The Hot Debate: Can You Deduct Prepaid Property Taxes?
With just two weeks to go before the April 17 deadline, prominent tax advisers still don’t agree on whether all those people who prepaid 2018 property taxes can deduct them in full.
The debate on such deductions arose after Congress passed the largest tax overhaul in three decades late last year. In a landmark change, lawmakers capped write-offs for state and local taxes at $10,000 per return for both single filers and married couples. The provision takes effect for 2018 and will lower these write-offs for millions of Americans.
The overhaul barred deductions for many prepayments of 2018 state and local income taxes, but it was silent on deductions of prepaid property taxes. After Christmas, long lines of people rushing to prepay their 2018 property taxes before year-end gathered at local government office.
Then on Dec. 27, the Internal Revenue Service warned that not all prepayments of 2018 property taxes would be deductible on 2017 returns. The agency said that to qualify for a write-off, the tax liability actually had to have been known at the time.
Right away, some tax specialists strongly agreed with the IRS but others strongly disagreed. The IRS and its supporters argued that those who prepaid all their 2018 property taxes can only deduct the portion that was known or determined at the time. In many cases, that means only for a few months of the year or not at all.
The IRS’s opponents argued for higher deductions of reasonable estimates. They based this argument on prior tax Quick read more or view full article
rulings and regulations that they think apply to this issue.
Now, three months later, little progress has been made.
Leading the opposition against the IRS’s position is Lawrence Axelrod, an attorney at Ivins, Phillips & Barker.
“The IRS position is misguided because it doesn’t take into account Treasury’s own regulations,” he said.
These regulations allow taxpayers to deduct amounts paid that will be due within 12 months. The IRS and its supporters disagree. They cite court decisions which say that to be deductible, taxes must have been imposed and the amount must be known.
Stephen Baxley, who heads tax planning for Bessemer Trust, a prominent multifamily office, agrees with Mr. Axelrod.
“If the amount is a reasonable estimate made in good faith, it’s deductible,” he says. The firm is responsible for preparing nearly 1,000 individual returns.
Other tax preparers agree with the IRS.
Brian Lovett, a certified public accountant with WithumSmith+Brown in New Jersey, where property taxes tend to be high, says his firm is following the IRS’s guidance: “We think the amount due must be determined for a prepayment to be deductible.”
The correct answer matters.
More than 80% of property-tax revenue is collected by local governments with a fiscal year other than Dec. 31, according to the latest data compiled by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Frequently, the fiscal year ends on June 30.
As a result, total property tax bills for 2018 weren’t determined by year-end in many areas of the country. Many could reasonably be estimated, however.
For example, say John lives in a county with a fiscal year ending June 30. By the end of 2017, he knew he would owe $6,500 in property tax due by June 30, 2018. He could likely assume that his bill for the second half of 2018 would be about the same. So in late December, he prepaid $13,000 for 2018 to his county.
According to the IRS’s position, John can only deduct a prepayment of $6,500—because the amount due for the second half of the year hadn’t been set.
But if Jane lives elsewhere and knew she would actually owe $13,000 in property tax for 2018, she can deduct a prepayment of that amount on her 2017 return.
Some advisers allow both approaches. David Lifson, a CPA with Crowe Horwath who has many high-earning clients, says he recommends that clients deduct prepayments of known amounts. But he will allow a deduction of an estimate, “if I feel the client understands the risk that the IRS will disagree.”
The debate is ongoing. In March, Democrats on the Ways & Means Committee wrote acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter to protest the IRS’s interpretation of the law.
The good news for taxpayers who want to deduct prepayments of estimates is that neither Mr. Lifson nor Mr. Baxley thinks these write-offs need to be disclosed on IRS Form 8275. On it, taxpayers are supposed to disclose risky positions to avoid certain penalties. Supporters of the IRS’s position think the form should be filed, however.
Some taxpayers are also pushing preparers to take the deduction because the audit risk is low, given constraints on IRS resources.
Emily Matthews, a CPA with Edelstein & Co. in Boston, says she explains the IRS’s position to clients. But she says, “I think we’ll see a lot of people who prepaid estimated taxes opt to deduct them.”
By Laura Saunders
| Apr 4, 2018
Posted by Sigrid Cottrell Read Less
Fed rate hike: What it means for consumers
Financial markets have sent a forceful message that the era of super-low interest rates is coming to a close.
The Federal Reserve’s decision Wednesday to raise its benchmark short-term interest rate will slowly push up rates on everything from mortgages and credit cards to savings accounts.
The Fed increased its federal funds rate by 0.25 percentage points. It was only the second increase in more than a decade. Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen said at a press conference that the economy had shown enough improvement in the last year to warrant higher increases and projected three more rate hikes in 2017.
Here’s how the rate hikes will affect your pocketbook.
Mortgage rates are already historically low and the Fed’s short-term rate bump — which indirectly affects mortgage rates — is not likely to make a big difference in the next few months. But, subsequent hikes by the Fed in 2017 could start to really add to the cost of a home.
Zillow and other industry watchers say mortgage rate increases have more of an impact in costly home markets, like San Diego County.
Rates have already gone up since president-elect Donald Trump’s victory.
Since the day before the election, the cost of a typical San Diego County home increased by $50,400 over the course of a 30-year fixed rate mortgage with 20 percent down.
The median home price in the county, $507,500, hit its highest point in a decade in Quick read more or view full article
October. Mortgage rates were 3.59 percent the day before president-elect Donald Trump’s victory, rising to 4.19 percent Wednesday, said Mortgage Daily News.
Mortgage rates typically track the yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury. That yield has risen sharply since the election as investors take money out of bonds and put it in the stock market. However, the bond market could still change course as investors become less bullish on stocks.
Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages for Zillow, said coastal California will feel the impact more than, for instance, much of the Midwest.
“Those higher price markets are where even moderate increases in rates can be felt more significantly,” she said.
Lantz said higher interest rates could slow home price increases, but it is not likely prices will go down. She stressed interest rates were still at historic lows and there does not seem to be any drop in purchase loan requests on Zillow.
However, subsequent rate increases could make more of a dent.
Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, predicted Wednesday after the Fed announcements that the mortgage rate would be in the 4.5 to 5 percent range for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage at this time next year.
Randy Goodman, CEO of Accretive Investments, said at a real estate conference last week at the University of San Diego that even though interest rates have an effect on San Diegans, there are non-local buyers who can prop up the market.
He identified foreign buyers and so-called "baby chasers," parents who move across the nation to be with adult children who recently had kids of their own, as people ready to pay higher rates.
Current car owners paying off a fixed-rate loan will not be affected by any rate increase, but new shoppers looking to buy could pay more — but not much.
The average interest rate for a new car was around 4.26 percent in early December and 4.79 percent for a used car, said Bankrate, a financial website that tracks loan rates.
Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for Bankrate, said people looking to purchase a car shouldn’t lose sleep over interest rate changes.
“The difference of a 0.25 percentage point for somebody looking to borrow $25,000 is $3 a month,” he said in a Facebook video. “So, nobody is going to have to downsize from the SUV to a compact.”
More Fed increases next year, though, would make these loans more costly. While auto loans are not a huge part of the economic puzzle, Lantz said increases in various parts of the economy mean less disposable income for basic items, and people could put off big purchases.
Savings accounts and CDs
If you like to save money, you’re happy to see any rise in interest rates. But don’t get too excited because Wednesday’s move will have a marginal impact on your nest egg.
Rates on many savings products are still in the basement — down nearly 6 percent since 1990. Consumers are still lucky to find a savings account with 1 percent rates.
Savings accounts and certificates of deposit, or CDs, benefit from high yields and could become more of a factor if the Fed continues to raise rates.
“If this signals the beginning of more rate hikes to come, then I think you will begin to see meaningful increases in the yields people are earning,” said Claes Bell, Bankrate researcher.
Money market accounts, a subset of savings accounts, have historically performed much better. The yearly yield was 5.98 percent in 1990, said Bankrate. By 2000, it was down to 2.07. Today, the average rate on a money market account is 0.11 percent, with the best rates usually coming from credit unions. Rates in San Diego County range from 0.01 to 0.05 percent, according to Bankrate.
If you have a credit card with a variable rate or a home equity line of credit, you’ll feel Wednesday’s Fed move pretty quickly.
Average credit card interest rates are about 16.28 percent, while home equity lines are about 4.78 percent, says Bankrate. And banks will pass along that quarter-point increase in the fed funds rate to consumers in a few weeks. So, it will make sense to pay this type of debt off before rates get too high or get into some sort of fixed-rate repayment.
“The cost of carrying that debt every month is going to get heavier and heavier,” Bell said.
The average San Diego County resident was $26,266 in debt in October, according to credit monitoring company Experian. That can include mortgages, student loans and credit cards.
firstname.lastname@example.org since ‘06 Read Less
Here Are The 10 Best Places To See Colorado’s Stunning Fall Colors
Stats for the month of January 2014...
Provided by Sigrid Cottrell, Red Lady Realty - Sales for all categories- Almont-North- based on Listing Side - Monthly comparisons
2012 Quick read more or view full article
Crested Butte, the Best Ski Town in North American...
...The 15-seed mountain in Southern Colorado that beat everyone else
[The people of Crested Butte are taking to the streets to get the vote out. PHOTO: Crested Butte]
The people of Crested Butte are taking to the streets to get the vote out.
PHOTO: Crested Butte
The day after taking the second annual Ski Town Throwdown presented by Liftopia championship,
Crested Butte and its passionate denizens went after another win—the world record for the most
Santas skiing at one time. Santa suits sold for $25 a piece (and that included five drink tickets) and
hundreds of jolly red and bearded skiers stormed the mountain. That’s one of many reasons why
people voted Crested Butte the best ski town in North America. “We’re definitely a different breed
here in Crested Butte,” says Gabe Martin, 33, who owns the ski shopColorado Freeskier. “We’re so
far off the beaten path and we love that.”
Crested Butte was rated as a 15-seed in the Rocky Mountain West region, but the mountain beat
the oddsin the 64-town/ski area field, overcoming Powder Mountain/Snowbasin, Aspen, Big Sky,
Sun Valley, Stevens Pass, and the tournament runner-up, Eaglecrest, Alaska, by a record final
score of 17,156 votes to 17,063. CB is known for steep terrain and for hosting one of the longest
running big mountain competitions in the country (Freeskiing Extremes, a FWQ 4-star event), but
it’s also the kind of place where fundraisers are thrown for your neighbor’s dog who needs
surgery—and the entire town comes out to show support, says Martin. It’s a town of referrals,
where Quick read more or view full article
your friend knows another person who can help you with that thing. It’s famous for the
burritos and tamales at Teocalli Temale—a cheap, quick, delicious meal to power up on
powder days (except you’ll have to wait until noon, because the people who make your burritos
will be skiing fresh pow all morning). Crested Butte is a town where you can move in without
knowing a soul, and four years later, become the mayor. That’s what happened to Mayor Aaron
Huckstep. “Crested Butte is a unique place. The locals take a lot of pride in that,” says Huckstep.
“That really is the glue that keeps everybody together.”
[The day after winning the Ski Town Throwdown, Crested Butte showed up to the mountain
(and the bar) as Santa Claus en masse. PHOTO: Kochevar's]
The day after winning the Ski Town Throwdown, Crested Butte showed up to the
mountain(and the bar) as Santa Claus en masse.
Every time Crested Butte was up for another round of Ski Town Throwdown voting, there’d be a
party at the oldest saloon in town, Kochevar’s, another slice of Crested Butte goodness recently
renovated by owner Jason Vernon. Amid the wall-hanging taxidermy, porcelain dolls, and other old
artifacts the saloon has collected since it first opened in 1886, Crested Butte skiers and riders cast
their votes. Billboards across Colorado got the vote out. And last Friday, voters were biting their
nails until 6 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, when the polls closed. Crested Butte beat Eaglecrest by
a narrow 93 votes out of more than 34,000 total votes cast in the finals.
“Everyone gets pumped up,” says Martin, who hopped on a bus on Saturday night and gave a
shout out to CB’s win, spurring cheers from the rest of the riders. “We’re definitely going to be living
off this high for the next year.”
Average Annual Snowfall: 300 inches
Total inbounds acreage: 1,547
Ticket price: $98
Don’t Miss: Teocallii Bowl, a short hike in and a short hike out, but your chances of finding a stash
are pretty good.
by: JULIE BROWN published: DECEMBER 17, 2013 Read Less
How Much Snow is Too Much Snow on Your Roof?
By: Douglas Trattner[Snow on a home's roof]Wet snow is much heavier than dry, fluffy snow. Six inches of dry snow weighs about as much as 38 inches of wet snow. Image: Zvozdochka/iStockphoto
If you’ve had a big snowfall in your area and you’re wondering if your roof can stand the extra weight, don’t reach for a ladder and a shovel — reach for the telephone. Calling in a professional to remove ice and snow from your roof is the smartest — and safest — option.
When (If Ever) is it Necessary?
The critical factor in determining excessive snow loads on your roof isn’t the depth of the snow, it’s the weight, says home improvement expert Jon Eakes.
That’s because wet snow is considerably heavier than dry, fluffy snow. In fact, 6 inches of wet snow is equal to the weight of about 38 inches of dry snow.
The good news is that residential roofs are required by building codes to withstand the heaviest snows for that particular part of the country.
“Theoretically, if your roof is built to code, it’s built to support more than the normal load of snow and ice,” says Eakes.
You can determine the type of snow you’re getting simply by hefting a few shovelfuls — you should be able to quickly tell if the current snowfall is wet or dry. Local winter storm weather forecasts should alert you to the possibility that snow loads are becoming excessive and a threat to your roof.
Quick read more
or view full article
How Do I Know There’s a Problem?
An indication that the accumulated snow load is becoming excessive is when doors on interior walls begin to stick. That signals there’s enough weight on the center structure of the house to distort the door frame.
Ignore doors on exterior walls but check interior doors leading to second-floor bedrooms, closets, and attics in the center of your home. Also, examine the drywall or plaster around the frames of these doors for visible cracks.
Homes that are most susceptible to roof cave-ins are those that underwent un-permitted renovations. The improper removal of interior load-bearing walls is often responsible for catastrophic roof collapses.
The Snow Load Seems Excessive, Now What?
Most home roofs aren’t readily accessible, making the job dangerous for do-it-yourselfers.
“People die every year just climbing ladders,” Eakes points out. “Add ice and snow and you’re really asking for trouble.”
Instead, call a professional snow removal contractor to safely do the job. Check to make sure they are licensed and insured — that immediately sets them apart from inexperienced competitors.
Pro crews attack snow removal with special gear, including sturdy extension ladders, properly anchored safety harnesses, and special snow and ice-removal tools. Expect to pay $250-$500 for most jobs.
Don’t expect (or demand) a bone-dry roof at job’s end. The goal is to remove “excessive” weight as opposed to all weight. Plus, any attempt to completely remove the bottom layer of ice will almost always result in irreparable damage to your roofing.
The DIY Option
If you have a small, one-story bungalow where the roof is just off the ground, taking matters into one’s own hands may be safe — if you can work entirely from the ground and have the right tools.
Long-handled snow rakes work great on freshly fallen snow, and at $45 they are relatively affordable. Look for models with sturdy telescoping handles and built-in rollers, which keep the blade safely above the shingles.
Other versions work by releasing the snow from underneath. These models slide between the roof and snow, allowing gravity and the snow’s own weight to do most of the work. Models range from $50-$125 or more for unique systems utilizing nylon sheeting. Again, search out models with sturdy adjustable handles.
Eakes offers a common sense word of caution about all these snow removal tools. “They tend to work their best on light, fluffy snow — the kind that probably doesn’t need to be removed in the first place.”
You’ll need to anticipate where the snow and ice will fall as you pull it off your roof — you won’t want to pull a load of heavy, wet snow down on top of yourself or any helpers.
Remember, the goal isn’t to remove all visible snow and ice, but rather just enough to relieve the excessive load on the roof.
Douglas Trattner with House Logic Read Less
Heightened Market Conditions Fuel More Multiple Offers...
... and Higher Selling Price
More properties were sold above their asking price this year, as tight supply conditions
continued to heat up market competition in the first half of 2013, according to the
CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®’ (C.A.R.) “2013 Annual Housing Market
Nearly half (49.5 percent) of all homes sold in 2013 were sold above asking price, nearly twice the share in 2012 (25.9 percent) and triple the share in 2011 (16.6 percent). The 2013 figure was more than twice the long-run average of 18 percent during the past 20 years. For homes that sold above the list price in 2013, the median premium paid over the list price was 4.8 percent, unchanged from 2012. For the third consecutive year, an increasing number of home sellers – nearly half – planned on purchasing another home in the future.
“Sellers are more upbeat about the housing market and are more comfortable with their
financial situation. As the real estate industry and the economy continue to recover, many sellers regained confidence in owning a home since the Great Recession,” says C.A.R. President Don Faught. “The number of home sellers planning on repurchasing, in fact increased to the highest level since 2007, which suggests that repeat buyers could be the driving force in the housing market in 2014.”
The shortage of housing supply intensified further this year, leading to heightened market Quick read more or view full article
competition and more multiple offers, with more than seven of 10 home sales (72 percent) receiving multiple offers in 2013, up from 57 percent in 2012. The 2013 figure was the highest in at least the past 15 years, with each home receiving an average of 5.7 offers, up from 4.2 offers in 2012 and 3.5 offers in 2011.
The distressed market continued to be the most competitive segment of the market, with more than nine in 10 (91 percent) real estate-owned (REO) properties attracting multipleoffers, an increase from 71 percent in 2012. The short sale market was less intense than the REO market, but still three quarters of all sales received more than one offer, a jump from 66 percent in 2012. Close to seven of 10 equity sales received multiple offers in 2013, a surge from 51 percent in 2012.
Other key findings from C.A.R.’s “2013 Annual Housing Market Survey” include:
• The share of all cash buyers decreased for the first time after seven years of continuous increase. More than a quarter of all home buyers paid with all cash in 2013, triple what it was in 2001, when the share was 8.8 percent. The share of all cash buyers continued to stay well above the long-run average of 15.1 percent since 1998.
• Overseas buyers were increasingly interested in owning property in California. The share of international buyers rose for the third year in a row, up from 5.8 percent of total sales in 2012 and 5.7 percent in 2011 to 8 percent in 2013. More than half (57 percent) of all international buyers bought the property as a primary residence, while almost one-third (31 percent) of them purchased the property as an investment. Buyers from China, Mexico, and Canada made up the vast majority of international buyers at 34 percent, 15 percent, and 10 percent, respectively.
• Investors were very active in California’s housing market, creating high demand for
investment properties during the first half of 2013. Nineteen percent of total sales went to investors in 2013 compared to 16 percent in 2012. The demand for investment properties has grown significantly since 2000 as many bargain properties became available during the housing downturn. At the beginning of the past decade, the share of sales pertaining to investment home buyers was only 7 percent, but has nearly tripled since then.
• As investors and first-time buyers competed intensely for lower-priced properties, the share of first-time buyers fell again in 2013 to 28 percent, after inching up slightly to 36 percent in 2012 and was well below the long-run average of 38 percent. It was the third decline in the last four years since the share of first-time buyers peaked at 47 percent in 2009, when home buyer tax credits fueled the demand for entry-level homes.
• Bargain hunting investors competed directly with first-time buyers looking for more
affordable homes in the distressed market. More than a third of all properties (34 percent) purchased by investors were either short sales or REO/foreclosures.
November 6, 2013 by: RISMedia
850,000 Properties Bounce Back to Positive Equity!
Residential property analytic provider
CoreLogic® recently released new analysis
showing the market is making big moves, with
850,000 additional residential properties turning
to positive equity during the first quarter of 2013.
In addition, the analysis shows good news for
mortgages: the total number of mortgaged
residential properties standing in negative equity
is down by nearly 1 million from the previous
quarter, moving from 10.5 million (21.7 percent)
at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012, to 9.7
million (19.8 percent) in the first quarter of 2013.
The national aggregate value of negative equity decreased more than $50 billion to $580
billion at the end of the first quarter from $631 billion at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012.
This decrease was driven in large part by an improvement in home prices.
“We are seeing an increase in homeowner equity as home prices continue to rise,” said Rei
Mesa, President & CEO of Prudential Florida Realty in January’s issue of RISMedia’s Real
Estate magazine. “This translates to a larger number of homeowners who are no longer
underwater and can move up, or make a lateral move or downsize because they are now in a
position to sell their home. With this lift in homeowner equity, we should experience a rise in
traditional home sales.” Of Quick read more or view full article
the 39 million residential properties with positive equity, 11.2 million have less than 20
percent equity. At the end of the first quarter of 2013, 2.1 million residential properties had
less than 5 percent equity, referred to as near-negative equity. Under-equitied mortgages
accounted for 23 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage nationwide in the first
quarter of 2013. The average amount of equity for all properties with a mortgage is 32.8
“The impressive home price gains of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 have had a big impact
on the distribution of residential home equity,” says Dr. Mark Fleming, chief economist for
CoreLogic. “During the past year, 1.7 million borrowers have regained positive equity. We
expect the pent-up supply that falling negative equity releases will moderate price gains in
many of the fast-appreciating markets this spring.”
“The negative equity burden continues to recede across the country thanks largely to rising
home prices,” says Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “We are still far
below peak home price levels, but tight supplies in many areas coupled with continued
demand for single family homes should help us close the gap.” Highlights as of Q1 2013:
Nevada had the highest percentage of mortgaged properties in negative equity at 45.4 percent,
followed by Florida (38.1 percent), Michigan (32 percent), Arizona (31.3 percent) and Georgia (30.5
percent). These top five states combined account for 32.8 percent of negative equity in the U.S.
Of the largest 25 metropolitan areas, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. had the highest
percentage of mortgaged properties in negative equity at 44.1 percent, followed by Miami-Miami
Beach-Kendall, Fla. (40.7 percent), Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. (34.5 percent), Chicago-
Joliet-Naperville, Ill. (34.2 percent) and Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich. (33.6 percent).
Of the total $580 billion in negative equity, first liens without home equity loans accounted for onehalf,
or $290 billion aggregate negative equity, while first liens with home equity loans accounted for
the remaining half at $290 billion.
6.0 million upside-down borrowers hold first liens without home equity loans. The average mortgage
balance for this group of borrowers is $211,000. The average underwater amount is $48,000.
3.7 million upside-down borrowers hold both first and second liens. The average mortgage balance
for this group of borrowers is $294,000.The average underwater amount is $79,000.
The bulk of home equity for mortgaged properties is concentrated at the high end of the housing
market. For example, 88 percent of homes valued at greater than $200,000 have equity compared
with 73 percent of homes valued at less than $200,000. “As leaders and agents, it is up to us to get the word out,” said Gary Scott, President of Long
& Foster Real Estate, during RISMedia’s recent Power Broker Forum at NAR Midyear. “There
is a huge opportunity for people who had negative equity to come back into the market. We
have to help those sellers. It’s about a grass roots effort—about taking your sphere of
influence and walking them through the reality of the market.”
Commercial resurgence? Gunnison real estate market springs to life in
Gunnison real estate market springs to life in recent months
Originally published 2013-05-30
Over the last six months, a glut of commercial properties on the market in the City of Gunnison has been whittled away by a growing number of ventures new to town.
So far this year, a total of three noteworthy, non-lodging commercial or industrial properties have sold, accounting for nearly $1.2 million in sales within the city, according to Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data. And those only include parcels that were listed at the time of sale.
By way of comparison, four commercial properties (totaling $670,000) changed hands in Gunnison in all of 2012 — a year during which commercial sales activity was significantly higher than the three years prior.
Yet, common among many of the commercial sales in recent months is an influx of dollars from outside the community. Large national chains such as Tractor Supply Co. and Family Dollar have staked claims along Gunnison’s busiest thoroughfares. And a few smaller businesses born in Crested Butte have expanded southward, scooping up properties that in some cases had remained on the market for years.
Longtime Gunnison Valley realtors report being encouraged by the recent activity — including that it may be a signal of bigger things to come. One need only look to the concrete walls going vertical in Van Tuyl Village or demolition taking place at the former John Quick read more or view full article
Roberts Motorworks building as the most poignant examples of Gunnison’s recent resurgence in the commercial real estate market.
“The fact is, they made a commitment to come in here,” said Dan McElroy, owner of Coldwell Banker-Bighorn Realty. “There seems to be a real key element in somebody’s ability to foresee or think that the future’s going to be pretty bright for Gunnison.”
On the other hand, Erich Ferchau, owner of Re/Max in Gunnison, offered a much more measured perspective on the recent activity.
“It’s Gunnison. It doesn’t take but a few things selling and we’re hopping,” he said.
Whether through the purchase of property for expanding an existing, up-valley business or large national chain stores’ decisions to open branches locally, some recent sales point to an influx of money from outside city limits.
Drake Real Estate of Denver quickly pushed a commercial subdivision at Van Tuyl Village through the city’s planning pipeline late last year. The anchor within that development is a Tractor Supply Co. (TSC) store currently under construction.
The site was selected by Miller Frishman Group of Denver, who works on behalf of a numerous national tenants.
So, why Gunnison?
David Spriggs of Miller Frishman couldn’t disclose TSC’s specific criteria, but he did say that he sees the city providing “overall a very stable economy within Colorado.”
“The thing I like about Gunnison that makes it a unique community within that region, obviously you’ve got the college, which is a very captive audience from a retail standpoint,” he continued. “You also have a really high number of tourist visits on an annual basis to Gunnison and the surrounding area.”
And Spriggs said that as the Front Range’s population continues to grow, he expects those tourist visits to climb in step.
He noted that TSC is only the anchor tenant at the commercial development on the north side of Gunnison, and Drake is in the process of soliciting other businesses for Van Tuyl Village.
Meanwhile, demolition of the former John Roberts building at 231 W. Tomichi Ave. is underway in preparation for a Family Dollar store. Gunnison’s Community Development Director Steve Westbay said the company has presented site plans and is in the early stages of zoning and building permit review.
A couple businesses born in Crested Butte also have acquired commercial property in Gunnison in recent months. The Sherpa family in March purchased the former Tic Toc Diner building at 323 E. Tomichi Ave., where a second branch of Sherpa Café opened.
Michael Knoll, owner of The Eldo in Crested Butte, bought The Last Chance at 620 S. Ninth St. last November, which has also resulted in a down-valley expansion of Mikey’s Pizza within the establishment.
Knoll said that he was captivated by the prospect of bringing the caliber of music booked by the Eldo to The Last Chance. But he also saw a potential for a broader-based clientele — including college students, middle-aged residents interested in good music and much of The Last Chance’s previous, country-steeped customers — at the longtime Gunnison watering hole.
“The dynamic to reach all those groups of people was more enticing than what I have up here in Crested Butte,” Knoll said, “and the fact that Gunnison doesn’t really have anything like that.”
“I think what you have to realize is we’ve gotten to a point where there’s probably some opportunities for people to make some moves,” observed Re/Max’s Ferchau. “People who have more stability financially, they can make that move with a little more confidence. ... I’m encouraged, not because of the few little things that have happened, but because I think there’s more of an acceptance that we as a community need a little bit more going on.”
Commercial activity a signal of bigger things to come?
Despite recent commercial sales, there’s still more people selling than buying, noted real estate broker Bill Nesbitt, owner of Nesbitt & Company.
Through last week, 38 commercial or industrial properties in Gunnison were listed on the MLS. Numerous properties on Main Street — including all three spaces currently occupied by high-end furniture retailer Interiors with Oohs and Aahs — are on the market.
And since the beginning of last year, 68 other listings either expired or were withdrawn from the market.
“I think better times are coming,” said Nesbitt. “There seems to be a belief with people bringing in outside money that they can make money.”
The question on his mind is whether the recent activity in the commercial sector will impact the larger real estate market — including residential sales.
Bighorn’s McElroy tends to think so — especially as compared to the Crested Butte area, where there’s little question that residential activity tends to drive the overall market.
“In Gunnison, because it’s really a main service area, it really stands on its own,” he said. “When somebody comes into Gunnison and puts their money down on a commercial place, you gotta believe that there’s more to it than being drawn along with the residential real estate market.”
Alpengardener owner Krista Hildebrandt hopes that distinction as a service center will help entice customers to patron a new garden center she’s opening in Gunnison. While the business is leasing the property on the south side of the city, Hildebrandt’s aim is to serve a clientele that she has found difficult drawing to the business’ main Crested Butte South location.
“Here I am offering a full-service garden center 20 miles north and nobody will come there,” she said. “My idea of expanding in Gunnison was to get more of the Gunnison market.”
Pending Home Sales Down in Dec; Remain on Uptrend!
WASHINGTON (January 28, 2013) - Pending home sales declined in December but have stayed above year-ago levels for 20 consecutive months, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, fell 4.3 percent to 101.7 in December from 106.3 in November but is 6.9 percent higher than December 2011 when it was 95.1. The data reflect contracts but not closings.
Lawrence Yun , NAR chief economist, said there is an uneven uptrend. "The supply limitation appears to be the main factor holding back contract signings in the past month. Still, contract activity has risen for 20 straight months on a year-over-year basis," he said. "Buyer interest remains solid, as evidenced by a separate Realtor® survey which shows that buyer foot traffic is easily outpacing seller traffic."
Yun said shortages of available inventory are limiting sales in some areas. "Supplies of homes costing less than $100,000 are tight in much of the country, especially in the West, so first-time buyers have fewer options," he said. "We expect a seasonal rise of inventory in the spring to help, but a seller's market may be developing. Much of the West is already a seller's market for homes priced under a million dollars, but conditions are much more balanced in the Northeast."
Even with tighter inventory, a pent-up demand and favorable affordability conditions bode well Quick read more or view full article
for the market. Yun expects existing-home sales to increase another 9 percent in 2013, following a 9 percent rise in 2012.
The PHSI in the Northeast fell 5.4 percent to 78.8 in December but is 8.4 percent higher than December 2011. In the Midwest the index rose 0.9 percent to 104.8 in December and is 14.4 percent above a year ago. Pending home sales in the South declined 4.5 percent to an index of 111.5 in December but are 10.1 percent higher December 2011. In the West the index fell 8.2 percent in December to 101.0 and is 5.3 percent below a year ago.
The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.
The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months.
An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing-home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.
NOTE: Fourth quarter metro area home prices will be published February 11, existing-home sales for January will be reported February 21 and the next Pending Home Sales Index will be on February 27; release times are 10:00 a.m. EST.
Media Contact: Realtor.org by Walter Molony / 202-383-1177 Read Less