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Where have all the Realtors gone?

by Harry Salzman

June 27, 2011

 

HARRY'S WEEKLY UPDATE

A CURRENT LOOK AT THE COLORADO SPRINGS RESIDENTIAL real estate MARKET

 

SPRINGS SLOWDOWN NOT SO BAD, STUDY FINDS

According to the Gazette, a growing military presence helped the Colorado Springs economy avoid the worst of the recession, but a lack of other economic drivers (translation: JOBS) has kept it from recovering significantly from the downturn, according to a study by the Brookings Institution.

The study found that both Colorado Springs and Denver ranked among the top 20 of the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas in their economic performance since the start of the recession, as measured by changes in employment, unemployment rates, economic output, housing prices and rate of mortgage foreclosures.

On the bright side, the recent announcement of troop reductions in Afghanistan should add about 1500 additional troops to our area, which will also help boost our economy.

A spokesman for the study stated "The economy will not roar back, but Colorado Springs is at a much better starting point than its peers".

That's good news !!!

 

EXPERTS AGREE PRICES HAVE BOTTOMED OUT AND WILL STAY THERE

U.S. house prices rose slightly in April for the first month-to-month increase since last May, according to new numbers released today by the Federal Home Finance Agency, a branch of the Treasury Department.

Prices rose 0.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from March to April, according to the FHFA's monthly House Price Index. For the 12 months ending in April, U.S. prices fell 5.7 percent.

A significant majority of the 108 economists and experts participating in MacroMarkets' June Price Home Expectations panelists believe that the bottom for home prices arrived in the first quarter or will arrive sometime before year-end.

The FHFA numbers echo similar data from FNC, Altos, ClearCapital, Move and other sources reporting an uptick in prices in April, following the double dip in prices during the first quarter.

However, expectations for the pace of recovery fell.  The group of 69 panelists who are currently forecasting a 2011 turning point predict less than two percent average annual growth in nominal home prices over the five-year period ending December 2015. The average expected cumulative home price change between Q4 2010 and Q4 2015 is just 5.71 percent, $1.2 trillion less in aggregate U.S. single-family housing wealth at the end of 2015 than projected just six months ago.

Looking at expected housing market performance through the five year period ending 2015, the most optimistic quartile of panelists projects 15.3 percent average price growth, while the most pessimistic quartile of panelists projects 6.0 price average price erosion from Q4 2010 levels. This spread is huge, representing almost $4 trillion in housing market value.

 

COLORADO GAINS 11,000 JOBS IN FIRST FIVE MONTHS OF 2011

Colorado's job market turned a corner from losses to gains during the first five months of 2011, which is good news for job seekers in the state who had little to celebrate in 2010.

Average employment in the state is up by about 11,000 so far this year over the same period last year, a 0.5 percent gain, compared with a loss of 25,000 jobs last year.

There are encouraging signs in the numbers, particularly in retail, professional services and manufacturing.

Retail employment, an indicator of consumer demand, has climbed 2.7 percent since the beginning of the year, adding 6,200 jobs.

Manufacturing has added 2,900 jobs, a 2.3 percent gain.

Leisure and hospitality is up slightly, with 700 new jobs.

Professional, scientific and technical services - which includes lawyers, accountants, architects, advertising reps and scientists - is up 4,500 jobs or 2.7 percent.

Even construction, the hardest-hit sector in the state and down 5.9 percent for the year, added 2,000 jobs in May, after seasonal adjustments.

The growth in manufacturing and professional services is encouraging because it's an indicator of underlying economic activity.

Overall, the private sector in Colorado has created jobs at an annual rate of about 0.8 percent so far this year, compared with a loss of 1.5 percent last year. That qualifies as a slow rebound.

It looks like we're over the hump.

 

WHERE HAVE ALL THE REALTORS GONE??

Some of our friends and clients have mentioned that there seem to be fewer Realtors active in our community, since the recession started. Well, their observations are correct. Many of our local Realtors have decided to cut back or retire, as a result of our lagging housing market. .

Fortunately, thanks to our loyal clientele, we have been able to weather the storm and are still very active in the market. What's the secret to succeeding in a down real estate market?

Actually, there is no secret. It's just a matter of earning client loyalty by being committed to advancing your interests and following a few effective rules for offering the best service available.

Some of our 'Rules' for dealing with our clients are: 

  • Listening carefully to make sure YOUR objectives are understood
  • Explaining the home selling process thoroughly
  • Pricing your home correctly
  • Helping you stage your home correctly
  • Implementing a proven marketing plan
  • Making every effort to sell your home promptly
  • Generating and following-up on leads
  • Communicating consistently, so you know what to expect
  • Networking with the entire broker population regarding your property
  • Diligently tracking the closing process on the sale of your home

It also helps that we have over 39 years of experience in our local market and have first-hand knowledge of every neighborhood in the Pikes Peak region. We also have good working relationships with every lender, appraiser and service provider in the area and, because of our background in the relocation industry, are able to assist our clients with any out-of-state questions and problems.

It just goes to prove that, "The harder your work, the luckier you get". 

Give us a call at 598-3200, or, 800 677-MOVE (6683) and we'll show you what we mean.

 

THE COLORADO SPRINGS BUSINESS JOURNAL

MAKES A GREAT PITCH FOR OUR CITY

The Colorado Springs Business Journal, in partnership with the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corporation, the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau, has just published a beautiful business development and relocation guide for Colorado Springs.

The 91 page guide features articles about our local attractions, events and statistics about the region. It covers such topics as History, Socioeconomic, Government, Top 100 Primary Employers, Fortune 500 Companies, Business Resources, Sports, Housing and a broad variety of data about our city.

From time-to-time, we will publish some of the fascinating information that is contained in the guide. For example:

             Population of El Paso County in 1995                469,693

            Population of El Paso County in 2010                622,263

             Median Household Income in Colorado Springs  $53,359

            Median Household Income in El Paso County     $56,570

To obtain your copy of this fact-filled guide, contact the Colorado Springs Business Journal at 719 634-5905, or, on the web at www.csbj.com.

 

NAR URGES YOU TO HELP PROTECT YOUR ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE MORTGAGES

On Thursday, June 23, 2011, we received notification from the National Association of Realtors that, effective September 30, 2011, the Federal Housing Administration will significantly decrease its loan limits. This change will make mortgages more expensive for households nationwide.

The problem with this change is that private investors have not yet returned to the housing market and FHA and GSE mortgages together continue to constitute the vast majority of home financing available today, which makes it particularly crucial to maintain the current limits. Lowering the loan limits at this critical stage in our recovery will leave credit-worthy borrowers without access to affordable financing and will prolong our housing crisis.

Nationally, the decrease in loan limits will cost homebuyers more than $68,000 and will apply to over 669 counties in 49 states. This reduction in loan limits will negatively affect Buyers, Sellers and Lenders and will drastically reduce the number of homes sold.

In El Paso County, Colorado, for example, this change means that the FHA limit on loans will drop from $325,000 to $271,050, a decrease of $53,950.

Considering the fragile state of our current housing market and the importance of the housing market in leading the entire economy of the country, it does not make sense to make the purchase of housing even more expensive than it currently is.

To avoid the disastrous effects of this change by FHA, H.R. 1754 has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Miller (R-CA) and Sherman (D-CA) to make our current loan limits permanent. NAR is urging all citizens to contact their congressional representatives and express their support for this Bill.

We believe that this change by FHA will make it more difficult to buy and sell homes, and we support NAR in their efforts to encourage public support for H.R 1754.

Click here to learn more about this change in loan limits

Click here to see how this change will affect you

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 37 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. 

 

LATEST SALES AND LISTING STATISTICS

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

 

JOKE OF THE WEEK

FROM YOUR I.T. DEPARTMENT

How to Make your I.T. Department Happy

01. When you call us to have your computer moved, be sure to leave it buried under half a ton of postcards, baby pictures, stuffed animals, dried flowers, bowling trophies and children's art. We don't have a life, and we find it deeply moving to catch a fleeting glimpse of yours.

02. Don't write anything down. Ever. We can play back the error messages from here.

03. When an I.T. person says he's coming right over, go for coffee. That way you won't be there when we need your password. It's nothing for us to remember 700 screen saver passwords.

04. When you call the help desk, state what you want, not what's keeping you from getting it. We don't need to know that you can't get into your mail because your computer won't power on at all.

05. When I.T. support sends you an E-Mail with high importance, delete it at once. We're just testing.

06. Send urgent email all in uppercase. The mail server picks it up and flags it as a rush delivery.

07. When the photocopier doesn't work, call computer support. There's electronics in it.

08. When something's wrong with your home PC, dump it on an I.T. person's chair with no name, no phone number and no description of the problem. We love a puzzle.

09. When an I.T. person tells you that he'll be there shortly, reply in a scathing tone of voice: "And just how many weeks do you mean by shortly?" That motivates us.

10. When the printer won't print, re-send the job at least 20 times. Print jobs frequently get sucked into black holes.

11. When the printer still won't print after 20 tries, send the job to all 68 printers in the company. One of them is bound to work.

12. Don't learn the proper term for anything technical. We know exactly what you mean by "My thingy blew up".

13. Don't use on-line help. On-line help is for wimps.

FORECLOSURE FILINGS FALL 33%

by Harry Salzman

June 20, 2011

HARRY'S WEEKLY UPDATE

A CURRENT LOOK AT THE COLORADO SPRINGS RESIDENTAIL real estate MARKET

 

EL PASO COUNTY FORECLOSURE FILINGS FALL 33%

New foreclosure filings and foreclosure sales at auction continued to fall in May across the state and in El Paso County, according to a report released on June 14, from the Colorado Department of Housing.

While the state saw a 24% decline in May foreclosure filings year-over-year, El Paso County had a 32.5% drop. That's welcome news.

Foreclosure sales at auction dropped 12.2% in El Paso County and by 20% statewide.

Foreclosure sales at auction are at a 26-month low and, statewide, new filings are the lowest they've been in four years, according to the report.

Some experts estimate that, at the present rate, it will take another three years to get through all of the homes at risk of foreclosure, but, based upon these current numbers, the worst of the crisis seems to be over.

 

AREA EMPLOYERS ARE OPTOMISTIC

Colorado Springs area employers are the most optimistic about their hiring plans than they have been in nearly three years, according to a quarterly employment survey by temporary-staffing giant Manpower.

It's quite a turnaround for the Springs, which just three months ago was ranked among the nation's worst job markets.

The percentage of local employers adding staff exceeds the percentage planning cutbacks by more than double, with 26% hiring and 12% making cuts during the July-to-September quarter. This is the most upbeat employment outlook for the area since the final quarter survey of 2008, which was taken just before the financial crisis hit.

In this latest survey, the Springs is tied with Denver and 10 other cities for the 34th -best among the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas. Three months ago, the Springs tied with three other cities for the nation's eighth-worst outlook.

Things are definitely looking up.!!!

 

KEYBANK TAKES THE LEAD IN OFFERING AN EXCITING NEW LOAN FOR HOMEBUYERS

KeyBank has announced the introduction of the KeyCommunity loan, which offers prospective HomeBuyers with good credit, but little cash, the opportunity to buy their new home with only $500 down.

Some of the program details are: 

  • Borrowers need only $500 upfront
  • Satisfactory 12 month rental history at 100% LTV, or, no-rental history at 95% LTV
  • Seller contributions max 3%
  • 620 FICO Score - 100% LTV
  • 600 FICO Score - 97% LTV
  • No Credit Score - 100% with 4 alternate tradelines (24 months history) and satisfactory rental history
  • Debt to Income Maximum 42%
  • 2 year employment history
  • 1 month reserves (PITI)
  • Manufactured homes also eligible at lowered LTVs
  • Max Loan Amount - $417,000

We are very pleased to be able to work with our clients to obtain this new concept in financing. It addresses the widespread need for financing assistance to credit-worthy Borrowers who can afford the payments on new home, but may be strapped for cash.

Call us about this program at 598-3200, or, 800 677-MOVE (6683).

 

WHAT'S THE BOTTOM LINE FOR BUYERS AND SELLERS IN OUR CURRENT MARKET?

The fact is that First-Time-Buyers make-up a huge percentage of all home sales. As these First-Time Buyers enter the market, they help to push current Homeowners up the ladder, by providing them with the funds necessary to move up.

This market-dependence on First-time Buyers is demonstrated by the fact that 57% of all home sales are for homes under $200,000 and 82% of all home sales are for homes under $300,000. This data reflects the fact that First-Time Buyers usually buy in at the low end of the market. It also emphasizes the fact that, if a Seller has a home worth more than $300,000, he/she will attract only 18% of prospective Buyers.

So, if you're a Seller in today's market, and your home is priced under $300,000, you should aim at the First-time Buyers.

If, on the other hand, your home is worth more than $300,000, you have to understand that the selling process may take longer than you expected. Give us a call to discuss this.

Here's some good advice for Sellers:

3 Tips for the Home Seller

Sellers are steeling themselves to new realities that include paying (rather than making) money at the closing table, providing extras to sweeten the deal, and spending more time and cash making the home camera-ready.

For first-time sellers who have never been through the process before, it's a different world. One where the value of the house isn't measured in the profit made on the sale, but by the enjoyment the owners had from living in the home. .and by the opportunity to Sell Low and Buy Low.

Here are three things experienced sellers would tell you, if they could.

Price it realistically from the start

Your largest number of showings will occur in the first two to three weeks. One reason: The multiple listing services and the Internet tend to drive the majority of showings. Many buyers are plugged in electronically. So the minute something new pops up that meets their criteria, they want to see it.

Take advantage of that sweet spot by pricing the house competitively right out of the gate.

Be prepared to lose some money now, but make up for it when you buy

Want to sit with a house that won't move, waiting for what you think your house is worth?  In today's market, the tax assessor's estimate or whatever you paid a few years ago doesn't matter. Be prepared to take less on the sale of your present home, and make up for the loss by getting a great deal on your new, move-up home. Or, you can just hold out for a couple of years, waiting for prices to "come back". But, if you do, be prepared to lose out on the kind of deals you could get today if you bought right now..

As the old ad used to say, "Pay me now, or, pay me later".

The truth is that your house is worth what buyers are willing to pay. No more.

Your best guide will be an experienced Realtor who can show you comparables when setting your asking price. Selling prices, not asking prices should be your guide. Asking prices are simply wish lists. Selling prices are reality. Call us.

Who are you trying to sell to?

You also have to consider who your most likely buyers are for what you're selling and cater to that group of people. Will your prospective Buyer be a 20-something, or a downsizing empty nester?

Here, again, we can help you analyze your neighborhood's current history to help you aim at the appropriate pool of potential Buyers.

Don't forget to smile for the camera

Don't neglect the modern version of curb appeal. Does you home look like a place that Buyers would like to live in? Use lots of photos on your real estate listing's website. You will need a good number of clear, well-lit, professional-quality pictures that show your house at its best.

Finally, if, as a Seller, you are discouraged by the competitive nature of our present market, be consoled by the fact that Colorado Springs is much better off than most other parts of the country. We have consistently outperformed most of the other 153 largest metropolitan area of the country and we are one of the most envied cities in the U.S. Click here to see how we are selling ourselves to the rest of the country.

For Buyers, the bottom line is that the iron is red hot, so strike now. Low-prices, large inventory, great financing packages and wonderful opportunities for Investors make this a true Buyers' market. Let us show you how an investment in today's Colorado Springs' real estate market makes a lot of sense and could well be your transition to a rewarding life now and a foundation for comfortable retirement.

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

 Remember, today is better than yesterday and tomorrow looks like it will be great.

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.

LATEST STATISTICS

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

 

JOKE OF THE WEEK

A carpet layer had just finished installing carpet for a lady. He stepped out for a smoke, only to realize he'd lost his cigarettes.

He went back in and in the middle of the room, under the carpet, was a bump. "No sense pulling up the entire floor for one pack of smokes," he said to himself.

He got out his hammer and flattened the hump.

As he was cleaning up, the lady came in. "Here," she said, handing him his pack of cigarettes. "I found them in the hallway."

"Now," she said, "If only I could find my parakeet."

June 13, 2011

HARRY'S WEEKLY UPDATE

A CURRENT LOOK AT THE COLORADO SPRINGS RESIDENTAIL real estate MARKET 

 

  

GROWING RENTAL MARKET BENEFITS LANDLORDS ..PROSPECTIVE INVESTORS, TAKE NOTE

Millions of foreclosures have turned former homeowners into renters. In fact, there's been a nearly 34 percent increase in rentals over the last decade, according to a USA Today analysis of U.S. Census data. That means that in 2010, nearly 35 percent of occupied homes were rented.

This data supports our advice to our readers that it's time to consider buying investment property, or renting out their present homes while the purchasing opportunities are still hot. If you're interested in discussing this opportunity, give us a call at 598-3200, or, 800-677-MOVE (6683).

And, before you make your decision, consider the following tips:

  • Understand how debt affects your ability to qualify for a loan. First, if you're just getting started and are looking to purchase a property to later rent, consider that Freddie Mac guidelines typically require a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 45 percent.
  • Be prepared to put more money down. Owner-occupied properties have the advantage of requiring a smaller down-payment (VA=0%, FHA=3.5%) than investor mortgages which sometimes require as much as 20 percent. Also keep in mind that when buying a property for investment purposes, the down payment and/or the closing costs cannot be from gift money.
  • Know your market and ability to rent your property. Overall rental growth is increasing while homeownership is declining. According to the Census data, The number of renter households has grown, on average, by nearly 700,000 a year since the housing peak in 2006 and the number of owner households is shrinking, on average, by just over 200,000 a year.
  • This could be good news if you're planning to rent your home. But supply and demand are key. So call us to discuss your local rental market carefully before you buy or place your home for rent.
  • Rents may rise if the market doesn't get too saturated. As more homeowners decide to hang on to their homes and list them for rent instead of for sale, they're finding that it can be beneficial for them.
  • Some experts still say that there will be a boost in rental growth for at least the next couple of years due to foreclosures, housing prices being uncertain and causing people to wait to buy, and government homeownership subsidies being cut.
  • Set your rent at the right price. Experts advise that if a rental home is listed for longer than about 30 to 45 days, it might be time to reduce the rent. Also, keep in mind that rental properties are just like other for-sale properties, needing to be kept in good condition and have their upgraded amenities showcased. Let us help you highlight your property, arrange for proper management  and get it rented quickly.

However, surveys show that owning a home is still preferred. Regardless of the growth in renters, the idea of homeownership is still the American dream; 74 percent of renters think owning is superior to renting, according to a recent survey by mortgage giant Fannie Mae.

In fact, the following article supports the idea that homeownership is still a vital part of the American dream, especially in the Colorado Springs area, where we have consistently outperformed almost every other city in the U.S. Please give us a call to discuss our record as compared to the other 154 major metropolitan areas surveyed.

 

OWNING A HOME ESSENTIAL TO THE AMERICAN DREAM, SURVEY SHOWS

Despite the ups and downs of the housing market, home owners and non-owners alike consider owning a home essential to the American Dream.

That's the key finding of a recent survey of 2000 people likely to vote in 2012 that was conducted on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) by Public Opinion Strategies of Alexandria, Va., and Lake Research Partners of Washington, D.C.

"The survey results show that Americans see beyond the immediate housing market to the enduring value of homeownership," says NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen "An overwhelming 75 percent of the people who were polled said that owning a home is worth the risk of the fluctuations in the market, and 95 percent of the home owners said they are happy with their decision to own a home," Nielsen says.

"Homeownership is worth the risk, pure and simple," says Neil Newhouse, a partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies. "Even though the market is weak, people who don't own say they want to buy a house. Almost three-quarters of those who do not currently own a home, 73 percent, said owning a home is one of their goals. And among younger voters who are most likely to be in the market for a home in the next few years, the percentages are even higher," Newhouse says.

One of the more striking aspects of the survey results is the intensity of sentiment among potential voters, according to Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners. "People believe overwhelmingly that owning a home is an anchor to the American Dream," she says. "It's an anchor to your retirement, and it's an anchor to your personal economic well-being."

Among the other survey results:

  • Homeownership and a retirement savings program are considered by voters to be their best investments.
  • 80 percent of home owners would advise a close friend or family member just starting out to buy a home.
  • Saving for a down payment and closing costs is the biggest barrier to homeownership.
  • Americans believe that owning their own home is as important as being successful at their job or being able to pay for a family member's education.

"Owning a home isn't just a policy to people," says Lake. "It isn't just a commodity to people. It is a core value."

And ..just to sweeten the pot, the Colorado Springs housing market has consistently outperformed almost every other major metropolitan area in the country.

9 REASONS TO BUY A HOUSE RIGHT NOW ...ACCORDING TO FORBES MAGAZINE

If you're planning to buy a house right now, the next few months may be the best time to buy. Waiting for both housing prices and interest rates to fall may not be a good strategy for potential homebuyers since analysts don't expect any significant declines in these two most important home-buying factors. Here's nine real estate trends that suggest you should get into the housing market sooner than later.

1. Lowest Housing Prices in Years
Nobody knows when the housing market will hit bottom, but prices are at their lowest in several years and may soon start inching back up again. So buying now or in the near future may be the right time. An abundance of bargain-priced housing is now available because of foreclosures and falling prices.

2. Interest Rates at a 50-Year Low
Interest rates are near a 50-year low, according to housing analysts. By the second week of May, 2011, 30-year fixed mortgage rates had fallen to their lowest rates of the year at 4.49%. Although mortgage rates vary from day to day, the 30-year rate at this level is an attractive inducement to first-time buyers, or buyers who want to either move up to larger residences, or others, including many empty-nesters wanting to sell and move to smaller houses or condos. (For a complete breakdown of mortgage rates, see below).

3. Interest Rates Expected to Go Up
As the economic recovery gains momentum, interest rates are expected to increase, making mortgages more expensive. Even a half-percent increase in mortgage interest can add a hundred dollars or more to your monthly payments, depending on the amount of your loan.

4. Adjustable Rate Mortgages at Record Lows
Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) are also lower now. For new buyers who are sure they'll have enough income to meet payment obligations, an ARM may be the best way to buy a house.

5. Low Down Payment Mortgages Available
Low-down-payment financing through Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages is available as an additional inducement to buy a house now. Down payment minimum requirements may increase as the market heats up, so potential buyers with less cash to consummate a deal may be well-advised to buy now. 

6. Easy to Qualify, Easy to Borrow
Lending standards have become less rigid recently, so qualifying for a mortgage may be easier. Experts advise that a potential buyer become pre-approved for a loan by a lending institution - meaning that a lender guarantees to make the loan contingent on an appraisal of the property. But the good news in seeking pre-approval is that lenders are now willing to let a potential buyer take on more debt than the previous formula allowed - a percentage of monthly income.

7. Lenders Offer No-Fee Mortgages
Many banks and other lending institutions are waiving mortgage loan generation and other fees and points (each point represents 1% of the loan amount), thereby reducing the cost of buying.

8. Home Builders Eager to Sell, Offer Incentives
Home builders, competing with the resale market, are offering incentives to potential buyers to reduce their inventory of unsold new homes. Incentives may include cash for furniture or free refrigerators, washers and dryers. Specific demographic groups, including military personnel, police, firefighters and health-care workers, have been targeted by builders for special offers. But virtually anyone who can qualify for a mortgage is likely to get a good deal from a homebuilder who is eager to sell.  

9. Motivated Home Owners Desperate to Sell
Desperate sellers of existing homes have also been offering attractive inducements to potential home buyers, including warranties on appliances, air conditioners and furnaces. Some sellers are even offering cash or have included furnishings, refrigerators, washers and dryers as a bonus to potential buyers. With so many existing homes in foreclosure or underwater - bargain prices are abound in this depressed market. 

The Bottom Line
With a convergence of the factors above, all of which are favorable to the prospective home buyer, there may not be a better time to buy than right now. It's a buyer's market, but like everything else in life, the bargain deals won't last.

And, if it's true for the whole USA, the statistics demonstrate that it's even more true in Colorado Springs.

 

WAITING TO BUY YOUR NEW HOME ??? PLEASE NOTE: HOME LISTING PRICES ARE RISING IN MAJOR U.S. CITIES

According to the Movoto search engine, home listing prices are starting to rise in major cities. Their report says that the median listing price in 16 major metropolitan areas rose in May, leading analysts to believe the market may be hitting bottom.

Movoto compiles data from multiple listing services in 16 major cities around the country. They found the median listing price increased 2.5% from April to May. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index, on the other hand, reported the median home sales price fell during the first quarter.

Standard and Poor's sale price figure, when compared to Movoto's listing price figure indicate that house sellers are asking for more, while buyers want to pay less. No surprise there.

Analysts state that these figures indicate the real estate market has bottomed out. Just as list prices increased in May, so did the amount of inventory on the market. Homes for sale for less than $100,000 - usually distressed or real estate owned - fell to 28.1% of market inventory in May. This is the first time all year those homes did not comprise the majority of homes on the market.

Homes in the $250,000 to $500,000 range make up the largest share of inventory at 29.3%. Almost 24% of market inventory is attributable to homes between $150,00 and $250,000, while homes more than $500,000 account for 18% of the sale market.

The biggest challenge now is to clear the inventory of these foreclosed properties which are skewing the prices.  

 

HERE'S THREE STORIES THAT GIVE US REASSURANCE THAT OUR LOCAL ECONOMY IS ON THE MEND

 

COLORADO SPRINGS SALES TAX COLLECTIONS RISE

Colorado Springs sales tax collections rose a strong 8.92% in May from a year before, led by a gain in auto sales, the city reported Friday. May collections reflect purchases in April.

Sales tax collections have now posted year-over-year gains for 19 consecutive months, though gains had dwindled early in the year- down to less than 1% in March. April's collections, however were up 7.85%, and May's gains were the strongest since May of last year.  Sales tax collections so far this year are up 5.6% from the same point last year.

 

U.S.HOUSEHOLD NET WORTH CLIMBS 1.2%

Wall Street Journal, Friday, June 10, 2011

The Federal Reserve said Thursday that average household wealth - stocks, bonds, homes and other assets, minus mortgages and other debts - rose 1.2% to $58.1 trillion in the first quarter.

The increase should bolster the U.S. economy, because as individuals' net worth rises, they tend to become more confident about their financial future and willing to spend. Notwithstanding the recent decline in stock prices, "in general, financial wealth has been increasing, which would tend to increase consumer spending", said Goldman Sachs economist Andrew Tilton.

 

MORTGAGE RATES MOVE EVEN LOWER THIS WEEK

According to Freddie Mac (June 9, 2011), fixed and adjustable-rate mortgages sank to new lows for the year, continuing a downward spiral for the eighth straight week, following a weak jobs report.

Here's a closer look at how rates fared for the week:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.49 percent this week, down from last week's 4.55 percent average. A year ago at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.72 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rates averaged 3.68 percent--its lowest level since November 2010. A year ago at this time, the 15-year rate averaged 4.17 percent.
  • 5-year adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.28 percent this week, slipping from last week's 3.41 percent average. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.92 percent.

It's a great time to buy. Call us at 598-3200, or, 800-677-MOVE (6683).

 

HARVARD ISSUES REPORT ON HOUSING

The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University recently published an extensive report on "The State of the Nations' Housing". If you would like to see the complete report, CLICK HERE.

http://www.jchs.harvard.edu/publications/markets/son2011/son2011.pdf

 

 LOCAL REALTORS RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON THE NATIONAL AND LOCAL ECONOMIES

On June 3, 2011, Fred Crowley, chief economist for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs gave an extensive update  on the national and local economy to the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors.

If you would like to see a complete copy of Mr. Crowley's very interesting presentation, Click here.

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.

 

LATEST STATISTICS

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

 

JOKE OF THE WEEK

Murphy's Lesser Known Laws

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

He who laughs last, thinks slowest.

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.

Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

If you lined up all the cars in the world end to end, someone would be stupid enough to try to pass them, five or six at a time, on a hill, in the fog

The things that come to those who wait will be the things left by those who got there first.

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will sit in a boat all day drinking beer.

A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.

When you go into court, you are putting yourself in the hands of 12 people who weren't smart enough to get out of jury duty.

Should you buy now? ...You Betcha!

by Harry Salzman

June 6, 2011

HARRY'S WEEKLY UPDATE

A CURRENT LOOK AT THE COLORADO SPRINGS RESIDENTAIL real estate MARKET 

 

SHOULD YOU BUY NOW?  YOU BETCHA !!!

Thinking of buying a new home or investment property?  Speaking as someone who has had over 39 years of experience as a Realtor in our local real estate market, we can enthusiastically recommend that our readers take advantage of the unique opportunity that now exists for Home Buyers and Investors.

Even the Wall Street Journal agrees that you should make your decision to buy right now. In their Saturday, June 4, 2011 edition, they make their case in a feature article titled, "Why It's Time to Buy". In the article, they cite several reasons for their positive attitude. The interesting fact is that every buying reason the WSJ article cites at the national level, also exists, in spades, in our local market. So, let's examine some of the reasons why WSJ thinks it's the time to buy.

Why the happy face?

One might ask, "How can you be so positive about real estate, when many "experts" are crying Doom and Gloom. The answer is that most media "experts" base their observations about the Real Estate market upon Standard and Poor's Case Schiller Index, which bases their data exclusively upon the largest 20 cities in the US...and those top 20 cities are in real trouble in almost every area of their economy. The smaller US cities, like Colorado Springs, are in much better shape than the Case Schiller Index would have us believe.

In fact, the CoreLogic Index, which examines data which is more current and from a broader range of cities than Case Schiller, reports that home prices increased .7% from March to April of 2011. This rise marked the first month-over-month increase in home prices since the Home Buyer tax credit expired in 2010 and represents a positive sign for the real estate market.

Another national survey company, Altos, reports a 0.93 percent increase in its national home price composite between April and May and says that the May numbers showed an increase in median prices across the board. They also state that the seasonal price bump for the spring will likely take until late summer or early fall before it shows up in the Case-Shiller numbers.

And keep in mind that, as with politics, "All real estate is Local", and Colorado Springs looks much better than most other parts of the country. As an example, Realtor.com lists our city as #7 in the top 10 markets in which prices and property values have stabilized, and points towards these 10 cities as "potential outliers in a housing market recovery".

To quote from Realtor.com's recent article, "Colorado Springs comes in at #7 nationally. Prices in Colorado Springs have fallen a mere 12% since the peak, while housing demand has risen along with the area's population growth rate of 9% from 2000-2005. Median list prices were even with last year, though they ticked up 1.53% over February. With a median inventory age of 113, well below the national median and 11.02% lower than February's median inventory age, Colorado Springs rose a notch from 65th to 64th most searched market from February to March."

To put this into context, our local median sales price has risen from $173,995 in May of 2002, to $185,000 in May of 2011. Considering what has happened to home prices in the rest of the country during that period, that's a darned good growth record.  

Can I get a loan?

Another incentive to buy now is the availability of low-cost financing.

Lenders are frantically competing for what business there is and, because of credit problems caused by foreclosure, and because many prospective borrowers cannot qualify to refinance because of lack of equity in their homes, fewer families are qualifying for loans. Just last week, the number of mortgage applications dropped 4%, despite interest rates hitting new lows for the year.

 Be aware that, as the economy revives and as more people qualify for loans, demand for money will go up and so will rates. The moral to the story is ..Better Buy Now.

How about prices?

Another piece of good news for Buyers is that prices are still low. For example, we recently listed a home in the Springs Ranch area. The original price for the home in 2009 was $357,500. Today, the house is listed at $325,000, because the Seller has to sell quickly because of a transfer.

There are many great deals like this one just waiting for you. ..But, keep in mind that, according to the recent survey by Zelman Associates, 67% of renters surveyed said they planned to buy a home in the next five years. As our available inventory is reduced, prices will definitely go up.

Unless you plan on winning the lottery, that's about as good a deal as you will ever get.

How about mortgage rates?

For nearly two months, mortgage rates have been steadily dropping and this week's rates reached another low for the year. Our most recent drop in rates put the rate for a 30 year mortgage at 4.55%, down from 4.79% a year ago. The drop is the result of a lower demand for financing.

For example, if someone buys the home listed above, the FHA rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage would be 4.38%. That's almost a historically-record-low rate.

Here's a closer look at average mortgage rates for the week:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage: The most popular financing choice among buyers, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage continued to drop this week, averaging 4.55 percent. Last week it had hit a 2011 low at 4.60 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year rate averaged 4.79 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage: It averaged 3.74 percent this week, down from last week's 3.78 percent. Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 4.20 percent.
  • 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage: It held steady at 3.41 percent this week. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.94 percent.

    Rates can't stay this low forever. Call us at 598-3200, or 800-677-MOVE (6683).

Bottom Line?

In addition to the short-term advantages to buying a home now (price, rates, inventory choices, etc.), the Wall Street Journal article also emphasizes that there are long-term advantages to buying now, including affordability. For example, the inventory of available homes will shrink dramatically in the years ahead. Hundreds of thousands of First-time Buyers are entering the marketplace simply because of population increases. This increase in competition for homes, plus inflation, will steadily raise home prices (and the value of your home investment) in the years ahead.

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

 

"RETIRE IN COLORADO SPRINGS", SAYS FORBES  

Forbes Magazine (May 2011) has issued its annual list of "Best retirement places". The list of seven cities includes Colorado Springs as being among the more affordable retiree cities. The complete list includes:

  • Colorado Springs, Colo.: Affordable housing and low cost of living.
  • Indianapolis: Very affordable housing.
  • Fargo, N.D.: Lowest crime rate on the list and inexpensive living costs
  • Charlotte, N.C.: Affordable housing as well as cost of living
  • Charleston, S.C.: Lowest taxes of all the cities Forbes evaluated.
  • Jacksonville, Fla.: No state income or estate tax
  • Pittsburgh: Tax breaks for retirees.

 

AND HERE'S SOME MORE REASONS TO LIVE HERE

According to the Gazette (May 29, 2011) the month of May saw:

  • Foreclosure filings: down 42.1%
  • Initial claims for unemployment: down 2.6%
  • Unemployment rate: down to 9.1%
  • Single-family home permits: up 7.1%
  • New auto and truck registrations: up 9.7%
  • Taxable retail sales: up 7.9%
  • Hotel occupancy rate: up to 59.0%

 

WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO LOSE?  DON'T WAIT TO FIND OUT THE HARD WAY. ..GET YOUR INVENTORY RECORDS UP-TO-DATE

With natural disasters being reported everyday, it's a reminder that you should have a current, detailed list of all your belongings, big and small. Such an inventory list can be a lifesaver in the event your home is ever lost to fire, flood, tornado or other disaster.

When home owners lose everything in a disaster, they assume their home insurance will cover everything lost. But without documenting all your belongings, you may never recover all of your losses. As a recent article at AOL real estate notes "a claim is only as strong as the inventory list."

Therefore, good record-keeping is critical. A basic pen-and-paper list stored in a safe deposit box can suffice. The list should include everything from bedsheets to clothes to furniture. However, if a home is destroyed, the pen-and-paper list may be destroyed too.

Your inventory list will be even more valuable to you if you include photographs of every room in your home. As they say in the insurance business, "A picture is worth a thousand claims".

Some Web sites are popping up to help home owners create an inventory record-keeping list that can be stored on remote servers and accessed from anywhere. One Web site, DocuHome.com, allows you to upload room photos and then tag furniture and belongings. You can then create an inventory spreadsheet from all of the tags and enter values or other notes on items.

 

LATEST STATISTICS

The Pikes Peak Association of Realtors just released the latest Sales and Listing statistics for May 2011. The figures show that there were 780 sales in May, which is 4.3% better than April's sales. The average median sales price was $185,000 and the city average of "Sales to Listing Price" was 97.3%.

An analysis of our local sales data shows that 82% of all our sales were for homes under $300,000 and 57.4% were for homes under $200,000.

Things are getting better !!!.

To see all of the PPAR data for May, Click here.

 

LET US TAKE YOU OUT TO THE BALL GAME

Just a reminder that we have 4 tickets for all Sky Sox games that are available to our readers, on a first-come basis. These are great seats .the front row, right behind the Sky Sox dugout.

Call us, if you're interested.

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.

 

JOKE OF THE WEEK

Computers are wonderful. My spellchecker tells me that the following poem has no errors in it.


I halve a spelling checker,
It came with my pea see.
It plainly marks four my revue
Mistakes I dew knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait aweigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the era rite
Its rarely ever wrong.

I've scent this massage threw it,
And I'm shore your pleased too no
Its letter prefect in every weigh;
My checker tolled me sew.

 

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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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