By CHUCK GREEN
Curled up in front of the television watching a Christmas movie, one might romanticize the notion of laying down roots in a holiday-themed town or city.
Believe it or not, there are a number of municipalities in America that have names people might associate with this time of year. Stacker, based on information from the Census Bureau, found 29 of them, including North Pole, New York; Rudolph, Wisconsin; Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; Santa Claus, Arizona; and Christmas, Florida.
Snowflake, located in Navajo County in Arizona, has one of these novel names. Jay Eckhardt, the 2023 president-elect of the White Mountain Association of Realtors, told The Mortgage Note that the name is a talking point but buyers move there for the quality of life.
“People are often interested in the name behind the town of Snowflake, and while the unique name may contribute to the appeal of Snowflake at first, the town mostly attracts homebuyers for its quiet, serene, small-town feel and the amenities it has to offer,” Eckhardt said.
Eckhardt explained that Snowflake’s prices, in particular, are on par or more affordable than other cities and towns nearby such as Show Low and Pinetop-Lakeside. And ironically, “despite the town’s wintry name, Snowflake’s name derivation actually comes from the last names of the town’s founders, Apostle Erastus Snow and William Flake.”
Eckhardt added that Snowflake presents an option for buyers looking to move somewhere more rural full-time.
“While most of the cities in the area are second home buyers, Snowflake presents itself as a good primary home location as well. The name Snowflake has appeal at first glance, but the small-town lifestyle and remoteness of it are the true selling points,” Eckhardt said.
Christmas Valley in Oregon also boasts small-town charm.
“People move to places such as these for similar reasons as to why they move to small towns across the country, they want a quality of life that is otherwise forgotten about in larger cities,” Grace Bergen, 2023 president of Oregon Realtors, told The Mortgage Note. Christmas Valley is situated around 110 miles southeast from Bend, according to christmasvalleyrealty.com.
“Smaller communities tend to have more community involvement, citizens that are connected to each other, and events like block parties,” Bergen said. “Small-town living isn’t just a place to come home after a long day of work, it’s a way of life — one that many yearn for after our lives have turned into all work, little play.”
Loren LaVassaur, loan officer at Summit Funding in Eugene, Oregon, further explained the small-town appeal of these communities.
“While the American dream is at a surface level ‘owning a home’, I think the really popular American dream is owning a piece of land – and these are most often is in these rural, outskirt towns,” she said. “Even if it is just a few acres, not being able to hear your neighbor sneeze is really what most buyers are looking for.”
There are some places that may not have a holiday-themed name, but they sure do have that Christmas spirit.
If any city ‘gets it,’ it’s someplace like Frankenmuth, located around 90 miles north of Detroit, and recognized for having Bronner’s, the “World’s Largest Christmas Store,” Andrew Keller, owner of Knockout Real Estate, told The Mortgage Note.
When December rolls around, 80% of the homes in Frankenmuth are decorated for the season.
“For years now, this community has thrived around Christmas time, with setup beginning for the season at the end of October,” Keller said. “Many people ask if it’s magical at Christmas time, and the obvious answer is yes. With millions of lights, decorations, and displays, this community is magical in December. Add a taste of snowfall, and it’s dreamy.”
Keller believes there are several other important reasons to call this community home.
“The community of Frankenmuth has relatively stringent rules and ordinances to keep its appearance up. It also has a great school district. Going through neighborhoods of Frankenmuth, the community is very well-kept, and add the district, home values here are extremely strong,” he said.
Keller said although home values exceed those of nearby communities, he gets calls from people looking to move there.
“The majority of the calls are from people who are from here originally, but often, I’m getting people looking to move here who have spent their childhood or family time walking the Main Street area, shopping, and admiring the cool features at Bronner’s or having their famous chicken dinners. I think the allure of the city sells itself, so not much pitch needed!”
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