Thu, Apr 24th - 3:45PM
by: Allison K. Smith, Realtor http://www.ColoradoDreamHome.com
What is .0076%?
It is 76 ten-thousandths of 1 percent, clearly a very small number. It also represents the percentage of sub prime loans compared to all outstanding loans in the United States. Isn't it time for some perspective?
There are currently $9.9 trillion dollars in mortgage loans in the United States. Of that $9.9 trillion, there is only $75 billion in sub-prime loans or .0076%. Does this .0076% really merit all of the negative attention and sensationalizing that the media is giving it – absolutely not!
Why is the media giving the sub-prime “melt down” so much publicity? The true reason the media is harping on the sub prime sector is that many Fortune 100 and 500 Companies have purchased financial products as assets that have sub-prime loans within the product. In years past, there has been a large rate of return on these products. However, these companies now have to write off some of the losses they have incurred and that is why the media is having a field day. What about the hundreds of billions of dollars in profit they have made on sub prime loans over the last 6 years?
It is a great time to buy and I think the following numbers will help put into perspective the skewed representation from the media that the housing industry is receiving:
99.9924% is the percentage of home loans that are NOT sub-prime loans
97.4% of all mortgages are current and being paid on time
6.9% is the average yearly rate of appreciation of homes since 1952
30% of all homes in the United States are paid off
Interest rates are great and this is the perfect time for first time buyers to jump in the market and for investors to increase their portfolios. In addition, according to an April 14 article on Realtytimes.com, "The first quarter of 2008 makes the 24th consecutive quarter that rental prices have escalated nationwide." Further, the vacancy rates in the Denver metro area are well under 6% this year and are projected to go below 4% in 2009. This translates into continued increases in rental prices.
It has never been more true then, that "If you can afford to rent, you can afford to buy." The interest rate trend from the last 15 months shows mortgage rates climbing from 6.2% in January 2007, to 6.6% in July 2007, and now plunging to the current rate of approximately 5.9%. Forecasters predict rates to continue their downward trend through July 2008,
http://www.forecasts.org/fha.htm, thus indicating that right now is the best time for new buyers to get out of rental properties and enter the housing market!
Sun, Apr 13th - 8:20PM
By: Allison K. Smith, EcoBroker, CRS
An increasing number of builders and consumers are recognizing not only the energy-efficiency, but also the health-related benefits of green buildings. Most home buyers like the idea of a well-built house that’s environmentally sound and offers low utility bills. Who wouldn’t want a home that is easy on the wallet, good for the body, comforting to the soul, and gentle to the earth for decades to come?
Most consumers readily acknowledge that energy efficiency and environmental design correlate with quality. In a survey commissioned by Consumer Reports, nine out of ten consumers consider environmental and health factors as part of their purchasing decision. Those consumers are also willing to pay more for a home with green features.
Green is a term which consumers may feel they understand in general. But what, you may ask, does it mean to be green in terms of real estate, of your home? It is easy to be mislead by “greenwash,” which is generally disinformation and/or over-hyping of a product or feature through marketing and advertising, so as to present an environmentally responsible public image. Unlike the natural foods industry, where the government has defined terms like “organic,” there are no government sanctioned definitions for terms such as “environmentally-friendly” and “green”. So how does the average Joe avoid all the greenwash?
Enter the EcoBroker. An EcoBroker is a real estate agent who is specially trained to assist home buyers and sellers in identifying green and energy-efficient features in a home. To earn the EcoBroker designation, an agent must complete coursework spanning issues from energy, the environment, to green business. The EcoBroker provides a vital link between builders, consumers, green products and sustainable home design. Accordingly, EcoBrokers can help distinguish between a green-like marketing scheme and a home that’s actually been built according to efficient design with sustainable low-toxic materials.
The general environmental aspects that are considered in a green home, and which an EcoBroker is trained to help consumers identify include: energy efficiency, building materials used, water quality and indoor air quality. This runs the gamut from landscaping, building orientation, windows and appliances, to insulation and use of non-toxic materials (such as low VOC paints and carpets). There are also a variety of programs across the nation that certify new and existing homes, and/or rate homes as a function of their energy efficiency, sustainable design, and health-related features. These programs include: Energy Star, LEEDS, and locally is Built Green Colorado.
Your EcoBroker is not only invaluable in helping you find or market a green home, but is also your resource in identifying other professionals to assist you in greening your existing home.
Contact Allison at www.coloradodreamhome.com