Thursday, February 25, 2010

Part 2 - State of the Real Estate Market in Boulder - Words for Home Sellers in Boulder County

This is Part II of a 3-part series. Stay tuned for Part II!

Part 2 - Mortgages, Prices and Interest Rates

While there is hope that the government's Making Home Affordable Program for loan modifications will help, the current numbers indicate that of the 3 million people that requested help in 2009 only 31,000 received permanent modifications. In short, at this time the program is doing little to stabilize home ownership.

While we don't want our clients and friends to panic and overreact, we do want to make sure that all of our Colorado Landmark listings are priced correctly for today's market. If you want or need to sell your home, waiting out the market is NOT the right strategy. Ken Hotard, senior vice president of the Boulder Area Realtor Association, thinks that the worst is likely over, but home sellers cannot expect a quick recovery. "Jobs are still a problem," he said. "Until we see job growth there will be no significant recover in the housing market." Phyllis Resnick, lead economist for the Center for Colorado's Economic Future, projects that unemployment in Boulder-Broomfield will hit 7.1% this year and "It's going to take us close to five years to recover," to pre-decline levels. Boulder Valley's high-end real estate market (homes priced over $1.0M) will continue to lag behind in 2010.

On January 8, 2010 the Wall Street Journal reported on the Fed's plan to stop buying mortgages by the end of March 2010. The article quoted Ronald Temple, portfolio manager at Lazard Asset Management, who sees mortgage rates rising by a percentage point when the Fed stops buying. A withdrawal of government support, combined with high unemployment and rising mortgage foreclosures, could push home prices down 20% he said. What does that mean for you as a homeowner? If you are waiting for the market to improve, don't hold your breath, unless you can hold it for about 4 years! Price your home to sell now, before home prices slide any further.

All this being said, real estate continues to be one of the best long term investments out performing the Dow, S & P, and the Nasdaq over the past 10 years. We are encouraging our clients to buy now before interest rates spike up, and do so quickly.
Stay tuned for Part III!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Part 1 - State of the Boulder Real Estate Market - Essential Words for Home Sellers in Boulder

This is Part I of a 3-part article. Stay tuned for the sequels!


Colorado Landmark, Realtors is proud to approach 33 years in business in Boulder and Broomfield Counties, and we are filled with gratitude for the wonderful clients we have been fortunate to work with throughout the years. While our nation and our community faces many challenges, those of us who are fortunate to live in this area have many blessings to be thankful for.

We hope market conditions will improve over the coming months. Regardless of what happens we must make thoughtful decisions based on the way things are and what can be best projected for the future. If you are selling a home, Colorado Landmark's primary focus is to see that your property is sold in the next 120 days for the highest and best price. Locally in 2009 over 68% of properties in our area sold with a market time of 120 days or less. If your property has been on the market for more than 120 days you need to seriously visit the market activity and reconcile that with your pricing strategy. To wait and "test the market" almost always guarantees a lower sales price, longer time on the market, and fewer dollars in your pocket when you walk away from the closing table.
Inventory in Boulder and Broomfield Counties declined over the last 24 months by 11-20% depending on the area, yet we still have 6-7 months worth of active properties on the market as of today, and that is if NO new listings are added. According to historic trends, a market with 5-6 months of supply is considered a "normal" market where prices hold steady, while markets with 7-8 months of supply experience single digit depreciation. As of today Boulder and Broomfield Counties have 6.7 months of inventory on the market, meaning that our markets will be luck to show any small amount of appreciation this year. Prices will likely stay flat.

The bigger issue looming is the mountain of foreclosed properties that banks have held (7 million units across the US) that will be released to the market starting in the first half of 2010 that will put even more downward pressure on home prices. There is clear evidence of a contagion discount effect on neighborhood pricing trends due to the impact of nearby foreclosures. In Boulder and Broomfield Counties there are many bank-owned properties which have not hit the market yet.

George Feiger, chief executive officer of Contango Capital Advisors, expects housing prices in our area to continue to fall as more foreclosed homes come on the market. Foreclosures also should rise, he said, not only because of unemployment, but from strategic defaults - people walking away from mortgages that are deeply underwater.
Stay tuned later this week for Part II - Foreclosures and Mortgages!