Denise Wambsganss
Realtor Your Castle Real Estate

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Denver Housing Market update

Case-Shiller: Denver down 1.2%

John Rebchook

The Denver housing market was near the middle of the pack in August, ranking No. 11 of the 20 metropolitan statistical areas tracked in the closely watched S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices released today.

The Denver housing market posted a 1.2 percent decline from August 2009, compared with a 1.7 percent gain for the 20 cities in the index and a 2.6 percent gain for its Composite-10 index. The index tracks "matched-price pairs" of single-family homes.

In August from July Denver's overall housing market showed a 0.1 percent decline, compared with a 0.2 percent drop for Composite-20 index. Denver's drop was the same as the 0.1 percent decline for the Composite-10 index.

High unemployment remains the culprit

Larry McGee, principal of the Berkshire Group, said the lull in the market comes down to unemployment and a lack of consumer confidence.

Currently, there are 14.8 million unemployed people in the U.S, compared with 7.2 million three years ago, according to government statistics.

In addition, about 7 million people nationally are having "some degree of difficulty," with their home loans, McGee said.

7 million more jobs needed

"What is the psychological and financial impact of that? Really, there is nothing else to say beyond (the unemployment numbers)," McGee said." It is what it is. I think all of the reports and statistical reports like Case-Shiller - or any other one you might read - will reflect the impact of unemployment and the lack of consumer confidence. I think if those 7 million people were put back to work, we would sell a lot of homes."
McGee notes that the Denver market has weathered tough times before.

"Things were pretty bad in '88 and '89," McGee said. "Back, then the saying was the last one out, turn out the lights. I think Denver is in pretty good shape today. I really do. I'd like to say that we are selling as many homes as we possibly could, but that wouldn't be true. But sometimes we take too much of a myopic and narrow view of things."

Bitter elections a distraction

He also said that he thinks when the mid-term elections are over in a week, it also will remove one distraction from the market.
"This political season has been particularly divisive, and it hasn't helped anyone," McGee said. "I think we all will be better off when we can put that behind us."

Denver's ranking in the Case-Shiller report in August was the same as in July, noted Gary Bauer.

"We maintained our position," said Bauer, an independent broker who prepared reports based on monthly Metrolist data.

American Dream takes backseat to economic fears

He added that prospective buyers in August were focused on "only today," and not the long-term prospect of buying and owning a home, a trend that has continued.

"Consumers are concerned what is going on with the economy and what is going on with their jobs," Bauer said. "They are not looking long-term. The consumer has lost sight of the American Dream of buying a home. But I think that is a short-term change. Once they see a turn-around in the economy, and for a lack of a better word, "enthusiasm" about the economy and everything else, the focus will return to long-term goals, such as purchasing a home."

Charles Roberts, an owner of Your Castle Real Estate, said he thinks that market is still getting over the tax credits, which required a home to be placed under contract by April 30. That boosted sales in the early part of the year, but it was not a sustained boom.

"They did not help us, in my opinion," Roberts said. "They were not a good use of taxpayer's money, as far as I am concerned."
He noted that closings in the Denver area remain down about 20 percent so far this year from 2009, and that is a trend that will not likely reverse itself anytime soon.

"We had such a very tough summer, I thought maybe things would kind of invert themselves, and we would have a really good fall and winter, but I do not think that is going to happen," Roberts said.
And despite a Denver-area unemployment rate that is still relatively high, but below the nation's; mortgage rates at record lows; and plenty of bargains in housing; few people are willing to buy, he notes.

Mentality shift

"I think there has been a change in the mentality of buyers," Roberts said. "There was this over-euphoria five to seven years ago, that you've go to buy to be part of the American Dream. Now people are saying that they can't take any risk, because they saw what happened to Uncle Max. Clearly, the answer is somewhere in the middle."
What it comes down to, he said, is that homes are a much safer bet as an investment today than they were five years ago, yet people were taking on too much risk back then, and not enough today. "The pendulum has swung 180 degrees," he said.

Buying beats renting

Roberts said that he is advising his brokers to show clients "10 different ways they can buy a home and it will be less expensive than renting, which it is true, especially for homes under $200,000."
He said that what "enormous fallacy" is that it is too difficult to qualify for a home.

Just last week, Robert said, he closed a deal on fix-and-flipper that an investor bought and sold in 96 days to an owner-occupant, who received a Colorado Housing and Finance Authority loan. He said between CHFA and the FHA, there are plenty of opportunities of buyers out there who might have FICO scores of 620 or 650.
"That is basically government money, and the government will continue to print money until someone turns the lights out, or we all move to Canada or something," he quipped.

And despite of all the talk of qualifying for a loan being too stringent, he said if anything, there might be too many loans being made that are requiring almost no down payments. Buyers without any "skin in the game" helped fuel the foreclosure crisis in Denver, and especially in places such as Nevada, Florida, Arizona and California.

Nationwide, the Case-Shiller portrays a "disappointing report," according to David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor's." Home prices broadly declined in August. Seventeen of the 20 cities and both Composites saw a weakening in year-over-year figures, as compared to July, indicating that the housing market continues to bounce along the recent lows. Over the last four months both the 10- and 20-City Composites show slowing growth, after sustaining consistent gains since their April 2009 troughs."

"The month-over-month growth rates tell the same story," Blitzer continued. 'Fifteen of the 20 MSAs and the two Composites saw a decline in the month of August as compared to July levels. The 10- and 20-City Composites fell 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively. Indeed, the housing market appears to have stabilized at new lows. At this time, it does not seem that any of the markets are hanging on to the temporary momentum caused by the homebuyers' tax credits."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

365 Things to do Around Denver

Below is a great website.... 365 Things to do around Denver. Also, check out I get coupons daily from different companies around Denver. Many of the coupons are really GREAT.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Great Time to Purchase a Rental Property !!

Analysis: One-Third of Americans Highly Unlikely to Qualify for a Mortgage Today
RISMEDIA, September 28, 2010--Nearly one-third of Americans are unlikely to qualify for a mortgage because their credit scores are too low, making homeownership out of reach for many. This is according to an analysis of more than 25,000 loan quotes and purchase requests on Zillow Mortgage Marketplace during the first half of September.

Borrowers with credit scores under 620 who requested purchase loan quotes for 30-year fixed, conventional loans were unlikely to receive even one loan quote on Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, even if they offered a relatively high down payment of 15 to 25 percent. Nearly one-third of Americans, or 29.3 percent, has a credit score this low, according to data provided by

Meanwhile, the lowest interest rates went to mortgage borrowers who were among the 47 percent of Americans with excellent credit scores of 720 or above.

In the first half of September, borrowers with credit scores of 720 or above got an average low annual percentage rate (APR) of 4.3 percent for conventional 30-year fixed mortgages. Borrowers with mid-range credit scores between 620 and 719 received APRs between 4.73 and 4.44 percent, with the APR rising as credit score drops. Those with credit scores below 620 received too few loan quotes to calculate average low APR.

For those with mid-range credit scores of 620 to 719, improving one's credit score can mean a significant savings in interest over time. For each 20-point credit score increase, the average low APR declines 0.12 percent, which for a $300,000 home, with a 20 percent down payment, equates to a savings of $6,400 over the life of a 30-year loan.

"We are in an era of historically low mortgage rates, reaching levels not seen in decades. Coupled with four years of home value declines, homes are more affordable than we've seen for years. But the irony here is that so many Americans can't qualify for these low rates, or can't qualify for a mortgage at all," said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. "Four years ago, in the era of easy-to-get subprime loans, many borrowers with low scores did buy homes, which in turn helped contribute to a housing bubble. Today's tighter credit is a predictable response by banks after the foreclosure crisis, but also keeps a cap on housing demand, which is important for the greater housing market recovery."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Rental Vacancy Rate in Metro Denver

Vacancy Rates are at all-time lows !

Vacancy Rates in Metro Denver for 1-4 unit properties
2004 = 13.1%
2005 = 9.5%
2006 = 7.1%
2007 = 4.0%
2008 = 4.2%
2009 = 5.2%
2010 = 3.8%
• At the same time we are experiencing a very strong landlord’s market
• Vacancies are near all-time low’s, currently at 3.8% vacancy for 1-4 unit housing. Single family homes are the easiest to rent and, while not measured specifically, are certainly below the 3.8% vacancy mark
• Bottom line: it’s a great time to be a landlord. Units are full and landlords have the upper hand with tenants.
• Rents are also increasing
Why are vacancies so low?
High occupancy in the rental-housing market is being driven by economic concerns such as job security:
- Many consumers feel it’s less risky to rent a home than buy one
- There are large impediments to buying new homes, even if a consumer wants to
Notion of home buying has changed
Less ability/desire to buy homes = more tenants
What about Loans?
Single family:

- Need 20% down
- 5% on 30 year fixed
2-4 units:

- Need 25% down
- 5% on 30 year fixed
3-4 units:

Need 25% down
- 5.25% on 30 year fixed
Great time to own a Rental property because:
- It is relatively easy to qualify for a loan for a rental property
- Basic requirements: 20% down, a job, 680 FICO, no major hits on the credit score
- Rates are at all-time lows. It can’t really get better than this !
$122,000 property
20% down = $100,000 loan
5% interest on 30 year loan
Principle & Interest = $537
Taxes & Insurance = ~$160
PITI = $700
There are NO NEW APARTMENTS COMING ONLINE AND We are still seeing record low permits pulled for multi-family projects. Great time to own a rental Property.
To brainstorm about the Metro Denver Real Estate Market contact Denise Wambsganss - Realtor with Your Castle Real Estate 303-880-8771 or email

Friday, September 10, 2010

Why Buy a Home Now ?

Now may be the best time to buy property in a generation. Here are just a few reasons why:

Your purchasing power is at an all-time high.
With rates at historical lows, home financing has never been so attractive. Buyers can lock in 30 year fixed rates in the mid-4s, ARMS in the mid-3s. See this chart to grasp the impact of low rates on your payment (even offsetting price reductions greater than we are expecting locally):

A large inventory of competitively priced homes exists.
The media has focused much attention on the nation's foreclosure situation. A primary effect is an influx of distressed properties on the market, expected to continue for at least the next year. This addition of homes to the supply can both stabilize prices and provide buyers unique below-market opportunities. In plain language: there are some great deals out there.

Despite the recent downturn, real estate is a great long-term investment, and Colorado has a solid track record of appreciation.
Compared to investing in the stock market, real estate has performed better over the last 10 years. In addition, Colorado didn't experience the bubble in home prices like the troubled parts of the country. The graph below shows the investment performance of real estate versus the S&P 500, a good measure for the stock market.

Source: FHFA home price data
This was in an article from Elsa Wohlford with Premier Mortgage Group. If you need a good mortgage person let me know and I will connect you with her.

If you want to brainstorm about the Denver Metro Real Estate Market please contact me. I love sharing my knowledge.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Housing prices up or down ???

Have Home Prices in Metro Denver Gone UP OR DOWN ????

The media says… Overall prices have gone up around 3% in Metro Denver, Colorado.
BUT when you look at “individual” neighborhoods that information is meaningless
IF you plan to buy or sale a home.

Prices can range between -36% to +49% - Pretty crazy isn’t it ?

It is VERY important that you are working with a Real Estate Agent who knows the FACTS in the neighborhood you are interested in. It can make a CRUCIAL difference to you as a buyer or seller to have the CORRECT information.

See below for a few samples.


Neighborhood Price change
Northpark @ Ken Carl down 20%
Villa Park up 28%
Highlands West Down 15%
Valley View up 15%
Broadlands down 13%
Green Oaks Up 21%
Englewood East Down 36%
Fox Run up 11%
Hidden Lake up 49%
Heritage Greens down 22%
East Colfax up 30%
Del Mar up 21%
Country Club down 16%
Brookvale up 16%
Cherry Point down 34%

To find out about your specific neighborhood call
Denise Wambsganss – Realtor 303-880-8771
Your Castle Real Estate

Monday, August 9, 2010

All Time LOW interest rates

Below you will find information on interest rates over time. They are at an ALL TIME LOW. What better time to purchase a home!

Mortgage Rate Falls Under 4.5 %
Freddie Mac reports that long-term mortgage rates moved south again this week.

Interest on 30-year fixed loans hit a new low of 4.49 percent, compared to 4.54 percent last week and 5.22 percent a year ago; and the 15-year mortgage landed at 3.95 percent, down from 4 percent last week and 4.63 percent a year ago.

Five-year adjustable-rate mortgages reached a new low of 3.63 percent, down from 3.76 percent last week and 4.73 percent a year ago; while one-year ARMs fell to 3.55 percent from 3.64 percent last week and 4.78 percent a year ago.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Amy Hoak and Nick Timiraos (08/06/10)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

FHA Loans - Who qualifies?

For Your Clients: 7 Things All Borrowers Should Know About FHA Loans
RISMEDIA, July 1, 2010--FHA Pros, LLC, a national FHA condo approval service, has developed a list of facts speaking to the top misconceptions associated with FHA loans in order to help home buyers better navigate an already confusing market. FHA loans are mortgages issued by qualified lenders and insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

“We have seen home buyer interest in FHA loans go from practically zero three years ago to upwards of 87 percent today,” said Christopher Gardner, founder and president of FHA Pros, LLC. “Despite this rapid rise in popularity, many buyers still do not fully understand the benefits of these loans, and we believe it’s time to change that.”

1. FHA Loans Are Not Only For Lower-Income Borrowers. FHA loans are available to everyone. In fact, even Bill Gates can get one. There is no maximum income restriction associated with FHA loans. Borrowers do need to substantiate income and assets by submitting proper documentation. This requirement ensures that borrowers are well-vetted and truly able to afford their future homes.

2. FHA Loans Are Not Only For First-Time Buyers. Many people believe FHA loans are available only to first-time homebuyers. This is not the case. Whether borrowers are making their first home purchase or their fifth, they can look to FHA loans as a home financing option.

3. FHA Loans Are Not Just Small Loans; In Fact, Loan Amounts Can Be As High As Almost $800,000. The government recently raised the maximum loan amount from its original cap of $362,790 to $793,750 as a way to help stabilize the housing market. The amount a buyer can borrow varies from county to county. Later this summer, condo buyers interested in FHA loans can visit to instantly identify FHA-approved condo associations and review maximum loan amounts for a given location.

4. FHA Loans Are Not Affiliated With The Section 8 Housing Program.While both programs are administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), FHA loans have nothing to do with low-income subsidized housing. FHA loans are simply mortgages insured by FHA. This insurance provided by the federal government allows lenders to lend more freely by assuring them that they will be repaid in the event of default. Most traditional lenders, including Wells Fargo & Co., JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup are able to provide FHA loans to their customers.

5. FHA Loans Are Often More Affordable Than Conventional Loans. While FHA loans typically offer the same interest rates as other loans, borrowers benefit from a much lower down payment of as low as 3.5 percent.

6. FHA-Approved Condo Developments Are More Desirable To Buyers.With 87 percent of home buyers indicating that they plan to use FHA loans, condo associations that are not FHA approved are missing out on a significant pool of prospective buyers. Under rules in place since February 2010, an entire condominium development must now apply to HUD and be granted FHA approval before a buyer can purchase a unit in an association with an FHA loan or before an existing unit owner can refinance into an FHA loan.

Due to the general unwillingness of today’s lenders to extend credit with respect to conventional loans, many borrowers find that FHA is their best bet. Lenders don’t mind lending when the federal government (FHA) assures them of repayment.

Homeowners associations (HOAs) should note that although FHA-insured mortgages might be easier to obtain, they are not “risky” loans, due in large part to the strict “full documentation” requirements placed on borrowers.

Individual buyers or sellers can initiate the approval process or current owners can encourage their HOA to apply. More information about the FHA- approval process is available at

7. FHA Loans Are Assumable. In addition to lower down-payment and credit-qualifying requirements as compared to conventional loans, FHA loans are assumable. This means that when a seller with an FHA loan sells his or her property, the loan and its financing terms (interest rate) can be transferred to the new buyer. This unique feature will certainly make a property more valuable in times of rising interest rates.

“Now, more than ever, buyers and sellers need to understand the options available to them when it comes time to buy a home,” continued Gardner. “At FHA Pros we have worked with countless HOAs, attorneys and individuals to easily and efficiently navigate the historically tricky FHA-approval process.” Article from RIS Media 6-2010
If you want to brainstorm about the Real Estate Market in Metro Denver, Colorado please give me a call 303-880-8771 Denise Wambsganss Realtor with Your Castle Real Estate.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Home Owner Tips Around the House

Tips for Homeowners

o Have you tried baby wipes on carpet stains? They work so well, you’ll be wondering why no one told you sooner.
o Keep candles in the refrigerator for several hours before use to slow down dripping and make them last longer.
o The best way to attack cooked-on spatters in microwave: Heat a half-cup of water for two minutes on high. The steam will soften the food and the mess will wipe right out.
o To eliminate cooking odors (fish, fried bacon, garlic, etc.) heat white vinegar in an uncovered pot on the stove. (Don’t boil) Remove after 30 minutes. The light vinegar smell dissipates quickly, taking odors with it.
o When through your coffee grinder, a handful of dried rice will sharpen the blades
o After your next party, share flat, leftover beer with your garden. Plants love the yeast.
o Place unusable remnants of soap in a ventilated plastic bag and pack it away in seasonal clothes. This will keep the moths away and your clothes will smell much better when you take them out of storage.
o Ants hate anything spicy. Sprinkle ground pepper, cayenne, even cinnamon, in their path, and you’ll stop them in their tracks.
o Your chimney will stay clean if you throw a handful of salt on the fire.
o To clean tarnished silverware: Line a large cake pan with aluminum foil. Fill with 8 cups of warm water (150 degrees) mixed with ¼ cup of baking soda. Lay silverware in pan, and watch the stains disappear.
o Fill nail holes with a paste made from cornstarch and water. Works just as well as putty.
o Leather needs to breathe, so never hang coats or jackets in plastic. Instead, make a dust cover from a pillowcase by cutting a hole in the top for a hanger.
o When a wooden door or gate sticks, bring out the hair dryer. By blowing hot air directly on the wood where it’s sticking, you’ll remove the moisture and the swelling will go down.
o Squeky doors? For a dripless solution, use petroleum jelly on the hinges instead of oil
o Simmer a sliced apple and a couple of cinnamon sticks in water on your stove. Your whole house will smell like apple pie.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Father's Day Events in Colorado

Here is a link that will give you tons of things to do for Father's Day in Colorado. HAVE FUN!! (You will need to cut and past the link)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Colorado Foreclosures

This article was in the Denver Business Journal and is very interesting to those curious about foreclosure activity here in Colorado:

Friday, May 21, 2010

Metro Denver Rental Information

Headline: Rental information for the Metro Denver, Colorado area

Vacancy rate for small rentals (4 units and below) dropped from 5.5% to 3.1%. If it stays this low we should expect rents to start edging up.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Metro Denver Home Sales

Home Resales
U.S. existing home sales rose 6.8 percent between February and March, according to data from the National
Association of Realtors (NAR). March was the ninth consecutive month in which home sales rose above the yearago
level, and unsold inventory has now declined for 20 consecutive months. While the now-expired homebuyers’
tax credits were a major factor behind recent gains in home sales, NAR economists say stabilizing home values
and gradual improvements in homebuyer confidence will be enough to sustain the housing recovery going
forward. March home sales in each of the four U.S. regions increased from February, and March sales rose over
the year by anywhere from 13.9 percent in the South to 25.4 percent in the Northeast.
The count of Metro Denver existing home sales nearly doubled between February and March as local buyers
rushed to receive tax credits. The March sales total was 12.4 percent higher than the year-ago sales level, and the
month’s brisk activity helped home sales for the entire first quarter rise 2.8 percent above sales from the first
quarter of 2009. Better home sales activity has also contributed to higher home prices. The Metro Denver average
selling price for single-family homes in March was 9.3 percent above the year-ago average, and the average
selling price for condominiums rose four percent over-the-year.

If you want to brainstorm about Real Estate feel free to contact me. I love sharing my knowledge and information. Denise Wambsganss - REALTOR - Your Castle Real Estate 303-880-8771 my website is:

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Denver Home Sales for April 2010

Information below based off information from Metro List

DENVER HOME – Denver County had the most home resales in April for the seven-county metro Denver area, but Boulder County had the most sales of $1 million-plus homes, according to Metrolist, INC. Denver County reported 2,844 in total home resales — 2,084 houses and 760 condominiums. Most homes of both types in the county — 1,026 — sold in the $100,000-$200,000 price range that’s attractive to first-time home buyers.

Closed total resales jumped 23.5 percent last month to 4,188 in April 2009, and rose 16.3 percent from March sales.

Home resales, also called existing home sales, are those of properties that have been sold at least once before.

Other April resale data from Metrolist, by county:

• Arapahoe County had the second-highest number of house resales, at 1,781, followed by Adams (1,634), Jefferson (1,602), Douglas (1,282), Boulder (906) and Broomfield (200) counties.

• Arapahoe County also had the second-highest resales of condos, at 706, followed by Jefferson (475), Boulder (389), Adams (268), Douglas (190) and Broomfield (36) counties.

• Most houses in Adams County — 879 — sold in the $100,000-$200,000 price range.

• Highest sales by price range in other counties were: Denver, 749 ($100,000-$200,000); Arapahoe, 628 ($100,000-$200,000); Jefferson, 627 ($200,000-$300,000); Douglas, 512 ($200,000-$300,000); Boulder, 313 ($300,000-$500,000); Broomfield, 77 ($200,000-$300,000).

• Arapahoe County had the most condo sales, by price range, at 303 for condos selling at less than $100,000.

• Other counties’ highest condo sales were in the $100,000-$200,000 price range, including Jefferson (284), Denver (277), Boulder (174), Adams (142), Douglas (97), Broomfield (23).

• Denver County has the most combined home resales through April, at 2,844 (2,084 houses/760 condos).

• Other counties’ year-to-date existing home sales included: Arapahoe, 2,487 (1,781 houses/706 condos); Jefferson, 2,077 (1,602 houses/475 condos); Adams, 1,902 (1,634 houses/268 condos); Douglas, 1,472 (1,282 houses/190 condos); Boulder, 1,295 (906 houses/389 condos); Broomfield, 236 (200 houses/36 condos).

Monday, April 26, 2010

Shadow Market in Denver (Real Estate)

Hello Everyone: Below is an overview from a person in the company I work for... Your Castle Real Estate concerning the "Shadow market" in Denver, Colorado. Note: This is only estimate of what will happen with the Housing market in Denver market, However, he is usually pretty much right on.

In today’s Wall Street Journal there is an article (copied below) about the size of the shadow foreclosure market. This economist pegs it at 1.1 million homes. The Denver metro area is about 0.8% of the overall US population, so as a really rough guess, we would have 8,800 of those homes. That’s only a rough guess of course.

We sold 38,100 DSF + 11,600 CND in 2005 (total = 49,700 resale homes, not counting new construction). This declined to 29,100 DSF + 8,230 CND = 37,339 resale units sold in 2009. In the unlikely event the shadow market homes were dumped on MLS tomorrow morning, we could sell what we sold in 2009 AND all of the shadow homes and still be under the sales volume in 2005!

Here’s another, more realistic way to look at it. Most of the shadow homes will likely under the median sales price. That’s $210K for DSF and about $165K for CND. For this least-expensive half of the market, we have 2.3 months of inventory for DSF (six months is normal) and 4.3 MOI for condos. Blended, it’s 2.9 MOI, a pretty strong seller’s market. If you dumped all 8,800 shadow units on the market tomorrow, we’d increase to 8.7 months of inventory. That is a slight buyers market. More likely, the shadow market will be trickled slowly onto the MLS over months, if not years.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tons of Information about Denver, Colorado


I have been talking with a lot of people relocating to Denver, Colorado and discussing Real Estate. However, I also share the info below about Denver, Colorado. Thought you all would be interested too.

Denver's Population:

Denver has more than doubled in population since 1960. The City & County of Denver had a population of 554,636 in 2000, making it larger than the entire population of Wyoming (which has 480,000 people). The six-county metro area has a population of 2.4 million. Denver's metro population has increased by 29.8% since 1990. Denver is the 20th largest metro area in America, and has the 10th largest downtown area.

The City & County of Denver has a diverse ethnic population including 11.1% African American; 31.7% Hispanic; 2.8% Asian and 1.3% Native American. Metro Denver has an ethnic population of 5% Black; 18% Hispanic; 3% Asian; 1% Native American and 3% multi-racial. All of Colorado is experiencing a population boom with over 1,000,000 people moving to the state in the last decade. Colorado's population grew 30.5% from 1990 to 2000 with a current total of 4,301,261 residents. It was the third fastest growing state in the last decade.
Highest Educated City:

Denver is the most educated city in the U.S. Denver has the greatest percentage of college graduates of any major metropolitan area in the U.S.; 92.1% of the population in the metro area have high school diplomas and 35% have at least a bachelor's degree, according to the U.S. Census. The national average is 81.7% for high school diplomas and 23% with a college degree.
Baby Boomer Capital:

Denver also is the nation's baby boomer capital, with the highest percentage of boomers of any major city, according to the 1998 U.S. Census. One third of the city is between age 35 and 54. Including small cities, only two had a higher percentage than Denver -- Santa Fe and Anchorage. Among major cities, percentage of boomers is: Denver 32.8%; Seattle 31.5%; Atlanta 31.4%; Washington 31.4%; Portland OR 31.4%; San Francisco 30.8%.
Thin City:

Denver is also the "thinnest" city in America and Colorado is the thinnest state. A study by the American Cancer Society in 2002 found that Colorado is the only state in the nation in which fewer than half the people are obese. Only 48 percent of Coloradoans are overweight or obese; every other state had more than 50 percent of their population in this category. The active lifestyle in Colorado, the great weather, the abundance of recreational opportunities and the high education level are credited for this fact. A 1996 federal study of weight by cities found similar results with Denver being listed as the "thinnest" city.

The State has a population of 4,301,261 in 2000, a 30.6 percent increase since 1990 with more than 1 million people moving to Colorado in the past decade, an average of 276 new residents every day for the past decade.
Contrary to popular belief, Denver is not in the mountains -- it is near them. The "Foothills" (a gentle series of peaks ranging from 7,000 to 11,000 feet high (2,133 to 3,353 meters high) start to rise 15 miles (24 kilometers) west of the city. Slightly beyond that is the Continental Divide and a series of peaks soaring to heights of 14,000 feet (4,267 meters) known locally as the "Front Range." Denver itself is located on high, rolling plains.

Although considered "Western" in character, Denver is actually located in the center of the country, just 346 miles (557 km) west of the exact center of the continental United States. With the exception of Kansas City, Denver is closer to the exact center of the nation than any other metropolitan area. The 15th step on the west side of the State Capitol Building is exactly 5,280 feet (1,609 m) -- one mile -- above sea level.

Denver was founded during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush in the Kansas Territory in 1858. That summer, a group of gold prospectors from Lawrence, Kansas arrived and established Montana City on the banks of the South Platte River. This was the first settlement in what was later to become the city of Denver. The site faded quickly, however, and was abandoned in favor of Auraria (named after the gold-mining town of Auraria, Georgia) and St. Charles City by the summer of 1859. The Montana City site is now Grant-Frontier Park and includes mining equipment and a log cabin replica.

Photo: Former Kansas Territorial Governor James W. Denver visited his namesake city in 1875 and in 1882 On November 22, 1858, General William Larimer, a land speculator from eastern Kansas, placed cottonwood logs to stake a claim on the hill overlooking the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek, across the creek from the existing mining settlement of Auraria. Larimer named the town site Denver City to curry favor with Kansas Territorial Governor James W. Denver.

Larimer hoped that the town's name would help make it the county seat of Arapaho County, but ironically Governor Denver had already resigned from office.
The location was accessible to existing trails and was across the South Platte River from the site of seasonal encampments of the Cheyenne and Arapaho. The site of these first towns is now the site of Confluence Park in downtown Denver. Larimer, along with associates in the St. Charles City Land Company, sold parcels in the town to merchants and miners, with the intention of creating a major city that would cater to new emigrants. Denver City was a frontier town, with an economy based on servicing local miners with gambling, saloons, livestock and goods trading. In the early years, land parcels were often traded for grubstakes or gambled away by miners in Auraria.

The Colorado Territory was created on February 28, 1861, Arapahoe County was formed on November 1, 1861,and Denver City was incorporated on November 7, 1861. Denver City served as the Arapahoe County Seat from 1861 until consolidation in 1902. In 1865, Denver City became the Territorial Capital. With its new-found importance, Denver City shortened its name to just Denver. On August 1, 1876, Denver became the State Capital when Colorado was admitted to the Union.

Between 1880-1895 the city experienced a huge rise in city corruption, as crime bosses, such as Soapy Smith, worked side-by-side with elected officials and the police to control the elections, gambling, and the bunko gangs. In 1887, the precursor to the international charity United Way was formed in Denver by local religious leaders who raised funds and coordinated various charities to help Denver's poor. By 1890, Denver had grown to be the second largest city west of Omaha, but by 1900 it had dropped to third place behind San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In 1901 the Colorado General Assembly voted to split Arapahoe County into three parts: a new consolidated City and County of Denver, a new Adams County, and the remainder of the Arapahoe County to be renamed South Arapahoe County. A ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court, subsequent legislation, and a referendum delayed the creation of the City and County of Denver until 1902-11-15. Denver hosted the 1908 Democratic National Convention to promote the city's status on the national political and socio-economic stage.

Denver was selected to host the 1976 Winter Olympics to coincide with Colorado's centennial celebration, but Colorado voters struck down ballot initiatives allocating public funds to pay for the high costs of the games, so the games were moved to Innsbruck, Austria. The notoriety of becoming the only city ever to decline to host an Olympiad after being selected has made subsequent bids difficult. The movement against hosting the games was based largely on environmental issues and was led by then State Representative Richard Lamm. Lamm was subsequently elected as Colorado governor in 1974.

Beat icon Neal Cassady was raised on Larimer Street in Denver, and a portion of Jack Kerouac's beat masterpiece On the Road takes place in the city, and is based on the beat's actual experiences in Denver during a road trip. Beat poet Allen Ginsberg lived for a time in a basement apartment on Grant Street (no longer standing), and Kerouac briefly owned a home in the Denver suburb of Lakewood in the late spring and summer of 1949. In addition, Ginsberg helped found the "Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa," in nearby Boulder at the Buddhist college Naropa University, then Naropa Institute.

Denver has also been known historically as the Queen City of the Plains because of its important role in the agricultural industry of the plains regions along the foothills of the Colorado Front Range. Several US Navy ships have been named USS Denver in honor of the city.

Denver is a clean, young and green city with over 200 parks and dozens of tree-lined boulevards. The architecture reflects the city's three boom periods: Victorian, when silver was discovered in Leadville; turn-of-the-century, when gold was discovered in Cripple Creek; and contemporary, when the energy boom added 16 skyscrapers to the downtown skyline in a three year period, 1980-1983.

Unlike some Western cities, Denver has a central downtown area. Here, within easy walking distance, are 5,200 hotel rooms, the city's convention complex, performing arts complex, and a wide variety of shops, department stores, restaurants, and nightspots. Also within easy walking distance are some of the city's top attractions including the Denver Pavilions, Denver Art Museum and

Colorado History Museum. A mile-long pedestrian mall cuts through the heart of downtown Denver and is surrounded by a series of parks and plazas that soften the towering skyscrapers and provide viewpoints from which to see and appreciate the modern architecture.

Lower Downtown (called "LoDo" by locals) is on the northern edge of downtown Denver and offers one of the nation's greatest concentrations of Victorian buildings and warehouses, many of which have been refurbished to house restaurants, art galleries, offices and shops. This is the center of the city's brew pubs, with six large brew pubs and micro breweries, each brewing six to eight exclusive beers, all within easy walking distance of each other. Downtown is also the home of Auraria Campus where three colleges have over 30,000 students.

In May of 1995, Six Flags Elitch Gardens moved to downtown Denver with a year-round amusement park similar to Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens offering 48 thrill rides, formal gardens, restaurants and shops. Also in May 1995, downtown Denver unveiled a new 50,000-seat stadium, Coors Field, for the Colorado Rockies, Denver's Major League Baseball team. Another large attraction in this area is Colorado's Ocean Journey, a large aquarium that features salt and fresh water animal life, which opened on June 21, 1999.

The Mile High Trail is a series of six walking tours throughout the downtown area. Copies can be obtained from the Denver Metro Convention &: Visitors Bureau Information Center in the Tabor Center, located on the 16th Street Mall.

Aviation history was made when the $4.3 billion Denver International Airport opened on February 28, 1995. Covering 53 square miles (137 square kilometers, twice the size of Manhattan), Denver International Airport has five full-service runways and has established a landing rate of 120 planes an hour in good weather--36% higher than the good weather rate of 88 planes an hour at Denver's previous airport, Stapleton International. DIA can be expanded to 11 runways capable of serving 110 million passengers a year.

The tented roof of DIA was designed to resemble the snow-capped Rocky Mountains.
Photograph of Denver International Airport's signature fabric Roof. Photographer: Doc Searls
Currently DIA is the fifth-busiest airport in the United States and the 10th-busiest in the world. Twenty-two airlines offer 1200 flights including non-stops to 120 American cities and according to the Federal Aviation Administration, for the past three years, DIA had the fewest delays of any of the nation's 15 busiest airports.

Denver International Airport was designed to move your body and your mind. DIA has the largest public art program in American history with a $7.5 million budget for local and national artists to create works specifically for this unique setting. The art focuses on several themes including western life, travel, light and space.

The 1.4 million square foot main terminal building has become Denver's most distinctive architectural landmark. The roof is Teflon-coated fabric shaped into 34 different peaks, symbolizing the Rocky Mountains, which can be seen on the horizon through huge glass windows. Inside the Great Hall, there is an atrium longer than four football fields and illuminated by soft, shadowless light that filters down from the 126-foot high translucent roof.

A quarter mile of ticket counters eliminates ticketing congestion and there is more than double the concession space found at Stapleton. DIA has 48 restaurants, snack shops, bars and grills and 60 stores and shops. In 1996, DIA was the most efficient airport in the nation with the lowest number of air traffic control delays. In 1997, DIA served 35 million passengers, the most to ever use a Denver airport in a single year. DIA is the second largest hub of United, the largest airline in the world, and United plans to greatly expand their Denver operation.

Denver is also a major hub for inter-city buses with over 60 daily arrivals and departures and is on the main east-west route for AMTRAK with three arrivals a day.
Denver’s Climate:
Nothing about Denver is more misunderstood than the city's climate. Located just east of a high mountain barrier and a long distance from any moisture source, Denver has a mild, dry and arid climate. The city receives only 8-15 inches (20.3 - 38 cm) of precipitation a year (about the same as Los Angeles), and records 300 days of sunshine a year -- more annual hours of sun than San Diego or Miami Beach.

Winters are mild with an average daily high of 45 degrees Fahrenheit, 7 degrees Celsius in February, warmer than New York, Boston, Chicago or St. Louis. Snow does fall, but it usually melts in a short time. Golf courses remain open all year and have been played on as many as 30 days in January. Chinook winds (a wind blowing down from a mountain that gains heat as it loses elevation) can bring 60 degree F (16 degrees C) weather to Denver at any time throughout the winter.

In summer, dry relative humidity makes Denver feel cool and comfortable, offering natural air conditioning. Fall is a particularly delightful time to visit the city and make day excursions to the mountains to view the colorful changing of the aspens, an event that takes place from mid-September until mid-October.


Denver has some of the finest museums in the West with a wide variety of historical, western, artistic and horticultural emphasis

Black American West Museum
The Black American West Museum tells the forgotten story of African American cowboys, who made up as many as one third of all the cowboys on the great cattle drives. Housed in the home of Dr. Justina Ford, Denver's first African American doctor, the museum has exhibits, historic photos and artifacts that tell the story of the many contributions made by Blacks in settling the West. (303) 292-2566.

Buffalo Bill's Grave and Museum
Buffalo Bill's Grave & Museum is filled with memorabilia honoring the famous frontier scout, showman and Pony Express rider, William F. Cody. Gun collections and posters from the Wild West Show are some of the items found here. A beautiful view of the mountains and the plains is visible from his grave site. (303) 526-0747.

Butterfly Pavillion and Insect Center
Butterfly Pavilion & Insect Center features a lush tropical forest filled with up to 1,600 free-flying butterflies. There is also an insect center and gift shop, as well as outdoor gardens and many fun, educational exhibits. (303) 469-5441.

Children's Museum of Denver
The Children's Museum of Denver is a unique participatory museum for children and families to experience hands-on, interactive exhibits and activities. Children can learn to ski on KidSlope, shoot baskets, compare measurements in SizeWise, sample the latest in computer software in CompuLab, and shop in the grocery store. (303)433-7444.

Colorado History Museum
The Colorado History Museum offers a series of dioramas and exhibits that trace the colorful history of the Indians, explorers, gold miners, cowboys and pioneers that have called Colorado home. Exhibits include an outstanding collection of William Henry Jackson photos and a large diorama of Denver as it appeared in 1860. Call for information on special exhibits. (303) 866-3670.

Colorado Ocean Journey which opened in June 1999, is a world-class aquarium that immerses visitors on two journeys, from the Continental Divide in Colorado to Mexico's Sea of Cortez, and the other from an Indonesian rain forest to the Pacific Ocean. The Rocky Mountain West's only aquarium will also show visitors how all water and water life are inter-related.(303) 561-4450.

Colorado State Capitol
The Colorado State Capitol stands a mile above sea level with a plaque on the 15th step to mark the spot that is 5,280 feet (1,609 m) high. The dome is covered with 200 ounces of pure gold and offers a beautiful view from the rotunda of the entire Front Range, from Pikes Peak, all the way north to the Wyoming border, a distance of over 150 miles (241 km). Free tours on weekdays of the beautiful rooms and appointments. (303) 866-2604.

Coors Brewery
The Coors Brewery offers free tours of the largest single brewery in the world. Colorado brews more beer than any other state and this Golden brewery brews more beer than any other place on the planet. Free tours of the entire complex, from brewing to bottling, with free beer samples for those over the age of 21. (303) 277-2337.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Postponing a Home Purchase

Waiting for Home Values to Decline Further

May Price You Out of the Market
Article by SR VP Chief Economist with Stewart Title Company
U.S. home prices have declined across the nation in the past year—albeit at varying levels. Latest national price declines (and again I invoke the TINSTAANREM Clause — There Is No Such Thing As A National Real Estate Market) range from as little as 4.5 percent (Dallas, Texas) on a year-over-year basis in February to as great as 35.2 percent (Phoenix, AZ) according to S&P’s Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.
It is the anticipation by many prospective buyers for further home price erosion that keeps them on the sidelines and from participating in homeownership despite the lowest interest rates since Freddie Mac commenced the statistical series in 1971.
While further price declines may be realized, I believe the likelihood of rising interest rates makes purchasing now a better option than waiting for further potential value declines. Simply stated, there is a greater possibility of interest rate increases than potential value declines. Even with the price decline, the interest rate increase may result in the buyer no longer being able to qualify for a loan on a home they wish to purchase for which they qualify today. Despite facing a potential in declining home values, now may be a better time to buy.
To make the comparison simple, let’s assume a loan amount today of $100,000 with a 30-year fixed-rate residential loan at 5 percent. Nationwide at the time of this writing, the average 30-year rate was 4.85 percent per Freddie Mac. Fannie Mae forecasts an average rate in all of 2009 of 5.13 percent. So the 5 percent is a reasonable assumption.
A buyer today at 5 percent interest borrowing $100,000 has a monthly principle and interest payment of $536.82. If prices decline 5 percent (and the loan amount does also) and interest rates rise just ½ of 1 percent, then the monthly payment remains the same ($539.40).
So if rates go up just 1 percent to 6 percent per year, then prices must drop at least 10 percent for that same buyer to qualify for the same monthly payment. A 1.5 percent increase in rates to 6.5 percent requires a 15 percent price decline, and a 2 percent increase necessitates a 20 percent price decline to qualify. Note: This 1 percent interest rate change to a 10 percent price change is only true when interest rates are 5 percent as they are today.

Admittedly, at the same loan-to-value ratio, as prices decline so does the down payment. Since, however, many buyers select the price range of homes they consider buying based on their monthly payment potential, rising rates may force future buyers into less expensive homes and hence properties they find less desirable.

Why do I expect rates to increase in the future more than price declines? Aggregate 20-city prices have already declined 29.1 percent since peaking in July 2006. I believe much of the price decline has already taken place. And why do I anticipate rate increases? There are several reasons. Interest rates are the lowest in recorded history. But perhaps most important is the record deficit spending by Congress and the Administration and the expectation for that to continue. Borrowing a couple of trillion dollars this year coupled with a now-projected decade of deficits of at least $1 trillion per year sets the stage for a weakened dollar and corresponding rising interest rates. In plain speak—the massive deficit spending has a high potential to drive up inflation and hence interest rates.
If you agree with me, quote me. “Postponing a home purchase waiting for home prices to decline further may price you out of the market.” Ted C. Jones, PhD, Senior Vice President—Chief Economist, Stewart Title Guaranty Company.

If you have any questions, please call DENISE WAMBSGANSS at 303-880-8771 or email

Friday, March 19, 2010


U.S. On Track to Reach 3 Million Foreclosures in 2010.
February 12th, 2010 U.S. On Track to Reach 3 Million Foreclosures in 2010. With Fannie Mae Forecasting 5.723 Million Existing Home Sales in 2010, Then More Than Half of All Sales Could Be Foreclosures.

Mortgage Lending News

Thursday, March 18, 2010

This is a little late in the is a GREAT webiste for Colorado 24 hour snow report for Ski areas.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

FHA Upfront Fee Increase

FHA Upfront Funding Fee Increase

I like to keep all my buyers on any changes coming up in lending.
So Just an FYI

If a buyer is considering a FHA loan here is a good reason for them to move forward during the next 2 ½ months.
As of April 5, 2010, the Dept. of HUD will increase the FHA up-front mortgage insurance fees from 1.75% to 2.25%.

Therefore, on a loan of $250,000, this will be an additional fee of $1,125.
This $1,125 is not a ton of money, but couple it with the first time home buyers credit of $8,000 and a borrower

will be saving $9,125 OR a present homeowner tax credit of $6,500 a borrower will be saving $7.625.