.net/userfiles/UserFiles/chambers/65/CMS/convert/www.wwvchamber.com/files/785.jpgFALL IS HERE. It has been just beautiful in the Walla Walla Valley this week. Crisp weather in the morning, with beautiful sunshine in the afternoon – all of the Fall colors are making a show for us all to watch. Take a ride into Pioneer Park this weekend and you will be awed by all the fall colors on display…

https://i2.wp.com/www1.pictures.zimbio.com/bg/Views+Las+Vegas+Shooting+Memorial+Las+Vegas+cLthxNY3Hn4x.jpgI spent some time in Las Vegas this past week for a conference, and it was such an eerie feeling looking at the welcome to Vegas sign and all the white crosses and flowers as we made our way into the strip from the airport. Hundreds of people milling around looking at photos, flowers, stuffed animals and special personal items that represented all the dead. My heart went out to all of the families that suffered losses in the tragedy. God Bless them all.

Kris Sign Draft (800x800)Real Estate is still solid. I saw some statistics from King County over the week and the inventory numbers were amazing. In 2007 they had 15,000+ active listings and currently in 2017 they have less than 3,000. Less than two month’s supply. We are short of inventory here as well, but not at that degree. Sellers still have a great opportunity to sell their homes before the end of the year, and find another home that fits their current needs. Mortgage rates are still just great and look good for the future. The economy is booming and we have a lot of commercial transactions happening as well as new homes being constructed. Oasis Homes is starting some new inventory homes on Whitney Road between Plaza and South Third. If you are looking for an alternative to Hayden Homes call Kris Youd for more information and see if it will work for you. You can reach Kris at (509) 301-3626.

Looking forward to November and December.  I just love the Holidays!

If I can assist in any way let me know.

Dennis M. Ledford, Owner/Broker
Coldwell Banker First Realtors®

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