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SkyNotFallingSo many giggled nervously as they thankfully avoided the end of the world a couple of weeks ago. But judging by the continued “end of the world” type coverage the Case-Schiller housing study got this week, maybe the market is nearing the end.

Yes. that is a joke, but the attention this report gets is amazing. It covers 20 markets, yes only 20, and that is just one of its many flaws. Yet many consider it “the be-all-and-end-all” economic indicator that defines the entire national housing picture. All real estate is local, and it is unfortunate that the reporting on a 20-city “national” index can have such a jarring impact on otherwise rational people.

Look at some of the headlines the other day:

“Home prices at lowest point since 2006 bust”

“Home values continue downward churn”

“No relief in sight’ for falling home prices

And even in paradise – Maui- the front page headline in the paper screamed “Crash Spreads.” And Maui isn’t one of the 20 markets. In fact the nearest market covered is San Diego, a mere 2500 miles away!

Shawn Daly, an agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Evanston, Illinois, had to calm down two skittish buyers this week.

One, who is currently working in Iraq, had initially placed on offer of $450,000 on a lakefront Chicago condo. The sellers countered with a price of $525,000. But after seeing Case-Schiller inspired headlines on the web, Shawn’s client emailed him to ask that he lower his offering price by $50,000. Shawn explained that the sellers did not agree with his first offer so if he went lower he wouldn’t get the home. The buyer calmed down and agreed.

Shawn correctly pointed that the Case-Schiller Home Price Indices are meaningless to individual buyers who are looking at specific houses, on specific streets, in specific neighborhoods.

Then yesterday, Shawn met another client for a tour of potential homes. They hardly said hello without telling Shawn they were more nervous than ever after seeing the report on the news.

A buyer has a right to be nervous, but it can’t be said enough. Now is the smartest time to buy a home if a buyer has the lifestyle reason, financial stability and viability to do so.

And it’s all about “Triple I…P”. Inventory, Interest rates, Incentives and Pricing. Start with inventory, because most communities have seen a rise in the amount of homes on the market, there are more choices. Interest rates for mortgages remain at near-historic lows and have actually trended down over the last 7 weeks, with Freddie Mac reporting 30-year fixed rates now averaging 4.55%. Incentives are the tax advantages to home ownership. And of course, there are prices. Prices are down from mid-decade highs, but in many, many markets are showing stability, slight declines or even increases. Home affordability remains near record levels and the price-to-value proposition in most markets is extremely compelling.

Consumers interested in buying a home, owe it to themselves to contact a real estate agent in the community they are interested in. Look at homes, do a rent vs. buy analysis, explore what is available in your price range.

Don’t just take ANYONE’S word for it. Do your homework.

You might just be surprised that the end of the world isn’t here yet … at least until next month’s report.

It was a busy week for economic news, much of it encouraging. Perhaps the most positive data came out on Friday, showing that U.S. consumers grew more confident in May than a month earlier as declining gasoline prices helped lift Americans’ spirits.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment increased faster than expected to a three-month high of 74.3 from 69.8 in April. Economists had forecast a reading of 72.4, the same as the preliminary figure issued earlier this month, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey.

The upward trend is encouraging for those in the housing market. As real estate people know all too well, consumer confidence plays a critical role in the housing market. If buyers are positive about their job prospects and the overall economy, they’re more likely to take the leap into buying a home or trading up to a larger one.

Also encouraging: U.S. corporate earnings continue to improve. In a new report, Deutsche Bank said that earnings for the first quarter beat analyst median forecast by a full 50%. Earnings for the three-month period surged 18 percent year-over-year, far exceeding the 12 percent expectation at the beginning of the quarter.

This marked the ninth consecutive quarter of sequential earnings growth. Earnings were driven by cyclical sectors such as Materials (up 55 percent), Energy (up 40 percent) and Industrials (34 percent). Altogether, revenues rose by a healthy 9 percent for the quarter, an indication that earnings were not solely driven by cost cutting, a very good sign.

But despite the overall improvement in the economy and the financial markets, the nation’s housing market overall continues to struggle to gain momentum. Pending sales of existing U.S. homes dropped more than expected in April to touch a seven-month low, the National Association of Realtors reported on Friday.

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index dropped 11.6 percent to 81.9 in April, the lowest since September. Pending home sales lead existing home sales by a month or two. Economists, who had expected pending home sales to fall 1.0 percent last month, said bad weather in some parts of the country might have affected home shopping.

So what to make of the mixed bag? Overall, the nation’s economic recovery is moving forward, albeit at a modest pace. Nationally, the housing market is fighting to work through the overhang of foreclosed and distressed properties. It’s not easy, and will take time. But it will happen.

However, more than ever, real estate is about location, location, location. Things are far better here in Colorado. The overall market is much more stable than elsewhere in the nation, and in some pockets, actually fairly robust.

To learn more specifically, take a look at the latest market-by-market report from local offices:

  • Colorado Springs—The market has been steady the last few weeks.  Showings have remained steady during the week but slow on the weekends.  Sales have improved over the past weeks by about 20% as buyers are taking advantage of very low interest rates.  This has caused a decrease in listings, but we expect that to change in the upcoming weeks.
  • Devonshire—Showings and overall activity seem to be increasing in and around the office.  Brokers seem to be very busy with listing preparation and contract preparation. It is a little harder to gauge actual broker activity as our office construction has quite a few of our brokers working from home.
  • Denver Central—Seems to be steady in the downtown Denver area.  However, with FHA mortgage insurance going up on April 18th, it is affecting some of the lower end buyers and what they qualify for.  New listings are slowing down because parts of the foreclosure market are slowing down possibly because some of the banks are holding back some inventory.
  • Larimer County—If Pomp & Circumstance is ringing in your ears – it is certainly drowning out some of the activity here in Fort Collins.  Showings dropped quite a bit in the last two weeks as high schools & colleges captured most of the public’s attention.  While the office is taking more and more listings, the inventory at large is still substantially lower than in previous years creating pressure and limited availability in some price points. Interest rates have remained surprisingly stable in spite of the projected end of the Fed’s Quantitative Easing.  One recent development that Buyers should take advantage of is Coldwell Banker Home Loan’s single premium mortgage insurance option.  On a $210,000 loan using this program, buyers can save in upwards of $100 a month on their mortgage payments as compared to conventional PMI.  That kind of savings can really add up to more buying power!  Contact your local CB branch to get more details!
  • Longmont—The summer busy season has hit the Longmont area.  Buyers are attending graduations, weddings and end of school events.  Showings have taken a dip this last reporting period.  Investors are in the market to purchase.  They are looking at bank owned properties & HUD listings for the most part.  They are shying away from short sales due to the uncertainty of timing associated with those properties.  Appraisals are once again becoming an issue in getting deals done.  It is so true that real estate is local…very local…from one subdivision to another subdivision it can make a world of difference in values.
  • North Metro—Many sellers are preparing their homes to put them on the market now that it is becoming the height of the buying season.  The agents in the office have already listed 60 properties this month.  Due to the competition and number of homes on the market it is so important that sellers ensure their home is staged, the yard pristine & priced correctly for the market.  Open house activity has increased as well. This month the office has already placed 114 homes under contract.  This is a large increase from this time last year.  There have been several agents that put on Neighborhood Garage Sales.  You don’t want to miss these as many homes participate in this great event.  Visit us at the Denver Century Ride on June 11th & 12th at INVESCO Field.
  • Parker—The steady activity and the number of listings over the past few weeks have caused the prices in most neighborhoods to stabilize.  Although Parker is not at a point yet to declare a balanced market, it is visible.  The decline has slowed down and even come to a halt in many areas.  The continuous inclement weather has caused showings to decline slightly.
  • SE Metro—In the full swing of spring the buyers that are out looking for homes, see something they like and meets their needs, they had better get an offer in to the sellers.  Houses that are in good areas & in nice shape are selling very quickly, often with multiple offers. Now is the perfect time to get homes onto the market.  When a new property is listed in the office, there are typically more than five showings in the first week.  The consumers are really realizing that with interest rates at historic lows, now is the time to move forward.  No one can say what interest rates will do going forward.  In the upper end of the market, we are seeing houses going under contract faster than we have seen in some time.  Once again, sellers need to get their homes on the market as soon as possible.  The pent up demand is leading to a shortage of homes available for buyers so prices begin to escalate.  Now is the time!
  • SW Metro—May started out a little slower than April however the office is back on track.  Agents have been very busy with buyers and sellers.  There ar e still buyers actively seeking to buy homes. The office mortgage rep has been very busy these past two weeks, he is seeing a steady flow of buyers ready to buy.  Open houses have been very busy & have provided good leads.  Floor continues to be active. There are homes in the $300,000 to $450,000 range doing very well in the Southwest market.  Interest rates are great and the message is out there that a mortgage is sometimes cheaper than renting.  The Southwest market at this time has been good & it should be a good spring/summer.
  • Denver West—Most likely, fewer showings are due to high school activities, graduations, Mother’s Day and other events in May.  Denver West agents are still very busy listing and selling properties.  Buyer’s now believe the information they received about historically low interest rates, great inventory and low home prices.  Sellers that are priced right are experiencing an offer within a week and two or three times a week we see multiple offers on properties.
  • Loveland—It was great to have showing activity return to normal.  Sellers are realizing this is the time to put their homes on the market.  Potential sellers are asking for full service realtors.  They know that marketing their property is best done by a professional.  New home activity is picking up.  Builders are once again selling from model homes & offering quick build times.  There is activity in Loveland by businesses ready to service the companies that will be associated with the ACE project.  It is an exciting time in Loveland and Northern Colorado.

CLICK HERE to see the video(the Coldwell Banker segment of the video begins around 35 seconds)

Coldwell Banker Real Estate, the undisputed leader in real estate innovation, continues to get recognition from the biggest players in business and technology – today, it’s Google once again!

Coldwell Banker is currently one of the first companies to work with Google on a new form of advertising that incorporates video into ads on tablet devices.

A Google press release was distributed this morning about the ads that mention Coldwell Banker – AND – Coldwell Banker was featured, along with current movie blockbuster Thor, in a demo video.

CLICK HEREto read an article about the ads

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