Real Estate Information Archive


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True Test For Real Estate This Spring

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

This Spring Is True Test to Real Estate Recovery

How the real estate market will fare in the spring home-selling season will prove a test for housing demand and show which markets will lead a housing recovery, economists say in a recent article at USA Today. The spring selling season usually runs March through June.

"This spring will be the litmus real estate test for housing demand," says Steven Ricchiuto, chief economist for Mizuho Securities USA.

The sluggish housing market in recent years, which has seen a flood of foreclosures and falling home values, has been inching toward a turnaround in recent weeks. Existing-home sales and pending home sales are up about 9 percent compared to the same time year ago, according to February housing data by the National Association of REALTORS®.

Paul Dales of Capital Economics told USA Today that he expects the spring selling season to “be the best in four or five years” for the real estate industry.

Economists predict that where the housing supply of for-sale homes has dropped the most and is more balanced is where prices have the greatest potential of gaining this year. For example, Phoenix has had a 42 percent drop in its housing inventory recently and is projected to see prices gain 5 percent this year, according to Eric Fox, an economist for Veros Real Estate Solutions.

Source: “Spring Home Sales Could be Omen,” USA Today (April 2, 2012)


Mortgage Rates Hit Record Lows

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B
Mortgage rates hit record low of 3.94%: Freddie
Thursday, October 6th, 2011, 9:00 am

The average rate for a conventional 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage dropped below 4% for the first time in history amid increasing global concerns, according to Freddie Mac.

The 30-year FRM averaged 3.94% with an average of 0.8 point for the week ending Oct. 6. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.27%.

The 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage also fell to the lowest level on record for the sixth consecutive week, averaging 3.26% with an average 0.8 point, down from 3.28% a week ago and 3.72% a year ago.

The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 2.96%, with an average 0.6 point, down from 3.02% last week and 3.47% a year ago.

Interest rates for 1-year ARMs, however, rose, as the Federal Reserve began replacing $400 billion of its short-term Treasury securities, which serve as benchmarks for many ARMs. The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.95% this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.83%. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 3.4%.

Rates dropped amid growing concerns over a global recession. Consumer spending inched up 0.2%in August, but personal income fell 0.1%, the first decline since October 2009.

Write to Kerry Curry.


Homeownership Decreases!

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

Home ownership: Biggest drop since Great Depression

October 7, 2011: 7:26 AM ET

Home ownership sees biggest drop since Great Depression

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The percentage of Americans who owned their homes has seen its biggest decline since the Great Depression, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The rate of home ownership fell to 65.1% in April 2010, 1.1 percentage points lower than it was in 2000. The decline was the biggest drop since the 1930s, when home ownership plunged 4.2%.

The most recent decade-over-decade drop, however, only tells half the story.

Home ownership during the 2000s "was really high in the middle of the decade, up to almost 70% at one point around 2004," said Ellen Wilson, a survey statistician with the bureau.

The crash from that peak was more than 4 percentage points in just about five years -- a far more dramatic decline than the 1.1% drop over the 10-year period.

A rough 10 years for the middle class

Certain regions have been hit harder than others. The West had the lowest home ownership rate at 60.5%, while the Midwest had the highest rate at 69.2%.The South came in at 66.7% and the Northeast at 62.2%.

Among the states, New York had the lowest home ownership rate of 53.3%, but the District of Columbia's home ownership rate was below that at 42%.

West Virginia (73.4%) led the way with the highest home ownership rate, while Minnesota (73%), Michigan, Delaware and Iowa (all 72.1%) were also well above the norm.

Number of vacant homes grows by 44%

Thanks to the housing bust there has been a substantial increase in empty homes. The number of vacant housing units jumped an astonishing 43.8% to 15 million (or 11.4% of all housing units) in 2010, up from 10.4 million in 2000.

During that 10-year period, the number of homes in the U.S. increased by 16 million to 131.7 million housing units, according to Census.

Many Sun-Belt states suffered large vacancy increases. In Nevada, ground zero for foreclosures over the past few years, vacancies grew nearly 120% to 14.3% of all homes. Georgia vacancies jumped 82.7%, Florida's 62.6% and Arizona's 61%.

Although vacancies in Maine grew by only 23%, the state had the highest percentage of vacant homes overall at 22.8%. Vermont was close behind with 20.5% of its homes empty. Florida was third with 17.5%.

Foreclosure backlog deepens

Many of the nation's residents have also become renters, especially in large metropolitan areas.

Of the 10 largest cities, New York had the highest ratio with a whopping 69% of all homes in the five boroughs -- Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island -- occupied by renters. Los Angeles had a 61.5% rental rate and Dallas was 55.9%.

San Jose had the lowest percentage of renters for any of the 10 largest cities with just 41.5%. San Antonio (43.5.%) and Phoenix (42.4%) had comparatively few renters as well. 


Homebuying season worst in 50 years!

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

Homebuying season the worst in at least 50 years

By Derek Kravitz
The Associated Press
Updated: 09/27/2011 01:28:35 AM MDT

A prospective homebuyer leaves an open house in Phoenix on Sunday. Prices for previously occupied homes have sunk more than 5 percent over the past year. (Joshua Lott, Bloomberg News)

WASHINGTON — The homebuying season was a bust. Americans bought fewer new homes in the March- through-August stretch than in any other six-month period since record-keeping began a half-century ago.

And sales of previously occupied homes didn't fare much better. They nearly matched 2009's total for the peak buying months. And that was the worst since 1997.

Combined, total sales this spring and summer were the weakest on records dating to 1963. The figures underscore how badly the housing market is faring and suggest that a recovery is years away.

Because the economy is barely growing and unemployment exceeds 9 percent, many people see a home purchase as too big a risk. Some worry about losing their jobs. Others can't afford the 20 percent down payment.

Not even shrunken home prices and the lowest mortgage rates in six decades are convincing would-be buyers.

Falling stocks and renewed recession fears have led many economists to push back expectations for a housing recovery.

Read more: Homebuying season the worst in at least 50 years - The Denver Post
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Mortgage News

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B
Fed bond-buying decision keeps mortgage rates at record lows
Thursday, September 22nd, 2011, 9:32 am

The Federal Reserve's plan to reinvest principal payments on some bonds into mortgage-backed securities is already contributing to the nation's record low mortgage interest rates, Bankrate said Thursday.

Bankrate said the Federal Open Market Committee seems to be taking direct aim at mortgage rates by shifting $400 billion from short-term holdings into long-term government bonds. The program, which begins Oct. 3 and runs through June, will involve longer-term Treasury securities with remaining maturities of six years to 30 years, and will be financed through the sale of shorter-term Treasurys with maturities of three years or less.

"This program should put downward pressure on longer-term interest rates and help make broader financial conditions more accommodative," the FOMC said in a statement following its two-day meeting.

Analysts also said anemic economic growth and European debt fears are keeping investors on the sidelines.

Rates are unlikely to increase until mortgage refinancing and purchasing activity picks up, Bankrate said.

"In order to get the most economic impact out of low mortgage rates, the pool of prospective refinancers needs to be expanded. Deeply upside-down homeowners, those with second liens or mortgage insurance, and lender concerns about buyback liability are all formidable impediments to refinancing," according to the firm, which aggregates rate data from across the country.

The Freddie Mac primary mortgage market survey showed the average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage remained unchanged this week at 4.09%, while the 15-year, fixed rate dropped one basis point to a new record low of 3.29%.

Meanwhile, the five-year, Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.02%, up from 2.99% last week and down from 3.54% a year ago.

The one-year, Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.82% this week, up from 2.81% a week earlier and down from 3.46% last year.

"A sluggish economy and investor concerns over the European debt markets left mortgage rates largely unchanged this week," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist for Freddie Mac.

"Manufacturing activity in both the New York and Philadelphia regions contracted in September," he said. "Moreover, the Federal Reserve board reported that households lost nearly $150 billion in net worth in the second quarter, representing the first quarterly decline in a year."

Bankrate data show the 30-year FRM at record lows for the fifth consecutive week. The average rate for a traditional mortgage fell to 4.29%, from 4.32% last week, while the 15-year FRM declined to 3.42% from 3.44%.

In addition, the 5/1 ARM decreased to 3.05% from 3.07% last week.

Write to Kerri Panchuk.

16th St Mall Makeover

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

New remedies tried to improve traction, life of granite pavers on Denver's 16th Street Mall

Updated: 09/20/2011 11:43:15 AM MDT

New remedies tried to improve traction, life of granite pavers on Denver's 16th Street Mall

Updated: 09/20/2011 11:43:15 AM MDT

The view northwest along 16th Street Mall from Broadway and 16th Street, Monday, August 8, 2011. (Jakob M. Berr, The Denver Post)

RTD on Monday started a $1.8 million pilot project aimed at testing new techniques for cleaning and setting granite pavers on downtown Denver's 16th Street Mall busway.

As precursor to a remake of the entire length of the mall, which could cost $63 million, the Regional Transportation District is exploring ways to extend the life of pavers in the bus lanes, which get the most wear and tear.

RTD spends about $1 million a year repairing and resetting the bus-lane pavers, and the agency expects to integrate lessons learned from the pilot paver project with the broader rehabilitation.

The downtown pedestrian and transit mall opened in 1982, and its 400,000 white, black and red granite pavers were installed in a fashion to give it the appearance of a Western diamondback rattlesnake's skin when viewed from above.

RTD's partners on the wider mall project include the city of Denver, the Downtown Denver Partnership and the downtown Business Improvement District.

RTD's pilot program involves cleaning and resetting bus-lane pavers in the block between Court Place and Tremont Place and cleaning a portion of the pavers on the same block's sidewalks, said Jeff Cluphf, the transit agency's construction manager for the project.

According to J.J. Henrikson, the project's design manager, RTD's key goals include:

• Improving the "friction" of pavers to give pedestrians and vehicles better traction.

• Returning the pavers to their original color.

• Improving the stability of the transit way.

RTD's contractors will explore two techniques — "shot blasting" and "flaming" — to take a thin layer off the existing pavers and leave them with a roughened surface to provide more friction, Cluphf said.

For resetting the pavers, contractors will use several kinds of mortar and roughen the bottom of the stones to get better adhesion, he added. The agency also will experiment with two grouting techniques.

RTD is paying about $1 million of the cost of the pilot program, and the Denver Regional Council of Governments is contributing about $800,000 to the project's cost, Cluphf said.

The pilot program is scheduled for completion by late November.

One lane of the Court-Tremont block will alternately be closed for reconstruction of the bus-lane pavers, and some delays in mall-shuttle service are possible because of the construction bottleneck.

While work is being done, Denver will explore the electric lines that run under the roadway, and the Business Improvement District will lead an effort to upgrade one of the globe streetlights for better illumination and energy efficiency, said Cassie Milestone, the Downtown Partnership's urban planning manager.

RTD is seeking federal funds for the full rehabilitation of the mall, Milestone said.

Jeffrey Leib: 303-954-1645 or



Home sales up!

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

Home sales jump 7.7 pct. as foreclosures rise

By DEREK KRAVITZ AP Real Estate Writer
Updated: 09/21/2011 08:04:35 AM MDT

WASHINGTON—The number of Americans who bought previously occupied homes rose in August. But sales were driven by an increase in foreclosures, evidence the housing market remains weak.

The National Association of Realtors says home sales rose 7.7 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.03 million homes. That's below the 6 million that economists say is consistent with a healthy housing market.

Last month's pace was slightly ahead of the 4.91 million sold in 2010, the weakest sales year in 13 years.

Home at risk of foreclosure made up 31 percent of sales, up from 29 percent in July.

First-time homebuyers were unchanged at 32 percent of all sales. The normally make up 50 percent of sales in healthy markets.


Colorado Foreclosures Down

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

Colorado metro foreclosure filings, sales down so far this year

Updated: 09/16/2011 02:52:08 AM MDT

(Associated Press file photo)

Foreclosure filings and sales in Colorado's metropolitan counties were down during the first eight months of this year compared with the same period of 2010, the Colorado Division of Housing said Thursday.

August was the ninth consecutive month in which both filings and sales were down when compared with the same month a year ago, said Ryan McMaken, an economist for the division.

Foreclosure filings from January through August fell 31.4 percent, to 16,481 filings, compared with 24,032 filings during the same period last year.

Foreclosure sales at auction were down 18.5 percent during the same eight-month period.

There were 11,502 sales at auction from January through August of this year, compared with 14,114 during the same period last year.

However, from July to August of 2011, foreclosure filings increased 34.2 percent and sales at auction rose 32 percent. Foreclosure filings hit a six-month high in August, while foreclosure sales at auction reached a two-month high.

"This sizable increase from July may signal that some lenders are beginning to process foreclosures more quickly, or it could be due to the increase in new mortgage delinquencies reported during the second quarter," McMaken said.

He said all metro counties showed decreases in foreclosure filings and sales in the year-to-year comparisons.

Howard Pankratz: 303-954-1939 or

Read more: Colorado metro foreclosure filings, sales down so far this year - The Denver Post
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Kelsey, Camille Grammer Beaver Creek Chalet for sale

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

Former Beaver Creek chalet of Kelsey, Camille Grammer for sale

By Penny Parker
The Denver Post
Updated: 03/17/2011 02:45:41 PM MDT

Camille and Kelsey Grammer. (Getty Images file )

Actor Kelsey Grammer and ex-spouse Camille have put their Bachelor Gulch ski chalet on the market for $7.9 million.

The three-story ski-in-and-out spread on Beaver Creek Mountain measures 8,230 square feet, with six bedrooms and 7-1/2 baths. When the split couple first listed the home, the asking price was $9.5 million, according to Internet reports.

The two were married 13 years.

The 56-year-old television and Broadway star divorced Camille, 43, who was part of the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" crew on Bravo last season to marry 29-year-old British flight attendant Kayte Walsh.

Read more: Former Beaver Creek chalet of Kelsey, Camille Grammer for sale - The Denver Post
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Denver competing to become "America's Most Natural City"

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

Vote for Denver as America's Most Natural City, go to, "like" the page, then submit your vote.


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 62

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