It’s Outdoor Festival Time in Kansas City!

The Labor Day weekend traditionally kicks off a month of large, annual outdoor events in Kansas City. It is amazing how many options there are  — truly something for everyone, at all ages.   So if you are weary of spending the weekend cooling off at the pool or chilling inside a movie theatre–read on for some good alternatives happening over the next several weeks:

irish festKC Irish Fest, Aug 29-31 at Crown Center.  This party has grown so large in just twelve years, and that is a direct result of the local Irish community and volunteers who have made this event one of KC’s best outdoor parties.  Seven stages of entertainment, lots of children’s activities, a costume contest, Irish Fest Bingo and so much more.  I suggest taking the Max bus to avoid parking hassles.  Buy advance tickets online or at Hy-Vee.

Santa Cali Gon Days, Aug 29-Sept 1 at Independence Square.  This festival is in it’s 42cd year and offers a good, old fashioned county fair atmosphere.  There is a farmer’s market, lots of arts and crafts for sale, music, food–and it’s free!

The Kansas City Renaissance Festival opens August 30 and continues every weekend through October 13 in Bonner Springs.  Bring the kids and enjoy the various street theatre and medieval entertainment, interaction with the characters, animal rides; browse the craft booths and of course you gotta eat a turkey leg and caramel apples! There are also special packages for purchase, such as a Pub Crawl.  A great value for the price.

Two outdoor music events are happening September 6:  you can rock on with local bands at the 10th Annual Crossroads Music Festival at Crossroads KC or opt for a more mellow vibe at the Prairie Village Jazz Festival, starting at 2pm at Harmon Park, 77th and Mission Road.  Both have admission fees.

artwestport2014_westportsiteheader-1Now in it’s 35th year, the Westport Art Fair is Sept 5-7.  I love shopping at these booths because they showcase artists from the Kansas City area and I find the art more affordable (for my budget!) than  other art fairs.

The annual Fiesta Hispana happens downtown at Barney Allis Plaza Sept 12-14.  You’ll find great food here, local and national musical acts and a boxing tournament!

And finally..Kansas City’s biggest outdoor Fall event (unless the Royals win the World Series this year!) is the Plaza Art Fair.  It’s all here–art, music, food booths, usually perfect weather and the chance to chat with long lost friends you run into while strolling the streets.

Every weekend in September–low cost, local celebrations of interest to all ages, residents and visitors.  Why not experience one you haven’t been to before–there are so many choices! Finally, a special thank you to all the volunteers and local leaders work so hard to make these parties happen.  Our friendly Midwestern hospitality really shines at every event.

Neopolitan Style Pizza Comes to Waldo-Pizza Manifesto

I’ve been wanting to stop by this new pizza shop in Waldo, Pizza Manifesto, as it has been open a few months now.  Finally ate there last week,  along with my teen daughter and another (college aged) friend.  It was  Wednesday night, we arrived just after 6:30pm and we were the only people there during our stay.  There was one guy working behind the counter.  I expected to be busy during the dinner hour; perhaps it was just an off night!

 

Pizza Manifesto in Waldo

Pizza Manifesto in Waldo

Pizza Manifesto is Neapolitan style pizza–very different from a more traditional place  like Waldo Pizza  across the street.  The menu boasts “quality Naples-milled flour” and only water, yeast and sea salt are added to create the thin, chewy crust.  Ordering your pie is similar to the Chipotle concept:  you pick a base sauce of marinara, pesto or olive oil–and then customize your toppings from the display in front of you.  There is fresh and shredded mozzarella, various meats, veggies and several cheeses.  An average price for a pie with two toppings would cost $7.50–and there are a couple of specialty pizzas.  Two salads are available, and a selection of gelato, plus beverages.

The pizza is baked in under two minutes, in a very hot oven–so watch that first bite, it can burn  the inside of your mouth!  Most ingredients  are fresh and very basic and simple , as a Neapolitan pizza should be.  The décor is minimalist as well–concrete floors, metal chairs, small pictures on the wall, bags of flour on display.

Pizza SienaDaughter and friend enjoyed their selections–fresh mozzarella, chicken, arugula for the toppings. I liked my simple topping of plum tomatoes and mushrooms. I certainly felt this pizza was ‘healthier’ than a typical D’Bronx or Minsky’s slice–and they are totally different styles and flavor profiles. The pies are cut into four slices, and it’s easy to eat two and save two for lunch the next day.   The service was friendly and quick.  It seemed a little odd there weren’t more people in the place, and hopefully business is good overall as I understand it’s a locally owned spot. Reviews are generally  very positive on Yelp! and Urban Spoon.

Pizza ChristinaPizza Manifesto is located at 505 W 75th St, just west of Wornall and is open seven days a week.  Stop by and try it for yourself!  Thank you for supporting locally owned Brookside/Waldo businesses.

Armour Hills (Brookside) Home Sales Stats-July 2014

Time to check home sales stats for July in the Brookside subdivision of Armour Hills.  There was a drop in the median sales price … read on for my reasoning as to why that happened.  No need to panic fellow Armour Hills neighbors!  Let’s look at the specific statistics:

In July 2014, seven homes sold with a median sales price of $195,000 and 129 days on market.  The highest sale (the highest for this year so far) was $440,000.  With four of the seven homes sold below $200K, the average price drops way down.  This is unusual for our area–the median price is usually between $230-$260K most months.   

In July  2013, nine homes sold with a median sales price of $290,000 and 20 days on market.  The highest sales price that month was $410,000.

Now let’s compare year-to-date figures:

For the first seven months of 2014, 41 homes sold with a median price of $234,000 and 64 days on market.

For the first seven months of 2013, 49 homes sold with a median price of $250,000 and 66 days on the market.

We are falling behind in the number of homes sold this year compared to last, and prices are dropping. As has been the pattern this year, there is a lack of well priced, updated homes in Armour Hills–those sell the fastest.  When homes sit for a long time, the price continues to drop until a buyer feels the house is priced correctly and makes an offer.  I think prices will edge back up as we head towards the end of the year.

Currently there are 17 homes for sale in Armour Hills, with the lowest list price at $175K and the highest at $315K.

(All stats taken from Heartland MLS; deemed reliable but not guaranteed)

Brookside Home Sales Report – July 2014

Now that we are into the second half of the year, home sales will slow down..as is the usual pattern.  Most sellers put their home on the market in the spring, and move in the summer.  If you are looking for a home now, you may notice a lack of move in ready, well priced homes in the area (unless you are looking at homes priced over $500K).  We’ve had a shortage of inventory all year–not enough move-in ready properties.    Let’s look at the specific numbers..these are single family home sales from July 2014 in the Brookside zip code of 64113:

In July 2014, 32 homes sold.  Median sales price was $320,000 and 76 days on  market.  The lowest sales price was $166,000 and the highest was $707,500.  

In July 2013,  36 homes sold.  The  median sales price was $335,000 and 65 days on market.   The lowest sales price was $165,000 and the highest was $1.475 million.

The drop in median sales price can be attributed to the fact that this year, twelve homes sold at $350K or higher.  In July 2013, eighteen homes sold over $350,000.  When the more of the higher dollar homes sell, average prices are pushed up.

Checking year to date figures:

From Jan-July  2014, 163 homes sold at a median sales price of $300,000 and 74 days on market.

From Jan-July  2013, 187  homes sold at a median sales price of $295,000 and 88 days on market.  

Note the lack of inventory means fewer homes have sold.  The median prices is virtually the same.  Overall, I think we will end the year with an increase in average sales price for Brookside homes. Fewer homes sold indicates the lack of inventory for picky buyers–they will wait until they see what they want.   The fewer days on market reflects the desire for updated, well maintained and median priced homes–they always sell quickly. I still believe that overall, prices are up for Brookside compared to last year.

Currently there are 93 single family homes for sale in the Brookside zip code of 64113 with a median list  price of $377,000.  Most of the homes for sale – 57 out of 93- are priced over $350K, with 9 priced over $1million.  The strong demand for Brookside homes are those updated properties priced from $200-$350 to $400K.  

(All figures taken from Heartland MLS and deemed reliable but not guaranteed).

Waldo Home Sales Report – June 2014

Although we are into the month of August, I am reporting June home sales stats for Waldo now…as the July figures won’t be ready for another week or so.  Sales in Waldo were slower compared to the same month one year ago.  The  geographic area I’m using for Waldo is: State Line to Holmes and Gregory to 85th St.

In June 2014, 29 homes sold with a median price of $138,000 and 88 days on market.  The lowest home sale was $85,000 and the highest was $347,500.

In June 2013, 40 homes sold with a median price of $183,500 and 57 days on market.  

Average sales price was done from one year ago and houses sat on the market longer before an offer was confirmed. The big drop in average sales price is due to more expensive homes selling in the area.

Here are the year-to-date figures:

From January – June  2014, 153 homes have sold with a median price of $140,000 and 75 days on market.  

From January – June  2013, 163 homes sold with a median price of $145,000 and 78 days on market.

So we are seeing a bit smaller number of homes sold compared to 2013–days on market are virtually the same and the average price is down.

When looking at average sales prices for the Waldo area, remember that there is a wide range of home sizes and prices.  The houses on the eastern side are generally smaller and less expensive; as you move closer to State Line, the homes are larger and go up  in price.  When several homes sell in western Waldo, the average price kicks up.

Currently there are 77 homes for sale in Waldo, with a median list price of $130,000 and 83 days on market.  The lowest price home is $19,900 and the highest is $294,900.  (All figures taken from Heartland MLS; deemed reliable but not guaranteed).

Home Again

Well hello again!  I haven’t blogged for a while as we were on vacation.  What has been happening in my beloved Brookside (and Waldo) for the past two weeks??  Looks like business as usual, and I am glad to be back.  I love to travel, and this trip was anticipated for months with lots of planning involved.  Seems like we walked a thousand miles in London and Paris, and still didn’t see everything that was on my ‘to do’ list.

It’s a special treat to see the famous and classic landmarks of these two spectacular cities:  Notre Dame, the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tate Modern, Arc de Triomphe.   It’s truly awesome to stare at the  architecture and appreciate the craftsmanship of century old buildings.  However, what really enchants me is the ‘art’ that pops up around every corner– constantly surprising!  So today I am posting a few photos of  various things I saw  that  made me stop and snap:

In Paris along Champs-Elysees

In Paris along Champs-Elysees

 

Pub Sign

Outside a London Pub

Jean Paul Gaultier Exhibit--Eerie Mannequin Face

Jean Paul Gaultier Exhibit – Mannequin Face

Art in Paris Metro stop

Art in Paris Metro stop

Street Art in Montmarte

Street Art in Montmarte

Paris Metro Stop

Paris Metro Stop

Brookside Home Sales Dip in June 2014

 

The first half of the busy home buying season is over…sales will start to slow down in the next six months. June 2013 sales show a slowdown from May.  Let’s look at the numbers…I am comparing single family homes for the main Brookside zip code of 64113:

In June 2014, 28 homes sold.  Median sales price was $286,000 and 37 days on  market.  The lowest sales price was $157,999 and the highest was $556.000.  

In June 2013, 38 homes sold.  The  median sales price was $300,000 and 45 days on market.   The lowest sales price was $150,000 and the highest was $545,000.

Not much change from a year ago–the average sales price dropped some, but  days on market was less.  

Checking year to date figures:

From Jan-June 2014, 131 homes sold at a median sales price of $296,000 and 74 days on market.

From Jan-June 2013, 151 homes sold at a median sales price of $292,000 and 151 days on market.  

Fewer homes sold indicates the lack of inventory for buyers.  The fewer days on market reflects the desire for updated, well maintained and well priced homes–they always sell quickly. I still believe that overall, prices are up for Brookside compared to last year.

Currently there are 101 single family homes for sale in the Brookside zip code of 64113 with a median list  price of $390,000 and 128 days on market.  Over half the homes for sale right now are priced over $400,000.  The highest price home is on Ward Parkway listed at $4.95 million and the lowest is $179,000.  You can see the average sales price we are experiencing reflects the demand for homes priced at $350K or less.

(All figures taken from Heartland MLS and deemed reliable but not guaranteed).