Archive for December, 2011
Cordillera Update from the Eagle County Times: Alpine Bank – Backs Off in ongoing Cordillera Litigation
December 11, 2011 by eaglecountytimes
by Paul Drake and Della Street
…in a surprise move for some observers…local Alpine Bank ‘rescinded without prejudice’ their legal request for a ‘Limited Receiver at the Eagle County District Courthouse late last week.
As reported last week by the ECT (Click Here) Alpine Bank filed in District Court for a ‘limited receiver’ to be appointed by the Judge…because Alpine’s Note to the Cordillera Golf Club, LLC (read:Wilhelm Family Partnership) was behind in monthly payments due Alpine, according to Court documents.
Late this past week (presumably because Alpine was paid? and Alpine’s loan to the CGC, LLC – is now current?) Alpine backed off their request – from the week before (Click Here) to read the recently filed Court document.
There are still many more ‘unknowns’ in this case than ‘knowns’. Presumably, based on the fact that there isn’t a ‘limited receiver’ appointed by the Court – the Cordillera Golf Club, LLC can legally send their Annual Membership Dues notices to current members and expect to be paid in full during the January 2012 time frame.
It is a well documented fact – that last year at roughly this time – David Wilhelm (owner of the CGC, LLC) made promises (via emails) to existing members – that if they paid their dues on time and in full ALL Cordillera Golf Courses would open at the beginning of the Golf Season (2011) in Cordillera (Click Here from June 12th 2011).
Because of changing financial conditions at the CGC, LLC Mr. Wilhelm did not (as promised) open all the Golf Courses last year – a fact – that is now being litigated against David Wilhelm in a separate legal action – from Alpine Bank’s action.
Insiders at Cordillera believe it’s going to be some time before all these lawsuits are resolved. The ECT folks think so too.
December 4, 2011 by eaglecountytimes
by Paul Drake and Della Street – Sunday, December 4th 2011
Local Alpine Bank – files in District Court against Cordillera Golf Club, LLC (read:WFP, Wilhelm Family Partnership et al).
Recent public record Court Filings show that the owners of the Cordillera Golf Club took out a Note with Alpine Bank for $13.7 Million on 26JUN2009. This loan from Alpine Bank was a performing loan right up until, October 26th 2011, when CGC, LLC failed to make the monthly payment due Alpine on that date.
Court documents show – per the loan agreement Alpine wasted no time notifying the borrower of their obligations and notifying borrower of what Alpine’s legal remedies are per their signed 26JUN2009 loan agreement.
Since the CGC, LLC has since failed to pay…on November 25th 2011 Alpine filed in District Court with a legal request to put the Cordillera Golf Courses in (limited receivership) as is Alpine’s right per their agreement Court documents show. Alpine’s loan to CGC, LLC was secured in part by the condition and existence of all Cordillera Golf Courses…not to mention the annual membership dues paid by Golf Course members.
As of December 4th 2011, the District Court Judge – Thomas Moorhead has not ruled on Alpine’s request for limited receivership.
What we also know…Last month (in a separate/different civil case – 2011CV552) the Cordillera Golf Club membership litigation was Granted “Class Action” status by District Court Judge Fred Gannett for a lawsuit against the Wilhelm Family Partnership, who are the current owners of record for all Cordillera Golf Courses.
Further, the legal request filed by WFP to remove the individual lawsuit against (son Patrick Wilhelm) was denied by Judge Gannett as well. Bottom line, the WFP and it’s owners continue to be sued individually.
What else do we know? Traditionally, the Cordillera Golf Course would send out it’s annual membership dues bill that was due no later than January.
What we don’t know (yet)…is plenty
Will the WFP and it’s owner David Wilhelm file for Bankruptcy protection? Don’t know yet.
Will the District Court Judge grant Alpine’s request for Limited Receivership? Don’t know yet.
Will Alpine Bank – file – in order to start Foreclosure on all Cordillera Golf Courses currently owned by the WFP? Don’t know yet.
Last years Cordillera Golf Course membership dues paid in January was ~$8 Million dollars in total.
What possible legal claim could the WFP make – should Judge Moorhead rule and grant a Limited Receivership? Legal Claim that is, that the Annual Golf Course membership dues be paid to the WFP as opposed to the Receiver should one be appointed by Judge Moorhead?
BREAKING NEWS Sunday, December 4th 2011 – Plaintiffs – Cordillera Golf Course membership (et al) file in District Court to have a “Contempt Citation” Issued against Wilhelm Family Partnership, LLC and against David Wilhelm personally. (Click Here)
On June 24th 2011, District Court Judge Fred Gannett entered a TRO (temporary restraining order) that further defined “what” the Owner (WFP) could spend Cordillera Golf Course Membership dues on (Click Here). In short, exclusively for the care and maintenance of the Cordillera Golf Courses and Club Houses. According to the (just filed) District Court Documents, Plaintiff’s claim WFP has ‘violated’ that TRO issued last June by District Court Judge Fred Gannett.
In their filing the Plaintiffs document several instances they claim have constituted a violation of that TRO, where the WFP has spent thousands on items and personal compensation not allowed (they claim) under Judge Gannett’s TRO.
We’ll all have to wait and see what happens next.
Welcome to my December, 2011 Wildridge Real Estate Market Update. It appears that real estate sales in 2011 should equal the trends we have seen over the past 3 years in Wildridge.
Click on the links below to view the latest market update and the current listings and 2011 sales in Wildridge.
Reservations look strong for the ski season so far. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope the snow comes and we have a wonderful holiday season.
Best Wishes and Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Welcome to my December, 2011 Beaver Creek Real Estate Market Update. 2011 will be a solid for the Beaver Creek real estate market. Sales should exceed the total we had in 2010. Prices dropped over the course of the year but appear to be stabilizing. Click on the links below to take a look.
The Birds of Prey World Cup Races in Beaver Creek were a great success. Bode won the downhill, Ted Ligety won a giant slalom and was second in another one, and Lindsay Vonn won a super giant slalom that was rescheduled to Beaver Creek due to a lack of snow in France.
Best Wishes and Merry Christmas to you and your family.
By Ruth Mantell
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — New construction of U.S. houses rose 9.3% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685,000 – the highest annual rate since April 2010 — with multi-family activity leading growth, according to Commerce Department data released Tuesday. Starts for multi-family residences rose 32.2% in November to a rate of 230,000, the highest level since September 2008. Meanwhile, starts of new single-family homes rose 2.3% to an annual rate of 447,000. Starts in October were revised down to 627,000 from a prior estimate of 628,000. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected an annual rate of 635,000 for starts in November. Building permits, a leading indicator of housing construction, rose 5.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 681,000, the highest annual rate since March 2010.
Vail Mountain Announces a State-of-the-Art Gondola to Replace Vista Bahn Express Lift (#16) in Vail Village
- Opening of new gondola will coincide with Vail’s 50th anniversary in December 2012
- High-capacity gondola – first of its kind in North America – will increase uphill capacity by 40 percent and include new features such as free Wi-Fi access
VAIL, Colo. — Dec. 19, 2011 — Vail Mountain, the largest ski resort in the United States, has already begun making plans for its 50th anniversary in December 2012, by announcing the planned installation of a new, state-of-the art gondola to replace the Vista Bahn Express Lift (#16) in Vail Village.
The new gondola, which will have the number “1” to commemorate Vail’s original gondola in that location, will provide a 40 percent improvement in uphill capacity over the existing Vista Bahn Express Lift (#16) – the highest of any gondola in North America. The state-of-the-art gondola, the first installation of its kind in North America, will offer new features, such as free Wi-Fi access for guests.
“We could think of no better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Vail Mountain than by making a dramatic investment to improve the experience for our guests. The new gondola will set a standard for how we transport guests up the mountain, significantly reducing wait times at one of the most popular and recognized lifts anywhere in the world. It will also offer a protected and comfortable ride, complete with free Wi-Fi access,” said Chris Jarnot, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain. “The new gondola continues a long tradition of Vail’s investments to set the leading position in guest service anywhere in the mountain resort industry.”
“The new gondola in Vail Village will provide the final touch to Vail’s multi-billion dollar renaissance over the past decade, which has been the result of an incredible partnership between Vail Resorts, the Town of Vail and the entire Vail community,” said Andy Daly, mayor of the Town of Vail. “These investments have ensured Vail’s leadership position in the resort industry for many years to come.”
The new gondola will be located in the same location as the existing lift and will reach the same location at Mid-Vail. The gondola is a state-of-the-art lift replacing the technology of the existing high-speed quad lift that was installed in 1985, approximately 26 years ago, and reintroducing a gondola to Vail Village not experienced since the 1970s. The gondola is proposed to be installed in the spring and summer of 2012 and be operational for opening day of the 2012-2013 ski season, just in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Vail.
The base lift facility will be similar to the existing equipment but instead of chairs hanging from a cable, there will be gondola cabins. Unlike the Eagle Bahn Gondola (#19) in Lionshead, which is an enclosed facility, the new gondola will be an open air terminal.
The new gondola is subject to Town of Vail and U.S. Forest Service approval. Additional details on the design and approval of the proposed gondola will be available in the coming months.
For more information about Vail Mountain, visit Vail.com or contact the Mountain Information Center at (970) SKI-VAIL (754-8425).
About Vail Mountain
Quickly approaching its 50th anniversary in December 2012 and coveted as the largest ski resort in the United States with more than 5,000 acres of skiable terrain, Vail is an extraordinary winter vacation destination. Spanning seven miles are seven legendary Back Bowls, blanketed last season with more than 40 feet of powder snow. Under blue skies more than 300 days each year and with more groomed terrain than anywhere on the planet, families reconnect and celebrate here from year to year and generation to generation. The vacation experience is world class, from the Vail Ski & Snowboard School to the events, activities and festivals, the shops and spas, abundant culinary experiences and luxurious accommodations. Coupled with the vision inherent in the spirit of Vail’s founders, and a modern day commitment to excellence in all aspects of guest service and operations, Vail can still credibly lay claim to being a resort like nothing on earth. www.Vail.com.
After half a decade of withering sales and slumping prices, there are strong and diverse signs that the single-family housing market is poised for a rebound.
In some metropolitan areas, the market has bottomed, with both sales and prices on the rise and foreclosures on the decline.
This contrarian – and largely overlooked – thesis flies in the face of the persistent gloom that has nagged the industry since 2007, when the subprime crisis flared.
Industry analysts and players cite a number of reasons – some traditional (employment), others unique to the post-credit bubble era (foreclosures) – for the long-awaited sea change. An analysis of industry and government data also support the forecast.
“It has become increasingly apparent to us that the pieces for a housing rebound next year are beginning to fall into place,” declared Barclays Capital analyst Stephen Kim in a recent note to investors.
Proponents admit that the nascent rebound could easily be derailed, but stress that after years of government efforts to support sales and prices as well as the volatile impact of foreclosures, the market has regained a measure of normalcy.
“With the exception of really hard-hit markets, the vast majority is ready to turn around,” adds Jerry Howard, president and CEO of the National Association of Home Builders, NAHB. “The Washington, D.C., area is not only ripe for recovery, they need to start building units.”
The iShares Dow Jones US Home Construction Index Fund (NYSE Arca: itb), for example, is up some 38 percent, while the S&P 500 is up about 21 percent.
Nevertheless, skeptics overwhelmingly outnumber the optimists, given the false-starts of previous years, the economy’s sub-par performance, a new wave of distressed properties and the capacity for the European debt crisis to spook business, consumers and investors.
“I think it’s premature,” says Richard Smith, CEO of Realogy, the nation’s largest real estate company, whose brands include Century 21, Coldwell Banker and Sotheby’s International. “We see little indications here and there. Transaction volume is improving. Prices are still under pressure. This isn’t going to be one of those spiked robust recoveries.”
Smith is echoing the conventional industry calculus: that price increases follow sales growth amid consistently strengthening demand.
There’s been little conventional, however, about this housing slump, which is one reason it’s had so many false bottoms. Among its many firsts – housing starts fell through 1 million annual units, foreclosures topped 2 million in three consecutive years, and home prices declined on a national basis.
The catalysts to recovery are mostly the same: for potential buyers, residential rents have now risen enough to consider buying; existing-home inventory is the lowest in five years, while that of new homes is at a 40-year low; affordability is at a record high; delinquencies have peaked;consumer confidence is on the rise ; and job growth is accelerating.
For investors, with a continuation of the gold rally in question, real estate is beginning to look like a viable inflation hedge alternative, while rising rents mean greater profits.
That thinking may help explain why the iShares Dow Jones US Home Construction Index Fund(NYSE Arca: itb), a broad barometer for the housing market, is up some 38 percent from the stock market’s October bottom, while the S&P 500 is up about 21 percent.
Finally, there’s the intangible fatigue with bad news, and a desire to end the negative feedback loop.
The NAR is forecasting existing home sales will rise 5 percent in both 2012 and 2013; prices will edge up 2 percent in each of those two years, then 4 percent in 2014.
The NAHB is forecasting a 5.1-percent increase in new home sales and a 10-percent increase for new home starts in 2012.
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
A turnaround in the housing market will require continued improvement in the job market.
The economy has created jobs 13 months in a row for a total of almost 1.9 million. Weekly jobless claims have been routinely below the key level of 400,000, and the national jobless rate is down to 8.6 percent.
There are already signs in some markets that an improving employment picture is boosting housing demand and sale prices.
In cities such as Tampa, Fla., South Bend, Ind., Grand Rapids, Mich., Raleigh, N.C., Wichita, Kan., and Green Bay, Wis.., the median sales price of an existing single family home increased 1-2 percent in the third quarter, during which time the jobless rate and/or payrolls growth improved dramatically.
Even in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla. metropolitan area – considered the epicenter of the foreclosure crisis a few years ago – prices were just 1.4 percent lower in the third quarter than the previous year.
A new index by the NAHB and First American, the Improving Markets Index, IMI, launched in September, tracks housing markets throughout the country that are showing signs of improving economic health. Thirty cities – including San Jose, Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Winston-Salem, N.C. – are showing growth in permits, sales and employment.
In San Diego – where in the last year the jobless rate has fallen from 10.4 percent to 9.7 percent and 24,000 jobs have been added – home inventory is down to two months; in some areas of San Francisco (9.4 vs. 10.3 percent), it is one month.
More broadly, 40 percent of all states showed existing home sale increases on both a quarterly and annual basis in the third quarter, according to National Association of Realtors data. That includes high foreclosure-rate states, such as California, Georgia, Michigan and Utah. All but six states showed double-digit gains year over year.
Location, Location, Location
There’s even a strong case to be made that the foreclosure crisis is easing.
“The pipeline of distressed property is plentiful but less than last year,” when foreclosure activity hit a record 2.18 million, says Yun.
For the first nine months of 2011, foreclosure activity is down sharply from the same period last year (26.59 percent), whether it is the worst-off states – (Florida, 54.98 percent; California, 31.51 percent; Utah, 27.41 percent) – or better-off ones (New York, 46.57 percent; Mississippi, 33.25 percent; South Dakota, 26.59 percent), according to RealtyTrac, which tracks the data.
Third-quarter foreclosures (610,337) were up 1 percent from the previous quarter but down 34 percent from the year-ago period.
The wild card right now is an impending wave of new foreclosed properties on the market, following the removal of state moratoria and the settlement of state and federal lawsuits with lenders and loan servicers.
It’s unclear how many properties will hit the market, but conservative estimates put the number at over a million.
Still, of the top 20 markets in the new wave, nine are in California, five in Florida and two in Ohio, according RealtyTrac, so the impact will be fairly concentated.
Another question is whether that wave will be a tsunami or merely a breaker. If the market is in fact recovering, why would banks want to weaken it again by deluging it with cheap properties.
“You could see them trying to gauge the market like speculators,” answers Howard.
Kim of Barclays is among those who say the threat is exaggerated, perhaps misunderstood. He estimates that 40 percent of the foreclosed properties haven’t had a payment made on them in two years, which means they are in poor condition and thus unattractive to many buyers.
“The deterioration has been great,” he says. “It flies in the face of all the bearish arguments.”
Kim’s thesis is that there are now two kinds of buyers in the market; those who’ll take a chance on a bargain-priced, distressed property and those who’ll only make a conventional transaction. He says it helps explain why the Core Logic data he used for his latest report shows non-distressed prices flat or slightly higher in the past year.
“Even if the banks decide to move their inventory more aggressively, and I suspect they will, it’s OK because the buyer is making a distinction,” explains Kim.
“There’s a ready appetite for it,” adds Smith of Realogy, who agrees that there’s substantial pent-up demand for housing in general but also great uncertainty. “If you can relieve consumers of some of that uncertainty, then I can see a nice little recovery.”
That’s the psychological dimension of the wild card – the negative feedback loop that has plagued housing.
Optimists say most of the uncertainty and fear is gone.
“The major driver of negative sentiment was that prices were going down across the market by large amounts,” says Kim of Barclays. “Buyers need to see a stabilization.”
A contributing element to that is the unwinding of government intervention – whether to artificially spur demand – as was the case with the first-time buyer tax incentive program of 2009 and 2010 – and/or to retard and prevent foreclosures.
Many regard those efforts as largely ineffective, if not counter-productive because they delayed the inevitable – a deep descent to a market bottom, which has finally been touched.
“The numbers you’re looking at you can trust,” says Kim. “There are no exogenous factors.”
Though tight lending conditions and forthcoming regulations of the Dodd-Frank legislation are still an issue for some, sweeping housing finance reform is off the agenda for at least the next year.
“You’re back to the natural forces of the market,” says Howard of the builders association.