Sticking with Lewes, DE’s Thanksgiving History
This Thursday, at some point in the festivities we’ll be remembering the Pilgrims and their Indian guests on that first Thanksgiving Day in the New World. After all, that gathering was the genesis of today’s Lewes, DE Thanksgiving Day celebration.
Or was it?
This momentary doubt surfaced when someone mentioned the Canadian Thanksgiving celebration. When you think about it, how likely it is that our Neighbors to the North would create a national holiday to memorialize some ancient Massachusetts get-together? Pretty unlikely.
So if their Thanksgiving doesn’t celebrate the day the Pilgrims feasted with their new Wampanoag friends, what does it celebrate?
The Canadian version is said to be offshoots of the Old World’s “Harvest Festivals.” According to England’s Metro News, “Harvest Festival in Britain is the ancient festival that celebrates a successful yield.” It’s a “Sunday of Thanksgiving” observed on the Sunday closest to the harvest moon (this year, it came on September 23). European Harvest Festivals are said to be remnants of pre-Christian harvest festivals, during which corn dolls are traditionally fashioned from “the last sheath of the harvest.” You can find many pictures of the corn dolls (they call them ‘dollies’). No Indian tribes. No turkeys.
Pagan festivals and dollies? Does this put the accuracy of all Lewes, DE elementary school bulletin boards with their Pilgrim hats and turkey displays in jeopardy? Fortunately, there’s a problem with the Pilgrim-less version.
According to the British press, the corn dolls are “meant to symbolize the pagan goddess of the grain”—which would definitely predate Christianity altogether. But the fact is, corn was unknown in Europe until it was brought by Columbus from the New World. So the corn doll/pre-Christian link doesn’t work, time-wise.
I think we can safely bypass other Thanksgiving legends and just stick to our own story. Lewes, DE’s Thanksgiving can continue to be the once-a-year occasion to remember its true spirit—a day we celebrate our gratitude for all we have and love.
- Written by Jimmie Bachand
Pending Home Sales Snap-Back Encourages Lewes, DE Sellers
For a while now, one of the themes we’ve been hearing on the news has been less than encouraging—particularly if you’re one of the Lewes, DE homeowners thinking about listing your home. It’s the item that’s reported as “home sales.” When you’re about to put your home on the market, you’d like those reports to have headlines like, “Contract Signings Up 3.1%” and “Contract Signings Post Solid Gain” (those were actual headlines from last November and February).
Starting back in March, the home sales numbers reported as “pending home sales” started tapering off. The reasons weren’t that the values of the country’s residential properties were declining; the opposite was true. The reasons were that rising prices were combining with gradually rising mortgage interest rates. Too many prospective buyers were finding too few properties they could afford. Also, the overall residential inventory was sparse: too few homes were available for sale.
Put that all together, and you get what we’ve been reading and hearing about: home sales figures that might not be in an actual nosedive—but more like a swoon. The pundits who predict such things expected that trend to continue for a while. They reasoned that the underlying conditions weren’t going to change anytime soon.
As does seem to happen more often than you’d think, the pundits seem to have been off target. Last Thursday the National Association of Realtors® disclosed the latest sales results: “Pending Home Sales See .5 Percent Increase in September.” That number is “forward-looking”—that is, predictive. The longer-range interpretation was also optimistic: “This shows that buyers are out there…waiting to jump in once more inventory becomes available…”
- Written by Jimmie Bachand
Why the Latest Lewes, DE Mortgage Rates Still Incent Buyers
Last Wednesday and Thursday’s stock market nosedive had analysts debating whether the Fed’s hike in interest rates was to blame. Since Lewes, DE mortgage rates are likely to also be affected, local selling-minded homeowners might well have begun to wonder whether we are headed into a less-than-favorable selling environment.
If so, would listing your home now make sense? Would holding out until lower Lewes, DE mortgage rates reappear be worth the wait? The benefit to potential buyers would be immediate: more affordable monthly payments for the same asking price.
Ultimately, the answer to that timing question will always be uncertain, but one clue can be found in the history of mortgage rates in recent decades. According to the Freddie Mac’s mortgage rate archive, that history leads to an unambiguous conclusion:
30-YEAR MORTGAGE INTEREST RATE AVERAGES
Putting it all together, the previous 40 years produced average mortgage interest rates just shy of double digits: 9.9%, to be precise! Even after the latest Federal Reserve action, last week’s national 30-year rate “jump” was to only 4.9%. With Lewes, DE mortgage interest rates currently at less than half of what U.S. home buyers have been willing to pay in past eras, it turns out that we are still in the midst of a decidedly friendly environment for buyers—which makes it seller-friendly territory, too.
- Written by Jimmie Bachand
When Lewes, Delaware Phone Ring With Free Vacation Calls
Free free free! It’s familiar to every Lewes, DE resident with a landline or mobile telephone: the call from an unknown source offering the free vacation come-on. Sometimes the gal at the other end of the line explains the windfall is the result of a lottery, or of a random drawing; sometimes it’s connected to a valid account (there actually ARE some legitimate drawing giveaways).
In many cases, though, the “free” vacation has a few strings (some of them can turn out to be costly)—and often involve the obligation to experience an hours-long sales pitch for an exotically sited timeshare, condo, or some variation of same.
Now, however, this same tactic seems to be migrating to the highest tier of vacation home proprietors. According to the Wall Street Journal, some of the world’s most luxurious resorts are adopting a similar free sample tactic. It spotlights one Belizean island resort which won’t be completed until 2021. Its proprietor is The Four Seasons, the outfit famous for its top-end hotels and resorts. Now developing a private island community, it faced a sales dilemma: how to demonstrate the finished vacation home experience before ground is even broken?
The answer, in one word: tents.
The developer has erected four “tricked-out beach tents” on their Four Seasons’ Caye Chapel beach “that have every luxury.” Teak-floor showers. Espresso makers. Air conditioning. The tents enable potential vacation home buyers to experience what are called “bite-sized luxury getaways.” The Journal is only half kidding when it characterizes the tactic as having been borrowed from a Costco free sample aisle.
Whether your idea of a vacation home is right here in Lewes, DE or in some far-flung corner of the globe, the free trial gambit does embody an authentically useful concept—the value of actually experiencing a location. When deciding on a place you might want to call home (or vacation home), it’s always worthwhile to do your best to experience it as fully as possible—even through more than one season, if possible.
- Written by Russell Stucki