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HARRY'S BI-WEEKLY UPDATE 3.23.15

by Harry Salzman

                                                            

March 23, 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.

                     

A NEW CHAPTER BEGINS FOR SALZMAN real estate SERVICES

As you know, I’ve always tried to share any and all information with you on a timely basis.  Well, today’s top story is about ME.  Local readers may have seen this in The Gazette, but for many I’m sure this will be first-time news.

Salzman real estate Services has been in its present location on Garden of the Gods Road ever since I had the building constructed 37 years ago.  It has NEVER been for sale.  That being said, last September I received an offer for my property that was “too good to refuse” and that began “the beginning of the end” of Salzman real estate Services in it’s current location.  On April 1, demolition will begin and soon we will see a Taco Bueno thriving there.  The chain is opening its first three locations in Colorado and my property is one of the three they chose.  I somehow figured 37 years ago that due to its proximity to I-25, one day someone might want to build a restaurant there, but I didn’t know it would be NOW. 

Let me emphasize that I am NOT leaving the real estate arena.  I will simply be working with all of you from a different location and in a new collaboration that I will tell you about next week.  I’ve had a number of offers and am close to announcing a decision.  You, my friends, will be among the first to know the news.  The exceptional customer service for which I am known will NOT change.  Nor will my dedication to making sure that your personal goals become mine when I’m working with you.  In fact, without having to deal with the day-to-day concerns of owning a building, I’ll have even more time to devote to my clients.  So in some ways, this is a bonus for us all.  I will also continue working on my many community service projects.  Nothing will change except for my physical location and collaboration.

As those of you who have moved from long-time residences know, one can accumulate a lot of “stuff” in 37 years.  These past couple of months I’ve discovered just how much “stuff” that is!  Looking back through old files has been heartwarming as it’s made me realize just how many lives I’ve helped influence when it comes to individual family real estate decisions.  And through those files I’ve revisited the many relationships I’ve been very fortunate to develop along the way.

Change of any kind is a bit difficult but going through that “stuff” helped make me even more aware that it’s not the Salzman real estate “building” that made a difference—it’s the people I’ve met and continued to work with during the last 42 plus years in the local Real Estate business that matter the most.  I look forward to a continuation of those relationships and to developing new ones in the coming years.

You, your family members and friends you’ve referred are what makes it all worth it.  As I say goodbye to 538 Garden of the Gods Road later this week I take with me 37 years of memories in this building and relationships made here that I’m simply moving “with” me. 

If you’re in the neighborhood this week, stop in and say goodbye to 538.  I look forward to you joining me in the next chapter of Salzman real estate Services and to sharing my new location and collaboration with you in the next week. 

 

A RECENT RECOGNITION BY COLORADO SPRINGS MAYOR STEVE BACH

Last week, Mayor Steve Bach recognized me for my “leadership and for improving the economic vitality of Colorado Springs.”

Me and my six partners in this venture, gifted property appraised at $422,000 to The Foundation for Colorado Springs’ Future, Inc. which is owned by the Economic Development Committee, and is now part of the Regional Business Alliance of Colorado Springs.

“Our city is fostering an environment for quality jobs growth and we thank Harry Salzman and his partners for their generous gift that will continue to support the attraction of new development and young professionals to our city,” said Mayor Bach.

I am pleased to do anything that I can to help our wonderful city retain and attract more jobs.  This is just our way of giving back to a community that has given so much to us.  I am hopeful that this gift will encourage others to do the same.  Together—we CAN make a difference.

 

CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS RANKS HIGH IN AFFORDABILITY

The Gazette, 3.14.15

In the Forbes 2015 survey of the most affordable cities, Colorado Springs came in at 11th.  It was the ONLY metro area in the West to make the list. 

We were chosen when Forbes looked at the 100 biggest metro areas with populations of at least 600,000.  Then they looked at housing affordability, using an index assembled by the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo & Company. 

Then they added cost-of-living components like food, utilities, gasoline, transportation and medical expenses and weighted its various factors using a methodology similar to what the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employs for the Consumer Price Index.

The result was a list of 21 cities (1 was a tie) and most of the cities were in the Midwest and South. 

This survey only re-enforces what those of us who live here already know—we’ve got a good thing going.  Hopefully surveys like these will help bring Colorado Springs to the attention of more employers and companies looking to relocate.  It’s certainly a good factor for young professionals who are looking to start families and want a healthy, affordable community in which to reside.

 

LOCAL JOB STATISICS IMPROVE

The Gazette, 3.18.15

Nearly 4,900 jobs were added in the Colorado Springs area in 2014, according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics last week.  This is a 1.9% increase from 2013.

According to my friend Tom Binnings, senior partner in Summit Economics LLC, a local economic research and consulting firm, “This is good news because it shows that the local economy has generated about 5,000 new payroll jobs in each of the past two years.” 

There is some local concern that budget cuts are reducing local military employment but fortunately the private sector job growth is improving to make up the difference.  

 

FREDDIE MAC BEGINS 3% DOWN PAYMENTS THIS WEEK

RelatorMag, 3.18.15, Freddiemac.com, 3.18.15

We’ve been reporting about the new down payment requirements from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and Freddie Mac has announced that they will be launching the new program this week—at the start of the Spring buying season.  Fannie Mae began insuring 3 % down payment mortgages in December.

According to Dave Lowman, executive vice president for Freddie Mac, “Lenders will be ready to serve qualified working families who are ready to buy and keep the recovery going”. 

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, said recently that it wanted to make it a priority to “work to increase access to mortgage credit for credit-worthy borrowers.”  This is in response to tight credit conditions and high down payment requirements in recent years that have been blamed for sidelining potential homebuyers and slowing down the housing recovery.

In addition to the lower down payment requirements, “Freddie Mac’s Home Possible Advantage Program”, which is aimed at supporting first-time buyers as well as low and moderate-income borrowers, is allowing no minimum from borrowers in contributions.  This means parents or relatives can now cover 100% of the down payment through gifts.  The same is true for all Freddie Mac Home Possible mortgages, whether the down payment is three percent, five percent or something else.  This makes Home Possible a powerful option for families who want to help their children settle into a home of their own.

In order to limit default risk, Home Possible Advantage is available as a fixed-rate mortgage for primary residences only; this insures that principal and interest payments stay the same and borrowers won’t worry about the future mortgage payment shock. 

If you have any questions about these programs, or wish to help family members purchase first-time homes, please give me a call at 598.3200 or email me at Harry@HarrySalzman.com and let’s see if we can make that happen.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING THE ‘RIGHT’ MORTGAGE

The Wall Street Journal, 3.14.15

With Spring Buying season already underway, many Buyers are rushing to get pre-approved for mortgages prior to the Federal Reserve raising rates, which could happen in the next few months. 

Lenders are doing their part by accepting smaller down payments and offering lower interest rates on certain loans.  However, mortgage loans aren’t “one-size-fits-all” and the best deals and strategies often vary significantly depending on whether you are taking out a “jumbo” mortgage or looking for a modest first home.

Borrowers with less than stellar credit or who are trading up to a larger home can also have different options or challenges.  It is very important to make certain that you find a mortgage tailored to your individual situation and budget requirements. 

As I’ve said before, making certain that you work with a qualified, knowledgeable real estate professional is probably the most important home decision you can make.  We have the experience to make certain that you are steered in the right direction when it comes to mortgage lending. 

With my Investment Banking background, I’m acutely aware of what’s available in the mortgage lending arena, have reputable mortgage lending sources, and will help you avoid a mistake that could cost you not only a lot of money, but also a lot of stress and aggravation. 

No one knows when the rates will be going up, but according to recent articles concerning the Fed, changes WILL be coming.  If you have been waiting, wait no longer.  These historical interest rates will soon be a thing of the past. Spring buying” frenzy” will probably be a bit crazier than usual with folks who see this as a “last chance” for great rates.  So if you’re in the market, give me a call sooner than later to make certain that you can not only find the home you want, but also get the rate you want, too.

 

HARRY’S JOKE OF THE DAY  (found when I was going through files in the office!)

 

 

 

 

 

HARRY'S BI-WEEKLY UPDATE 3.9.15

by Harry Salzman

                                                            

March 9, 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.

                                        CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90

2015 CONTINUES TO DELIVER GOOD NEWS TO HOMEOWNERS

And so it goes…the good news in the real estate market just keeps coming.  Despite the worst weather in the Pikes Peak region since 1987, the housing market shows no sign of slowing down.  This is great for both Buyers and Sellers and it will likely continue this trend, at least until the Fed finally readjusts its plans and interest rates start inching up.  And then, my friends, all that I’ve been warning you about will come to pass

We’ve enjoyed historically low interest rates for several years now and that’s going to end before 2015 comes to a close.  No one knows exactly when the rates will go up, but all the economists have agreed that it’s going to happen based on the improved economy and job market.

What can I add?  Once more, if you’ve been on the fence, it’s starting to look like “do or die” time.  Housing prices are going up, inventories are getting lower and interest rates will be on their way up soon.  If you’ve waited for the “right” time—well, I wouldn’t wait much longer. 

Those looking to Sell and Trade Up, Buy for Investment Purposes, or first-time Buyers might want to give me a call in the near future to see how we can make those wishes come true.  There’s a “right” situation out there for everyone, but first you need to sit down and assess what’s “right” for your individual needs, wants and budget. 

Give me a call at 598.3200 or email me at Harry@HarrySalzman.com and let’s work together to see what we can do for you.

 

FEBRUARY LOCAL STATISTICS CONTINUE TO SHINE

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

As elsewhere around the country, these local numbers indicate that the combination of homes priced to sell and historically low mortgage rates are continuing to help fuel the housing market.  The number of home listings in both categories remain low as many renters are finding a way to become homeowners, some for the first time.

Here are some highlights from the monthly PPAR report.  Please click here to view the detailed 10-page report.  If you have any questions, please give me a call.

In comparing February 2015 to February 2014 in PPAR:

            Be Sure To Take A Second Look—These Number Are A Real “WOW”                       

                        Single Family/Patio Homes:

  • New Listings are 1,127, Up 5.8%
  • Number of Sales are 717, Up 25.1%
  • Average Sales Price is $248,279, Up 8.2%
  • Median Sales Price is $225,000, Up 14.8%
  • Total Active Listings are 2,429

                        Condo/Townhomes:

  • New Listings are 143, Up 13.5%
  • Number of Sales are 100, Up 51.5%
  • Average Sales Price is $144,165, Down 14.3%
  • Median Sales Price is $138,000, Even
  • Total Active Listings are 272

 

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

                                                Median Sales Price             Average Sales Price

Black Forest                            $377,838                              $430,153

Briargate                                  $279,000                              $293,508        

Central                                      $154,500                              $166,361

East                                          $172,500                              $182,699

Fountain Valley:                      $197,950                              $198,226

Manitou Springs:                    $290,000                              $290,000

Marksheffel:                             $236,000                              $250,303

Northeast:                                $211,500                              $226,488

Northgate:                                $365,000                              $361,681

Northwest:                               $310,500                              $317,777

Old Colorado City:                  $205,000                              $221,336

Powers:                                    $220,000                              $233,151

Southwest:                              $250,225                              $305,272

Tri-Lakes:                                $427,000                              $429,850

West:                                        $201,500                              $260,403

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

 

REALTORS CONFIDENCE INDEX INDICATES SPRING MARKET OPTIMISM

Realtor.org 3.2.15

I thought you might be interested to see the January results of Realtors Confidence Index, a monthly survey that is sent to more than 50,000 real estate professionals.  The survey asks about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions and is a key indicator of housing market strength.

Highlights from the January Survey:

  • Realtors reported more Buyer activity in their markets on the heels of lower mortgage rates but not enough inventory to match demand.
  • Local markets broadly picked up across all property types in January 2015 compared to December 2014, although activity was more modest compared to a year ago.
  • Problems facing potential home Buyers included modest income growth, weak credit and income profiles, and in the case of condominium Buyers, projects not meeting eligibility guidelines for borrowers to obtain FHA/VA or conventional financing.
  • Realtors in states adversely affected by the harsh winter (e.g. MA, PA, and IL) reported market slowdowns.   (an aside here—Colorado Springs, which certainly was affected by the weather, did NOT have those slowdowns!)
  • Looking ahead at the Spring market and the increased buying interest, Realtors were broadly more optimistic about the outlook for the next six months.

 

2015: A YEAR OF HOUSING OPPORTUNITY FOR MANY

keeping current matters, 2.24.15

                            

When the housing market crashed, many believed that so too would the desire of American’s to again own a home.  Contrary to that, many recent reports are showing that, especially among younger generations, the American Dream of homeownership is still very much alive.

In a recent speech at the National Press Club, Julián Castro, Secretary for HUD, summed up what it means to own a home:

“Homeownership is still the cornerstone of the American Dream—a fact you can see in the lives of everyday folks.

It’s a source of pride.  It’s a source of wealth, both providing a nest and a nest egg.  And it strengthens communities and fuels growth in the overall economy.”

Castro appropriately entitled his speech, 2015: A Year of Housing Opportunity”, a theme that rang true throughout:

“Opportunity is not an abstract concept—it’s a path to a more prosperous life, and housing often serves as its foundation.  T. S. Elliot once said that ‘Home is where one starts from.’

A home is often a primary source of wealth in a family…Having a home is a generational way to pass that wealth on.  We want people responsible enough to own a home to have that opportunity.”

Bottom line of his speech:

“Over the years-through decades of economic downturns and wars—the American people have always held on to this Dream, and always will.”

With the improving economy, more and more Americans will qualify for homeownership, thus allowing more families to obtain the American Dream.

 

TOP 10 real estate TIPS FOR 2015

Bankrate.com,, The Gazette 1.25.15

With the single-family home sector predicted to outperform the strong one in 2014, it’s important to let proven facts lead the way.  Here are a few tips that can help in the real estate process.

  1. SELLERS--DO SWEAT THE SMALL (CHEAP) STUFF

Little touches go a long way in the Buyer’s eye.  Make sure your entry way has trimmed bushes, clean walkways, and new welcome mats.  Inside, de-cluttering makes a big difference for first impressions.  Focus on uncluttered closets, rooms and most especially kitchen counters.  Remove family mementos, prescriptions from the medicine cabinets and hide piles of toys.  The idea is to allow the Buyer to picture the home as “his”, not yours.

  1. BUYERS—TAKE NOTE(S)

When looking at a number of properties, it’s often possible to forget the pros and cons of each.  Keeping a list of those for each home visited and later creating a rating scale of 1-10 to help you determine what you liked about these homes will come in handy.   It also helps to carry of checklist of the specific home features you want to compare with each home visited.

  1. SELL BY SEASON

Winter:  Spotlight functional fireplaces.  Near the holidays, add touches like wreaths or pine cone centerpieces.  Also, displaying pictures of the home in other seasons allows the potential Buyer to picture the house with greenery, rather than snow!

Spring:  Fresh-cut flowers bring the weather indoors.  Do extra Spring-cleaning and use pops of color in the entryway and landscape.

Summer:  Highlight patios and outdoor areas.  Swap out dark curtains and towels for lighter colors.  Keep the house cool, but not cold.

Fall:  Display vases of fall foliage or tri-colored corn.  Put pumpkins in the entry. And most importantly, keep leaves at bay.

  1. DRILL DEEPLY

It’s a good idea to look at the entire neighborhood at various times of the day.  Here are some signs to determine if the potential new neighborhood is fading or flourishing:

Bad Signs:  A major local employer is moving away or struggling, adjacent neighborhoods are progressively turning into rentals, nearby commercial spaces remain persistently vacant and a few too many for-sale homes are lingering on the market.

Good Signs:  Schools are well-rated and in high demand.  Young and artsy types are moving in.  Older couples are “aging in place” and nearby commercial properties are getting redeveloped and quickly leased.  For-sale homes are quickly generating multiple offers.

  1. ‘BIG DATA’ IS EVERYWHERE, SO TAP IN

Banks use “Big Data” to gauge the worth of foreclosures and short sales, and mobile apps now offer it for consumers and real estate agent use.  “Livability” ratings, which rank and contrast neighborhoods by air quality, traffic choke points and specific data on a home’s energy efficiency are oftentimes available if you ask.

  1. TRANSPARENCY EQUALS TRUST

Since Buyers will certainly enlist inspectors to check over your home, why not go transparent with your own presale inspection?  That way you will know in advance what issues (plumbing, roof, HVAC, etc) might come up and lead to disappointment and delay the sale of your home.  You can provide the Buyer with a copy of the inspection, along with receipts for any repairs that you have already done and explain how or if you’ve adjusted your asking price accordingly.

  1. MATH VS. EGO

Buyers need to be careful not to get into a win-at-all-costs type of negotiation and will stubbornly let a few thousand dollars keep them from getting the “right” house.  At an interest rate of 4.5 percent, the difference of paying $200,000 and $195,000—assuming 1.25 percent property tax and 15 percent down—is only about $25 per month on a 30-year mortgage.

  1. RETAIN MINERAL RIGHTS

With so many giant natural-gas fields (shales) in play across the U.S. and new ones pending, homeowners should exercise “Seller’s market” clout to retain mineral rights.  While this intent need not be mentioned in the sales contract in many states, it’s always safest to note it, provided the Buyer doesn’t protest.  You can avoid that scenario by conveying those rights to a trustworthy relative or to an energy company buying them BEFORE listing the house.

  1. BUYING?  THEN COOL IT FOR AWHILE

Lenders consider your debt-to-income ratio when determining the mortgage amount you can afford.  It’s best to avoid making new purchases like a car or opening new credit cards and the like prior to purchasing a new home.  Acquiring new debt, moving large sums of money around, changing banks or becoming self-employed immediately before buying a new home can adversely affect the financing outcome.

  1. THE PRICE IS RIGHT

It is of utmost importance to price your home realistically from the beginning.  Accurate pricing sells homes. Don’t play pricing games.  Activity in the first month of a listing is always the best, so don’t risk wasting it.  Pricing too high will scare off brokers and Buyers and pricing too low will risk leaving dollars on the table.  Hiring a knowledgeable broker with a good track record will provide you with the data support that will yield the pricing that is “right on” for your home.

 

HARRY’S JOKE OF THE DAY

(Not as funny as you might think—good examples of why you need a competent, experienced real estate Professional)

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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