Inventory shortages ease data shows 4.3 percent growth in listings from May to June

Teke Wiggin Staff Writer

Inventory shortages that constrained home sales this spring are beginning to ease, with the number of homes listed for sale trending upwards in June, according to data, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The total number of listings rose by 4.3 percent from May to June, to 1.9 million homes. While that’s down by 7.3 percent from the same time a year ago, inventory was off 18.6 percent year over year in February, the newspaper said.

Real estate industry observers have speculated that home price gains might spur more homeowners to put their properties up for sale — and for builders to break ground on more new homes.

With the latest CoreLogic Home Price index showing a 12.2 percent year-over-year gain in home prices in May, the recent uptick in listings — though bolstered by a normal seasonal increase — suggests that these market reactions may be starting to play out.

“No one wants to sell at the bottom, but prices have now been rising for more than a year and by more than 30 percent in some markets — triggering some homeowners to lock in those gains, including those who have been underwater,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist at listing portal Trulia.

But while home value appreciation may be coaxing some to sell, National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement last month that growth in home supply will primarily depend on an increase in construction.

“The housing numbers are overwhelmingly positive,” Yun said about May home sales, which NAR said hit their highest level since November 2009. “However, the number of available homes is unlikely to grow, despite a nice gain in May, unless new home construction ramps up quickly by an additional 50 percent. The home price growth is too fast, and only additional supply from new homebuilding can moderate future price growth.”

A recovery in construction activity is already beginning to take hold, Kolko noted.

“Even though inventory peaks in the summer and drops off later in the year, buyers should have more to choose from next spring and summer than they had this year,” he said.

Courtesy of your Arcadia Real Estate Agent

US housing starts rise

By Christopher S. Rugaber THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON —  U.S. builders started more homes in February and permits for future construction rose at the fastest pace in 4-1/2 years. The increases point to a housing recovery that is gaining strength.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that builders broke ground on houses and apartments last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 917,000. That’s up from 910,000 in January. And it’s the second-fastest pace since June 2008, behind December’s rate of 982,000.

Single-family home construction increased to an annual rate of 618,000, the most in 4-1/2 years. Apartment construction also ticked up, to 285,000.

The gains are likely to grow even faster in the coming months. Building permits, a sign of future construction, increased 4.6 percent to 946,000. That was also the most since June 2008, just a few months into the Great Recession.

And the figures for January and December were also revised higher. Overall housing starts have risen 28 percent higher over the past 12 months.

Separately, a private report showed the number of Americans with equity in their homes increased last year. That suggests one of the biggest drags from the housing crisis is easing and could clear the way for more people to put homes on the market.

“The road ahead for housing is still, so far, looking promising,” Jennifer Lee, an economist at BMO Capital Markets, said in a note to clients.

The pair of positive housing reports helped drive early gains on Wall Street. But stocks edged lower later in the day as investors awaited the outcome of a vote on an unpopular bailout plan in the European nation of Cyprus. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 35 points in afternoon trading.

Housing starts jumped in the Northeast and Midwest, while they fell in the South and West. Permits rose in the South, West and Midwest, falling only in the Northeast.

The U.S. housing market is recovering after stagnating for roughly five years. Steady job gains and near-record-low mortgage rates have encouraged more people to buy.

In addition, more people are seeking their own homes after doubling up with friends and relatives in the recession. That’s leading to greater demand for apartments and single-family homes to rent.

Still, the supply of available homes for sale remains low. That has helped push up home prices. They rose nearly 10 percent in January compared with 12 months earlier, according to CoreLogic, the biggest increase in nearly seven years.

Higher prices mean that more Americans have equity in their homes. Last year, about 1.7 million Americans went from owing more on their mortgages than their homes were worth to having some ownership stake, CoreLogic reported Tuesday. That benefits both home owners and the broader economy.

When homeowners have some equity stake, it makes it easier for them to sell or borrow against their homes. Still, 10.4 million households, or 21.5 percent of those with a mortgage, remain “under water,” or owe more on their home than it is worth.

The number of previously occupied homes for sale has fallen to its lowest level in 13 years. And the pace of foreclosures, while still rising in some states, has slowed sharply on a national basis. That means fewer low-priced foreclosed homes are being dumped on the market.

Those trends, and the likelihood of further price gains, have led builders to step up construction. Last year, builders broke ground on the most homes in four years.

Homebuilders have become much more confident over the past year.

Courtesy of your Arcadia Real Estate Agent

How the Student Loan Crisis Drags Down Home Prices

Image Source | Getty Images

Pity the college graduate, burdened with shocking levels of student-loan debt and looking for a job in the worst employment market in two decades.

But save a little pity for the rest of us.

The staggering amount of outstanding student debt — nearly $1 trillion owed – is beginning to impede the U.S. economy as a whole, a new report from the New York Federal Reserve suggests, chiefly by robbing the housing market of its richest crop of new buyers: young college graduates.

The statistics in the report are dismaying in themselves. With the number of borrowers approaching 40 million nationally, including more than 40 percent of 25-year-olds, the average balance on their loans has risen to $25,000. About 6.7 million of all student borrowers, or 17 percent, are delinquent on their payments three months or more.

“Delinquent student loan borrowers have a very difficult time accessing credit and the share of those borrowers is greater today than in the past,” said Donghoon Lee, a senior economist for the New York Fed and one of the authors of the report.

(Read MoreStudent Debt Climbs as Credit Gets Tighter)

For the average homeowner, the worst news is that these overleveraged and defaulting young borrowers are no longer qualify for other kinds of loans — particularly home loans. In 2005, nearly nine percent of 25- to 30-year-olds with student debt were granted a mortgage. By late last year, that percentage, as an annual rate, was down to just above four percent.

The most precipitous drop was among those who owe $100,000 or more. New mortgages among these more deeply indebted borrowers have declined 10 percentage points, from above 16 percent in 2005 to a little more than 6 percent today.

“These are the people you’d expect to buy big houses,” said student loan expert Heather Jarvis. “They owe a lot because they have a lot of education. They have been through professional and graduate schools, but their payments are so significant, they have trouble getting a mortgage. They have mortgage-sized loans already.”


For years, economists and student advocates warned that the greater debt load would have an adverse impact on graduates’ borrowing power. Now the statistical evidence is mounting. Last month, a Pew Research Center survey found that the share of millennials who own their homes had fallen from 40 percent to 34 percent during the recession, with a similar decline in residential debt.

Everyone has had a harder time qualifying for a mortgage since credit standards tightened in 2008, of course. And it could be that younger people suddenly prefer renting (or living at home). But by looking at mortgage originations, the New York Fed’s report ties college graduates’ lack of home ownership more directly to borrowing woes.

The implications for the housing market are serious. The number of first-time homebuyers, more than half of whom are aged 25 to 34, has been shrinking since the recession struck, and young buyers now make up their smallest share of the housing market in more than a decade.

(Read MoreFour Ways to Make Your Tax Refund Pay You Back)

In February, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau asked private lenders to suggest options for relief of student loan borrowers. “They are increasingly concerned about the effect of student debt on household formation to see if there’s anything they can do to thaw the marketplace,” said Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of the financial aid website

But existing efforts to prevent delinquency on federally backed loans — such as basing the size of borrowers’ payments on their income — have sometimes made getting a mortgage more difficult. “It confuses the mortgage process,” said Jarvis. “Income-driven programs do help them afford a home and ought to make them more creditworthy, but they have not communicated well.”

The best fix for everyone would be a faster growing economy, which would provide jobs and higher incomes to those who have borrowed. Until then, Jarvis sees the average college grads’ situation as a Catch-22. “If you don’t prioritize your student loan debt you won’t be able to get credit in the future,” she said, “and if you do pay it, you won’t be able to afford anything else.”

Courtesy of your Arcadia Real Estate Agent

U.S. Homeowners Are Repeating Their Mistakes

U.S. Homeowners Are Repeating Their MistakesPhoto illustration by 731: Hand: Getty Images

Global Economics

By Brendan Greeley on February 14, 2013

If there’s one thing Americans should have learned from the recession, it’s the importance of diversifying risk. Middle-class households had too much of their net worth tied up in their homes and were too exposed to stocks through 401(k)s and other investments.

Despite the hit many Americans took, there’s little sign they’ve changed their dependence on homes as the mainstay of their wealth. Last year, Christian Weller, a professor at the University of Massachusetts, looked at Federal Reserve data for households run by those over 50. The number of families with what Weller calls “very high risk exposure”—a low wealth-to-income ratio, more than three-quarters of their assets in housing or stocks, and debt greater than a quarter of their assets—had almost doubled between 1989 and 2010, to 18 percent. That number didn’t decline during the deleveraging years from 2007 to 2010; its growth just slowed to a crawl.

The Fed will conduct a new wealth survey in 2013, but don’t look for a rational rebalancing. The same pressures that drove families to save less before the recession are still in place: low income growth, low interest rates, and high costs for health care, energy, and education. Families have been borrowing less since 2007, but the rate of the decline has slowed. As soon as banks start lending again, Weller says, people will put their money back into housing. “The trends look like they’re on autopilot,” he says. “They don’t suggest that people properly manage their risk.”

In a 2012 paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research, economist Edward Wolff concluded that from 2007 to 2010, the median American household lost 47 percent of its wealth. Average wealth—a number that includes the richest Americans—declined only 18 percent. Houses make up a smaller share of the wealth of a rich family. The wealthy also benefit from better financial advice, Weller says.

A home is what economists call a consumption good; you have to live somewhere. It’s also a store of wealth. Unlike other assets, you can’t buy a portion of a house. “You want to consume a big home,” says Sebastien Betermier, an assistant professor of finance at Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University. “But if you want to buy that home, it’s a huge investment—probably more than you really want.” Betermier, who studies consumers’ financial decisions, says homeownership makes it harder to diversify risk. Since 1983, for the richest 20 percent of U.S. households, the principal residence as a share of net worth has been around 30 percent. For the next 60 percent—most of us—housing has risen from 62 percent to 67 percent of total wealth.

To compound the problem, home equity dropped for this middle group even as home values rose. Rising house values, low interest rates, and easy refinancing encouraged property owners to take out home equity loans. And Wolff’s analysis shows the middle class reducing their cash cushion from 21 percent of assets, starting in the early 1980s, to 8 percent just before the recession. Cash is bad luck insurance; you pay a premium because you don’t earn a return on it, but it’s available in case of an emergency. Americans borrowed against their homes, spent the cash, and were left only with risk.

How can the middle class manage risk better? Financial education would help. Olivia Mitchell, a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, is alarmed at how few people understand basic principles. “What we do know is that people who are more financially literate … do accumulate more wealth,” she says.

The other option is for banks to devise ways to reduce housing risk. When Weller worked as a banker in Germany in the 1980s, the bank would set up a savings account with automatic deposit for every mortgage customer. That way, the client would build up a cash reserve to pay the mortgage in a bad month. This remains a common practice in Germany, where banks hold on to their mortgages rather than securitize and sell them.

Weller, Betermier, and Mitchell agree that the mortgage interest deduction contributes to the problem, as it encourages families to move their assets into housing. “When people think about renting vs. buying, the tax subsidy looms large,” says Wharton’s Mitchell. Weller endorses an approach suggested by Senator Barack Obama in 2008: Turn the deduction, which lowers taxable income, into a flat credit, which cuts your tax bill by a fixed amount. That would lead to slower growth in house prices, says Weller, since the credit wouldn’t rise even if people took on a bigger mortgage to buy a more expensive house. As the price of housing climbs more slowly, the shift of a family’s savings into housing would.

In 1999, Robert Shiller of Yale University proposed a way to hedge house values. New owners would buy an option with their mortgage, tied to an index of house prices (such as the one developed by Shiller and Karl Case). The option would function as home value insurance. But “when you buy insurance and you don’t die,” says Shiller, “you think how I spent all this money and got nothing. It takes sophistication.” The problem with his idea, he says, as with similar approaches by the Bank of Scotland and Bear Stearns, was that house prices were rising. People don’t buy insurance for a risk they don’t see.

This leaves Shiller, like Wharton’s Mitchell, pushing for education. At the Obama Treasury several years ago, he suggested the White House hold conferences on housing risk. “They would invite top financial organizations,” he says, “and ask them ‘What are you doing about this?’ ” At the time, Treasury and the banks had more pressing things to do. The federal government could also resort to regulation. Shiller points to the example of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who mandated that homeowners buy fire insurance with their mortgages. “I think it could be expanded to home value insurance,” he says.

The best remedy of all would be a higher savings rate. Mitchell tells her daughters, who are in their twenties, to hold off buying a house and save 25 percent of what they earn. But, she says, “They don’t find this very helpful.”


The bottom line: Americans still have too much of their net worth tied up in their homes. There are limited options to encourage diversification.


Courtesy of your Arcadia Real Estate Agent

11 Breakfast In Bed Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is coming and at Coldwell Banker we definitely believe in breakfast in bed.

Whether you love or despise Valentine’s day truth is breakfast is “the most important” meal of the day, so why not make breakfast on February 14th  special for a loved one in your life. Here are 11 super sweet ideas:

Cocoa Kissed Red Velvet Pancakes 

redvelvetpancakes 300x300 11 Breakfast In Bed Ideas for Valentines Day

Egg in the Basket 

eggsinabasket 300x280 11 Breakfast In Bed Ideas for Valentines Day

Chocolate Chip Scones 

scones 300x198 11 Breakfast In Bed Ideas for Valentines Day

Perfect Heart-Shaped Pancakes 

heartshapedpancakes 300x297 11 Breakfast In Bed Ideas for Valentines Day

Healthy Whole Wheat Cranberry Applesauce Muffins 

muffins 199x300 11 Breakfast In Bed Ideas for Valentines Day

Red Velvet Crepes 

crepe 300x199 11 Breakfast In Bed Ideas for Valentines Day

Valentine Smoothie (Strawberry Banana) 

smoothie 300x292 11 Breakfast In Bed Ideas for Valentines Day

Heart Cinnamon Rolls 

cinnamon 200x300 11 Breakfast In Bed Ideas for Valentines Day

Heart Shaped French Toast

frenchtoast 290x300 11 Breakfast In Bed Ideas for Valentines Day

Hot Chocolate with Marshmallow Hearts 

hot chocolate 11 Breakfast In Bed Ideas for Valentines Day

…and finally what says I Love You more than Heart Shaped Bacon?!

bacon 200x300 11 Breakfast In Bed Ideas for Valentines Day


Courtesy of your Arcadia Real Estate Agent






Should You Pay Your Mortgage With Plastic?

Fixed-rate mortgage loans are low, but is no-interest credit card debt better?

Q. I realize mortgage interest rates are at historic lows, but I just got a come-on for a new credit card with 0% interest for more than a year on transferred balances. Should I transfer all or part of the balance of my mortgage ($22,500) to one of these cards? The one I just got in the mail offers cash-back rewards.


A. In prior years, some banks would encourage homeowners to pay off mortgages with credit cards they issued to get rebates or other rewards, but they haven’t done this since the housing bubble burst. The 0% interest rates offered now are really teasers to try to get consumers to transfer their balances from competitor’s high-rate credit cards. Letting borrowers replace low-interest fixed mortgages—or even variable-rate home equity lines of credit—with higher interest, compounding credit card debt is too risky in our still-shaky economy. A borrower without the resources to pay off the balance in full each month could quickly wind up with a ballooning debt and no means to repay it. Eventually, the lender would be stuck with another foreclosure to maintain and sell.

That said, if you have the excellent credit and paid-off credit card balance necessary to qualify for a 0% rate, it is possible to transfer money from your card into your checking account, and then pay the mortgage out of those funds. Or you could use a third-party company that charges your mortgage payment to your credit card each month (thus preserving any rebates or rewards that are only given to new purchases) in exchange for a fee.

But I wouldn’t recommend these strategies unless you are disciplined about paying your bill in full each month. You also should have the means to pay off or refinance the loan completely before the 0% rate expires, even if you lost your job, had a health-care crisis or experienced some other financial emergency.

There are two upsides to paying with plastic: First, if you borrow enough to pay off the balance of your mortgage, all of the money goes towards principal. And second, by borrowing the money from your credit-card company to pay off your mortgage, you free up your savings for other potentially lucrative investments.

But there are also some serious potential pitfalls. Putting a large amount of money on your credit card can hurt your credit. Many credit card companies only give cash back and other incentives for new purchases, not transferred balances. Plus, there are often hefty fees for transferring balances or taking cash advances that cancel out any benefit you get for the 0% interest rate. Worse, if you skip a payment, the card issuer may have the right to raise the interest rates from zero to the double-digits. So it’s important to read the card’s fine print before you make a commitment.

The bottom line: Don’t take this “free” money unless you don’t really need it. Otherwise the risk—potentially losing your home—is not worth a few rebates and rewards.


Courtesy of your Arcadia Real Estate Agent

Fed missed the housing bust



MONEYWATCH/ January 20, 2013, 5:52 PM


(MoneyWatch) Who would want a detailed, public record of our business decisions? Unfortunately, if you are an esteemed Fed governor, you must confront your exact words from meetings that occurred 5 years ago. The central bank released 1,566 pages of transcripts from each of the Fed’s eight monetary policy meetings in 2007, which is customary. What is not customary, of course, is that 2007 was the year that one would have hoped that our most esteemed bankers would have gotten the drift that there was something rotten in the nation’s housing market.

Clearly Chairman Ben Bernanke would like to take back this January 2007 comment: “The housing market has looked a bit more solid, and the worst outcomes have been made less likely.” Or his June remarks, which may have been a “bit” of an understatement: “A bit of cooling in the financial markets might not be an entirely bad thing.” Bernanke is not alone in his misjudgment of the economic and financial industry landscape. Outgoing Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who in 2007 was the NY Fed president, said “Direct exposure of the counterparties to Bear Stearns is very, very small compared with other things.” Oops!


There was one Fed governor who nailed the situation. Janet Yellen, who at the time served as the San Francisco Fed president, expressed the danger that loomed in June 2007: “I still feel the presence of a 600-pound gorilla in the room, and that is the housing sector. The risk for further significant deterioration in the housing market, with house prices falling and mortgage delinquencies rising further, causes me appreciable angst.”


Yellen’s prescience is reminiscent of Brooksley Born, the late 1990s chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, who was the only regulator who saw the danger of over-the-counter derivatives, the vehicles that a decade later would contribute to the financial crisis. The big difference in 2007 was that Yellen was not the lone voice and she was not bullied by her colleagues.


Still, Yellen could not rally the other central bankers to her cause. In September 2007, she reiterated her concerns: “A big worry is that a significant drop in house prices might occur in the context of job losses, and this could lead to a vicious spiral of foreclosures, further weakness in housing markets, and further reductions in consumer spending. … at this point I am concerned that the potential effects of the developing credit crunch could be substantial.” Yellen is currently the Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and if she was seen as a potential successor to Ben Bernanke prior to this release, these comments beef up her chances in a big way.


Eventually, the Fed did recognize the magnitude of the problem, but as is often the case, the governors were late in their diagnosis and remedies. That’s why so many economists are worried about the central bank’s ability to withdraw its easy monetary policy when the U.S. economy improves. With the current low level of inflation (running below the Fed’s target of 2 percent on a year-over-year basis) and the high level of unemployment, the Fed will keep buying bonds and pushing money into the system until further notice. But will the Fed be able to predict when its time to stop?


Right now, economic growth is stuck in a low gear of about 2 percent annually, but when it reaccelerates, perhaps due to an uptick in global growth or a housing sector that perks up, the Fed could once again be behind the curve. When that happens, inflation will re-emerge; bonds will finally see the much-predicted sell-off; and the Fed will likely cringe when future transcripts are released.


This week, evidence of housing’s recovery will continue to trickle in. There’s little doubt that 2012 was the year that housing bottomed nationally. Prices were up about 6 percent; existing and new home sales rose by about 15 percent each; and housing starts increased 28.1 percent.


While this is good news, the housing crash created quite a hole. Prices are still down about 30 percent from the peak and even with the big jump in starts, 2012 ranks as the fourth lowest year since the Census Bureau started tracking starts in 1959 (the three lowest years were 2009 through 2011).


Meanwhile, the third straight week of gains brought two of the three U.S. stock indexes to their highest levels since December 2007. As the nation prepares for Inauguration Day, here’s a tidbit: President Obama’s first term was good for investors, with stocks up over 70 percent.


– DJIA: 13,649 up 1.2 percent on week, up 4.1 percent on year (4 percent below all-time high of 14,164, reached in 10/07)

– S&P 500: 1,485, up 1 percent on week, up 4.2 percent on year (5 percent below all-time high of 1,565, reached in 10/07)

– NASDAQ: 3,134, up 0.3 percent on week, up 3.8 percent on year (still a whopping 38 percent below all-time high of 5,048, reached in 03/00)

– February Crude Oil: $95.56, up 2.1 percent on week

– February Gold: $1,687, up 1.6 percent on week

– AAA nat’l average price for gallon of regular gas: $3.31

Courtesy of your Arcadia Real Estate Agent

Coldwell Banker partners with Videolicious

1,000 agents will get access to automated video creation platform


Inman News®

In a new relationship that it says could grow, franchising giant Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC has announced it will provide a customized version of the Videolicious automated video creation platform to 1,000 agents who have demonstrated a desire to grow their business through video.

Videolicious will allow Coldwell Banker agents to create videos without complex software, the company said, using their iPad or iPhone and integrating existing stills and video to create shorts in minutes.

“We believe that video content needs to go beyond slide shows, and our system has adapted to video as a critical component in showcasing their personality and industry knowledge,” said Michael Fischer, chief marketing officer at Coldwell Banker Real Estate, in a statement.

Fischer said Coldwell Banker On Location, the brand’s YouTube channel, has more than 50,000 videos and saw a 121 percent increase in views last year.

Videolicious was one of a number of new companies demonstrating new services at last summer’s Real Estate Connect conference in San Francisco, and is one of 25 exhibitors in “Start-Up Alley” this week at Real Estate Connect New York City.

Videolicious CEO Matt Singer will team up at the conference Thursday with HDhat CEO Mark Passerby and Andreas Klavehn of Carl Zeiss AG, to present alive demo at 10:05 a.m. EST on using smartphones to produce high-quality video.

Courtesy of your Arcadia Real Estate Agent

For Holiday Gift Giving, Quirky Is In

‘Tis the season to give…bacon-shaped Christmas tree ornaments? Stocking-stuffer candy simulating black lumps of coal? Crime scene tape for wrapping packages? How about a dreidel with Santa’s picture on it?

Yes to all these and more, say fans of quirky gifts.

Online retailers specializing in leg-lamps–the kind made famous by the movie “A Christmas Story”–and in Emergency Santa Kits say business is brisk.

Seattle novelty-seller Archie McPhee, for instance, which makes the Emergency Santa Kit, reports its business is up 20 percent from last year. Each Kit contains an inflatable white beard and red hat. “It’s in case you’re ever on an airplane flight and you suddenly have to play Santa,” explains McPhee’s spokesperson and self-styled Director of Awesomeness, David Wall.

Anything involving bacon, he says, has been selling well—so well that McPhee dedicates a portion of its website to bacon-inspired items, including candy canes, ornaments and toothpaste.

“People just naturally enjoy bacon,” he says. “At a time when everybody is so health-conscious, it’s become a kind of ‘rebel’ food. It seems naughty. To our customers, bacon has become a sign of rebellion against the status quo.”

Online retailer Perpetual Kid sells black, lump-shaped candy-coal. Says vice president Wendy Paula, “We’re definitely seeing people looking for silly products this year—things you buy for their ‘smile value.’ Candy coal has been Christmas season favorite for us for years.” She herself grew up with it. “It’s just got to be in your stocking.”

Unlike some novelty purveyors, says Paula, Perpetual Kid, shies away from anything that could be considered offensive or in bad taste. Not so Things You Never Knew Existed, a website that appears to have cornered the market on flatulent-Santa items. These include a Pull My Finger Santa’ and a spherical ornament simulating Santa’s buttocks.


PHOTO: The tightly-knit cap and attached face-warmer is perfect for snowball fights.

“The world’s only beanie with a built-in beard,” trumpets website The tightly-knit cap and attached face-warmer is perfect for snowball fights, says the site, and will keep any chin warm on the coldest of days. “A great gift for the facial-hair challenged.” ($29)

PHOTO: Cinnamon-flavored candy coal
Coal Candy

Website for Perpetual Kid calls this cinnamon-flavored candy coal the perfect stocking stuffer: “You can always tell who has been naughty Christmas morning, since this candy will temporarily turn your mouth blue! Great for office parties and gift exchanges.” ($4.49)

PHOTO: The dreidel depicts Santa on one side, a Christmas tree on the other.
Archie McPhee
Santa Dreidel

The dreidel depicts Santa on one side, a Christmas tree on the other. “Don’t choose between Christmas and Hanukkah,” says Archie McPhee’s website. “Choose Chrismukkah! Imagine the fun you’ll have playing the dreidel game by the light of the menorah while waiting for Santa and his reindeer to arrive.” ($4.50)

PHOTO: Bacon flavored candy canes.
Archie McPhee
Bacon Candy-Cane

“Big bacon flavor in a candy cane,” promises Archie McPhee. Canes come in both regular size and colossal. Of the collosal, the site says, “If there were a king of bacon, this would be his scepter. It’s bacon-y Christmas perfection.” For proper dental hygiene, you’ll want to brush afterwards with bacon-flavored toothpaste, also available on the website. (Colossal cane, $5.00)

PHOTO: Crime Scene Tape
Archie McPhee
Crime Scene Tape

Archie McPhee doesn’t explicitly recommend this tape for sealing up the seams of wrapping paper you have used to decorate your gifts—but just think how festive and disturbing it will look underneath the tree. Alternatively, says the website, you can use it to “mark off the scene of an itty-bitty murder.” ($4.50).

PHOTO: Each Kit contains an inflatable white beard and jaunty Santa hat.
Archie McPhee
Emergency Santa Kit

Christmas-in-a-tin, Archie McPhee calls its Emergency Santa Kit. “Let’s say you’re on a long flight, and everyone around you is frowning and grumpy,” says the site. Each Kit contains an inflatable white beard and jaunty Santa hat. “Just open the tin, inflate the beard, put on the hat, and shake your belly like a bowl full o’ jelly.” Before you know it, “Everyone will be sitting on your lap.” ($12.00)

PHOTO: Clocky, the rolling alarm clock.
‘Clocky’ Rolling Clock

The morning after Christmas you’ll run no risk of oversleeping if someone has been kind enough to give you this especially aggressive alarm clock. Hit its snooze button once too often, and Clocky takes matters into its own hands (or feet) by rolling away from you on powered wheels. “It will literally jump off your nightstand and scurry way, forcing you to get up out of bed and go get it to turn it off,” says a spokesperson for novelty retailer ($45.00)


Halloween Trick-or-Treat Special

Halloween Trick-or-Treat Special
Date/Time: 10/29/2008  6:30 PM
Arcadia Public Library
20 W. Duarte Rd.
Arcadia, California  91006

Halloween Trick-or-Treat Special

Wednesday, October 29 at 4:00 or 6:30 p.m.
Ages 2-6

Come in costume and enjoy some early Halloween fun!  There will be stories, songs, and a snack.  Plus, of course, a chance to trick or treat through the Library! 

You must have a ticket to attend this event. 

Free tickets will be given out beginning Saturday, October 18.  There will be a limit of 75 children for each session.

10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m: Arcadia residents (must show proof of residency)
11:00 a.m. forward: Open registration.