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HARRY'S BI-WEEKLY UPDATE 4.18.16

by Harry Salzman

 

April 18, 2016

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.

NEW CITY LOGO TELLS THE WORLD WHAT WE ALREADY KNOW

Those of us who call Colorado Springs home are well aware of the enormous presence of the U.S. Olympics.  After all, we are home to the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), U.S. Paralympics, the Olympic Training Center, and serve as headquarters for 23 of the 47 Olympic National Governing Bodies.  And this year will see us breaking ground on a world-class U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame that is set to open in 2018.

Therefore, I find it quite fitting that the city is now promoting it’s U.S. Olympic connection by branding itself “Olympic City USA”.  You can see the new logo above, depicting our mountains in the Olympic colors. 

To quote Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, “This is an exciting opportunity to use our existing assets to define us on a world stage”.  I heartily concur and am always happy to share my enthusiasm and support for the city that I’ve lived and worked in residential real estate for 44 years this month. 

As I write that, it’s almost mind-boggling to me that I’ve been in Colorado Springs for that long.  The last 44 years here have afforded me the opportunity to live in one of our country’s most beautiful locales, while allowing me to make a living doing what I love.  Along the way, many of you have become long-term repeat clients and have become friends.  The fact that I now am not only working with you, but with your friends, co-workers, children and in some cases—grand-children—is testament to the fact that my special brand of customer service has been appreciated and reciprocated.  I can’t begin to express my appreciation for all of this but I just want you to know that it is not something I ever take for granted.  I thank you for allowing me to continue to be a part of your life.

 

COLORADO SPRINGS EXPERIENCING LONG-AWAITED ECONOMIC RECOVERY

The Gazette, 4.17.16

Yesterday’s GAZETTE headlined a story about the arrival of our city’s long-awaited economic recovery and it contained a lot of information that I feel deserves reiteration.  As I previously mentioned, I’ve lived here a long time and have thus seen the City go through both good and not-so-good times.  I’m happy to report that now is one of the best times.

There is a very low unemployment rate and jobs are being created faster than any time in the last 15 years.  As I’ve reported in the last few months, residential real estate is at an all-time fast pace.  Tourism is booming and hotels and restaurants are cropping up in all parts of the city.  With all of this comes increased sales tax revenue—so all in all it’s a sure sign of economic recovery for Colorado Springs.

To again quote Mayor Suthers, “There is a lot of enthusiasm out there and we are seeing some very positive signs.  While there is going to be downturn at some point, we are not seeing such enormous growth that I am concerned about a bubble.  It is all very healthy and has the appearance of being sustainable”.

All major indicators measuring the local economy point to it reaching levels from before the recession began in 2008, with some at the highest level since the end of the tech boom in late 2000 and early 2001.  We are now generating new jobs at a faster rate than the rest of the state and the rest of the nation for the first time since the recession. 

According to Tatiana Bailey, director of the Southern Colorado Economic Forum, “We are kind of in a boom. If you look at where we were 1 ½ to two years ago, so many of the indicators have turned around.  We were lagging the state and the nation.  We now have strong employment numbers with people re-entering the labor force, construction is going through the roof, and sales of luxury goods are really strong.” 

And like Mayor Suthers, Ms. Bailey believes that “With people starting to wonder when the bust will follow, it seems to me that growth is spread across so many industries that it is sustainable”.

Good news indeed.

If you know anyone who might be considering a move here, I would recommend you suggest they go to the GAZETTE’s website to read yesterday’s headline article in it’s entirety so they can see first hand why this might be an excellent decision.  And of course, when they are ready, please refer them to me for their residential real estate needs!

 

SPRING HOME BUYING IN 2016 ON TARGET TO BE THE BEST IN A DECADE

Keeping Current Matters, 4.6.16

Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at realtor.com stated several weeks ago that, “All indicators point to this spring being the busiest since 2006”.

Freddie Mac, in their March Housing Outlook Report is saying that 2016 will be the best YEAR that the real estate industry has seen in a decade:

“Despite the challenges facing the housing market, we expect this to be the best year for housing in a decade.  Home sales, housing starts, and house prices will reach their highest level since 2006, according to our latest forecast…Challenges remain, with low housing supply and declining affordability being a key concern in many markets, but on balance, the housing markets in the U.S. are poised for the best year since 2006.”

Some of the key indicators that have given Freddie Mac such a positive position include:

  • Historically low interest rates
  • A resilient labor market
  • An increase in household formations
  • A projected increase in newly constructed homes

This information reinforces everything I’ve been telling you for months.  Just this past week I listed a home for $689,900 and less than 24 hours later I had multiple offers and the home sold.  It’s a crazy time for real estate—and the spring buying season is just getting under way.

If you’ve been sitting on the fence or waiting for increased equity in your present home before contemplating a move, NOW is the time.  Waiting any longer could cost you in terms of finding what you want, as well as in mortgage interest rates.

It’s time to look at your wants, needs and budget and make a plan for your residential real estate dreams.  That’s where I come in.  In today’s market, it’s more important than ever to have an experienced, professional real estate broker on your team.  You need to know in advance what you are looking for and need to be ready to make a decision in a much shorter period of time than in the past.  There are fewer available listings and it takes good negotiation skills to help you get to closing.

I am here to help in all these areas so give me a call today at 598.3200 or email me at Harry@HarrySalzman.com and let me help guide you through the process.  One more way my 44 years of local residential real estate experience can be of service for YOU.

 

AND THE MORTGAGE RATES JUST KEEP ON FALLING…

Daily real estate News, 4.15.16

Last week the 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell to its lowest average of the year—averaging 3.58 percent—according to Freddie Mac in its latest mortgage market survey.

According to Freddie Mac’s chief economist, Sean Becketti, “Demand for Treasuries remained high this (last) week, driving yields to their lowest point since February.  In response, the 30-year mortgage rates fell 1 basis point to 3.58 percent.  This rate represents yet another low for 2016 and the lowest mark since May 2013.”

Just another reason to quickly hop off the fence!

 

HOMEOWNERSHIP IS A GREAT INVESTMENT…INFOGRAPHIC

Keeping Current Matters, 4.1.16

 

SOME GOOD TIPS TO HELP BUYERS IN A “SELLERS MARKET”

RealtorMag, 4.8.16

  • Be on call.  In order to succeed in today’s market, you must make house hunting a priority.  There is a shortage of available homes for sale and the good houses are getting picked up quickly.  You need to act fast to snag the one you want.

 

  • Cast a wide net.  Search for homes outside prime locations or in areas that you might not have considered before if faced with limited or high-priced choices.  You need to consider what you might want or need to compromise on.  Sometimes properties sit longer than others because they might needs renovation or other work.  Oftentimes you might get these properties for less than expected and you can have the work done later—and to your specifications--with the money you save in purchasing the home.

 

  • Bring the paperwork.  To have your offer taken seriously, it’s wise to have a pre-approval letter as well as proof of funds from the bank to show you have enough to cover the down payment.

 

  • Limit the contingencies.  In a “sellers market”, buyers may need to drop some of the contingencies to get the house they want.  Sellers prefer the fewest number of hurdles to closing as possible so the fewer “what if’s” the better your chances of having your offer accepted.

 

  • Don’t play hardball.  In a “typical” home-selling scenario, buyers make an offer below the seller’s asking price, and then negotiate upward from there.  But in a “seller’s market” often there is little to no room for price negotiations.  In fact, if there are multiple bids, you could end up paying well over the asking price.  So you need to decide exactly how high you would be willing to go.

 

 

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HARRY'S BI-WEEKLY UPDATE 4.4.16

by Harry Salzman

 

April 4, 2016

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.

MARCH 2016 WAS THE 20TH STRAIGHT MONTH OF INCREASED LOCAL RESIDENTIAL real estate SALES

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

It’s beginning to sound like a broken record (which, it literally IS), but I am happy to once again report that prices and sales are continuing their upward climb 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 16.2% over March 2015 while Condo/Townhome sales are up 2.6% over 2015. Homes are selling, on average, at 99.5% of the list price and I believe all of these numbers would have even been higher if there had been more homes available for sale.

The Monthly Summary shows that total active listings continue their downward trend from the same month last year.  However, new listings are up 10.3% year-over-year for Single Family/Patio Homes and up 15.9% for Condo/Patio Homes.

With spring buying season just getting underway, along with the continued increase in sales prices and low interest rates, I’m expecting to see more folks hopping off the fence and venturing into the market.  Homes that were at one time “underwater” are now presenting opportunities for owners to check out all available options once again.

According to Jonathan Smoke, realtor®.com’s chief economist, “I would use the term ‘pent-up-demand’ liberally—we’re seeing it come through in the marketplace.  The people who didn’t buy last year were frustrated because they were outbid or couldn’t find a home that met their needs.  So they more or less took the holidays off, and are back with way more intensity.” 

He added that “the early readings on March inventory and activity on realtor®.com indicate that early bird buyers are emerging in markets that typically have buyers sidelined with winter weather (like Colorado Springs)”. 

The good news is that inventory is picking up, due in part to situations I mentioned above.  It’s a small but much needed growth and should lead to a significant uptick in sales this year according to Smoke.

Once again, Colorado Springs is listed in the top 20 housing markets in America—at number 11—up from number 18 in February. The median age of our inventory in March was 44 days—down from 67 days in February—and that’s just another thing to add to the spring buying frenzy!

I am continuing to see a number of folks looking for investment properties to compensate for the stock market volatility that’s plagued us in recent months.  Rental prices are continuing to rise and that is making investment properties a good idea for those wanting to get into that niche of the housing market.  While that isn’t affecting the upper end of the market much, it is cutting in to the available properties for first-time buyers to some extent.

In general, there are still fewer homes available in most neighborhoods and most price ranges, with the current average days on the market a low 44, and those in the low and mid-range tend to go quickly.  These are the homes that are receiving competing bids, some over asking price. Making a quick decision is now the rule in order to secure the home you want.

It’s worth repeating one more time that it’s more important than ever to know what you want, need and can afford prior to the hunt for a new home. There’s no longer the luxury of “let me think about it for a couple of days or even a few hours” at present.

If you’re planning to sell to trade up or move to another neighborhood, another factor to consider is that with homes selling so quickly you need to have a good idea of where you might want to move because you more than likely won’t have the luxury of time on your side to search for a replacement home.

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 March 2016 PPAR report.  Please click here to view the detailed 15-page report, including charts. If you have any questions, as always, just give me a call.

In comparing March 2016 to March 2015 in PPAR:                      

                        Single Family/Patio Homes:

  • New Listings are 1,790, Up 10.3%
  • Number of Sales are 1,172, Up 16.2%
  • Average Sales Price is $268,010 Up 3.3%
  • Median Sales Price is $239,500, Up 6.4%
  • Total Active Listings are 1,941, Down 23.5%

                        Condo/Townhomes:

  • New Listings are 204, Up 15.9%
  • Number of Sales are 155 Up 2.6%
  • Average Sales Price is $160,251, Up 4.6%
  • Median Sales Price is $161,404, Up 12.9%
  • Total Active Listings are 142, Down 45.8%

 

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

                                                Median Sales Price             Median Sales Price

                                                  March 2016                               March 2015

Black Forest                            $480,000                              $389,950                       

Briargate                                  $310,000                              $317,500          

Central                                     $200,000                              $163,000

East                                          $203,000                              $180,000

Fountain Valley:                      $218,500                              $189,900

Manitou Springs:                    $362,000                              $277,000

Marksheffel:                             $252,000                             $268,000

Northeast:                                $231,050                              $215,500

Northgate:                                $411,059                              $354,790        

Northwest:                               $365,000                              $335,000

Old Colorado City:                  $236,200                              $205,000

Powers:                                    $245,000                              $219,950

Southwest:                              $249,085                               $269,500

Tri-Lakes:                                 $461,725                              $420,000

West:                                        $234,900                              $214,650

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

 

COLORADO SPRINGS RENTS RISE FASTEST IN NATION

The Gazette, 4.2.16

Rental rates in Colorado Springs rose 11.4% in March compared to March 2015 according to a survey by Apartment List, a San Francisco-based rental service, putting us at the top of the survey of 100 cities. 

This didn’t come as a surprise to me as I’ve had difficulty finding rental places for clients who need temporary housing.  Most available units are requiring longer leases at increased rates compared to even seven or eight months ago.  And, as I mentioned earlier, this has been an impetus for many of my clients to consider rental properties as investments.

While we topped the list, it’s important to note that Colorado Springs still remains cheaper than many other cities to rent an apartment or home.  According to the survey, the median apartment rent of $1,010 a month for a two bedroom unit ranked 51st in the nation. 

An improved economy, increased job opportunities and young people looking to rent for the first time are driving up prices, especially since there are fewer units available.

I’m certain you can guess my thoughts on this issue.  Home ownership is certainly something to consider, if possible, for many reasons. 

To begin with, you don’t have to deal with rents going up each year.  And when you add that to the fact that you are building equity with each mortgage payment, it becomes a no-brainer.  Low interest rates, along with new regulations that allow for lower down payments and other down payment alternatives are worth considering for first-time buyers. 

Why not give me a call today and let’s see if buying a home is a viable option for you or a family member.  It’s possible that reality is more plausible than you might think.

 

2016 PREDICTED TO BE HOUSING’S ‘GOLDEN YEAR’

RealtorMag 4.1.16

Low Mortgage Rates.  Improving Job Market.  Gradual Increase in Housing Supply.

These are the three reasons given by mortgage giant Freddie Mac officials to make the prediction that this year housing starts and home prices will reach their highest levels since 2006.

According to Freddie Mac’s monthly Outlook for March, we can “expect the 30-year mortgage rate to remain very attractive throughout the spring home-buying season, staying below 4 percent until the second half of the year.”

That said, there are still a few challenges for the housing market, particularly with wage growth and “if wages and incomes do not start rising, then rising interest rates, home prices and rents will squeeze households and ultimately slow housing markets,” Freddie Mac noted.

However, officials there remain upbeat and the Outlook noted that the “nation’s housing markets should sustain their momentum from 2015 into 2016 and 2017.” 

 

UPDATE:  DODD-FRANK ACT CONTINUES TO IMPACT MORTGAGE LENDING

Mortgage lending has changed in a number of ways since the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act last October and other changes are due in the next few years.

At present, some lenders have been forced to eliminate some mortgage products due to lack of clarity around the enforcement the TRID “Know Before You Owe” integrated disclosure.

Each new regulation has added to the cost of the mortgage process while adding to processing times.  And, in January 2019 there will be additional changes, more than likely adding to the cost and time required for loan processing.

I’ve experienced the frustration of my clients when an “all cash” deal has trumped their offer because there are no “wait times” imposed by lenders and law.  This Act was meant to make things easier for the consumer and to make certain that they understood all costs and requirements prior to closing.  The intent was good—and still is—but it’s continuing to make the home buying process a bit more lengthy and confusing for some. 

It’s not going to get better I’m afraid, but lenders I work with are doing their best to make the best of the situation for all concerned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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
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