Archive for May, 2012

US Pro Challenge, Aug. 23 – Host City Highlight: Beaver Creek


Host City Highlight: Beaver Creek
Stage 4 Finish, August 23
Beaver Creek is set to host the Stage 4 mountain finish of the USA Pro Challenge Aug. 23. The intimate village setting nestled at the foot of the mountain’s formidable slopes combines a grand backdrop for competitors and for the thousands of spectators expected during the race. Beaver Creek is a place where people come together to relax and enjoy the sheer beauty of the area. Known for its commitment to service, family offerings, and culinary delights, the resort’s luxurious yet laidback mountain lifestyle blends the best of all worlds creating an experience that keeps you coming back for more.
Spirited adventures for every level of thrill seeker are available at Beaver Creek. From guided nature hikes to all-out heart pounding competitions, activities exist for all ages and ability levels. Ride the chairlift and hike Royal Elk Trail to Beaver Lake for a picnic. Test your mettle at Tough Mudder in June 2012 and earn bragging rights at the office for finishing. Or, watch top competitors vie for victory at the XTERRA off-road triathlon in July. Cheer on some of the world’s best long distance runners as they compete in the multi-day TransRockies run. Follow them through the Rockies or greet them at the finish in Beaver Creek in August. Local mountain bike and trail running series offer a great way to acclimate to the mountains and try your hand at new competitive sports. Peruse the summer events calendar at http://www.beavercreek.com and for those who are serious about sports, start training now!
If a more relaxed activity sounds more appealing, absorb the sensational summer scenery at Beaver Creek on a scenic chairlift ride. The Centennial Express Lift provides amazing views of Beaver Creek and the entire valley in colorful bloom. Bright Colorado sunshine delivers crisp endless views from Spruce Saddle, stretching to the east and north including the Gore Range as well as to mountain tops to the west. Lawn sports and activities are available and a disc golf course provides yet another way to play outdoors under the warm skies. Summer pricing will be announced in the coming months.
Beaver Creek is also home to three championship golf courses; The Beaver Creek Golf Club located right in Beaver Creek and Red Sky Ranch Golf Club which features the Greg Norman Golf Course and the Tom Fazio Golf Course located seven miles west of Beaver Creek.
Beaver Creek is located in the central Rocky Mountains of Colorado, just 120 miles west of Denver and just 20 miles east of Eagle off of Interstate 70.  Be sure to visit http://www.beavercreek.com for details about 2012 summer events and packages.

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Housing starts up 2.6% in April as permits fall 7% – MarketWatch


WASHINGTON — Construction on new US homes rose 2.6 percent in April to an annual rate of 717,000 units, while building permits fell seven percent to 715,000 — one month after reaching a near four-year high, the government reported Wednesday.

Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected housing starts in April to rise to a total 690,000 on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Housing starts in March were revised up sharply to 699,000 from 654,000, while permits were revised up to 769,000 — the highest level since September 2008 — from an original reading of 747,000.

In April, permits for single-family homes, which account for three-quarters of the housing market, edged up 1.9 percent to an annual rate of 475,000. Permits for new construction are viewed as a gauge of future demand.

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Stunned Home Buyers Find the Bidding Wars Are Back (WSJ)


Note from TMN:

This is an interesting article and the Vail Valley has seen some of the same bidding wars, particularly in the lower end of the market.  Personally, I’ve made two offers recently for buyers and we were out bid by another buyer.  There is a tremendous appetite for bank owned properties.  Looking at Eagle County foreclosure sales, we should peak this year and start seeing fewer foreclosures next year. 

Much of it has to do with declining inventories.  This graph shows what is happening in the Vail Valley with inventory.  We are slowly but surely moving back to a more “normal” market although I don’t expect to hit the highs of the bubble before the recession. 

 

A new development is catching home buyers off guard as the spring sales season gets under way: Bidding wars are back.

From California to Florida, many buyers are increasingly competing for the same house. Unlike the bidding wars that typified the go-go years and largely reflected surging sales, today’s are a result of supply shortages.

“It’s a little surprising because we thought bidding wars were done with,” said Andy Aley, who is looking to buy his first home in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. The 31-year-old attorney was outbid this year when he offered up to $23,000 above the $357,000 listing price and agreed to waive inspections and other closing conditions.

Competitive bidding in the current environment isn’t producing huge price increases or leaving sellers with hefty profits, as occurred during the housing boom. Still, the bidding wars caused by tight inventory provide the latest evidence that housing demand is starting to pick up after a six-year-long slump.

An index that measures the number of contracts signed to purchase previously owned homes rose in March to its highest level in nearly two years, up 12.8% from a year ago and 4.1% from February, the National Association of Realtors reported on Thursday.

“We very much believe we’ve hit bottom,” said Ivy Zelman, chief executive of a research firm, who was among the first to warn of a downturn seven years ago. Earlier this week, she raised her home-price forecast for the year, calling for a 1% annual gain, up from a 1% decline.

The Wall Street Journal’s quarterly survey found that the inventory of homes listed for sale declined sharply in all 28 markets tracked. Real-estate agents consider a market balanced when there is a six-month supply of homes for sale. At the height of the housing crisis, in 2008, there was an 11.1-months’ supply. In March, there was a 6.3-months’ supply.

Inventory levels in many markets were at the lowest level in years. At the current pace of sales, it would take just 1.5 months to sell all the homes listed in Sacramento, Calif., and 2.4 months to sell all the homes listed in Phoenix. San Francisco and Washington, D.C., each have 3.4 months of supply, while Miami has 4.1 months of supply.

Other markets have plenty of homes. Chicago, for example, has 9.4 months of supply, while New York’s Long Island has 16.1 months of supply. Even in those markets, the number of houses for sale is edging down.

Increased competition is frustrating buyers and their agents. “We’re writing a record number of offers, but we’re not seeing a record number of closings and that’s because it’s so competitive,” said Glenn Kelman, chief executive of real-estate brokerage Redfin Corp. in Seattle with offices in 14 states.

Nearly 83% of offers that Redfin agents have made on behalf of clients in the San Francisco Bay area this year and 71% in Southern California have had competing bids. Redfin represented a buyer that made the winning bid on a Gaithersburg, Md., home earlier this month after agreeing to adopt the dog of the seller, who was relocating and looking to find a new home for “Buddy,” a white toy poodle.

Inventories are declining for a number of reasons. Some sellers, unwilling to accept prices that are still down from their peak by one-third, are taking their homes off the market in anticipation of higher prices down the road. Meanwhile, investors have been outmaneuvering consumers for the best properties, often making cash offers that are quickly accepted by sellers.

In addition, some economists say that inventory levels are being held artificially low because Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the nation’s biggest banks have been slow to list for sale hundreds of thousands of foreclosed homes they currently own. The lenders slowed down foreclosure sales and repossessions after record-keeping abuses surfaced 18 months ago.

Banks and other mortgage investors owned nearly 450,000 foreclosed properties at the end of March, and another two million mortgages were in some stage of foreclosure.

Inventories could rise, putting more pressure on prices, if the banks and other lenders step up their efforts to sell their properties. Real-estate agents say they aren’t concerned. “There’s an enormous appetite for foreclosures. Release the inventory. It will sell,” said Richard Smith, chief executive of Realogy Corp., which owns the Coldwell Banker and Century 21 real-estate brands.

The declining inventory of older homes is spurring sales of new homes. New home sales are up 16% so far this year, compared with a year ago, while inventories of new homes fell in March to their lowest level since record keeping began in 1963.

Meritage Homes Corp., a builder based in Scottsdale, Ariz., reported Thursday a 36% increase in orders for the quarter ending in March versus the previous-year period.

Even though bidding wars are pushing prices higher, many homes are still selling for prices far lower than a few years ago. Increased demand is “entirely affordability driven, which tells me there will be strong resistance to price increases” by buyers, says Jeffrey Otteau, president of Otteau Valuation Group, an East Brunswick, N.J., appraisal firm.

Rents are rising at a time when mortgage rates have fallen to very low levels. The result is that the monthly mortgage payment on a median-priced home is lower than any time since the 1990s. Freddie Mac reported on Thursday that mortgage rates fell to 3.88% for the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage, near its lowest recorded level.

Rates are “so low that we can afford a house that was out of our price range before,” said Aarthi Srinivasan, who is looking with her husband for a home around Palo Alto, Calif., one of the country’s hottest real-estate markets.

Ms. Srinivasan says she fears that prices are being bid up too quickly. She says she had her “aha moment” earlier this year while touring a 50-year-old house that needed extensive remodeling. The home, listed at $1.1 million, received nearly 10 offers and eventually went under contract for more than $1.3 million to a buyer who hadn’t even viewed the property.

“There are only so many buyers who are going to be in such a hurry, so we’re hoping it’ll top off soon,” she says. On Monday, they offered to pay more than the $1.2 million list price for a four-bedroom, bank-owned foreclosure. They haven’t found out if they made the top bid.

On the other side of those transactions are sellers like Debbie and Bill Wetherell, who had 17 offers in four days for their four-bedroom home in Danville, Calif. “I was floored. It was so fast, it was surreal,” says Ms. Wetherell. The home sold on Wednesday for $796,000, more than $50,000 above the asking price.

Still, the sale is for nearly $180,000 less than what they paid for the house in 2005. Ms. Wetherell’s husband has commuted to Reno, Nev., for five years and they have decided to relocate.

Housing markets face other headwinds. More than 11 million homeowners owe more than their home is worth. It is a big reason that the “trade-up” market has been stalled. These homeowners can’t sell their current homes, let alone come up with the down payment for their next home.

Mortgage-lending standards remain tough. Real-estate agents say an unusually high share of deals are falling apart because homes won’t appraise at the price that buyers have agreed to pay sellers.

Still, borrowers with stable jobs are looking to make deals. Kelly Pajela-Fu and her husband offered to pay the asking price of $600,000 for a four-bedroom home in Marblehead, Mass., within a day of the property hitting the market.

“We just knew this house would go quickly,” says Ms. Pajela-Fu, a 31-year-old doctor who had lost out on an earlier offer. Their strategy to avoid a bidding war paid off: The sellers accepted their offer before having an open house.

Write to Nick Timiraos at nick.timiraos@wsj.com

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Vail Valley Annual Highway Clean-up Day – A Fun and Productive Way to Spend the Morning


Kim and I participated in the Vail Valley Annual Highway Clean-up day last Saturday.  What a great way to spend the morning.  We joined the Prudential crew at mile market 156 just west of the Wolcott exit.

It is a little intimidating picking up trash with 18 wheelers wizzing by at 75 MPH.  Most drivers are very courteous and slow down in respect for the workers.

It was also a beautiful day.  You really never know what you are going to find.  Very few treasures but lots of bottles, cans, auto parts, and some unmentionables.

There is a party afterward where everyone shows off their most interesting finds. We came in second this year with our discovery you can see in the photo below.

It was a fun day spent with some great folks.

 

 

 

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Beaver Creek’s Ninth Annual Blues, Brews & Barbecue Event Returns May 25-28, 2012 Featuring Additions


For Immediate Release
 Beaver Creek’s Ninth Annual Blues, Brews & Barbecue Event Returns May 25-28, 2012 Featuring Additions
  • Friday evening Welcome Reception includes mingling with Barbecue and Microbrewery festival purveyors
  • Barbecue competitions judged by pros and attendees; $10,000 in cash prizes to be awarded
  • Monday Cut & Slice Golf Event at Beaver Creek Golf Club
Beaver Creek, Colo. April 30, 2012 –Barbecue and microbrew lovers know that Beaver Creek Resort is the place to be every Memorial Day weekend for the ninth annual Blues, Brew and Barbecue Festival May 25-28, 2012. As the unofficial lunch of summertime in the mountains, top barbecue chefs from around the country join local chefs in serving up mouth-watering barbecue complemented by thirst-quenching microbrews at the largest Colorado Microbrewery beer tasting. To make the most of the holiday weekend, organizers have added three new components: a Friday night welcome reception, a judged barbecue competition featuring $10,000 in prizes, and a Monday golf event.
In addition, top blues performers, The Delta Sonics, Rory Block and Clay McClinton will perform live at scheduled times during the weekend. For the first time in Beaver Creek, barbecue masters will be competing for bragging rights and $10,000 in cash prizes. On Saturday a panel of professional judges will rate pork dishes according to appearance, taste and tenderness. On Sunday, event attendees will determine the People’s Choice winners. Selected winners will be crowned Saturday and Sunday at 4:10 p.m. on the main stage in Beaver Creek Plaza.
Kids Zones will be open from 12-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday providing activities and arts and crafts designed for kids 12 and under. Beaver Creek’s signature Culinary Demonstration Series kick off for the summer season, providing complimentary barbecue demonstrations from guest and local chefs, accompanied by paired beverages.
The Blues, Brews and Barbecue event offers free admission to the plaza events and food and beverage are available for purchase. Ticketed events include the following.
New Welcome Reception
On Friday, May 25 celebrate the holiday weekend at the new Welcome Reception, which will be held at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek from 5-6 p.m. Join visiting and local chefs participating in the event and talk brews with representatives from participating microbreweries. Tickets are $25 per person.

Microbrew Festival

The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek hosts the largest exclusively Colorado Microbrewery Beer Tasting in the state from 1-5 p.m. on Saturday, May 26. Featuring more than 80 special concoctions from 35 Colorado-based breweries, participants also receive a commemorative tasting mug. Advance tickets are $35 per person and will be $40 per person at the door. The event also will be held outdoors this year on the back lawn, near the top of Beaver Creek’s Grand Staircase above the ice rink.

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