Archive for the 'Wasilla Real Estate News' Category

New Mexican Restaurant in Wasilla January 8th, 2007

Categories: Wasilla Real Estate News

We occasionally go out to eat as a family after church on Sunday.  Gerrit, (12), is usually the one who pushes it and is normally turned down.  Yesterday he wanted pizza but was immediately rebuffed, then he pushed for other ideas with no interest shown.  Then he said there is a new Mexican food place by Walmart.  The new and the Mexican picked up interest. We knew about several other Mexican places but not this one.

My oldest daughter was going back to school in Tucson last night and since she loves anything Mexican, including the food, we decided to try it out.  We were pleasantly suprised. 

Tacos Cancun is located in the Seward-Meridian Plaza just across from Walmart.  It is a clean, simple, small eatery with good food. The prices are reasonable and the menu is authentic.  I’m not much of a connoisseur of Mexican food, or any food for that matter,  but my wife and daughter make taste a big deal and both gave it a thumbs up. I was impressed with the service which was courteous and fast.  It’s open 7 days a week, 11 AM -8 PM.

There appear to be a lot of Mexican restaurants in the Valley.  It’s just a sign of the growing population here.  Don’t look for restaurant reviews on this newsletter often;  I’m not an authority on restaurants in the valley.  However, you will see occasional off subject articles like this about our local community. 

Feel free to suggest any others, email me or call at (907) 232–7900

Written by Marty Van Diest

What’s So Great About The Matanuska Valley? January 5th, 2007

Categories: Wasilla Real Estate News

Lazy~mountain~404Why is the Mat-Su still growing by healthy margins while other population centers in the state are actually shrinking?  I asked myself that after sitting through Neal Fried’s presentation on the Mat-Su economy.  For the “outsiders” Mat-Su is short for the Matanuska-Sustitna Borough which encompasses the 24,000 square miles that make up the Susitna and Matanuska River Valleys.  Most of us locals just call it, “the valley”. 

There are all kinds of reasons so many people want to call this area home.  I’ll touch on just a few attractions for now and add more later.

Mountains Galore.  The Chugach Range runs along the southern edge while the Talkeetna Mountains run right through the middle of the borough.  The Chugach Mountains are a vast wilderness area.  Most of the center part of the Chugach is one huge glacier with fingers stretching down the valleys all around.  The ice is the result of an average annual snowfall of 600 inches a year!  The Talkeetnas are also huge but easier to access.  There are many trails leading up into the Talkeetnas and even a few roads. The mountain photo above is from Doug Lloyd’s Photography and is only one of many beautiful photos of the Mat-Su Valley.

Lakes and Rivers The valley is literally dotted with many beautiful lakes.  Rivers run all through the Mat-Su Borough.  From the two large namesakes to the Deshka, Talkeetna, Yentna, and Chulitna they provide access to the outer edges of the mostly road-less borough with power boat in the summer.  Just the names of many of these rivers cause wilderness lovers to squirm. And there are hundreds of other streams and rivers teeming with fish and visited by bears, eagles, and moose.

Lots of Space The borough is the size of West Virginia.  And although it is growing faster than anywhere in Alaska, it still has a population of only 75,000.  Many residents can literally hike or ski from their back door with the assurance of not seeing anyone at all on their jaunt.  Pure wilderness is no further than a 20 minute ride at the most from anyone in the valley. 

Hatcher Pass This is one of my favorite destinations.  The fact that one can drive from Palmer right up into the Talkeetnas and end up not only above timber line, but almost above the alpine tundra is what makes it such an adventure.  It’s also a great place for snow sports in the winter. Accomodations include Hatcher Pass Bed and Breakfast at the bottom and Hatcher Pass Lodge on top.

Other cool places are the Musk Ox Farm, Reindeer Farm, Matanuska Glacier, and the Iditarod Trail Headquarters.

Written by Marty Van Diest

Global Warming or House Warming? January 4th, 2007

Categories: For Buyers, For Sellers, New Construction, Wasilla Real Estate News

Palmer alaskaIt’s 17 degrees below zero at my house right now, and I’m in Palmer, the banana belt of Alaska.  I just checked  weather underground and the forecast for Fairbanks is a low of -40 tomorrow.  This is coming off about 2 weeks of snow every day.  I think Anchorage currently is ahead of their record snowfall.  At least the sky is clear and the mountains are pretty

At this temperature you don’t need an infrared camera to tell where your house is losing heat.  Just go outside and take a good look.  Do you see collections of frost in different areas?  Those are causes by either air leakage from inside your house, or by warmth leaking out of the house because of insufficient insulation.  Either way you are contributing to global warming by warming the outside rather than the inside of your home. 

Take a good look at those frosty spots.  If they are just under an eave of a cathedral ceiling, or just around the outside of a door or window that means air is leaking at those spots.  You need to seal those areas with insulation, foam, or caulk.  If you use foam around a door or a window make sure it’s not expandable foam or it could cause the frame to deform.  All that warmth going to the outside can be quantified in dollars spent on your heating bills.  Air leakage can also cause moisture to collect inside your walls since it usually starts condensing before actually hitting the cold outside air. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Marty Van Diest

Neal Fried Is Bullish On The Valley January 3rd, 2007

Categories: For Buyers, For Sellers, Market Trends, Wasilla Real Estate News

  • Picture2Neal Fried was in Wasilla today giving a great presentation regarding the Mat-Su economy to the Valley Board of Realtors. Neal is an economist for the State of Alaska. He has a talent for making statistics seem interesting.   He is excited about research.  I was excited about his statistics. All the charts are courtesy of Neal Fried, click on them to enlarge.

Here are some of the highlights:

  1. The population in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough continues to grow even though other population areas are shrinking.  The chart to the top left illustrates that.  The valley continues to show healthy growth even though Anchorage actually experienced negative growth.  The state as a whole also saw negative growth as the yellow column shows.
  2. Job growth in 2006 was slower, but still healthy.  The four years previous to Picture32006 showed job growth of over 1,000 new jobs per year but 2006 saw only 646 new jobs.  Fried’s guess is that 2007 will be similar to this year in job growth.
  3. Housing affordability has decreased. This has been the case nationwide.  Prices of homes have increased to the point that it now takes 1.9 workers at an average Valley income to afford the average home in the valley.  However, since Anchorage wages are higher it only takes 1.4 Anchorage workers to afford that same home.  That is the reason we have so many Anchorage workers living here.  In fact, 35% of our work force commutes to Anchorage.  In addition, another 10% work elsewhere in the state. 

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Written by Marty Van Diest

How To Ski All Day For FREE! December 31st, 2006

Categories: Wasilla Real Estate News

SnowboardaFor years the Mat-Su Borough has been making noise about developing Hatcher Pass.  At least two large resort developers have pulled out of the deal after exploring the project.  People living at the end of Palmer and Wasilla Fishhook Roads often speculate on how much their land will be worth when the big resort goes in.

But a lot of valley residents aren’t waiting.  People young and old have been using Hatcher Pass for many years.  Downhill skiers, snowboarders, and sledders have been using the 16 mile hill for a long time. This is a pull-off that is a little more than 1/2 way between the Motherlode and Hatcher Pass Lodge.  There is a sign there regarding sledding  Sleddingsignbut no one seems to pay attention to it. 

On a good weekend dozens of pickups and SUVs shuttle people from the bottom to the top of the hill.  Some are with their party and many are just hitching rides.  This has been a valley secret for years and years.  Why spend the big bucks on the ski lifts when you can ski all day for free at Hatcher Pass?  Palmer and Wasilla high school kids are still keeping the ancient tradition of playing hookey on great snow days to sneak off to Hatcher Pass for a day on the slopes.

This is just one more benefit of living in the Mat-Su Valley. Email me for more great ideas on how to recreate without spending lots of money or going far from home.

Written by Marty Van Diest

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