12-7 Weekly Sales Report

There has always been a debate about what kind of home Santa Claus lives in. We can pretty much rule out a split level, as they didn’t become popular until the 1960s, and Santa has been around a lot longer than that. Some scholars have suggested the usual two-story colonial or a nice country cape-style home. Others have thought he must live in some sort of snow palace. More often his home is portrayed in books as a chalet or a log home. Nobody knew for sure what kind of house that Santa truly owns … until now, that is!

Being a real estate agent with his ear to the snowbank, I learned that a local Lakes Region company had bid on and had been awarded the contract to enlarge Santa’s workshop, which is located next to his residence in the North Pole. The contract required that it be constructed of the same materials as the house — and that, boys and girls, is logs.

Now this isn’t going to be a small project. While it is not a million square feet of space like Amazon’s Baltimore warehouse, it will be about 30,000 square feet, making it the largest log cabin in the world. It seems like Santa needs more space to stay ahead of Amazon. Fortunately, elves don’t need as much space as Bezos’ workers to do the same amount of work. There is some magic involved there, you know.

I decided that a task force from the Lakes Region Profession Porch Sitters Local 603 should be dispatched to talk with the winning bidder about this immense construction project, and that lucky firm is Hayward and Company of Meredith, owned by Mike and Julie Hayward. Mike’s father started the company way back in 1971 and was building log homes all around the Lakes Region. Their business has evolved with the changes in consumer tastes and demand to include stunning high-end timber frame and hybrid post-and-beam homes, both on and off the water.

Rollie Rollins, Travis D. Coletrain, and I met with Mike and Julie just the other day to learn a little more about them and this huge project. I explained why we were there and Julie was surprised that the word was out on the street about the job. I had to explain that there are no secrets in Whoville or in real estate.

“Mike,” I said, “let me start with you and get some background. You’ve been building log homes for a really long time. I know most of our readers will want to know: As a child, what kind of toy log building set did you like better, the American Log set or the Lincoln Log set?”

“Well,” Mike responded, “I liked the American Log set, as it seemed to build a more stable structure. The Lincoln Log set might have looked more real, except I didn’t like the red plastic roof gables. They just didn’t look real. The early American Log sets had real log gables. Playing with those sets got me started building real log homes.”

“Well, I’ll be,” replied Rollie, “What if you had played with the America Brick set instead? Would you have become a mason?”

“Maybe,” Mike responded, “but I almost wanted to be a mechanic ‘cause I really liked erector sets, too!”

“So, this job at the North Pole seems like a huge undertaking. It’s gonna take a lot of logs and there just ain’t any there — it’s just snow and ice! What’s the plan, Julie?” I asked.

“We were a little concerned about that, but it was accounted for in the bid process. Luckily, we can’t start the job until next summer. You see, it is dark there right now for 24 hours a day, and then in the summer, it will be light for 24 hours in a day! That gives us time to truck logs in all winter!”

A puzzled Travis asked, “Who’s crazy enough to truck logs in the middle of the winter, in below-zero temperatures and in the dark, to the North Pole?”

“Fortunately,” Julie responds, “we got lucky. The Ice Road Trucker Show on TV got canceled, so Alex Debogorski and Hugh Roland are putting together a full crew to get all the logs there over the winter!”

“What about labor?” Rollie asked.

“Well, we had to negotiate a contract with the North Pole Elf Worker Union Chapter 5, but we got that done. Luckily, it was a short process. It happens that the summer is off-season for them, as Santa’s shop does shut down for two months. It may also be a short time frame, but these little fellows work fast. We are also planning on bringing students from the Huot Technical Center in Laconia, along with their instructor, Matt Towle — but he probably doesn’t know that yet.”

“This is really cool,” said Rollie, “but it is a really big job. Have you done anything like this before?”

“We haven’t done anything this big, but we do all kinds of homes, both large and small. We do whatever our clients want. We grant wishes.…”

“That just may be why Santa gave Hayward and Company the job. He grants wishes, too!” Travis exclaimed.

There were 593 single-family residential homes for sale as of Dec. 1, in the towns of Belknap County plus Moultonborough, Tuftonboro, and Wolfeboro. The average asking price was $654,347, and the median price point stood at $335,000. About a dozen of these are log homes — just in case you were wondering!

Visit www.DistinctiveHomes.NH.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and sign up for a monthly newsletter. Data compiled using the NEREN MLS. Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty. Contact him at 603-677-7012.

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