Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Case-Shiller: Denver-area home prices down 2.5 percent

Case-Shiller’s home price index for the Denver area rose 1.6 percent from May to June, and fell 2.5 percent,year over year, from June 2010 to June 2011.

According to the June report from the S&P;/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, including data up through June, many cities measured by the index showed improvement from June to July. The increase largely reflects seasonal factors.

The month-to-month change was primarily due to seasonal factors, and the year-over-year change showed a continued slow decline in home prices.

According to the press release issued by S&P;:

With the second quarter’s data, the National Index recovered from its first
quarter low, but still posted an annual decline of 5.9% versus the second quarter of 2010. Nationally, home prices are back to their early 2003 levels.
As of June 2011, 19 of the 20 MSAs covered by S&P;/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices and both monthly composites were up versus May - Portland was flat. However, they were all down compared to June 2010. Twelve of the 20 MSAs and both Composites have now increased for three consecutive months, a sign of the seasonal strength in the housing market. None of the markets posted new lows with June’s report. Minneapolis posted a double-digit 10.8% annual decline; Portland is not far behind at -9.6%.
Thirteen of the cities and both composites saw improvements in their annual rates; however; they all are in negative territory and have been so for three consecutive months.

In the Denver area, the home price index is now at a level comparable to that seen in late 2003. The index value for June 2011 was 125.9, and during December 2003, the index value was 126.9.

The first chart shows the the home price index for the Denver area back to 2001.

The index dropped, year-over-year, in all cities measured. Denver's market showed a less-small decrease than all but two of the 20 cities measured in the index. Boston and Washington, DC declined, year over year, by 2.1 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

Minneapolis and Portland reported the largest declines with the home prices dropping year over year by 10.8 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively.

The second chart shows trends in the Case-Shiller index for the Denver area and for the 20-city composite index. It is clear that Denver did not experience the kind of price bubble that occurred in many other metropolitan areas, and consequently, the index has not fallen nearly as far in Denver compared to the larger composite. Prices have been largely flat since mid-2009.

The 20-city composite is down 31.5 percent since it peaked in July 2006, but the Denver index is down only 10.2 percent from its August 2006 peak.

Nevertheless, the Denver index has returned to 2003 levels. In addition, the Denver Index remains near the lowest level experienced since July 2009, and is now 4.7 percent above where it was when it hit its initial recessionary trough in March 2009. The Denver Index was 125.9 during June 2011, and it was 129.2 during June 2010.

The third chart compares year-over-year changes in the Denver area index and in the 20-city composite. The Denver index did not achieve the rates of growth experienced by the national index, but the Denver index did not experience comparable rates of decline following the onset of the national recession either. Overall, the index has been less volatile in Denver than has been the case for the 20-city composite. However, year-over-year change in the 20-city composite during June was negative with a decrease of 4.5 percent, and the Denver area index’s fall of 3.3 percent is the twelfth month in a row in which the growth rate has been negative. In the 20-city index, the year-over-year change has only been negative for the most recent nine months. June 2011 was the second month in a row in which the index's decline in Denver was smaller than the 20-city composite decline.

The last chart provides a closer look at year-over-year changes in the Denver index. Note that for July 2010 through July 2010, the change has fallen below zero, and reflects the end of the homebuyer tax credit’s end which has led to a fall in demand and a decline in the home price index. The upward trend in the index in response to the tax credit is clear during late 2009 and early 2010.

In recent months, the Denver index has been slightly above the indices for the same months of 2009. Comparisons with the same period of 2010 is problematic given the large effects of the end of the tax credit. Comparing to 2009, we see that prices have still moved little since the first half of 2009 when the index was in the 120-123 range. During the first half of 2011, the Denver index has been in the 122-124 range, signalling very limited growth over the past two years.

Housing News Digest, August 30

Foreclosures made up 31 pct. of home sales in 2Q
WASHINGTON (AP) - Foreclosures made up roughly one-third of all home sales this spring. While that's a smaller share of sales from the previous quarter, it's six times the percentage of foreclosures in a healthy housing market.

Foreclosure sales, which include homes purchased after they received a notice of default or that were repossessed by lenders, accounted for 31 percent of the market in the April-June quarter, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.

New Luxury Condos in Denver

“Formerly the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, Residence XXV condominiums and penthouses are finished to Ritz-Carlton standards,” said Tim Craft, partner at Residence XXV in an introduction to guests. “This is the upper echelon of downtown Denver real estate and represents a “new normal” in pricing for Denver investment real estate. Our current pricing is roughly half of the original asking price but we are able to deliver the same high level of concierge and valet services.”

Now officially rebranded, launched and open for sales, Residence XXV is largely viewed as the recalibration of Denver‘s luxury real estate market and represents the metropolitan niche in Colorado investment homes.

Distressed home sales growing
Distressed property sales inNorthern Colorado and throughout the Denver area greatly increased in the first half of this year, compared with the first six months of 2010, according to an analysis by the Genesis Group.

The Genesis Group, which tracks housing along the Front Range, recently completed an analysis of distressed home sales reported by Realtor members of Metrolist, who serve the 7-county Denver area, and IRES, which serves Boulder and northern Colorado communities.

King Soopers breaks ground
Officials from Commerce City, King Soopers and Shea Properties will host a ceremony on Tuesday to officially break ground Tuesday on the 123,000-square-foot King Soopers Marketplace, which will create about 550 construction and permanent jobs.

The store will anchor Shea Properties’ 22-acre Reunion Marketplace Center.

HUD Extends Application Period for EHLP
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is once again accepting applications for its Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program (EHLP). The new deadline for applications is September 15.

The original deadline of July 22 was extended to July 27, but HUD announced Monday that it is extending the application process again because the agency believes it has enough resources to help more homeowners than have currently applied.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Training and WorkshopHUD Code and Modular Homes Installation

Rocky Mountain Home Association Presents

An Installation Continuing Education Workshop on September 22, 2011
HUD Code and Modular Homes Installation
Join us in Grand Junction to learn the latest in Home Installation!
Featuring Instructor: Ed Short, Sunrise Engineering

This Course has been approved for 8 hours of Colorado required continuing education
for installers and inspectors!

This is the LAST RMHA sponsored training of 2011

*This training consists of classroom and fieldwork.
Registration opens at 6:45 am at the Hampton Inn.
Meeting 7:30 am ‐ 3:30 pm, breakfast and lunch provided.

*The meeting will move to the PM location after lunch.
Location: AM-Hampton Inn, 205 Main Street, Grand Junction, CO 81501

PM-Golden Villa Homes, 2394 Highway 6 & 50, Grand Junction, CO 81505

*Attendees must be present at both portions of the training to receive credit.
Certificates will be distributed AFTER the afternoon portion of the training.
Hotel rooms are available for $119.00 + tax for a King and $139.00 for two double beds at the Hampton Inn.

Course Registration Fee: $150.00

Click here for registration form.

Housing News Digest, August 29

About 200 CU-Boulder freshmen petition to live at home instead of in dorms
A new study from Sallie Mae -- a college financing company -- found that more families are cutting costs to save money on higher education. One of those strategies includes living at home instead of in the dorms, where room and board rates run $11,280 a year.

Number of short sales on the rise

In Colorado, short sales were 17% of all sales in the second quarter, up from 10% a year earlier. In California, they made up 25% of sales, vs. 18%.

Bank of America, the largest home mortgage servicer, expects to complete more than 100,000 short sales this year — more than double what it did in 2009, the bank says.

Colorado bank failures exceed expectations when measured by assets

Although Colorado avoided the worst of the housing bubble, banks in the state are failing at five times the expected pace.

Colorado has seen eight banks holding $6.7 billion in assets fail in the current downturn.

Based on the state's share of U.S. bank assets, something closer to $1.3 billion would have been expected, according to a Denver Post analysis of 382 bank failures since 2008 began.

Homeless sex offenders under the radar in El Paso County

Instead of an address, 49 sex offenders in El Paso County list only an approximate location as their residence on the state’s sex offender registry: “8th Street Behind Walmart” or the “Creek by Rescue Mission.”

Others say they’re living under bridges, in parking lots and parks.
Authorities admit that makes it tougher to keep track of sex offenders and circumvents the state law giving residents the right to know if sex offenders are living in their neighborhood.
But, they say, there’s not much that can try do about it — there’s no law requiring sex offenders to have a home.

Weld County housing market gaining strength
Weld County's residential market is picking up steam, albeit slowly, according to new statistics and industry professionals.

John DeWitt, managing broker of Re/Max Alliance of Greeley and chairman of the board of Upstate Colorado, says that both new and existing home sales are up, and home prices are increasing, however incrementally.

Home buying contracts fell in July
The National Association of Realtors says its index of sales agreements fell 1.3% in July to a reading of 89.7. A reading of 100 is considered healthy.

The last time the index reached that level was in April 2010, final month that buyers could qualify for a federal home buyer tax credit.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Housing News Digest, August 26

Foreclosures 36% of Colorado sales

Foreclosures in Colorado accounted for 35.9 percent of all sales in the second quarter, compared with 31.3 percent for all sales nationally, according to a report released today by RealtyTrac.

The report by the Irvine, Calif.-based company also showed that some parts of Colorado showed gigantic year-over-year percentage increases in foreclosure, although the numbers are extremely small.

Durango, for example, showed a 500 percent increase in foreclosures in the second quarter from the same period in 2010, yet only had 24 foreclosure sales between April and June of this year.

Grand Junction’s 134 foreclosures were 306 percent higher than a year earlier and foreclosures were up 220 percent in Fort Morgan, where a mere 32 sales were tracked by RealtyTrac in the second quarter.

Apartment REITs poised for strong performance

Given the dampened prospects for U.S. economic growth over the next several years, real estate investment trusts that specialize in apartments are a smart bet for investors, says a new report.

Apartment REITs are poised to increase their net asset values, thanks to strong pipelines of multifamily projects that will create additional value when they’re completed, according to a research report from Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. (KBW: 14.30 +2.51%), an investment bank that specializes in the financial services sector.

Zillow estimates 4.3% decline in home prices

Standard & Poor's is likely to report a 4.3% decline in June home prices year-over-year and a 1.2% increase from the previous month when it releases its June Case-Shiller Home Price Indices study next Tuesday, Zillow said Friday.

Zillow, an online real estate marketplace, released its forecast of the S&P; Case-Shiller results on Friday, saying the S&P; 10-City Composite Home Price Index for June could drop as much as 3.5% year-over-year while still increasing 1.2% from May.

Housing market still tight in Colorado(9News Video)

DENVER - If you need a home to rent in metro-area Denver, your search might take a while. A new report from the Colorado Division of Housing shows the vacancy rate stayed tight during the second quarter at 2.6 percent.

Housing experts believe the rate will stay that way for at least the next year.

Can housing refis rescue the economy?

Can the government refinance us out of the housing disaster?

That's the plan being considered, according to The New York Times. In an article today, the Times says administration officials are tossing around the idea of a "blanket refinance" homeowner rescue plan. It would capitalize on current hyper-low interest rates to help struggling homeowners get payments they can afford.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tuesday: July foreclosure totals for metro counties in Colorado

We're planning to release the foreclosure totals for Colorado metropolitan counties on Tuesday. Preliminary data suggests that July was another slow month for foreclosures in the state.

$177,878.00 awarded to the Town of Fowler

The Department of Local Affairs has announced that $177,878.00 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds has been awarded to Otero County for the following project:

The Town of Fowler, on behalf of the Tri-County Housing and Community Development Organization (TCHCDC), will receive a grant of $177,878 to continue the funding of their three-county (Bent, Crowley and Otero) Self-Help, Single-family, Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation Program for households at 80% of Area Median Income or less.
The new grant funds will be combined with other sources to provide low-interest loans for eight (8) self-help rehabilitation projects. These grant funds are combined with Rural Development low-interest mortgages or conventional mortgages to help first-time buyers become home owners. All households must attend first-time
homebuyer training and contribute at least 20 hours a week of labor. This self-help housing rehabilitation program has received funding from the Colorado Division of Housing since 2005 and has completed a total of 40 homes to date.

$132,317 Awarded for single-family programs in Crowley, Bent and Otero Counties

The Department of Local Affairs has announced that $132,317.00 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds has been awarded to Crowley, Bent and Otero Counties for the following project:

Crowley County, on behalf of the Tri-County Housing and Community Development Organization (TCHCDC), will receive a grant of $132,317 to continue funding of their three-county (Bent, Crowley and Otero) Single-family, Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation Program for households at or below 80% of Area Median Income. The new grant funds will be used for administrative costs to provide low-interest loans for twenty-five (25) rehabilitation projects and five (5) essential repairs. This SFOO Rehabilitation Program has received funding from the Colorado Division of Housing since 1991 and has completed rehabilitation of 479 homes.

$40,593 awarded in Boulder County

The Department of Local Affirs has announced that $40,593.00 in Community Development Block Grant(CDBG) funds has been awarded to Boulder County for the following project:

Boulder County, on behalf of the Boulder County Housing Authority (BCHA) will receive a grant for $40,593 to continue funding of their Longs Peak Energy Conservation (LPEC) program’s Single-family, Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation program for households at or below 80% of Area Median Income. The new grant funds will be used for administrative costs to provide low-interest loans for ten (10) rehabilitation projects. This program has received funding from the Colorado Division of Housing since late 2004 and has completed rehabilitation of 47 homes. DOH funds will be used only in the non-entitlement areas of Boulder County.

Foreclosure inventory falls in Colorado during second quarter

According to the National Delinquency Survey, released Tuesday by the Mortgage Bankers Association, the percentage of mortgage loans in some state of foreclosure (foreclosure inventory) during this year's second quarter fell to 2.14 percent.

Related Post: New 30-day mortgage delinquencies rise in Colorado

The second-quarter foreclosure inventory rate is now down from last year's second-quarter rate of 2.69 percent. The foreclosure inventory has fallen for two quarters in a row following an uptick in the foreclosure inventory during the fourth quarter of 2010.

The national foreclosure inventory rate was 4.43 percent during the second quarter of this year, continuing a trend in which the national foreclosure inventory rate has been above the Colorado rate since the fourth quarter of 2007.

During the second quarter, 38 states reported higher foreclosure inventory rates than Colorado, with Nevada and Florida reporting the highest rates of 8.15 percent and 14.39 percent, respectively. Among the 11 states with lower foreclosure inventory rates than Colorado, Alaska and North Dakota had the lowest rates of 0.98 and 1.11, respectively.

The first graph shows the foreclosure inventory rate for each quarter since the fourth quarter of 2005. Colorado is in a generally downward trend that began after the fourth quarter of 2009. It is important to note, of course, that while Colorado is back to the foreclosure inventory rate it experienced in 2009, 2009 was not a good year for real estate and foreclosures, and the foreclosure inventory is still about double what it was in 2005.

Foreclosure inventory rate:
2nd Q 2011: 2.14
1st Q 2011: 2.33
2nd Q 2010: 2.69
Most recent peak: 2.81, 4th Q 2009

2nd Q 2011: 4.43
1st Q 2011: 4.52
2nd Q 2010: 4.57
Most recent peak: 4.63, 1st Q 2010, or 4th Q 2010

The Delinquency Survey also provides a very broad measure that surveys the percentage of loans that are either 90-days delinquent or in foreclosure. The percentage of Colorado loans found in this category has declined every quarter since the fourth quarter of 2009 and is now at the lowest rate reported since the second quarter of 2009.

The percentage of Colorado mortgage loans that were 90-days delinquent or in foreclosure fell to 4.24 percent during the second quarter, falling from 2010's second-quarter rate of 5.48. The rate peaked at 5.87 during the fourth quarter of 2009.

Nationwide, the percentage of mortgage loans that were either 90-days delinquent or in foreclosure was 7.85 percent during this year's second quarter, falling from last year's second quarter rate of 9.11 percent.

As can be seen in the second graph, in this measure, as with the foreclosure inventory and the 30-day delinquency rate, Colorado's rate is below the national rate and in this case has been below the national rate since the third quarter of 2007.

Compared to Colorado, only seven states had a lower percentage of loans that were 90-days delinquent or in foreclosure. The highest rates were found in Nevada and Florida with rates of 14.34 and 18.68, respectively. The lowest rates were found in North Dakota and Alaska with rate of 1.76 and 2.24, respectively.

This new information, combined with the 30-day delinquency information (discussed here), further suggests that Colorado enjoys lower foreclosure rates than most states, and that Colorado, with the nation as a whole, is seeing a continued slow and steady decline in foreclosure inventory. However, as was shown in this post, the number of new delinquencies increased during the second quarter, and if these new delinquencies become foreclosures, the foreclosure inventory will likely increase again.

Overall, however, foreclosure inventories and 90-day delinquencies remain well above historical norms.

90-day + in foreclosure inventory:
2nd Q 2011: 4.24
1st Q 2011: 4.52
2nd Q 2010: 5.48
Most recent peak: 5.87, 4th Q 2009

2nd Q 2011: 7.85
1st Q 2011: 8.1
2nd Q 2010: 9.11
Most recent peak: 9.67, 4th Q 2009

New 30-day delinquencies increase in Colorado

The National Mortgage Bankers Association released its 2011 second-quarter data Monday, and new 30-day mortgage delinquencies rose during the second quarter to the highest percentage recorded during the second quarter in at least five years.

2.59 percent of all mortgage loans surveyed were delinquent during the second quarter, falling from 2010's second-quarter rate of 2.51. The percentage of loans that are 30-days delinquent has not been above 2.59 percent since the fourth quarter of 2009 when 2.64 percent of all mortgage loans were 30-days delinquent.

Related post: Foreclosure inventory falls in Colorado during second quarter

2011's second quarter 30-day delinquency rate is the fifth-largest 30-day delinquency rate recorded since 2006 and is the highest second-quarter rate recorded during the same period. The 30-day delinquency rate increased from the first quarter of 2011 when the rate was 2.17 percent. This quarterly increase was expected since 30-day delinquencies generally increase from the first quarter to the second quarter.

In the graph below, the 30-day delinquency rate is broken out by year and by quarter. We can see that the 30-day delinquency rate is the highest it's been since 2009.

We also can note that the second quarter 30-day delinquency rate tends to be higher than the first quarter but slightly below the third quarter.

The second quarter's rise in 30-day delinquencies is a fairly significant jump from the first quarter's rate which was the lowest 30-day delinquency rate in 12 quarters.

The second graph shows a comparison between the Colorado 30-day delinquency rate and the national rate. We can see that the Colorado rate has been below the national rate in every year for which we have data. This isn't just true for the second quarter either. The Colorado 30-day delinquency rate is below the national rate in every quarter since at least as early as 2006.

During the second quarter of 2011, the national 30-day delinquency rate was 3.39, and it was 2.59 in Colorado. During the second quarter, Colorado had one of the lowest 30-day delinquency rates in the nation, with 39 states showing higher 30-day delinquency rates than Colorado.

60-day delinquencies also increased in Colorado. The 60-day delinquency rate grew from 0.88 percent during the second quarter of 2010, to 1.21 percent during the second quarter of 2011.

Note: The 30-day delinquency rate is helpful in analyzing foreclosure trends since unresolved 30-day delinquencies eventually become foreclosure filings. A rising 30-day delinquency rate could potentially signal rising foreclosure totals in the future. If the number of 30-day delinquencies fall, on the other hand, then foreclosure filings are likely to fall in subsequent quarters as well, all thing being equal.

Single-family rental vacancies fall to 2.6 percent

Click here for the report.

Vacancies in for-rent condos, single-family homes, and other small properties across metro Denver fell from the second quarter of 2010 to a new second-quarter low of 2.6 percent during 2011. According to a report released Thursday by the Colorado Division of Housing, the vacancy rate was 3.8 percent during the second quarter of 2010, and was 1.4 percent during the first quarter of 2011.

The vacancy rate varied among different types of properties, although only triplexes reported a vacancy rate above 4 percent. The vacancy rate in detached houses was 2.3 percent, and it was 3.7 percent in rental condominiums. Duplexes had the fewest vacancies at 1.2 percent, while triplexes reported a vacancy rate of 5.1 percent.

“There is very solid demand for these types of properties right now,” said Robert Alldredge, principal at Jericho Properties Realty. “Although we continue to see new properties entering the market as rentals, I’d expect to see vacancies remain at low levels for at least the next 12 to 18 months.”

The average number of days on the market for single-family rentals and similar properties fell from 47.2 days during the second quarter of 2010 to a new all-time low of 15.7 days during the second quarter of 2011. The number of days on the market also fell from 2010’s first-quarter average of 29.7 days.

“The number of days on the market is really quite low right now,” said Susan Melton, owner and broker at Assured Management Inc. “Until recently, many of these units still had rather low rents in spite of high demand. So, during the second quarter, they were being picked up very quickly by renters eager to get a lease in place. As rents move up, we’ll likely see the number of days on the market move up again.”

At the county level, the lowest vacancy rates were found in Denver County and in the Boulder/Broomfield area. The vacancy rate was 1.2 percent in Denver County, and there were no vacancies among the units surveyed in Boulder County.

The highest county-wide vacancy rate, found in Adams County, was 4.4 percent.

Vacancy rates for all counties surveyed were: Adams, 4.4 percent; Arapahoe, 2.6 percent; Boulder/Broomfield, 0.0 percent; Denver, 1.2 percent; Douglas, 2.1 percent; and Jefferson, 3.7 percent.

The average rent in metro Denver for single-family and similar properties rose year-over-year to $1,063 during 2011’s second quarter, rising 3.5 percent from 2010’s second-quarter rate of $1027. The first quarter’s average rent was up 2.3 percent from this year’s first-quarter average rent of $1039. Average rents are not adjusted for inflation.

“We’re now seeing more owners able to get increases of 3 to 5 percent in the rent when new leases are signed,” Melton said. “That’s not an enormous amount of growth, but it is more growth than we’ve seen in recent years. Many small-property owners are reluctant to push rents too much since turnover can still be very costly for an owner who’s renting only one or two houses.”

Average rents for all counties were: Adams, $1132; Arapahoe, $1077; Boulder/Broomfield, $1531; Denver, $1007; Douglas, $1390; and Jefferson, $1007.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Housing News Digest, August 25

Condemned apartment hid in plain sight from code inspectors

A condemned downtown apartment building has been able to mask dangerous electrical problems that put its residents on the street by flaunting a hole in Colorado Springs’ enforcement of building codes.

The Colorado Springs Fire Department, Colorado Springs Utilities, Colorado Springs Code Enforcement and the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department all said Tuesday that it was not their responsibility to ensure that the wiring is safe at the Beverly Apartments.

Longmont knocks down affordable housing requirements
LONGMONT -- In a series of 4-3 votes, the Longmont City Council eliminated its affordable housing requirement for several developments Tuesday and promised to remove those restrictions on the troubled Blue Vista development if requested.

The move releases 17 developments from having to either offer 10 percent of their homes as "affordable" or make an equivalent cash payment into the city's affordable housing program.

Denver renters eat up single-family homes, duplexes
Thursday, August 25th, 2011, 10:47 am

Single-family homes, for-rent condos and duplexes are gaining traction in the Denver area, with the vacancy rate on rentals in these categories falling to 2.6% in the second quarter, compared to 3.8% last year, the Colorado Division of Housing said.

The trend is in line with predictions that rentals will pave the way to a housing recovery.

Single-family rental vacancies fall to 2.6 percent
The vacancy rate for for-rent condos, single-family homes, and other small properties in metro Denver fell from the second quarter of 2010 to a new second quarter low of 2.6 percent during 2011, the Colorado Division of Housing reported today.

The vacancy rate was 3.8 percent during the second quarter of 2010 and was 1.4 percent in the first quarter of 2011.

According to the report, the vacancy rate varied among types of property.

Vacancy rates fall for rental residences
Vacancy rates continue to fall for metro Denver rental condos and single-family homes while average number of days on the market plummeted to an all-time low, according to a report from the Colorado Division of Housing released Thursday.

The vacancy rate for the second quarter dropped to 2.6 percent, down from 3.8 percent from the same quarter last year.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In the West, new home sales at lowest level reported in more than ten years

New single-family home sales in July rose slightly in the US while rising by half in the West region, which includes Colorado. However, according to new data released by the Census Bureau today, the first seven months of 2011 have shown the smallest number of new home sales in at least a decade in the West. July 2011's total was the second-lowest July total recorded in at least ten years.

Nationally, a similar trend was reported. According to the AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sales of new homes fell for the third straight month in July, a sign that housing remains a drag on the economy. If the current pace continues, 2011 would be the worst year for new-home sales on records dating back at least half a century.

Sales fell nearly 1 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 298,000, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That's less than half the 700,000 that economists say represent a healthy market.

The report, which monitors sales activity for newly constructed houses, reported that in the West, new home sales were up year over year, increasing 50 percent to 6,000 in July 2011 from 4,000 new homes sold in July 2010. Nationwide, sales rose 3.8 percent, increasing from 26,000 to 27,000 during the same period.

For the first seven months of 2011, there were 44,000 new homes sold in the West compared to 46,000 during the same period last year. 2011's total is the smallest year-to-date total recorded in the West in more than a decade.

In July, new home sales were at the second-lowest July total in more than a decade. Only July 2010 reported fewer new home sales with a total of 4,000. The first graph shows monthly new home sales totals for each month since 2003:

For the West region:

The second graph shows that new home sales continue to fall well below the peak periods for sales that occurred earlier in the decade.

New home sales peaked during the spring and summer of 2005 and trended downward until leveling off in 2010. The number of new houses sold in the United States is down 78 percent since the peak of March 2005, and new home sales in the West have fallen 84 percent since sales peaked in the region during March 2004.

The third graph shows the declines in both US and regional totals in new homes for sale.

The number of new homes for sale has also fallen off considerably. The number of new houses for sale in the West has fallen 74 percent since the total peaked during June 2007, and the same total has fallen 71 percent in the US since the number of new homes for sale peaked in the US during August 2006.

The number of new single-family homes for sale in the West is now near the lowest level it's been in more than ten years. This reflects very low demand in the face of an ongoing and large number of new foreclosures and low-priced properties in many areas of the West, including Colorado. Although foreclosures have fallen in Colorado in recent years, foreclosure rates remain at historic highs.

As a final note, we can also look to the new home inventory. In this case, we calculate inventory by subtracting the number of new home sales in a given month from the number of new homes for sale at the end of the previous month. In the final graph, we see that the inventory, at 28,000 is near the ten-year low of 27,000 homes. This is good news for owners seeking to sell homes since it suggests that fewer new homes are sitting and waiting to be sold, thus diminishing some of the inventory-driven downward pressure on prices.

See here for the most recent housing starts data. Housing starts show continued demand for multi-family units, increasing by 50 percent, while single-family starts increased 13 percent, year over year.

Mass layoffs in 2011 down 31 percent

Mass layoff events fell 31 percent to 62 events during the first seven months of 2011 in Colorado. There were 90 mass layoff events during the same period last year. According to a new report released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 8 mass layoff events during July 2011, which is down 50 percent from the 16 events reported during July of last year.

Monthly mass layoff events grew rapidly after October 2008 in Colorado, and have gradually lessened since early 2010.

Nationally, mass layoff events increased 2.4 percent from 2,124 during July 2010 to 2,176 during July of this year.

In the year-to-date total for July, mass layoffs have now fallen two years in a row after peaking at 112 mass layoffs during the first seven months of 2009. The second graph shows year-to-date totals for July since 2001:

Mass layoffs were rare from 2004 through most of 2008.

Overall, the most recent mass layoffs data suggests that the employment situation continues to stabilize. New layoffs continue to lessen, and as we've seen in the most recent employment data, July showed the first year-over-year growth in employment in 34 months.

New jobless claims

New claims for unemployment insurance fell year over year in July by 54 percent to 704 in July 2011. There were 1,552 new claims during July of last year. New claims for unemployment insurance have also gradually fallen since early 2010. Nationally, new claimants rose 5.1 percent during the same period.

As can be seen in the third graph, year-over-year changes in new unemployment claims points toward more and more stability in the labor markets as most year-over-year changes has been below zero since late 2009. Colorado's total of new claimants fell, while the total increased at the national level.

In year-to-date totals for new unemployment claims through July, totals are down 26 percent year over year. There were 6,399 new claims during the first seven months of 2011, compared to 8.715 new claims during the same period last year. In the year-to-date total for July, new claims for unemployment insurance have now fallen two years in a row after peaking at 10,455 claims during the first seven months of 2009. The last graph shows year-to-date totals for July since 2001:

The year-over-year comparisons clearly show that both new claims and mass layoffs are down from both 2009 and 2010 so far this year. However,total employment in Colorado is still 161,000 jobs below peak levels. New layoffs and new unemployment claims continue to fall, but there is little job creation going on at the same time to provide for re-entry into the workforce. The fact that recent first-time claimants are such a small portion of the total number of jobless persons suggests that many of those people who are unemployed have been unemployed for an extended period of time. (The most recent Colorado employment data states that there are 230,147 unemployed workers in Colorado.)

Housing News Digest, August 23

Loveland might look closer to home for ACE developer
LOVELAND - Now that United Properties has backed out of Loveland's Aerospace and Clean Energy park, the city and the Colorado Association for Manufac- turing and Technology are scrambling to find a new developer.

United Properties on Monday, the final day of a 60-day exclusive negotiation period, cited the current credit and financing environment in announcing it would not continue with the project.

Apartment residents remain homeless while officials try to contact absentee owner

An 86-year-old apartment house condemned for faulty electrical wiring remained shuttered for a second day Monday and residents of its 21 apartments may remain homeless indefinitely as officials try to contact the building owner.

Signs on the Beverly Apartments at 23 N. Wahsatch Ave. declared it to be “unsafe or dangerous” and illegal to “work in, occupy or use” by order of the Colorado Springs Fire Department.

At Denver apartment complex, a transition for the criminally insane
When Floyde Pineda needs money, he recycles cans from the neighborhood around his apartment in southwest Denver.

When he needs to attend counseling to avoid hearing the voices he says made him stab a man to death, he can walk to the nearby Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan.

And when he needs help with a clogged toilet or stuck door in his apartment, he calls the resident manager — another killer.

Housing bust derails path to assisted living for some

In the fourth year of a depressed real estate market, experts say thousands of people remain unable to move into senior housing because they can't sell their homes quickly or for the prices they need. The upshot: greater pressure on families to pay for parents' and grandparents' placements, or to take over the care themselves.

Home-Loan Delinquencies Rise Again

The number of American households that are delinquent on mortgage payments is rising again after falling for more than one year, an unwelcome trend for the U.S. economy.

Deborah Goldring of Baltimore, shown earlier this summer, faces the prospect of foreclosure. Ms. Goldring, who lost her job as an executive assistant, is among millions of Americans who are behind on mortgage payments.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said 12.87% of mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit homes were 30 days or longer past due or in the foreclosure process at the end of the second quarter, representing more than 6.3 million households. The second-quarter figure was down from 14.4% one year earlier but up from 12.84% at the end of March.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Consumer prices in July in western U.S. climb 2.9 percent

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released last Thursday the July CPI for US urban areas and regions. In the West region, from July 2010 to July 2011, the CPI increased 2.9 percent. This is the second-largest year-over-year increase since 2008, before the deflationary effects of the 2007-2009 recession began to be felt.

Nationally, the CPI increased 3.6 percent, year-over-year, and was driven by increases in food and transportion costs, according to the BLS release:

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased
0.5 percent in July on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau
of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all
items index increased 3.6 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The gasoline index rebounded from previous declines and rose sharply
in July, accounting for about half of the seasonally adjusted
increase in the all items index. The food at home index accelerated
in July and also contributed to the increase, as dairy and fruit
indexes posted notable increases and five of the six major grocery
store food groups rose.

The index for all items less food and energy increased as well,
though the 0.2 percent increase was slightly smaller than the two
previous months. The shelter index accelerated in July, and the
apparel index again increased sharply. In contrast, the index for new
vehicles was unchanged after a long string of increases. The index
for household furnishings and operations was flat in July as well,
and the recreation index declined slightly.

In the first graph, we can see that the CPI growth in July 2011 is now roughly the third-highest increase observed for July during the past ten years, and is extremely similar to CPI growth reported during July 2005 and July 2007. 2006 and 2008 showed larger increases, and price increases in those years were partially countered by strong growth in employment and incomes, but at the present time, income growth has been flat in recent years, as discussed here.

In the west region, as well as nationally, price increases are being largely driven by transportation costs, which increased by 8.6 percent, year over year. Food costs also increased significantly, rising 3.8 percent. Price increases in housing have begun to inch up with July's year-over-year increase at 1.3 percent. Housing costs to consumers will likely move upward as rent increases in the face of building demand and little new construction.

Recent price increases will impact household calculations and attitudes on spending as many households conclude that discretionary spending will need to be scaled back in the face of increasing food and transportation costs. These price increases come in the face of continued lackluster performance in the labor markets.

The second graph shows year-over-year changes in CPI for all months since 2002. CPI growth has fallen slightly during the last two months in the region, although current growth rates remain near post-recession highs.

Rents and housing costs make up a significant portion of the CPI and recent growth in rental-housing costs to consumers across much of Colorado has contributed to growth in housing prices as recorded in the CPI. On the other hand, the cost of purchase housing has been stable or declining in many areas of Colorado. See here for recent home price information.


Energy Outreach Colorado, the GEO's multifamily weatherization service provider is excited to invite low-income multifamily housing providers to apply for funding for weatherization of low-income multifamily buildings for the 2011-2012 Multifamily Weatherization grant cycle.

EOC will be accepting applications for ALL 5+ unit multifamily building types regardless of how the building is heated. EOC will accept applications from centrally heated and individually heated buildings.

Applications will be accepted starting Friday August 19th at 5:00pm
and closing on Friday September 16th at 11:59pm

The goal of this program is to increase the energy efficiency of multifamily buildings occupied by low-income persons, reduce residents' total residential expenditures and improve the health and safety of multifamily buildings. Priority is given to those properties serving low-income persons who are particularly vulnerable such as the elderly, persons with disabilities, families with children, high residential energy users and households with a high energy burden.

EOC will host Application How-To & FAQ Webinars* on the following dates:
Wednesday August 31st - 10:00 am
Wednesday September 7th - 10:00 am
Wednesday September 14th - 10:00 am

*Applicants will need to dial 1.800.974.2164 to be connected via conference call. Callers will be prompted to enter the pass code 478161 followed by the # sign.


Housing starts in West region up 18 percent

Housing starts in the West Census region of the US, which includes Colorado, were up 18 percent from July 2010 to July 2011, counting both single-family and multi-family units. According to new housing construction and housing starts data released today by the US Census Bureau, there were approximately 12,200 housing units started in the West during July 2011. Of the new units started, 8,900 were single-family structures and 3,300 were structures containing more than one housing unit.

Nationally, housing starts rose 8.9 percent during the same period, with total housing starts rising to a total of 56,300.

Total housing starts remain well below peak levels both nationally and in the West. July 2011 housing starts in the West were 77 percent below the peak reached during May 2004. Nationally, July 2011 was 71 percent below peak levels. The national peak in housing starts was reached during May 2005.

Multifamily starts have rebounded more than single-family starts. In the West, single-family starts are 81 percent below peak levels while multifamily starts are only 38 percent below peak levels.

The West census region includes California, so given the size of the West census region, the fact that total housing starts are at 12,200 indicates that new home construction continues to be very light throughout the region. Housing starts totals ranging from 35,000 to 45,000 were common from 2004 to 2006.

The first graph shows the difference between single-family starts and starts for structures with more than one housing unit. Both remain near ten-year lows, but single-family starts rose 13.8 percent from July 2010 to July 2011. Starts for structures with more than one unit increased by 50 percent during the same period, rising from 2,600 units during July 2010, to 3,300 units during July of this year. Given recent data showing strength in the demand for rental-housing, the housing starts data may suggest that developers of rental housing are beginning to move forward with construction of new multifamily structures.

The second graph shows month-by-month comparisons in housing starts for each year in the West. July's housing-starts total decreased from June to July. Over the past decade, starts have often fallen from June to July, so this year's month-over-month drop from June to July was not necessarily unusual. July 2011's total remains below 2008's July total which suggests some ongoing weakness in housing starts. July's starts total is the second-lowest total in more than a decade.

More sustained growth was visible in starts for structures with more than one housing unit. June was the fourth month in a row in which growth in multifamily starts has been significant. As can be seen in the third graph, the July 2011 multifamily total for starts has exceeded the totals for both 2009 and 2010. The multifamily starts total has been at a three-year high for each month since March 2011.

This data suggests that multifamily starts have established a more solid growth trend than single-family units over the past several months, and given the demand for rental housing as an alternative to home ownership, the fundamentals in place are likely to continue to drive a demand for new multifamily units.

Housing News Digest, August 22

Silver Sage could be first project under relaxed housing rules in Glenwood Springs
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado — A two-year moratorium on the city's affordable housing requirements still might not allow enough time for a south Glenwood project to take advantage ofhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif the relaxed rules.

Glenwood Springs City Council, on a 4-2 vote at its Aug. 18 meeting, formally approved a temporary suspension of the city's so-called “inclusionary housing” requirements.

As businesses come and go, views of downtown differ

Four years ago, Colorado Springs business people and civic leaders finalized Imagine Downtown, an ambitious plan touting more retail, housing, employers and attractions for the area.

Today, supporters say the economy has made it tough for downtown to become the round-the-clock, live-work-play environment they’ve visualized, but strides have been made.

Shadow inventory improves but still threatens housing recovery
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- An ominous cloud is hanging over the housing market: Millions of distressed properties could be put up for sale at any moment, potentially adding to the glut of unsold homes that are already on the market and depressing home prices even further.

But there is one glimmer of hope in this otherwise ominous scenario. A recent report from Standard & Poor's found that the time it would take for banks to purge all of this so-called "shadow inventory" from the market (through foreclosure sales, mortgage modifications and other measures) shrunk to 47 months during the second quarter, a significant drop from the 52 months it estimated for the first quarter of this year.

Housing’s Drag on Economy May Worsen
As the U.S. economy shows signs of sputtering, instability on Wall Street is sapping the confidence of would-be property buyers, said Karl Case, co-founder of the S&P;/Case-Shiller home- price index. That means housing, which aided every recovery except one before the most recent recession, may deepen its five-year drag on growth.

“There’s a dramatic effect on an economy when a major sector is flat out,” said Case, professor emeritus of economics at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. “If housing takes another leg down, it’s an accelerator. It’s going to make a recession happen faster and deeper.”

Delinquent loans on the rise again, a grim sign for housing
It's an ominous sign for housing. The percentage of homeowners who have missed at least one mortgage payment has risen for the second straight quarter, the Mortgage Bankers Assn. says.

Officials at the trade group expressed concern Monday that the sluggish economy may be creating another group of distressed borrowers.

"It is clear that the downward trend we saw through most of 2010 has stopped," the Mortgage Bankers Assn.'s chief economist, Jay Brinkmann, said in a news release.

Friday, August 19, 2011

NAR: Median home price in U.S. West falls 7 percent

Home prices in the West region of the U.S., which includes Colorado, fell 7.1 percent from July 2010 to July 2011. According to new existing home sales data, recently released by the National Association of Realtors, the median home price fell more in the West than in any other region. The median home price in the South, for example, fell 2.2 percent from July 2010 to July 2011.

The first graph shows median home prices for all regions plus the U.S. The median home price in the west has been flat for the past three months, ranging from $206,000 to $208,000. The median price was $208,300 during July 2011, and during July of 2010, the median price for the region was $224,100.

Last month, the preliminary numbers for June showed a surge in the median home price for the West region. The revised June numbers do not reflect this, and do not show any surge in the median price for June. See here for last month's numbers.

Nationally, home prices fell 4.4 percent, year over year.

Home sales transactions (closings) rose 12.9 percent in the West region, which was the smallest increase in home sales closings of any region, year-over-year. Home sales rose 25 percent in the Midwest from July 2010 to July 2011, and closings rose by 17.1 percent nationally during the same period.

The second graph shows closings by region. In general, closings increased each month from January 2011 to June 2011. July's total fell unexpectedly, as July is generally a very active month for sales. While all regions showed a month-over-month decrease, all regions showed increases in the year-over-year comparisons for July.

Overall, July's sales activity was higher than was the case during July of last year. This was expected. During the summer of 2010, sales activity fell significantly following the end of the home buyer tax credits. Many homeowners rushed to close their home sales by June 2010 in order to take advantage of the tax credit. Consequently, the second half of 2010 showed diminished home sales activity.

The NAR data tends to be the most optimistic among the various reports on home prices and home sales activity. The most recent Case-Shiller data, although only through May, suggests continued declines in prices.

Conclusions: As can be seen in the first graph, home prices during recent months are down from where they were a year earlier, and the median price in the West is still below the annualized median prices for 2008, 2009 and 2010. The region shows stability in prices and a lack of significant upward pressure in prices right now.

Closings continue to be hampered by a lack of available financing and, according to the NAR release, by a significant number of cancellations on home purchases:

Contract failures - cancellations caused largely by declined mortgage applications or failures in loan underwriting from appraised values coming in below the negotiated price - were unchanged in July, reported by 16 percent of NAR members. In addition, 9 percent of Realtors® report a contract was delayed in the past three months due to low appraisals, and another 13 percent said a contract was renegotiated to a lower sales price because an appraisal was below the initially agreed price.

NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., said an unacceptably high number of potential home buyers are unable to complete transactions.

Colorado added 5,600 jobs in July, unemployment rate falls

Colorado gained 5,623 jobs in July 2011 compared to July of last year, and the non-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate fell year-over-year from 8.8 percent to 8.5 percent. According to the most recent employment data, released by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, total employment in July, not seasonally adjusted, rose to 2.471 million jobs. There were 2,300 fewer people in the work force during July, compared to July 2010, which contributed to the decline in the unemployment rate.

From July 2010 to July 2011, total employment rose 0.22 percent, while the labor force shrank 0.08 percent. The total labor force in July included 2.701 million workers.

As can be seen in the second graph, total employment and total workforce size have increased month-over-month. Year over year, total employment rose while the labor force grew smaller. Both remain well below the July 2008 peak.

The employment total is 161,000 jobs below the peak levels experienced during July 2008 when there were 2.63 million employed workers. Compared to the labor force peak in July 2008, the labor force is now down by more than 66,000 workers.

In the third graph is shown the year-over-year comparisons, by percent, for total employment. July 2011 was the first month in 34 months that showed a positive change in year-over-year employment comparisons. Between August 2008 and July 2011, no month posted a positive change in total employment when compared to the same month a year earlier. Although overall total employment has increased since January 2010, employment totals remain negative in each year-over-year comparison.

The graph also shows the year-over-change in total employment. Total labor force size has fallen more than employment in the last five months, which helps to explain the drop in the unemployment rate. Although the state had not actually added jobs in the YOY comparisons between August 2008 and July 2011, the number of people looking for work (as defined by the Household Survey) has declined, pushing the unemployment rate down in recent months.

These numbers come from the Household Survey employment data, so the size of the workforce is dependent on the number of people stating that they are actively looking for work if not employed. Discouraged workers who have stopped looking for work are excluded.

Housing News Digest, August 19

Littleton apartment complex an eyesore no more

An apartment complex on South Delaware Street in Littleton has been transformed from an eyesore to a needed residence for low-income and handicapped residents thanks to a community-wide partnership.

Officials of the Community Housing Development Association debuted the renovated 12-unit Regal Apartments in Littleton last week for project partners, including the Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network, Arapahoe House and Developmental Pathways.

Greeley vacancy rate loosens to 6.7 percent from 3.8 percent in the first quarter

The tightest local rental market in a decade loosened a bit in the second quarter, but Greeley apartment vacancies remain relatively low at 6.7 percent, according to a survey by the Colorado Division of Housing.

Greeley’s multifamily vacancy rate of 3.8 percent in the first quarter was the lowest rate in 10 years and pushed average rents up to $660.

Average apartment rents in Greeley in the second quarter — reflecting the loosening vacancy rate — were $649, compared with $618 in the year-ago period, the survey said.

Students take up residence in CSU dorms
In the next few days, about 5,200 students will move into the CSU residence halls as the university prepares for fall classes to begin.

CSU's residence halls are filling to capacity as students move in. An expected 4,500 freshmen are expected to enroll this semester, although the formal number won't come until later this fall.

Vail explores Timber Ridge upgrades
VAIL, Colorado — The town of Vail is in negotiations with Vail Resorts over the ski company's lease renewal of more than 100 units at Timber Ridge, the largest employee housing development in the town of Vail.

Vail Resorts' lease expires in September and Vail Housing Director Nina Timm expects the company to renew about the same number of units it leases now, 115.

Denver home market No. 1 by median-age metric
For the fourth consecutive month, the Denver-area housing market in July led the nation as far as the fewest number of days unsold homes have been languishing on the market, according to a report released today.

The median age of Denver housing inventory was 32 days last month, continuing a trend that began in April as the city with the lowest median aged inventory in 146 metropolitan statistical areas tracked by Realtor.com, an arm of the National Association of Realtors.

Nationally, the median age of inventory was 97 days in July, three times as much as in Denver.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The NEW Division of Housing web site is now online

This blog has been a little quiet for the past week or so, and part of the reason is that we've been completely reworking the web site. Mary Miller, Ursula Melnic and Jim Wiegand did most of the work on this, and you'll find that the web site is new, less cluttered, and easier to navigate.

We're still working out a few kinks, but most of the site is live and ready to go.

Here's the direct link to the Division of Housing: http://www.colorado.gov/dola/doh

Housing News Digest, August 17

Apartment rental market tight in some Colorado cities
"Three years ago, there was a craze that everyone should own their own home," said Gordon Von Stroh, a University of Denver business professor and the report's author. "We are past that. We are a lot more realistic now."

Von Stroh said wages haven't gone up and that the customary down payment on the purchase price of a home is 20 percent, a significant increase from two years ago. He said many can't afford the down payment.

"The American family is strapped," Von Stroh said. "Costs are going up. To buy a new home today is a significant chunk of money."

VIDEO: Metro Denver apartment rentals harder to find, more expensive
Experts say this the toughest time in 10 years to find a rental vacancy.

"We have people on a waiting list, so it's good for landlords," said Gail Smith, part owner of Landmark Western Property Rentals.

Colorado apartment vacancy rates: Why are they so low?
​According to just-released data compiled by the Colorado Division of Housing, the state's apartment vacancy rate is the lowest it's been in more than ten years. And, as this account from Inside Real Estate News points out, the rental market is particularly tight in Denver, with the average metro apartment now commanding $915 a month

Report points out need for more apartments in Fort Collins

The apartment shortage in Fort Collins won't ease until new units are built in the next year or two, according to state housing experts.

The Multifamily Housing Vacancy & Rental report released Tuesday by the Colorado Division of Housing shows just how tight the local market is.

The vacancy rate for apartments in Fort Collins/Loveland in the second quarter was 6.3 percent, down from 6.8 percent a year ago.

Colorado apartment vacancy rate hits 10-year low; rents up 2%
The highest rent increases were seen in Loveland, where rents rose 11.7 percent from the second quarter 2010 to $1,045.62.

“Northern Colorado in general has had good job growth and Loveland is at the heart of that, where we’ve seen the new hospital and more jobs in the Windsor area,” said Terrance Hunt, principal at the Denver office of Apartment Realty Advisors.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Colorado apartment vacancy rate falls to 5.2 percent, rents rise

Click here for the full report

The vacancy rate in Colorado apartments fell during the second quarter of 2011, dropping to the lowest rate recorded since 2001. According to a report released Tuesday by the Colorado Division of Housing, the combined vacancy rate for apartments in all of Colorado’s metropolitan areas during the second quarter was 5.2 percent. The vacancy rate was 6.2 percent during the second quarter of last year, and the rate was 5.5 percent during the first quarter of this year.

The Colorado statewide vacancy rate has not been below 5.2 percent since the first quarter of 2001 when the rate was 4.3 percent.

The year-over-year drop in the statewide rate reflects declines in the vacancy rates in the Fort Collins/Loveland area, Pueblo, Grand Junction and the metro Denver area. Vacancy rates increased slightly in Colorado Springs and Greeley, although Colorado Springs’ second-quarter vacancy rate of 6.4 percent is the second-lowest rate recorded in Colorado Springs since 2001.

Among the state’s metro areas, the largest drop was found in Grand Junction where the vacancy rate fell from 8.9 percent during the second quarter of 2010 to 6.3 percent during the same period this year.

The metro Denver vacancy rate, measured last month in a separate survey, fell year-over-year from 6.1 percent to 4.8 percent.

Vacancy rates in all metropolitan areas were Colorado Springs, 6.4 percent; Ft. Collins/Loveland, 6.3 percent; Grand Junction, 6.3 percent; Greeley, 6.7 percent; Pueblo, 9.6 percent.

The statewide average rent in Colorado increased two percent from the second quarter of last year to the second quarter of this year, rising from $862 to $877. Across metro areas in the state, however, growth in average rents varied considerably. The average rent in Colorado Springs, for example, increased 5.9 percent, year over year, while the average rent in Pueblo fell 5.4 percent. During the same period, the average rent in Greeley increased 5.1 percent while the average rent in Fort Collins grew only 0.8 percent.

The largest increase in the average rent was found in Loveland where the average rent increased 11.7 percent from the second quarter of last year to the same period this year.

Average rents in all metropolitan areas measured were Colorado Springs; $761, Ft. Collins/Loveland, $882; Grand Junction, $631; Greeley, $649; Pueblo, $512.

The metro Denver average rent, measured in a separate survey, was $915 during the second quarter.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Housing News Digest, August 15

Fitch Affirms Denver Urban Renewal Auth's (Colorado) Sr TIBs at 'BBB+'; Outlook Stable
AUSTIN, Texas, Aug 12, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- As part of its continuous surveillance efforts, Fitch Ratings affirms the following Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA, or the authority), Colorado's Stapleton tax increment revenue bond (TIB)ratings:

CSU students return to $100 million worth of renovations
In a cycle that's becoming as familiar as graduation or the trial garden's spring flowers, CSU's Fort Collins campus spent the summer as a construction zone.

During the summer and continuing as students begin returning to campus, Colorado State University became home to about $100 million worth of construction projects, from an expanded Morgan Library to renovated residence halls, a new engineering building and improvements at Hughes Stadium.

Low Rates Alone Not Seen Reviving Housing Market

The turmoil in the financial markets has been pushing mortgage rates lower. Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgages have now fallen to about 4.3 percent, which is very close to the lowest level on record.

But many Americans can't qualify for those low rates, and analysts say these historic interest rates aren't likely to do much to help the housing market.

Homebuilder Confidence in U.S. Unchanged

Confidence among U.S. homebuilders was little changed in August, indicating the outlook for housing remains depressed.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index of builder confidence was 15 for a second month, matching the median forecast of 48 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, data from the Washington-based group showed today. Readings below 50 mean more respondents said conditions were poor.

Colorado property owners faced with possibility of being forced into drilling plans

The landman for Chesapeake Energy Corp. presented Mark Faut with a choice: sign a lease for his oil rights or have his 7 acres forced into the drilling plan by the state.

"That was it, no questions, no discussion," said Faut, who owns a rental home in the Cross Diamond subdivision in Elbert County. "It was, 'Sign or we'll force pool.' "

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Housing News Digest, August 11

Foreclosures fall in Colorado but problems still exist

New foreclosure filings fell to 15,348 in Colorado during 2011's first half, falling 28.2 percent from 2010's first-half total of 21,369, according to a report released today by the Colorado Division of Housing.

The report also noted that foreclosure sales at auction - the event that completes the foreclosure process - also dropped during the first half of 2011, falling 13 percent from 12,573 to 10,938, year-over-year.

Colorado foreclosure filings decline
Public trustees reported 7,233 foreclosure filings in the second quarter with 5,333 sales at auction being completed. Both numbers are down from the same period in 2010, when there were 10,233 filings and 5,887 homes sold, according to the Colorado Division of Housing 2Q Foreclosure Report.

That's the second-lowest quarterly total since 2007, according to the report.

Low-income apartments in Littleton get facelift

The Regal Apartments now live up to their name.

The 12-unit complex was completely decrepit as of December 2010, when local nonprofit organization Community Housing Development Association Inc. acquired it for $650,000. After a total renovation, the buildings re-opened for business this month. They’ll cater to low-income and special-needs individuals who need a little help making ends meet or getting back on their feet.

New CU students begin moving in and Williams Village North opens Aug. 16
New CU-Boulder students will move in Aug. 16 through Aug. 18 with the majority of freshmen moving in on Aug. 18, according to Kambiz Khalili, executive director for Housing and Dining Services.

Larimer County foreclosure sales, filings drop year-over-year

Year-over-year, foreclosure filings and sales have declined in Larimer County for the second quarter, according to a report released today by the Colorado Division of Housing.

Filings for Larimer dropped from 403 in the second quarter of 2010 to 332 this year, a 17.6 percent drop. At the same time foreclosure sales declined from 315 in 2010 to 194, a decline of 9.8 percent, according to the report.

NAR: Home sales, median price fall in second quarter

The median sales price of an existing home fell modestly in the second quarter as 27% of metropolitan areas experienced price gains from a year ago, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.

The national median, existing single-family home price hit $171,900, during the second quarter, down 2.8% from $176,800 a year earlier. Distressed home sales accounted for one-third of sales in the second quarter, a decline from 39% last year.

Foreclosure filings in Colorado fall 28 percent

Click here for the full report.

Foreclosure filings in Colorado fall 28 percent

New foreclosure filings fell to 15,348 in Colorado during 2011’s first half, falling 28.2 percent from 2010’s first-half total of 21,369. According to a report released Thursday by the Colorado Division of Housing, foreclosure sales at auction, the event that completes the foreclosure process, also dropped during the first half of 2011, falling 13 percent from 12,573 to 10,938, year-over-year.

The year-to-date declines in foreclosure activity at mid-year were reflected in the second quarter's foreclosure totals. From 2010's second quarter to the second quarter of this year, filings fell 29.3 percent from 10,233 to 7,233. During the same period, sales at auction fell 9.4 percent from 5,887 to 5,333.

Foreclosures also fell from the first quarter to the second quarter of this year, with foreclosure filings dropping 10.9 percent and sales dropping 4.9 percent.

Foreclosure filings during the second quarter fell to the second-lowest quarterly total recorded since the State began collecting quarterly totals during the first quarter of 2007. Foreclosure filings have fallen 42 percent from 2009’s third-quarter total when filings peaked at more than 12,000 new foreclosures. Foreclosure sales at auction, on the other hand, have generally moved sideways for the past two years as large numbers of new foreclosures have slowly moved through the foreclosure process.

“While some of the decrease in foreclosure activity is due to the banks processing foreclosures more slowly, there are also reasons to believe that there are in fact fewer people actually getting behind on their payments," said Ryan McMaken, a spokesman with the Colorado Division of Housing. "Consequently, the number of new households entering the foreclosure process is down quite a bit from any other year since 2007. But, the fact that foreclosure sales at auction are holding steady tells us that there are still a lot of properties in the foreclosure process that must be dealt with."

While several regions of Colorado saw improvement during the first quarter, some areas continued to experience growth in foreclosures.

Foreclosure filings fell, year over year, in 48 of Colorado's 64 counties during the second quarter. Foreclosure sales at auction, on the other hand, fell in only half of Colorado's counties, with many counties reporting sizable increases in the number of foreclosure sales at auction.

Eagle, Elbert, Gunnison, Montezuma and Summit counties reported increases of twenty percent or more in the number of foreclosure sales at auction. At the same time, both foreclosure sales and filings dropped significantly in Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, Douglas and El Paso counties.

Generally speaking, foreclosure activity since 2008 has tended to show the most sustained declines in Front Range counties while the largest increases have been found on the Western Slope and in the central mountains. This reverses a trend that lasted from 2003 to 2008 in which counties on the Western Slope and in the central mountains reported far less growth in foreclosures than did the counties of the Front Range.

Foreclosure sales are opened foreclosures that have proceeded through the full foreclosure process to final sale at public auction. Filings denote the beginning of the foreclosure process, and once a foreclosure is filed, the borrower has at least 110-120 days to work with the lender to avoid a completed foreclosure. It is during this period that borrowers work with lenders and housing counselors to work out loan modifications, short sales, or other ways of withdrawing the foreclosure.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Multifamily permits up 42 percent during first half of 2011

During the first half of 2011 in Colorado, building permits issued for multifamily construction are up 42 percent, year over year, while permits issued for single-family construction are down 6.7 percent for the same period.

This year, through June, there have been 1183 multifamily permits issued in Colorado, and 4469 single-family permits issued. For the same period during 2010, there were 833 multi-family permits issued, and 4793 single-family permits.

For the month of June alone, single-family permits are up, year-over-year, by 14.6 percent, but multi-family permits are up 142 percent. There were 980 single-family permits and 170 multi-family permits issued during June 2011. There were 855 single-family permits issued during June 2010 and only 70 multi-family permits issued during the same period.

The second graph shows that overall, both multi-family and single-family permits in May are at levels below what was typical over the past decade, but that both are increasing. In the case of single-family permits, seasonal factors are contributing to the uptick in permits issued.

New construction of single-family homes has shown some indications of growth in recent months. See here for regional housing starts data. Housing starts in June were at a 33-month high in the western US.

Additionally, multifamily activity has also shown indications of renewed growth in the year-to-date totals. There has been much optimism within the multifamily industry about rent growth which in turn will lead to new construction.

The third graph shows that June's permit total was up from 2010 and is now at a three-year high, but totals remain at only a fraction of what was issued during June of 2006, 2007 and 2008.

In spite of 10-year lows in vacancy rates and increasing strength in rents, new permitting and construction in multifamily housing has been slow to warm up. New construction has likely been constrained by a lack of availability in financing for new projects.

Growth in single-family permit activity suggests there is some hope among single-family homebuilders. May's permit total for single-family units was at a 3-year high, although it remains well below typical June totals reported over the past decade.

Click here to see where the most single-family permits are being issued.

Housing News Digest August 5

Innovation on display at Parade of Homes
Homebuilding has slumped in recent years, but enthusiasm on the part of builders and other housing industry members to showcase their latest products remains in full force.

They’ll be on display Friday through Aug. 21 during the 57th annual Parade of Homes, which is sponsored by the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs and several other businesses and organizations.

Faber: Brace for a Global 'Reboot' and a War
Markets could rebound after Thursday's global market sell-off, but investors should see any bounce as a selling opportunity, as the world economy rolls towards total collapse, Mark Faber, editor and publisher of the Boom, Doom and Gloom Report, told CNBC Friday.

Fannie Mae seeks $5.1 billion more from taxpayers

WASHINGTON - Mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae said it would ask for an additional $5.1 billion from taxpayers as a weaker housing market causes continued losses on loans made prior to 2009.

The largest U.S. residential mortgage funds provider on Friday also reported a second-quarter net loss attributable to common shareholders of $5.2 billion, or 90 cents per share.

County property value comes down nearly $10 billion
About $10 billion in Pitkin County property value, or 24 percent, vanished between mid-2008 and mid-2010, according to numbers disclosed this week by the county assessor’s office.

The numbers, which total the most recent assessments all of the county’s 22,787 taxable properties, shows $26.96 billion in local real estate value. That’s down from the $36 billion calculated in 2010.

Colorado's economy in a nutshell

The state's economy is normally similar to the rest of the country, but today it varies in some aspects.

"Jobs still remain stagnant," 9NEWS anchor Gregg Moss said. "There are about 230,000 people in our state looking for work right now."

Though that number seems large, in comparison to the rest of the country, it's relatively low.

Nonetheless, job growth is still moving along slowly, with the construction industry being the slowest to recover, according to economists. However, it differentiates when it comes to manufacturing, which is making a comeback.