1. As hard as the 2019 year was for the housing market, 2020 may be a bit harder. A new forecast by Realtor.com predicts hard times for both home buyers and sellers. For buyers it expects the total number of available homes to possibly hit a record low, with overall U.S. sales expecting a nearly 2 percent drop. Meanwhile, it looks like the housing market will be crowded, making it difficult for sellers. The website predicts home prices to rise about .8 percent across the U.S. with declines occurring in only about one in four big cities.
2. A school in West Michigan is joining hundreds of teams across the nation to take place in a robotics competition. More than 130 teams gathered at the Grandville High School gym on Saturday for the holiday vex tournament. Robotics competitions like these have been growing the last few years, and the Grandville program is no exception. Voters recently approved a millage that’ll allow them to build a competition arena that’s dedicated to robotics. That building is expected to open within the next two years. As for the qualifying teams, they will now advance to the Michigan Lego League Championship in April.
3. Another successful Signing Santa even is in the books for this year. Every December, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services invites Saint Nick to Kent County for a special visit. This year, he visited with nearly 50 kids who are deaf, deaf-blind, or hard of hearing. The event took place at Crossroads Elementary. The signing Santa event started 10 years ago when volunteers with the service took their kids to see Santa at the mall but weren’t able to communicate with him.
4. It’s that time of year again! Google’s Santa Tracker is back. The online program which lets people spy on Santa’s whereabout is returning for the holidays, and this year the interactive tool is getting a high-tech makeover. New additions include a 3D snow box, which lets users build their own winter wonderland, and an updated design for Santa’s Village with a reindeer gym and toy factory. Families can also learn about Christmas culture from around the world, or play a game designed to teach kids how to code. Classic features such as the elf-maker and snowball fights are still available. For those who have a Google Assistant, they can ask the device for daily reports on the North Pole. Santa’s exact location will be on the site starting December 23.
5. We rarely call them “Fido” or “Fifi” anymore, but a website revealed the most common male and female dog names for 2019. Rover.com compiled the list of names dog owners like the most for their dogs this year. For males, the top names of 2019 are: Max, Charlie, Cooper, Buddy and Rocky. For female dogs, the top names are: Bella, Luna, Lucy, Daisy and Lily. Rocky was the only new name to crack the Top Five in 2019.