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Gearing up for a Housing Comeback

by Harry Salzman

July 18, 2011

HARRY'S WEEKLY UPDATE

A CURRENT LOOK AT THE COLORADO SPRINGS RESIDENTIAL real estate MARKET

  

LOCAL SALES TAX COLLECTIONS UP FOR 20TH MONTH IN A ROW

Sales Tax collections are a good indicator of the state of a community's economy. Sales and use taxes fund more than half of the city's annual budget for police and fire protection, roads and other services.

The good news is that our local sales tax collections have gone up for the last 20 months in a row.

Categories that showed the largest increases in June were Hotels and Motels, up 15.04% from a year earlier, utilities, up 14.54% and grocery stores, up 8.61%. The four categories with decreases were furniture, appliances and electronics, auto dealers and building materials.

However, the sales tax from medical marijuana jumped 67.87% from a year earlier to a record $71,005 and total new record of $305,454 so far this year. That's a new high. (Pardon the pun).

Who says our economy is going to pot?

 

FREDDIE MAC SEES BETTER DAYS AHEAD IN HOUSING

Freddie Mac's chief economist is optimistic that the housing market and economy will improve in the second half of 2011.

Quoted in HousingWire, June 27, 2011, Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said mortgage rates will likely remain historical lows of between 4.5 percent and 5 percent for the remainder of the year. Also, he expects more buyers to stop waiting on the sidelines as recent price drops in home prices have improved affordability.

Nothaft said consumers' uncertainty about the economy has caused them to delay home purchases and other "big-ticket items."

"Some potential buyers who have the means to buy are awaiting clearer signs that home values have firmed," Nothaft says.

But Nothaft says they should be getting their signs in the second half of the year, with projected job gains, and a growing, improved economy.

"Even though near-term concerns over income and sales growth are restraining consumer spending, business hiring, and new building, a number of positive signs in the economy indicate that growth will continue and is likely to accelerate in the second half of this year," Nothaft said. "Look for a gradual improvement in housing activity in the coming year."

Give us a call to discuss our local market and to explore the great opportunities for investment property in our current market at (719) 598-3200, or, 800 677-MOVE (6683).

 

GEARING UP FOR A HOUSING COMEBACK

Realtor magazine points out that no one knows for sure when residential real estate will officially "recover," but a turnaround may not be far off. When it comes, practitioners and brokers who spent the downturn fundamentally improving their business will be in the best position to take advantage of the upswing, a panel of real estate executives said at the recent REALTORS® Conference & Expo.

"We're in the seventh inning of a full-blown housing correction," said Ron Peltier, chair and CEO of HomeServices of America. "I think what's happening is that all of the nonsense is getting pushed out of the market. If we understand that, we can be better operators."

At this point, there are signs of improvement. For example, as Realogy President and CEO Alex Perriello pointed out, there has been a significant increase this year in home sales over $500,000 and in all-cash transactions. "We're seeing the value buyer getting back into the market; these are people who are well-off financially and very thoughtful. What that tells me is that the smart money is calling bottom," he said.

Peltier added that, for Realtors, deep knowledge of their local market is critical. But one thing the panel repeatedly emphasized was a commitment to helping out consumers, even when there isn't an immediate financial benefit.

"As REALTORS®, we can do a lot to help keep people in their homes. If you do a good job when people need you, those people will be your customers for life. That's your dividend."

Well said, guys. Those are our sentiments, exactly.

 

COLORADO SPRINGS NEW MAYOR UNVEILS NEW P.R. PUSH .AND IT'S GREAT

On June 30th, at the Colorado Springs Chamber lunch, we had the opportunity to see what our new mayor and city council have in mind for their push to attract new businesses to our city. .and it was impressive.

First of all, the website, www.springsgov.com, was very well designed, very attractive and very impressive. The link to Springs TV on Demand took us to a beautiful, four-minute video production, "The Spirit of the Springs". This video was developed by the Public Relations department of the City of Colorado Springs and is designed to make everyone aware of our great city, our magnificent attractions, our multiple activities and our unbeatable lifestyle.

If this video doesn't attract new visitors and businesses to our city, nothing will.

Some of the other various links on the website are:

  • News (and, if the sheer number of news items on the site doesn't impress you, I'll eat my hat)
  • Events (There's something to do every day in our city)
  • "I Want To" with links to everything from applying for a building permit, checking airport flight information, obtaining a free prescription discount card, finding Fire Station locations, etc., etc., etc..
  • Web Links (Check out Tourism and Attractions .Wow !!.New York City has nothing on us)

We strongly recommend that our readers click on www.springsgov.com to see how our new city administration is hitting the ground running, as they try to attract new visitors and businesses to our unique city. Send this link to your out-of-town friends and relatives and then stand back as the requests to visit you start coming in.

If this is an example of what our new administration is going to do to help build our economy, we can hardly wait to see what will happen next.

Nice going, Mayor Bach.!!!

As a matter of fact, the new Colorado Springs promotional film has us so excited about living here that we will take some time off, just to explore some of the local attractions that we found on the site and didn't even know about .This means that next week, there will be no Weekly Update from Harry Salzman. Sorry, but we'll see you again on August 1, 2011.

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

Considering the heatwave that is sweeping much of the country, we thought the following heat-related jokes might be appropriate:

Rumor has it that the Florida Marlins will be renamed the "Humidity" so that fans in Florida will be able to say, "It's not the Heat that's so bad, it's the Humidity."

The U.S. has only three hurricane warning centers - Coral Gables, FL, Guam, and Honolulu, HI (recently completed). All three have faced Category 4 hurricanes in the past month. Which only goes to show: If you build it, they will come!

I really don't understand why the federal government was so slow to send aid to the areas hit by Hurricane Andrew. After all, both Florida and Louisiana have oil.

It was so hot today I saw a robin picking earthworms out of the ground with a pair of tongs.

What happens when the smog lifts in California? UCLA.

How to predict weather in Seattle: If you can't see Mt. Ranier, it's raining. If you can see Mt. Ranier, it's about to rain.

An honest weatherman would say, "Today's forecast is bright and sunny with an 80% chance that I'm wrong."

First cave man to 2nd cave man: "I don't care what you say. We never had such unusual weather before they started using bows and arrows."

Nate: "Hey, what's the weather like out there?" Kate: "I don't know. I'll tell you when it clears."

It's a bit "muggy" in New York today.

There's a technical term for a sunny, warm day which follows two rainy days. It's called Monday.

A postcard home: The weather is here. Wish you were beautiful.

A Viking invader is trudging up the beach in the pouring rain. He sees an Englishman and says, "So this is England. What's it like?" The Englishman replies, "Well, if you like the weather, you'll love the food."

A weather forecaster took a job in another part of the country. When asked why he transferred he replied, "The weather didn't agree with me."

HEY, MAN ! EVERYBODY HAS TO BE SOMEWHERE

by Harry Salzman

July 11, 2011

HARRY'S WEEKLY UPDATE

A CURRENT LOOK AT THE COLORADO SPRINGS RESIDENTIAL real estate MARKET

 

YOU MAY BE ABLE TO AFFORD YOUR NEW HOME TODAY  .BUT WILL YOU BE ABLE TO AFFORD IT TOMORROW?

The Wall Street Journal (July 26, 2011) warns that, as of October 1, 2011, many prospective homebuyers will be frozen out of the home market by the changes which will go into effect on that date.

On October 1, 2011, maximum loan limits for loans backed by FHA will decline in around 600 counties throughout the US and maximums for loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will decline in around 250 counties. In El Paso County, the maximum available FHA mortgage amount will be reduced from $325,000 to $271,050, a reduction of $53,950. (And, if history is our guide, conventional and VA loans will probably also reduce their maximums soon thereafter)

Some lenders are already warning borrowers that they will stop accepting applications for loans that exceed the new limits much sooner than October 1, to ensure the loans are funded before the cutoff date.

Homeowners whose mortgages are too big to qualify for a government-backed mortgage will probably have to seek a "jumbo loan" which often carries a higher interest rate as well as a higher down payment, sometimes more than 20%

To make matters worse for prospective Home Buyers, there are also widespread rumors that FHA down payment requirements will soon be increased from 3.5% to 5%.

And, if that's not bad enough, credit requirements are tightening.

The result of all of these changes will be that, after October 1, 2011, many prospective homeowners will no longer be eligible for FHA loans and will have to settle for renting, for the foreseeable future.

All of these changes reflect the fact that the government is getting out of the housing market, where it currently stands behind more than nine out of ten new mortgages.

If you have been waiting for the "perfect time" to buy your new home, these new regulations might serve as a warning that you had better make your move now.

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

 

HEY, MAN, EVERBODY HAS TO BE SOMEWHERE !!

That's the punch line to an old joke, but it also applies to our present rental market. Every family that has been foreclosed on, or has been forced to short-sell their home, has to be somewhere. So, not by choice, they have become "New Renters".

Unfortunately, these "New Renters" can't afford the down payment on another home, their credit is bad and the new, tighter regulations that are coming to us in October make it even less likely they will be able to buy another home in the near future.

Their plight explains why local vacancy rates are so low and why more and more Investors are buying rental properties.

If you would like to discuss what investment property can do for your future, now is the time to call us. Call 598-3200 or 800-677 MOVE (6683). 

 

FORBES PUTS COLORADO SPRINGS IN THE TOP 30 CITIES FOR BUSINESS

Every year, Forbes measures the top 200 U.S. cities for their list of "Best Places for Business and Careers". This year, Colorado Springs comes in at #30, beating out such cities as Albuquerque, Atlanta, New York, and Indianapolis.

This survey was taken before our new mayor and city council kicked off their aggressive push for new businesses, so we are expecting to be even higher on next year's list.

For a complete list of the top cities, click here.

 

FIRST CHAMBER LUNCHEON WITH OUR NEW MAYOR IS A RECORDBREAKER

On Thursday, June 30th, the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce held their annual State of the City Luncheon. This marked the first time that the luncheon was attended by our newly-elected Mayor, Steve Bach.

There were a record number of Chamber members in attendance which reflected the widespread enthusiasm expressed by everyone in attendance. The Mayor commented upon the fact that he is constantly receiving calls and emails from every segment of our population, offering to help him with whatever is necessary to stimulate new jobs for our city. He pledged to work with the Chamber and the Economic Development Council to attract new businesses and jobs to our community.

The mood of the meeting was very upbeat and the city council members in attendance echoed that positive attitude. As Councilmember Brandy Williams stated, "I am most proud of the exciting collaboration between the city, the county, the mayor, the Chamber the community and others".

To sum up the meeting, it looks like there are some great years ahead for our city.

 

MORE INTERESTING FACTS FROM "ENGAGE -COLORADO SPRINGS"

Here are some more good reasons for living in Colorado Springs:

The national cost of living index is 100, but the cost of living index in Colorado Springs is 92.

Source: C2ER-COLI 1st Quarter 2011

 

Business Climate taxes:

MN       9.8%

CA        8.84%

OR       7.6%

ID         7.6%

NM       7.6%

NY        7.1%

AZ        6.9%

UT        5%

CO       4.630%

Source: Federal Tax Administrators Internet, January 2011

*Note: Engage is a supplement to the Colorado Springs Business Journal and is available from CSBJ. (719) 634-5905. www.csbj.com

 

OUR LOCAL STATISTICS CAN HELP YOU MAKE YOUR PURCHASING DECISION

Every week, we publish the PPAR statistics which cover our local real estate market. These statistics can assist you in analyzing our market by presenting a huge number of vital facts, such as listing and selling prices in each of our local neighborhoods. As of June 30, 2011, for example, these stats show that:

  • There were 872 home sales in the Pikes Peak region. That's the highest number of homes sold since June, 2010, when the federal tax credit was still available.
  • The average sales price in June, 2011, was @215,741, up 1% from the previous month, however, it was down from $237,318 last June, before the tax credit expired.
  • The "average days on the market" is now 94 (Sellers, take note).
  • Overall, the average percentage of selling price to listing price in June was 97.6%, which indicates that Sellers are now pricing their home more realistically than they did in past years.

CLICK HERE to see the complete June PPAR report. Then, if you would like to discuss these figures in more detail, please give us a call.

Note that right now, there are great opportunities to build your investment portfolio, but the window of opportunity will not last forever.

Call us at 598-3200 or 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 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. 

 

JOKE OF THE WEEK

Top Ten Things You Wouldn't Know Without Movies

  1.  It is always possible to park directly outside any building you are visiting.
  2. A detective can only solve a case after he has been suspended from duty.
  3. If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone you bump into will know all the steps
  4. Most laptop computers are powerful enough to override the communication systems of any invading alien civilization.
  5. It does not matter if you are heavily outnumbered in a fight involving martial arts - your enemies will wait patiently to attack you one by one by dancing around in a threatening manner until you have knocked out their predecessors.
  6. No one involved in a car chase, hijacking, explosion, volcanic eruption or alien invasion will ever go into shock.
  7. When they are alone, all foreigners prefer to speak English to each other.
  8. You can always find a chainsaw when you need one.
  9. Any lock can be picked by a credit card or a paper clip in seconds, unless it's the door to a burning building with a child trapped inside.
  10. Television news bulletins usually contain a story that affects you personally at that precise moment you turn the television on.

 

The Low Cost of Financing

by Harry Salzman

real estate housing market Trends

Existing-Home Sales Report

Existing-home sales slowed slightly during the month of May according to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Existing-home sales, which include recently purchased single family, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, fell by 3.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.81 million units nationally.

Existing Home Sales By Region

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, believes that current economic factors are slowing growth. "Spiking gasoline prices along with widespread severe weather hurt house shopping in April, leading to soft figures for actual closings in May," he said. "Current housing market activity indicates a very slow pace of broader economic activity, but recent reversals in oil prices are likely to mitigate the impact going forward. The pace of sales activity in the second half of the year is expected to be stronger than the first half, and will be much stronger than the second half of last year."

Total housing inventory dropped 1 percent by the end of May to 3.72 million existing homes for sale. This represents a 9.3-month supply at today's current sales pace.

The Low Cost of Financing

Home financing costs are at historic lows, making home ownership a reality for many first time buyers! Freddie Mac is reporting that the average commitment rate for a 30-year fixed rate loan was hovering around 4.64 percent at the end of May 2011. This is slightly below the 4.84 percent commitment rate available from the month before. Many experts see rate increases on the horizon, as our nation's housing markets improve and inventory stabilizes. If you are considering a home purchase or a refinance, be sure to work with a loan officer who understands your needs, has a reputation for excellence, and is able to fund your property in a timely manner. A little homework can save you thousands of dollars. Contact us today for our list of local recommended mortgage lenders.

Summer Selling Opportunity

Sellers, you have an excellent opportunity to sell your home this season, if you have the right pricing strategy in place from the start! Studies show that the longer a property stays on the market, the less the seller will net upon the sale. It is very important to price your property at a competitive market value at the signing of your listing contract. The market is so competitive that even over-pricing by a few thousand dollars could mean that your house will not sell.

An Overpriced Home:
· Minimizes offers
· Lowers agents response
· Limits qualified buyers
· Lowers showings
· Lowers prospects
· Limits financing
· Wastes advertising dollars
· Nets less for the seller

When you are ready, contact me today for a personal market value analysis of your home. No hassles or obligation - just honest advice on how to get top dollar for your home!

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Harry A Salzman
ERA Shields / Salzman Real Estate Services
5475 Tech Center Drive, Suite 300
Colorado Springs CO 80919
719-593-1000 or Toll Free: 800-677-MOVE(6683)
Cell: 719-231-1285
Fax: 719-548-9357

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