Friday, February 3, 2012

Housing News Digest, February 3

Metro Denver's apartment-vacancy rate in 4th quarter lowest since 2000

Metro Denver's apartment-vacancy rate reached its lowest fourth-quarter level in over a decade at the end of 2011.

New data released Thursday by the Colorado Division of Housing showed a vacancy rate of 5.4 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. That was down from 5.5 percent in the same period of 2010. The last time the fourth-quarter vacancy rate was lower than 2011's was in 2000, when it hit 4.7 percent.

Apartment rents hit all-time high
The average rental rate for an apartment in Boulder and Broomfield counties hit an all-time high in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to a report released Thursday by the Apartment Association of Metro Denver and the Colorado Division of Housing.

The average rent in the two counties was $1,037.94, up from $1,031.18 in the third quarter and $996.22 in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Denver-area apartment vacancies hit 12-year low for Q4
“Vacancies continue to decline year over year as demand grows faster than the production of new rental product,” Ron Throupe, professor of Real Estate at the Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management at the University of Denver , and the report’s author, said in a statement.

“However, since the third quarter of 2011 we’re seeing some additional frictional vacancy as tenants move around in response to rising rents,” he said.

Springs' cost of living remains below national average

Rising costs for electricity and clothing helped push up local living costs slightly closer to the national average last year, according to a quarterly survey.

Living costs in Colorado Springs were 6.8 percent below the national average during 2011, up from 7.2 percent below the average in 2010, according to a survey by the Arlington, Va.-based Council for Community and Economic Research. The council’s overall cost-of-living index for the Springs last year was the closest to the national average since 2007, just as the most recent recession was beginning; it has increased each of the past two years after declining to a 19-year low in 2009.

Housing Counselors From New York Sentenced for Scamming 136 Clients Who Needed Loan Mods
WASHINGTON, DC (Source: SIGTARP) – The Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) and U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York William J. Hochul, Jr., today announced that Lori J. Macakanja, 35, of Dunkirk, New York, who was convicted of mail fraud and theft of government money, was sentenced to 72 months in prison and three years supervised release by U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Arcara. Judge Arcara also ordered the defendant to pay $298,639 in restitution to the victims.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross, who handled the case, stated that Macakanja, in her capacity as a housing counselor employed by HomeFront, Inc., inappropriately requested money from clients. The defendant told HomeFront clients that the money would be used toward loan modifications to prevent foreclosure on their homes. However, after receiving the funds, Macakanja used the money for her own personal use, including gambling, and failed to obtain the loan modifications for the victims.

After Two Decades, Real Estate Returns To The Super Bowl

Football and housing. What do they have in common? Super Bowl XLVI, as it turns out. For the first time in 21 years, a residential real estate company will run a commercial during the big game. Century 21 Real Estate, an international realty powerhouse, is coughing up some serious cash to run a 30-second ad during the third quarter of this Sunday’s Super Bowl. It is the first time Century 21 has ever taken out a Super Bowl ad.

“In 2011 we [Century 21] celebrated our 40th anniversary. Prior to last year’s Super Bowl is when we decided we really wanted our full year celebration to culminate in something big and we view this as something big,” says Bev Thorne, chief marketing officer of Century 21. Though the company, owned by privately-held Realogy Corp., declines to disclose how much it spent on this marketing campaign, a 30-second spot during this year’s game is estimated to cost about $3.5 million — just for placement.