10 Hot Spots For Global Homebuyers

The state of the U.S. real  estate market is in the eye of the beholder. While many Americans have shied  away from home purchases due to the economic downturn, a growing number of  cash-rich foreign investors are seizing the opportunity to snap up U.S. homes at  bargain prices.

Not all U.S. markets are universally  appealing to out-of-country investors, however. International homebuying  activity is largely concentrated in a few areas of the country. Using public  record data compiled by San Diego-based real estate data analysis firm DataQuick, Inman News has identified the 10 most popular areas in the  U.S.  for foreign homebuyers.

The majority of the markets, if not  all, are recognizable as tourist destinations. Six of the 10 areas are in Florida; three are in the West (Arizona,  Hawaii and Nevada);  and one is in the Northeast (New York).  No Midwest markets made the list.

Read Article: http://www.inman.com/reports/global-buyers

What You Need To Know About Cancellation Of Mortgage Debt

By Linda Goold

This column is brought to you by the NAR Real Estate Services group.

A lender will, on occasion, forgive some portion of a borrower’s debt. The general tax rule that applies to any debt forgiveness is that the amount forgiven is treated as taxable income to the borrower. Some exceptions to this rule are available, but, until recently, the borrower was required to pay tax on the debt forgiven. A new law enacted in December 2007 provides relief to troubled borrowers when some portion of mortgage debt is forgiven. However, this relief expires on December 31, 2012 and NAR will be working to obtain an extension throughout the year. Read the rest of this entry »

Forecast Improves for Colorado State Revenue

Colorado state revenue is expected to be $164.5 million higher in the next fiscal year than the December forecast, the Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting (OSPB) reported Monday.

Because of declining severance-tax revenue, the net increase to the general fund will be $149 million.

OSPB said the fiscal year 2012-13 general fund revenue will grow at 3 percent, higher than the 1.1 percent projected last December. The office attributed the improved forecast both to improvement in the job market “and increased confidence among households and businesses.”

Read article: http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2012/03/19/forecast-improves-for-colorado-state.html?ana=RSS&s=article_search&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+bizj_denver+%28Denver+Business+Journal%29&utm_content=Bloglines

How To Buy A Home On A Retiree’s Budget

By Tara-Nicholle Nelson, Monday, March 12, 2012. Inman News®

Q: How do retired  people with a mortgage-free home and a limited budget (Social Security and  retirement) sell and buy a home? Would they qualify for a mortgage or have to  sell the home before buying a new home? Are there creative ways to do this? –Sue

A: I suspect this question will be coming up more and more  often in the future, as baby boomers continue to retire. It’s important to note  that many do continue to work on some level after retirement, and many don’t  own their homes free and clear. It seems like congratulations might be in order  for being able to completely retire and pay your house off (or keep it  mortgage-free)!

1. Income is as  income does. Most lenders will use retirement income, including a pension  or monthly Social Security stipend, to qualify a borrower for a home mortgage.

They view it and treat it just like they treat salary or  wages — and they require you to document it in a similar way. The lender will  want to run your credit; see your most recent tax returns, as well as  statements from all your accounts (including any retirement accounts); and see  your Social Security and pension or other retirement system award letters.

2. You might need to  sell, then buy — or not. While it’s true that your retirement income looks  just the same to lenders as another borrower’s employment income does, debt-to-income  ratios and income documentation guidelines have tightened up so much that it  can be difficult to qualify for a new mortgage without the cash in the bank  from your existing home. So the fact that you own your current home free and clear  is a huge benefit.

While the lender won’t necessarily give you any credit for  your existing home (i.e., lenders won’t make presumptions about when or for how  much you’ll sell it, or how much cash you’ll end up with in hand when you do),  neither will it serve as a liability on your mortgage application the way it  would if it you were obligated to make a monthly mortgage payment on it.

The fact is, there are challenges and benefits either way  you go, whether you decide to sell first or buy first. Obviously, if you sell  first, you have the challenge of finding a place to live while you house hunt. On  the flip side, you have the security of knowing exactly what your proceeds of  the sale will be before buying, which might help you buy well within your  means.

Also, if you decide to buy first, you’ll face the possible  stressors involved if your home takes a long time to sell or sells for less  than you expected, not to mention the challenges of a mortgage payment you’re  not used to and the financial burden of maintaining and paying property taxes  on two homes at once.

3. Get briefed on all  your options. Ask your friends and relatives if they have a mortgage broker  they trust implicitly, and set an appointment to get the pro’s input on your  next steps. The mortgage broker can run all the numbers involved and tell you  what you should be able to qualify for, dollar-amount-wise, before and after  you do get your home sold.

The mortgage broker will also give you all of your options,  including whether you can qualify for a new mortgage without selling. For  instance, if (1) you’re buying to downsize, (2) moving to a less expensive  area, (3) you have a hefty savings or asset portfolio or (4) the homes you’re  targeting are modestly priced vis-à-vis your income, you might not need to sell  your existing home before you qualify to buy the next one.

They might also offer you some more creative options, and  sketch out the financial details of what some alternative scenarios would look  like. For example, a mortgage broker might help you consider essentially  refinancing your existing home, borrowing enough cash to fund your next purchase,  then paying that loan back from the proceeds when you do get your home sold.

4. Get creative.  If, in all the time you’ve ever owned a home, you ever fantasized about the  adventures you’d undertake if you were footloose and fancy-free, consider taking  this opportunity to go for it!

Sell your home, then rent a chic loft or a writer’s cabin  somewhere, or travel for a year, while you house hunt.

And there are some other, more inside baseball-style  creative options to explore, in the same vein of taking out a mortgage on your  existing house to pay for your next one.

Talk with a local agent about the possibility of selling  your home, then leasing it back from the buyer. Also, when you talk with your  mortgage pro, explore the prospect of relatively short-term financing for your  new home, which might offer a lower interest rate and monthly payment than a  long-term loan, and which might make sense if it’s truly realistic that you’ll pay  it off in the near future when you do get your home sold.

Work with a local real estate agent who has a recent track  record of success at selling homes in your area, and bring your tax, financial  planning and estate planning advisers into the conversation as you try to  understand and explore the full spectrum of available options. If you have such  a team in place, take maximum advantage of their thoughts and experience as you  put your personal action plan in place.

February 2012 Greater Metropolitan Denver Home Market Statistics

The momentum started January 1, 2012 by the release of pent up demand continued through the month of February, 2012.

On a Monthly basis, comparison of month over month and year over year:

The inventory of unsold homes is at 10,086 units, down 3% with Jan ‘12 level and down 42% from Feb ‘11.

4,150 units were placed under contract in Feb ‘12, up 19% with Jan ‘12 and up 12% from Feb 11.

2,495 units sold in Feb ‘12, up 1% from Jan ‘12 and up 12% from Feb ‘11.

Single Family average prices, $248,094 for Feb ‘12, remained relatively the same month over month and increased 2% year over year.

Residential average price, $270,821 for Feb ‘12, decreased 1% month over month and increased 2% year over year.

Condo average price, $161,143 for Feb ‘12, increased 10% month over month and increased 4% year over year.

Condo median price, $120,000 in Jan ’12, increased 6% month over month and decreased 4% year over year.

Residential median price, $220,000 in Feb ‘12 when compared to Jan ’12 increased 1% and remained even when compared to Feb ‘11.

On a Year to Date basis, comparison of YTD 2/2012 to YTD 2/2011:

Residential: Condo:
Sales units 3,971 vs 3,494 (14%) Sales units 1,469 vs 1,373 (7%)
Median Price $219,000 vs $220,000 () Median Price $118,000 vs $120,475 (2%)
Average Price $271,577 vs $271,516 () Average Price $154,137 vs $152,955 (1%)
Sales Volume $1.0B vs $949M (14%) Sales Volume $153M vs $136M (12%)
Days on Market 105 vs 121 (13%) Days on Market 104 vs 126 (17%)

The above representation may or may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. By definition, Single Family equals Residential plus Condo.
Source: Metrolist, Inc.
©2012 Garold D Bauer, All Rights Reserved, Information Deemed Reliable But Not Guaranteed


Snapshot Feb, ’12 Prior Month Year Ago   Prior Month Year Ago
Single Family (Residential +   Condo)
Active 10,086 10,443 17,358 -3.42% -41.89%
Pending 1,879 1,680 1,327 11.85% 41.60%
Under Contract 4,150 3,486 3,693 19.05% 12.37%
Sold 2,495 2,470 2,229 1.01% 11.93%
Avg DOM 105 104 124 0.96% -15.32%
Avg Sold Price $248,094 $248,037 $242,704 0.02% 2.22%
Active 8,082 8,356 13,393 -3.28% -39.66%
Pending 1,523 1,341 1,046 13.57% 45.60%
Under Contract 3,329 2,838 2,953 17.30% 12.73%
Sold 1,978 1,993 1,770 -0.75% 11.75%
Avg DOM 106 103 123 2.91% -13.82%
Median Sold Price $220,000 $218,855 $220,000 0.52% 0.00%
Avg Sold Price $270,821 $272,328 $265,277 -0.55% 2.09%
Active 2,004 2,087 3,965 -3.98% -49.46%
Pending 356 339 281 5.01% 26.69%
Under Contract 821 648 740 26.70% 10.95%
Sold 517 477 459 8.39% 12.64%
Avg DOM 101 108 129 -6.48% -21.71%
Median Sold Price $120,000 $113,000 $124,780 6.19% -3.83%
Avg Sold Price $161,143 $146,544 $155,656 9.96% 3.53%


Footnotes: Active, Pending, Under Contract, and Sold presented as # of units.
Pending are those listings that are awaiting contract approval from a financial institution.
Avg DOM = Average Days on Market
This representation mayor may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. Source: Metrolist, Inc.
© 2012 Garold D Bauer, All Rights Reserved, Information Deemed Reliable But Not Guaranteed