Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Housing News Digest, December 27

Real-estate developer Walter Koelbel Sr. dies
Colorado real-estate developer and philanthropist Walter A. Koelbel Sr. died Dec. 25. He was 85.

He had been ill with Alzheimer's disease for some time and died in hospice, his son, Walter "Buz" Koelbel Jr. said Monday.

Koelbel is credited with shaping commercial and residental real estate development in Colorado, beginning at the southern edges of Denver with Pinehurst Country Club, considered the first "master planned" residential-golf community in the Rocky Mountain West. In 1990, he bucked a national trend that favored walled-in residential developments with The Preserve at Greenwood Village, which included public trails leading to a 60-acre nature preserve at its center.

Personal income rises above 2008 peak
Colorado personal income rose 4.8 percent year-over-year.

The state's income growth surpassed that in the Rocky Mountain Region and in the country, where personal income levels rose 3.13 and 3.11 percent over their respective 2008 peaks.

Personal income figures do not account for inflation. However, the rate of inflation over the last 10 years was 23 percent, according to the Colorado Division of Housing blog, which means actual personal income growth is about half of the nominal income growth.

The Division of Housing reports that some of the personal income growth can be attributed to personal current transfer receipts, which does not include wages but does include payments from social security, unemployment insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.

US housing prices slipped in October
WASHINGTON — US home prices fell in October for the second straight month despite record-low home loan borrowing rates, a key index of the industry showed Tuesday.

Prices across 20 leading metropolitan areas fell on average by 0.6 percent from September, and were 3.4 percent lower than a year earlier, according to the S&P;/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite index.

Cracked Foundation Threatens U.S. Housing Recovery

The same is true of the housing market. Unfortunately, its foundation, the housing-finance system, still has big cracks in it. Until those are fixed, any hoped-for recovery may prove difficult to sustain.

Recent data, such as new-home starts and existing-home sales, have offered some glimmers of hope.

That isn't to say housing won't show signs of improvement. Recent data, such as new-home starts and existing-home sales, have offered some glimmers of hope. Tuesday's release of the S&P;/Case-Shiller index for October is likely to show further slippage of prices. But the rate of decline in the index, which tracks home prices in 20 metropolitan areas, is expected to continue slowing, to less than 3% year over year. That trend, some economists expect, presages prices finding a floor in 2012.

Analysis: U.S. rental demand lifts housing sector
(Reuters) - Brian Keith is busier than ever as the architecture firm he works for rushes to wrap up work on a 300-unit apartment complex in Dallas.

The project is one of dozens the firm, JHP Architecture, has on its hands -- a surge of business driven by a rise in demand in the United States for rental properties.

The increased demand has forced JHP to expand, and it expects to keep hiring at least through the first quarter.