December 2011

Found 14 blog entries for December 2011.

The markets closed for the year today with the bellwether 10 year treasury finishing below 2% for the first time since 1977.  The bond yield dropped 1.45% this year, the largest yearly drop since 2008 when the markets crashed.  For mortgage interest rates. 30 year mortgages ended the year below 4%. Freddie Mac's survey is reporting 3.95% with 0.7 points but most lenders are offering 3.875% with little if any points. One year ago, at 4.86% we thought that sub 4.5% rates were a thing of the past - again. Now we're wondering how long sub 4% will last. The Fed is promising to maintain its 0-0.25% lending range into mid 2013.  Despite the incredible rates, mortgage applications for the year for both purchases and refinances were down.

The S&P/Case-Shiller

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The Boulder Valley is well known for many things, whether it’s our environmental-friendly people and companies, our highly intelligent and educated work force, the University of Colorado, our scenic countryside or our fairly wealthy population. But none of these individual characteristics alone can define our community to the world. What is the Boulder Brand? Or, better yet, what should it be? Even the city of Boulder is seeking ideas from the public on the Boulder brand in hopes of passing a bond measure in 2012 for a capital project that’s in line with whatever brand idea is chosen. In an effort to make our community more aware of the Boulder Brand ideas being discussed for the city and the Boulder Valley as a whole, RE/MAX of Boulder will feature

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While the first Colorado snow – or snows – of the season have come and gone, it’s not too late to prepare your home for the bulk of winter storms yet to come.

Here are a few tips from on making sure your home can withstand the remainder of the winter:

Furnace preparations and ongoing upkeep

    • Call an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and clean ducts;
    • Change furnace filters monthly;
    • Switch out your thermostat for a programmable thermostat;
    • Remove all flammable material from the area surrounding your furnace.

Inspect the exterior, doors and windows

    • Inspect house exterior for crevice cracks and exposed entry points around pipes and seal them;
    • Use weather stripping around doors and caulk windows to prevent

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The Boulder-area real estate market continued its slow uphill climb in October, with single-family home sales increasing 7.4 percent and condominium/townhome sales 8.4 percent over October 2010.

A total of 247 single-family homes sold in October, compared with 230 a year ago and three more than in September 2011; 78 condos/townhomes sold in October compared with 66 in the same month of 2010, but 10 fewer than in September 2011.

Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association, says the increase in single-family sales indicates a stable market as the winter months approach, though the attached-unit market is not faring as well.

Other signs of a slowly improving economy is “modest” positive job-growth news for

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If you recently purchased a fixer-upper, or are planning on making big renovations to your existing home, you may be wondering what your finance options are. Here are some of the best options for financing renovations.

According to the Millennial Housing Commission, few lenders are willing to administer home improvement loans. Most prefer to make home equity loans or unsecured consumer loans, as they are easier to manage. Home improvement loans usually require inspections and irregular draws on the loan amount as work is completed, which requires regional or national lenders to find local partners to provide oversight.

Financing repairs and improvements with home equity is okay for most homeowners, but it is difficult for many first-time buyers.  This

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Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes edged up two points from a downwardly revised number to 21 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) for December. This marks a third consecutive month in which builder confidence has improved, and brings the index to its highest point since May of 2010.

“While builder confidence remains low, the consistent gains registered over the past several months are an indication that pockets of recovery are slowly starting to emerge in scattered housing markets,” said Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Reno, Nev. “However, the difficulties that both builders and buyers continue to experience

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While searching for and moving into a new home is an exciting time, it can prove to be quite challenging, and stressful—even before you throw your kids into the mix.  Here are a few tips and tricks that will help your move with kids run smoothly.

Making sure everyone is on the same page, and that your children feel included in big family decisions, will help your ease anxiety over your move. One way to help your kids feel involved is to hold weekly meetings leading up to the move to keep everyone in the family updated.

Be sure to ask your kids what they would like in a new home and neighborhood, and try and take their suggestions—if reasonable—into account when property searching. It’s a great idea to take kids with you when house hunting. If you

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Stability for 3 days.  YEA!!  The 10 year bond - the main competition for mortgage backed securities, broke through a major support level on Wednesday making us wonder if we we're on track for new record lows. Instead, the bond has stuck right at its 1.90% major support level, supporting our 4% mortgage rates.  This is as much stability as we've seen in months. Freddie Mac's rate survey showed a new record low rate of 3.94% for this week BUT it increased the survey points from .7 to .8%.  As we all know, increasing the points increases the yield, so the record low rate isn't the real record low mortgage rate but it is very close.  We are right at the historical bottom for rates.
The US saw good news on the unemployment front as new claims dropped but

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Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) recently released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates changing little and remaining near their historic lows while adjustable-rate mortgages averaged new record lows. The 30-year fixed has averaged at or below 4 percent for the fourth consecutive week.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.98 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending November 23, 2011, down from last week when it averaged 4.00 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.40 percent.

The survey showed that the 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.30 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.31 percent. A year ago at this time, the

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For mortgage rates, the net change for the week has been small but we've had a couple good moments in the middle.  Rates started the week by coming down from the highs of last Friday morning and dropping down to a low of 3.875% for a 30 year this morning.  Then they changed direction and are moving back up.  Expect 4.125% by this afternoon unless we see another direction change. 
We saw a drop in initial unemployment claims mid-week but it appears that's more from seasonal jobs and a temporary lull in layoffs than a strong sign. There just aren't enough new jobs being created to absorb those losing their jobs.  The fear of a Euro collapse has been the dominant force driving bond yields down. The Euro Summit has produced a unified front (with the

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