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  • A Sheltered Life / A New Denver Magazine
    A Sheltered Life Magazine This is their first edition in Summer of 2013. According to the Editor and Publisher, Elaine Marlier the magazine wants to help homeless animals that cannot help themselves. The magazine sells for $1.95 and 100% of every sale goes directly to the aid of homeless animals. Our current economy has had […]

Most Say it’s a Good Time to Buy by Broderick Perkins

Most Say it’s a Good Time to Buy

by Broderick Perkins

Most Americans believe the housing market has hit the bottom and that it’s a good time to buy, in part because many also think rents will rise faster than home prices.

Fannie Mae’s latest nation housing survey found that 70 percent of Americans think it’s a good time to buy a home, up from 64 percent in January.

By an overwhelming majority, 78 percent, also believe home prices will either hold steady or increase over the next year, compared to 85 percent believing the same thing about rental increases.

While Americans expect rents to rise by 3.6 percent on average, home prices are expected to turn up only by 0.9 percent, Fannie Mae found.

“Given the remaining level of shadow inventory, as well as the high number of adjustable rate resets still looming which could in turn lead to further defaults, it is difficult to see the supply of housing falling in an amount sufficient to move prices upwards in many parts of the country,” said Nancy Osborne, chief operating officer of Erate.com, a Santa Clara, CA-based financial information publisher and interest rate tracker.

Also 67 percent believe housing is a safe investment, down three points since January and down 16 percentage points from a similar 2003 survey and the largest drop by far among all investment types tracked since then. Housing ranked second behind putting money into a savings or money market account (76 percent).

“Our survey shows that consumers see a mixed outlook for housing and homeownership,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s vice president and chief economist.

“These findings indicate a return to a more balanced and realistic approach toward housing. While this will likely weigh on the housing recovery in the near-term, it should, over time, help to build a stronger and healthier market focused on sustainable homeownership,” he added.

The Fannie Mae National Housing Survey polled homeowners and renters between June 2010 and July 2010 and compared the findings to similar surveys released earlier this year and 2003.

The survey also found:

• Mortgage borrowers (74 percent) and underwater borrowers (69 percent) are more likely to say owning a home is a safe investment than delinquent borrowers (57 percent) and renters (54 percent). However, this measure has fallen among all sub-groups since January, with delinquent borrowers and renters showing the largest declines, down eight and seven points, respectively.

• More than 70 percent of all respondents believe it will be harder for the next generation to buy a home, up three points from the beginning of the year.

• Fifty-four percent think it would be very difficult or somewhat difficult to get a home loan today, down six points since January.

• Thirty-three percent of all Americans said they would be more likely to rent rather than buy if they were going to move, up from 30 percent in January.

• Among renters, 60 percent said they would rent again if they were to move, up from 54 percent in January. However, 69 percent of renters think it makes more sense to buy a home than to rent.

• Mortgage borrowers (83 percent) and underwater borrowers (77 percent) remain bullish on housing and said they are more likely to buy in the future than rent — both groups increased two points from January.

“If you couple this (high inventories and rate resets) with the reality that it is far more difficult to obtain a mortgage as well as a job, when selling a home to someone who presumably needs financing to buy it, housing is still facing a conundrum.” Osborne added.


Real Estate Outlook: Clear Capital by Kenneth R. Harney

It’s no secret that the keys to a long-term housing recovery are a growing economy, more jobs and modest growth in home values.

So it’s significant that the latest numbers in all three of these area happen to be positive – they’re not spectacular, but definitely pointed in a good direction.

Take home prices for example. Last week’s national Home Price Index from the real estate data firm, Clear Capital, found that housing values not only have stabilized in most parts of the country, but are gaining in many markets.

Comparing 2009 to 2010 through August, Clear Capital found that overall national prices increased by 6.1 percent.

While values in a handful of areas, such as Las Vegas, continued to be negative, in markets like metropolitan San Diego, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Pittsburgh they were up by more than 10 percent from last year’s lows.

Even in Miami, which was hit particularly hard hit in the bust, Clear Capital recorded a small turnaround underway. Miami prices gained by a net eight tenths of one percent for the year, according to researchers, but were up by two percent during the latest quarter – meaning that the price bottom may have been hit last year and values are now increasing slowly.

In a separate report from Barclays Capital on the so-called “shadow inventory” of homes with seriously delinquent mortgages that haven’t yet hit the REO market, researchers found the total inventory dropped for the fifth straight month.

The shadow inventory doesn’t get a lot of publicity, but it’s an important factor for pricing, acting as a dead weight on how fast non-distressed homes can gain in value. So, a continuing shrinkage like this is definitely encouraging news.

Meanwhile, in the mortgage market — where rates in the mid-4′s are pushing affordability indexes to record highs — new applications for loans to purchases houses jumped by a surprising 6.3 percent last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

That increase was the biggest in two months, and cast new doubts on doomsday predictions that the home real estate market would fall apart once the federal tax credits disappeared.

The national economy continues to provide modest support for housing, and the Federal Reserve’s latest “Beige Book” report said economic expansion is underway, though at a slow pace, in the majority of the 12 bank districts it surveys around the U.S.

Even the unemployment numbers are showing some minimally hopeful signs: New private-sector jobs gained by 67,000 last month, and new filings for unemployment benefits dropped by 27,000 — far more than most analysts had predicted.

Published: September 13, 2010

Denver home sales sluggish in August By Aldo Svaldi The Denver Post Read more: Denver home sales sluggish in August – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/business

Denver home sales sluggish in August

August Denver-metro home statistics
- 3,079 home sales closed in the metro area in August
- 23,615 homes in inventory
- Prices have remained fairly stable.  The median price for homes sold in August was $239,900, compared with $240,000 in July and $227,000 in August 2009.
- The median price of condos sold rose to $130,000 in August from $129,000 in July but is down from a median sales price of $144,500 a year ago.
Read full article:
http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_16036669

Short Sales Soar /John Rebchook

Short Sales Soar

Short sales are soaring in the Denver area.

All short sales in the metro area rose by 48 percent in the first seven months of 2010, compared with the same period in 2009, according to an analysis of data by InsideRealEstateNews.

The vast majority of the short sales were for single-family, detached homes. A short sale is when a lender accepts less than the mortgage amount

There were 2,270 completed single-family home short sales in the first seven months of this year, almost a 42 percent increase from the 1,610 during the same period last year, according to Metrolist data. And the number of condo short sales skyrocketed a whopping 88 percent, although the actual numbers were much smaller – 476 in January through July this year, compared with 253 in the first seven months of last year. Combined

There were a total of 2,746 single-family and condo short sales, accounting for 11.3 percent of the 24,249 closing in the first seven months of this year. In 2009, short sales amounted to 7.8 percent of the 23,803 closing in the first seven months.

Short sales under-reported?

But many brokers are convinced the number of short sales may be higher – much higher- than the official tally shows. Even officials at the Kentwood Co., which supplied the data to InsideRealEstateNews, at this blog’s request, cautioned that the number of short sales may be far greater than Metrolist shows. The number of short sales may be under-counted because many brokers are not checking the correct box on the Multiple Listing Service forms despite the rules being in effect for more than two years. Metrolist provides MLS data for about 4,000 brokers.

Many brokers believe that one third or more of the closings are short sales in the Denver area. Short sales are growing in popularity, although often it is a long tedious and frustrating process, for both the buyers and the sellers.

Short Sales: The New Foreclosures

Tom Cryer, a broker with the Kentwood Co., calls short sales the new foreclosures. Foreclosure filings, overall, were down 19.5 percent in July, but Cryer and others believe that is simply because short sales are filling the space previously occupied by foreclosures.

“Anecdotally, I would confirm that at least one in three showings I set up are short sales or disguised short sale listings,” Cryer said. “I’ve been in Highlands Ranch, Castle Rock and Parker lately, and (short sales) are pervasively present. Moving forward, the data will get more reliable as the market adjusts and absorbs the pain.”

Sonda “Sunny” Banka, a broker with Metro Brokers/Sunny Homes & Associates Inc., also thinks that short sales account for a large percentage of the market.

“If I pulled 50 listings anywhere in the Denver area – in any price range – and I had a buyer that was not interested in looking at short sales, I would probably only have eight or 10 homes to show,” Banka said.

Bobby Burnett, a broker with Keller Williams Realty, thinks that short sales account for 40 percent of the sales activity in the Denver area. His business is “45 percent of 46 percent” short sales.

He thinks that many brokers, new to the world of short sales, aren’t checking the box on Metrolist forms.

“Some brokers do not know enough to check off the box,” Burnett said. “Some of them instead might list it as a short-sale on the comments part, but it doesn’t end up get recorded as a short sale. It’s a monumental task for MLS to police this.”

He also said that he has heard that some brokers do not want to list it as a short-sale, either because their client doesn’t want them to in order to avoid low-ball offers, or because they think there is a “stigma” to a short sale. The flip-side of that is that a short sale may generate more offers from buyers looking for bargains, he said.

Challenging situation

“I will tell you it is challenge,” to make sure brokers check the short-sale box, said Melissa Olson, of Metrolist. “We have no way of validating if it is a short sales, unless, of course, we are contacted and it we look into it.” Brokers can anonymously contact Metrolist about any alleged violation, including failing to correctly list a home as a short sale.

Although the Metrolist rules requiring brokers to check the box saying it is a short sales went into effect in June 2008, some brokers may not know about it, despite repeated reminders send to them by Metrolist, Olson said. At least in the past, some brokers even noted the home was a short sale in public marketing materials, but neglected to check the box.

There are potentially penalties for not following the rules, but Olson said Metrolist is much more interested in educating brokers to the correct procedures than punishing them.

According to Metrolist data, the number of single-family short sales peaked in June at 457, and then fell to 271 in July. That is a 40.7 percent drop, even though all closings only dropped 19.5 percent in July from June. Condo short sales also hit a high in June with 96, and then fell by 36.5 percent to 61 in July.

“I have no idea why that would be,” said Dave Liniger, co-founder of RE/MAX International, when he was shown the data earlier in August by InsideRealEstateNews. “It might just be an anomaly.”

Liniger said that he thinks that short-sale activity will pick up in the Denver area and nationally. Lenders typically lose about 15 percent on a short sale, compared with about 34 percent on a foreclosure sales, according to a national study released in late June by RealtyTrac.

Liniger’s take

Liniger helped draft new federal guidelines for lenders to that went into effect on April 5, under the federal Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives, or HAFA program. Although the program did not go as far as Liniger wanted, he said it is a step in the right direction and will help. Fannie Mae was not part of the April HAFA guidelines, but on Aug. 1 began implementing its own version of trying to streamline the short-sale process. FHA and VA also have their own guidelines for short sales.

At first, Liniger said, short sales weren’t as popular as they should have been, because most brokers didn’t know what they were doing. Now, tens of thousands of brokers have taken courses teaching how to navigate the tricky paper-work required for short sales.

Also, lenders are finally beefing up their loss-mitigation departments, after being over-whelmed by homeowners seeking short sales instead of losing their homes in foreclosures. While not perfect, they are much better than they were a year ago at handling the incredible volume of business, he said.

The final piece of the short-sale puzzle are the investors, who bought securitized mortgages, Liniger said. Many consumers may be surprised that it is often nameless investors, not their loan servicer that collects the monthly mortgage check, that actually owns the mortgage and has to sign off on the short sale.

Overseas investors’ role

“Of those investors, 65 percent are overseas,” Liniger said. “They felt they were left holding the bag. After all, they are the only ones not getting paid. The real estate broker got paid a commission at the sale, the mortgage company got its cut, the title company was paid at closing. But the investors are coming around, because they realize they are typically going to lose a lot less if they accept the short sale than if it goes into foreclosure.”

But Ron Woodcock, a broker with RE/MAX Southeast, who has been primarily working with short sales and distressed properties for more than two decades – first in Florida and in recent years in Colorado – couldn’t disagree with Liniger more.

RE/MAX broker disagrees with Liniger

“Dave Liniger is a genius,” Woodcock said. “He is way smarter than I ever will be. I know he is the CEO of RE/MAX, but I think he is wrong on short sales.”

First, Woodcock thinks the short-sale training programs are not very helpful. He said that experience will trump a few hours in a classroom,

And he thinks the April 5 HAFA guidelines have not helped at all, in the vast majority of the cases.

“They maybe help with one out 10 deals,” Woodcock said. “For most lenders, they are voluntary guidelines and they are worthless.”

On two recent deals, Woodcock had to put in calls to the CEOs of Bank of America and GMAC to close short sales. While he didn’t reach the CEOs, he said he got close enough to the top to have have them put the pressure on the local officials to have them close the deals.

Burnett, of Keller Williams, also said the April guidelines have been a bust.

“I think it’s made it worse,” Burnett, of Keller Williams, said about the April 5 short-sale rules. “If it speeds up anything, it speeds up their denial of that short sale.” What happens then is the process returns to square one, he said, wasting the time of both the buyer and sellers.

Fannie Mae getting in the way?

And Woodcock is concerned but what appears to be a recent policy change by Fannie Mae loans. In the past, lenders would routinely postpone foreclosure sales if the owner was working toward a short-sale solution. But last week, a lender told him Fannie Mae’s new rules would not allow it to postpone a foreclosures sale. So instead of a short sale, the home was sold at a public auction last Wednesday by the Arapahoe County Public Trustee.

“If this is their new policy, it is going to lead to a wave of new foreclosures,” Woodcock said. “It is going to be devastating.”

Sunny Banka was the broker on the other side of that transaction, and was as equally as unhappy.

“I went back to my Metro Brokers office, and about three other brokers told me the same thing had happened to them,” Banka said. And Woodcock said a broker in northern Colorado recently told him that she also was told a lender told her that Fannie Mae no longer would postpone a foreclosure auction, even if a short sale is in process.

Fannie Mae, in its new short-sale rules, notes that if foreclosure proceedings have been initiated, the servicer must attempt to schedule a foreclosure sale after a 120-day marketing period, whenever feasible. Also, without Fannie Mae’s prior written consent, a servicer must not consider a Fannie Mae short sale or deed-in-lieu (DIL) of foreclosure,  if a foreclosure sale is scheduled to be held within 60 days of the borrower’s request for a short sale or DIL or if it is determined that the borrower is ineligible for the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP.a foreclosure could be initiated and reasonably be expected to result in a foreclosure sale being held within 60 days of the borrower’s request for a Fannie Mae HAFA short sale or DIL or a determination that a borrower is ineligible for HAMP;.

Henry Cisneros, the former HUD director who was in Denver recently, said he has no knowledge of Fannie Mae not stopping foreclosure sales if a short-sale is pending.  “This is the first I have heard of it,” Cisneros told . “But I do think we need to do everything we possibly can to keep people from losing their homes in foreclosures.”

Failed tax-credit deals factor

Meanwhile, Katherine Jolliffe , a broker with 8Z Real Estate, said that some first-time buyers had placed short sales under contract to get the $8,000 tax credit, but are now unable to close on them by the Sept. 30 deadline, and so they are coming back on the market.

Some first-time home buyers snapped up short sales priced $30,000 or $40,000 under the market, but are now finding that there is little to no chance of them closing by Sept. 30. “There is no closing date when you place a short-sale under contract,” she said.

Jolliffe fully preps any prospective buyer who is interested in a short sale.

“I tell them that that it takes a lot of patience,” she said. “If you are not in a hurry, they can be very good deals.”

But she said there is no point in prospective buyers calling her weekly on the status of the short sale. “You might call the bank and they’ll put you on hold for three hours, and when you get someone at the other end, they hang up on you,” she said. Paperwork is frequently lost and has be be misplaced.

“And banks will only work on one short-sale at a time,” so if a deal falls apart -sometimes after months or even a year of waiting -it’s back to square one, she said. Indeed, she said the prospective buyers have walked away from a lot of homes listed in the MLS as “active short sales.” The broker often is hoping to slip in another buyer at the last minute, but she said more often than not, the bank will shut them down and make them begin the process over.

Deal of the Year

Yet, what she calls her “Deal of the Year,” was a short sale.

A family in Wyoming bought a home at the eastern edge of Fort Lupton for $280,000.

“It’s probably worth $100,000 more than that in a half-way good market,” she said. “It’s a brand new home with a five-car garage on a third of an acre. The family didn’t even know where Fort Lupton was. But after seeing this house, she told me, “I guess we’re moving to Fort Lupton.”

But that deal almost collapsed because the husband’s name was listed as a co-owner in the purchase contract at the 11th hour.

“No one told me they were doing that,” Jolliffe said. “It was a nightmare. It took over two weeks to just to get a response from anyone at the bank,” to approve the relatively minor change. Thankfully, the bank did agree to add his name, but it delayed the sale.

“They were homeless for a week, while we were waited for the approval. But they finally were able to close, and they were so excited. That makes it all worthwhile.”

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Month 2009 SF 2010 SF 2009 Condos 2010 Condos
January 102 244 12 51
February 127 257 32 72
March 236 331 29 71
April 237 373 47 72
May 253 337 42 53
June 308 457 32 96
July 338 271 59 61
TOTAL 1601 2270 253 476

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Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com

Case-Shiller: Home prices up 1.8% /John Rebchook

Case-Shiller: Home prices up 1.8%

Home prices in the Denver-area rose by 1.8 percent in the year ending in June, according to the closely watched S&P Case-Shiller report released today. Denver ranked No. 9 of the 20 metropolitan statistical areas tracked in the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. Overall, the 20 MSAs rose by 4.2 percent.

“I think being in the middle of the pack, or in the top 10, is very positive for our MSA,” said independent broker Gary Bauer, who released a monthly analysis of the Denver-area housing market based on Metrolist data.

“One of the things we do know it with with the July numbers (for Case-Shiller) we are going to see a dramatic adjustment,” Bauer added. “In June, we continued to have the transition from the frenzy of closings from the home buying tax credits, and prices had continued to stabilize, if not slightly increase.”

Market rebounds

In June 2009, the Denver area housing market showed a 3.6 percent drop from June 2008, according to Case-Shiller. Despite the drop a year ago, that was good enough for third place out of the 20 MSAs, showing how much the market has changed during that 12-month period.

“That is why you have to keep these things in perspective,” said Peter Niederman, CEO of Kentwood Real Estate.  That is true about the entire country’s housing market, noted David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s. “Even with concerns about near term developments, we recognize that the housing market is in better shape than this time last year,” Blitzer said.

Today’s report represents “old news,” for people who live and work in the Denver-area, but Case-Shiller is important for “seeing how Denver fares against other parts of the country,” Niederman said. And Niederman likes how Denver stacks up.

“I think the numbers are great,” Niederman said. “We are still holding steady. It seems like some of these other markets have these huge peaks and valleys, while we have sustainable growth. Our market has shown an increase in inventory, so it is not as robust as it has been. But I like where our market stands right now. I really do. If we were showing these huge increases, it would not be sustainable, and would not be good for the overall market, because that would mean it is becoming over-heated.”

Record-low rates key

And while the government’s tax credit program, which required buyers to place homes under contract by April 30 has ended, the super-low mortgage rates can save home buyers today far more than tax credits, valued up to $8,000, Niederman said. “The real story for buyers are these low mortgage rates,” Niederman said, hovering at historic lows around 4.2 percent.

Tom Cryer, a broker with Kentwood, noted that within a 500-mile radius, the Denver region is the most densely populated, which bodes well for a recovery. And it may come faster than many expect, he said.

“This market could really turn on a dime,” Cryer said. “It reminds me of 1989, when you could put an Aurora condo on your credit card. You could buy them for $5,000. Two years later, there was no supply left at all. Everyone was suffering from, what do you call it, GKY – Go Kick Yourself. I think people are going to be kicking themselves now, for not taking advantage of these low prices and unbelievably low mortgage rates.”

Still, given the economic realities, it is had to convince people that it makes sense to take a hit on their current home, and more than by making it up by buying a nicer home in the neighborhood where they really want to live. “I think there is just enough economic activity in Denver that keeps people from jumping off the ledge, but not enough to have them jumping with joy,” Cryer said.

Jeff Bernard, a long-time Realtor who now focuses on Internet marketing consulting for imediaWSI Inc., said he is surprised more people aren’t taking advantage of low rates and relatively low prices, which have made Denver homes extremely affordable by historic standards. ”It continues to baffle me is the fact that more people aren’t taking advantage of the housing affordability,” Bernard said.  Rates are so low today that it could drop a monthly principal and interest payment to about $800 from $1,500 for the same home in 2006, he said.

“The question I have for people is: “Would you rather be a buyer or a seller in today’s market? When I throw that question at people, every single one of them says they would rather be a buyer.”

Bernard said the political rhetoric that the housing market has collapsed and is never coming back, may be dissuading some people from taking advantage of today’s market condition. “Maybe we have to survive the elections, before the market returns,” he said. “Unfortunately, if everyone is believing allof the bad news they are hearing, especially from the political viewpoints, what that is doing to consumer confidence is killing it. The two driving factors for real estate are affordability and consumer confidence.”

National outlook

“The monthly composites cover June and the national index covers the second quarter, when the government’s program for first time home-buyers was winding down,” noted Blitzer, of Standard & Poor’s.

“While the numbers are upbeat, other more recent data on home sales and mortgages point to fewer gains ahead,” said Blitzer. He noted that  California’s cities “have moved from some of the hardest hit to three of the four leading cities based on year-over-year gains. Among the other hard hit cities, the news is also a bit encouraging – Las Vegas, however, remains among the weaker cities.” And 17 of the 20 MSAs and both composites “saw home prices increase in June over May – LasVegas was down 0.6%, Phoenix and Seattle were both flat. Through the second quarter, 15 of the 20 MSAs and both Composites have positive annual growth rates, and no market is registering a double-digit decline. The worry starts when you remember that the Homebuyers’ Tax Credit has expired, foreclosures are still at high levels, and July data on home sales and starts were very, very weak. The inventory of unsold homes and months’ supply data were particularly troubling. If this relative weakness in demand continues, it will likely filter through to home prices in coming months.” San Francisco showed the biggest one-year percentage gain, rising by 14.3 percent. San Diego was No. 2 at 11.2 percent. Phoenix, showed a 6.0 percent gain, while Las Vegas, declined by 5.2 percent.

Long-term, Denver’s housing market has gained about 29.19 percent from January 2000, compared with an overall appreciation of just under 48 percent for the 20 MSAs. Denver’s long-term appreciation is very close to the inflation rate during that period. Washington, D.C., showed the most appreciation, with home prices rising an average of 85.77 percent from January 2000. Detroit continued to be the only MSA to lose value over the long-term, with homes values falling by almost 30 percent since 2000.

Pinkberry to open Friday on the 16th St. Mall / Denver Business Journal / bgifford

I’ve tasted this WONDERFUL treat. On a hot summer day I had mango with fresh mango on top. YUM !

Pinkberry to open Friday on the 16th St. Mall

Let the frenzy begin! Pinkberry opens on the 16th Street Mall downtown Denver on Friday, July 23.

The new Pinkberry outlet on Denver’s 16th Street Mall. Photo: Boots Gifford | Denver Business Journal.

Shop Watch reported back in May that the popular frozen-yogurt chain had confirmed it planned a location at 1600 Glenarm Place.

Pinkberry came to fame as a favorite treat of celebrities on both coasts. In less than five years, Pinkberry has established itself as leader in the frozen yogurt industry, and has developed a following described as “cult-like.” They even call their most avid followers “groupies.”

Wondering what all the fuss is about? Customers can try free samples the day before the opening — on Thursday, July 22, at 4-8 p.m.

“We’re excited to open Colorado’s second Pinkberry and bring its high quality, unique frozen yogurt experience to the 16th Street Mall,” said Ron Graves, Pinkberry CEO, in a statement. “Local Pinkberry area developers, Wes Becker and Scott Adams have been great partners for us, evidenced by the success of their first Pinkberry location at 1000 South Colorado Blvd .”

Pinkberry says its frozen confection is made with real nonfat yogurt and nonfat milk that is rBST hormone free. Pinkberry offers several flavors, such as its signature original flavor to pomegranate, made with 100% California-grown pure pomegranate juice. Create your own flavor combination with toppings such as fresh fruit, all natural honey almond granola or rich, premium Belgian chocolate shavings.

“Pinkberry is a great new addition to Denver, and our residents are already eating up the great news,” said

Mike Zoellner, chief executive officer of Red Peak Properties, the owner and developer of 1600 Glenarm Place, in a statement. “Pinkberry will further activate the corner of the 16th Street Mall and Glenarm Place, while providing our residents of 1600 Glenarm Place with an added on-site amenity – and free delivery. We are proud to be the site for this highly desirable brand and unique experience.”

The store is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
bgifford@bizjournals.com
Read more: Pinkberry to open Friday on the 16th St. Mall – Denver Business Journal

Denver hourly, monthly parking-garage rates top U.S. average Denver Business Journal – by Mark Harden Read more: Denver hourly, monthly parking-garage rates top U.S. average – Denver Business Journal

Denver hourly, monthly parking-garage rates top U.S. average

Denver Business Journal – by Mark Harden

The median hourly parking rate in downtown Denver garages is $8 — well over the average national urban hourly rate of $5.62, according to the latest annual parking rate survey from Colliers International.

Hourly parking rates in Denver’s central business district range from $2 to $10, versus a national range of $2.93 to $9.19, the survey shows.

As for monthly garage parking rates, downtown Denver’s median for unreserved parking is $175 a month, versus a national average of $161.56 a month.

For reserved parking, where a driver is guaranteed a specific space every day, Denver’s monthly median is $225, versus a national figure of $198.96.

On the other hand, daily parking rates in Denver are just under the national average for urban areas. The city’s median rate is $16 a day, versus the national average of $16.36.

Midtown New York City has the nation’s highest garage parking rates, according to Colliers: a median of $20 an hour, $40 a day and $538 a month.

The survey includes central business districts in 44 U.S. urban areas and 12 in Canada. It examines June 2010 rates only in covered or underground parking garages, not open-air lots or street parking.

Nationwide, daily parking rates dropped 1.4 percent between 2009 and 2010, the survey shows. In Denver, rates stayed about the same.

“Even in the face of economic hardship, parking garage owners and operators have managed to hold rates steady, providing little relief to businesses or consumers,” Ross Moore, Colliers’ chief economist/USA, writes in the survey report.

The survey says the availability of downtown parking space in Denver is “fair,” and that downtown garages generally don’t have waiting lists; 11.6 percent of garages in the cities surveyed do have waits.

Colliers International is a global real estate business owned by Toronto-based FirstService Corp. (NASDAQ: FSRV).

Click here to download the latest Colliers parking rate survey.


mharden@bizjournals.com

Denver luxury-home sales spike in June Denver Business Journal Read more: Denver luxury-home sales spike in June – Denver Business Journal

Denver luxury-home sales spike in June

Denver Business Journal

Home resales in the $1 million-plus range in metro Denver hit their highest level in almost two years in June.

Sixty-seven existing homes, including houses, condominiums and townhomes, sold in that price range last month — up 3 percent from 65 in June 2009 and up 22 percent from 55 this May. “It was the highest level for luxury sales since 89 properties changed hands in August 2008,” said Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s Denver Metro Area Luxury Home Report for June, released Monday.

The monthly report uses data from Metrolist Inc. of Greenwood Village metro Denver’s Multiple Listing Service providing home sale data.

Sales of existing homes, or resales, are those of homes that have been sold before and don’t include newly built homes.

“The latest figures show the high-end [housing] market in the Denver metro area continues to stabilize and improve,” Chris Mygatt, Coldwell Banker’s president for Colorado, said in a statement.

Mygatt attributed recent improvement to historically low mortgage rates and competitive pricing of for-sale homes. But he cautioned high-end sales could drop off in coming months, with the end of the strong summer homebuying season among other things.

Other findings in the Coldwell Banker report:

• The most expensive $1 million-plus sale in June was a six-bedroom, five-bath Denver house that sold for $3.95 million. The home included 7,403 square feet.

• Denver had the most million-dollar sales, with 17, followed by Boulder (13), Castle Rock (7), Cherry Hills (6)and Greenwood Village (5).

• Average days on market for high-end homes dropped to 115 in June from 103 for the same month last year.

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage is one of metro Denver’s largest residential real estate brokerage firms, with 14 offices and more than 1,000 sales agents in the metro area. Coldwell Banker is part of NRT LLC, which is a subsidiary of real estate conglomerate Realogy Corp. of Parsippany, N.J.

Realogy is owned by affiliates of Apollo Management LP of New York, a private equity investor in distressed assets. Apollo formerly was the controlling shareholder in Vail Resorts Inc. (NYSE: MTN) of Broomfield.


Compiled by the DBJ’s Paula Moore | denvernews@bizjournals.com

Boulder has most $1M home resales / Denver Business Journal – by Paula Moore

Boulder has most $1M home resales

Denver Business Journal – by Paula Moore

Resales of Denver-area homes — including houses and condos — rose 7 percent in the first half of 2010 from the same period of 2009, according to Metrolist Inc. data released Monday.

Total house resales increased 5 percent, while condo sales were up 14 percent.

Of the total 20,831 resales for the period, Denver County reported the most by county at 4,759 — 3,478 houses and 1,281 condominium/townhomes — up from 4,613 for the same period last year.

Metrolist’s data — provided by independent Littleton broker Gary Bauer — covers Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Elbert and Jefferson counties.

Metrolist of Greenwood Village is metro Denver’s Multiple Listing Service, providing real estate data to industry professionals.

Sold prices

Total resales of houses alone priced at $1 million and more also rose in this year’s first six months — to 241 from 195 year over year. For both periods, Boulder County led the way in those high-end sales, with 63 house resales of $1 million or more this year, and 54 last year.

For houses and condos combined, most homes — 7,136 — sold in the $100,000-$200,000 price range. Most Denver County resales by far, at 1,196, also were in that price range.

The $100,000-$200,000 price range is particularly attractive to first-time homebuyers, who in the last year have helped drive home sales by taking advantage of a federal first-time homebuyer tax credit worth as much as $8,000.

The first-time homebuyer tax credit, along with a $6,500 credit for existing homeowners wanting to buy a different home, were created by the Obama administration to stimulate home purchases. Both credits expired April 30 for home sales completed by the end of June, but that closing deadline recently was extended to the end of September.

Homes that sold for as much as $100,000 dropped 5 percent from the first half of 2009, according to Metrolist. Homes selling in the $200,000-$300,000 and $300,000-$500,000 ranges increased 2 percent.

Condo sales

Denver County edged out Arapahoe County for most year-to-date condo sales, with 1,281 sales compared to 1,190. As with houses, the $100,000-$200,000 price range attractive to first-time buyers had the most sales by far in Denver County, at 476.

Total sales of condos priced at $1 million or more dropped so far this year, to 14 from 19, from the prior-year period.

More numbers

Other county home resale data, through June 30, includes:

• House resales by county — Adams, 2,620; Arapahoe, 3,012; Boulder, 1,667; Broomfield, 344; Denver, 3,478; Douglas, 2,112; Elbert, 165; Jefferson, 2,751.

• Condo resales by county — Adams, 418; Arapahoe, 1,190; Boulder, 675; Broomfield, 54; Denver, 1,281; Douglas, 298; Elbert, 4; Jefferson, 762.

• Most house resales by price range — Adams, 1,436 in the $100,000-$200,000 range; Arapahoe, 1,074 ($100,000-$200,000); Boulder, 607 ($300,000-$500,000); Broomfield, 131 ($300,000-$500,000); Denver, 1,196 ($100,000-$200,000); Douglas, tied at 820 each in $200,000-$300,000 and $300,000-$500,000 ranges; Elbert, 51 ($300,000-$500,000); Jefferson, 1,073 ($200,000-$300,000).

• Number of houses sold for $1 million-plus, compared to 2009 — Adams, 5/5; Arapahoe, 58/35; Boulder, 63/54; Broomfield, 3/7; Denver, 54/46; Douglas, 36/30; Elbert, 0/0; Jefferson, 22/18; Total, 241/195.

• Most condo sales by price range — All counties, except Elbert, in the $100,000-$200,000 price range. Adams, 223; Arapahoe, 538; Boulder, 305; Broomfield, 37; Denver, 476; Douglas, 155; Elbert, 4 ($0-$100,000); Jefferson, 459.

• Fewest home sales by price, including both houses and condos — Adams, 4 ($750,000-$1 million); Arapahoe, 32 ($750,000-$1 million); Boulder, 47 ($0-$100,000); Broomfield, 0 ($0-$100,000); Denver, 63 ($1 million-plus); Douglas, 36 ($1 million-plus); Elbert, 0 ($1 million-plus); Jefferson, 22 ($1 million-plus).

Read more: Boulder has most $1M home resales – Denver Business Journal

Denver-area home resales lag, but prices rise

Denver-area home resales lag, but prices rise

Denver Business Journal – by Paula Moore

Metro-Denver home resales dropped in June from the previous month and year over year, as expected, largely because of the April 30 expiration of federal homebuyer tax credits, according to residential brokers.

But resale prices rose, mainly because existing homeowners are buying relatively expensive homes.

Resales of houses and condominium/townhomes combined dropped to 4,046 from 4,365 (7.3 percent) in May and from 4,186 in June 2009 (3.3 percent), according to Metrolist Inc. data released Friday. Metrolist is metro Denver’s Multiple Listing Service, supplying home sale data to real estate professionals.

Home resales make up the bulk of metro-area housing sales.

Gary Bauer, an independent residential real estate broker in Littleton, attributes the drop in year-over-year home resales for June to the fact that sales didn’t measure up to “the frenzy” of resales during June 2009. Last year’s sales spike was prompted by the renewal of the federal government’s first-time homebuyer tax credit earlier in the year.

“Low interest rates and a good supply of homes on the market are driving sales in Denver, even after the homebuyer tax credits expired,” David Simonson, broker associate at Re/Max Professionals Inc. in Highlands Ranch, said in a Friday report of his own.

Mortgage rates now average 4 percent to 4.6 percent, depending on loan term.

Condo sales dropped significantly from May to June — 13.7 percent to 819 units — partly because move-up buyers are becoming more active, and they want houses, not condos, according to Bauer.

A brief history of U.S. homebuyer tax credits

The U.S. Congress started the first-time homebuyer tax credit in 2008, with a cap of $7,500 and as a loan. In early 2009, the Obama administration increased the credit’s limit to $8,000, said it didn’t have to be repaid and extended its expiration to Nov. 30 of last year. Last fall, a $6,500 credit, for existing homeowners wanting to buy a different home, was created to complement the first-time buyer credit. The expiration date for both credits became April 30 of this year, for home sales completed by June 30.

Congress recently extended the closing date to Sept. 30 because an estimated 180,000 U.S. homeowners wouldn’t be able to complete home purchases by the end of June, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Some brokers think the closing deadline extension also will extend the usual kickoff of the prime U.S. homebuying season from June to late August.

By the end of June in metro Denver, another 3,885 homes, including houses and condos, were under contract for sale, with sales not yet closed. That number was flat compared to May and down 31.4 percent from June 2009.

Selling prices rise

Average sold price for both types of home rose to $273,511 in June, from $248,126 in May (10.23 percent) and from $258,434 in the prior-year June (5.8 percent).

“Prices are being driven up by [move-up] buyers, who are buying more expensive homes,” said Bauer. “And inventory is up.”

Inventory of available resale homes was 23,240 units at the end of June, according to the Metrolist report. That’s up 6 percent from May and up 11 percent year over year.

More numbers

Other data from the June Metrolist report:

• Houses sold — 3,227, down 5.5 percent from May and down 3.03 percent from June 2009.

• Average sold price for a house increased 9.6 percent from May to $299,375, and up 5.7 percent year over year. Median selling price increased 6.09 percent from May to $244,000, and 2.7 percent from the year-prior June.

• Houses up for sale stayed on the market an average of 81 days, up 8 percent from May, but down 19.8 percent year over year.

• Condos sold — 819, down 13.7 percent from May and down 4.6 percent year over year.

• Average condo sold price rose 8.9 percent from May to $171,600, and 5.97 percent from June ’09. Median sold price increased 6.2 percent from the previous month to $143,350, and was up 2.5 percent year over year.

• Average days on the market for condos increased 10 percent from May to 87, but decreased 10.3 percent from June ’09.