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Harry's Bi-Weekly Update 3.31.14

by Harry Salzman

March 31, 2014

 

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.

                                           

SPRING HAS SPRUNG...SORT OF

More like a trampoline than straight up, but Spring is certainly trying its best to arrive.  However, the Spring real estate Buying and Selling season started early this year for my clients.  I’m not certain if it’s due to light inventory, rising home values or fear of increased mortgage interest rates but we’ve seen a sort of frenzy in the last month that appears to be fueled by at least some of these reasons.

Spring is the traditional selling seasons for lots of reasons, prime among them the fact that families like to relocate after the finish of a current school year and prior to the start of a new one.  I’m finding that many of my Buyers and Sellers are among that group and lower inventories are pushing them to start a bit earlier this year. 

Some things I’ve recently read:

“We had ongoing unusual weather disruptions across much of the country last month, along with the continuing frictions of constrained inventory, restrictive mortgage lending standards, and housing affordability less favorable than a year ago,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.  “Some transactions are simply being delayed, so there should be some improvement in the months ahead.  With an expected pickup in job creation, home sales should trend up modestly over the course of the year.”

Housing starts were mostly flat in February, due in part to inclement weather.  However, according to Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist, the housing market is expected to show a relatively strong performance beginning with this Spring season.

Inventories of homes for sale have increased 10 percent year-over-year which signals Seller optimism according to realtor.com’s latest National Housing Trend Report, which tracks 146 markets. 

Colorado Springs is number 72 in the cities tracked by this report—almost dead center.  Some important things to remember include the fact that our home prices did not fall as sharply or as low as many other cities so we did not have as much equity to recover.  We also did not have the large number of foreclosures that many other cities experienced. 

The good news for us from that report is that the median home price in the Colorado Springs area is up 6.7 percent year over year and 2.2 percent month over month (yes, even with bad weather!)  Our local inventory is down 12.4 percent year over year and 15.9 percent month over month.  The median age of inventory is 89 days, up 17.1 percent year over year, but down 6.3 percent month over month.

Some important things to consider if you’ve wanted to Buy or Sell or simply on the fence:

  • Start early and be sure to interview “competent” lenders and get a “pre-approval” letter.  That “lender approval letter” should be included with the offer to purchase a home.  A recent listing of mine had an offer that included such an unprofessional “pre-qualified” letter from the lender that after I explained it to my client, the offer was rejected.
  • Be realistic in pricing your home.  This will help it sell faster and avoid back and forth counter offers. 
  • Be open to buying in neighborhoods you might not have considered.  With low inventory, sometimes it pays to look in areas you had not previously considered.  You never know what you might find there.
  • Mortgage rates are going up.   It’s going to happen, so if you’re thinking about it, now’s the time to save on your house payment.  Also—be prepared to provide more documentation to your mortgage lender than in the past due to the new regulations that went into effect in January.
  • Local inventory is lower and the “best” priced homes go quickly depending on price range and location.  You might sell your home quickly and if you are looking to Trade Up, know what you want, need and can afford so that you can find your next home while there are more choices available.

Home Buying and Selling is not quite as simple as it once was, and that’s where it’s extremely important that you choose a competent real estate Agent to help you navigate through the home Buying and Selling “wars”.

If you’re reading this, you’re one of the lucky ones because you’ve got ME.  With my investment banking background and forty plus years in the local real estate arena, I’ve got the credentials and experience to help you make the right decision for your family.  Whether you want to downsize or upsize or simply move to a new neighborhood, I’ve got the knowledge to provide expert advice that will make the process as stress-free as possible.  Call me today at 598.3200 or email me at Harry@HarrySalzman.com and let’s talk.  Spring is here and it’s best to get ahead of the “frenzy” if you can.

 

SOUTHERN COLORADO ECONOMIC FORUM’S QUARTERLY UPDATES & ESTIMATES

Southern Colorado Economic Forum February 2014

The latest update on the El Paso County Economy, including housing trends, was published on March 27, 2014 and you can click here to read the 10-page report in full.  Here are some of the highlights I thought you would find interesting:

  • Single-family permit activity, while slower than February 2013, was still strong--up approximately 21.4% (475 units).  The year 2014 is expected to have a more modest gain of about 10 percent.
  • The trend in home sales continues its upward trend and through December 2013 there were 1,648 (18.2%) more homes sold than in 2012.  While not setting records, this is a considerable gain over the weak sales trends of the previous five years.  Rising mortgage rates, low job growth and declining real income in El Paso County will be the challenge for 2014 homes sales to grow more than 5-10 percent.
  • The home supply grew by 3.3 percent while sales increased 18.3 percent, suggesting that demand exceeded supply.  The net effect was average prices increased by 7.1 percent in 2013.
  • Foreclosures were well below the Forum’s projections and additional declines are expected in 2014.

The next several sections of the report include:

  • Colorado Springs Airport Trends
  • Colorado Springs Sales Taxes
  • New Car Registration Trends
  • Employment Trends and Wages
  • Personal Thoughts about our Employment Base

It is with pleasure that Salzman real estate Services, a supporter since the Southern Colorado Economic Forum was created by the UCCS College of Business in 1996, is able to share these types of statistics and forecasts with you as soon as they become available, each and every quarter.  I would be happy to answer any questions you might have concerning the detailed reports and how they might affect you personally or any question you might have concerning Real Estate in general.

 

BUYING V. RENTING?

Keeping Current Matters 3.23.14 

A report released by Trulia last week explained that homeownership remains cheaper than renting in all of the 100 largest metro areas by an average of 38%.

Other interesting findings:

  • Even though prices increased sharply in many markets over the past year, low mortgage rates have kept homeownership from becoming more expensive than renting.
  • Some markets might tip in favor of renting this year as prices continue to rise faster than rents and if—as most economists expect—mortgage rates rise, due both to the strengthening economy and Fed tapering.
  • Nationally, rates would have to rise to 10.6% for renting to be cheaper than buying—and rates haven’t been that high since 1989.

What’s this mean to you?  Buying a home NOW makes sense.  If you rent, your housing expense will only continue to rise (good news for Investment Buyers, though).  Locking in a mortgage rate at today’s prices will save you money as rates are not going to get any lower. 

It’s tougher for first time buyers in today’s market, but it’s NOT impossible.  Give me a call and let’s see what we can do to help make homeownership a reality.

 

3 MAJOR THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE 2014 NATIONAL housing market

HousingWire 3.23.14

Veteran housing economist, David Berson, gave his opinion on the near-term future of the housing markets:

Number 1:  2014 should prove to be the strongest year for housing activity since before the Great Recession:

  • 2014 should be the year when activity reaches the highest level since 2006/2007.
  • An improved job market, with employment growth accelerating and unemployment rates declining is propelling this market.
  • People buy homes when their job and income prospects improve—even if it’s more expensive to do so—rather than buy when it is inexpensive to do so but they’re worried about keeping jobs.

Number 2:  Demographics should start to favor housing activity:

  • The demographic most affecting the housing market is household formations.  These formations are affected by the job market as people “double up” when worried about the job and income-earning prospects.   Since the Great Recession, many young adults are still living with their parents.
  • With the increasing job market, there is a pent-up demand for households.  Both parents and those young adults living at home look forward to seeing themselves in their own households.
  • There is a current shortage of about three million households and beginning in 2014 the pace of household formations should accelerate to above-trend pace for several years, pushing up housing demand.

Number 3:  Mortgage availability shouldn’t worsen and may improve.

  • While mortgage credit isn’t as easy to get as it was during the housing boom, mortgage availability has increased slightly in comparison to recent years.
  • The government or government-sponsored share of mortgage lending has climbed to more than 90 percent in recent years and while that in an untenable situation in the long run, it is unlikely to change much this year.
  • Qualified Mortgage lending rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau exempt home mortgages that qualify for purchase or securitization from Fannie and Freddie.  As a result, mortgage lenders won’t have to tighten their mortgage-underwriting requirements in response to QM as long as they sell their loans to the GSEs.

Just some things to consider when deciding whether 2014 is the right time for you to Sell and Trade Up or Buy for the first time or for Investment purposes.  There’s a lot of information coming from a lot of different sources, but most of them are saying that this year is still a great time to jump in the real estate market.

 

FANNIE MAE AND FREDDIE MAC ARE WINDING DOWN

RisMedia 3.20.14

As I’m sure many of you are aware, there is a bipartisan proposal that seeks to wind down mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and completely overhaul the nation’s mortgage system. 

According to Don Frommeyer, President of NAMB (The Association of Mortgage Professionals), “A change in the mortgage system will be a welcomed change across the board as long as this function does not increase the cost to the consumer.  In the past 5 years, the cost to the consumer has increased largely due to the changes that have been made in the mortgage market.  We need to help consumers going forward.”

“With the proposed changes, Fannie and Freddie would be replaced with a federally insured mortgage system.  Investors will pay a fee to ensure insurance for mortgage securities they buy and potential homeowners will have the assurance that their mortgages are backed by strong capitol,” Frommeyer added.

The bill, proposed by Senators Tim Johnson and Mike Crapo, is still a long ways off from being passed or implemented but many feel this is necessary to prevent another housing crisis or mortgage fiasco. 

I’ll keep you abreast of this proposed legislation and the implications it could have on you.

 

COLORADO SPRINGS WATER EFFECIENCY REBATES AVAILABLE

I received an email from Frank Kinder, Sr. Water Conservation Specialist for Colorado Springs Utilities who wanted me to remind our local readers that they can save water indoors by installing  WaterSense approved toilets and can get rebates of $75 for up to 4 fixtures per home.  They will even recycle the old fixtures for you.

CSU also offers irrigation rebates for controllers, heads and nozzles.  So if you’re ready to remodel or just want to save some cash, check with CSU to see how you can “make every drop count.”

 

HARRY’S PHILOSOPHY OF THE DAY

ONE CHOICE

You’re always One Choice away from changing your life

One…

One tree can start a forest,

One smile can start a friendship,

One hand can life a soul,

One word can frame the goal,

One candle can wipe out darkness,

One laugh can conquer gloom,

One hope can raise our spirits.

And...one choice can change your life.

Think about that.  One choice, just one, can change

your life forever.  Simply put, your life today is what

your choices have made it, but with new choices, you

can change directions this very moment.

Something to think about as you begin a new week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry's Bi-Weekly Update 3.17.14

by Harry Salzman

 

March 17, 2014

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.

             

                                              

 

YOU DON’T NEED LUCK WITH ME AS YOUR REALTOR

Buying and Selling real estate can sometimes be a matter of luck.  Finding the right property, setting the right price and navigating your way through all the paperwork required just to get a property listed can be tricky. That doesn’t even take into consideration obtaining the best mortgage lender for your needs and getting to closing. 

On St. Patrick’s Day, let me assure you of one important thing—you don’t need any more luck--you’re already multiple steps ahead of the game because you have me as your advocate when it comes to all your real estate needs. 

With my Investment Banking background and 40+ years in the local real estate arena, I will always provide each and every one of you with the quality customer service for which I’ve become known. No matter whether you are Selling and Trading Up, Buying for the first time or for Investment purposes, I will always take the time to help you decide what’s best for your individual needs, wants and budget. 

So while you MAY need luck when it comes to winning the Powerball or Lottery, when it comes to one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make—you’ve got all the luck you need because you have me.

 

FEBRUARY LOCAL STATISTICS STILL UNAVAILABLE

As I mentioned in my last eNewsletter, the local PPAR statistics for February were delayed due to a new MLS reporting system. Thanks for your inquiries—it’s nice to see this interest from my readers.  The stats are still unpublished and I will get them to you as soon as they are available to me.

 

A FEW OF MY THOUGHTS ABOUT “TIME”

I often get asked about the “right” time to deal with real estate and my standard answer is that there is NO standard answer.  When it comes to “time” it’s strictly an individualized thing.  So, I put together a list of things that you might want to consider and/or ask yourself when thinking about “time” when it comes to real estate.

  • Is it “time” to take the new found equity in your current home and use it to trade up or move to a new neighborhood?
  • Is it a good “time” to Buy but retain your current home as a Rental?
  • Is it “time” to trade up for personal and family reasons to the home of your dreams while the mortgage rates are still relatively low?
  • Is it “time” to change homes due to personal lifestyle changes, such as moving to a single story home from a multi-story, or downsizing or upsizing due to decreased or increased family size?

These are questions only you can answer.  Remember—there’s no right time or right answer—and there are always many questions when it comes to real estate investments.  That’s where I come in.  Once you’ve found out if it’s the right “time” for you, I can help make your answers a reality.  Sometimes it’s simply a matter of finding out whether or not it’s financially a good “time” for you.  Those are areas of my expertise and I’m simply a phone call or email away and will always have the “time” for you.

 

AMERICANS MORE CONFIDENT ABOUT BUYING

Keeping Current Matters

According to the Fannie Mae January 2014 National Housing Survey, two categories reported all-time survey highs:

  • 52% of respondents thought it would be easy for them to get a home mortgage today
  • 70% of respondents said they would buy if they were going to move

Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae explained what this could mean to the real estate market moving forward:

“A majority of consumers now believe that it is getting easier to get a mortgage.  For the first time in the National Housing Survey’s three-and-a-half-year history, the share of respondents who said it is easy to get a mortgage surpassed the 50-percent mark.   The gradual upward trend in this indicator during the last few months bodes well for the housing recovery and may be contributing to this month’s (February’s) increase in consumers’ intention to buy rather than rent their next home.  The dip in overall home price expectations, though notable, is consistent with our view of moderating home price gains this year from a robust pace last year, while positive trends in perceptions about the economy and personal finances over the next year support our view of stronger growth in the broader economy.”

Consumer confidence at this point is good news considering the increasing home and mortgage interest rate pricing.  Hopefully this trend will continue in February’s stats as higher interest rates and new mortgage regulations start kicking in. 

The bottom line is still the same.  If you are looking to Sell and Trade Up or Buy for the first time or Investment purposes….don’t wait around for better prices.  While home values will rise slower than in the past few years, they WILL continue to rise and mortgage rates will definitely rise.  So while your present home continues to increase in equity, so will the next home you might want and with higher interest rates….you’re going to pay more.  And with inventory down, it’s best to start your search now so that you are not disappointed with availability in the neighborhood or price range you want. 

If you or any family member, friend or co-worker has been waiting for the “right” time, why not call me at 598.3200 or email me @ Harry@HarrySalzman.com and let’s see if it’s worth waiting or if it’s time to start the ball rolling.

 

HOUSING PREFERENCES DRIVEN BY GENERATIONAL DIFFERENCES

RealtorMag 3.12.14, RisMedia, 3.14.14

A 2014 NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trend study indicates that younger home Buyers tend to view their home as a strong investment while older Buyers tend to view their homes as a match to their lifestyle. 

The survey provided an in-depth look at the generational differences of recent home Buyers and Sellers.

According to the survey, the largest group of recent Buyers is millennials, those under the age of 34, who comprised 31% of recent home purchases.  Gen X Buyers, born between 1965 and 1979, accounted for 30% of recent purchases and younger boomers, born between 1955 and 1964, accounted for 16%.

“Given that millennials are the largest generation in history after the baby boomers, it means there is a potential for strong underlying demand,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.  “Moreover, their aspiration and the long-term investment aspect to owning a home remain solid among young people.  However, the challenges of tight credit, limited inventory, eroding affordability, and high debt loads have limited the capacity of young people to own.”

The NAR study showed the median age of millennial home Buyers as 29 and the median income as $73,600.  The typical purchase was an 1,800 square foot home costing around $180,000.

Gen X Buyers, in comparison, had a median age of 40 and a median income of $98,200 while their typical purchase was a 2,130 square foot home costing $250,000.

Multi-generational households, those consisting of adult siblings, adult children, parents and/or grandparents, represented 14% of all home purchases.  These households were largely concentrated among middle age Buyers, with 22% of Younger Boomers identified as a multi-generational household.

Reasons for multi-generational households included:

  • Adult children moving back home
  • Cost Savings
  • Health or care-taking of aging parents
  • Spending more time with aging parents

Other findings from the study include:

  • 87% of Buyers age 33 and younger consider their home purchase a good financial investment compared to 74% of buyers 68 and older
  • Millennials were more likely to buy in an urban or central city than older boomers
  • Younger Buyers tended to place higher importance on commuting costs than older generations.  Older generations tended to place more emphasis on energy efficiency, landscaping, and community features
  • Millennials plan to stay in the home for 10 years while the baby boom generation plan to stay for 20 years
  • Younger Buyers tend to move to larger, higher-prices homes, but “there is a clear trend of downsizing to smaller homes among both younger and older baby boomers and the Silent Generation (those born between 1925 and 1945)”
  • 79% of Older Boomers purchased an existing home, compared with 87% of Millennials

Prior to purchasing, 62% of Millennials rented an apartment or house and 20% lived with their parents, relatives or friends.  Younger Boomers and earlier generations mostly owned their previous residence, with older Buyers much more likely to have been homeowners.

As you can see, folks of all ages are now attempting to become homeowners.  With the current obstacles of low inventory, higher prices and mortgage interest rates, along with the new lending regulations, it’s going to get tougher for some to achieve their homeownership goals.  That’s why it is more important than ever to use a qualified real estate Agent for assistance. 

As YOUR Agent, I’m your “go-to” guy.  I do the homework to help make the process as stress- free as possible for first time Buyers as well as those wanting to Sell and trade up or Buy for Investment purposes.  Call me today and let me help you determine the best possible scenario for you.

For those looking to Buy for investment, as you can see, the need for rentals is going to grow along with the higher pricing on homes and interest rates.   In many cases, if it’s financially feasible and you are looking to Sell and trade up, you might consider keeping your current residence as a rental.  These are just some of the options we can discuss when you contact me.

 

FLOOD INSURANCE AFFORDABILITY BILL WILL HELP

NAR President Steve Brown issued the following statement on March 13:

“Realtors applaud the U.S. Senate for passing the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, H.R. 3370, to curb flood insurance hikes for homes and commercial properties.

We appreciate the Senate’s swift action on the legislation, which is a responsible and balanced solution to the skyrocketing flood insurance premiums affecting residential and commercial properties that were unintentionally triggered by the Biggert-Waters reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program.”

He went on the praise the bill for the relief it will bring to businesses and homeowners nationwide who have experienced financial hardship due to extreme premium increases. 

Hopefully this Bill will help all of you who found yourselves with higher flood insurance premiums due to the floods of recent times, nationally and most especially here in the Colorado Springs area.

 

MORTGAGE RATES BUMPED UP LAST WEEK

For the week ending last Friday, Freddie Mac reports the following national mortgage rate averages:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages:  averaged 4.37%, with an average 0.6, rising from last week’s 4.28% average.  A year ago at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.63%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages:  averaged 3.38%, with an average 0.6 point, increasing from last week’s 3.3.2% average.  Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 2.79%.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages:  averaged 3.09%, with an average 04 point, inching up from last week’s 3.03% average.  A year ago a this time, 5=year ARMs averaged 2.61%.
  • 1-year ARMs:  averaged 2.48%, with an average 0.4 point, dropping from last week’s 2.52% average.  A year ago, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.64%.

So, with Spring buying already underway, it appears that increasing mortgage rates will be there to greet you.  It’s not likely to get better, and most economists are predicting at least 5% on 30-year fixed rate mortgages before the end of 2014.  If you’ve been waiting for the right time to Buy…it’s here. 

 

SOME INTERESTING FACTORS IN relocation

Mobility, March 2014

Several hundred relocation and human resource professionals were asked and answered:

“If you were being transferred, what would you consider the most important factor before accepting the new job assignment?

  • 38% -- My spouse’s/family’s happiness while on assignment     
  • 22% -- Pay raise/new responsibilities
  • 22% -- Potential for career advancement
  • 13% -- Location
  •   5% -- Length of assignment

As a relocation specialist, a good part of my job entails helping make the move as easy as possible for the whole family, not just the person being relocated for job purposes.  This might mean a neighborhood that’s family friendly or a school district known for the specific needs or talents of the students in the family.  I pride myself on knowing that my success in working to make the whole family happy will make the job transfer a happy one for everyone involved.   And as we all know, a happy family situation makes for a happy employee. 

 

HARRY’S JOKE OF THE DAY (can you tell I just got back from Colorado Rockies Spring Training in Scottsdale, AZ?)

 

 

Harry's Bi-Weekly Update 3.4.14

by Harry Salzman

March 4, 2014

 

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.

             

                                             

SPRING IS IN THE AIR

It’s that time of year.  Colorado is still getting snow interspersed with some lovely temperate days and the Rockies are down in Scottsdale, AZ for Spring Training.  Always faithful and eternally hopeful, I look forward to another great baseball season with both the Colorado Springs Sky Sox and the Colorado Rockies.  Here’s to Baseball 2014, no matter whom you’re routing for.  May the best team win and may Derek Jeter have a fabulous final year with the Yankees.  He’ll be an inspiration to upcoming players for years to come. 

 

FEBRUARY STATS NOT YET AVAILABLE

After waiting an extra day to publish this in order to include local monthly statistics, I just found out that due to the new MLS reporting system they will not be available for a while.  As soon as they are available to me I will send them out to you—hopefully by the next eNewsletter.

 

NEW HOME CRUNCH SHOWS SIGNS OF EASING

Wall Street Journal 2.27.14

After a 14 year low in early 2013, bank lending for land development and construction appears to be heading up, a sign that the supply for new homes will ease in the coming months.

This will hopefully put a downward pressure on new home prices which have been rising rapidly over the last two years and weighing in on the housing recovery.  While the outstanding balance on land acquisition, development and construction rose only slightly in the fourth quarter of last year, “economists note that if the overall balance is growing it means that originations of new homes are rising even faster.” 

According to David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders, “While this is an encouraging signal, we still have a long way to go to get back to a normal flow of credit to builders.”

The rising prices are great news for Sellers, but the tight supply of homes has priced many would-be Buyers out of the market, depending on their price range or neighborhood. Once the added financing yields more housing supply, it will also benefit first-time buyers who have been looking for a new home. 

In the Pikes Peak area, there are still affordable homes available for most Buyers, but it’s best to move quickly if you’ve been considering a move in order to get more of what you want at a more affordable price and interest rate.

 

GDP REVISION PUT DAMPER ON EARLY 2014 GROWTH HOPE

Wall Street Journal, 3.1.14

Last Friday the Commerce Department reported that the gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of goods and services produced across the economy, grew at a seasonally adjusted rate of 2.4% in the final quarter of 2013, down from an initial reading of 3.2%. 

It is assumed that the lower rate was in response to consumer and business constraint due to the economy’s momentum slipping, bad weather across the U.S. and overseas volatility.  These factors will more than likely diminish hopes for an early 2014 breakout in growth.

“Other recent economic gauges, alongside the downgraded GDP growth, have flashed warning signs.  Measure of consumer spending, job creation, factory output and the housing market have come in well below expectations.”

It should be noted that existing home prices continue to grow while sales continue to slow down.  Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist said unusual weather is playing a big role.  “Disruptive and prolonged winter weather patterns across the county are impacting a wide range of economic activity and housing is no exception,” he said.  “Some housing activity will be delayed until spring.  At the same time, we can’t ignore the ongoing headwinds of tight credit, limited inventory, higher prices and higher mortgage interest rates.  These issues will hinder home sales activity until the positive factors of job growth and new supply from higher housing starts begin to make an impact.”

While this is a national measure, some of the same issues have plagued the local housing market—namely bad weather and in our case, Sellers sitting on the fence in hopes of higher prices on their homes. 

Just a reminder—while home prices will continue to rise, thus providing more home equity for homeowners, if you are looking for to Sell and Trade Up or to Buy for the first time or investment purposes—the home you are looking for will also be increasing in price.  And with mortgage rates due to rise slowly, but steadily, this year—now is a better time than later if you are sitting on the fence. 

Something to consider—with more people being put in a position to rent rather than buy at present—you might want to think about keeping your present home as an investment and leasing it out while moving on to your next home.  These are issues I can discuss with you to help you determine if this is the right direction for your personal financial goals.

If you’re wanting to Sell, I’d again like to remind you of the importance in making certain you price your home right, get it good condition, and be realistic in your expectations.  All these factors will make it much easier to make certain that your home is the one that gets to closing.

If you are sitting on the fence or just beginning to think about a move, why not give me a call and let me help you determine what’s in your best interest?  Sometimes it’s good to wait, and sometimes not, but if you’re in the market or about to be, I am here to help you make an informed decision.  Just give me a call at 598-3200 or email me at Harry@HarrySalzman.com and let’s start the conversation rolling.

 

LOCAL FORECAST IS BRIGHT

The Gazette, 2.27.14, Colorado Springs Business Journal, 2.28.14

Great news was delivered at the Vectra Bank Economic Forecast Update I attended last week.

According to the presentation by a University of Colorado economics and finance professor, job growth in Colorado this year will be the strongest since 2000 and will be especially strong in Southern Colorado.

Rich Wobbekind, executive director of the school’s Business Research Division, indicated that Colorado is expected to rank in the top six states in job growth, with a rate of more then 2 percent this year.

And next year he said Colorado will rank in the top three with a job growth of nearly 3 percent.  The strongest growth will come in construction and technology, he said. 

“I expect stronger growth this year in Colorado Springs as the state continues to recover, especially along the Front Range, and I expect that growth will be much more pervasive and moving south,” Wobbekind said.

“Regionally, with ongoing net migration, Colorado is ‘probably the strongest-growing state in the West’ and one of the fastest-growing states in the country, with 83 percent of the population in 12 Front Range counties, including El Paso County.”

Wobbekind also said he expects the GDP to grow by 3 to 3.5 percent this year.

“Stability in the federal budget will be helpful to the Colorado Springs economy, which will reduce uncertainty, because it depends so heavily on defense spending,” he said.  But he added that cuts to the Army are coming that could affect the area.

Local foreclosure sales have “gone down significantly year over year” as I’ve pointed out many times and considering we’ve had fewer filings than many areas, this is one more positive for the Pikes Peak area. 

Wobbekind said the slower job growth in our area has been linked to military and federal government spending which has declined in the past two years.  His forecast indicates the economy growing at a rate of 3 to 3.5 percent this year and will produce an average of 200,000 jobs a month, with unemployment falling below 6 percent by year-end. 

Recent college graduates and those over 55 have had difficulty in finding jobs so consumer confidence remains somewhat weak and considerably below pre-recession levels.  However, according to Wobbekind, “it is not unusual for the recovery to gain strength in the sixth or seventh year after a recession” so the positive outlook for Colorado Springs is right on track.

 

REALTORS OPPOSE TAX PLAN TO LIMIT MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION

National Association of Realtors, 2.27.14

Last Wednesday the following statement was issued by NAR:

“NAR supports reforms that promote economic growth, but we strongly oppose severely altering the rules that govern ownership and investment in real estate.  Real Estate powers almost one-fifth of the U.S. economy, employes more than 17 million Americans, and contributes a quarter of all federal and state tax revenue and as much as 70 percent of local taxes.

“We are extremely disappointed with several of the provisions contained in U.S. House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp’s tax reform draft released today (2.26.14), namely proposed limits on the mortgage interest deduction and capital gains, and the repeal of deductions for state and local property taxes.”

These proposed changes to the taxation of real estate will impact every single American, either directly or indirectly.  If this passes, it will take away an essential reason many Americans choose to own their own home—namely tax deductions that make home ownership possible and affordable for many. 

You might want to take time to write your Representatives and let them know you are opposed to any bill that will impact or limit your mortgage, capital gains and state and local property tax deductions.

NAR intends to carefully analyze the details of the Chairman’s plan in order to educate the public and Congress on long term implications and I will keep you abreast of news as it becomes available to me.

 

HOT HOME PRICES DUE TO COOL DOWN

Wall Street Journal, 2.26.14, RealtorMag, & RISMedia, multiple dates, Kiplinger Letter

Even though home prices rose to their largest annual gain since 2005, signs keep pointing to a leveling off this year.  Rising home prices are good for consumers who were once under water and now can see some home equity.  However, higher prices along with rising interest rates are reducing affordability, which has curbed sales. 

The most significant reason stated was interest rates which are predicted to rise to 5% or more for 30-year fixed-rate loans by year-end.

Another factor will be more homes going up for sale as price hikes have pulled homeowners out from mortgages that are underwater, making them more willing to sell.  This will loosen inventory a bit.

The Kiplinger Letter recently forecasted a modest 4 to 4.5 percent gain in home values for 2014 vs. an 11 percent gain in 2013. 

“More moderate growth this year is not necessarily bad news, it signals a more sustainable, long-term growth trajectory that will help quell fears that another bubble is arising,” says Gillian White, Kiplinger Letter’s associate editor.  “Rising rates will also be helpful in some cases, cooling overly hot markets, where cheap rates and high demand sparked outsized price hikes.”

 

HOW THE QUALIFIED MORTGATE (QM) IS IMPACTING LENDING SO FAR

RealtorMag, 2.18.14

A recent NAR survey of a sample of lenders to determine the effect of the QM lending rules showed the following:

  • 55 percent of survey respondents say the QM rule would impact 2.6 percent to 20 percent of the mortgage originations.
  • 60 percent of lenders indicate they were most concerned about the impact of the 3 percent cap on points and fees.
  • 45 percent of lenders say they would not originate non-QM mortgages, while a majority said they would defer to investors’ preferences on how to treat non-QM loans.
  • About a fifth of lenders surveyed say they did not know whether they would charge non-QM borrowers higher rates.  However, the most frequently cited change for prime and near-prime borrowers was a rise of 50 to 75 basis points and 150 basic points for subprime.

According to Ken Fears, manager of Regional Economics and Housing Finance Policy for NAR’s Economists’ Outlook Blog, “Consumers should expect to have to document their income, employment and resources.  If someone has a high debt-to-income ratio, the FHA, as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will be more lenient than private financers.”

 

GOOD NEWS FOR “BOOMERANG BUYERS”

RealtorMag, 2.26.14

Former homeowners who lost their homes to a short sale or foreclosure are now re-entering the housing market.  After spending a few years rebuilding credit, they are ready to begin again.

At three years past the peak of the foreclosures, it’s the time when most people would qualify for another loan according to Daren Blomquist, spokesman for Realty Trac.  “The market really needs these boomerang borrowers to maintain the current recovery,” he added. 

Some boomerang borrowers may find they need to put as much as 20% down in order to qualify, while others are finding opportunities to put down as little as 3.5 or 5 percent. 

While wait times for loan qualification may vary for former homeowners, the typical wait times are:

  • Seven year wait for homeowners with a previous foreclosure before they can qualify for a new mortgage through mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  If the foreclosure was included in a bankruptcy, the borrower has to wait only four years.
  • Two year wait for homeowners who underwent a short sale before they are eligible for another Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae loan.
  • Three year wait for homeowners seeking an FHA loan after a foreclosure or short sale.  Some homeowners who underwent a foreclosure because of at least a 20 percent cut in their pay may be able to qualify for a new mortgage after just a year through FHAs Back to Work program.

If you, a family member, co-worker or friend was in the unfortunate situation of having to give up their home, now might be the time for getting back in the game.  Please call me and let’s see whether or not the time is right to again qualify while mortgage rates are still considerably low and homes are still affordable for most income brackets.  I will do my part to help Boomerang Borrowers to once again fulfill the “American Dream” of home ownership.

 

HARRY’S THOUGHT OF THE DAY  (hint, hint—send me your referrals, please)

 

 

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Harry A Salzman
ERA Shields / 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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