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HARRY'S BI-WEEKLY UPDAATE 9.29.14

by Harry Salzman

                                                            

September 29, 2014

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.

                             

 

                                       

 

 

GUESS I’D RATHER BE IN COLORADO….

For those of you who have gotten to know me well, that goes without saying, but it’s most especially true this time of year when we get to see the Aspen trees change color in the mountains.  I don’t think there is anything as spectacular and there’s just a short window for viewing.  This past weekend, we were able to see nature at its best and I wanted to share several pictures I took with you.  It’s impossible to capture the magnificence of it all, but the photos above will give you a small idea of what I’m talking about. 

Those of us that call Colorado home know that our state is gorgeous in all four seasons.  And each season offers something for everyone—from sporting activities to sightseeing and great food.  For those looking to relocate here, you’re in for a treat.  You will soon realize what I mean when I talk of our “Rocky Mountain High”.  There’s just nothing like it.

SPEAKING OF FOUR SEASONS, HOME BUYING CAN BE TRICKY WITHOUT A COMPETENT real estate BROKER

The Wall Street Journal, 9.22.14

There have been lots of articles about the housing recovery and how it’s starting to slow down a bit to catch its breath so to speak.  Prices are continuing their upward climb and mortgage rates are still historically low.  However, the market’s foundation is starting to wobble a bit and forecasters are beginning to rethink their higher price valuation predictions. 

The slowdown is good news for homebuyers, of course.  The recent weakness in real estate investments, including homebuilders, has created opportunities for bargain hunters, some analysts say.  However, if the Federal Reserve begins raising interest rates next year as expected, the cost of financing will increase—making things tougher for Buyers and Investors alike. 

Many analysts argue that now is a good time to buy.  The slowing growth in prices makes homes more affordable, even as rental costs inflate for single-family homes and multifamily apartments.  Interest rates remain low, with the average for conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgages recently at 4.19%, close to the lowest levels of the year. 

Some of the slowdown has to do with the time of the year, but I’ve found that no matter what the season, if you are dealing with a competent real estate Broker who has been successful during all seasons and some recent economic cycles, you can expect to find just what you are looking for.  It’s easy to find a home, either for personal use or investment, when the market is hot, but market conditions change and you need to make certain that you are dealing with someone who knows the “ins and outs” of every season and every cycle. 

With my 42 plus years in the local real estate arena, I’m uniquely qualified to help you and your family with all your Real Estate needs.  Just give me a call at 598.3200 or email me at Harry@HarrySalzman.com and let’s see if now is the right time to make things happen for you.

 

MORTGAGE LENDING CAN BE PUZZLING

The Wall Street Journal, 9.12 and 9.22.14

With the mortgage credit game changing constantly and with more changes to come, it’s hard to know exactly where to get the best loan for your specific needs.   Those with top credit scores will find it much easier than most to qualify for loans of all types and will find that the shift in mortgage lending rules will present an opportunity to get a larger loan—and better home—without having to pay a higher interest rate. 

While fixed rate mortgages have been the norm lately, Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) with a 30 year repayment period and fixed rate for the first 10 years offer a conservative option for those looking for lower payments.  Most borrowers won’t need the loans for more than the fixed period as the typical Seller in 2013 owned his home for nine years, according to the National Association of Realtors. 

Borrowers who are considering an ARM should look for one with a fixed rate at least as long as the period they are planning to keep the house since the loan’s interest rate will rise considerably once the fixed period ends.  They should also put aside some of the savings they realize from the lower initial monthly payments in case they need to stay in the home longer than originally planned.

But no matter what type of mortgage loan a borrower may want, it’s not a “one size fits all” type of situation.  What is the best type of loan for those who qualify for the best rates and terms? Where do you go for lending if you are not in the select group with top credit scores?  What if you’ve had a bankruptcy or foreclosure?  These questions, and others, are very important to borrowers and another reason why you need to work with a qualified, competent real estate Broker.  A good Broker will have established contacts with lenders and can help direct you to the one that will work best for your individual financial situation.  This should be done prior to finding a home so that you won’t be disappointed.  You will know in advance what best fits your budget and being pre-approved will give you peace of mind while shopping for homes.  The “wrong” lender can make the home buying experience an unpleasant one and that’s something I’ve seen too often when the Broker hasn’t done everything necessary to help their Buyer. 

An important part of my service is making certain that I understand the needs of each client and with my investment banking background I do the homework to make certain that my clients are directed to a competent mortgage lender best suited for their needs. 

Today’s mortgage lending is getting more and more complicated but it doesn’t need to be for you.  Making sure you deal with the “right” real estate Broker can help alleviate many of the problems which could arise long before they do. 

Enough said for today.

 

HIGHER RENTS, LOWER WAGES ARE LEAVING MORE CASH-STRAPPED

RealorMag, 9.16.14

Nationwide, rents have risen by 6 percent according to data compiled from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, and renters are increasingly becoming cash-strapped while facing the higher rents in conjunction with shrinking or stagnant paychecks. 

Traditionally, homeowners have long outnumbered renters by more than three to one, according to Realty Trac.  However, since the recession, the rate of homeownership has been steadily dropping from a 69.2 percent peak in the fourth quarter of 2004 to 65.42 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to Census data.

The number of renter households has risen to 43 million, or 35.4 percent of all U.S. households, which is up from 31 percent in 2004, according to the Harvard report.

This means, of course, that 64.6 percent of households own their own home, townhouse or condo and I am a firm believer that somehow we need to help turn those renters into owners so that they can start building equity rather than helping someone else do so. 

This is obviously a great time for Investors to get in the market since rental income is going up, but it’s also a good time to turn renters into first-time or once-again homeowners.  If you know someone who is renting and wants to find out the feasibility of owning, please refer them to me and let me see if I can help them realize their “American Dream”.

 

LOCAL SALES TAX REVENUE CONTINUES TO INCREASE

The Gazette, 9.20.14

A healthy tourist season helped sales tax collections increase for a fourth straight month in August, according to a report from the Colorado Springs Finance Department.  Collections of the city’s 2 percent sales tax in August (July sales) were up 8 percent from August 2013. 

No wildfires or flooding most certainly contributed to this increase in tourism.  “The fact that there were no natural disasters certainly makes it more likely that tourists will want to visit the region, but the magnitude of the increase was perhaps unexpected,” said Tatiana Bailey, executive director of the Southern Colorado Economic Forum.  “One of the benefits of a strong tourism season is other businesses that cater to tourists—restaurants and retail shops—are also having a strong year.”

 

COLORADO SPRINGS RANKED AMONG “INTELLECTUAL ELITE”

The Gazette, 9.17.14

Colorado Springs is ranked 8th in the nation among “intellectual hubs” out of 50 of the largest metro areas studies by WalletHub.com.  In comparison, Denver was number 28. 

UCCS spokesman, Tom Hutton, pointed to the growth of UCCS and the presence of Colorado College, Pikes Peak Community College, the Air Force Academy and others as some possible reasons for the high ranking.  And the officers corp at area military installations add more educated individuals to the population as does the tech sector, and many bright retirees who move here from all over the world. 

Some of the factors used to identify intellectual hubs by WalletHub, a financial network, included “education level” and “quality of education”.

Here’s some of what makes Colorado Springs so high on the list:

  • Second in percentage of high school diploma holders
  • Fourth in percentage of college or associate degree holders
  • 15th in percentage of workers with jobs in computer, engineering and science
  • 22nd in percentage of graduate or professional degree holders
  • 23rd in percentage of bachelor’s degree holders
  • 31st in public school system ranking

So there you have it.  Just another feather in our ski-cap.  In any case, a great bragging point when speaking to our friends in Denver.

 

HELP WANTED IN COLORADO SPRINGS

The Gazette, 9.24.14

Pikes Peak Workforce Center’s semi-annual Job Fair will be held on October 8th and 114 Colorado Springs area employers say they have openings for 6,000 to 7,000 positions within the next two to three months. 

According to Jeanne Cotter, Workforce Center spokeswoman, this will be one of the largest job fairs the Center has held in terms of the number of openings.  The spring job fair had a similar number of employers but only 2,500 positions were available then. 

This comes along with the Colorado Springs area unemployment rate falling to 6.5 percent in July—the lowest in almost six years. 

The job fair will be from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. October 8 at the Hotel Elegante Conference and Event Center, 2886 S. Circle Drive.  Doors will open at 9:30 a.m. for veterans and the spouses only.

For a complete list of employers who plan to attend, go to www.ppwfc.org and click on “fall job fair”.

 

BE SURE TO REGISTER SOON FOR SOUTHERN COLORADO ECONOMIC FORUM

The Southern Colorado Economic Forum is being held on Friday, October 10, 2014 at the Antlers Hilton Hotel Ballroom. 

You won’t want to miss out on all the useful information that is presented at this Forum so it would be wise to get your registration in as soon as possible for this always-sold-out event.  You can register online at : www.SouthernColoradoEconomicForum.com

Salzman real estate Services, LTD is proud to be the only Residential Real Estate sponsor and has been since the Forum’s inception 18 years ago. This is a “must attend” event for anyone in business in the Colorado Springs area and I know you will find it a useful tool in making business decisions for the coming year. 

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO MY JEWISH READERS

The Jewish New Year 5775 is now upon us and I’d like to take a moment to wish all my Jewish readers a heartfelt “L’Shana Tova” (Happy New Year). 

To all my readers, Jewish or not, I wish you a year filled with much good health, happiness, success, love and most importantly...Peace. 

 

HARRY’S JOKE OF THE DAY

 

 

 

 

HARRY'S BI-WEEKLY UPDAATE 9.15.14

by Harry Salzman

                                                            

September 15, 2014

 

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.

                                      

INSIDE THIS ISSUE…

As you are probably aware, our first “Update” each month normally deals with local housing statistics and findings while the second has more emphasis on national housing news.  In this issue, along with national news, I would like to share with you how homeownership impacts your net worth and how you can prepare for homeownership if you are new to the market.  I also want to reemphasize the importance of using a qualified, knowledgeable real estate Broker in all your home Buying and Selling transactions and will explain in more detail why this should be of utmost importance to you.

So, sit back, relax and take a minute to digest information that I hope will help you in making informed decisions when it comes to residential real estate.

 

HOMEOWNERSHIP’S IMPACT ON NET WORTH

Keeping current matters, 8.12.14

During the housing bust, homeownership may have lost some of its allure as a financial investment and more and more homeowners began to question whether owning a home was truly a good way to build wealth. 

The Federal Reserve’s Study of Consumer Finances, which is conducted every three years, provides a snapshot of family income and net worth along with basic demographic details and more detailed information on where families keep the wealth they have accumulated. 

The most recent study, conducted in 2013, offers a picture of the situation as home and equity prices normalized for most household balance sheets.  

Some of their findings from that and a study done a year earlier reveal:

  • The average American family has a net worth of $77,300
  • Of that net worth, 61.4% ($47,500) of it is in home equity
  • A homeowner’s net worth is over thirty times great than that of a renter
  • The average homeowner has a net worth of $174,500 while the average net worth of a renter is $5,100
  • Many households own a primary residence (65.2%).  It is the most commonly held non-financial asset after vehicles (86.3%)

                   

BOTTOM LINE:  The Fed study found that homeownership is still a great way tor a family to build wealth in America.  Naturally, if they had asked me I would have saved them the time from doing a formal study because over the course of the past 42 years in the real estate arena I’ve found this to be absolutely true.  Homeownership is not just a big part of the American Dream—it plays an enormous role in the net worth of many families. 

 

INTERNET HOME INFORMATION VS. real estate PROFESSIONALS

Inman.com 9.8.14

There are a number of Internet sites that purport to reveal how much your home is worth.  They are called “automated valuation model” (AVM) sites and they use statistical modeling techniques that calculate the property value by comparing it with similar-sized homes that have already sold in your area.  These tools crunch their data with publicly available numbers from several listing services and combine them with regional trends to set a sales price for your property.

Amazing, right?  With that type of information readily available, the question every Seller asks themselves is:  Do I really need a real estate Agent to help me through the “assessment” process?

Well, guess what?  There’s a reason why we real estate Brokers exist.  Actually, there is more than one reason why we are vitally important in any Real Estate transaction. I’d like to share them with you.

  • These tools are not always accurate. 

Actually, some Realtors also use these tools to start a customer’s property evaluation. However, there is a lot more detail that is done after those results are revealed.  Most AVMs confirm their evaluations may be off by 5 percent and actually they are sometimes inaccurate by up to 20 percent, according to a study by Standard & Poor’s.  One of the reasons being that old data is being used, especially in a fast-moving market. 

This would mean that anyone strictly using this data may be pricing their home way higher or under market and consequently losing either money or potential Buyers.

 

  • There are several factors contributing towards the price of a home that the tools do not necessarily catch. 

Market data is only one of several pieces of information that compose the valuation range of a property.  The rest is very property-specific and includes such things as whether you have made upgrades or whether your roof is too old—just to name a couple.

Other factors include the old “Location! Location! Location!” that I always talk about.  Is the neighborhood desirable for potential Buyers?  Is it safe?  Are there good schools?  How close are shopping malls or grocery stores?  The AVM tools just can’t possibly know these things. And most often, location is one of the most important factors in a Buyer’s decision-making process.

        

  • Here is where a Realtor’s experience counts—A LOT—in this process.    

real estate Agents are trained to do a comparative market analysis (CMA) for every property they list for sale.  To help pin down the ideal listing price range, a Broker will go to the property and literally inspect the home, the neighborhood and everything necessary to demonstrate to potential Buyers how the selling price is the “right” price. 

This is where using an experienced, knowledgeable Broker is especially important because you have the services of someone uniquely qualified to evaluate and negotiate the best price for your home.  

Preparing a CMA is an art, not a science and no one size fits all.  Well-thought-out CMAs need deep knowledge of property sales in a given neighborhood.  With my 42 plus years of selling local real estate, you can rest assured that my judgments are based on my vast understanding of the local market and all the peculiarities that affect price, such as lot size, lot orientation; tax-assessed value; and features of the lot, including terrain, access and privacy, improvements and additions, conditions, quality and age.

I know which homes are uniquely “right” based on the priorities of my clients.  An Internet search cannot possibly take your needs and wants into consideration.   

BOTTOM LINE:  Every home is unique and must be valued accordingly. 

I hope this gave you a little insight into what actually needs to go into the pricing of your home in order to get the best value without pricing it out of the market.  My job is to help you take all factors into consideration and make certain you are not “leaving any money on the table” or asking more than potential Buyers are willing to spend for the property.  I give each property a CMA based on my many years in the business.  This gives a property an “appropriate” selling price and helps reduce time on the market. 

If you are considering a move, please give me a call at 598.3200 or email me at Harry@HarrySalzman.com and let me help you with your Buying and/or Selling concerns.  With more than 2000 transactions over the past 42 years, you can rest assured I’m uniquely qualified to help you with all your real estate needs.

 

FOURTH QUARTER SLOWEST IN TERMS OF HOME SALES

Generally speaking, the fourth quarter of the year is the slowest in residential real estate sales.  The holidays are approaching, schools are in session and the cooler weather are just some of the reasons for this trend.

That said, the fourth quarter is oftentimes a good time for Buyers because Sellers are more motivated due to the slower demand and prices can be negotiated a bit easier than during the Spring frenzy.

Sellers also need to take a look at their current listing price and determine if a slight reduction or other changes could help in getting their property to closing quicker. 

There are a number of factors to consider whether Buying or Selling this time of year and if you have any questions on either, please give me a call and let’s see how we can help make your goals a reality.

 

HOUSING RECOVERY WILL CONTINUE GRADUALLY

RisMedia, 9.11.14, CoreLogic, 9.5.14, DSNews, 9.9.14

Home prices rose nationally by 7.4% in July 2014 over July 2013, according to CoreLogic, a leading global property information analytics and data-enabled services provider.   This represents 29 months of consecutive year-over-year increases in home prices nationally, a sign that the housing market is finally returning to a more normal state.

The CoreLogic forecast indicates that home prices, including distressed sales, are projected to increase 0.6% month over month from July 2014 to August 2014 and on a year-over-year basis by 5.7% from July 2014 to July 2015.

“Home prices continued to march higher across much of the U.S. in July.  Most states are reaching price levels not seen since the boom year of 2006,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic.  “Our data indicates that this trend will continue, with more states hitting new all-time peaks this year and into 2015 as the recovery continues.”

According to Fannie Mae’s August 2014 National Housing Survey” Americans’ attitudes toward the housing market continued to soften in August and suggest that housing activity may resume its modest recovery in 2015 after some pullback this year.”

Another good sign in the local market saw foreclosure filings fall in August.  Filings through the first eight months of the year totaled 1,267, an 8.8 percent decline over the same period in 2013.  An improving single-family housing market has contributed to a better outlook on foreclosures. 

BOTTOM LINE:  With home prices rising slowly but steadily, mortgage rates still historically low and a less frenetic selling period during the last quarter of the year—NOW is a great time to Buy.

 

SOUTHERN COLORADO ECONOMIC FORUM SET FOR OCTOBER 10

The 18th Annual Southern Colorado Economic Forum will be held at the Antlers Hilton Hotel on October 10, 2014 from 7:00  – 11:30 a.m.

The event is chaired by Ron Chernak, President of the FBB, Ltd,  It includes a Keynote address by Gary Schlossberg, Senior Economist, Wells Capital Management as well as Forum Results: Economic Conditions in the Pikes Peak Region and the Outlook for the Next 12 Months—presented by Tatiana Bailey, Ph.D. and Tom Zwirlein, Ph.D., College of Business and Administration, UCCS. 

There will be a question and answer period as well as a panel discussion entitled “Catching the Colorado Wave:  Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Southern Colorado”.  The moderator is Steve Bigari, CEO and Founder, Stellar Restaurant Solutions and Panelists include Tom Neppl, President and CEO, Springs Fabrication, Randy Scott, President, Southern Colorado Business Partnership, and Karla Tartz, Deputy Director, Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

Salzman real estate Services, LTD is proud to be a Sponsor of the Forum as we have been for each of the past 18 years.  We are the only Residential Real Estate Company to sponsor this event.

The information gathered at this Forum is invaluable for all business owners and professionals who work in the Pikes Peak area.  Reservations will go quickly for this always sold-out event, so I encourage you register on-line as soon as possible at: www.SouthernColoradoEconomicForum.com

 

 HARRY’S THOUGHT OF THE DAY

The first man to make a mountain out of a molehill

sold real estate.

 

 

Harry's Bi-Weekly Update 9.3.14

by Harry Salzman

September 3, 2014

 

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.

                                       

THE THOUGHT BEHIND THE LOGO

Have you ever looked at my company logo and wondered what it means?  I’ve been asked that question quite often and thought I’d take a minute to share the answer with you.

When I started my company back in 1978, I wrote a Policy and Procedural Manual and in it I wrote what I wanted my “Company Philosophy” to be.  Today that would be called my “Mission Statement” and it remains as true today as it did when I wrote it back then.

“The most important entity of a family is the love between the members of the family.  Next to the love within the family comes the family home.

To locate the absolute finest home for the family or to sell their house in order to purchase another is our business.

We feel that the home is the single most important physical element of people, and we place the housing needs of our Buyers and Sellers first.  This philosophy was incorporated into the Company Logo, as you see a house first before the ‘S’.”

So there you have it. 

Your goals come first. 

They become MY goals when working with you. 

That’s a philosophy I’m proud to have adhered to and will continue to do so for as long as I’m in business. After all, why change a philosophy that has passed the test of time?  It’s proven to me that my original reason for becoming a real estate Broker hasn’t changed and never will.

Thank you for letting me into your lives and helping you to make good financial decisions when it comes to home Buying or Selling.  After all, without you and your families I wouldn’t need the “house” before the “S”.

 

AUGUST LOCAL STATISTICS JUST OUT TODAY

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

PPAR reported the August stats this afternoon and I waited an extra day to send you this eNewsletter in order to get them to you in a timely manner.  Therefore, I won’t comment as much as usual except to say that things are continuing to look good in the local housing market. 

I was asked by Tatiana Bailey,the director of the Southern Colorado Economic Forum, to stick my neck out and make a prediction as to how I thought the local housing market would do in the next 12 months.  I told her I thought local housing would appreciate by 2-4 percent and I’m thrilled to see that in comparing January-August 2014 to January-August 2013, the cumulative year to date average sales price for Single-Family/Patio Homes was up 2.5% and for Condo/Townhomes it was up 2.7%.  And comparing August 2014 to August 2013 was also very positive, as you will see below.  So, at the moment my prediction is looking good. 

In comparing August 2014 to August 2013 in PPAR:                      

                        Single Family/Patio Homes:

  • New Listings are 1422, Down 2.8%%
  • Number of Sales are 1,111, Up 0.5%
  • Average Sales Price is $258,398 Up 3.7%
  • Median Sales Price is $230,000, Up 4.5%
  • Total Active Listings are 4,104, Down 3.5%

                        Condo/Townhomes:

  • New Listings are 183, Same as last year
  • Number of Sales are 164, Up 1.9%
  • Average Sales Price is $188,930, Up 2.5%
  • Median Sales Price is $151,500, Up 1.1%
  • Total Active Listings are 403, Down 14.6%

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

                                                Median Sales Price               Average Sales Price

Black Forest                             $348,000                              $395,616

Briargate                                   $295,000                              $315,827        

Central                                      $180,000                              $209,618

East                                           $195,625                              $205,629

Fountain Valley:                       $198,250                              $204,463

Manitou Springs:                     $319,200                              $297,000

Marksheffel:                             $230,000                              $238,770

Northeast:                                 $225,250                              $245,903

Northgate:                                $352,450                              $366,640

Northwest:                                $315,875                              $358,542

Old Colorado City:                  $207,500                               $219,882

Powers:                                     $232,250                              $244,227

Southwest:                               $268,000                              $310,392

Tri-Lakes:                                 $380,000                              $387,704

West:                                         $209,250                              $275,194

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

Click here to see the full -page report and see how your neighborhood is doing.  If you have any questions please give me a call.

LOCAL EMPLOYMENT AND SALES TAX REVENUE ARE LOOKING REAL GOOD

The Gazette 8.22.14 & 8.28.14

Colorado Springs sales tax revenues grew by the biggest percentage in 17 months and had double-digit gains in back-to-back months for the first time in more than 10 years according to a report by the city’s Finance Department.

Commercial machines accounted for much of the increase, but collections in all 13 industry categories tracked rose during that same period.

“The city collects money from a use tax, paid on manufacturing equipment, building materials and other items bought outside the city and used inside the city.  Collections from use tax rose 14.9 percent in July from the same month in 2013 to nearly $1 million, the highest monthly total since February.

Combined sales and use tax collections in July were up 12.1 percent from July 2013 to $13.9 million and this year are up 4.1 percent from the same period of 2013.”

In the job market, Colorado Springs unemployment fell to 6.5 percent—the lowest since November 2008 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Local unemployment is now the closest it has been to the national average since it hit a high of 10 percent in late 2010, when the national rate was 9.8 percent.  In July, the national jobless rate was 6.2 percent.  Colorado Springs is now only 4,300 jobs below the September peak of 262,400.

And from where I sit, all this good news means more and more people are taking their recent equity increases and looking to Sell and Trade Up.  With interest rates still low, an increase in listings in most price ranges and positive employment news, now is a good time to begin the search if you’ve been waiting. 

If you or any family member or coworker is considering a move, please give me a call at 598.3200 or email me at Harry@HarrySalzman.com and let’s see if we can make that dream a reality.

 

HOUSING OUTLOOK SHOWS OPTIMISM & RECOVERY ACCORDING TO ECONOMISTS, NAR

RealtorMag 8.31.14, The Wall Street Journal, 8.31.14, LA Times, 8.22.14, Housingwire, 8.31.14

The decreasing unemployment rate is also causing economists to gain increased confidence in the housing market over the next two years, according to a newly released poll by Reuters of 29 housing analysts, including investors and economists.

Economists surveyed expect existing-home sales to increase to 5.25 million units in the first three months of 2015.  Currently they stand around 5.09 million.  In changing their outlook, economists now also expect home resales to continue to inch up in 2015, reaching 5.29 million by the second quarter of 2015.

“Low mortgage rates and improving labor market dynamics should remain conducive to gradual growth in the housing sector,” Gennadly Goldberg, a strategist at TD Securities, said in a note to clients.

The NAR, in it’s latest housing data release, reports that existing-home sales were on the rise in July, with sales moving to the highest pace of this year.  It also marked the fourth consecutive month of sales gains. 

The housing recovery appears to be on track, with sales of previously owned homes rising more than expected in July.   The positive report from NAR is the latest sign that the housing market may be turning a corner after starting to slow last summer amid higher mortgage rates and prices.

“The number of houses for sale is higher than a year ago and tamer price increases are giving prospective buyers less hesitation about entering the market,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.  “More people are buying homes compared to earlier in the year, and this trend should continue with interest rates remaining low and apartment rents on the rise.”

“The increase in the number of new and existing homes for sale is creating less competition and is giving prospective buyers more time to review their options before submitting an offer,” he added.

And, more importantly, Yun explained that steady job additions to the economy are helping family finances and giving them added confidence to enter the market.

U.S. consumers also viewed the economy with increased optimism in August, hinting at a strong jobs report for the month.

According to The Conference Board, a private research group, consumer confidence rose to 92.4% in August from a revised 90.3% in July.  The August index is the highest level of confidence since October 2007, before the recession started. 

Consumers who own homes got more good news:  the S&P Case-Shiller report said home prices nationwide increased 6.2% in the year through June.

Another beneficiary of the good news on housing was the Dow’s recent rise.  Stocks such as Home Depot, and various Home Builder/Construction stocks increased due to these reports.

“Housing is an absolute must in terms of…long-term economic growth in the U.S.,” said Natalie Trunow, chief investment officer of equities at Calvert Investments, which has about $13 billion under her management.  The report on housing starts is “a positive sign for the home-builder sector,” she said, adding that she is looking to increase her position in stocks of homebuilders.

All in all—great news for the housing industry and consumers alike.

 

HOME BUYERS STRUGGLE WITH T.M.I.

The Wall Street Journal, 8.22.14

When it comes to mortgage advice, borrowers are struggling with information overload and are finding that specific totals on payments and rates are hard to get.

While a number of mortgage websites will define “balloon payments” and “debt-to-income ratio”, very few are giving the answer to the one questions on borrowers’ minds:  “What will I owe?”

Whether you’re a seasoned Buyer or new to the market, there’s a lot of information out there and it’s difficult to discern what’s really important.  Plenty of mortgage-education websites include a general discussion about income and down-payment requirements, but don’t get down to the specific questions of what documentation is needed so that borrowers can plan ahead. 

Here are a few tips to help you get the mortgage information you really need:

  • Go Beyond Calculators.  Meet with several potential lenders to get a specific rate before shopping for a home.
  • Prequalify.  This gives borrowers a chance to catch and correct problems before their dream house is on the line.  Jack Wind, executive vice president of home lending at a FL based financial institution said, “Before the crisis, Sellers had a lot more confidence that Buyers could find financing because it was readily available.  Now Sellers are asking Buyers to ‘get the loan and close within a reasonably short period.’”
  • Clarity is coming.  New federal rules will replace the “good-faith estimate” document with a standardized “loan estimate” document starting August 1, 2015.  This new standardized summary—issued at the start of the loan process—will itemize key loan terms and estimated loan and closing costs, making it easier for borrows to compare loans.

I’m going to tell you this one more time because I think it’s of vital importance in today’s real estate market.  You need to have a qualified, competent real estate Broker to help you whether you are Buying or Selling.  There is just too much information for a lay person to easily comprehend.  Hey—it’s hard enough for us Brokers with things changing all the time in terms of disclosure and mortgage lending rules and more—so it’s almost impossible for the uninitiated to keep up.  That’s our job—to know how to navigate the housing and mortgage lending waters and to make certain that we get the best possible outcome for our clients. 

Those of you who have worked with me know that I take special pride in my Investment Banking background because it has afforded me the opportunity to help my clients make informed decisions and to get the best mortgage lending available.  I do the homework in order to make the entire process as stress-free as possible.  It’s my philosophy and my pleasure.  I look forward to my continued relationship with you all.

 

HARRY’S PHILOSOPHY OF THE DAY

I’d like to share another item from my 1978 Policy and Procedural Manual.  This was written by someone at the National Association of Realtors and says something about my “Product”.  Again…as true today as when it was written.  After all, as a wise man or woman once said, “They aren’t making any more LAND.”

“I AM real estate”

I am the basis of all wealth, the heritage of the wise, the thrifty, and prudent.

I am the poor man’s joy and comfort, the rich man’s prize, the right hand of capital, the silent partner of many thousands of successful men.

I am the solace of the widow, the comfort of old age, the cornerstone of security against misfortune and want.  I am handed down to children through generations as a thing of great worth.

I am the choicest fruit of toil.  Credit respects me.  Yet I am humble, I stand before every man bidding him know me for what I am and possess me.

I am growing in value through countless days.  Though I seem dormant, my worth increases, never failing, never ceasing.  Time is an aid and populations heaps up my gain.  Fire and the elements I defy, for they cannot destroy me.

I am trustworthy.  I am sound.  The thriftless speak ill of me.  The Charlatans of finance attack me.  Unfailingly, I triumph and detractors are disproved.

I am producer of food.  The basis for ships and factories; the foundation of banks.  Minerals and oil come from me.

I am so common that thousands unthinkingly and unknowingly pass me by.

I am real estate.

 

 

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Harry A Salzman
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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