April Luxury Homes Sales Soar
www.denverrealestatewatch.com– 05/10/16 – John Rebchook
April saw spike in luxury home sales.
Kentwood Real Estate released April luxury report.
Best April on record for single-family, luxury home sales.
Denver-area luxury home sales soared more than 35 percent in April, making last month the best April on record for homes that sold for $1 million or more in the Denver area.
There were 88 single-family homes that sold for an average price of $1.54 million, 35.4 percent more than the 65 luxury homes that sold in April 2015, according to an analysis of REcolorado data by Kentwood Real Estate. An earlier report by the Denver Metro Association of Realtors showed a similar trend for luxury sales in April.
John Fox, the former Denver Bronco’s coach sold the most expensive home in the metro area last month, public records indicate.
The 11,769-square-foot home with 6 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms sold for $3.95 million.
Fox, and his wife, Robin, sold it through a limited liability company that lists its address at the Chicago Bears headquarters in suburban Chicago. The Bears hired Fox after he left the Broncos. Records indicate he paid $3.04 million for the home in June 2014. Robin Militello signed the deed of trust on behalf of the LLC when they bought the home at 5710 E. Stanford Drive in 2014. Militello is the maiden name of Robin Fox. Fox was hired as the head coach for the Bears in January 2015.
Many of the luxury homebuyers apparently are coming from out-of-state, said Ann Durham, part of the Hantman Durham Group at Kentwood.
“I would say that 75 percent of the showing of our luxury listings are from out-of-town,” Durham said.
“People are moving here from both coasts and that is really driving demand,” she said.
While well-heeled buyers who own homes on either the West or the East Coast find Denver-area high-end homes, a relative bargain, that is not true if they are moving from another part of the country.
“Not everybody is coming from San Francisco and New York,” she said.
“When people from the Midwest move here, they suffers from serious sticker shock,” Durham said.
Out-of-state luxury buyers she has seen include physicians, attorney and business executives.
A lot of them are looking to buy in Cherry Hills, Greenwood Village, “and, of course, Denver Country Club.”
There is a limit, however, to demand for luxury homes even in this strong market.
“We are seeing quite a bit of interest from homes up to $3 million, but when you get over $3 million, it really slows down,” Durham said.
However, she thinks overall luxury home sales will remain brisk through the summer.
“I think this strong activity will continue for the next few months,” she said.
One thing that has been a factor is the Presidential election.
“It has not come up yet,” Durham said.
What is a “Smart Home” Anyway?
www.cnbc.com/real-estate/– 05/10/16 – Diana Olick
Twenty years ago, a porch light timer might have been considered smart home technology. Today, as demand surges for thermostats that “learn” your desired temperature throughout the day and refrigerators that tell you when you need more milk, the definition of “smart” is coming under scrutiny. That is because sellers and their agents are using the term to boost sales and prices.
“There was a perception that if you had a smart home it would sell faster. One-third of our agents said that was happening,” said Sean Blankenship, chief marketing officer of Coldwell Banker Real Estate, which is owned by Realogy. “We need to have some sort of standard in our industry about what a smart home is and what it means. How is it relevant?”
More than a quarter of all consumers surveyed by Coldwell Banker own at least one smart home product, and nearly half of millennials (aged 18-34) have adopted the technology. That’s why Coldwell Banker, which was actually founded in 1906 in a region of California now known as Silicon Valley, teamed up with CNET, a technology news and review website, to define the smart home:
A home that is equipped with network-connected products (i.e., “smart products,” connected via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or similar protocols) for controlling, automating and optimizing functions such as temperature, lighting, security, safety or entertainment, either remotely by a phone, tablet, computer or a separate system within the home itself.
The home must have a smart security feature or a smart temperature feature in addition to a reliable internet connection. It then must include at least two features from a list of smart options, including appliances, entertainment, lighting, outdoor sensors, and safety detectors.
“Eighty-seven percent of Americans acknowledge the value of smart home technology, but only 1 in 4 has this technology in their homes,” said Lindsey Turrentine, editor-in-chief of CNET.com, which recently added a smart home page to its website. “Smart home technology today is fragmented, much like the PC industry 15 years ago. An official smart home definition for consumers and real estate agents will provide clarity and credibility to the term.”
The definition is also designed to help Coldwell Banker both educate and eventually certify its approximately 80,000 agents in smart home technology. This would help protect consumers against fraudulent claims by sellers in listings. The company is hoping the industry will adopt its standard.
“Embracing new technologies is a vital part of how Realtors identify, market and sell homes to meet the needs of their clients. In recent years, smart home devices and environmentally friendly features have become more important to buyers and are increasingly used as selling points by Realtors on a listing,” said Chad Curry, managing director at the Center for Realtor Technology at the National Association of Realtors. “Realtors have a unique understanding of what features buyers value the most and communicate these attributes to buyers and sellers every day.”
FHSA Fund for First Time Home Buyers
FHSA, First-Time Homebuyers Saving Account Act.
FHSA is way for first-time home buyers to enter market.
FHSA introduced by Democrats and Republicans.
First-time home buyers in Colorado would be able to shelter as much as $150,000 from state taxes to help them buy a home in the state, under a bill introduced this week.
The First-Time Homebuyers Savings Account Act was introduced on Wednesday evening.
The bill is being sponsored by Representatives Crisanta Duran (D-Denver) and Joseph Salazar (D-Thornton) with Senators Mark Scheffel (R-Parker) and Beth Martinez-Humenik (R-Thornton).
The FHSA, technically called HB16-1467, allows the deposit or transfer from another account of up to $50,000 for the sole purpose of helping a first-time homebuyer make a home purchase in Colorado.
FHSA accounts can grow to a maximum of $150,000.
FHSA contributions would be limited to $14,000 per year for taxpayers filing individually and $28,000 for those filing a joint return up to the account maximum of $50,000.
Interest earned and capital gains would not be taxed by the State of Colorado as long as the funds are used for the designated purpose of a first-time home buyer purchasing their slice of the American Dream. Federal taxes would still apply on the interest earned.
The Colorado Association of Realtors supports the bill.
The bill is being proposed at a time when Denver-area housing prices are at record levels.
“Home affordability in Colorado has been declining recently as real estate prices throughout the state rise at a faster rate than income,” said former CAR Chairman David Barber.
Barber appointed a special advisory group of industry leaders to examine the issue of affordability and to come up with some new ideas of addressing the issue.
“We believe that savings accounts that help buyers put money away for a down payment, closing costs and other expenses associated with buying their first home are a great step toward solving this problem,” Barber said.
Colorado is not the first state with such a program.
Montana implemented a similar program in 1998 and more recently Virginia instituted its own FHSAs. Iowa and Georgia also have explored making these accounts available in their states.
FHSA is similar to 529 college saving accounts.
Colorado, along with other states recognize the social benefits of citizens owning their first home, beginning to plant roots in a neighborhood, and becoming active and contributing members of their communities, according to proponents of the proposed legislation..
“The ability to own a home is an important part of the American dream,” Duran said.
“My colleagues and I believe that these special savings accounts will help make that dream a reality for many more Coloradoan,” Duran continued.
“Young couples, single, parents and grandparents will now be able to save toward that first home by stretching their dollars through removing the state tax component,” according to Duran.
To create a FHSA, account holders would be required to file a form with their state taxes designating the qualified beneficiary who can be a child or grandchild.
The account holder also could designate himself as the qualified beneficiary.
Almost any financial institution account, including brokerage accounts, can serve as a FHSA.
“Despite all of the positive conditions and elements of homeownership across our state, affordability for first time homeowners continues to be a significant barrier for too many of our state’s residents,” said CAR Chairman, Alan Lovitt.
“This bill would help provide a very important financial savings resource for many people to achieve their dream of homeownership,” Lovitt said.
For more information: First-time Homebuyers Saving Account