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HARRY'S BI-WEEKLY UPDATE 2.19.19

by Harry Salzman

February 19, 2019

 

HARRY’S BI-WEEKLY UPDATE

                         A Current Look at the Colorado Springs Residential real estate Market

As part of my Unique Brand of 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.

GOOD NEWS FOR COLORADO SPRINGS HOMEOWNERS ONCE AGAIN

National Association of REALTORS® 2.12.19

The latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors put a smile on my face and I am happy to share the good news with you.  While home appreciation is not moving as quickly as in the recent past, the Fourth Quarter 2018 report of Median Sales Price of Existing Single-Family Homes for Metropolitan Areas shows the U.S. average of the 178 measured statistical areas (MSAs) to be 4.0%. 

Now for the GREAT NEWS--the report lists the median sales price of existing homes in Colorado Springs at 7.4%--almost double the national average!  (To see the report in its entirely please click here.)

This is a fabulous news for our city.  Lots of companies have been entering our market area and along with them come folks who are relocating and need places to live.  Our inclusion in so many “top” lists, such as “Best Place to Live”, “Best Place for Small Business” and “Best Quality of Life City” all are contributing to our growth and in turn, our housing price increases.  

A big shout out needs to go to Mayor John Suthers and his team, as well as the Colorado Springs City Council members who are betting big on growth and following through with plans for our continued success into the future.  

However, good as this news may be, it also brings some challenges in local residential real estate.  With prices increasing, some folks and especially those looking for starter homes, are being priced out of the market.  I’m finding fewer homes for sale in the $250,000 to $300,000 range. With rental prices continuing to increase, a number of my investor clients are picking up one or more of those available homes and I suspect they will continue to do so.  

With interest rates still historically low, folks who have been waiting are realizing that there’s now a window of opportunity to lock in a good rate, and along with it a lower monthly payment.  It’s still a great time for sellers, too.  Just this past week, clients of mine have had to make offers over listing price in order to close the deal.  

My advice to you?  There’s still time to get in on a low mortgage rate but no one knows just how long that will last.  If you are looking to buy, either to trade up, move to a new neighborhood, find a starter home, or simply for investment purposes…NOW is the time.  

And that’s where my 46 plus years of experience in the local residential real estate arena comes into play.  I look after my clients in a way that is hard to beat.  Let me cite just one example, if I may:

A client was looking to purchase a new home and the builder provided them with a “standard” contract.  I, of course, advised them to run it by a real estate attorney but also looked at it for them.  When the changes were presented to the builder, his comment was, “Wow, we’ve had several real estate folks purchase homes for themselves and they signed the contract with few changes, if any.” 

What does that tell you?  Well…it tells me that if that builder is buying a home for himself, he better not be using those agents…he needs me! 

I pride myself in looking after my clients just as I would if I was purchasing a home for myself. After all these years, I know the “ins and outs” of what it takes to get to the closing table and also when it pays to walk away.  I wouldn’t be doing my job if I was “only” a salesman.  Most any agent can sell a house—but it takes my special brand of customer service to make certain that it fits the specific wants, needs and budget of my clients.  

That’s why I’m called The real estate Therapist.  I want my clients to have a happier life and enjoying their home is a big step forward. Not only does a home represent a big part of their financial security, it also plays a role in the continued happiness of the family. At this point in my career I take pleasure in working with the children and grandchildren of former clients and nothing makes me happier than to help in their financial and personal successes.

If you’re ready to make a move…I’m willing and ready to help. Simply give me a call at 593.1000 or email me at Harry@HarrySalzman.comand let’s get the ball rolling.

 

JANUARY 2019 LOCAL MARKET UPDATE AND MONTHLY INDICATORS ILLUSTRATE OUR LOCAL TRENDS IN DETAIL

Colorado Association of REALTORS® ,Pikes Peak REALTORS Service Corp, or it’s PPMLS

As I mentioned in the last issue, PPAR no longer publishes the Colorado Springs local neighborhood statistics that I used to publish in the first eNewsletter of each month.  They do publish Monthly Indicators for El Paso and Teller Counties as they have previously.  This report provides greater detail than the first of the month reports and I will continue to provide this to you.  

The Local Market Update also provides information on both Colorado Springs and Teller counties for residential real estate.  It is broken down by geographical areas, but no longer by specific local neighborhoods, and you can look to see how your geographic area is doing in terms of sales, prices, and more.  If you want information on a specific neighborhood, simply give me a call and I will be happy to provide those statistics for you.

     The “Activity Snapshot” for all residential properties in El Paso and Teller counties shows the Year to Date one-year change:

  • Sold Listings for All Properties were down 6.1%
  • Median Sales Price for All Properties was up 4.3%
  • Active Listings on All Properties were up 11.9%

You can click here to read the 16-page Monthly Indicators or click here to get specific information on the neighborhood of your choice from the 18-page Local Market Update. I recommend that you check out your own area or one that you are considering, to get a good idea of the local pulse. I have reprinted just one area, Woodland Park, below to show you the type of information available for all residential areas in both El Paso and Teller counties.

 

MORTGAGE RATES FALL TO 10-MONTH LOW

Realtor Magazine, 2.8.19

As I mentioned earlier, borrowing costs have been cheaper recently since the mortgage rates have continue inching down.  

According to Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, “The U.S. economy remains on solid ground, inflation is contained, and the threat of higher short-term rates is fading from view, which has allowed mortgage rates to drift down to their lowest in 10 months.”

“This is great news for consumers who will be looking for homes during the upcoming spring homebuying season.  Mortgage rates are essentially similar to a year ago, but today’s buyers have a larger selection of homes and more consumer bargaining power than they did the last few years,” he added.

I might add that while this is basically true, please consider what I mentioned before concerning our local market.  I’m still seeing bidding wars and over list price sales, mostly in the lower price ranges.  The good news is that with appreciation not moving as fast as a year ago, this, mixed with lower interest rates, is making it possible for some who feared they had missed out to get another opportunity to buy.

And once more…don’t wait too long.  Call me soon and let’s see what I can do to help make your residential real estate dreams come true.

 

HARRY'S BI-WEEKLY UPDATE 2.6.19

by Harry Salzman

February 6, 2019

 

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.

THINGS, THEY ARE A CHANGING…

Whoever said that “the more things change, the more they stay the same” must have certainly had Residential real estate in mind.  Some things in my industry never change—such as folks looking for a starter home, wanting to sell and trade up and of course, some looking for investment properties.  And then there are those that constantly change—such as home values, prices and mortgage interest rates.  It’s all a piece of the bigger picture of home ownership.

These last few months have seen some interesting changes.  

To begin with, interest rates are still historically low despite predictions from economists, and they look likely to remain this way for at least another few months or more.  This is providing an unforeseen opportunity for those who thought we’d seen the last of the “low” rates.  Yes, while a number of us have seen rates as high as 18% in the past, there are more and more young buyers who have only seen the historically low rates and think that 5% is outrageous!  Many of them are now realizing that their window of opportunity for a “low” rate may be closing soon.

Median home prices are starting to “normalize” and while increasing, they are doing so at a slower pace than in recent times.  That’s actually good news for both buyers and sellers.  It’s affording those who have waited to finally begin their search for a new home.  The only problem I’ve been seeing is that with inventory down, particularly at the lower end of the price spectrum, there are not a lot of homes from which to choose. This is affecting everyone, particularly those looking for starter homes.

My thoughts on all this? 

If you’re even considering a move and wondering how to make it happen, NOW is the time.  

As I’ve just told you, there are some obstacles, but fortunately for you—you’ve got ME.  My 46 plus years in local residential real estate is on your side.  I’ve seen all types of “cycles” and can help you in making your real estate dreams a reality.  We’ve caught a break with the interest rates and slower rising home prices, but…the times they keep a changing.  

Give me a call at 593.1000 or email me at Harry@HarrySalzman.com and let’s see how I can put my special brand of customer service to work for you, your family members or co-workers who might also be looking.

 

JANUARY 2019 AGAIN BROUGHT GAINS IN HOME VALUES BUT LOWER NUMBER OF SALES

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

Here are some highlights from the January 2019 PPAR report.  A look at the Median Sales Prices will show that prices are continuing to rise, although not as much as in recent months, while sales are also continuing to slow down.  

You will also see that the PPAR report is in a new format and no longer provides a look at the monthly stats for each neighborhood.  This just changed and I do not yet know if the report I share in the second eNewsletter of the month will provide this information or not.  However, if you are interested in what’s happening in your individual neighborhood, give me a call and I can provide it to you through other means.

Please click here to view the detailed 9-page report, including charts. If you have any questions about the report or to find out how it relates to your individual situation, just give me a call. 

In comparing January 2019 to January 2018 for All Homes in PPAR:

                                                               

                        Single Family/Patio Homes:

·       New Listings are 1,250, Up 7.5%

·       Number of Sales are 902, Down 11.8%

·       Average Sales Price is $343,989, Up 3.4%

·       Median Sales Price is $303,450, Up 2.9%

·       Total Active Listings are 1,616, Down 30.7%

·       Months Supply is 1.8

 

                        Condo/Townhomes:

·       New Listings are 171, Up 0.6%

·       Number of Sales are 142, No Change

·       Average Sales Price is $223,990, Up 2.4%

·       Median Sales Price is $204,500, Up 3.9%

·       Total Active Listings are 143, Up 70.2%

·       Months Supply is 1.0

 

FEDERAL RESERVE INDICATES HOLD ON RATE INCREASES

The Wall Street Journal, 1.31.19

The Federal Reserve indicated that it was done raising interest rates for now at their meeting the last week in December—good news for the home mortgage market.  

In an about face from their policy stance just six weeks earlier, they voted to hold their benchmark rate steady.  While Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said at a news conference after the meeting that “the case for raising rates has weakened somewhat”, he declined to say whether the Fed’s next move was more likely to be an increase or a cut.

This is especially good news for those who were waiting due to the higher monthly payments resulting from mortgage loan rate increases.  For the present at least, rates should stay somewhat stable—a blessing for both buyers and sellers.

My advice would be not to wait too long if a move is in your future.  As I mentioned in the last eNewsletter, what goes down quickly can just as easily go up.  A word to the wise.

 

LAST CHANCE!  HOMES ARE A BARGAIN COMPARED TO HISTORIC NORMS

Keeping Current Matters, 1.22.19

        

One of the best measures of whether an item is more expensive than it was before is what percentage of our income it takes to purchase that item today compared to earlier times.  

Consider home purchasing:

The COST of a home is determined by three major components:  price, mortgage interest rates and wages.  In case you are wondering if we are now paying a greater percentage of our income toward monthly mortgage payments today than in previous generations—the surprising answer is NO.

Historically, Americans have paid just over 21% of their income toward their monthly mortgage payment. And while home prices are higher than in the past, the most important component in the cost equation—the mortgage interest rate—is dramatically lower than it was in the 1970’s, 1990’s and 2000’s.

According to the latest NAR Home Affordability Index, today Americans are paying 17.4% of their income toward their mortgage payment, considerably lower than the 21% average paid by previous generations.

Bottom Line? When you consider the still historically low interest rates, the cost of purchasing a home today is a bargain compared to previous generations on a percentage of income basis.  

However, as I’ve been saying for some time now, this will not always be the case.  Interest rates will NOT stay this low forever and homes are continuing to appreciate.  If you are looking to buy a starter home or trade up to a more expensive home, sooner rather than later makes the most sense.  Give me a call today and let’s see how we can make this work for you.

 

INVESTORS TAKE NOTE…HERE’S A TAX WIN FOR YOU

National Association of Realtors, 1.24.19

The Internal Revenue Service has issued final rules on the 20 percent income deduction (Sec 199A of the Tax Code) that was enacted in late 2017 as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Thanks to advocacy and collaboration between NAR, its members and administration, the final rules reflect many changes that NAR sought to ensure the new 20 percent deduction applies as broadly as possible.

Here are the rules on two provisions that are of importance to you if you:

1. Have real estate income, and 

2) Have exchanged properties under Sec 1031 of the tax code 

And, as always, please check with your accountant and/or investment professionals when considering how this information pertains to your individual tax situation.

Eligibility of Rental Income:

If you generate rental property income, that income can also qualify for the new deduction, as long as you can show that your rental operation is part of a trade or business.  The IRS has released proposed guidelines that include a bright-line test, or safe harbor, for showing that your rental income rises to the level of a trade or business.  Under that safe harbor, you can claim the deduction if your rental activities—which include maintaining and repairing property, collecting rent, paying expenses, and conducting other typical landlord activities—total at least 250 hours a year.  If your activity totals less than that, you can still try to take the deduction, but you’ll have to be prepared to show the IRS that your activity is part of a trade or business.

Eligibility of 1031 like-kind Exchanges:

Under earlier proposed regulations, if your income was above threshold levels set in the tax law--$157,500 for single filers, $315,000 for joint filers—and you had exchanged one property for another to defer taxes under Sec. 1031 of the tax code, the amount of the new deduction might be reduced because of the swap.  NAR and other trade groups reached out to the IRS to change this treatment, and the IRS has made that change.  Under the final rules, you can use the unadjusted basis of the depreciable portion of the property to claim at least a partial deduction.

 

STUDENT DEBT HAS HAMPERED THE housing market

The Wall Street Journal, 2.2.19 and HousingWire, 1.17.19

At last count, one generation of Americans owed $86 billion in student loan debt.  Its members are all over 60 years old!

The reasons are varied.  Many took out loans to help pay for their children’s tuition and are still paying them off.  Others are paying for their own student loans when they returned to school in wake of the last recession to boost their own employment prospects.

On average, student loan borrowers in their 60’s owed $33,800 in 2017, up 44% from 2010 according to data compiled for The Wall Street Journal by credit reporting agency, TransUnion.

Total student loan debt rose 161% for people aged 60 and older from 2010 to 2017—the biggest increase for any age group.

Student loan debt has impacted the housing market for several reasons.  

The above referenced seniors are either carrying second mortgage or student loan debt that makes it difficult for them to move—either to trade up or downsize—due to credit or financial concerns.

Also, the Federal Reserve recently said that student loan debt is impacting the housing decisions of young Americans too. Homeownership for adults ages 24 to 321 fell 9% from 2005 to 2014, landing at 36%, according to two recently published papers.

The Fed said that while a number of factors are at play, it attributes 2 percentage points of this decline to student debt, meaning that 400,000 borrowers could have purchased a house but didn’t due to their debt.

A chart from HousingWire  pointed out that increased student debt heightens the likelihood of default, therefore impacting an individual’s credit score and, with a weak score it may be more difficult to obtain a mortgage.

Researchers also wrote that “while investing in postsecondary education continues to yield, on average, positive and substantial returns, burdensome student loan debt levels may be lessening these benefits”.

The Fed, however, declined to say that the impact of student debt on homeownership is entirely negative, rather calling it “complex”.

Researchers wrote that “On the one hand, student loan payments may reduce an individual’s ability to save for a down payment or qualify for a mortgage.  On the other hand, investments in higher education also, on average, result in higher earnings and lower rates of unemployment”.

While this most certainly can impact the housing market in general, locally I have seen a number of recent graduates move into their first homes, some with the down payment help from family which is now acceptable by most lenders.  Others have purchased homes with help from parents while still in school and have rented out rooms to other students in order to help make the mortgage payments. 

Both of these situations will most certainly help young homeowners to start building their own financial security rather than feathering the nest of others from whom they might pay rental payments.  

 

UCCS ECONOMIC FORUM STATISTICS 

UCCS Economic Forum, College of Business, updated 1.31.19

As always, I like to share with you the data I receive from the UCCS Economic Forum which shows you the “Big Picture” of the national economy as well as all the local metrics.  I’ve been a proud supporter of the Forum since its inception and know you will find the data as interesting as I do.

Please click here for the 4-page graphic depiction of the economy, and, as always, if you have any questions, please give me a holler.  

 

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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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