Greetings from Wintergreen!
Snow Making Improvement
Below the Eagles Swoop Ski Slope is the site of THE NEW TANK and these pictures I took this past week and thought you might enjoy seeing the new 5 million gallon water tank being completed for the up-coming ski season. It is expected to go on line in mid-December. It is a bit larger than our existing tank next to it. As Hank Thiess, the G.M. of Wintergreen Resort mentioned a few weeks ago in a meeting, “this tank is a game changer.” The water will be chilled and thus the water hitting the snow guns will make snow more efficiently. Rather than the current 4000 gal. per minute pumping capability, imagine 8000 GPM.
The new fan snow guns and EVO snow guns will put snow on the ground faster and cover more area when Mother Nature decides she is going to bless us with a cold atmosphere. More slopes will open more quickly enticing more folks to come to ski. In addition to man-made snow, being an old farmer, I watch the animals and nature for evidence of what may be coming and what I am seeing points to what could be a long overdue cold snowy winter and for an exceptional Christmas ski week. Hurricane Sandy has already dumped about 6 inches on the mountain and there is still evidence of our first snowfall.
Key Issues Update
The elections are finally over and no one will miss those wonderful political ads every 10 seconds or the constant phone calls, however the results of this election will have a bearing on real estate.
With the Fed’s Quantitative Easing in process, the word on Wall Street and on the news as we approach 2013 is “Fiscal Cliff.” Tune into any evening news on radio or TV and it seems it is the topic of most financial discussions. As we head into 2013, tax cuts for individuals and various tax breaks for businesses are due to expire, taxes pertaining to President Obama’s health care law will begin.
I have attached information which bears reading and is scanned and safe to open. It is The 3.8% Tax Real Estate Scenarios from National Associations of Realtors. Spending cuts enacted by Congress as part of the debt ceiling deal of 2011 will go into effect the end of the year and long-term jobless benefits will expire. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that if all of these items occur, it could take an estimated $600 billion out of the U.S. economy in 2013, potentially pushing the nation into a recession. I am hoping the President and his administration and the Congressional politicians will come to their senses and do the right thing for our nation however bitter the medicine for all of us.
What this means for home interest rates is that it spells market uncertainty, which we witnessed by the stock market dropping significantly last week. It typically results in investment dollars moving from Stocks into Bonds-thereby improving home loan rates which are tied to Mortgage Bonds. As I have mentioned, continued concerns over the debt crisis in Europe and more riots in Greece will likely keep investors in the safe haven of our Bond markets, which will benefit home loan rates. Interest rates will remain low and I believe money will flow into hard assets like real estate, if we encounter inflation which I believe will result from forthcoming government fiscal policies. Long term mortgage rates will rise at some point but inflation will increase real estate values. It is a great time to add real estate to investment portfolios or buy a 2nd home or retirement home if you have considered doing so. Rates and prices remain low and there is good selection. We are in interesting times.
Real Estate Sales Increasing
Real Estate sales have improved considerably since my last newsletter. Sales and activity are up well over the past couple of years. We have seen a return of a measured confidence in the market and it is based on the financial stability that the Justice Organization has brought to Wintergreen. I would not go as far as to say that prices have increased but well priced real estate is selling. Price value increases are still a ways off but that will come after some of the standing inventory has been absorbed and we see further evidence of the investment largesse of Mr. Justice. If you want to see the current market offerings and pending sales, click here.
New Membership Program
Finally, the new membership programs being offered seem acceptable to many owners and long term it appears to be a good value. If one amortizes the initiation dues over the next five to ten years, and considers the added benefits of being associated with the Greenbrier and Glade Springs in addition to the improved facilities and amenities planned within Wintergreen, then joining is worth serious consideration.
Our best wishes for a happy and safe holiday season. Please visit Wintergreen if you can, and don’t forget to drop by when you do.
Contributed by Tim Merrick