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Last Updated:
October 16, 2009

August 2009 Summit County Real Estate.Net Notices

Summit County Sales statistics: This has been, and continues to be, a difficult and challenging real estate market; however, overall transactions are up 35.37% and overall consideration is up 43.51% indicating average sales prices are up.

Single Family Home sales are up significantly in the Silverthorne-Dillon and Breckenridge areas and Condominium sales remaining strong in Breckenridge and Keystone.

NAR Deputy Chief Lobbyist Visiting Mountain REALTORS? This Week

On Tuesday and Wednesday this week, NAR's Deputy Chief Lobbyist will be visiting Summit County, Vail, Steamboat and Glenwood in a whirlwind tour speaking to the local REALTOR? associations and answering questions. He will be speaking about NAR's efforts on mortgage reform, the Home Valuation Code of Conduct, health care reform, and energy labeling legislation. This is a very exciting and special event. Jamie will be speaking to the SAR membership on Tuesday, August 11th, from 4:30 -6:30 P.M. at Beaver Run in Breckenridge. The event is a cocktail reception and will include a drink and 1 CE credit. If you have not RSVP'd, please call the SAR office ASAP!

Breckenridge Town Council Rescinds Defensible Space Ordinance

The Breckenridge Town Council has rescinded a newly approved ordinance that would have required home and landowners to create a firebreak and ?defensible space? around their homes. The ordinance was approved by the council in June over concerns of wildfires in Breckenridge. One council member said it was not a matter of ?if? there will be wildfires in Breckenridge, but ?when? there will be fires. The ordinance required that property owners clear fuel on the ground and cut down some trees within 30 feet of the house. The ordinance would not have required residents to ?clear cut? trees. The fire department had planned to work with residents to determine mitigation plans for each property. The ordinance came under fire by a local citizen group called the ?Committee to Rescind Ordinance 15?, argued the law infringes upon their property rights and that the scientific evidence for defensible space isn't sufficient enough to make it mandatory. Once the group gathered enough signatures to send the ordinance to a November ballot, the council decided to rescind the ordinance and make the effort ?voluntary? to avoid wasting time and energy educating residents.

Eagle County Building Permit ?Holiday? Ends On Friday

The Eagle County Building Department is giving residents doing ?small scale? home improvements a building permit ?holiday? by waiving the first $500 of building and plan review fees for improvement projects to single family and duplex residences. The waiver of fees will be applied to permits pulled from July 15th to August 15th. The permits will be valid for 180 days and only apply to properties in unincorporated Eagle County.


Do a seach for Goldman Sachs: The Great American Bubble Machine

This will bring up pages that are easier to read.

I know that Goldman Sachs threw obscene amounts of money at the Obama campaign. He then brought former Goldman Sachs people in to be senior players in his administration. Goldman Sachs was/is/will-continue-to-be one of the biggest recipients of TARP/Stimulus/Bailout (TREASON!) funds. And Goldman Sachs has played a key role in pushing the Cap and Trade bill. The plan is to create a whole new derivatives bubble based on carbon credits.



 Rate Review

In Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Mkt Survey (for the week ending June 19) in which the 30-yr fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) avg. 5.38%, down from last week when it avg. 5.59%. Last year at this time, the 30-yr FRM avg. 6.42%.

The 15-yr FRM avg. 4.89%, down from last week when it avg. 5.06%. A year ago at this time, the 15-yr FRM avg. 6.02%.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) avg. 4.97%, down from last week when it avg. 5.17%. A year ago, the 5-yr ARM avg. 5.89%.

One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs avg. 4.95%, down from last week when it avg. 5.04%. At this time last year, the 1-yr ARM avg. 5.19%.

The see-sawing motion between Stocks and Bonds will likely be seen during the coming week, as there is plenty of action ahead. After last week's look at the new construction piece of the housing market, we'll get more information on housing this week with Tuesday's Existing Home Sales Report and Wednesday's New Home Sales Report.

Also on Wednesday we will get an update on consumer and business consumption and buying behavior via the Durable Goods Report, which shows data on items that are non-disposable, such as cars, furniture, appliances, games, cameras, business equipment, etc. Thursday brings a read on the economy with the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Report, which is the broadest measure of economic activity. Also on Thursday is the weekly Initial Jobless Claims report. Last week's report showed that continuing claims fell by 148,000 to 6.69 million, which is the largest one-week drop since November of 2001. Jobs are vital to the economy strengthening, so it will be important to see what this week's report indicates.

This week we also have the Fed's next regularly scheduled Federal Open Market Committee meeting, followed by their Policy Statement and Interest Rate Decision coming on Wednesday afternoon. It will be important to hear the Fed's comments on the economy and inflation. And speaking of the Fed and inflation, the Fed's favorite gauge of inflation, the Core Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) index found within the Personal Income Report, will be released on Friday.


A PERPETUAL SEE-SAW. That sentiment was especially true in the world of Stocks and Bonds last week, as money see-sawed back and forth between the two markets, halting the improvement that Bonds and home loan rates mustered up in the first part of the week.

Bonds and home loan rates began the week looking good - and remembering that inflation is bad news for both Bonds and rates, they were helped along by good news on the inflation front. Inflation at the wholesale or producer level remained tame in May, and at a consumer level, inflation readings came in lower than expected, with a year-over-year reading at its lowest level since 1950. These are good signs that inflation hasn't become an issue yet. However, inflation will be a concern down the road, due to the massive stimulus being injected into the economy. It is said that rates are like a boat floating atop the sea of inflation rises, so will home loan rates. If you or someone you know should be acting on today's still low home loan rates, please get in touch soon.

Also helping Bonds rally in the early part of last week was the fact that the New York State manufacturing index came in weaker than estimates, indicating that the US economy is still very weak. And since bad economic news often causes money to flow from Stocks into Bonds, this piece of news helped Bonds start the week on an improving trend.

However, Bonds and home loan rates reversed course midweek and worsened, as money see-sawed back over to Stocks. They were also pressured to worsen by the enormous amount of Bond supply hitting the markets - as too much supply of anything will naturally cause the price to move lower...and in this case, has caused home loan rates to move higher.


They say no news is good news. But perhaps the more important question this week is will the Fed's news from their latest Federal Open Market Committee Meeting be good news for rates and the economy? Here's what you need to know.

Last week, the Fed released their Interest Rate and Policy Statement after their latest regularly-scheduled meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee. While there was speculation ahead of time that the Fed may decide to buy more longer-term Treasuries, which could jumpstart the cycle needed to eventually bring home loan rates down, the Fed did not make any changes to the Fed Funds Rate or their Bond purchase program. The one change from the prior meeting's statement was that the Fed now does not see deflation as a risk. While this is good news, it also means that there could be a real threat of inflation down the road. And remember, inflation is bad for Bonds and home loan rates, so this could have a big impact on rates in the longer term!

There was good news in the Personal Income Report as personal income rose in June by its biggest gain in over a year. The increase in income led to higher consumer spending and savings in June. Spending rose for the first time in three months, while the savings rate climbed to its highest level since December 1993 as the chart below shows.

Keep in mind that a high savings rate is a double-edged sword ... it's good to see people saving, but spending is the lifeblood of a strong economy.

The Durable Goods Report also brought good news, as did Consumer Sentiment, which was better than expected. Durable Orders came in better than expected for May, led by orders for airplanes and machinery. Although one report doesn't make a trend, the reading is encouraging and may signal that the economic slump is starting to ease.

But there was still disappointing news on the housing and job market fronts. Both New and Existing Home Sales came in below expectations and Initial Jobless Claims came in a bit worse than expected, indicating that the job market continues to be weak and slow in stabilizing.

After all the news of the week, Bonds and rates managed to break above important technical levels to end the week .25 percent better than where they began with a little help from some solid Treasury auction results.

Forecast for the Week

A holiday-shortened week is ahead, but that doesn't mean there won't be any news. Tuesday's Consumer Confidence Report will show us how consumers are behaving based on recent economic news and may indicate if increased consumer spending is likely to continue.

There will also be important news to note in Thursday's Jobs Report for June, especially given the mix of good and bad news in May's Report. On the good side, the number of Jobs lost in May was much lower than expected. However, the unemployment rate (which is determined from a different survey) came in higher than expected.

As mentioned above, last week's Initial Jobless Claims were worse than expected, so this week's report will be interesting to see.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result. As you can see in the chart below, Bonds and rates were able to break above an important level with help from the Treasury auctions. I'll be watching to see if Bonds and rates are able to remain above this level and improve further.


Regarding MLS #S364839:

It is on the third floor and there is no elevator. And, I am afraid that I have other concerns about this one.

First, I do not think that it would rent very well on a short-term basis.  This is more of a long-term rental as local's housing.  I have left a couple of messages to try to find out more about the rental potential here and will post what I discover. For the most part, the better rental properties are on the ski area (West) side of Main Street.  This one is on the other (East) side of Main Street.

Also, I have my doubts about the price.  The high sale in this building is $268K on 9/30/2008 for a condo of the same size.  This one is remodeled nicely but priced over 20% higher than that high sale, it is probably not a very good value.

Condo-tel is a property type that requires a specialized lender and I suggest that you mention that you are considering such a property to any lender that you speak with.  Beaver Run, The Village, Main Street Station, River Mountain Lodge, and Mountain Thunder Lodge are just some of the properties that fall into this category and these are also some of the better rental properties in Summit County.

Pre-qualification is always a good idea and your lender will be able to advise you better than I as to whether or not you should lock in a rate.  The following page shows rates on a slight decline recently:

All management companies will work with property owners to rent the properties around owner use.  Most companies will require a 30 to 90 notification to guarantee availability.  But if a property is not booked anyway, owners can typically block off the property at any time.  And even if the property is booked, management companies will usually try to find the guest other accommodations so that owners can use their properties.



As a valued Land Title Customer, you are invited to attend

The July Land Title Guarantee Company Coffee Break

Presented by

Land Title Guarantee Company & The Law Firm of Bauer & Burns, P.C.

Homeowner Association Law 101

Bauer & Burns, P.C.

Topics include:

1. Introduction to HOA laws (Applicability of CCIOA, electing CCIOA, Colorado Condominium Ownership Act)

2. Introduction to governing documents and basic terminology (common element, limited common element, unit, assessment, plat, special declarant rights, development rights, condominium, planned community);

3. Principles of managing an HOA (HOA records, quorums, proxies, openness, notices, consent in lieu, executive sessions, voting, adopting the budget, etc.)

4. Association powers and responsibilities, and handling homeowner disputes (restrictive covenants, rules and regulations, assessments, fines, liens, powers of the association, responsible governance policies, statutes of limitation, attorney fees);

5. Board member liability (D&O insurance, individual liability, fidelity insurance, conflicts of interest);

6. Common HOA problems and how to avoid them

a. Holiday decorations and patriotic displays;

b. Amendments to covenants;

c. Renovation projects (special assessments, obsolescence, conflicts);

d. How to deal with rentals;

e. Architectural review;

7. New developments

a. Fannie Mae financing of condominiums (reserves, insurance, dues)

b. Recent changes in the law

c. Dealing with a unit in foreclosure

When: Thursday, July 30, 2009 10:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.

Where: Mount Royal Room, Frisco, County Commons Building, 0037 County Road, in Frisco (same building as the main branch of the Summit County Library)

Space is limited for this Coffee Break to 45 customers. Please R.S.V.P. Light Refreshments will be sponsored by Land Title Guarantee Company.



Just a reminder that all Managing Brokers will need to sign up for List Hub by Friday as this is the target date to switch over to List Hub exclusively.

In an effort to allow control of our membership's listing data to be with the broker, as of July 31, 2009 the Summit MLS will no longer be sending your listing data to  We have made arrangements with our listing syndication company, ListHub, to provide this service to you directly. 
In order for your listings to be posted on, your Managing Broker will need to sign up with ListHub and if they choose, click the button.   In order for ListHub to work for associate brokers, the Managing Broker of the office must first enable ListHub. 

Danielle Parent from Listhub has sent a letter to all Managing Brokers with a detailed explanation of how to sign up for Listhub and what to do if you have already signed up.  In addition, the SAR office can provide help along with the Listhub help desk.    

Once the button is selected in ListHub, you will never need to select it again for your listings to be submitted to, if at some point to choose not to send to or other sites in the listhub family just unselect them. 

ListHub also offers a service where you can get detailed reporting on the hits from the websites where your listings have been submitted.  This service is valuable for determining which websites are giving your listings the best exposure.



S366115, S36647, S361081 -  $28,161 Average for this property type in '08
S366126 - $19,667 in '08
S366623 - Not rented.  $14,264 3/07 - 3/08 for a comparable condo.  Details attached.
S366846 - Long term rented at $1,350 / month.

These are gross figures and short term rental companies typically keep 40% to 45% of the gross rents as their fee.

I can often get other rental histories, or at least rental company estimates, on a case by case basis as we narrow down your preferences.

Let me know how I can be of further assistance.


 There is very promising evidence that the government is now starting to direct their buying power in the lower coupon range.    Why haven't rates dropped more?

Three reasons why rates haven't been affected too much:

-As rates drop, the value of existing servicing portfolios decline due to higher potential that loans will pay off early.

-Large whole loan purchasers (our investors) offset losses from their existing servicing portfolio with lower servicing values on new business.  In other words, our prices do not reflect the full value of servicing that we would typically get in a normal market environment.

-Large foreign investors/banks have been selling Mortgage Backed Securities just as quickly as the Fed has been buying them.  As a result, simple supply-side economics have not forced higher prices/lower rates.

Will rates go lower?

If they go lower, it won't be much lower than today's rates.  And when will it drop, if it does?    On the fence and can’t decide?   You may be trying to jump over a quarter to save a dime.  The longer you wait for the ‘bottom’, the longer you are paying your higher rate of interest.  The longer you wait to buy, the greater your chances of missing historic low rates.


There's no time like the present, so the famous saying goes. And that's certainly true when it comes to the good inflation news we saw last week. But, remember, things with inflation could change in the future as the economy continues to try to climb out of the recession...which could have a negative impact on Bonds and home loan rates. Here's what you need to know.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for July was unchanged, and, as you can see in the chart below, the year-over-year CPI fell 2.1%, the largest 12-month decline since 1950.

There was also good news on inflation last week from the Labor Department. Worker Productivity came in better than expected, rising at its fastest pace in 6 years, as companies cut costs and try to maximize output from their current workforce. This efficiency helps curb inflation, which is good for Bonds and home loan rates.

So how does this news tie in with the economy overall? For one thing, consider last week's Retail Sales Report, which showed that Retail Sales dropped in July by 0.1%, well below the 0.8% gain that was expected. This report negated the better than expected Wal-Mart second quarter earnings report and signals that consumers are still saving more than spending.

Although low consumer spending may seem like a bad thing, it is actually not such bad news in terms of inflation because of a little known (and rarely discussed) but critical facet of the economy called the velocity of money.

The velocity of money concept is simple. It goes like this: when you buy a pair of shoes, the owner of the shoe store takes that profit and buys a big screen TV, then the TV store owner buys something else, etc. The same dollar passes through the economy over and over again, triggering growth, jobs and, ultimately, inflation. The latest Retail Sales Report tells us that the velocity of money effect has been stagnant...that shoe store owner is not running out to buy a big screen TV with the profits. Once consumer spending begins to increase and the velocity of money increases, inflation is likely to follow. This will be something to look for as the economy continues to stabilize.

Something else to look for is the approaching end of the Fed's Bond purchase program. Home loan rates have stayed historically low since the program began in January. So, this is another variable that could push Bonds down and home loan rates up in the future.

Bonds and rates did manage to end last week better than where they began, but there was a great deal of volatility along the way. Give me a call if you want to look at your situation and see if now is the time for you to act.

Forecast for the Week

While there will be a break in the Fed Treasury auctions this week, there will still be plenty of news that could affect the markets. Tuesday will bring more inflation news in the form of the Producer Price Index (PPI), which provides information about wholesale level price changes. We'll also get a read on the housing market with Tuesday's Housing Starts and Building Permits Report as well as Friday's Existing Home Sales Report.

Thursday brings both the Philadelphia Fed Report, which is one of the most-watched manufacturing reports overall, as well as the Initial Jobless Claims Report. We have seen three weeks of readings under 600,000 claims after 22 consecutive weeks of readings over that level. However, it may be that those numbers have dropped as a result of Claims benefits expiring, rather than people finding employment.


Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, It's Off to Work We Go! If ever there was a week to sing that old Disney song, it was last week when Americans received some good employment news. Despite a worse-than-expected ADP National Employment report - which isn't known for its accuracy - the Initial Jobless Claims report came in on Thursday with some good news. According to the report, Americans filing for unemployment benefits came in at 550,000, versus the 580,000 expected. In addition, the four-week moving average declined for the sixth consecutive week.

The markets received more evidence of an improving job market on Friday. The Labor Department reported 247,000 jobs lost in July versus economists' expectations of 328,000 jobs lost. As you can see in the chart below, this is down pretty sharply from June's lower, revised 443,000 jobs lost and the smallest loss since August 2008. Even better, the Unemployment Rate dropped to 9.4%, from the prior month's reading of 9.5%. This reading broke a streak of 9 straight monthly increases and gave a lot of credibility to the good news in the job market.

The employment news is good news for the economy because it may signal that the worst recession in our lifetime could be ending. That said, the Obama Administration agreed on Friday that we're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but cautioned that the country still has a lot further to go and that the US will not have a true recovery as long as job losses continue.

A stronger job market can also signal improvement in the housing market. We saw indication of that last week as the Pending Home Sales Index came in at 3.6%, which was much better than the 0.7% that was expected. The National Association of Realtors also reported that Pending Home Sales rose in June for the fifth straight month, fueled by low home loan rates and bargain home prices. Overall, the news was a strong indication that the housing market may be looking to improve.

Overall, the economic news helped boost Stocks, as the Dow gained 114 points to close the week at its highest level of the year. The economic news and increase in Stocks last week, however, put pressure on Bonds, which ended the week lower, putting upward pressure on home loan rates.

Forecast for the Week

The Retail Sales Report comes out this Thursday, giving us our first picture of consumer spending for the month of July. Last month's report came in better than expectations at 0.6%, but that number was slightly skewed by the high gasoline station sales. This month's reading is expected to come in at 0.4%. With this report, we will see, among other things, how much impact the government's Cash for Clunkers program has had on the retail picture.

Another big mover this week could be the Consumer Price Index, which is due out on Friday. Last month's report showed that the cost of living in the US rose more than forecast, due largely to a jump in energy costs. Overall, core inflation remained in the Fed's comfort zone, but that didn't stop inflation concerns from becoming a hot topic. And for good reason - when lenders see changes in inflation or even anticipate a rise, they may increase their interest rates to make up for the losses they expect. With concerns already out there, lenders and investors will be watching this report closely.

In addition to these reports, the Treasury's record auction of $75 Billion worth of 3-year and 10-year Notes could shake things up. The markets will definitely be paying attention to how the auction is received. Why? Let's look at it this way, the flood of auctions lately has been like an all-you-can-eat buffet of Treasury securities - as fast as the offerings can be bought, the Treasury keeps refilling the bowls with a seemingly endless amount of supply. In the end, investor appetites may slow down as more and more supply just keeps on coming. Should that happen, higher rates may be needed to induce further buying. I will keep an eye on this situation this week and keep you posted.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result. As you can see in the chart below, Mortgage Bonds traded sharply lower due to strong Pending Home Sales, the announcement of another Treasury auction, and better-than-expected employment news.



INFLATION, ALL WE NEVER WANTED...! Or so the Go-Go's song "Vacation - All I Ever Wanted" could have been re-written this week, as whispers and glimmers of future inflation as well as some positive economic news roiled the Bond market. Overall, home loan rates worsened by about .25% across the board.

Inflation at both the wholesale and consumer level came in hotter than expected via the Producer Price Index (PPI) and Consumer Price Index (CPI) reports, the latter shown in the chart below. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by more than expected, and was the biggest increase in a year, mostly due to higher gasoline prices.

However, a look back over the past year shows a drop in overall CPI of 1.4%...why is this? It was a year ago that a barrel of oil was $147, and today that barrel stands at $60, up from the $30 range seen earlier this year. But even when stripping out food and energy, the most recent Core CPI rose 0.2%, higher than the 0.1% anticipated - and year-over-year, Core CPI prices were up 1.7% after rising 1.8% in the 12 months ended in May. On the wholesale side, even excluding volatile food and fuel prices, Core PPI rose quite a bit more than anticipated as well. And remember, inflation is bad for Bonds and home loan rates. If this trend continues, it could have a big impact on rates later this year.

In other news, second quarter earnings season continued, including some highlights from the financial sector. Several companies reported strong earnings, including tech bellwether Intel; JP Morgan Chase, who reported a 36% jump in profits for the second quarter; and Goldman Sachs, reporting blowout earnings. Although some of the positive headlines helped Stocks, at the expense of Bonds and therefore home loan rates, overall the week's earnings reports indicated the economic climate is still difficult.

And this difficulty was seen on the retail front - and even though Retail Sales rose slightly higher than expectations, overall department stores and restaurants still showed weak results, signaling that consumers remain hesitant to spend discretionary dollars.

Forecast for the Week

It's a quiet week ahead when it comes to scheduled economic reports, but that doesn't mean the volatility will quiet down. Keep a look out on Thursday for the Existing Home Sales Report for a read on the housing market. Last week showed a decent Housing Starts number, so it will be interesting to see if Existing Home Sales shows some good news for the Housing Market.

Also on Thursday, another Initial Jobless Claims report will be released. Last week, first time claims for unemployment benefits dropped by 47,000 to the lowest level since January. However, the reading is somewhat distorted by shifts in the timing of auto plant shutdowns. Usually plants would shut down in July, meaning last week's unemployment claims number would usually have been higher, but the shutdown process was accelerated due to the bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler. Therefore, the seasonal adjustment makes this number look rosier than it really is.

In addition, earnings season continues with important reports from Legg Mason, Coca Cola, Dupont, Apple, Wells Fargo, Pepsi, eBay, and Xerox among others...and if these reports are good, Stocks could continue to improve, at the expense of Bonds and home loan rates.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result. As you can see in the chart below, Bonds and rates worsened on the heels of a rally in Stocks. I'll be watching to see if Bonds can remain above key support, which would help home loan rates stabilize. As always, I encourage you to give me a call to discuss how the current rate environment might benefit you.


There are new appraisal guidelines that went into effect for Fannie and Freddie Mac loans. This occurred 5/1/2009.

Now starting at the end of the month there will be new regulations for lenders which can affect Closing dates. below are the new rules and regs for your review.

Basically,  if a Buyer that is getting a mortgage they need to schedule closing at least 30 days out and preferably 45 days.   Lenders can only collect a credit report fee for the initial meeting then they have to give the buyer disclosure docs for the loan before ordering an appraisal.  The Buyer must get a copy of the appraisal at least 3 days prior to closing.  They also must receive copies of a truth in lending  disclosure at least 3 days prior to closing.  If the mortgage docs change by 1/8 th of a point a new truth in lending statement must be issued 3 days prior to closing.   

As you can see, the Closing can be delayed past the closing date if the lender makes mistakes, the appraiser doesn't appraise in time.   So, Buyers might want to start adding a lender delay clause to of their Contracts that have new loans to extend the closing date.


100% FINANCING – USDA rural development loans are a great way to buy a home!  No monthly mortgage insurance, high qualifying debt ratio, excellent fixed rate pricing.  Buyers do not have to be first-timers to use this program. We do the underwriting and closing.

FHA FINANCING – Home pricing into the mid-700s is still available in 2009 for high-cost counties.  Primary home purchases with high qualifying debt ratio, excellent rates!  We have been FHA lenders for over 20 years and know this product.

CONDOTEL FINANCING – We have an investor that will do true condotels as well as the properties that ‘look’ like condotel (short-term rentals online etc.)

COMMERCIAL SPACE/RESIDENTIAL SPACE – Properties that exceed the agency guidelines for amount of commercial space in a building are capable of financing with one of our investors.



This initiative aims at providing help to individual families as well as entire neighborhoods by helping reduce foreclosures and stabilize home prices. It is intended to help homeowners who are struggling to afford their mortgage payments, but cannot sell their homes because prices have fallen significantly.
The goal of this initiative is simple: "reduce the amount homeowners owe per month to sustainable levels." To accomplish this, lenders are encouraged to lower homeowners' payments to 31% of their income by lowering their interest rate to as low as 2% or by extending the terms of the loan. In addition, lenders can also lower the principal owed by the borrower, with Treasury sharing in the costs.

In other news, the House of Representatives passed President Obama's $819B stimulus package, by a vote of 244-188, being split fairly cleanly by party lines. Existing Home Sales did surprisingly come in a bit better than expected, but 4th Quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers showed the economy contracted in the 4th quarter. While the numbers were better than estimates, the economy was still at its slowest pace in 26 years.

Last week was indeed action packed, and Bonds and home loan rates felt the effect, with rates ending the week about .25% worse than where they began.


There was some unexpected good news last Thursday, as Retail Sales increased in January for the first time in 7 months, as you can see in the chart below. It could take some time for the Stimulus Plan to positively impact the economy, but if it works, the improvement in Retail Sales could continue later in the year.


Rate Review
In Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Mkt Survey (for the week ending February 13) in which the 30-yr fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) avg. 5.16%, down from last week when it avg. 5.25%. Last year at this time, the 30-yr FRM avg. 5.72%.

The 15-yr FRM avg. 4.81%, down from last week when it avg. 4.92%. A year ago at this time, the 15-yr FRM avg. 5.25%.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) avg. 5.23%, down from last week when it avg. 5.26%. A year ago, the 5-yr ARM avg. 5.19%.

One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs avg. 4.94%, up from last week when it avg. 4.92%. At this time last year, the 1-yr ARM avg. 5.00%.


In case you were not aware the Town of Breckenridge is proposing a Neighborhood Preservation Policy. This policy may affect the value of your mountain real estate. There has been some public comment and limited public notification on this topic. Attached is the Town of Breckenridge Neighborhood Policy fact sheet and a memo from the Planning Staff for the Town council meeting on Feb 10 2009. If you want to attend the council work session to hear the Staff's presentation to the Town Council you must be at Breckenridge Town Hall from 4:30-5:30 and then again at 7:30 pm for 3 minutes of public comment.

The Fed's been at it again, offering words that sound encouraging at first blush, confirming that their buying program of Mortgage Backed Securities is in full swing and will continue as needed. Of course, the media has and will pick this up and offer their own interpretation, saying "Good news, the Fed's words on continuing their purchasing program mean that rates will continue to drop lower, and remain low into the summer..." But is this really what that means? Not so.

Here's the truth.
Yes, the Fed has been buying Mortgage Bonds, but if you look at what they are purchasing, they are buying a lot of FNMA 30-yr 5.5% and 5.0% Bonds...which won't have much of an impact on present interest rates.

Last week I promised to keep you all informed with any developments with LandAmerica and our title & escrow operations in Summit County. For those who may have missed this information due to the Thanksgiving Holiday I wanted to be sure you are kept informed as well.

Fantastic news was released last week announcing that Fidelity National Financial will purchase LandAmerica’s principal title operations. Lawyers Title Insurance Corporation (this is us) and Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company are the entities involved in this transaction.

As I discuss this situation with clients, their concerns are focused on our ability to hold earnest money and the effectiveness of our title insurance policies.

As of November 26th, 2008 Lawyers Title Insurance Corporation and Fidelity National Financial signed a reinsurance agreement by which all Lawyers Title Insurance Corporation policies will be honored and backed by the financial strength of Fidelity National Financial. Please see the attached “FNF News 2008” document.

I will continue to provide any and all information as it becomes available. Please see the attached document and article from The Florida Times-Union. Please contact me with any questions, requests or concerns.

Support from the real estate community has been tremendous and I thank you all for that!


Great news! ListHub has added to our network for listing syndication (distribution) for members of the Summit Association of REALTORS   The option is available effective immediately.  Details on participation follow.

If you have a ListHub account, and selected “subscribe to all,” your listings will be automatically sent to!  There is no action needed.
If you have a ListHub account, and did NOT select “subscribe to all,” you will need to log in to your ListHub account and select as a channel if you would like your listings to appear there.
If you have not yet created a ListHub account and would like to syndicate your listings to or 30 other national sites available through ListHub, simply go to and click 'create account' in the top right corner.  Follow the simple on screen prompts and you will then be notified by email with further instructions to activate your account. 
As always, the syndication of your listings using ListHub is absolutely free.  ListHub has an optional upgrade that will provide detailed reports with important data about the effectiveness of your online marketing efforts for a nominal fee.  The reports include information such as the number of views, click-throughs, and inquiries received from your ListHub syndication, as well as information on performance by property category and agent.  Please note that data is not available in the ListHub reports at this time.

For more information about ListHub, visit  For information about the upgrade, visit or contact our ListHub representative:


Summit Association of REALTORS Brokers and Marketing Managers:

ListHub is unlike other services that advertise your listings on the Internet.  Here’s how:

1)   Accuracy/No data entry: ListHub has a direct connection with your MLS, which means there is no data entry required.

2)   Branding: Listings sent to these sites include your company logo

3)   Breadth and Exposure: ListHub sends listings to a broad range of websites.  Different listings get different levels of consumer traffic on different sites, meaning that breadth of exposure is important!  Your online click reports will show you how well you are doing

4)   Control: Broker decides on what listings are sent to what destinations! Your Internet marketing strategy is a decision that you should be able to make.

5)   Upgrade: You also have the option to upgrade your account to include broker reports, individual agent log-in, and individual seller reports!  Simply log-in to your account and select the upgrade button.


The best part of your website, of course, is that it was so easy to find! Almost any search got your website pulled up - which is quite a feat in itself, believe me. I believe my search was +Dillon Colorado +real estate  which normally would bring a ton of those generic national websites up - and which I promptly dismiss - but when I noticed a 'real' realty - yours - I took a look at it.
Your site is especially helpful because it lists all the MLS properties, and very good search features - I can drool all I want over the Vail properties that are 3 bedroom 2 bath, but that is not realistic (financially) for me. So I don't want to go thru pages of expensive listings; I want to do a search that is geared toward my needs and abilities.
By the way, on that subject, I just wanted to say that I have fallen in love with the town of Dillon - away from the main resorts, yet close enough to be right there. And the Dillon Reservoir is of special interest; (I'm more your summer CO person, actually).  Having lived here in drought-stricken Texas (near Fort Worth), I would love a change to the mountains and a wonderful view of a lake and water sports.
Another plus to your website (getting back to that) is that you offer plenty of links and information about the area; I think your website is one of the most useful by far that I have seen when one is searching realtor sites.
Having said all that, I want to let you know that while my main residence will always be Texas, I do want (or hope) to buy a condo in Dillon eventually so that I can have two residences - I work online fulltime, so that is workable, and there is a fulltime business partner in the dog rescue organization I run, so it would be no problem to be off for a few months at a time in a blissful small condo with no barking dogs. (smile!) since there are people here in Texas working with my organization  (I've been in rescue 30 years; I do want to 'retire' from it somewhat).  That is another thing I love about Dillon: I was lucky enough to be there last summer (2008) for the pet fest at the Marina and see that Dillon and indeed, that whole area - Summit County - is extremely pet friendly and outdoor-friendly (of course!) and that is what made me fall in love with the place more than any other location in the U.S.
Well, you got more than you bargained for in this long-winded e-mail, but I do appreciate your response, and wanted to let you know that I am interested in Dillon, I do not have hundreds of thousands to spend, but I do hope to be able to invest in a condo - say, with a view something like this: (attached).   That's not asking too much, right?  I know we can make anything happen if we want it badly enough.  :)


"ENERGY AND PERSISTENCE CONQUER ALL THINGS." Benjamin Franklin. And indeed, Bonds and home loan rates definitely showed some serious energy and persistence this week, despite some serious headwinds, including additional supply flooding the market from this week's big Treasury auctions.

The Treasury unloaded an enormous supply of paper onto the markets this week...and remember, anytime there is more supply than demand, it means prices will naturally decline. And when Bonds are concerned, when prices decline, home loan rates go up. The heavy supply hitting the market caused some wild volatility for rates midweek, but overall home loan rates managed to find some improvement by the end of the week. However, it won't be long before another enormous supply of Treasuries comes on the market. In just two weeks, we'll be looking at a fresh round of auctions...and the size of those auctions will be announced on August 5th. This announcement date of August 5th, and the following week's auction dates of the 11th, 12th and 13th will probably have high volatility and provide a headwind for Bonds. It used to be that the dates of economic news would be circled on the calendar as the ones to watch for greater movement in Bond prices...but right now, the supply issue has become so important that it now may be the most dominant current factor in Bond pricing and home loan rates.

In other news, Advanced Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the 2nd Quarter came in better than expected, while the 1st Quarter GDP was revised lower. GDP measures the total market value of all final goods and services produced in a country in a given year. Overall, GDP has fallen four quarters in a row for the first time since government records started in 1947. The report also showed consumer spending is down, as consumer savings increased to the highest level since 1998.

However, there are continuing signs that the economy is stabilizing. First, the widely looked at Case/Shiller Home Price Index for May showed that home price declines in the 20 largest US cities appear to be moderating. This most recent report was the best reading in nearly twelve months, and the first month-over-month improvement in three years. Combining this report with the last few months improved Existing and New Home Sales Reports gives us reason to be more optimistic on housing, and a reason to feel that home prices are nearing a bottom for most of the country.


Forecast for the Week

Looking forward, there will be some big news to both kick off and wrap up the week. Tuesday brings the Fed's favorite gauge of inflation, the Core Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) index, which is found within the Personal Income Report. Remember, inflation is the archenemy of Bonds and home loan rates, and if this report shows inflation is on the rise, it could dampen the improvement that Bonds and home loan rates mustered up last week.

To end the week, Friday will bring the ever-important Jobs Report. Last month's numbers showed that the Labor Department reported 467,000 jobs lost in the month of June, far worse than expectations of 365,000. The report also showed that the Unemployment Rate rose to 9.5%, its highest level since August of 1983. We will have to see if the numbers for July add to speculation that we could be looking at a jobless recovery.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result. As you can see in the chart below, Bonds prices have improved quite a bit since the middle of June, helping home loan rates improve - but as inflation rises, rates will rise too. Don't miss the next article on why inflation causes rates to rise, and what you should do.

The Mortgage Market View...



If you've seen the news lately, you know concerns about inflation are increasing. But what does this really mean to you?

Let's start with what it means in general. The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines inflation as the "upward price movement of goods and services in an economy." There are a variety of indices that measure different aspects of inflation-including the Consumer Price Index, whose latest reading showed that the cost of living in the US rose more than forecast due largely to a jump in energy costs.

The fact is that inflation is a very serious issue that many traders, legislators and lenders are concerned about because it will likely be on the rise as 2009 proceeds.

How Does Inflation Impact Interest Rates...and Why?

The bottom line is that as inflation increases, home loan rates will rise too. That's because lenders know that a rise in inflation actually diminishes the value of the money they receive over the life of a loan, as the money they receive for payment simply won't go as far. So when they see changes in inflation or even anticipate a rise, they increase their interest rates to make up for the loss in future buying power that will happen as a result of inflation.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has included a CPI inflation calculator on its website. This easy-to-use calculator allows you to see how much your money was worth in an earlier period-and vice versa. Simply type in an amount of money, select the years you want to compare, and hit the "calculate" button. The results are instantaneous...and may surprise you!

For instance, did you know that $33.66 in 1979 had the same buying power as $100 in 2009? That's a huge change in the last 30 years. This is a great way to see how inflation impacts your buying power. You can even use the CPI inflation calculator to have a discussion with children about inflation...and show them how much the value of a dollar has changed over the years.

What Should You Do?

Work with a home loan professional who pays close attention to what's going on with inflation-not only with the reports that come out, but also with the rumors and concerns that legislators and lenders express. After all, lenders may raise rates to protect their money as soon as they feel the tide turning.

More importantly...if you or any of your family, friends, neighbors or co-workers have been considering a purchase or refinance, this is a great time to act as home loan rates could be on the rise. The good news is that home loan rates are still near multi-year lows and present a great opportunity for those people who act quickly.



Summit County Chamber Closes Its Doors

Last Thursday, the Summit County Chamber of Commerce announced
it let go all three of its staff members because of economic
hardship. While the Chamber is adamant they are not closing
their doors permanently, all of the work will now be
member-driven. The Board of Directors is working on a
restructuring plan and is evaluating how much membership
involvement they can get to keep services to its members at a
sustainable level. The Chamber is 95% driven by member dues and
lost $45,000 this year from non-renewals.

Steamboat REALTORS Send Warning To Morrison Creek Water Board &
County Commissioners

Late last week, the Steamboat Springs Board of REALTORS SSBR)
sent a letter to the Morrison Creek Water District (MCWD) and
the Routt County Commissioners warning the officials that SSBR
had contracted premier land use attorneys to evaluate and advise
SSBR on the MCWD's proposal to severely cut sewer vault permits
In Stagecoach. The water district's proposal would cut the
number of available sewer vault permits from 600 to 30 for
2009-2010. All permits would be eliminated by 2011. SSBR is very
concerned that with no access to sewer, the 1500 lots in
Stagecoach would be significantly devalued. There is also
concern that if the properties were devalued, the county and
water district make try a land grab.

SSBR contracted the attorneys through the National Association
of REALTORS Land Use Initiative, which allows local REALTOR
associations to apply for legal assistance on issues pertaining
to land use at no cost to the local associations. The attorneys
will evaluate the proposal and advise SSBR of possible actions.
MCWD could move quickly on the proposal and may take action as
early as August 20th. SSBR expects to hear from the attorneys
prior to that meeting.


STATE UPDATE (from CAR's Government Affairs Division)

CREC Directs Forms Committee To Draft Contract Documents For
Foreclosure Protection Act

Due to an outpouring of industry concern, the Colorado Real
Estate Commission directed the Forms Committee to draft contract
documents compliant with the Foreclosure Protection Act that
could be utilized by real estate brokers in applicable
transactions. The Colorado Real Estate Commission provided this
direction on July 7, 2009, and requested that the forms be
drafted expeditiously for Commission review and consideration.
On July 22, 2009, the Colorado Real Estate Commission conducted
an emergency rule making hearing to adopt six new Commission
approved forms. The Commission voted unanimously to adopt the
following forms:

Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate (Colorado Foreclosure
Protection Act)
Inspection Notice (Colorado Foreclosure Protection Act)
Notice of Cancellation (Colorado Foreclosure Protection Act)
Seller Warning (Colorado Foreclosure Protection Act)
Counterproposal (Colorado Foreclosure Protection Act)
Agreement to Amend/Extend (Colorado Foreclosure Protection Act)
As an important note, the Exclusive Right-to-Sell Listing
Contract will not be revised at this time due to the expense it
would cause to the industry. To ensure consistency with the
forms adopted on July 22, 2009 the Colorado Real Estate
Commission adopted the position that it is permissible for a
real estate broker to strike through the second to last sentence
of paragraph 10.5 of the Exclusive Right-to-Sell Listing
Contract. Specifically, the language that may be struck is:
“Therefore, if the Act applies, Seller agrees that Broker is not
authorized to prepare such a contract for the sale of the
Property.” Real estate brokers are permitted to make this change
only when it is applicable.

To review the new documents please visit:

Mortgage Loan Originator Licensing Bill Takes Effect August 5th.

The Colorado General Assembly passed House Bill 1085 in 2009.
This bill becomes effective August 5, 2009. House Bill 1085
defines circumstances in which the Director may inactivate a
mortgage loan originator license.

In summary, the Director of the Division of Real Estate may
inactivate a license if the licensee has failed to:

1. Comply with the surety bond requirements;

2. Comply with the errors and omissions insurance requirements;

3. Maintain current contact information, surety bond information
and errors and omissions insurance information;

4. Respond to an investigation;

5. Comply with any of the education or examination requirements;

6. Failed to register with and provide all required information
to the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing
System and Registry by July 31, 2010.

On August 31, 2009, the Director of the Division of Real Estate
will begin inactivating licenses for the above reasons. In order
to reactivate, individuals will have to be compliant with all
licensing provisions and may be required to pay an
administrative reactivation fee.

The Director of the Division of Real Estate strongly encourages
licensees to ensure they do not fall into one of the above
categories. Individuals whose licenses are inactive are
prohibited from practicing as a mortgage loan originator.
Individuals who continue to practice with an inactive license
are subject to all forms of discipline prescribed in the
Mortgage Loan Originator Licensing Act.

Licensees update their contact information free of charge on the
Division of Real Estate website at


FEDERAL UPDATE (from the National Association of REALTORS

Fannie and Freddie Issue Clarifications on Home Valuation Code
of Conduct; NAR Applauds

NAR President Charles McMillan issue the following statement
regarding Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's efforts to improve the
Home Valuation Code of Conduct:

“NAR and our 1.2 million members are pleased that the Federal
Housing Finance Agency has instructed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
to take action to clarify confusion over the new Home Valuation
Code of Conduct for home appraisers implemented this past May.

“Our members were experiencing delayed and lost sales because of
poor appraisals conducted often by inexperienced appraisers who
were not familiar with the area. The ramifications were so great
to our members and to the housing industry that I personally met
with the New York Attorney General’s office and with the head of
the FHFA to share our concerns.

“In those meetings I shared an NAR survey that found 76 percent
of our members, representing both buyers and sellers, had
experienced an increase in appraisal time since the new HVCC
rules were enacted. Similarly, 71 percent of Realtors noted an
increase in the use of appraisers who were not from the local
area. These factors often adversely affected the sale or the
sales process, which occasionally resulted in the loss of a sale
or a homeowner’s inability to refinance into today’s lower
rates. I expressed our serious concern in the meetings.

“We took this information, and our concerns, to those
organizations responsible for the changes and we are pleased
that they listened. Today Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac issued
clear guidance on two very important points that we raised in
our meetings. First, the guidance states that lenders should use
appraisers who have clear experience in the geographic area.
Second, it clarifies that appraisers are not prohibited from
talking to real estate agents.

“NAR has asked Congress and the FHFA to immediately implement an
18-month moratorium on the new HVCC rules to further address
unintended consequences of this new rule. We will continue to
push for this, but are pleased that this first step was taken



Save the DATE! On Tuesday, August 11th, NAR Chief Deputy
Lobbyist Jamie Gregory will attend a reception for SAR members
to educate us on what NAR is doing at the federal level to deal
with the housing crisis, mortgage reform issues, and health care
reform. Our state representatives, Senator Dan Gibbs, and
Representative Christine Scanlan have also been invited to
provide an update on the state legislature. The event will be
from 4:30-6:30 P.M. at the Imperial Room at Beaver Run Resort in
Breckenridge. The event counts for 1 CE credit, and we will be
offering 1 free drink! No reason not to come!


IT'S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS...OR IS IT? As we look back at last week, think about this for starters - the housing industry received some welcome good news, as Existing Home Sales came in better than anticipated, and marking the third straight month that Existing Home Sales have increased. And perhaps even better, the supply of unsold homes on the market dropped from the prior reading of 9.8 months down to 9.4 months - which is the best level seen in over a year. With home loan rates still at low levels and homes priced to sell - this is a great time for potential homebuyers to stop thinking, and go ahead and take some action.

Despite that bright spot of news, last week's Consumer Sentiment report - which measures consumers' attitudes and expectations concerning both present and future economic conditions - showed that consumers still think the economy has a ways to go, as the report did come in a bit weaker than anticipated. According to the report last week, Consumer Sentiment came in at 66 for the month of July, down from June's reading of 70.8.

And one of the major reasons for the decline in Consumer Sentiment was ongoing concern over unemployment - and last week, Initial Jobless Claims reportedly rose by 554,000. While this number was high, it was essentially in-line with expectations of 557,000.

The big news that many headlines featured was the number of Continuing Claims, which fell from 6.31 million the prior week to 6.22 million. And although this drop was reported as positive news, we need to remember that a large number of people are still unable to find jobs, but are no longer being counted in Continuing Claims because their unemployment benefits have expired. The bottom line is that it will be hard for the economy to really turn higher with momentum until the labor market starts to turn around.

Stocks had a good week, with the Dow closing above 9,000 on Thursday for the first time since January 6th, as well as finishing the week with its strongest two-week span for blue chips since 2000. Since Stocks moving higher can drain money away from Bonds, the rally in Stocks - combined with the announcement of next week's Treasury's auction of $115 Billion in Notes - put selling pressure on Bonds toward the end of the week. Despite some volatile mid-week action, home loan rates closed out the week near the level where they had begun the week.

Rate Review

In Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Mkt Survey (for the week ending July 24) in which the 30-yr fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) avg. 5.20%. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM avg 6.63%.

The 15-year FRM this week avg 4.68%.  A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 6.18 percent.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) avg 4.74% A year ago, the 5-year ARM avg 5.49%.

One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs avg 4.77%. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM avg 5.49%.


The Mountain Government Affairs Report

Town of Breckenridge Seeking to Limit REALTOR Commissions on
Deed-Restricted Properties

After a few REALTORS who were owner/brokers of deed-restricted
properties in Breckenridge raised the maximum sales price in
order to pay themselves a commission, the town of Breckenridge
is now seeking to limit the total REALTOR commission to 2%
total, for both sides of the transaction. The town became miffed
when a REALTOR who owned a deed-restricted property in the
Wellington neighborhood, actually paid their broker the
commission, and then the broker gave the REALTOR a kick back
according to town staff. The town is also concerned that by
raising the maximum sales price of deed-restricted properties to
pay a REALTOR commission, home prices of deed-restricted
properties are being inflated to the point that they are become
less and less affordable. The Council was divided in its initial
discussion of modifying properties because council members
recognized the value of REALTORS. However, they chose to move
forward with consideration of an ordinance in efforts to keep
deed-restricted property prices from escalating.

CAR and Glenwood REALTORS Oppose Elimination of Senior Homestead
Exemption; Al White responds

Just a week after the Glenwood Springs Association of REALTORS
opposed SB-276, a bill that would eliminate the homestead
property tax exemption for qualifying senior citizens and
disabled veterans for 2009 and 2010 property tax years, the
Colorado Association of REALTORS? has also come out in
opposition to the bill
The bill's proponents hope to provide the state with additional
General Fund dollars in the amount of $91.4 million in FY
2009-10, and $97.6 million in FY 2010-11, but CAR and the
Glenwood REALTORS oppose the bill because of the impact it could
have on seniors and veterans who are on fixed incomes that rely
on the exemption.
Al White, the Senate Sponsor, responded to our concerns voicing
the difficult position he is in because of state laws requiring
legislators to balance the budget each year. In an email to the
Glenwood Spring Association of REALTORS, Senator White wrote
that The Pinnacol deal was a consideration for budget balancing.
It was determined to be a bad idea, and has been dropped. We are
continuing to look for cuts with which to come in balance. In
this economic environment, all ideas need thoughtful
consideration and investigation. The bill could be considered as
early as this week.


Governor Makes Appointments to Real Estate Commission
(from the CAR Government Affairs Division)

On Friday, Governor Bill Ritter announced the appointments of
several Coloradans to a variety of statewide boards and
commissions, including two new additions to the Colorado Real
Estate Commission (CREC). Jill Ozarski of Denver and Doug Ring,
a REALTOR? from Pueblo were appointed to a 3 year term on the
The Commission is composed of five members appointed by the
Governor. Three members are brokers with more than five years of
Colorado real estate brokerage experience. Two members represent
the public at large.

FHA Key to Housing Rebound, According to NAR
Last week, J. Lennox Scott, member of NAR's Real Estate Advisory
Board, testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee
on Transportation and Housing and Urban Development on the
importance of the FHA mortgage insurance program. Scott told the
committee that the FHA is the ?primary source of financing for
millions of America?s families and plays a key role in helping
bring stability to the housing market.?
In his testimony Mr. Scott urged Congress to provide additional
resources for FHA to increase its staffing and its investment in
technology. He also urged FHA to allow the $8000 tax credit to
be provided as an advance loan to be used for down payment. The
testimony also requested that the FHA loan limits be made
permanent and that FHA implement the condominium changes that
will ease purchasing a condominium with FHA insurance.

Freddie Mac Announces Guidelines for Super Conforming Mortgages
in High Cost Areas

On April 10, 2009, Freddie Mac announced implementation of the
2009 conforming loan limits for high cost areas (loans higher
than $417,000 are called "super conforming" mortgages by
Freddie Mac and "high-balance" loans by Fannie Mae). The
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) raised loan limits
for high cost areas to the higher of the permanent limits in
effect for 2009 or the temporary limits in effect for 2008. In
most cases the 2008 limits are higher and are subject to a cap
of $729,750.

The Freddie Mac announcement specifies eligibility requirements
for high-balance loans, including:
One to four unit primary residences properties are eligible.
Second homes and 1- to 4-unit investment properties are
Ineligible loans include balloon mortgages, adjustable rate
mortgages with initial periods of less than five years, 40-year
mortgages, and many other categories.
Loans must meet complex loan-to-value (LTV) requirements. For
purchase money mortgages for one unit primary residences with
qualifying fixed rate or adjustable rate mortgages, the maximum
LTV is 90%. For second homes and one unit investment properties,
the maximum LTV is 80%. For 2- to 4-unit investment properties,
the maximum LTV is 70%. Other rules apply to other categories.
Different LTV and minimum credit score requirements apply to
super conforming mortgages with loan amounts greater than $1
million and certain others.
Limited cash out refinancing is permitted.


Homes are on sale, sellers are motivated, and interest rates are at historic lows...but may not stay that way, which means it makes sense to get moving on that home purchase or refinance you've been contemplating. But if you or one of your clients is among the smart individuals who are going ahead and taking advantage of the low home loan rates to be had right now, there are a few things to be aware of.

With interest rates at record lows, all lenders in the US have recently seen a sharp increase in loan applications - right at the time that many lenders have cut headcount to save money in a challenging economy. This means that timeframes needed for underwriting, approvals and closing have become longer than normal. Some companies have chosen to actually raise rates just to slow down the volume to a manageable level.

Sound crazy? No crazier than when you go to buy that hot new vehicle...only to find that there is no price negotiation. In fact, you wind up lucky to just pay the sticker price, as the demand usually allows the Dealer to add a markup to the price. And you don't get the car right away; you have to wait on a list for your turn to come up.

Right now, home loans are like that hot new car - but with the timer ticking on interest rates locks, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself.

First, longer lock in time frames than might normally have been considered are a necessity, to ensure that the file has time to be processed, underwritten, approved and closed in time to protect the rate lock in this extremely volatile climate. And that longer, safer lock-in period may be a bit more costly - but it's money well spent. Overall, the mind set here should not be one of greed. Don't try to squeeze every last drop out of rates. If you are within a quarter percent of the lowest rates offered in the history of this country, you did very well. And rates always shoot up higher at a much faster pace than when then dip lower. So if the savings or opportunity make sense - grab it.

Next, responding quickly to requests for information or documentation is important - the faster the file is submitted and approved, the better off we are to keep that great interest rate protected.

Finally, be aware that it may be a smart idea to pay points to gain the best interest rate - and sometimes is even necessary in today's market. Giant mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have recently imposed more "risk-based pricing adjustments", meaning that even credit scores and loan to values which in the past would have been considered very low risk, may now be subject to mandated fees by Fannie and Freddie. And based on the way lenders have changed their rate sheets over time, there is now very little "premium pricing", which used to allow options for fees like these, points or other closing costs to be covered in return for a slightly higher interest rate.

Right now is still an excellent time to act, before the great low rates of today get away from us. But let's be smart - call us for information on how we can get started right away.




In a surprise move, last night the Breckenridge Town Council unanimously approved a new open house sign ordinance on first
reading. The vote had been periously close until the language was changed to require that the new ordinance sunset after 1
year. The proposed ordinance received unanimous support after a compelling letter from Dan Corwin, of Breckenridge Associates,
moved Mayor John Warner and council member Eric Mamula to support the measure despite concerns of clutter in the town.
Council member Rob Millisor made a positive change to the bill, allowing open house signs on Hwy 9 at Tiger Road. The final vote
on the proposed ordinance will be on Tuesday evening March 24th at 7:30 P.M.

What the ordinance includes:

-Allows up to three (3) off-site directional open house signs outside of the Conservation District.
-Prohibiting off-site directional open house signs inside the Conservation District.
-Allows the off-site open house signs in the Town right-of-way, including highway 9 at Tiger Road.
-Prohibits open house signs in the rights-of-way for Main Street & Park Avenue.
-Allows for the display of off-site directional open house signs.
-Establishes a standard design, including the town red color and font, for all off-site directional open house signs.
-Sunsets after one year; which allows the council to review the ordinance before extending it for a longer period of time.

What you can do:

Since the ordinance still has one more vote before it is approved and enacted, there's still work to be done.

Please thank the following people for their support:

-the town council members by email at or at the town hall at 453.3166. Please give a special thanks to council member Rob Millisor for taking the initiative to change the ordinance to allow signs at Highway 9 and Tiger Road.
-Dan Corwin at Breckenridge Associates. His letter changed the vote of the Mayor and one other council member. He call be
reached at 453.2200.

If you have any questions regarding open house signs, please contact Sarah Thorsteinson, SAR Government Affairs Director, at or at 970.393.3939.


Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan

President Obama unveiled his plan to help stabilize the housing market and keep millions of borrowers in their homes. The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan includes two initiatives to help struggling homeowners. One is a refinancing program for homeowners with less than 20% equity in their homes, or who owe more than their home is worth. The second program attempts to lower monthly payments for homeowners at risk of losing their home. Many of the plan's details are still being worked out and will not be announced until March 4. Here is an overview of the plan's main components.

Saturday, February 14, 2009, The Phantom Ranch Ball. A phantom event to celebrate and support our community's agricultural heritage, wildlife habitat, mountain landscapes and open spaces. Please contact CDLT or mail your request for phantom tickets by Saturday, February 14, 2009.

Thursday, April 9, 2009, Breckenridge Then (and Then) and Now, Riverwalk Center, Breckenridge. CDLT will reprise our popular show from 2004 in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Town of Breckenridge, revisiting the images from the 1970's by Alden Spilman that we rephotographed five years ago. New in 2009 will be photo recreations of many of Spilman's famous black-and-white images.

Saturday, June 13, 2009, Giberson Ranch Centennial Celebration and Hoe Down, Frisco. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the homesteading of the Giberson Ranch, we will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the ranch for a hoe down with cowboy poet Gary McMahan, dancing, barbeque, a hike on the ranch, auction, fun, and socializing.

Sunday, July 18-19, 2009, Painting the Landscape, Preserving the Land. Plein Air artists will be sprinkled around the Frisco area on Saturday, July 18, capturing images of the landscape in the outdoors. A free map and guide to artist locations will be available to the public to watch the art being created. That evening, a Patron Party will offer the first opportunity to view and purchase the images. Public viewing and sale will follow on Sunday. Ticket Price: Free to view the art being created on Saturday and the public showing on Sunday.

November 2009 (exact date TBA), "The Ranches of Colorado," slide show, presentation, book sale and book signing by Colorado nature photographer and Summit County resident John Fielder.