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HARRY'S BI-WEEKLY UPDATE 8.31.15

by Harry Salzman

                                                            

August 31, 2015

HARRY’S BI-WEEKLY UPDATE

                         A Current Look at the Colorado Springs Residential real estate Market

As part of my Personal Service, it is my desire to share current real estate issues that will help to make you a more successful and profitable buyer or seller.

LOCAL MARKET UPDATE AND MONTHLY INDICATORS ARE UPBEAT AGAIN

Pikes Peak REALTORS Services Corp.,

I always like to share information with you, my readers, on a timely basis and give you absolute facts so that you can:

  • See what’s actually happening in Residential real estate in the Pikes Peak area, and your neighborhood in particular
  • Take time at your leisure to peruse the facts and understand what they mean to you personally
  • Take action, when appropriate, to create a housing plan for you and your family

I believe that actual facts and statistics give you the ability to make competent choices while allowing you as a buyer and seller to have a positive experience when making a personal housing decision. Sometimes the facts are “good”, occasionally not so good, but in either case, if you are prepared beforehand, hopefully you won’t be faced with situations you might not have expected. 

Being “realistic” is a primary requirement for the home buying and selling experience in my book.  False promises and suppositions only add to what is a somewhat stressful experience to begin with.  This is just another reason for making certain you have a knowledgeable, competent real estate Professional, such as myself, on your team when you are ready for a move.

A report from PPAR released on August 25th, providing data as of August 12th,  provides detailed information on housing activity for El Paso and Teller Counties for the month of July.

Such positive news deserves a second look and these reports go into greater detail than the “PPAR Monthly Statistics” for July that I shared several weeks ago.

The “Activity Snapshot” shows the one-year change:

  • Sold Listings for All Properties was up 13.8%
  • Median Sales Price for All Properties was up 4.2%
  • Active Listings on All Properties was down 33.6%.

This is continued great news for those who, despite low interest rates, couldn’t refinance or sell and trade up without bringing additional cash to closing.  Many people stayed in their homes and some were forced into short sales or foreclosures. 

With more equity, homeowners will have better options, such as the ability to sell their present home and have additional cash for a downpayment on a trade-up home. 

You can click here to read the 16-page Monthly Indicators or click here to get specific information on the neighborhood of your choice from the 33-page Local Market Update

If you have any questions concerning the report, or any other real estate concerns, please give me a call at 598.3200 or email me at Harry@HarrySalzman.com.

Please Note:  The “PPAR Monthly Statistics” for August will be published shortly and when received, I will send out a Special Edition of the eNewsletter so you can have them on a timely basis.

 

JOBS…JOBS…JOBS…EMPLOYMENT NEWS IS GOOD

UCCS 2nd Quarter Report, The Wall Street Journal, 8.26.15,The  Gazette, 8.27.15

The job market is looking up, especially in El Paso County where it was the strongest in the first quarter than it has been since the middle of the past decade, according to data posted last week on the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s website. 

Tatiana Bailey, director of the Southern Colorado Economic Forum said, “This is really encouraging.  We’ve been in the sluggish recovery for several years and now we are finally seeing some really positive job growth numbers.  It is reflecting the improvement we’ve seen in other indicators.”

According to a new report from the economists at the Congressional Budget Office, “more Americans who left the workforce temporarily or who stayed out because of weak job prospects will return in the coming years as demand for labor builds in the economy.”

“We’re actually finding people who are returning to the labor force a little bit faster than we would have anticipated,” said CBO director Keith Hall.  “So it makes us think that the cyclical impact on the labor force is bigger than we thought before.”

Ms. Bailey, through UCCS and the Southern Colorado Economic Forum, published economic statistics that show the “Big Picture” in Labor, Housing, Tourism and more for El Paso County.  To view all of the charts included in the 4-page report, please click here.

The chart depicting “Colorado Springs MSA Job Openings” is below:

                            

I was so happy to receive this particular information because of its implication for the Colorado Springs housing market in general.  More jobs equal more people moving here.  Move people moving here means a greater demand for housing.  And, a greater demand for housing means that present home values will continue their upward climb.  This will allow those looking to sell and trade up a better opportunity to do so.  Those looking for investment properties will find more folks looking to rent as they enter the job force.  And sellers will find more prospective buyers for their homes. 

All in all it’s a win-win for not only homeowners, but for all of Colorado Springs.  Happy days are here again in the local job market.

 

HOUSING AND CONSUMER CONFIDENCE ARE BRIGHT SPOTS IN CURRENT ECONOMY

The Wall Street Journal, 8.26.15

The recent turmoil in the stock market, instability in China and other nations, and concerns about the intent of the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates might have foretold worries for us all.  However, a steadily rising housing market and growing consumer confidence, along with nearly five years of steady job creation, suggests that the U.S. is resilient enough to weather all of this.

According to Joel Naroff, chief economist of Naroff Economic Advisors, “It’s hard to make the case that the stock market mess has anything to do with the U.S. economy as the data are all pointing to solid growth.” 

U. S. consumer confidence rose in August to its highest level since January, reflecting optimism about an improving labor market.  New-home sales picked up pace in July, rising 21% from a year earlier.  And homebuilder sentiment is at its highest level since November 2005.

“It’s sunshine and blue skies, notwithstanding what’s happening on Wall Street,” said Brian Johnson of Mattamy Group Corp., which is based in Canada and builds homes in five American states.  They sold 155 homes in the U.S. in July, doubling its year-earlier output, with an average price of $300,000.

He added, “There’s a lot of headline news going on in places like China, but the U.S. is a more internally focused economy than others in the world.

 

FANNIE MAE HELPING LOW-INCOME BORROWERS

The Wall Street Journal, 8.26.15

Making it easier for working-class and multigenerational households to get a mortgage is on the mind of Fannie Mae. 

The mortgage-finance company said last week that it intends to roll out a program this year that lets lenders include income from non-borrowers within a household, such as extended-family members, toward qualifying for a loan.

This move is intended to open up homeownership to that segment of the population that doesn’t fit the “typical” family structure, ones in which it is common for extended-family members to contribute towards the cost of housing.

The new program will be only open to low-income borrowers or those living in low-income or minority-dominated areas and will also in some cases let borrowers who don’t live in the home, such as parents, contribute income.  Families with boarders will also be allowed to count that rent toward qualifying. 

There are a number of critics of this program but it is a step towards helping those who might not have been able to obtain a mortgage in the past now qualify.

Over the past several years, Fannie, Freddie Mac and lenders have loosened some of the restrictions on down payment and credit-score requirements.  Earlier this year, for example, Fannie and Freddie reintroduced programs that allow down payments of as little as 3%, down from the previous 5%.  These are programs I’ve written about in several past eNewsletters. 

Bottom line?  It doesn’t matter what segment of the market you fall into, there can be a home and home mortgage that can fit your wants, needs and budget.  Just give me a call today and let’s see what we can do to help make your dreams a reality.  I can be reached at 598.3200 or by email at Harry@HarrySalzman.com

 

HARRY’S JOKE OF THE DAY (maybe not such a joke?)

 

 

HARRY'S BI-WEEKLY UPDATE 8.17.15

by Harry Salzman

                                                            

August 17, 2015

HARRY’S BI-WEEKLY UPDATE

                         A Current Look at the Colorado Springs Residential real estate Market

As part of my Personal Service, it is my desire to share current real estate issues that will help to make you a more successful and profitable buyer or seller.

                                     

LATEST QUARTERLY NATIONAL COMPARISON SHOWS LOCAL MEDIAN HOME PRICES ARE WAY UP

National Association of REALTORS, 8.11.15

Home sales are up and supply is down and this has caused homes to steadily rise in most metro areas of the U.S.A.  While this is good news for almost all areas of the country, it’s even better news for Colorado Springs as our median sales price is 20% better than the average median sales price of the 176 areas that are tracked by NAR.

As most of you are aware, I publish these results each quarter as soon as they become available and for a little while Colorado Springs did not seem to be keeping up with the average of other surveyed metro areas.  That changed significantly this past quarter and local median sales prices increased by 10% over the previous quarter to $244,800.  The percentage change for the total measured areas total was 8.2% for an average median sales price of $229,400.  I actually can’t remember when our statistics were that much better than the average median sales price nationally so this is exciting news for us all.

To view the entire list of 176 metro areas, please click here.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the housing market has shifted into a higher gear in recent months.  “Steady rent increases, the slow rise in mortgage rates and stronger local job markets fueled demand throughout most of the country this spring,” he said.  “While this led to a boost in sales paces not seen since before the downturn, overall supply failed to keep up and pushed prices higher in a majority of metro areas.”

 “With home prices and rents continuing to rise and wages showing only modest growth, declining affordability remains a hurdle for renters considering homeownership—especially in higher-priced markets.,’ he added.

This is great news for homeowners, especially those who found themselves “underwater” during the recent recession and couldn’t act sooner.   “The ongoing rise in home values in recent years has greatly benefited homeowners by increasing their household wealth,” says Yun.  “In the meantime, inequality is growing in America because the downward trend in homeownership rate means these equity gains are going to fewer households.”

My personal experience in recent months has been that fewer homes on the market has resulted in quicker sales and a very high sales to list price ratio. Yes, folks, as I’ve been saying--it’s no longer a Buyer’s Market.  Some Sellers are finding themselves with multiple offers and are receiving pretty close to asking price these days.  In some cases, Sellers are getting more than asking price. 

What does this mean to you?  Well, more than likely the equity in your present home has increased, giving you the ability to sell and trade up or relocate to another neighborhood.  This also means the home you might be considering has also increased in price.  The good news at the moment is that mortgage loan interest rates are still low and this could be the last time we see this for a very long time.  Even with the shortage of available homes, I’ve found that most Buyers can find something in almost every neighborhood of their choosing. 

If you’ve been considering a move or waiting for the “right” time..NOW is probably the best time to consider all your options.  Prices are continuing to rise and pretty soon interest rates will also be on the upswing. 

With escalating rental rates, investment properties are still a good option for those in the market, but I wouldn’t advise waiting too long as home prices are rising steadily and there are not as many “bargains” as in the recent past.

Why not give me a call at 598.3200 or email me at Harry@HarrySalzman.com and let’s see what we can come up with that works for your wants, needs and budget?

 

‘JUMBO’ LOAN TERMS EASED

The Wall Street Journal,, 8.5.15, Housing Wire, 8.6.15

The “big” guys, such as J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., as well as Bank of American Corp and Wells Fargo & Co. have set the pace for easing terms on ‘Jumbo’ loans—those mortgage loans that exceed $417,000 in most parts of the country and $625,500 in pricier markets. 

These financial institutions have lowered the FICO credit score requirements, to as low as a minimum of 680 for as little as 15% down payment requirement, depending on the lender.

The jumbo market has recovered as much or more than any other sector of the mortgage market because lenders have more flexibility to change criteria since they generally hold these loans on their own books rather than sell them.  Smaller home loans are often sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and have to conform to the criteria of those mortgage giants. 

Chase adjusted its jumbo loan requirements to make the homebuying process easier as part of a firm-wide simplification process and has also rolled out easy to understand guidelines for primary and second-home loans, as well as investment properties and cash-out finance loans.  This is so that “homebuyers can easily understand the benefits of financing with Chase”, according to Steve Hemperly, head of mortgage loan originations there.

As soon as these terms were made public, I notified several clients who had been looking at other financing for their ‘jumbo’ loans. Chase offered at least one of them a 30-year-fixed-rate loan for 3.75%.  That’s just part of the service I provide my clients.  With my eye on the financial markets at all times, my investment banking background has often come in handy when it comes to making certain that all my clients are getting the very best mortgage loan available for their individual situation. 

 

13 TIPS TO MAKE MOVING SLIGHTLY LESS HORRIBLE…or How To Escape With at Least a Shred of Dignity

citylab, 8.14.15

Moving anywhere is a hassle and often makes us wonder what we were thinking when we bought all those books, DVDs, or collections or anything.  And the proliferation of boxes, wrapping paper and tape, not to mention the wear and tear on bodies!

While it is NEVER fun, moving is a great time to start over and purge stuff you no longer need, as well as look forward to your new living environment, be it a first home, new home or rental.

Some experts have provided suggestions on how to prevent moving from becoming the worst day of your life.  For those who are moving pros, you might pick up a few pointers.  For those moving for the first time, this advice is invaluable.  Here goes:

Before You Start

  1. Photograph your cords.  Take photos or make notes on how all of your media equipment is set up:  television, sound equipment, modems and computer equipment.  Keeping tabs on the cords will help you get connected quickly in your new place.

 

  1. Change your address.  Doing this a week or two in advance will help ensure that you get important items, such as bills, and don’t have a lag in services that are tied to a mailing address associated with a credit card (like Netflix or Seamless).

 

  1. Set up utilities.  You don’t have to wait until you’re settled in to make arrangements for the wi-fi or gas.  Once you know your move-in date, call ahead and schedule whatever you will need.

 

  1. Make a plan for your pets.  Moving is stressful for animals, too.  Consider making arrangements to leave your pet with a friend or boarding service in order to keep them calm and prevent them from accidentally slipping out a propped-open door.

 

  1. Schedule touch-up paint.  This is especially important for renters who might be responsible for a new paint job according to the terms of their lease.  Waiting for the last minute could be a logistical nightmare if you no longer have possession of the keys.

 

  1. Ask for help.  If you’re not hiring a moving company, enlist friends for family and be sure to repay them with money or lots and lots of snacks.

Packing

  1. Designate a “first night” box.  You can plan on being exhausted once you get moved in and putting all your essentials such as a toothbrush, change of clothes, medications, etc. in a separate box can make it much easier.

 

  1. Start with the stuff you use least often.  This will help you in deciding whether or not those things are really “essential” or should be donated or thrown away.

 

  1. Use suitcases wisely.  As long as they have to moved, you might as well fill them with stuff.  Large suitcases are great for lightweight, non-breakable items—such as clothes or bedding.

 

  1. Separate cleaning supplies.  You will want to unload your things onto clean surfaces, so instead of tossing cleaners in with the rest of the bathroom or kitchen supplies, put them in a separate box so that you can wipe off any crud on the counters or shelves prior to unpacking.

 

  1. Don’t stow your important documents.  Be sure to put your birth certificate, passport,    and other important papers in a separate folder and keep them with you. 

Unpacking

  1. Put up a schematic for furniture.  Tape up photos or signs indicating where your couch, coffee table, and other big items should go.  This will help the movers figure out approximately where you want things positioned.

 

  1. Save your receipts.  In some cases, moving expenses are deductible from federal income taxes.  If you’re moving due to a change in employment you may be able to claim this deduction even if you do not itemize.  To maximum these deductions, keep track of all costs incurred during the moving process and consult your tax attorney for advice.

 

HARRY’S JOKES OF THE DAY

 

Why don't real estate agents read novels?

Because the only numbers in them are page numbers.

 

Why do appraisers carry a wasp in their hand?

Value is in the eye of the bee holder.

 

What's the difference between a real estate agent and an accountant?

The accountant knows he is boring.

 

What is the study of real estate?

Homology

 

Why didn't the hipster real estate agent show the ocean-side mansion?

 It was too current.

 

What's a mortgage broker?

A real estate agent without the sense of humor.

 

What is the definition of a good real estate agent?

Someone who has a mortgage loophole named after him.

 

Salesman: This computer will cut your workload by 50%.

Property Manager: That's great, I'll take two of them.

 

 

 

 

HARRY'S BI-WEEKLY UPDATE 8.4.15

by Harry Salzman

                                                

August 4, 2015

HARRY’S BI-WEEKLY UPDATE

                        A Current Look at the Colorado Springs Residential real estate Market

As part of my Personal Service, it is my desire to share current real estate issues that will help to make you a more successful and profitable buyer or seller.

                                                              

JULY LOCAL STATISTICS CONTINUE THE POSITIVE GROWTH TREND

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

PPAR released July statistics this morning and I waited to share what I anticipated to be more good news, thus the eNewsletter coming to you a day later than usual.

Once again, I am thrilled to report that things are looking very good for the Pikes Peak Region in the Residential real estate market. 

July was the twelfth straight monthly increase in sales.  In the Cumulative Year-To-Date Summary you will see that total sales numbers in Single Family/Patio Homes is up 28.4% over the same period last year.

These numbers reflect strong consumer confidence along with low, but slowly rising, interest rates that many buyers feel will soon go higher.  “Act now” continues to be the current norm and “act quickly” is becoming the new norm.

With the Federal Reserve signaling that interest rate hikes are on the horizon, possibly sooner than later, many people are beginning to realize that this could be the end of historically low mortgage interest rates, most likely in our lifetime. 

Low listings are still limiting choices but I still find that most of my clients are able to sell and trade up as long as they are realistic about the current market conditions and are able to make a quick decision once they find the property they want to buy. 

If you’ve been thinking about using the current equity available in your present home in order to trade up or move to a new neighborhood, don’t wait any longer if you want to take advantage of the still low interest rates.  “Wait and see” is no longer an option in most cases.

To discover the options available for your individual wants, needs and budget, give me a call sooner than later and let’s see what we can do to make this happen.  I can be reached at 598.3200 or by email at Harry@HarrySalzman.com

Here are some highlights from the July 2015 PPAR report.  Please click here to view the detailed 10-pages. If you have any questions, as always, just give me a call.

In comparing July 2015 to July 2014 in PPAR:                     

                        Single Family/Patio Homes:

  • New Listings are 1882 Up 14.3%
  • Number of Sales are 1,367, Up 14.0%
  • Average Sales Price is $275,417, Up 3.1%
  • Median Sales Price is $243,000, Up 5.7%
  • Total Active Listings are 3,409, Down 19.3%

                        Condo/Townhomes:

  • New Listings are 214, Up 15.1%
  • Number of Sales are 194, Up 22.8%
  • Average Sales Price is $169,899, Up 3.7%
  • Median Sales Price is $155,000, Up 4.5%
  • Total Active Listings are 300, Down 25.2%

 

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

                                                Median Sales Price             Average Sales Price

Black Forest                            $412,450                              $434,160

Briargate                                  $328,150                              $336,068         

Central                                      $180,000                              $215,897

East                                          $197,000                              $208,028

Fountain Valley:                      $217,000                              $213,815

Manitou Springs:                    $310,000                              $354,200

Marksheffel:                             $255,000                              $261,953

Northeast:                                $255,000                              $247,663

Northgate:                                $397,500                              $420,704           

Northwest:                               $355,500                              $366,781

Old Colorado City:                  $245,450                              $248,718

Powers:                                    $229,500                              $234,596

Southwest:                              $282,500                              $358,062

Tri-Lakes:                                $440,000                              $446,678

West:                                         $276,950                              $371,757

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

 

HOME PRICES ACROSS THE U.S.A. VAULT TO RECORD HIGH

The Wall Street Journal, 7.23.15,  Associated Press, 7.23.15, The Gazette, 7.23.15

Prices of existing homes in June escalated to record highs, toppling the previous high mark set in June 2006, as sales increased at their strongest pace in more than eight years.

This suggests that the housing market is quickly gaining the ground lost during the recession and recent slow recovery. 

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) the median sales price for a previously owned home jumped 6.5% in June from the same month a year earlier to a high of $236,400.  The previous high of $230,400 was recorded in July 2006.

This chart illustrates the recent trend:

Economists say that the numbers reflect a brisk summer selling season combined with stronger employment numbers.  The jump in sales also reflects buyers who are anxious to get into the market prior to the inevitable interest rate hikes and further prices increases.

“Everyone feels the door closing on really low interest rates and I think this is going to be one of the last months where everyone is scrambling to get under contract,” said Glenn Kelman, chief executive of Redfin, a real estate brokerage. 

Home prices have increased 35% since 2011, which benefits current homeowners who may want the opportunity to trade up to better homes or cash out at a profit.  Higher prices are also good news for those who have long owed more on their mortgage than their home is worth, thus preventing them from selling without suffering a loss. 

As you saw from the July PPAR statistics, Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak area are keeping up with the rest of the country in existing home sales and escalating prices.

 

IMPLEMENTATION OF “TRID” EXTENDED UNTIL OCTOBER 3rd

I’ve previously mentioned the new mortgage loan rule changes that were due to go into effect on August 1, 2015 and wanted to let you know that the implementation date has been pushed up to October 3. 

On that date, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Truth-in-Lending Act (TILA) and real estate Settlement Procedures Act (REVPA) Integrated Mortgage Disclosure (IMD) rule goes into effect.  Quite a mouthful—so you can see why it’s simply called “TRID”.  It’s also known as the “Know Before You Owe” mortgage disclosure rule. 

The changes are being made so that borrowers can see the true cost of a mortgage loan and more easily compare loan costs of various lenders.  The potential borrower provides only six things in order to have deemed to have completed an application:

  1. Name
  2. Income
  3. Social Security Number
  4. Property address of purchased property
  5. Purchase price or estimated property value
  6. Mortgage loan amount

After that, the cost of the credit report is the only thing a lender can charge before providing a Loan Estimate.  This will be a boon to those wanting to easily and inexpensively compare and know all costs associated with a mortgage loan prior to closing. 

 

HOMEOWNERSHIP RATE DROPS TO 48-YEAR LOW

Housingwire, 7.28.15

Record sales aside, the homeownership rate in the United States continues to decline and is now at 63.4%--the lowest it has been since 1967, according to data from the Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau.  The steady decline since 2009 is illustrated below:

Ed Stansfield, chief property economist at Capital Economics said,  “This suggest that home ownership has not kept pace with the cyclical rebound in household formation which is now underway, and gives weight to the idea that first-time buyers in particular are still struggling to gain a foothold in the market.

“However, foreclosure rates are declining steadily, employment and incomes are growing at a healthy pace and credit conditions are gradually loosening,” Stanfield said.  “What’s more, there is no evidence of a fundamental shift in home ownership aspirations.  Accordingly, we expect that the home ownership rate will soon find a floor.”

And, from Elliot Eisenberg, the “Bowtie Economist”:

“In 1965 the US home ownership was 63% and rose to 65.6% in 1980.  Home ownership then fell and held steady at about 64% from 1984 through 1994, when it began a meteoric rise and peaked at 69.4% in 2004.  It’s since collapsed and is now 63.5%, where it was last in 1967.  Demographics aside, home ownership is for, at most, 65.5% of the population.  Above that, a bubble.”

With rental rates soaring and rental vacancies declining, it’s most definitely a good time to consider purchasing rental property as a potential investment.  I can’t give you tax advice, however, if you think this might be an option for you, I suggest you talk to your tax advisor soon and then call me at 598.3200 or email me at Harry@HarrySalzman.comThere are a number of properties available in most neighborhoods that are just right for investment purposes and as the numbers attest—there are lots of folks still looking to rent.

 

HARRY’S JOKE OF THE DAY 

 

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