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HARRY'S BI-WEEKLY UPDATE 10.26.15

by Harry Salzman

October 26, 2015

HARRY’S BI-WEEKLY UPDATE

                         A Current Look at the Colorado Springs Residential real estate Market

As part of my Personal Service, it is my desire to share current real estate issues that will help to make you a more successful and profitable buyer or seller.                             

SOMETHING TO SHARE FROM MY BOSTON relocation CONFERENCE

When the last issue was being published I had just returned from the relocation Directors Council (RDC) and Worldwide ERC Symposium in Boston.  I would like to share an issue that we relocation professionals talk about each and every year.  It’s importance to you as a buyer or seller cannot be overemphasized. 

As many of you know, I am a relocation specialist and “relocation” can mean anything from relocating around the world to simply around the block.  There are always many things to consider when making a move, and more especially when it involves moving to a new city or country.  At this conference I have the pleasure of meeting with various people who are involved in residential relocation on a daily basis—the human resources people of national and international companies, relocation real estate professionals, lenders, moving companies, temporary housing specialists and many others who are crucial in helping folks make a move.  This helps me know who, like me, is at the top of their field so that I can recommend them to my clients. 

It was noted at one of my meetings that the most recent Transfer Volume and Cost Survey of Worldwide ERC reported that companies relocating employees saw a four percent increase in transfer volume among current employees and a seven percent increase among new hires in 2014 over 2013.  The survey also indicated that about 80 percent of current employee relocations in the U.S. are interstate moves vs. intrastate moves and that since 2012 there has been an employee reluctance to relocate. 

Some of the reasons for that are the short time frame given to accept the offer and short time to relocate.  That’s where relocation experts provide the greatest help.  We can provide information that can help an employee make a relocation decision in a short time period based on answers to questions concerning the new city, neighborhood demographics, housing possibilities and more.

If someone is moving to Colorado Springs from elsewhere and needs to sell their current home, I have a built-in network of relocation real estate brokers who I can recommend, resting assured they will do a good job for my clients on that end. This also works in reverse, as oftentimes I have local folks who are being transferred and don’t know where to start in looking for a new home in a new city.  I can provide assistance simply by giving referrals to relocation specialists in other cities who I know will get the job done right. 

relocation is About So Much More than real estate

It’s important for anyone planning a move to work with a Realtor such as I who can understand the “little things” that are not so little in the eyes of the ones making the move. It’s important for those of us involved in relocation to understand not only the culture of the company if the move is for business, but also to understand the family dynamics involved.  Moving to a new neighborhood can be traumatic for ALL family members, and especially children who may be transferring to a new school and want kids the same age living in the neighborhood.   

Lifestyle preferences, such as proximity to shopping, restaurants, and sports venues are other considerations that can be important to those making a move.

Understanding the demographics of all local neighborhoods is crucial to making certain that the needs and desires of the entire family are met.  This may sound like a given, but oftentimes the adult family members hear from their well meaning co-workers-to-be and friends that “such and such” a neighborhood is fabulous—and it may well be.  But if it is comprised of mostly “empty nesters” or “young singles”, it probably is not the best place for the young members of the family to find friends and schoolmates their age. 

Why do I mention this?  For the same reason that we keep discussing this at our meetings. It’s a reminder that no matter where you might be moving, the importance of working with a knowledgeable real estate Professional who understands the ins and outs of relocating people shouldn’t be overlooked —be it for a single person making a move to another city or a family moving locally to a new neighborhood.  Each and every move is based on individual preferences, wants and needs and someone like myself can make certain that it’s as stress-free as possible for all those involved. 

After discussions with my clients concerning their particular lifestyle and professional needs I can then begin to piece together what will be a master plan for that situation and begin the search for the best neighborhood and home for that criteria.  After all, with more than 43 years in the real estate arena, I’ve proven time and again that my particular brand of customer service is essential in easing the road to closing.

If you, or any co-worker or family member are thinking of making a move—locally or out of the area—please give me a call at 598.3200 or email me at Harry@HarrySalzman.com and let me do what I do best—work to help relocate you or them to the “best fit” for all concerned.

 

LOCAL MONTHLY INDICATORS FOR SEPTEMBER PROVIDE GOOD NEWS ONCE AGAIN

Piles Peak REALTORS Services Corp.  Current as of October 12, 2015

It’s always nice to publish good news and lately the Residential real estate news for El Paso and Teller Counties has been excellent.  As promised, I will publish these Monthly Indicators when they are available to me. 

The September 2015 “Activity Snapshot” indicates the one-year change:

  • Sold listings for All Properties were up 16.9%
  • Median Sales Price for All Properties was up 5.5%
  • Active Listings in All Properties was down 30.0%

You will see all the activity presented in easy to read charts by clicking here.  This is such good news both for present homeowners and those either looking to sell and trade up or buy for the first time. 

Interest rates are remaining at historic lows for the present time and the increase in home prices is allowing those who were “underwater” with their mortgages to finally have the equity to pursue avenues that were unavailable to them before. 

And, with the rental market exploding, those who have considered purchasing real estate for investment purposes are finding that now is a great time to proceed. 

If you have any questions about this report or need help with any real estate concerns, please give me a call.

 

FANNIE MAE TO EASE THE LOAN PROCESS FOR POTENTIAL BORROWERS

Remember when you had to provide a pay stub to your mortgage lender along with your application?  Well, those days will soon be gone once the changes announced by Fannie Mae catch on.

Lenders will be allowed to use employment and income information from a database maintained by credit bureau Equifax to verify borrowers’ ability to handle a loan, rather than relying on the traditional documentation process of collection physical copies of paystubs and tax data.  This should make the mortgage process easier for both borrowers and lenders.

Fannie has also made other changes that could broaden mortgage access for some borrowers.  The mortgage giant will ease the lender process for granting loans to borrowers who don’t have a credit score which is a key issue for certain minority groups that are less likely to have traditional credit histories.  Fannie will also start requiring lenders to begin collecting “trended” credit data from Equifax and TransUnion, which includes longer-term borrower credit histories, starting in mid-2016.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac don’t make loans—they buy them from lenders and wrap them into securities and provide guarantees to make lenders whole if the loans default.  Because of this, since the financial crisis mortgage lenders have relied on government-backed loans, making Fannie and Freddie’s requirements especially important in deciding what borrowers are able to get a mortgage.  This has caused some borrowers to have a harder time obtaining a loan.

New programs rolled out in August let lenders count income from non-borrowers within a household, such as extended family members, toward qualifying for a loan.  Also, for more than a year, industry groups have pushed for Fannie and Freddie to allow the lenders to use alternative credit-score models that take into account utility or rent payments. Fannie Mae officials recently announced that in 2016 they would begin to allow lenders to evaluate borrowers without a score provided by an automated process.  Borrowers that have a traditional scored calculated by Fair Isaac will still need to meet the 620 minimum on a scale of 300 to 850.

Fannie isn’t yet saying what the trended credit data will be used for now; however, it will let Fannie see if borrowers, for example, are paying off their credit card bill every month instead making a minimum payment.  In the future, a borrower making the full payment could be treated as a safer bet and could provide better rates for those folks.

Look for more information coming in the next few months, but everything I’ve read seems to indicate that Fannie Mae is looking at various options to help those with no or poor credit, or without personal down payment ability to still be able to qualify for a home mortgage.  This is great news for first time buyers or those who lost homes due to the housing or other crisis.  I’ll keep you posted. 

 

5 TOP MOTIVATORS FOR BUYING NOW

REALTOR Mag, 10.1.15

A survey taken in June and July through the BDX Home Shopper Insights Panel  identified the top reasons that trigger buyers to start thinking about a new home:

  1. I’m tired of my house.  This was the number one reason.  Homeowners have been in their homes longer than in the past, some due to “underwater” mortgages. With a four-year price appreciation and confidence in the market, they are ready to move.
  2. Interest rate are attractive.  With interest rates continuing at historic lows, many who were stuck with higher rate mortgages due to “underwater” situations can now move and quite possibly spend less on a monthly payment, or can certainly buy more for the same money.
  3. Home prices are favorable.  While the price motivation is decreasing in the last few years, it still remains one of the top triggers.  Home prices today, while rising, are still about 20 percent lower than the peak at the height of the housing bubble.
  4. “I’ve got more money to spend.”  Twenty-four percent of active homebuyers say an increase in income is their primary trigger for buying a home now.   Several years post-recession, more households are financially better off.  Of the 25-to-34-year-olds surveyed, having more money was cited as their No.1 motivator in buying. 
  5. A change in family circumstance.  With births rising last year and expecting to rise again this year, families are expanding and 18 percent of those surveyed said that a change in family circumstance or composition was their main reason for buying.

So there you have it.  No matter what YOUR motivation might be for buying a new home, I’m here to help you in any way I can.  With so many new regulations and qualifications, there are plenty of ways to help all who are looking to find a home.  Give me a call and let’s see if we can make all this good news work for you and your family. 

 

HARRY’S JOKES OF THE DAY

Job Well Done

Seller to Agent:  You’ve done such a great job describing my house in your real estate listing that I’ve decided to keep it!

 

Ten Commandments

A real-estate agent, had difficulty getting a listing from a customer whose theory was that "there is no substitute for experience."

After she asked him a third time how many years he had been in the business, he told her: "Madam, there is a little-known historical fact that Moses brought three tablets down from the mountain--two were the Ten Commandments and the other was my real-estate license!" He got the listing!

 

And, one that’s probably more true than funny….

 

HARRY'S BI-WEEKLY UPDATE 10.13.15

by Harry Salzman

                       

October 13, 2015

HARRY’S BI-WEEKLY UPDATE

           A Current Look at the Colorado Springs Residential real estate Market

As part of my Personal Service, it is my desire to share current real estate issues that will help to make you a more successful and profitable buyer or seller.

                                     

 INTERNATIONAL relocation CONFERENCE WAS QUITE EDUCATIONAL

As many of you know, I spent last week in Boston attending the semi-annual Worldwide ERC Global Workforce Symposium.  Once again, I was the only Residential Realtor from Colorado Springs in attendance.  I attend these conferences in order to keep current on all the nuances involved in helping to make relocation as stress-free as possible for my clients. 

Meeting with HR Directors of International and U.S. companies and with representatives of actual movers, banks, and other entities who are involved with relocating folks from all over the world as well as simply around the block, helps me provide my clients with the best services available.

I also participate in sessions of the relocation Directors Council (RDC), an organization of which I am a Past President and Life Member. The organization is composed of 250 relocation Directors and Executives, many of who are Certified Relocation Professionals as well as Global Mobility Specialists.  We represent 5,000 real estate Offices and 215,000 Sales Associates.   This is a network of individuals I’ve known and worked with for many years.  I know when I have a client relocating to or from another city I can refer one of my clients to them and they will provide the same kind of excellent customer service that you’ve come to expect from me. 

Of course, Boston wasn’t all work and no play.  We had a great look at history in our visits, among others, to the John F. Kennedy Library and the Boston Public Library with it’s current exhibit of “We Are One, Mapping America’s Road from Revolution to Independence”.

And of course, no trip to Boston would be complete without a walk along “The Freedom Trail”, where the above photo was taken at the Old State House.  I couldn’t help but email a copy of it to my friend Vencat Reddy, Dean of the UCCS School of Business, as I knew he’d agree and it most certainly mirrors my personal philosophy. 

That’s one of the primary reasons I take the time to publish my eNewsletter—I know that the more my clients understand about what’s happening in the real estate arena, the better prepared they can be when it’s time to buy, sell, trade up or invest. 

Having just returned, I will go through the myriad materials I accumulated there and hope to share some of this knowledge with you in the next issue.

 

SEPTEMBER 2015 IS THE 14TH STRAIGHT MONTH OF INCREASED LOCAL RESIDENTIAL real estate SALES

Statistics provided by the Pikes Peak REALTORS Service Corp, or it’s PPMLS

This is beginning to sound like a broken record—but there we go again!  I am happy to report that things are continuing to look excellent for the Pikes Peak Region in the Residential real estate Market.

In the Cumulative Year-To-Date Summary you will see that total sales numbers in Single Family/Patio Homes is up 19.3% over the same period last year.  And Condo/Townhome sales are up 33.5% over the same period last year.

You will also see that while total active listings still remain down from the same period last year, new listings in September were up 7.2% in the Single Family/Patio Homes category from the same period last year.

These numbers continue to reflect strong consumer confidence and local job growth, along with low interest rates that many feel won’t be around much longer.  More and more folks are taking advantage of increased home equity in order to sell and trade up while getting still historically low interest rates.

Increased new listings mean more choices for those looking to buy. It is still somewhat of a Sellers market, so it’s important to know what you want, need and can afford prior to the hunt for a new home.  Making a quick decision can be necessary at times in order to get the home you want. 

If you’ve been thinking about using the current equity available in your present home for a down payment on a new home, don’t wait any longer if you want to take advantage of the still low interest rates.  “Wait and see” is no longer an option in most cases.

To discover the options available for you, give me a call sooner than later and let’s see what we can do to make this happen.  I can be reached at 598.3200 or by email at Harry@HarrySalzman.com

Here are some highlights from the September 2015  PPAR report.  Please click here to view the detailed 13-pages, including charts for September 2015. If you have any questions, as always, just give me a holler.

In comparing September 2015 to September 2014 in PPAR:                       

                        Single Family/Patio Homes:

  • New Listings are 1,339, Up 7.2%
  • Number of Sales are 1,191, Up 16.1%
  • Average Sales Price is $267,612, Up 5.7%
  • Median Sales Price is $240,000, Up 6.7%
  • Total Active Listings are 3,215, Down 16.1%

                        Condo/Townhomes:

  • New Listings are 165, Down 4.1%
  • Number of Sales are 183, Up 19.6%
  • Average Sales Price is $178,978, Up 10.2%
  • Median Sales Price is $160,000, Up 6.7%
  • Total Active Listings are 277, Down 31.6%

COLORADO SPRINGS AREA MONTHLY SINGLE FAMILY/PATIO HOME SALES ANALYSIS*

                                                Median Sales Price             Average Sales Price

Black Forest                            $411,250                              $409,695

Briargate                                  $293,500                              $319,079         

Central                                     $193,300                              $211,233

East                                          $191,000                              $209,223

Fountain Valley:                      $205,900                              $210,987

Manitou Springs:                    $365,000                              $378,957

Marksheffel:                            $248,000                             $253,153

Northeast:                               $235,000                             $252,751

Northgate:                              $370,500                              $413,682    

Northwest:                              $355,000                              $354,643

Old Colorado City:                 $227,500                             $245,026

Powers:                                   $225,000                             $236,423

Southwest:                             $270,000                             $305,693

Tri-Lakes:                               $392,500                             $428,458

West:                                       $243,000                             $320,011

*Statistics provided by the Pikes Peak REALTORS Services Corp,or its PPMLS.

 

NEW MORTGAGE LOAN DOCUMENTS DESIGNED TO HELP BORROWERS

RealtorMag, 10.2.15, Wall Street Journal, 10.2.15

Mortgage borrowers are now finding it easier to compare different loan products and understand the total cost of their loan under new rules that took effect on October 3, 2015.  These changes are part of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) “know before you owe” initiative.  They aim to provide consumers with more time to review total costs of their mortgage prior to closing. 

Here’s the breakdown of the changes:

Four previous documents are now reduced to two. 

  1. The Loan Estimate”, provided by the lender at the time of mortgage approval, will replace two of the documents, The Good Faith Estimate and the initial Truth-in-Lending Statement.
  2. The  “Closing Disclosure”, provided by the lender just before closing, will replace the HUD-1 Settlement Statement and the final Truth-in-Lending Statement.

There is no way to even compare the Good Faith Estimate with the new Loan Estimate according to many lenders.  The document has changed dramatically, but the changes are now very consumer-friendly.

Consumers can now easily check to see whether the loan amount, interest rate, monthly payment, escrow sum and the amount that a borrower needs to bring to the closing (a new feature) have changed from the lender’s initial estimate.  The Loan Estimate also itemizes all closing costs and indicates which services a borrower can shop for, such as the title-search company and pest inspector.

Also included is information to help the borrower better understand the long-term costs of the loan, and shows what a borrower will have paid in principal, interest, mortgage insurance and other loan costs at the five-year mark. 

In order to help with comparison-shopping, the Loan Estimate will detail the annual percentage rate (APR) so a borrower can put documents side by side and easily compare overall costs between different loan products such as a 15-year and 30-year mortgage.  The APR factors in mortgage-broker fees and closing costs along with the interest rate. 

Now also shown is the total loan interest percentage—the total amount of interest that a borrower will pay over the term as a percentage of the loan amount.

The Closing Disclosure also is more consumer-friendly than the documents it replaces and now shows what portion of the payment goes toward homeowner’s insurance, mortgage insurance, interest and taxes.

With the forms much less confusing and more concise, mortgage borrowers are going to get a much better picture of what they will owe at closing and throughout the lifetime of the loan. 

There is one rule change that is of concern to some lenders but should not affect most borrowers.  That rule mandates three business days for hard copies of the Closing Disclosure to be received by mail and reviewed for any issues or errors by the borrower.  If no issues arise, closing can take place three days later.  This applies even if the document is hand delivered or electronically sent.

If there are late changes in the loan terms, such as switching from a fixed-rate loan to an adjustable-rate, a new Closing Disclosure form may be required which could delay closing.  This could hurt in a highly competitive market where multiple offers and bidding wars with cash offers are possible. 

However, the CFPB emphasized that the disclosure form and waiting period were designed to help borrowers pick the best loan option for their individual situation and that this could even take away some stress because borrowers will know a week in advance if they are going to close.

 

LOCAL CONSTRUCTION PACE CLIMBS

The Gazette, 10.2.15

For the eighth straight month in year-over-year comparison, homebuilders in El Paso County increased the number of permits issued to builders and individuals.  The 233 total for September was almost a 30% increase over last September, and brought the year to date total to 2,135—a 14% jump over the same period last year. 

Factors for this are similar to those in local existing-home sales—low interest rates, increased consumer confidence and increased equity which allows homeowners to sell and trade up to a new home.

Area statistics are mirroring those across the county, where construction spending in August increased 0.7% to the highest level since May 2008. 

 

RATE INCREASES ARE STILL A POSSIBILITY THIS YEAR

While inflation is remaining flat and the Federal Reserve did not increase interest rates at their September meeting, there are signs that an increase is still possible before the year’s end.

Stock market volatility in the U.S. as well as in foreign markets is thought to be a side effect of those waiting to see what the Fed does in terms of rate increases and there are those that want the Fed to either raise the rates or stop talking about it.

I certainly don’t want to predict what will happen, but at some point we know the rates WILL go up, and with them, the end of historically low mortgage lending rates.  Rising rates can make a significant difference in monthly mortgage payments so if you’ve been even considering whether it’s the time to make a move—it’s worth checking it out soon. 

A word to the wise can never hurt!

 

HARRY’S PHILOSOPHY OF THE DAY

Two real estate agents decided to start a new career to sell shoes. The agents go to Africa to open up new markets.

Three days after arriving, one real estate agent said, "I’m returning on the next flight. Can’t sell shoes here. Everybody goes barefoot."

At the same time the other real estate agent sent an email to the factory saying, "The prospects are unlimited. Nobody wears shoes here!"

Guess which agent I am?  Happy Wednesday.

 

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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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