WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – Construction on new U.S. homes in June rose 6.9% to an annual rate of 760,000, the highest level since October 2008, but building permits fell slightly, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Housing starts in May were revised up to 711,000 from an original reading of 708,000. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected housing starts to rise in June to an annual rate of 750,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis. Permits for new construction, viewed as a gauge of future demand, edged 3.7% lower to an annual rate of 755,000 from 784,000 in May. Permits for single-family homes, which account for three-quarters of the housing market, rose a scant 0.6% to an annual rate of 493,000 last month. More than half of the increase in housing starts in June involved buildings with five or more units.
Archive for July, 2012
Thursday, 7/27/12, nine of us climbed Mt. Sherman, one of the easier 14ers. We accessed the trail head from the Fairplay side. We were able to park at 12,000 ft. so the hike was about 2,000 ft. elevation gain over 3 miles. It is all above treeline and skirts several old mine sites. The final 1/2 mile is along a knife-edge that is a somewhat frightening but there is little danger of falling. We left the trail head about 7:30 and summitted 2 hours later. It was a beautiful day and we had a great time.
The first photo is near the summit and shows my buddy Todd Morrison. The second photo is of Molly looking for her soul sister, Sadie, who was her hiking buddy until she got too old to accompany us anymore. The third photo is of the group on the summit and the final photo was back at the vehicles enjoying some cold adult beverages.
The group was made of of 3 Prudential brokers, myself, Jim Green, and Dave Whitman. Dave’s girlfriend Stacey, my friends Todd Morrison and Tom Jenkins, and Jim’s friends Brian, Pat, and Kate completed the group. A fun day was had by all.
By John Mossman
The Denver Post
The Cordillera Golf Club bankruptcy case, shifted from Delaware to Colorado last week, is complicated by litigation between owner David Wilhelm and 610 club members that has gone on for more than a year.
Wilhelm and his management company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection June 26 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, where the company is incorporated. The filing came on the same day a $12.7 million loan was due to Alpine Bank of Colorado.
“The (Chapter 11) process will allow the club to operate its ongoing business while it resolves the outstanding conflicts and prepares a plan of reorganization to emerge a healthier company,” Wilhelm said.
The bankruptcy and litigation involve only the Club at Cordillera, not the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera, which is a separate entity and remains open for business.
For the second year in a row, Cordillera’s Valley golf course is the only one of the four Cordillera courses open.
One of the largest exclusive golf communities in North America, Cordillera covers 12 square miles in the heart of Colorado’s Vail Valley near Edwards. It consists of three 18-hole courses — designed by Jack Nicklaus, Hale Irwin and Tom Fazio — and a short course designed by Dave Pelz.
Last spring, Wilhelm promised to open all four golf courses but opened only Fazio’s Valley course and laid off dozens of workers.
Current and former club members sued him in a class-action lawsuit, saying that if he was going to open only 25 percent of the courses, they wanted 75 percent of their dues back.
Members say the Wilhelm Family Partnership collected $8 million in membership dues last year and paid itself almost $1 million while failing to open three Cordillera golf courses, thus violating the membership agreement.
The lawsuit asks that the 2011 dues be repaid and that all of the membership deposits be refunded. Such a payout could total $108 million.
Wilhelm then sued the members for $96 million, claiming they were trying to drive him out so they could take over.
Last week, the case was transferred to Judge A. Bruce Campbell in Denver’s federal bankruptcy court.
Chris Celentino, a bankruptcy attorney representing Cordillera, said Alpine Bank has agreed to extend credit financing through the summer season, allowing “more time to work out a long-term solution that will enable the club to restore itself.”
In a related matter, District Court Judge Frederick Gannett of Eagle postponed a contempt-of-court hearing against Wilhelm based on his failure to provide requested information.
Gannett told the Vail Daily on Wednesday that if Wilhelm’s attorneys want him to recuse himself from the case because of alleged bias, he would do so but only if appropriate legal documents are filed. Gannett is a member of another golf club also in bankrupcty.
John Mossman: 303-954-1479, email@example.com
Welcome to my July Bachelor Gulch Real Estate Market Update. Activity in 2012 continues to track ahead of 2011. We are definitely experiencing an “L” shaped recovery. But at least it is a recovery.
In addition to the latest BG trends and stats, this issue contains information on:
- Update on Eagle County foreclosure filings and sales
- Overall Eagle County Real Estate activity, which is red-hot in the lower end of the market.
Click on the links below to view the market update and the current BC condo and town home listings and 2012 sales.
Summer is well under way. The few rain showers we received over the past couple of weeks have been a relief. We are still very dry but a few sprouts of new green grass have been spotted throughout the Valley.
Kim and I attended the recent Darius Rucker concert at the Gerald Ford Amphitheater in Vail, Colorado. This is the third year Darius has played a benefit concert for the Steadman Hawkins Research Center in Vail. It was also the third time Kim and I attended.
Darius puts on a great concert, full of energy with amazing clarity. Of course, the GFA is a great venue to view the concert. However, as it happened last year, it rained for almost the entire concert. But Kim and I are veterans and came prepared to sit on the grass and deal with the rain. So we managed to stay dry while enjoying the concert.
The place was packed. Hopefully Darius will return next year.
Welcome to your June Wildridge Real Estate Market Update. Wildridge sales have exploded. 2012 will definitely be the strongest year we have had in Wildridge since 2007. Our fickle buyers have rediscovered Wildridge (at least for the moment).
Click on the link below for the latest market update, current listings, and 2012 sales.
Vail, CO Colorado
Judge Christopher S. Sontchi punted the case to Colorado, where it landed before Judge Bruce Campbell in Denver’s federal bankruptcy court.
“The judge made the determination that this is where Cordillera’s past, present and future members are, so this where the case needs to be,” said Cheryl Foley, one of the lead plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit against Wilhelm and the Wilhelm Family Partnership.
Campbell held a status conference Friday afternoon to figure out what he has in front of him.
“Everything filed in Delaware has to be moved here,” Foley said.
Wilhelm’s Cordillera Golf Club LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month in Delaware, where the company is chartered.
“The Delaware judge’s ruling was meant to create an opportunity for meaningful discussions toward resolution between the club ownership group and its adversaries,” said Chris Celentino, the bankruptcy attorney representing Cordillera Golf Club. “I think the impetus is to encourage the debtor’s adversaries to take a more positive view toward working with the club to reach a productive resolution.”
In a related criminal matter, District Court Judge Frederick W. Gannett postponed Friday’s contempt of court hearing against Wilhelm. The hearing is tentatively set for Aug. 6 to 8.
Celentino and others with Cordillera have said the litigation against Wilhelm stems from a small and vocal minority.
But according to court documents, 623 people are eligible to be part of the group suing Wilhelm; 610 are officially in, and 13 have opted out.
It was 609 until Thursday, when one more person joined the class-action lawsuit.
“That’s not my definition of a small group of people. Characterizing this as a small group of unhappy members is delusional,” Foley said.
The Delaware bankruptcy trustee appointed a committee representing the unsecured creditors. That committee includes six club members, Foley among them, and two people from trade organizations.
“The bank and debtor have agreed to an interim financing agreement to provide more time to work out a long-term solution that will enable the club to restore itself,” Celentino said.
Wilhelm and the Wilhelm Family Partnership filed bankruptcy the day a $12.7 million loan was due to Alpine Bank. The bank has agreed to extend credit through the summer.
The Wilhelms and some Cordillera Club members have been locked in litigation for more than a year.
Last spring, Wilhelm promised to open all four Cordillera golf courses but opened only the Valley course and laid off dozens of workers. Some of the members — now 610, to be exact — sued him in a class-action lawsuit saying opening only the one course violated the membership agreement.
Their lawsuit asks that the $8 million in 2011 dues be repaid and that all the membership deposits be refunded — that could total $108 million.
Wilhelm sued them for $96 million, claiming they were trying to drive him out so they could take over.
Welcome to your June Beaver Creek Real Estate Market Update. We are tracking above 2011 but only slightly. Activity slowed in April and May but I’m hopeful for a strong summer based on under contract properties and showing activity.
This issue not only contains the latest BC real estate stats and trends, but also stories on:
- Interest rates remain at historic lows
- Eagle voters approve Eagle River Station
Click on the links below to view the market update and the current BC condo and town home listings and 2012 sales.
So far it has been a very dry and hot summer. You have probably seen the wildfires burning across Colorado. We have been spared so far in Eagle County but we are all on alert.
Managing Broker, Prudential Beaver Creek
By Jeffry Bartash
By: Diana Olick
CNBC Real Estate Reporter
Mortgage rates hit new lows and applications to refinance fell for the third straight week. It defies logic, unless of course you operate in today’s tight mortgage market.
It’s not just about the rate anymore. Negative equity, strict underwriting and big bank backlogs are keeping many borrowers from taking advantage of these incredibly low mortgage rates.
“If history is any lesson, the only thing that can really extend refi activity in a low rate environment is a loosening of underwriting standards to bring more borrowers into the market. And that is not likely to happen anytime soon,” said Guy Cecala of Inside Mortgage Finance.
Twice this year the market did see a surge in refinancing, all due to changes in government programs.
At the beginning of the year, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (still under government conservatorship), expanded the Home Affordable Refinance Program for borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. The limit used to be 25 percent negative equity, but in January, that limit was lifted entirely.
Then in June, the FHA changed the rules on its streamline refi program for borrowers who already have FHA loans, dropping underwriting almost entirely. While both changes sparked temporary surges, they were not enough to serve the entire market.
“We are definitely running out of borrowers to refi even with mortgages rates at record lows. Most of the activity we have seen in recent months are the same borrowers who refinanced a year or so ago, refinancing again. While programs like HARP and FHA’s Streamlined Refi can provide a temporary surge in refis, they still only account for a relatively small share of borrowers,” Cecala noted.
Government-backed mortgages (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae) accounted for 58 percent of the $10.179 trillion U.S. mortgage market as of the end of March, 2012, according to data compiled by Inside Mortgage Finance.
Private-label mortgage-backed securities (MBS) investors held 10 percent and banks/other financial institutions held 32 percent. It’s that non-government, 42 percent of the market that is having the most trouble refinancing due to poor credit scores and negative equity. Lenders and investors are particularly risk-averse these days.
Thursday the Obama Administration will renew its push for a major refinancing program that would involve all loans, but it would need congressional approval. There are several proposals under consideration.
The “Responsible Homeowners Refinancing Act,” sponsored by Senators Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Robert Menendez, D-NJ, would expand the HARP program, extending streamlined refinancing for Fannie and Freddie borrowers and eliminating up-front fees and appraisal costs. Jaret Seiberg at Guggenheim Partners puts the odds of that passing at around 60 percent.
Seiberg is less optimistic about another bill that would allow non-agency mortgages refinance into FHA loans, regardless of negative equity. The bill would raise GSE (Fannie and Freddie) guarantee fees to offset its costs.
“MBS investors are likely in for a bumpy ride. As we believe Congress will not enact the legislation, there should not be any changes to prepayment rates. Yet the market is likely to react to every headline, which suggests significant volatility,” Seiberg wrote.
Still, the White House will hold a webcast Thursday with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, along with a consumer-friendly interactive refi website. This “Google+ Hangout” will be hosted by real estate website Zillow [Z 38.77 -0.10 (-0.26%) ], and Zillow’s CEO Spencer Rascoff will join in the conversation. Donovan and Rascoff will answer consumers’ questions, knowing full well that the answer to many will be, ‘Right now you don’t qualify for a refinance.’
VAIL—The newly renovated Osprey at Beaver Creek was named Best Resort in the Continental U.S. in Travel + Leisure’s annual reader survey released Friday.
Two additional Vail-area hotels — The Sebastian in Lionshead and Pines Lodge in Beaver Creek — were second and third on the prestigious list. Both the Osprey and Pines Lodge are RockResorts properties, the luxury lodging company owned by Vail Resorts.
“We are honored to have two of our RockResorts properties at the top of the Travel + Leisure 2012 World’s Best Awards readers’ survey,” Broomfield-based RockResorts CEO James O’Donnell said in a statement. “Our teams strive to ensure our guests have a true experience of a lifetime whether staying with us in our hotel properties or enjoying our iconic mountain resorts like Beaver Creek.”
The Osprey is a mere 26 feet from the Strawberry Park Express chair lift. It was recently renovated to reflect contemporary design and luxury amenities, including an award-winning gourmet tapas bar and restaurant. The intimate, 60-room Pines Lodge is located on the slopes at Beaver Creek Resort.
The Sebastian in the Vail Village dubs itself a boutique hotel with 100 rooms and seven suites. It is owned by Timbers Resorts, which also owns Dancing Bear in Aspen and One Timbers Place in Steamboat Springs.
This marks the first year for all three Vail-area hotels to appear on the magazine’s “Best” hotels list. Also appearing were the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch (No. 8), The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs (No. 22), Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa (No. 30), and the Four Seasons Resort in Vail (No. 33).
The survey ranks readers’ favorite hotels, cities, islands, cruise lines, airlines, car rental agencies, spas, safari outfitters and tour operators. Winners will be featured in the August online and print editions.
This year’s survey showed that the allure of the exotic and the new remains as strong as ever, according to Travel+Leisure Editor-in-Chief Nany Novogrod.
“Along with great service, our readers crave adventure and the outdoors, reflected in their selection of this year’s top three resorts in the Continental U.S., all located in Colorado mountain towns,” Novogrod said in a statement.
The survey among the magazine’s readers took place from Dec. 1, 2011 to March 31. Travel + Leisure covers culture, food, style and design, and has the largest audience among travel magazines.