June 6, 2011





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).



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.



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%



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.



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.



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.



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.