U.S. Housing Market Finally Reaches a Turning Point

RISMEDIA, Saturday, June 02, 2012— Home valuations will start to climb again while adjacent consumer industries will capture significant new growth opportunities in 2012 and beyond as the U.S. housing market finally turns the corner, concludes a major new study released today by The Demand Institute. The recovery of the housing market will have far-reaching impacts  in the coming years across the United States and international markets as U.S. consumers increase their spending on buying, renovating, furnishing and maintaining their homes.

Launched in February 2012 and jointly operated by The Conference Board and Nielsen, The Demand Institute is a non-profit, non-advocacy organization with a mission to illuminate where consumer demand is headed around the world.

The new report, The Shifting Nature of U.S. Housing Demand, predicts that average home prices will increase by up to 1 percent in the second half of 2012.  By 2014, home prices will increase by as much as 2.5 percent. From 2015 to 2017, the study projects annual increases between 3 and 4 percent. This recovery will not be uniform across the country, and the strongest markets could capture average gains of 5 percent or more in the coming years.

“In these initial years, the prime driver of recovery won’t be new home construction, but rather demand for rental properties,” said Louise Keely, Chief Research Officer at The Demand Institute and a co-author of the report. “This is a remarkable change from previous recoveries. It is a measure of just how severe the Great Recession has been that such a wide swath of Americans had to delay, scale back, or put off entirely their dreams of home ownership.”

“In the long-term, we don’t expect home ownership rates to change,” said Bart van Ark, Chief Economist at The Conference Board and co-author of the report. “Over 80 percent of Americans in recent surveys still agree that buying a home is the best long-term investment they can make. What will be intriguing to watch is how their aspirations around home ownership are affected by this period of extended austerity.”
Between 2006 and 2011, some $7 trillion in American wealth was wiped out when home prices dropped 30 percent after dramatic climb in valuations during the housing bubble. Looking forward, the moderate growth expectations for coming years suggest a return to normalcy. As home prices continue to drop and interest rates fall further, first-time buyers and others who remained relatively cautious will be drawn back into the housing market. And, as the market recovers, so too will consumer spending.

“As the U.S. housing market strengthens, almost every consumer-facing industry will be impacted in the coming years,” said Mark Leiter, Chairman of The Demand Institute. “Business and government leaders will benefit by fully understanding the nature of this recovery. In doing so they will be better able to anticipate how consumer demand will evolve, and to formulate critical business and policy decisions to lead their organizations.”

Read Article: http://rismedia.com/rrein/8695/92599/null/36713

Colorado Reinstates Property Tax Exemption For Seniors

Colorado’s property tax exemption for seniors has been reinstated by the State Legislature following a three-year suspension. State lawmakers suspended the voter-approved Senior Property Tax Homestead Exemption program for tax year 2009, payable 2010, due to State budget shortfalls, but restored it during the 2012 General Session for tax year 2012, payable in 2013.  

Under the exemption, qualifying residents age 65 years or older will see 50 percent of the first $200,000 of actual value of their primary residence exempted from property tax. To qualify, at least one owner of a home must be 65 years or older, and must have occupied the home as a primary residence for at least 10 consecutive years prior to Jan. 1 of the year in which he/she applies.

Once an exemption application is filed and approved, it automatically carries over from year to year as long as nothing changes in the ownership or occupancy. The State reimburses Colorado counties for the exempted taxes.

“Arapahoe County residents who have previously applied for the property tax exemption do not need to reapply,” said Arapahoe County Assessor Corbin Sakdol. “Once an application is received, our office will process and notify the status to the applicant. For applications that are approved, the exemption will automatically appear on your 2013 tax notice.” 

The Arapahoe County Assessor’s Office can assist residents with filing an application or verifying if their property was already approved for the tax exemption. Applications for a Senior Property Tax Exemption must be received by the Assessor’s Office by July 15 for the first year for which you are seeking exemption.

To download an application form or for more information, please contact the Arapahoe County Assessor’s Office at 303-795-4600 or visit www.co.arapahoe.co.us and click on “Departments” and then “Assessor.”

Source: http://aurora.kdvr.com/news/business/125311-colorado-reinstates-property-tax-exemption-seniors