Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Housing News Digest, September 27

Poverty pervades the suburbs
Since 2000, the number of suburban poor has skyrocketed by 53%, battered by the two recessions that wiped out many manufacturing jobs early on, and low-wage construction and retail positions more recently.

America's cities, meanwhile, had 12.7 million people in poverty last year, up about 5% from the year before and 23% since 2000. The remaining 18 million poor folks in the U.S. are roughly split between smaller metro areas and rural communities.

"We think of poverty as a really urban or ultra-rural phenomenon, but it's not," said Elizabeth Kneebone, senior research associate at Brookings. "It's increasingly a suburban issue."

Colorado rental company building back after crash

Tommy Hoffman thought he had a great idea in 2008. Three years later, that idea looks like it's going to flower.

Hoffman, who's been in the vacation rental business for more than 15 years, starting by renting his own unit in the old Vail Crossroads building to friends and associates, then moving up to an office with a fax machine. Over the years, Hoffman built his company into one that specializes in renting condos, townhomes and private homes, working primarily with property management companies and lodges.

Colorado probate courts fail to protect those at risk, audit finds
Colorado's probate courts have not followed laws enacted to protect vulnerable adults and children from abuse by guardians and conservators, state auditors reported Monday.

They reported that in one case, a probate court failed to contact a guardian for 10 years about the ward he was appointed to protect. In another, the court learned that a protected person had died in 2003 only when auditors called to ask about the absence of financial reports.

In a random sample of 55 cases, state auditors also found a conservator who spent 423 percent of the amount estimated in the financial plan for the protected person and another who spent nearly $1,000 at retail stores, documenting the purchases only in a line on a bank statement.

Nantucket County ranks No. 1 in U.S. home prices
Eight countifes are above the $1 million mark in upper quartile value. Three are in California, two are in Colorado, and the others are in Massachusetts, New York and Wyoming.

Highlands Ranch transitions into future
At the height of the population boom, a park was being developed every year and a half, while neighboring cities built one every five years, said Jeff Case, public works director for the Highlands Ranch Metro District and longtime resident.

With the metro district building parks, the Highlands Ranch Community Association providing recreation services and Douglas County supplying all other necessary functions, including law enforcement, there was barely any talk among decision-makers about incorporating Highlands Ranch into a municipality. Incorporation can be a hot-button issue for some people; they argue that becoming a city would only result in a larger tax burden. Highlands Ranch has just about everything residents could need, they say.

Colorado State University Statewide Survey Suggests Wishful Optimism among Built Environment Leaders

FORT COLLINS - Wishful optimism persists among leaders of Colorado’s built environment according to results of a first-ever statewide survey released today by the Everitt Real Estate Center at Colorado State University.

The survey provides a first-of-its kind view from the three major sectors involved in the built environment in Colorado, including architectural, construction and commercial real estate professionals. The findings highlight the greatest pessimism among the commercial real estate sector related to challenging national issues, such as the impact of national debt ratings on financing, regulatory guidelines and employment growth. Leaders among architectural and construction sectors expressed more optimism, but retained serious concerns about the future as well.