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October 25, 2010

HARRY’S WEEKLY UPDATE

A CURRENT LOOK AT THE COLORADO SPRINGS RESIDENTIAL real estate MARKET

 

LOW INTEREST U.S. TREASURY MORTGAGE LOANS NOW AVAILABLE  

ONLY IN EL PASO COUNTY

El Paso County’s Economic Development department plans to convert $25 million in taxable mortgage bonds it issued in December to tax-exempt status, which will lower mortgage interest rates for new participants in a U.S.Treasury initiative. Converting the housing revenue bonds will lower prospective homebuyers’ interest rates to 3.99% for a 30-year, fixed-rate FHA or VA loan, according to Karen Monroe of Colorado Capital Bank.

As an alternative, Buyers will be able to obtain a loan at a 4.5% interest rate and receive a grant in the amount of 3% of the loan for closing costs.

This program has already helped 100 local low and middle-income homebuyers and financing is still available for about 150 more prospective homebuyers.

Participants in this program must be either first-time homebuyers – someone who has not owned a home in the past three years – or a qualified military veteran or a buyer who purchases a property in one of the targeted, low-income area of the region.

To be eligible, Families of one or two people cannot earn more than $71,000 annually; the maximum family income for three or more people is $81,650 and the maximum purchase price of the home is $283,000.

Call us to discuss the local areas that qualify and the local lenders who are participating in this program.

Finally, a word of congratulations to our local leaders for their vision in getting El Paso County signed up for this program. We are one of only 47 local jurisdictions in the nation and the only one in Colorado that takes part in this program.

 

COLORADO REALTORS AGREE – FORECLOSURES ARE A MESS

At the Annual Colorado Association of Realtors Convention which was held last week at the Broadmoor, the main topic of conversation was foreclosures and the problems they are creating. On both the national and local level, Realtors agree that the current avalanche of foreclosures has had the greatest effect on property values of any other issue in history.

As we have detailed in previous issues, slow response from lenders to offers for foreclosed and short-sale properties has been a major factor in creating the ‘logjam’ in foreclosures and the bad news is that new foreclosures are being added to the inventory faster than old foreclosures are being sold. Thus, as inventories increase, home prices continue to slide.

Because of the slow response from lenders, many Realtors are now refusing to show foreclosed properties. This is a natural response, when we consider that Realtors have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients and cannot, in good faith, waste a prospective Buyer’s time by showing properties that cannot be closed in a reasonable length of time. There are too many horror stories about Buyers that were ‘hung-out to dry’ when they couldn’t get timely responses to their offers and who had to move their families into motels as they awaited lender approval.

Some of the other unfortunate results of our current foreclosure ‘logjam’ are:

  •  Interest rates and closing costs will undoubtedly go up to cover the added costs of handling foreclosures
  • The resulting cost increases at lenders will be passed along to Buyers in the form of various new ‘fees’.
  • Title Insurance will become more expensive as title companies raise rates to compensate for the added legal exposure they face because of increased risk and liens against foreclosed properties

All of the Realtors with whom we spoke are hoping that governmental pressure on lenders to expedite the foreclosure process will help resolve the current mess.

 

CSU IS BRINGING LOCAL FOCUS TO NATIONAL real estate STATISTICS

At the recent Colorado Realtors Convention, Professor John Gerhard and Dr. Sriram Villupuram from the Everitt real estate Center of Colorado State University explained how they were working to translate some of the national Real Estate indexes into a more localized, Colorado focus. They are converting such popular indexes as Case-Schiller, S&P, CoreLogic, Zillow and Trulia into localized indexes, concentrating on the Colorado RE market. Their work will assist us in giving our clients a more comprehensive view of the market and what they might expect when they buy or sell a home. To see more about this valuable new resource, click on www.realestate.colostate.edu.

In their presentation, the speakers also emphasized something that all good Realtors know, namely, that real estate values depend upon ‘location, location, location’ and so do real estate statistics. Within any region, the RE statistics for a state, a city and for individual neighborhoods can vary greatly. That’s why we feature a link to the complete Pikes Peak Association of Realtor monthly statistics in our weekly enewsletters. Click here to see the most recent statistics for all of our local neighborhoods. If you have any questions about these numbers, call us.   

 

THE FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERS’ TAX CREDIT WORKED … BUT NOW COMES THE DOWNSIDE

The federal fist-time tax credit expired in June and, while it was in effect, produced a significant rise in home sales. It motivated a lot of ‘fence-sitters’ to make their move and buy a home. That’s the good news. However, since the tax-credit expired in June, an examination of home sales since June indicates that there aren’t many Buyers left in the market. Sales have really dropped off, with the result that prices have fallen and inventories have increased.

Using the PPAR report of Sales for 2010, we see that between June and September, our local median price dropped from $205,000 to $195,000 (That’s a drop of $10,000, or 4.9%) and our average price dropped from $237,318 to $230,419 (That’s a drop of $6,899, or 2.9%) since the expiration of the tax credit. Click here to see the exact numbers for your neighborhood.

These figures tell us a couple of things:

  1. The tax credit did its job. It motivated first-time Buyers to buy a home.
  2. Sales of available homes have fallen off since the tax-credit expired
  3. Sellers have had to reduce their asking prices to compete for the Buyers that are left.
  4. New Sellers are now pricing their homes more realistically
  5. Because the ‘slow season’ for real estate sales is coming up in December, there will be even more pressure on Sellers to reduce their prices, if they want to make a sale.

The bottom line is: Right now, Price is King. Therefore, Sellers, call us and let us help you set the right listing price for your home. Buyers, call us and let us help you find the best deals.

Now is the time to utilize the services of a Realtor who knows how to price properly in your neighborhood, who can negotiate on your behalf, who can find the most cost-effective and cooperative lenders and who can handle all of your relocation needs.

Call us.

 

THE GOOD NEWS IS:  EXISTING HOME SALES IN SEPTEMBER WERE UP 10%

Published October 25, 2010 | Reuters

On Monday, the National Association of Realtors said September home sales increased 10% from August, rising for a second straight month, to an annual rate of 4.53 million units. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected existing home sales to increase by only 4% in August.

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes also rose more than expected in September, NAR reported, indicating the housing market was stabilizing at weaker levels.

 

LATEST STATISTICS

Click here to see the most recent Sales and Listing Statistics for the Pikes Peak region.

And, please remember, I would be honored to serve as your Broker for all of your residential real estate needs. I want to help you, my reader, make the most prudent and accurate Real Estate business decision.

Also if you know of anyone who desires to buy or sell local real estate, or, who is moving in or out of the Pikes Peak region, remember that, with over 37 years of providing relocation and Real Estate services to clients throughout the country, I am uniquely qualified to assist them with the relocation process, including buying and/or selling their homes on both ends of their move. Please allow me to implement my negotiating skills on your behalf.

Just click on the icon at the top of this email to listen to my latest podcast. ..And, if you would like to learn more about our Job Loss Protection Program, or, about our CyberHomes Complete Market Analysis of a property, please contact us. 

 

JOKE OF THE WEEK

How will the new tax laws affect you?

by Harry Salzman

Oct.18, 2010

HARRY’S WEEKLY UPDATE

A CURRENT LOOK AT THE COLORADO SPRINGS RESIDENTIAL real estate MARKET

 

HOW WILL THE UPCOMING CHANGES IN TAX LAW AFFECT YOU ?

In recent weeks, we have heard local business leaders, clients and friends express questions and concerns about how the upcoming changes in tax laws will affect them. In many cases, they indicated they were postponing buying decisions until they were more certain of their tax liability under the new laws. We thought the following article from Kiplinger might help clarify some of the uncertainty: 

HERE’S WHAT KIPLINGER SAYS:

Six Months to Go Until ... The Largest Tax Hikes in History

Source: Kiplinger Tax Letter - Death Panels and Taxes (The Healthcare Chimera)  Published: Aug 22, 2010. Author: Joan Pryde, Senior Tax Editor for the Kiplinger Letters

 In just six months, the largest tax hikes in the history of America will take effect. They will hit families and small businesses in three great waves on January 1, 2011:  

First Wave: Expiration of 2001 and 2003 Tax Relief

In 2001 and 2003, the Congress enacted several tax cuts for investors, small business owners, and families. These will all expire on January 1, 2011:

Personal income tax rates will rise. The top income tax rate will rise from 35 to 39.6 percent (this is also the rate at which two-thirds of small business profits are taxed). The lowest rate will rise from 10 to 15 percent. All the rates in between will also rise. Itemized deductions and personal exemptions will again phase out, which has the same mathematical effect as higher marginal tax rates. The full list of marginal rate hikes is below:  

- The 10% bracket rises to an expanded 15%
- The 25% bracket rises to 28%
- The 28% bracket rises to 31%
- The 33% bracket rises to 36%
- The 35% bracket rises to 39.6%

Higher taxes on marriage and family. The “marriage penalty” (narrower tax brackets for married couples) will return from the first dollar of income. The child tax credit will be cut in half from $1000 to $500 per child. The standard deduction will no longer be doubled for married couples relative to the single level. The dependent care and adoption tax credits will be cut.

The return of the Death Tax. This year, there is no death tax. For those dying on or after January 1 2011, there is a 55 percent top death tax rate on estates over $1 million. A person leaving behind two homes and a retirement account could easily pass along a death tax bill to their loved ones.

Higher tax rates on savers and investors. The capital gains tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 20 percent in 2011. The dividends tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 39.6 percent in 2011. These rates will rise another 3.8 percent in 2013.

Second Wave: Obamacare

There are over twenty new or higher taxes in Obamacare. Several will first go into effect on January 1, 2011. They include:

The “Medicine Cabinet Tax” Thanks to Obamacare, Americans will no longer be able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin).

The “Special Needs Kids Tax” This provision of Obamacare imposes a cap on flexible spending accounts (FSAs) of $2500 (Currently, there is no federal government limit). There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children. There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States , and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington , D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education.

The HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike. This provision of Obamacare increases the additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.

Third Wave: The Alternative Minimum Tax and Employer Tax Hikes

When Americans prepare to file their tax returns in January of 2011, they’ll be in for a nasty surprise—the AMT won’t be held harmless, and many tax relief provisions will have expired. The major items include:

The AMT will ensnare over 28 million families, up from 4 million last year. According to the left-leaning Tax Policy Center, Congress’ failure to index the AMT will lead to an explosion of AMT taxpaying families—rising from 4 million last year to 28.5 million. These families will have to calculate their tax burdens twice, and pay taxes at the higher level. The AMT was created in 1969 to ensnare a handful of taxpayers.

Small business expensing will be slashed and 50% expensing will disappear. Small businesses can normally expense (rather than slowly-deduct, or “depreciate”) equipment purchases up to $250,000. This will be cut all the way down to $25,000. Larger businesses can expense half of their purchases of equipment. In January of 2011, all of it will have to be “depreciated.”

Taxes will be raised on all types of businesses. There are literally scores of tax hikes on business that will take place. The biggest is the loss of the “research and experimentation tax credit,” but there are many, many others. Combining high marginal tax rates with the loss of this tax relief will cost jobs.

Tax Benefits for Education and Teaching Reduced. The deduction for tuition and fees will not be available. Tax credits for education will be limited. Teachers will no longer be able to deduct classroom expenses. Coverdell Education Savings Accounts will be cut. Employer-provided educational assistance is curtailed. The student loan interest deduction will be disallowed for hundreds of thousands of families.

Charitable Contributions from IRAs no longer allowed. Under current law, a retired person with an IRA can contribute up to $100,000 per year directly to a charity from their IRA. This contribution also counts toward an annual “required minimum distribution.” This ability will no longer be there.  

Health insurance is INCOME on your W2's...... One of the surprises we'll find come next year, is what follows - - a little "surprise" that 99% of us had no idea was included in the "new and improved" healthcare legislation . . . the dupes, er, dopes, who backed this administration will be astonished! Starting in 2011, (next year folks), your W-2 tax form sent by your employer will be increased to show the value of whatever health insurance you are given by the company. It does not matter if that's a private concern or governmental body of some sort. If you're retired? So what; your gross will go up by the amount of insurance you get.

You will be required to pay taxes on a large sum of money that you have never seen. Take your tax form you just finished and see what $15,000 or $20,000 additional gross does to your tax debt. That's what you'll pay next year. For many, it also puts you into a new higher bracket so it's even worse.

This is how the government is going to buy insurance for the15% that don't have insurance and it's only part of the tax increases. Not believing this??? Here is a research of the summaries.....

On page 25 of 29: TITLE IX REVENUE PROVISIONS- SUBTITLE A: REVENUE OFFSET PROVISIONS-(sec. 9001, as modified by sec. 10901) Sec.9002 "requires employers to include in the W-2 form of each employee the aggregate cost of applicable employer sponsored group health coverage that is excludable from the employee’s gross income."

There now. Don’t you feel better?

 

SPRINGS AREA FINANCIAL INSTITUTION DEPOSITS JUMP 6.2%

The Gazette, October 12, 2010 4:54 PM

Colorado Springs consumers boosted savings sharply in the 12 months ended June 30 as deposits in area financial institutions grew by the greatest percentage in four years, according to the latest reports from federal regulators.

Deposits in area bank and credit union branches jumped 6.2 percent from a year earlier to $8.9 billion as of June 30, compared with 5.7 percent growth in the previous year, recently released reports from the FDIC and the National Credit Union Association said. Area bank deposits grew by 7.4 percent to $6.15 billion, while area credit union deposits were up 4.1 percent to $2.76 billion during the same period.

More than one-fourth of the area’s deposit increase was generated by a single bank. Deposits held by Colorado Capital Bank’s downtown Colorado Springs branch surged more than fivefold during the 12-month period to $174.4 million mostly because an unidentified trust company deposited more than $100 million at the branch, said John Davis the bank’s CEO. The branch also has been successful in attracting business and nonprofit deposits, he said.

Fred Crowley senior economist for the Southern Colorado Economic Forum said the area’s financial institutions benefitted both from consumers saving more of their income as well as the return of thousands of soldiers to Fort Carson from Afghanistan and Iraq. He also pointed to other economic indicators that reflected an improving Colorado Springs economy, including rising sales tax collections and new vehicle registrations.

“This is another indicator of a recovering local economy, although the recovery has tended to lag in recent months because there is nothing moving it forward right now. That probably won’t show up in the deposit numbers until next year,” Crowley said.

 

32% OF U.S.BUSINESSES PLAN TO HIRE ADDITIONAL STAFF IN 2011

RISMEDIA, October 13, 2010--Businesses across the globe are now looking to hire new staff, in one of the first signs that global economic recovery and growth is on a sustainable upward trajectory. This is the key finding of the bi-annual Regus Business Tracker survey that interviews more than 10,000 businesses around the world.

The fact that companies are looking to hire additional staff will be regarded as a significant indicator that the mindset of organizations has shifted toward investment in growth through human capital. Regus, a global provider of flexible workplace solutions, found that more than a third of companies surveyed said they intend to increase headcount. U.S. business was close to the global average with almost a third (32 percent net) of companies preparing to add new staff in 2011.

These findings are particularly significant, coming in the wake of recent observations from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and International Labour Organization (ILO) that global unemployment has reached record proportions in the last three years (up to 210 million since 2007). These organizations have warned about potential problems for national economies if this trend continues. Unemployment reduces national taxation income and increases public spending. The findings of the Regus Business Tracker provide important evidence that the world unemployment situation may be set to ease in 2011.

The survey canvassed the opinions of more than 10,000 senior business people in 78 countries asking them about their current revenue performance, their profitability, their projected future revenues and their wider expectations of national economic growth. These indicators form the basis for the report's Business Optimism Index, which unusually reflects actual performance as well as near-term outlook. Globally, this edition of the index revealed a far more positive outlook, with a greater proportion of optimist countries than six months ago. For the U.S. in particular, the global index revealed a bullish rating of 87, up seven points on six months ago.

Sande Golgart, regional vice president for Regus, comments: "In spite of this optimism, our research also highlights that 41 percent of companies are still looking to reduce their overhead, through means other than reducing staff. This reveals an attitude of cautious optimism. As companies look to find economies in their own operations, we are likely to see more and more organizations offering flexible working practices to their existing or prospective employees in a bid to achieve a better work-life balance and run a leaner organization."

NEW ASSISTANCE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES 
 

KRCO Tax Alert: The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. Daily real estate News. October 12, 2010  

On September 27, 2010 President Obama signed The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, creating a $30 billion fund to provide capital to community banks to encourage lending to small businesses. The legislation (SBJA) also includes $12 billion in tax relief for small businesses and incentives to encourage investment in them. In addition, there are benefits for larger businesses as well as for the self-employed and individual taxpayers. If any of the following areas apply to your business, you should consult your tax advisor for more details:  

  • Increased exclusion on small business stock gains
  • Increased and expanded Sec. 179 expensing
  • Extended bonus depreciation
  • Extended carryback of general business credit
  • Reduced recognition period for S corporation built-in gains tax 
  • New breaks for the self-employed and individuals

Catch the breaks

Any number of the tax relief provisions listed here could apply to your situation; plus, there are others we didn’t have room to cover. To learn more about how SBJA may affect you or your business, please call (719) 630-1186.

 

FORECLOSURE LOGJAM THREATENS FANNIE, FREDDIE

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mae will force lenders to pay for any losses that the GSEs incur due to a breakdown in the foreclosure process. Fannie and Freddie, the mortgage giants, could lose billions of dollars in a prolonged delay because they would be unable to sell properties that have slipped into foreclosure, explains George Mason University real estate professor Anthony Sanders. Source: Washington Post, (10/12/2010).

One of the biggest reasons for the logjam is because Realtors and Buyers are no longer willing to wait for the lengthy acceptance process.  As a result, Realtors are increasingly not showing foreclosures.   Furthermore, foreclosures are no longer the “best deal in the marketplace.”  Many individual Sellers are now pricing their properties to compete with foreclosures anyway.  And, to add to the problem, some banks are not being as aggressive as they should be on list price.

Perhaps most importantly, as a result of the lawsuits filed by various states regarding “digital signers”, a new set of rules for foreclosures has been issued by the federal government.  As a result of these new rules, Buyers can expect even more delays in the acceptance process for foreclosure offers. 

The bottom line is that, unless a Buyer is willing to put up with unreasonable delays from out of town Lenders, it is probably not the time to put in an offer for a foreclosure.  In our current experience with foreclosures, it is obvious that Lenders do not respect the phrase which appears in every sales contract; “Time Is Of The Essence.”

We will keep you advised on this issue as new information comes in.

 

 HERE’S SOME REALLY GOOD NEWS

The Gazette advises us that, for the second year in a row, Forbes has ranked Colorado as the fourth best state for business and careers. Utah tops the annual list, followed by Virginia and North Carolina. Utah’s economy has expanded 3.5 percent annually over the past five years.

Forbes’ “Our Best States” ranking measures six key categories for businesses: costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, current economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. Business costs, which include labor, energy and taxes, are weighted the most heavily.

Colorado ranked first among the states for labor supply, sixth for economic climate and growth prospects, ninth for quality of life, 15th for regulatory environment and 33rd for business costs.

“Today’s ranking by Forbes shows that our strategies and investments in emerging and innovative industries like clean energy, health care, aerospace, biosciences and technology are working,” Gov. Bill Ritter said in a news release.

For the full list, go to www.forbes.com.

And, please remember, I would be honored to serve as your Broker for all of your residential real estate needs. I want to help you, my reader, make the most prudent and accurate Real Estate business decision.

Also if you know of anyone who desires to buy or sell local real estate, or, who is moving in or out of the Pikes Peak region, remember that, with over 37 years of providing relocation and Real Estate services to clients throughout the country, I am uniquely qualified to assist them with the relocation process, including buying and/or selling their homes on both ends of their move. Please allow me to implement my negotiating skills on your behalf.

Just click on the icon at the top of this email to listen to my latest podcast. ….And, if you would like to learn more about our Job Loss Protection Program, or, about our CyberHomes Complete Market Analysis of a property, please contact us. 

 

 

LATEST STATISTICS 

Click here for the latest Sales and Listing statistics for the Pikes Peak area

 

JOKE OF THE WEEK

 

 

The Costs of Relocation

by Harry Salzman

HARRY’S WEEKLY UPDATE

A CURRENT LOOK AT THE COLORADO SPRINGS RESIDENTAIL real estate MARKET

 

IF THIS GUY SAYS IT’S TIME TO BUY A HOME, BUY A HOME!

“If you don’t own a home, buy one. If you own one home, buy another one. And, if you own two homes, buy a third and send your relatives the money to buy one.”

John Paulson 9/27/2010

WOW! That’s a powerful statement.

There is no question that John Paulson is a bull when it comes to residential real estate right now. Should we care what Mr. Paulson thinks? Should we listen to him? The answer to both questions is a resounding ‘YES’. Here are several reasons why.

Who is John Paulson?

Paulson is the person who made a fortune betting that the subprime mortgage mess would cause the real estate market to collapse. He understands how the housing market works and knows when to buy and when to sell. What do others think of Paulson?

According to Forbes, John Paulson is: “a multibillionaire hedge fund operator and the investment genius who made a killing going short subprime mortgages a few years ago.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Paulson is: “a hedge fund tycoon who made his name, and a fortune, betting against subprime mortgages when no one else even knew what they were”.

What did other financial players think of his statement?

The Wall Street Journal agrees with Paulson:

“Ignore the critics. The odds have to be on his side…It isn’t just that home prices have fallen a long way. It’s also that, if you can get a mortgage, you are basically taking a reverse bet on the bond market. You could be a long-term borrower at fixed rates, instead of a long-term lender. Right now you can borrow for 30 years at around 4.3%. After the mortgage tax deduction, for some people the net effective interest rate is nearer to 3%. That’s going to prove an awesome deal if we see inflation again.”

And Forbes said: “As this is the best time in 50 years to buy homes, Paulson advised his listeners to take 30 year mortgages to buy a home as “your debt and interest payments get locked in at record lows, while the price of your home will rise.”

Are others also saying now is the time to buy? There is a growing number of people saying that NOW is the time to buy, including:

  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Professor Karl Case, founder of the Case Shiller House Pricing Index
  • The wealthiest families in the country and
  • 70% of everyone else in America

Bottom Line

Thinking of buying a home? Are you taking advice from a friend or family member telling you that now is not the time? It may be time to listen to people who better understand the opportunities that exist in real estate today.

 

……AND ANOTHER THING

In September, the Wall Street Journal commented, “Sure, there’s more pain to come in the housing market. But when Time magazine starts running covers that declare, “Owning a home may no longer make economic sense”, it’s time to say; Enough is Enough.”  WSJ went on to post ten reasons to buy a home today.

1.     You can get a good deal

2.     Mortgages are cheap

3.     You can save on taxes

4.     It will be yours

5.     You’ll get a better home

6.     It offers some inflation protection

7.     It’s risk capital

8.     It’s forced savings

9.     There is a lot to choose from

10.  Sooner or later, the market will clear

 

AND FINALLY…

 

The government is now printing money as fast as it can, so it’s obvious that inflation will soon begin to dramatically reduce the purchasing power of the dollar (In fact, the Fed has actually announced that they plan to use inflation as part of their recovery planning). For that reason alone, it’s obvious that everyone, especially those on fixed incomes, will be in real trouble if they don’t protect their purchasing power by investing in something that will grow in value, to offset inflation. (That’s why we are seeing all of the ads for gold on TV.)  A house offers that same type of protection.

 

Don’t let the purchasing power of your money go down the drain.  Call me.

 

 

THE SOUTHERN COLORADO ECONOMIC FORUM IN A NUTSHELL

The recent, annual Southern Colorado Economic Forum brought together local experts from the public, private, and academic sectors to report on our economy. Thought of by many as our region’s economic “State of the Union,” the Forum offered the community an annual snapshot of local economic activity and provided forecasts to help businesses plan for the upcoming year.

This valuable research about where our community has been and where we are headed is made possible through a cooperative effort between UCCS and local business sponsors. This long-standing partnership between the academic and business communities has produced timely, accurate, and objective economic data to guide local businesses for nearly a decade.

Featured at this year’s forum on Oct.1, were Tom Zwirlein, Professor of Finance at UCCS and founder of the Forum and Fred Crowley, Senior Economist for the Forum. Both speakers could hardly contain their enthusiasm as they reviewed the data that formed the basis for their forecast for the regional economy in 2011.

“The flavor of the Fourteenth Annual Southern Colorado Economic Forum is a lot more optimistic than the last couple of years,” Crowley said.

“Yeah, but remember we’re coming off historic lows,” Zwirlein added. “Anything is an improvement.”

Their presentation analyzed everything from unemployment rates, personal income, population, retail trade and construction activity as part of the event that drew more than 500 Colorado Springs business leaders to the Forum on Oct. 1. The forum offered a glimpse into the future, one that has proven accurate, though not always popular.

Joining Crowley and Zwirlein was Gary Schlossberg, a senior economist with Wells Fargo Capital Management who provided a national and international outlook. A panel discussion featured Norman Bellingham, chief operating officer, U.S. Olympic Committee, Tom Duening, El Pomar Chair of Business and Entrepreneurship, and Elliot Pulham, chief executive officer, U.S. Space Foundation. Steve Helbing, regional president, Wells Fargo, moderated the panel.

“There are clearly lots of indicators that southern Colorado is turning a corner, A 22 percent increase coming off a year when you saw a 15 percent drop isn’t quite as impressive as you might want to believe,” Crowley said. “But for those who anticipated a V-type recovery, that’s probably not going to happen. It’s going to be, as we have predicted, a long, bottom-feeding recovery.”

Officially, the U.S. economy was in recession from Dec. 2007 to June 2009. For Colorado Springs, the lowest point was Feb. 2009 with modest increases in major indicators for the past several months, Crowley said. Buffering the Colorado Springs economy was the strong local presence of the military. But even the military’s presence cannot balance a 55 percent loss in manufacturing jobs that occurred over the past decade. Many of the job losses occurred in complex electronics manufacturing. Nationally, manufacturing jobs are down 31 percent during the same period.

A complete copy of all of the charts and analysis presented at the Forum is available from the Colorado Springs Business Journal. http://csbj.com/2009/10/30/southern-colorado-economic-forum-report-available/

JUST LIKE THE REST OF THE NATION, OUR LOCAL ECONOMY WILL DEPEND UPON JOBS

As was expected, the Forum emphasized that the speed of our local economic recovery will depend largely upon JOBS. For that reason, it was encouraging to hear the presentation that explained how Colorado Springs is approaching the challenge of attracting new employers to our region. As Dave White, executive vice president of marketing for the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corp. recently explained in an interview, “An average of 15 to 20 companies move from other states to Colorado Springs every year and 30% are from Southern California. Approximately 60 Southern California companies are currently looking at Colorado Springs for a possible relocation”, he added.

A couple of the most recent California catches are Billet Racing Products that moved from Laguna Niguel in September, and Corinthian Colleges in Santa Ana that just opened an enrollment center in Colorado Springs that will employ 600.

“Every state in America is focusing on attracting businesses from California,” Dave said.

Here are some of his favorite selling points for California firms to move to Colorado Springs :

  • California’s top income tax is 10.55%; Colorado’s is 4.63%
  • California’s top corporate income tax is 8.84%; Colorado’s is 4.63%  based only on sales within Colorado
  • Colorado’s worker’s compensation insurance costs 25% what California businesses pay
  • Colorado Spring Utilities’ electricity rate is 4.5 cents per kilowatt hour; Southern California Edison’s is 10 cents
  • Colorado Spring’s property tax rate is 0.4% to 0.5% of real value depending on location; Orange County’s is 1% (or more for Mello Roos fees, for example)

 

 ‘We do have a campaign. We think Colorado Springs is a good match for companies seeking to relocate. We can’t compete with southern states that throw millions of dollars in incentives and tax breaks at big projects. Our sweet spot is small to mid-sized companies where the owner moves with the company. They’re driven as much by lifestyle as by incentives.’

Colorado does offer incentives to relocating companies, but they don’t receive them until they create new jobs, White said. For example:

  • The state and city may give as much as $5,000 per job plus tax credits.
  • The city might rebate the property tax up to $800 per job.
  • The legislature just passed an additional $2,500 per job credit against the corporate income tax.

 

‘We also have asked private entities to provide incentives,’ he added. ‘A country club might waive the membership fee, or the health clubs might give six months free membership. We have a pass to various tourist sites. We don’t have the beaches but we do have Pikes Peak.’

“And when business executives come to check out the town, the governor, mayor and civic and business leaders show up to greet them”, White added.

 

ARE YOU AN EMPLOYER ABOUT TO RELOCATE AN EMPLOYEE – OR – ARE YOU PLANNING TO MOVE TO A NEW JOB? HERE ARE SOME STARTLING FACTS !!!

In the September issue of Mobility Magazine, the monthly publication of Worldwide ERC, the organization for relocation specialists, there was a detailed analysis of the trends and costs to a company of relocating employees. In general, the volume of employee-transfers by companies shows a recession-caused decline similar to other, similar industries, but the numbers also show a comparably-modest increase this year. However, one of the statistics that might shock the reader involves the average costs related to relocating employees.

The Mobility data chart shows that, if a company transfers a current employee who owns a home, the average cost to the employer will be $90,017. A new-hire homeowner transfer will cost the company $66,610. A current-employee renter transfer will cost the company $20,750 to relocate and a new-hire renter will cost the company $17,877.

There are several significant aspects to these numbers. First of all, it is obvious that smart employers must take into account the homeowner status of any prospective transferee when making decisions related to relocation.  Secondly, most transferees are not aware of these costs and will undoubtedly be surprised by how much their transfer will cost them or their employer.

But perhaps the most important lesson to be learned from these numbers is that moving a household from one city to another is not simply a matter of hiring a moving van. Professional relocation specialists can help reduce costs to employers and to individuals is such areas as temporary housing, vehicle rentals, moving van costs, pet housing, sale of housing on one end and locating and purchasing of housing on the other end of the move, providing reliable, reputable service-providers in the new city, etc., etc., etc..

We’ve been specializing in relocation for 37 years. If you are about to be transferred, call us.

 

LATEST STATISTICS

Click here for the latest Sales and Listing statistics for the Pikes Peak area

And, please remember, I would be honored to serve as your Broker for all of your residential real estate needs. I want to help you, my reader, make the most prudent and accurate Real Estate business decision.

Also if you know of anyone who desires to buy or sell local real estate, or, who is moving in or out of the Pikes Peak region, remember that, with over 37 years of providing relocation and Real Estate services to clients throughout the country, I am uniquely qualified to assist them with the relocation process, including buying and/or selling their homes on both ends of their move. Please allow me to implement my negotiating skills on your behalf.

Just click on the icon at the top of this email to listen to my latest podcast. ….And, if you would like to learn more about our Job Loss Protection Program, or, about our CyberHomes Complete Market Analysis of a property, please contact us. 

JOKE OF THE WEEK

LET'S TALK ABOUT SHORT SALES

by Harry Salzman

October 4, 2010 

HARRY'S WEEKLY UPDATE

A CURRENT LOOK AT THE COLORADO SPRINGS RESIDENTIAL real estate MARKET

 

LET'S TALK ABOUT SHORT SALES -

A term that has become very familiar to anyone involved with real estate in today's market is "short sale". This process allows a homeowner to sell his/her house for less than his/her mortgage balance, if the mortgage-holder (lender) approves the deal. The benefits of a short sale are that it allows the lender to avoid the lengthy and expensive process of foreclosure. It allows the homeowner to avoid the financial and credit-related problems arising from foreclosure. And, finally, it offers buyers the opportunity to acquire bargain-priced properties.

So far this year, 12% of home sales nationally have been short sales. Locally, in August, 6.4% of our home sales were short-sales. To help put this figure into perspective, consider that in August of 2007, just before the national recession hit, short sales made up just 1.8% of our local sales. 

So, what's the problem?

In today's market, the bottleneck in this whole short-sale process has been the banks. For whatever reason, banks have taken so long to respond to prospective buyers' offers for short-sale properties that many prospective buyers get tired of waiting for approval from the lender and just give up and walk away from the deal.

Banks cite a lack of personnel as the main reason for this excessive delay in responding to short-sale offers. However, Congress does not view that as a valid excuse for the delays and has introduced a bill (H.R. 6133, "Prompt Decision for Qualification of Short Sale Act of 2010") that would require lenders to respond to consumer short-sale requests within 45 days. We fully support this effort and hope that it will eliminate the bottleneck that currently frustrates all parties involved in the short-sale process.

This is the problem that we discussed in our interview with The Gazette last Sunday. As we pointed out in that interview, there are some short sale great deals out there, but, in order for you to take advantage of them, you will need the assistance of a knowledgeable Realtor. ..a Realtor who knows how to work with local and national lenders and who can negotiate effectively on your behalf. And, you will also need the patience to work with your Realtor to push the offer through the maze of short-sale obstacles to a successful closing.

Call us.

 

LATEST STATISTICS

The latest Pikes Peak Association of Realtors Sales and Listing report for the month of September shows total monthly residential sales of 603. The average sales price was $230,419 and the median sales price was $195,000.

Total sales for January through September were 6,371. The average sales price was $227,467 and the average number of days on the market was 89.

The monthly statistics show that the number of sales this September was down 26.7% compared with last year. Sales were down 12.4% this August compared with last year, but the average sale price this September was $230,419, which represents a sale price increase of 4.3% over last year. (Click here to see the complete PPAR monthly report)

Bottom line: So far this year, the number of sales is down, but prices have risen 4.3%.

Normally, a "Reasonably balance" of sales vs homes for sale consists of a 3-4 month inventory. Using current sales history, we now have a 10 month inventory of homes for sale.

So, if you are an investor, or a prospective investor, consider all of these facts: There is an oversupply of homes for sale. Prices seem to have bottomed-out and are on the rise. Interest rates are still at record lows. (Today, we can arrange for a 30 year, fixed-rate mortgage at 4.75%). You can "buy cheap", right now.

If you are a seller, or, if you would like to sell your home but have been scared off by the very competitive market, consider this: You can probably refinance your present home at a lower rate. You can purchase a new home at a low price and at a great interest rate and keep your present home as a rental property. You can then ride out the present slump in prices and wait until the market goes back up to sell your present home (or, keep it as a rental. Either way, you win).

If you are uneasy about owning rental property, consider this. Leaving aside details such as population growth, today there are as many families in homes as there were five years ago. The difference is that five years ago, perhaps 30% of those families were renters and 70% were homeowners. Today, the percentage of renters is rising.. Because of foreclosures and short sales, more families are either renting or looking for rentals. They could be your first renters in your new rental property. How does this tie in with your retirement plans?

Call us.

 

THE 2010 SOUTHERN COLORADO ECONOMIC FORUM WAS EXCITING

As always, the SCEF was a "sold-out" success. Leaders from the local and national business communities joined with UCCS and with local "Think Tank" experts to present a detailed picture of where our local economy is and where it is going. The topics discussed were encouraging for our local businesses and forecast a healthy recovery over the next few years.

To quote from the Forum Report's Business Conditions Index, "As of June 2010, the BCI is up approximately 19.1% from its low. The local economy is exhibiting traditional recovery patterns in most BCI components. Foreclosures peaked, building permits are increasing, manufacturing activity is increasing and new car sales are increasing. Much of this is reflected in the almost 30% improvement in consumer sentiment since February 2009".

In future Weekly Updates, we will report in more detail about the presentations at the Forum  In the meantime, we offer our thanks to all of the people who presented the Forum and who are working so hard to improve the economy and the quality of life in Southern Colorado.

Things are definitely looking up !!!

And, please remember, I would be honored to serve as your Broker for all of your residential real estate needs. I want to help you, my reader, make the most prudent and accurate Real Estate business decision.

Also if you know of anyone who desires to buy or sell local real estate, or, who is moving in or out of the Pikes Peak region, remember that, with over 37 years of providing relocation and Real Estate services to clients throughout the country, I am uniquely qualified to assist them with the relocation process, including buying and/or selling their homes on both ends of their move. Please allow me to implement my negotiating skills on your behalf.

Just click on the icon at the top of this email to listen to my latest podcast. ..And, if you would like to learn more about our Job Loss Protection Program, or, about our CyberHomes Complete Market Analysis of a property, please contact us. 

 

JOKE OF THE WEEK

Heaven is a place where:

  • The lovers are Italian
  • The cooks are French
  • The mechanics are German
  • The police are English
  • The government is run by the Swiss

Hell is a place where:

  • The lovers are Swiss
  • The cooks are English
  • The mechanics are French
  • The police are German
  • The government is run by the Italians

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Harry A Salzman
Salzman Real Estate Services
5475 Tech Center Drive, Suite 300
Colorado Springs CO 80919
719-593-1000 or Toll Free: 800-677-MOVE(6683)
Cell: 719-231-1285
Fax: 719-548-9357

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