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Last Updated:
September 08, 2010

September 2010 Summit County Real Estate.Net Notices


Things aren't always what they seem! All too often, people look at the tip of the iceberg - such as the headline of a story. Unfortunately, doing so can mean that you miss some important points. The articles below help you go behind the headlines to understand what's going on, what you may be missing, and how it can negatively impact you if you aren't paying attention.

Fed Actions and Words - What's going on behind the Fed's policies and how might it impact you or someone you know? Billions of Dollars are Missing - Millions of people may be owed money they don't even know about. Are you? Q&A: Rate Versus Price? - What should you focus on...and what do you stand to lose if you pick the wrong one? As always, please forward this newsletter to friends, family members and coworkers who may find the information helpful. And if you have any questions or need any help at this time, just call or email to discuss your unique situation.


Fed Actions Speak Louder Than Words?  

According to the popular saying "actions speak louder than words." But the words from various Fed members on the actions they feel need to be taken are getting pretty loud.

So...what could all this potential action mean for home loan rates?

There has been growing debate among Fed members about when to begin raising the Fed Funds Rate. What is the Fed Funds Rate? It's the lending rate banks charge each other for the use of overnight funds, and it is used as a base rate that many other lending rates are based on, for consumer and business loans. A higher Fed Funds Rate tends to slow economic activity, as it means the cost of borrowing to finance a purchase will be higher, while a lower rate helps to stimulate activity, a ripple effect that expands into all sectors of the economy. As you can see in the chart above, the Fed Funds Rate is currently at a range of 0.0-0.25%, and it has been this low for over a year to help stimulate our economy and move us from recession to recovery.

Why is all this important? If the Fed raises the Fed Funds Rate too soon, it could slow economic activity and cause a "double dip" recession. However, if the Fed waits too long to raise the Fed Funds Rate, inflation could result...and inflation concerns were a big reason for all the Fed chatter last week. Remember, inflation is the archenemy of Bonds and home loan rates.

With mounting debt in the US and concerns that US debt will overtake GDP by 2012 - as well as the problems in Europe - there are many factors the Fed needs to consider before taking action. For instance, recently Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said that the Unemployment Rate is likely to remain high for a while and he noted that the Fed "can't wait until unemployment is where we'd like it to be" before tightening credit, or inflation could too easily get out of control. That said, recent unemployment reports indicate that our economic recovery is still fragile at the moment. This means the Fed won't want to act too quickly, either.

The Fed just met on June 22-23rd and decided to keep the Fed Funds Rate at 0.25%, and also reiterated in its Policy Statement that economic conditions warrant keeping the Fed Funds Rate low for an "extended period." But more and more Fed members are expressing concerns about the current very accommodative monetary policy in place. The next Fed Meeting isn't scheduled to take place until August 10, 2010. Although home loan rates are not tied to the Fed Funds Rate, I'll be watching this situation very carefully as it continues to unfold.

Overall, Bonds and home loan rates have benefitted lately from the situation in Europe and other economic factors. But the situation could reverse quickly - especially in today's volatile environment.


Billions of Dollars are Missing. Is Some of it Yours?  

Would you be surprised to learn that Billions and Billons of dollars are missing...just waiting to be found by the rightful owners? What happens to this money...and how can you get it back if it's yours? Here's the scoop.

Why Is the Money Lost?

When individuals move and forget to change their address, companies or banking institutions cannot contact them. So any property left behind is turned over to the state as "unclaimed property." The state then acts as a custodian of the property until the rightful owner claims it.

Where Does the Money Come From?

The most common types of unclaimed property include bank accounts and safe deposit box contents; stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and dividends; un-cashed checks and wages; insurance policies, CDs, trust funds; utility deposits and refunds; and escrow accounts on home loans.

Is Some of This Money Yours?

To determine if you have any unclaimed property with the state, jump on the web and visit Click on the state that you live in, and you will be directed to the appropriate website. You will either be able to perform a quick immediate search online, or a few states give you the information on how to just contact them directly to inquire. If you have lived in several states, do a quick search for each, since the funds will be held in the state they originated.


This week's news could cause a little more twist and shout between Stocks and Bonds, beginning with Tuesday's Personal Income and Personal Spending Reports, which will give us a look at the Core Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) Index. PCE is the Fed's favorite gauge of inflation, and they will most certainly be watching this number closely in advance of their August 10 meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).

And there will be plenty of labor market news ahead this week. After Thursday's weekly Initial and Continuing Jobless Claims Report, Friday will bring the Labor Department's Official Jobs Report for July. Last month's report showed that 125,000 jobs were lost during the month of June, and remember, we need to create 125,000 to 150,000 jobs each month - via both private and government jobs - just to keep up with the pace of population growth. With 3.25M people claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits according to last week's Jobless Claims Report, it doesn't appear that this week's official Jobs Report for July will paint a rosy picture.


The instability in Greece and the Fed's decision to keep rates low for an extended period of time gave Bonds a boost above a key technical level. But remember, volatility is the name of the game at the moment, and things can change quickly. We'll be watching closely to see in which direction Bonds and home loan rates move this week - and always welcome a call or email from you if we can help answer any questions!

And the big enchilada of employment news wraps up the week, as April's Jobs Report is due for delivery on Friday morning. Last month's report showed that 162,000 jobs were created in March, making it the biggest one-month increase in three years. Additionally, there were upward revisions to January and February, which brought the last two months' net job losses to near zero. But it's not time to break out the party hats just yet...last month's report also showed that the official Unemployment Rate remained steady at 9.7%, and when factoring in the "underemployed", including people who accepted part-time work because full-time work is simply not available, the rate of unemployment overall rose from 16.8% to 16.9%. This report will be very important to watch, as the labor market is key to our economic recovery.

Rate Review

In Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Mkt Survey (for the week ending April 30th) in which the 30-yr fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) avg. 5.06. Last year at this time, the 30-yr FRM avg 4.78%.

The 15-year FRM this week avg 4.39%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM avg 4.48%.

The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) avg 4.00%. A year ago, the 5-year ARM avg 4.80%.

The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM avg 4.25%. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM avg 4.77%.


If you and I don't act today to keep government off our backs and out of our pockets, who will?

Please do your part and make your fair share 2010 contribution of $25 or more to the Political Survival Fund (PSF). You will help protect your business against burdensome new taxes and regulations.

After all when real estate is your profession, politics is your business--like it or not.

With your support PSF can help elect PRO-REALTOR Party candidates at all levels of government this fall. These are men and women who will act to insure a healthy climate for real estate and protect the rights of property owners.

PRO-REALTOR Party candidates understand that a vibrant economy creates jobs, expands the tax base, and revitalizes communities. They also understand that additional taxes and onerous regulations on real estate transactions and your business are a sure way to weaken Colorado's economy. They know how unfair it is to try to close budget gaps on the backs of REALTORS.

By making your 2010 PSF contribution today, you are making a small investment that will produce big dividends for your business. Make your contribution online now.


Vail To Discuss What To Do With Conference Center Funds, & Possible Ballot Question

Tuesday night, the Vail Town Council will have a discussion on what to do with conference center funds and how to reallocate those funds. In 2006, Council made a decision that a future ballot issue for reallocation of the Conference Center funds should be used to "increase occupancy and increase overall economic activity." During a Council retreat on December 8, 2009, interest was expressed by the Council to renew the process to identify an appropriate use(s) for the funds - Community momentum has begun recently to bring forth ideas to Council for potential reallocation uses. The balance available for reallocation was $9.3 million at the end of 2009. Vail Staff are seeking direction from Council on goals, key assumption, considerations, process and next steps in preparation for a renewed ballot effort for reallocation of the Conference Center funds collected. Council is expected to address the issue again on June 15th.

NAR Political Representative To Visit Summit, Glenwood & Vail Boards This Week!

NAR Political Representative Brad Viator, will visit a few of the Mountain Boards this week to provide a Washington update as to what's going on in Congress that's affecting the real estate industry, and also an in depth look at the new FHA rules. He will be in Vail on Tuesday, April 6th, and in Summit and Glenwood on Wednesday April 7th. Contact your board office for more information!



Avon Updating Land Use Code

The town of Avon is working on a long overdue update to its Land Development Code. It’s a much needed process that will improve content and timing of submissions, implement baseline development standards, address sustainability of built environment; improve public benefits process, modernize the PUD process, create zone district regulations, and enhance usability of subdivision regulations. The Planning and Zoning Commission is finalizing its draft to prepare for submission to the Town Council for approval. VBR is reviewing the 288 page document to ensure private property rights and home and landowners are protected in the new code.

Garfield County Comp Plan Pushing Ahead

The Garfield County Planning & Zoning Board is continuing ahead with the formulation of its 2030 Comprehensive Plan. The Board will hold one more meeting on June 30th to complete work on draft language. While it could hold further public work sessions, the P & Z is expected to hold 2 back to back meetings on July 13th. The first meeting will be a joint meeting with the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC), and following that meeting, on the same day, a joint meeting will be held with the County Commissioner. GSAR is meeting with each of the County Commissioners, P & Z members, and county staff to determine GSAR position on the issue. GSAR continues to encourage its members to get out and learn more about the Comp Plan and how it will affect land owners with its passage.


Polis Says No Hidden Gems Legislation Imminent, Then Compromise Draft Arises

Congressman Jared Polis has been holding public town hall meetings on the Hidden Gems proposal that would expand near 400,000 acres of land in Colorado’s mountains as Wilderness areas. The meetings have been extremely contentious. Wilderness advocates have pointed out the need for more wilderness designation at lower elevations where wildlife lives, breeds and migrates. Snowmobilers and bikers have argued against the proposal, arguing that eliminating trails would reduce the snowmobiling and biking industries. Fire fighters have had access issues. And the environmental proponents of the proposal have negotiation with every segment of opponents. Last week, Jared Polis announced that legislation was not imminent because there are too many issues to be worked out. Just a couple of days later, the Hidden Gems proponents announced a new draft of the plan, touting it as a “compromise”. The proposal would balance conflicting areas of the plan.

On The Campaign Trail

We are the REALTOR® Party: An energized movement of real estate professionals fighting to keep the dream of homeownership alive for this country.

Now more than ever, it is critical for REALTORS® across America to come together and speak with one voice about the stability a sound and dynamic real estate market brings to this country of ours. From city hall to the state house to the U.S. Capitol, our elected officials are making decisions that have a huge impact on the bottom line of REALTORS® and their customers. Through the support of people like you, the REALTOR® Party will continue to be there representing your interests.

Are You Registered To Vote In The Upcoming Elections? Chances are, you are not!

Recent numbers released by the National Association of REALTORS® show that REALTORS® in Eagle, Summit, and Routt Counties have very low voter registration. Only Garfield County has a strong REALTOR® voter registration- with 81% of the members registered to vote. In neighboring Eagle County, only 45% of REALTORS are registered to vote. In Routt County its barely above 50% at 52% registered, and in Summit County, the second most educated county in the Country, only 29% of REALTORS® are registered to vote!

This year’s elections in Colorado are pivotal with the Senate Race potential affecting the political balance in the United States Senate. In addition, the gubernatorial race is heating up. There are 3 ballot initiatives that would cut property taxes and the local towns are nervous. If you have not registered to vote, please do so! The last day to register to vote before the August 10th primary is Monday, July 12th. Be sure to register so that you can affect the outcome of this year’s elections and ballot initiatives! Call you county clerk’s office for more details on how to register to vote!


Avon Continuing Consideration of New Development Code Tomorrow; REALTORS® Encouraged To Attend

The Avon Town Council will have a second look at the proposed Development Code tomorrow night at 5:30 pm. in the Council Chambers. The proposed Development Code was recommended by the 2006 Avon Comprehensive Plan and is intended to replace the Town’s existing 30 year old zoning and subdivision regulations. According to the Town, the new Code is intended to simplify the land use process, provides for clear and predictable development outcomes, and is a means of achieving the Town’s goals for a vibrant, walkable town-core and more sustainable development practices.

The Vail Board of REALTORS® solicited input from premier land-use attorneys through the National Association of REALTORS:reg; Land Use Initiative. The Initiative provides local associations with legal advice on local land use regulations at no charge to the local association. The attorneys provided VBR with significant concerns with the proposed development code. VBR, in turn, submitted a 9 page letter to the town of Avon regarding concerns with the proposal. Key concerns include: the new Code would give regulatory effect to the Town's Comprehensive Plan, and would leave little flexibility for the town to address individual development projects as economic and environmental conditions change. The proposed code appears to make REALTORS® liable for any violations of the new development code. VBR members should also be made aware that the Council is considering allowance of wind turbines as high as 250 feet. VBR believes the wind turbine issue is a personal issue, and will not take a position on the height requirements. However, VBR did note that if Avon does choose to implement standards for Wind Energy, the current proposal is not complaint with national standards.

The first Council meeting on the proposed code was strife with politics and a three ring circus atmosphere: Council members were yelling over each other as citizens, architects, planners, and builders screamed at the Council. Tomorrow night should be just as interesting. The Council will also hold a special meeting on the proposed code on Tuesday, August 17th.


Do you know what the Colorado Association of Realtors Government Affairs Division and the Political Survival Fund have done for you and your business lately?

As a Colorado REALTOR(R), I hope you do because we are the most effective voice for you in the State Capitol.

My team at CAR and I work every day to make sure our Legislature and state regulatory agencies are passing laws and regulations that create a healthy business environment for all our hardworking members like you as well as making sure homeownership remains accessible to Colorado families.

Given the state of the economy we have had to redouble our efforts over the last eighteen months to make sure that our elected representatives are not taking actions that will impede the rapid recovery of Colorado's real estate market. This has meant fighting against a bevy of proposed costly, new regulations. As every REALTOR(R) knows, now is not the time to make the buying and selling of a home more costly and arduous by adding new fees, paperwork and regulations.

I am happy to report that we have had a number of victories during the most recent legislative session. With your support we were able to:

To be completely frank with you, each one of these would have directly and negatively impacted your bottom line if we had not succeeded. But I am relieved to tell you that you do not have to worry about any of these this year.

I know you need to be able put all your energy into running your business these days and that's why my team is watching out for your interests at the State Capitol. This year's upcoming elections are going to be critical for our state and your business. With your help CAR will identify and help elect pro-REALTOR(R) candidates of all political parties and at all levels of government.

Without a doubt we have much critical work ahead of us. I look forward to keeping you up-to-date throughout this year about all that we are doing to strengthen your business.

I also thank you for your past support and for your willingness to take action and let your representatives hear your voice on important realtor issues. Working together we can accomplish a great deal.


REALTORS® Meet With Congressman Polis DC Staff in Dillon On Restrictive Condo Financing RULES

Last week, Congressman Polis D.C. Staff were in-district to hold a condo financing roundtable discussion with REALTORS®, lenders, and title companies from resort areas across Colorado and Park City, UT. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possibility of condo financing legislation that would ease Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA condo financing guidelines. As currently written, the guidelines make it very difficult to obtain financing for condos in resort areas. Polis is preparing to introduce legislation that would provide personal exemption from the Fannie and Freddie rules if the mortgagor has an income of less than 140 percent of AMI. This bill is considered to be an affordable housing bill, but, Polis staff says the real intent of the bill is to do one of two things: either serve as a bill to test the waters with members of Congress, or pressure FHA, Fannie and Freddie to change the condo financing rules administratively without legislation. There was much frustration in the meeting because the bill does not immediately address condo financing legislation and the problems resort areas are facing nationwide. SSBR, and the Summit and Vail Boards will be working with Polis staff to expand the bill as much as possible over the coming weeks.

On The Campaign Trail

We are the REALTOR® Party: An energized movement of real estate professionals fighting to keep the dream of homeownership alive for this country.

Now more than ever, it is critical for REALTORS® across America to come together and speak with one voice about the stability a sound and dynamic real estate market brings to this country of ours. From city hall to the state house to the U.S. Capitol, our elected officials are making decisions that have a huge impact on the bottom line of REALTORS® and their customers. Through the support of people like you, the REALTOR® Party will continue to be there representing your interests.


Congress was just as busy as the Fed last week. On Thursday, the Financial Reform Bill was finally reconciled between the House and Senate. The final draft includes a Consumer Financial Protection Agency, which will have the authority to police banks for mortgage lending and credit-card abuses. The bill will move to the President for his signature once both houses of Congress approve the final version.

However, Congress did not pass the extension of the Home Buyer Tax Credit. Note: This extension was only going to be for people who were under contract by the initial April 30th deadline, extending their June 30th closing deadline to September 30th. The extension was part of the larger Jobs Bill, which included State aid and an extension of unemployment benefits for people out of work more than six months – and would have added $33B to the deficit. Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors is saying that up to 30% of homes that went under contract by the April 30th deadline of the Homebuyer Tax Credit will likely not close by the current June 30th deadline.

There was other housing news last week, as both New Home Sales and Existing Home Sales were well below expectations. While a decline in sales was expected after people were racing to qualify for the April 30th Tax Credit deadline, the numbers are still a bit of a disappointment.

However – home prices remain affordable, and home loan rates are far from disappointing at the moment...last week they reached all time low levels! If you or anyone you know would like to learn more about this exceptional opportunity, please don’t hesitate to call or email. Or forward this newsletter on to anyone you think may benefit and I’d be happy to consult with them free of charge.


Amendments to the Foreclosure Protection Act headed to the Governor

HB 1133, CAR's legislative proposal that seeks to make positive changes to the Colorado Foreclosure Protection Act, is headed to the Governor's office.

Among the proposed changes: clarifying the definition of "Equity Purchaser;" exempting transactions that use the Short Sale Addendum; modifying the definition of a "Residence in Foreclosure" as it pertains to the Equity Purchaser provisions of the Act; and modifying the requirement to use the native language of non-English speaking home owners in the Foreclosure Contract to Buy and Sell.

These amendments are a result of collaboration between the Colorado Association of REALTORS?, the Attorney General's office, Division of Real Estate, Public Trustees, and various real estate attorneys. CAR believes these changes will provide sellers the protections they need, while eliminating the chilling effect the Act has had on many potential transactions of distressed properties.

If signed by the Governor, many changes will take effect as soon as August 2010, while those requiring form changes will take place in January 2011. CAR will provide additional information if they become law. We would also like to extend a special thank you to Rep. Tom Massey (R-Poncha Springs) for sponsoring this bill and help guide it through the legislature.


Water Rights Initiatives Filed

As reported a few weeks ago, following a wildly contentious battle that pitted rafting rights against property rights, HB 1188 - Clarify River Outfitter Navigation Right by Rep. Kathleen Curry (I-Gunnison) and Sen. Mary Hodge (D-Brighton) was changed to a study.

Under the amended version of the bill, the Colorado Water Congress is charged with studying the legal, economic, environmental, and law enforcement issues related to boating through private property ? their report will be due to the legislature on October, 31. Advocates on both sides of the issues have filed a combined 24 ballot initiatives a week ago to seek their preferred resolution at the ballot box. In order to appear on the ballot in November, proponents must submit 76,047 valid signatures to the Secretary of State by July 12. CAR was opposed to HB 1188 over concerns that the bill would infringe upon private property rights without just compensation.


...or so says Robert Frost's famous poem. But the whole market wonders if Goldman Sachs can "stay gold", following last week's shocker headline that the Securities and Exchange Commission is charging the financial giant with fraud.