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Turnaround ... 4 months and counting

by Harry Salzman

May 23, 2011





Well, it’s great to get back home.

The best way to appreciate our wonderful city is to visit somewhere else. Las Vegas was exciting, but Colorado Springs is heaven !!!

This year’s meeting of the “Worldwide ERC, the Workforce Mobility Association” had almost 2000 attendees and featured speakers from companies representing every aspect of the relocation industry. It was a great opportunity to hear what the “big boys” are saying about the economy and about the outlook for the future. It certainly gave us the opportunity to see how Colorado Springs stacks up against the rest of the country…..and believe me, we are looking very good, compared to most other cities in the U.S.

We have attended every one of these conferences since 1977 and, this year we were the only Realtor, or Broker/Owner from Colorado Springs in attendance.

Here are some of the significant changes that our weak economy is producing, as pointed out by many of the speakers at the conference:

  • There has been a huge increase in the number of renters ….families who have lost their homes and their credit ratings because of foreclosure (Investors, take note!)
  • More employees are turning down promotion opportunities which would require them to relocate. They can’t afford to take the loss in equity that selling their present home would require.
  • More companies are cutting back on subsidizing the cost of relocating employees, except for their top executives. This makes it difficult for companies to offer their employees upward mobility within the company.
  • It is not unusual for homes in some areas of a given city to take over a year to sell.
  • real estate prices in most cities in the U.S. have not “bottomed out” yet.
  • Colorado Springs is showing better numbers than approximately 60% - 70% of other cities nationwide.

The bottom line for Transferees is that they face a difficult choice in today’s market …Sell their present home at a loss, or, turn down the opportunity to advance within their company (and, as we all know, the opportunity to advance within a company is usually offered only once).

To bring the numbers into focus for our city, we see that, according to the latest statistics published by the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors, our average sales price for the past 4 months is up 1.1% over the same period last year. Admittedly, that’s not much of an increase, but it’s better than the situation in most other cites, which are still showing losses. In fact, according to Fiserv and Moody’s survey, the national U.S. home price average will show a 3 percent decline in the first half of this year. (See the following article, “Turnaround: 4 Months and Counting).



The latest prediction from the authoritative Moody’s Analytics and Fiserv, Inc, which tracks home price trends in 375 U.S. markets, is that the national residential market is stabilizing, but will still show a 3% decline in the first half of this year. This is quite a different story from our local increase of 1.1% for the first quarter of 2011. Compared with other parts of the country, we’re doing great !!!

The survey also predicts that prices in the hardest-hit markets will take until the end of 2012 to level out.

Relative to household income, affordability is at or close to pre-bubble levels in nearly every metro area across the U.S. This dynamic, combined with growing economic strength, leads Fiserv and Moody’s Analytics to project that average U.S. home prices will stabilize in the third quarter of this year.

Even as balance returns to the housing market, the survey data forecasts the pace of recovery will be uneven across U.S. metro areas.

Although our local market is recovering at a good pace, there is still a great opportunity for Investors to build their investments by purchasing rental property. A larger pool of prospective Renters, plus the tightening credit requirements which make it difficult for former- home-owners to qualify for financing, plus the record-low cost of homes, plus the low interest rates which are still available, all combine to make rental properties a great investment.

To explore how investment properties might enhance your financial future, call us at 598-3200,or,1-800-677-MOVE(6683)



The Business section of the Gazette on Friday featured the story, “LOCAL JOBLESS RATE DIVES FOR SECOND STRAIGHT MONTH”.

The area’s jobless rate fell to 9.2% in April, from 9.7% the month before, the state Department of Labor and Employment reported Friday. That drop matched the one in March, when the jobless rate fell to 9.7% from a revised 10.2% in February.

The local job market is still struggling, but is showing improvement with 3,100 fewer people unemployed since January, despite a small increase in the labor force during the same period, said Fred Crowley, senior economist for the Southern Colorado Economic Forum.

All the numbers show that we’re a heck of a lot better off than most other parts of the country …..and we don’t have any problems that won’t be solved by JOBS, JOBS, JOBS.

Looks like our new mayor has his job cut out for him.



For the fifth straight week, mortgage rates inched down again--this time reaching the lowest level of the year as well as lowest year-to-date. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.61 percent this week, while the 15-year rate averaged 3.80 percent, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey.

The 30-year mortgage hasn’t reached 4.61 percent or below since December 2010. Last year at this time, it averaged 4.84 percent while the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.24 percent.

The falling rates may be yet another lure to buyers during real estate’s traditionally prime home buying season. Owning a home has also recently been found to be more affordable than renting in 78 percent of the major U.S. cities, according to the latest data from Trulia.


We often talk about the COST of buying a house vs. the PRICE of the home. The price obviously is a major component of the cost. The other major component is the interest rate on your mortgage. A small hike in mortgage interest rate can have a dramatic impact on your monthly payment. For that reason we try to keep you current on what is projected for rates in the future.

Four major institutions project rates: The National Association of Realtors (NAR), Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and PMI. Here is what each is seeing in the next year.

By the Second Quarter of 2012:

  • Fannie Mae predicts an interest rate of    5.6%
  • PMI predicts an interest rate of              5.95%
  • Freddie Mac predicts an interest rate of   5.6%
  • NAR predicts an interest rate of              5.9%

Bottom Line

If you are looking to buy a house and are waiting to see what will happen with prices, remember interest rates will also impact your housing cost.



Existing-home sales slipped in April, although the market has managed six gains in the past nine months, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the market is underperforming. “Given the great affordability conditions, job creation and pent-up demand, home sales should be stronger,” he said. “Although existing-home sales are expected to trend up unevenly through next year, unnecessarily tight credit is continuing to restrain the market, along with a steady level of low appraisals that result in contract cancellations.”

A parallel NAR practitioner survey shows 11 percent of Realtors® report a contract was cancelled in April from an appraisal coming in below the price negotiated between a buyer and seller, 10 percent had a contract delayed, and 14 percent said a contract was renegotiated to a lower sales price as a result of a low appraisal.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 4.84 percent in April, unchanged from March; the rate was 5.10 percent in April 2010.

“Although sales are clearly up from the cyclical lows of last summer, home sales are being held back 15 to 20 percent due to the very restrictive loan underwriting standards,” Yun said.

All-cash transactions stood at 31 percent in April, down from a record level of 35 percent in March; they were 26 percent in March 2010; investors account for the bulk of cash purchases.

NAR President Ron Phipps said the lending community needs to return to sensible standards. “We want to ensure that qualified buyers will be able to own their property on a sustained basis from a sound credit evaluation, but banks needn’t be so stingy as to only lend to those with the highest credit scores,” he said.

First-time buyers purchased 36 percent of homes in April, up from 33 percent in March; they were 49 percent in April 2010 when the tax credit was in place. Investors slipped to 20 percent in April from 22 percent of purchase activity in March; they were 15 percent in April 2010. The balance of sales was to repeat buyers, which were 44 percent in April.

Phipps added that proposals and regulations are being considered in Washington that could further constrain the housing market. “One of the most damaging proposals would effectively raise down-payment requirements to 20 percent, which would slam the brakes on the housing market,” he said. “What we need to do is simply return to the sound standards that were in place before the introduction of risky mortgage products.”

Ironically, low down-payment FHA and VA loans, which are so critical to this segment, have performed well and never needed a taxpayer bailout because those borrowers stayed well within their budgets.

NAR consumer survey data shows 56 percent of entry level buyers in the past year financed with an FHA loan.



Is a little elbow grease needed? Selling an "as-is" home may turn off buyers, according to a recent survey of real estate professionals.

The survey found that 87 percent of first-time buyers don't want to buy a home that requires them to do a lot of work; instead they want "move-in" ready. There's no doubt about it, a fixed-up home sells faster and agents say it sells for more money.

When contractor work totaled nearly $40,000, those repairs added more than $100,000 to the asking price! Of course, not all homes will require that amount of money and repairs. The point is putting a little effort, money, repairs, and tender loving care into it. This could go a long way at the time of the sale.

Repairing things like leaky pipes, broken windows, worn ceilings, as well as replacing old roofs and driveways can go a long way to help increase the listing price. Ripping up carpet and painting the inside and/or outside of the home can also increase buyer appeal.

real estate experts say the renovations don't need to be things like re-doing a kitchen or bath, unless it's tremendously outdated. The risk there is that sellers can put more into the renovation than they'll get out of it at the time of sale. Also, remodels to these areas of the home are quite personal and based heavily on personal taste.

What about clutter? Buyers often see clutter as a bigger issue than just a bunch of stuff strewn about the home. It can make them think that the home is more of a "project" house than it really is. Save yourself any issues and pack up your personal stuff.

Sometimes packing up stuff means storing big items that are cluttering the house. Borrow a friend's garage or rent a storage unit if your next home isn't ready. Unstuffing overly-furnished rooms can really open up the floor plan, allowing buyers to get a good idea of the size of the room.

Not preparing a home for sale can mean having to accept the very unwanted fact of listing it for a lower price.



After multiple years characterized by doubt and pessimism, relocation managers across the U.S. are expressing optimism that the worst of the recession is now in the rearview mirror. Responding to Atlas Van Lines’ 44th annual Corporate Relocation Survey, 72% of the relocation managers polled say they believe their respective companies will fare better in 2011. The optimism rate among large firms surveyed (more than 5,000 workers) jumps to 80%.

“Our relocation research has served as a solid barometer of where the American economy is headed,” said Jack Griffin, president and COO of Atlas World Group, the parent company of Atlas Van Lines. “The good news is that our survey respondents are focusing on growing their businesses and believe there will be abundant opportunity for expansion and increased revenues in 2011. This is encouraging for Atlas Van Lines and our relocation agents.”

Additional encouraging signs include:

  • Fifty-four percent of executives surveyed believe the U.S. economy will improve in 2011—the highest rate of such optimism recorded since 2006.
  • Thirty percent of companies plan to relocate workers this year—the highest percentage in six years.
  • Eighty-seven percent of companies will spend as much or more on relocation in 2011 as in 2010—the most since 2007.
  • The Midwest is now the top destination of transfers (37%) followed by the Northeast (31%), the South (28%) and West (20%).

And, please remember, I would be honored to serve as your Broker for all of your residential real estate needs. I want to help you, my reader, make the most prudent and accurate Real Estate business decision.

Also if you know of anyone who desires to buy or sell local real estate, or, who is moving in or out of the Pikes Peak region, remember that, with over 39 years of providing relocation and Real Estate services to clients throughout the country, I am uniquely qualified to assist them with the relocation process, including buying and/or selling their homes on both ends of their move. Please allow me to implement my negotiating skills on your behalf.

Just click on the icon at the top of this email to listen to my latest podcast. ….And, if you would like to learn more about our Job Loss Protection Program, please contact us.



Click here for the latest Sales and Listing statistics for the Pikes Peak area



On a road through a desert in Arizona, a preacher named Nathaniel Evans walked every day, preaching to the many people who roared past in their cars

"Repent, the End of the World is Nigh!" was his constant theme.

One day, as he was walking, he came to a big lever in the middle of nowhere, just by the side of the road. 'Pull this to end the world' said the sign on it.

Now Nathaniel saw this as the perfect spot for him to preach, and soon many automobiles were parked nearby, the people all swayed by his powerful elocution.

All was well, until there were so many people, and so many cars, that the road was nearly blocked. Then a big 18-wheel rig came down the highway, and couldn't stop in time. The driver had a choice: run over Nathaniel, or run over the Lever.

As the driver explained to the Highway Patrol later, he actually had no choice. Pointing to the red smear on the road that used to be Nathaniel Evans, he said "Better Nate than Lever."



by Harry Salzman

May 16, 2011



Colorado Springs sales tax collections in April rose by the largest percentage since October, increasing 7.85 percent from the same month a year earlier, the city reported Wednesday.

Sales tax collections have now posted year-over-year gains for 18 consecutive months, but gains had dwindled in recent months and were less than 1 percent in the previous month. Collections so far this year are up 4.46 percent from a year ago. But despite the April gains, collections are still down 6.74 percent from peak levels in 2007.

April collections reflect purchases made in March. The gain comes as the Springs area unemployment rate fell in March by the greatest percentage in more than 10 years, from 10.2 percent in February to 9.7 percent.

Fred Crowley, senior economist for the Southern Colorado Economic Forum, said, “The April increase is good and welcome, but may not be sustainable,” he said. “People aren’t getting raises and are spending more on gas, so they will have to cut spending elsewhere.”


Combined sales and use tax collections in April were up 6.83 percent from a year ago to $10.55 million and are up 1.68 percent so far this year.

Why it’s important: Sales and use tax collections fund more than half of the city’s annual budget for police and fire protection, roads and other services. Sales tax is also a primary measurement of consumer spending, making it a key barometer of the vitality of the local economy.


First, let’s talk about home values

According to Daily real estate News, May 10, 2011, in most states, Home values posted the largest decline in the first quarter since late 2008.

Home values (i.e. selling prices) fell 3% in the first quarter from the previous quarter and 1.1% in March from the previous month, pushed down by an abundance of foreclosed homes on the market, according to data released Monday. Prices have now fallen for 57 consecutive months and only 22% of metro areas showed any increase at all since 2009.

However, Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, pointed out that home prices are all over the map. “The reading of quarterly price data can be volatile because they are based on the types of homes that are sold during the quarter. When buyers principally purchase distressed properties in a given market, the recorded prices will be very low, which is what we’re seeing now in much of the country,” he said.

The national median existing single-family home price was $158,700 in the first quarter, down 4.6 percent from $166,400 in the first quarter of 2010. (The median is where half sold for more and half sold for less).

In the first quarter, the median existing single-family home price rose in only 34 out of 153 metropolitan statistical areas from the first quarter of 2010, including four with double-digit increases; one was unchanged and 118 areas showed price declines.

One big reason for the decline in values (i.e. selling prices) was the national inventory of Distressed Sales (i.e foreclosures and short-sales) which is forcing artificially low prices on all sales.

In the West, the median existing single-family home price fell 4.7 percent to $197,400 in the first quarter from the first quarter of 2010.

Keep in mind that, during this same period, the Colorado Springs market has shown relatively steady home values for the past four quarters, and has outperformed most other markets, according to the NAR quarterly report of the top 153 cities in the U.S.

During the past year, the national decline in home values was 4.6%, while the Colorado Springs average home value has gone from $184,800 in 2010 to $184,300 in 2011….That’s terrific. !!!

. . …….In terms of home-value, Colorado Springs is definitely better off than most other metropolitan areas in the country.

Now, let’s look at national home-sales

In spite of the national decline in home value, home sales have risen in most states

Existing-home sales continued to recover in the first quarter with gains in 49 states and the District of Columbia, while 22 percent of metropolitan areas saw prices rise from a year ago, according to the latest survey by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Total state existing-home sales, including single-family homes and condos, rose 8.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.14 million in the first quarter from 4.75 million in the fourth quarter, and are only 0.8 percent below a 5.18 million pace during the same period in 2010.

Lawrence Yun noted that lower priced homes have seen the best sales performance. “The biggest sales increase has been in the lower price ranges, which are popular with investors and cash buyers,” he said. “The preponderance of sales activity at the lower end is bringing down the median price, so what we’re seeing is the result of a change in the composition of home sales.”

“The rising sales trend in nearly all states is a part of the healing process to clear off inventory. Sales need to rise before prices can firm up,” Yun added.

Although sales are slightly below a year ago, the volume of homes sold for $100,000 or less in the first quarter was 8.9 percent higher than the first quarter of 2010, creating a downward skew on the overall median price.

Existing-home sales in the West jumped 13.5 percent in the first quarter to a level of 1.29 million and are 2.1 percent above a year ago.

The share of all-cash home purchases rose to 33 percent in the first quarter from 27 percent in the first quarter of 2010….a good indication that Investors are seriously into the market.

Who’s Buying?

First of all, there are more Investors in the national market

Investors accounted for 21 percent of first quarter transactions, up from 18 percent a year ago, while first-time buyers purchased 32 percent of homes, down from 42 percent in the first quarter of 2010 when a tax credit was in place. Repeat buyers accounted for a 47 percent market share in the first quarter, up from 40 percent a year earlier.

Some other interesting data show that First-time buyers are down (32% in the first quarter of 2011 vs 42% in 2010) …a reflection on the fact that the federal tax credit did, indeed, result in more sales last year. Repeat buyers are up from 2010 (47% in 2011 vs 40% in 2010).

In addition to the fact that Colorado Springs home values are holding steady, the bottom line for our local economy is that the Business Conditions Index …the overview of all aspects of the Colorado Springs economy issued by UCCS, has grown by 22% in April 2011 vs Feb 2009. That’s quite a leap and a good indicator that our city and our real estate market are moving in the right direction.

If you would like to discuss our local real estate market, Call us at 598-3200,or,1-800-677-MOVE(6683)


Reforms to America’s housing finance market must ensure a reliable source of affordable mortgage lending for creditworthy consumers. That’s according to REALTORS® and other industry insiders who examined the federal government’s future role in the secondary mortgage market at the “Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac: Obama Options and Beyond” session during the National Association of REALTORS® 2011 Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo.

Some of the views expressed at the meeting about reforming the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) were:

• Reform is required
• Taxpayers must be protected from losses
• The federal government must continue to play a role in the secondary mortgage market to ensure a steady flow of mortgage liquidity in all markets under all economic conditions.
• Reform of the secondary mortgage market needs to be comprehensive and undertaken methodically.
• The government’s large presence in the housing finance is unhealthy and needs to be scaled back.
• Private capital needs to return to the housing finance market, but that most likely won’t happen until the market has stabilized.
• There needs to be more accountability and transparency in the secondary mortgage market so that private investors can best assess their risk and safely get back into the market.
• There should be a very limited government role in the secondary mortgage market.
• The private capital market has the funds and capacity to absorb Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s market share.
• Some government backstop will be essential in the future, since the housing and finance markets are sensitive to booms and busts.

Speakers reported that the government’s stated primary objective appears to be twofold: First, to lay out an immediate near-term path for reform, with steps that could be taken the next few years to reduce taxpayer risk and move the housing market to more stable footing, and second, to frame the discussion regarding the government’s long-term role in housing finance.

This topic will continue to be debated in the near-future, as the government decides the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.


According to the Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2011, Mortgage rates declined for the fourth straight week and reached their lowest levels of 2011.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.63 percent this week, reports Freddie Mac in its weekly mortgage market survey. Last week, the 30-year mortgage stood at 4.71 percent; compared to last year at this time, it averaged 4.93 percent.

Meanwhile, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage also reached its lowest level of the year, averaging 3.82 percent this week from 3.89 percent last week. Last year at this time, the 15-year mortgage averaged 4.30 percent.

The 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.41 percent, down from last week’s 3.47 percent average. A year ago, it averaged 3.95 percent.

As rates continue to fall, the number of mortgage applications is increasing. Mortgage applications increased 8.2 percent this week compared to one week earlier, reports the Mortgage Bankers Association. The refinancing index increased 9 percent, the highest level since mid-March. Mortgage applications for purchase also got a boost, rising 7.1 percent compared to the previous week.

All indications point to a growing rate for home mortgages, so, if you are ever going to buy, now is the time.

Call us at 598-3200, or, 1-800-677-MOVE(6683)


This week we will be attending the Semi-Annual Conference of the relocation Industry. This meeting will feature speakers from some of the largest employers, corporations and relocation specialists in the nation and will be attended by around 2000 individuals and companies who serve the relocation industry.

It should be a unique view into what the ‘movers and shakers’ are predicting and we will provide you with some highlights next week.

Bye for now.

And, please remember, I would be honored to serve as your Broker for all of your residential real estate needs. I want to help you, my reader, make the most prudent and accurate Real Estate business decision.

Also if you know of anyone who desires to buy or sell local real estate, or, who is moving in or out of the Pikes Peak region, remember that, with over 39 years of providing relocation and Real Estate services to clients throughout the country, I am uniquely qualified to assist them with the relocation process, including buying and/or selling their homes on both ends of their move. Please allow me to implement my negotiating skills on your behalf.

Just click on the icon at the top of this email to listen to my latest podcast. ….And, if you would like to learn more about our Job Loss Protection Program, please contact us.

Click here for the latest Sales and Listing statistics for the Pikes Peak area



A businessman walked into a New York City bank and asked for the loan officer. He said he needed a loan and wanted to borrow $5000 for two weeks. The man’s credit checked out, so the loan officer said he would O.K. the loan, but the bank would need some security for such a loan.

The business man then handed over the keys to a Rolls Royce that was parked on the street in front of the bank. Everything checked out and the loan officer accepted the car as collateral for the loan. An employee then drove the Rolls into the bank’s underground garage and parked it there.

Two weeks later the businessman returned, repaid the $5,000 and the interest which came to $15.41.

The loan officer said, “We do appreciate your business and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a bit puzzled. While you were away we checked and found that you are a multimillionaire. What puzzles us is why you would bother to borrow $5,000?”

The business man replied: “Where else in New York City can I park my car for two weeks for fifteen bucks?”

Gallup says it's time to buy

by Harry Salzman

May 9, 2011





Our local market is trending up, and looks promising. In fact, compared to most other parts of the country, our local real estate market is looking fabulous. Here are some examples from the recent PPAR report for April of 2011:

• Average sales price in April - $215,466 (+1.9% from March 2011)
• Median sales price in April - $284,950 (+2.8% from March 2011 and +1.4% from April 2010)
• Average sales price in the first quarter of 2011 - $ 216,714 (+1.1% from 2010)
• Number of Single-family home sales in April – 748 (down 5.6% from 2010, primarily because of the artificial boost to sales caused by federal tax credit that was available in the first part of 2010)
• Number of First Quarter sales in 2011 – 2433 (down 4.6% from 2010, again, because of the artificial boost to sales caused by federal tax credit that was available in the first part of 2010)

It’s interesting to note that April sales of homes in El Paso County under $200,000 represented 56% of total sales. Sales of all homes under $300,000 represented 81% of all sales.

To see the latest Sales and Listing statistics on our local market, CLICK HERE



The Southern Colorado Economic Forum (SCEF), sponsored by the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, is an organization dedicated to reporting on the economic condition of the Southern Colorado business community. SCEF issues a quarterly report which covers such activities as: Residential sales, Multi family market, Airport trends, Sales taxes, Vehicle sales and registrations, Employment trends, etc. and contains 16 different statistical types of flow charts containing the most recent data. The report, referred to as the “QUE” is issued by Fred Crowley, the chief economist for the SCEF. The most recent QUE contains data for the first quarter of 2011.

To summarize some of the data in the most recent QUE:

• Our local Business Conditions Index (BCI) is 22.2% higher than Feb. 2009
• Our Employment rate, new vehicle registrations earnings and foreclosures are all better than 12 months ago
• Our Residential single-family permit level is improving.
• Our Housing price trends suggest there is stability in the local market.
• The trend over the past 12 months suggests the average sale price for a home over the last 12 months is increasing in the region. This trend suggests the housing market is recovering
• Further increases in housing prices are anticipated
• Increases in real rents are expected in 2011
• President Obama’s goal to end military deployments is expected to boost the local economy in 2012.

However, keep in mind that, as with most other areas of the economy, the future of real estate will be strongly affected by interest rates and job growth.

To see a complete copy of the latest QUE for the first quarter of 2011, CLICK HERE


You might want to attend the 15th Annual Southern Colorado Economic Forum, Oct 14, 2011. Salzman real estate Services is proud to be the only residential Real Estate company to be listed as a “Forum Partner” in this annual event which supports the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Click here to learn more.


The following comments are excerpted from “All this bearish news makes me bullish” by Brett Arends, a senior columnist for MarketWatch and a personal-finance columnist for the Wall Street Journal.

There are several reasons I think this is a good time to buy:

• First, prices in many areas are now cheap. They have corrected a long way since the bubble began to burst five years ago. There are deals aplenty.
• The second reason: There are tons of foreclosures and short sales on the market. And there are plenty more sitting in the wings. Banks are holding back big shadow inventories of homes. And that means you can get a great deal. They have to sell. You don’t have to buy. You hold all the cards. Remember, the name of the game isn’t “let’s make a deal.” It’s “take it or leave it.”
• Third, in many places rental yields are terrific. It’s cheaper to own than to rent. And rents are rising, because so many former owners are now renters.
• The fourth reason I’m bullish is that you can get a very cheap mortgage. Thirty-year conforming loans are going as low as 4.3%. Throw in the tax break on the interest, and you are talking cheap finance.
• The fifth reason is that, as painful as this collapse has been, real estate has historically proven to offer very good long-term protection against inflation. Returns have typically averaged about 1% or 2% above inflation. At a time when everyone has been piling into gold, commodities and TIPS bonds to protect themselves against the possibility of inflation, it seems odd that the most popular and successful hedge, namely real estate, goes a-begging.
• The sixth reason I’m bullish is perverse, but I’m sticking by it. Everyone else is bearish. You cannot find a real-estate bull anywhere. No one wants to own this asset. No one wants to talk about it. No one wants to hear about it. Everyone seems to agree it’s just going down, down, down — forever. They said much the same about stocks in 1987, 2002 and 2009; Treasury bonds in 1982; and gold in 2000. I cannot prove this is capitulation, but it sure smells something like it.
• There are good homes out there going really cheap. If you hunt down the bargains, you’re disciplined about price, you get the right financing, and you hold on for five years or more, you’ll probably do pretty well from here.

If it’s good enough for the personal finance columnist of the Wall Street Journal, it’s good enough for me. Where do I sign Up ???


Daily real estate News | May 6, 2011

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, a popular choice among buyers, sank even lower this past week, matching its yearly low of 4.71 percent from January, reports Freddie Mac in its weekly mortgage market survey. Last year at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5 percent.

Meanwhile, the 15-year fixed-rate hit a new yearly low of 3.89 percent this week. Last week, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.97 percent. The 15-year rate averaged 4.36 percent last year at this time. It reached its lowest level on record in November when it averaged 3.57 percent.

The one-year adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.14 percent, down from last week’s 3.15 percent. Last year at this time, it averaged 4.07 percent.

"Weaker economic data reports reduced Treasury bond yields and allowed mortgage rates to drift lower for the third consecutive week,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

Source: “30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage Matches Yearly Low of 4.71 Percent,” Freddie Mac (May 5, 2011)


Daily real estate News May 4, 2011

Millions of young adults are beginning to move out of their parents’ homes and create new households at the fastest rate since 2007. Some housing experts are predicting these young adults may provide a major jump to U.S. housing starts--possibly by more than 50 percent, even by next year--and increase housing consumption at a rate nearly double that of the past two years, Bloomberg News reports.

In 2011, between 750,000 and 1 million new households are expected to be created, says UBS Securities LLC’s Maury Harris and IHS Global Insight’s Patrick Newport. In the year ended March 2010, new households stood at 357,000--the lowest on record, according to U.S. Census data. The “depressed rate” in new household formation has continued to jeopardize the housing market’s recovery, experts say.

But as the employment picture continues to improve, more young adults are leaving Mom and Dad’s house and making a new home for themselves. The “moving-back-in-with-Mom-and-Dad phenomenon” had caused a backlog of pent-up households, Charles Lieberman, chief investment officer with Advisors Capital Management LLC in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., told Bloomberg News. “Improved economic conditions” will “enable these households to split up and resume living in their own residences.”

Housing starts are expected to get a boost to about 648,000 this year and near 900,000 in 2012 (it stood at 586,800 last year), says Brad Hunter, chief economist and national director of consulting for Metrostudy. The increase in housing starts, he says, reflects a “shadow demand” for new homes among family members who have moved in together because of economic conditions.

“The demographic component of housing demand is strong," he says. "It’s just the economic and psychological components that are holding things back.”

This increase in households is great news for Homebuilders, Sellers and Investors. A rising tide of Households raises all boats.

Call us at 598-3200, or, 1-800-677-MOVE(6683)


Rismedia, May 5, 2011

Consumer attitudes towards the housing markets are echoing views in the years immediately preceding the peak of the housing boom, according to a new national survey by the Gallup poll.

Americans continue to see a buyer’s market in housing, according to an April 2011 Gallup poll. Sixty-nine percent of respondents say now is a good time to buy a house.

Historic Gallup data shows that many Americans also thought it was a good time to buy between 2003 and 2005, when housing prices were increasing and getting financing was relatively easy. Those attitudes began to change in 2006 as some homebuyers began to realize a housing bubble was taking shape in local markets across the country.

Men (74 percent) are about 16 percent more likely to see now as a good time to buy a home than women (64 percent). Americans making $75,000 or more a year (86 percent) are 18 percent more likely to see 2011 as a good time to buy a home than those making $30,000 – $75,000 (73 percent), and 72 percent more likely than those making less than $30,000 (50 percent).

Americans’ expectations for home prices in their local markets are slightly better now than they were in January. Currently, 30 percent of Americans say home prices will increase and 28 percent say they will decrease in the next year.


RISMEDIA, May 5, 2011

As the housing market continues to struggle, home buyers appear ill-prepared to take out a mortgage, answering basic questions about mortgage information wrong nearly half (46 percent) of the time, according to a recent Marketplace survey. In fact, 44 percent admitted they are not confident in their knowledge of mortgages or the mortgage process. The Marketplace survey surveyed prospective home buyers, asking them to gauge their own knowledge of mortgages, and asking basic questions about mortgage facts.

More than half (57 percent) of prospective home buyers who were polled do not understand how adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) work. When asked if interest rates on 5/1 ARMs always reset higher after five years, the majority of home buyers answered yes. In fact, the interest rate will adjust to the prevailing rate after five years, even if rates have declined. Currently, many borrowers whose ARMs have recently reset have lower interest rates than they did when they took out the loan.

Additionally, one-third (34 percent) of the respondents who are prospective home buyers do not understand that lender fees are negotiable and that they vary by lender. They believe lenders are required by law to charge the same fees for credit reports and appraisals, when in fact home buyers can save money by shopping for the lowest fees.

Additional Survey Findings

• More than half (55 percent) of prospective home buyers in the study do not understand that mortgage rates vary throughout the day. In reality, mortgage rates can change rapidly, similar to how stock prices can change throughout the day. To get the optimum rate, it is important to monitor rates and shop around.
• More than one-third (37 percent) of prospective home buyers who were polled believe that pre-qualifying for a loan means they have secured financing. In fact, “pre-qualification” is used to describe the earliest step in the process when a lender approximates how much you can afford, but does not run your credit or request any sort of documentation to verify the information you provide. Although there is not a reliable industry standard definition of pre-qualification, it is not until a lender has approved your loan application without conditions that you can rest assured that the lender has committed to financing your loan.
• More than two in five (42 percent) of the polled prospective home buyers do not understand that Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans are available to ALL buyers. Instead, they believe only first-time buyers qualify. FHA loans can cost less for many buyers, including repeat buyers with low to average credit scores and with down payments of less than 20 percent.
Let us help you negotiate your way through the mortgage maze. Call us at (719) 598-3200, or, 1-800-677-MOVE(6683)

Daily real estate News - May 4, 2011

Eighty-two percent of independent landlords say they would rent to someone who had lost a home in foreclosure, if the applicant had otherwise good credit, according to a new survey by The National Association of Independent Landlords.

"Landlords typically won't rent to applicants with poor credit--and a foreclosure will absolutely slam someone's scores,” says Tracey Benson, president of The National Association of Independent Landlords. “The exception is when they see people who have paid their bills their whole life, but lost their job, can't meet their mortgage and must hand their keys back to the bank.”

Benson says that applicants with a foreclosure aren’t necessarily bad credit risks. “Often, they lost their jobs and homes through no fault of their own," she says.

As such, "because of this abundance of defaults, there is a greater need for rental property, so landlords should carefully vet applicants," Benson says, adding that landlords should do a thorough background check to determine whether defaulting applicants were a victim to financial woes or following a lifelong trend of not paying bills.

Investors, take note !!!

Let us localize this situation to Colorado Springs residential real estate investments. Call us at 598-3200, or, 1-800-677-MOVE(6683)

And, please remember, I would be honored to serve as your Broker for all of your residential real estate needs. I want to help you, my reader, make the most prudent and accurate Real Estate business decision.

Also if you know of anyone who desires to buy or sell local real estate, or, who is moving in or out of the Pikes Peak region, remember that, with over 39 years of providing relocation and Real Estate services to clients throughout the country, I am uniquely qualified to assist them with the relocation process, including buying and/or selling their homes on both ends of their move. Please allow me to implement my negotiating skills on your behalf.
Just click on the icon at the top of this email to listen to my latest podcast. ….And, if you would like to learn more about our Job Loss Protection Program, please contact us.


The worried housewife sprang to the telephone when it rang and listened with relief to the kindly voice in her ear. "How are you, darling?" it said. "What kind of a day are you having?"

"Oh, mother," said the housewife, breaking into bitter tears, "I've had such a bad day. The baby won't eat and the washing machine broke down. I haven't had a chance to go shopping, and besides, I've just sprained my ankle and I have to hobble around. On top of that, the house is a mess and I'm supposed to have two couples to dinner tonight."

The mother was shocked and was at once all sympathy. "Oh, darling," she said, "sit down, relax, and close your eyes. I'll be over in half an hour. I'll do your shopping, clean up the house, and cook your dinner for you. I'll feed the baby and I'll call a repairman I know who'll be at your house to fix the washing machine promptly. Now stop crying. I'll do everything. In fact, I'll even call George at the office and tell him he ought to come home and help out for once."

"George?" said the housewife. "Who's George?" "Why, George! Your husband! Is this 223-1374? "No, this is 223-1375." "Oh, I'm sorry. I guess I have the wrong number."

There was a short pause and the housewife said, "Does this mean you're not coming over?"


by Harry Salzman

May 2, 2011





The Gazette (Sunday, May 1, 2011) reports that seven out of eight March indicators show Colorado Springs is on track for a recovery.

The good news is that, in March:

  • Wage and Salary jobs were up .1%
  • Initial claims for unemployment were down 7.3%
  • The unemployment rate was down to 10.1%
  • New Auto and Truck registrations were up 40.6% (Thank you, Fort Carson)
  • Taxable retail sales were up .8%
  • Hotel occupancy rate was up to 56.8%
  • Foreclosure filings were down 42.1%

The only bad news was that single-family home permits were down 60.8%. Unfortunately, that segment of the market will continue to falter until the foreclosure and short-sales are absorbed.



Colorado Springs is among 10 cities and metropolitan areas nationwide that are poised for an "early turnaround" in their housing markets, according to a study released this week., an arm of the National Association of Realtors, included Colorado Springs in its first-ever listing of cities and metropolitan areas where market conditions such as sales, prices and days-on-the-market were analyzed. Julie Reynolds, a vice-president said, "You're signaling signs that a turnaround may be in progress".

The survey collected data from 146 metro areas around the country which includes around 930 multiple listing services. Some 20 key measurements, including prices, inventories and new listings were examined for March, and compared with the previous month and with March of last year.

Among positive indicators for the Springs were:

  • Median list price of homes for sale in the Springs was $224,900, compared to $199,500 nationwide
  • March Inventory of homes in the Springs was 4.51% year-over-year increase over 2010. Nationally, the increase over 2010 was 9.75%
  • Median number of days on the market in the Springs was 113, as opposed to the national figure of 160.



The Wall Street Journal (April 27, 2011) reported that the Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 115.49 points (.9%) last Tuesday to finish at 12,595.37, a fresh three-year high. If there is one absolutely predictable certainty, it is that the stock market leads the national economy by two quarters. That being the case, you can count on the value of your present home to rise during the next six months and, if you are looking to buy, the cost of your new home will also rise.

Better call us today at  598-3200 or 800-677-MOVE (6683).



Daily real estate News, April 29, 2011 

For the second straight week, mortgage rates continued to inch downward, according to Freddie Mac's weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.97 percent, the lowest since Dec. 9, 2010. Last week, it averaged 4.02 percent, and a year ago at this time it averaged 4.39 percent.

Meanwhile, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, the most popular choice among buyers, averaged 4.78 percent this week, down from last week's 4.80 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage stood at 5.06 percent.

The 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.51 percent this week, down from last week's 3.61 percent average. A year ago, it stood at 4 percent.

Source: "Mortgage Rates Fall With Latest Economic and Housing Reports," Freddie Mac (April 28, 2011) 



Traditionally, when the term "Buyers' Market" was used, it meant that Buyers had their pick of the market, Sellers were so desperate they would reduce their asking prices and Lenders were lining up to get your business.

However, in today's Buyers' Market, it ain't that easy. Although prices are well below what they were four or five years ago, Buyers now face several new hurdles.

First of all, Sellers are at the bottom of their negotiating space and cannot offer any further reductions in their asking prices, unless they are willing to consider a 'short sale'.

Secondly, the available 'deals' are being pursued by more and more prospective Buyers, so the bidding wars are cutting many people out of the game.

Third, many Investors are making all-cash offers for the available homes which leaves the typical prospective Buyers out in the cold.

Finally, Lenders have tightened-up their lending requirements with higher down-payment requirements, tighter credit requirements and higher fees.

So, our present 'Buyers Market' doesn't look like the traditional model.

What does this mean to you? Well, it emphasizes that, even in our present Buyers Market, you will need the assistance of an experienced Realtor who has detailed knowledge of the various neighborhoods in the area, good working relationships with ethical, reliable Lenders and great negotiating skills.

Call us at 598-3200 or 800-677-MOVE (6683).  



How much do you know about mortgages?

A recent survey by Zillow Mortgage Marketplace found that borrowers who received a home loan in the past five years spent, on average, five hours researching their options. That's about half the amount of time borrowers spent researching a car purchase (10 hours). What's more, nearly one-third spent two hours or less.

While a home purchase is typically one of the largest investments people make, the lack of mortgage knowledge can be a costly mistake. Here are a few basics about home loans that you need to know about.

1. What type of mortgage do you have?
Alarmingly, some people aren't even aware if they have a fixed-rate mortgage or adjustable-rate mortgage. Unlike a fixed-rate mortgage, an ARM can have low rates early on that later rise significantly over time, which from a financial planning perspective can become a costly surprise if the borrower isn't even aware they have one.

2. Do you have mortgage insurance?
Home owners who purchased a home with conventional financing and a down payment of less than 20 percent may not even realize that they likely are paying private mortgage insurance, which costs about $25-$100 extra a month. Once home owners have sufficient equity in their home (20 percent), they no longer need to pay mortgage insurance and should contact their lender for some savings.

3. Do you understand all of your loan options
Many borrowers don't understand all of the loan options available to them - conventional loans, FHA, VA, USDA, etc. Experts recommend researching and comparing various mortgage rates and loan types to see what works best for their situation.

4. Is there a prepayment penalty?
Some loans have a prepayment penalty if a borrower pays off the loan earlier than intended. Typically, prepayment penalties are charged when borrowers sell or refinance their homes in the first few years of the mortgage. FHA, VA, and USDA loans do not have prepayment penalties. But it's important home owners with other mortgages become aware whether their loan has a prepayment penalty and understand the pros and cons of accepting such a penalty, experts note.

5.  How are the mortgage rules changing ?

That's a great question. The feds are still in the process of revising down payment requirements, fees, etc. That's making it tough for both Lenders and Buyers to keep up with the latest rules and regulations. And that's the reason you need to deal with a knowledgeable Realtor .one who constantly studies the latest regulations and who has close, working relationships with ethical, reliable local Lenders.

We can save you money when you are looking for the best financing arrangements available. Call us at 598-3200 or 800-677-MOVE (6683).



In a buyers' market, selling your home can be a frustrating lesson, especially if you make costly mistakes that can slow your sales opportunities.

If you work with us to avoid common seller mistakes, you can save yourself time and money. Let's take a look at a few of these common mistakes. 

  • Focusing exclusively on comparables. Yes, recent sales count. Studying and understanding the comps in your area will give you an idea about how much buyers were willing to pay for homes in your neighborhood in the recent months, but relying strictly on the comps is a mistake. We can help guide you in this area.


  • Take a close look at the homes that are currently listed for sale. How does your home stack up? What are the benefits of buying your home compared to the others on the market? What makes your home stand out? Salzman real estate Services can help you tailor your home's advertising and promotion to be as effective as possible to prospective Buyers. We will emphasize such benefits as : good schools, neighborhood parks, walking distance to retail stores, close access to freeways, quiet neighborhood, bright rooms, open floor plans, new appliances, etc.  


  • Make us aware of your improvements and upgrades. If you've put in a tankless water heater for instance, be sure to mention it. Make a bullet-style list, print it out, make copies, and leave it for open house guests. This additional sheet will help buyers remember specific details about your property and it will help your home stand out from the dozens of others that they might be viewing.


  • Work with Salzman real estate Services to establish a reasonable listing price. You will have to consider such factors as : when you purchased your home, current market conditions, economic factors, length of ownership, improvements, and how much time you have to sell.


  • Listing your home based on how much is still owed may result in an unreasonably high price. This can quickly result in a painful cycle of price reductions signaling to buyers that there's plenty of room to negotiate on price. 


  • Not making curb appeal into web appeal is another mistake. Curb appeal is the art of making your home appeal to buyers from the moment they first see your home. Some sellers think of this in terms of making their home appealing when buyers come to an open house or drive by it. But these days, curb appeal must transfer to web appeal, too. We specialize in taking your home pictures in the most appealing presentation possible.

 Call us at 598-3200 or 800-677-MOVE (6683).



Hear the Bach & Skorman debate the issues facing our city on May 2nd at 6 p.m. at the Pikes Peak Center.

Get the facts. Be informed when you cast your vote.

The debate is moderated by Phil Lane with a special introduction of the new city council members.

Tickets are $10. Refreshments, hors d'oeuvres and cash bar available at the reception immediately following the debate.

The candidates and council members will be available during the reception. Also contributing to the evening - Poet Laureate, James Ciletti and music by the Colorado Springs Conservatory.

And, please remember, I would be honored to serve as your Broker for all of your residential real estate needs. I want to help you, my reader, make the most prudent and accurate Real Estate business decision.

Also if you know of anyone who desires to buy or sell local real estate, or, who is moving in or out of the Pikes Peak region, remember that, with over 39 years of providing relocation and Real Estate services to clients throughout the country, I am uniquely qualified to assist them with the relocation process, including buying and/or selling their homes on both ends of their move. Please allow me to implement my negotiating skills on your behalf.

Just click on the icon at the top of this email to listen to my latest podcast. ..And, if you would like to learn more about our Job Loss Protection Program,  please contact us. 



Click here for the latest Sales and Listing statistics for the Pikes Peak area



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Photo of Harry A Salzman Real Estate
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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