January 2012

Found 19 blog entries for January 2012.

Bicycling isn’t just a popular pastime in Boulder. For many, it provides basic transportation as well as their vehicle for recreation. Just how much bicycling has permeated the Boulder culture is represented by the fact that Priceonomics.com has named Boulder the Top City for Bicycling in America.

“With its bike friendly road infrastructure, population of college students and nearby mountains, Boulder comes in first for the win,” reports Priceonomics.com.

While Denver (No. 9), Fort Collins (No. 17) and Colorado Springs (No. 31) also made the list, it was dominated by West Coast cities in Oregon and California. In fact, the Oregon cities of  Bend, Portland, and Eugene rounded out the top four.

Priceonomics.com also noted that college towns including

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Following five consecutive months in which home sales exceeded those of the previous year and prices held their own, the Boulder area real estate markets ended 2011 on a rough patch.

“We broke the pattern in single-family home sales in December 2011,” notes Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association. “That means the housing market flattened out and even dipped a little bit.”

Only 204 single-family homes sold in Boulder area markets in December, compared with 231 in December 2010 and 210 in November 2011. In the condominium/townhomes market, 72 units sold in December, which is in line with the 71 that sold in December 2010 but down slightly from the 78 that sold in November 2011.

Hotard notes that

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During his State of the Union address on Jan. 24, President Barack Obama called on Congress to approve new legislation that would give all homeowners who are current on their mortgages the opportunity to refinance at record low mortgage rates.

According to a follow-up article by Nick Timiraos in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), administration officials declined to immediately outline specifics of how the program would work, stating that details would be forthcoming as the legislation emerges in the coming days. In theory, however, the new legislation is intended to give responsible homeowners a chance to refinance without “red tape” or a “runaround from the bank,” as the President said in his speech.

The existing refinance program, which was unveiled in

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Rates have improved slightly as investors pulled money out of the stock market and put it either into the safety of bonds or went back to the sidelines.  The bellwether 10 year bond dropped back into the 1.92% range, down from Wednesday's close of 2%.  This should leave mortgage rates just under 4%.
 
Two items of note:
 
Bloomberg is reporting that the US GDP - the measuring stick for the strength of our economy - came in at an annualize rate of 2.8% for the fourth quarter.  That's better than the 1.8% of the 3rd quarter but below analyst's projections of 3%.  Even though it's below expectations, much of the report is good.  “We’re recovering, but it’s a very long, slow, drawn-out process,” said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight in

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Making the decision to buy a new home is a life-altering event…in a good way. But the process can be daunting. Take the following advice from CNNMoney into consideration before heading out on your home-buying journey.

1. Don't buy if you can't stay put. Given today’s challenging marketplace, don’t buy a home unless you can commit to staying there for at least a few years. The days of flipping for profit are long gone and you stand to lose money if you sell too soon after buying.

2. Shore up your credit. Securing a mortgage in today’s market requires excellent credit so take the time to clean up your credit report well before you begin looking for a home.

3. Be honest about what you can really afford. The rule of thumb is that you can buy housing that

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Looking to add an extra room to your home with a guaranteed ROI? A finished basement is always a boon for sellers in terms of home-equity increase. Plus, finishing a basement space will almost always be a lower cost project than adding an addition, because the structure and foundation is already laid out. Here are some basement remodeling tips for both those seeking pros, and do-it-yourselfers.

Light it Right—Basements can be dark and dingy, so be sure make the most of your lighting. If your basement is not below-level, you can take advantage of natural lighting by choosing window treatments that allow light to shine through.  Make sure you upgrade your overhead lighting.  Track lights are perfect for giving your basement space a more finished look. And

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Thursday and Friday we've seen a rise in the 10 year bond yield back above the 2% mark, as the US housing market is showing some signs of life with positive signs in both the housing and jobs arenas.  The increase in the bond yields are also being supported by the proposed debt swap deal to stabilize the ongoing Greece debt debacle. Mortgage rates followed suit, climbing back up to the 4% range.  Meanwhile, Freddie Mac reported new record low 30 year mortgage rates on their survey this week.reporting an average rate of 3.88% with .8% in origination fees.  This would be in line with the rates we saw earlier in the week when the survey was being completed.  Expect the Freddie Mac average to climb over the next 3 weeks as more coupon dates for various

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Freddie Mac recently released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey®, showing mortgage rates easing to new all-time record lows for all products covered in the survey helping to keep homebuyer affordability high. The average for the 30-year fixed mortgage rate has been below 4.00 percent for six consecutive weeks.

The survey concluded that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.89 percent, with an average 0.7 point for the week ending January 12, 2012, down from last week when it averaged 3.91 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.71 percent.

The 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.16 percent with an average 0.8 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.23 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM

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Remodeling can be a hassle. When making plans for remodeling, hiring an architect can help your dream of vaulted ceilings and a new walk-in shower go seamlessly from vision to reality. Many homeowners are unsure whether or not they need an architect or a contractor.  I always explain that while the contractor is the construction pro, the architect is the ace with aesthetics. Hiring both is usually the best way to go.

First, what can you expect from your architect?  Architects offer a range of services, from preliminary schematic design, including development, preparation of construction documents and the administration of the agreement between you and your builder or contractor. Some projects will require other services, such as pre-design work, which

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The 10 year Treasury bond, fell off the proverbial table this morning to new lows as Standard and Poor's notified France that it was lowering their credit rating one notch to double A+. Financially this knocks France out of the top tier of countries in the Euro zone. The WSJ is reporting that rumors are circulating that other countries are facing similar downgrades but that Germany will retain its AAA rating.  That triggered a flight to the relative safety of US bonds.  The yield on the 10 year dropped below 1.85%, a number we haven't seen in this decade.  The DJIA is only down about 100 points which signals that the money that came off the sidelines the past 2 weeks is staying in the market - for the moment.  That's good news. 
 
Freddie Mac's weekly

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