'The key to all ' issues is having four votes (of seven) on Council.'- Doug Hutchinson, former Mayor of Fort Collins
County Offering Emergency Home Loans
Council Repeals IZO
Big Issues Facing Fort Collins
Council Finalizing Clean Energy Park Agreements
Romero Resigns from OEDIT
Call to Action on GSE Loan Limits
NAR & Coalition Urge Regulators to Dump QRM
County Offering Emergency Home Loans: Through its Housing Counseling Program, the Boulder County Housing Authority is participating in a nationwide foreclosure prevention program. The Emergency Homeowner Loan Program will provide 984 Colorado homeowners at-risk of foreclosure with the opportunity to apply for an interest-free loan to help pay their monthly mortgage for up to two years or $50,000.
To qualify homeowners must have experienced a reduction in income due to involuntary unemployment or underemployment due to economic conditions or a medical condition, be at least three months delinquent on their first mortgage and at risk of foreclosure; reside in the property as their primary place of residence and meet other qualifying program criteria including income restrictions defined by HUD, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The BCHA's Housing Counseling Program will serve as one of several HUD-approved housing counseling agencies in Colorado where homeowners may submit a Pre-Applicant Screening Worksheet for participation in EHLP.
The Pre-Application Screening period will be held from June 20-July 22. To complete a Pre-Applicant Screening Worksheet visit www.FindEHLP.org http://www.FindEHLP.org> or call toll free at 855-FIND-EHLP (346-3345). Homeowners may also contact the Housing Counseling Program at 720-564-2279 or email@example.com. The EHLP is available in 27 states across the nation and Puerto Rico. Congress provided $1 billion to HUD as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to implement the program.
Council Repeals IZO: By a 4-3 vote, the City Council repealed the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance (IZO) effective July 1, 2011. The IZO required builders to dedicate 10 percent of a new subdivision to deed-restricted affordable homes or pay cash-in-lieu. Since the program was implemented in 1995, approximately 142 deed-restricted homes were built, 15 of which have been foreclosed and become the property of the City. As a comparison, 130 units are purchased each year through the City's down payment assistance program.
The three City Council members who voted against the repeal (Hansen, McCoy and Levison) argued that homes that are currently deed-restrictions should keep that designation. Levison voiced concern about the City employee who manages the IZO, saying someone would be 'on the street' if the program was eliminated. Kathy Fedler, the City's Affordable Housing Programs Coordinator, assured Levison that was not the case.
In July the Council will also consider an ordinance to release the developments that were annexed into the City after the passage of the IZO in 1995. This will free builders from the requirement to participate in the IZO that was mandated by a standard clause in their annexation agreement.
An Affordable Housing Task Force comprised of 15-17 members, will make recommendations to the City Council regarding future affordable housing policies in light of the elimination of the IZO. Council will appoint the Task Force members soon. The Board of Directors of the Longmont Association of REALTOR®? has forwarded the names of three members, two REALTOR®? and one mortgage broker, to Fedler for Council's consideration.
Big Issues Facing Fort Collins: Former Mayor Doug Hutchinson spoke recently about the big issues on the table for the current City Council. Among the topics he identified were: water (flood plain regulations, the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) and the Halligan Reservoir expansion); the Mason Corridor; and energy issues, including utility rates and the Climate Action Plan.
Hutchinson spoke at length about water issues. He is concerned that City funds could be used to try and stop NISP (Glade Reservoir), even though the City is not a partner in the project. He also said it is vital that the Council proceeds with the Halligan Reservoir expansion (40,000 additional acre feet) so the City is protected in case of a 50-year drought. He said that some people oppose water projects because they think they will encourage growth, which Hutchinson said is inevitable and must be expected.
The Mason Corridor is an important project that will enable economic development in the area. To call it transportation project, Hutchinson said, is to misunderstand the importance of the project and the benefits it will bring to Fort Collins. He said the Corridor project will encourage businesses to locate along the route and revitalize the mid-town area as well as serve transportation needs for residents and visitors.
In discussing energy, the former mayor expressed concern about possible utility rate increases and the huge impact they could have on businesses. He said some on Council say energy is too cheap in the City and raising the rates would encourage people to conserve but Hutchinson doesn't see it that way. The City's Climate Action Plan now matches the State's goal. Hutchinson is proud of the City's role in the Rawhide Plant, which he said is one of the cleanest coal burning plants in the country. He stresses the importance of energy efficiency without putting a financial burden on citizens and businesses.
Council Finalizing Clean Energy Park Agreements: The City Council voted unanimously to authorize City Manager Bill Cahill to close on the $5.5 million purchase of the Agilent property and, in a separate 9-0 vote, agreed to a letter of agreement with backers of the Aerospace Clean Energy Manufacturing and Innovation Park (ACE). The development partners, the Colorado Association for Manufacturing and Technology (CAMT) and Minneapolis-based United Properties, are already bringing prospective tenants to the Agilent campus.
The park would be populated by up to 100 manufacturing companies, engaged in projects to turn technology patents controlled by NASA and the Golden-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory into marketable products. 'It's going very well,' United Properties vice president Kevin Kelley. 'We've had good conversations with tenants, most of whom are busting at the seams to get in there.'
The agreement with the ACE partnership is for a 60-day exclusive right to negotiate the purchase of the Agilent campus' four buildings, totaling 812,000 square feet, and 176 acres of buildable land for $4 million. The deal with Agilent that closes this week gives the city 129 acres of land and water rights, together worth about $1.7 million. City Manager Cahill says the first tenants should be on site by the end of the year.
Romero Resigns from OEDIT: Gov. John Hickenlooper has appointed Ken Lund, chief legal counsel in the Governor's office, as the new Executive Director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. He replaces Dwayne Romero, a former Aspen City Council member and president of Related Colorado, a real estate firm.
Romero was commuting weekly from Aspen to his job in Denver, leaving late on Sundays or early on Mondays and returning on Thursdays. He also was continually traveling around the state to jump-start the governor's Bottom-Up economic-development program, which assists rural communities. He said he has logged 13,000 miles on his vehicle since Feb. 1. Juggling the demands of his job with the needs of his wife and three young daughters proved to be too challenging, Romero said.
Ken Lund was hired in December to be Hickenlooper's chief legal counsel. In appointing him to replace Romero, Hickenlooper said, "Ken Lund has a fierce passion for expanding business. As managing partner for one of Colorado's largest transactional law firms, Ken was intimately involved with growing businesses at all stages of their evolution." Lund, previously with Holme Roberts & Owens in Denver, will take the position officially on Aug. 1.
NATION (from the National Association of REALTOR®?)
Call to Action on GSE Loan Limits: NAR warns that on September 30, the cost of a mortgage could rise significantly. The current FHA and GSE loan limits have been in place since February of 2008, when they were passed as part of the Emergency Stimulus Act.
Housing conditions have not improved enough to warrant letting the limits drop but they will expire on September 30th unless Congress takes action. FHA and GSE loan limits would drop to 115% of local area median home price with a cap of $625,500 (from the current limit of 125% of local area median home price with a cap of $729,750). The average decline in loan limits would be more than $68,000. Only eight states will see no decline and Colorado is not one of them.
With tight underwriting constraining mortgage availability, lowering the FHA/Fannie/Freddie loan limits will only further restrict liquidity. Even with the current higher limits, borrowers are finding it difficult to obtain affordable mortgage financing. Making the current limits permanent at levels appropriate in all parts of the country will provide homeowners and homebuyers with safe, affordable financing and help stabilize local housing markets.
Although the limits don't expire until September 30, action cannot wait. It takes FHA and the GSEs several months to reset their underwriting systems to accept the loan limits. If there is a delay beyond July, there will be a gap in loan limits, and borrowers will be left in limbo.
NAR & Coalition Urge Regulators to Dump QRM: The National Association of REALTOR®? is urging regulators to go back to the drawing board on the proposed Qualified Residential Mortgage rule. At a news conference on Capitol Hill, the original sponsors of the QRM provision in the Dodd-Frank Act ' Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) ' joined Reps. John Campbell (R-Calif.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) to urge regulators to reconsider unnecessarily high down payment requirements under the proposed QRM rule.
'As the leading advocate for home ownership, NAR firmly believes Congress intended to create a broad QRM exemption ' strong evidence shows that responsible lending standards and ensuring a borrower's ability to repay have the greatest impact on reducing lender risk, and not high down payments,' said NAR President Ron Phipps.
NAR has forged the broad-based Coalition for Sensible Housing Policy, which includes 44 organizations focused on drawing attention to the proposed regulation's onerous 20 percent down payment requirement. The coalition asked for and recently received an extension of the comment period until August 1, 2011. NAR and its coalition partners have also gathered the support of 44 U.S. Senators, who recently wrote to regulators expressing their intent on QRM and opposing the imposition of a sizable down payment; 282 House members signed a similar letter.
Concurrent with the event, NAR and the coalition unveiled a white paper, 'Proposed Qualified Residential Mortgage Definition Harms Creditworthy Borrowers While Frustrating Housing Recovery,' an in-depth analysis of the impact of the proposed QRM rule. The white paper will be submitted as the coalition's official comments to the rule.
NAR wants federal regulators to honor congressional intent by crafting a QRM exemption that includes a wide variety of traditionally safe, well-documented and properly underwritten products. 'As written, the proposed QRM rule violates congressional intent, makes home ownership more expensive for millions of responsible consumers and jeopardizes the fragile housing recovery,' Phipps said. 'We urge regulators to reconsider the proposed QRM definition to help hard-working, creditworthy Americans continue to realize their dreams of homeownership.'
Clint Skutchan is has been the Executive for FCBR since 2008. Prior to joining the REALTOR® association he ran a Medical Society and was a local talk show host for nearly 10 years
November 2013 Housing Report
A comprehensive Housing Report from the Fort Collins Board of REALTORS®. Residential Market Statistics for single family detached and attached homes plus Townhome/Condo stats provided by IRES. Please note that IRES no longer includes "to be built" and "under construction listings. For more information please call 223-2900.
FCBR is focused on enhancing our members’ success via a core service department approach.
Under the Policy Governance model we have implemented a number of tracking mechanisms and reports to provide useable data that provides a greater level of understanding and accountability for our Departments and Administrative services.
The following report is offered to our valued members on behalf FCBR’s Leadership so that ever FCBR member has a better understanding of how your association is performing.
Should you have any comments or questions please feel free to contact any member of FCBR’s Leadership team.
Thank you for your support and participation over this past year!