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Displaced by Marshall fire, thousands scramble to find homes in tight Denver metro housing market

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Michael and Deanne Pickel live in a Residence Inn in Broomfield.

Deborah Mordecai slept on her daughter’s couch. Her 24-year-old son lives with a friend.

Cousins ​​welcome Gladys Forshee to their Loveland home.

And Patrick Kilbride has a niece to thank for allowing him to live in her home in Ken Caryl.

All were evicted Thursday as the Marshall Fire swept across Superior and Louisville, destroying more than 900 homes and displacing thousands of people. Now the Pickels, Mordecai, Forshee, and Kilbride are among the thousands looking for an apartment while pondering how – or if – they will rebuild their homes.

Forshee, 80, went to see a condo on Monday afternoon. If that doesn’t work, “I don’t know,” she said about her future apartment. She lost a house in Old Town Superior that her family has owned for more than 50 years and she has no plans to rebuild it.

The depth of the need is profound.

About 991 buildings were destroyed in the fire and another 127 damaged, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office reported over the weekend. In some cases, such as Superior’s Sagamore subdivision, entire neighborhoods were burned to the ground. Officials haven’t said exactly how many people have been displaced by the destruction, but government agencies and a real estate organization are mobilizing as soon as possible to fill the void in a community where housing is already scarce.

Amanda DiVito Parle and Shannon Schliep have them Marshall Fire Housing Requirements and Availability Facebook Page on Friday morning. The two friends are both brokers with the ReMax Alliance; Parle is based in Arvada and Schliep in Aurora.

The site is set up as a meeting point for people with immediate housing needs due to the fire and people with space. By Monday afternoon, the site had more than 1,600 members. Among the dozen of locations there were many that offered free spots.

The site was inspired by the historic East Troublesome Fire in 2020. Schliep’s in-laws and several friends lost their homes in Grand Lake to the disaster. More than a year later, Schliep says she only knows two people who have managed to rebuild and return to the community. She knows that some of those evacuated from Marshall’s Fire are facing multi-year trials.

“One of The great thing about the recovery up there was trying to help people get into long-term homes, ”said Schliep. “It’s going to be very, very difficult for people to find more permanent housing down here, especially given the market as it is and the limited inventory we have.”

A week ago, on December 27, there were only 1,950 single-family homes and 913 condos for sale in the entire greater Denver area, Parle said. Everything was available from Longmont in the north to Castle Rock in the south and Evergreen in the west to Parker in the east.

By Monday, those numbers had shrunk to 1,576 homes and 571 condos available on the region’s multi-listing service. The markets for rental and purchase property could become even more tense, said Parle.

Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

An aerial photo shows the destruction caused by the Marshall Fire of January 2, 2022 in Louisville.

“I think rents are going to skyrocket initially and these are just short-term rents,” she said. “I think you’re just going to see real homebuyer despair.”

Hundreds of people flocked to a Lafayette office complex on Monday to visit the Boulder County Disaster Assistance Center and a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center. Almost every major home insurer has set up tents and mobile offices in the complex parking lot. People filed insurance claims and signed up for federal aid while collecting groceries, pet supplies, COVID test kits, and other necessities at the same time.

By Sunday evening, more than 450 people had applied for FEMA aid, said Jon Huss, assistant federal coordinator for the Marshall Fire. He encouraged everyone affected by the fire to register for FEMA aid, even if they were unsure of their needs.

“The need for housing in this area will be great,” said Huss.

Federal, state and local authorities are still debating what exactly will be done to alleviate the housing shortage, he said. When asked if FEMA trailers such as those used after Hurricane Katrina are being used, Huss said it was too early to know if this was “an appropriate tool in this community”.

FEMA is offering up to $ 37,000 per household to help people out with repairs and rental assistance, he said.

The US Small Business Administration offers catastrophe loans to businesses and individuals, said Rick Tillery, a spokesman for the agency. These loans are available to homeowners and tenants who need to replace real estate and personal property, including cars, he said.

Governor Jared Polis, right, gives a ...

Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

Governor Jared Polis, right, hugs longtime superior resident Gladys Forshee, 79, outside a FEMA assistance center in Lafayette on January 3, 2022. Forshee lost her 50-year-old home in historic downtown Superior. She was able to save her dog Pebbles before the fire destroyed her home.

The Colorado Apartment Association created a rental apartment directory for fire victims over the weekend. Available at caahq.org/available-apartments-for-displaced-families, the directory contains pages of results, all of which are available for immediate move-in according to a press release on Saturday.

“Our rental housing market is tight and it can be difficult for displaced people to find an apartment quickly,” said Drew Hamrick, general counsel for the association, in a statement. “We hope (this directory) can make a huge difference to the victims of the Marshall Fire by helping them identify units available today in their communities.”

The results on the site cover the greater area. The Boulder Area Rental Housing Association has its own website with apartments available closer to the fire zone. These offers are online at barhaonline.org/available-properties-for-displaced-tenants. The Boulder Association has worked with local real estate agents and groups like the Red Cross, University of Colorado Boulder and the Boulder Chamber of Commerce to help people in need, according to a new press release released on Saturday.

The pimples fled so quickly on Thursday that they only wore their clothes on their backs. On Monday, Michael Pickel’s donated blue jeans were strapped around his waist with an elastic band when he was meeting with Allstate representatives at the FEMA center.

On the night of the evacuation, the couple found a room at a Residence Inn in Denver. But they wanted to be closer to Michael Pickel’s job at a Walmart, so they moved to a Residence Inn in Broomfield.

For now, the insurance will cover the costs. But Deanne Pickel said she knew this wasn’t a long-term solution – neither for her nor for Allstate. Her insurance policy covers up to 24 months of temporary living, she said.

“They said they would help us to find something that comes halfway close to our work,” said Michael Pickel. But he feared “half close” would be miles away, forcing a long commute to work while they rebuild their home in Old Town Superior.

“We hope we don’t end up in Denver,” said Deanne Pickel with a sense of fear.

RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post

Michael Pickel unpacks a few things in his hotel room at a Residence Inn in Broomfield on January 3, 2022 after their home was destroyed in the Marshall Fire.

The Colorado Association of Realtors Foundation is raising money that can be used to help relieve the burn victims, said Amy McDermott, director of the charity. The foundation plans to raise between $ 25,000 and $ 50,000 from its endowment fund, combining that with money raised from real estate agents, brokers, other individuals and corporations, and the broader Colorado Association of Realtors to provide multiple avenues of help.

Some of the money will go into grants for local organizations that help victims find housing and other will go directly to people who have lost their homes to fund things like mortgage and rental support, McDermott said. She expects to provide further details on the application process for this support at coloradoraltors.com/about-car/foundation by the end of the week.

“All is mobilize pretty quickly, which is fantastic, ”said McDermott.

Mordechai showed pictures of her home on her cell phone. It still stands while their neighbors’ houses are made of ashes and burned metal.

“I am so blessed,” she said.

Deb Mordecai, right, chatting with neighbors ...

Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

Deb Mordecai (right) chats to neighbors Mark Evans (left) and Leslie Hveem (center) outside Mordecai’s home in Louisville on January 3, 2022.

Although the house was declared structurally sound and she and her 24-year-old son were able to fetch their belongings, it is uninhabitable due to the ash, smoke and water damage. The house also has no electricity or water.

She said that almost every home that has been left intact contains ash and smells of smoke. Her daughter’s townhouse in Louisville is habitable, but there’s a thin film of ash everywhere, she said.

“There is no person you are going to speak to who does not have this,” said Mordechai.

Your insurance will pay for the temporary accommodation until an appraisal and fire restoration specialist figure out what it takes to make life safe.

She was looking for a hotel room for Monday evening because sleeping on sofas was getting tiring anyway. She picked up her son from a friend because “we have to decompress her household. It’s a little too much. “

Kilbride found a guest room in a niece’s house in Ken Caryl. But now his way to work at McGuckin Hardware in Boulder is more than 70 miles there and back. He plans to stay with friends in Boulder until he finds a more long-term solution while waiting for rebuilding. But he’s not sure what it will be.

As for his house in Old Town Superior, Kilbride is considering selling one of the two lots he owns and building a tiny house. Before the fire, he lived in a 1,400 square meter house with his dog Roscoe and his cat Dusty. Both pets were killed in the fire.

“You never get enough money back from these people to rebuild,” he said. “You usually downgrade, you know?”

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Bank of Canada real estate study shows investors increasing share of market

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BC saw a record number of new homes registered for construction in 2021, but Bank of Canada data suggests a significant proportion of these are likely to be bought by investors.

The Bank of Canada study used data from mortgage and credit bureaus to determine the percentage of homes in the country that were purchased by first-time buyers, repeat buyers, and investors.

It concluded that investors and repeat buyers account for an increasing proportion of mortgage-backed home purchases in Canada.

“Home purchases are increasingly being driven by existing owners,” write the authors of the study in their conclusion.

“It is within this group that investors have seen the largest increases in their share of home purchases during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Because the study looked at mortgage data, the authors said it doesn’t capture homes bought for cash or by businesses.

The study found that first-time buyers accounted for 47 percent of the market as of June 1, 2021, up from 53 percent at the start of 2015.

Meanwhile, both repeat buyers and investors in the market have increased. In the study, “repeat buyers” are those who buy a new home and sell their old one, while “investors” are those who buy a new home and hold on to their old home, often with the goal of renting out one of the properties as a source of income.

Repeat buyers represented 33 percent of the market in June 2021, up from 30 percent in January 2015, and investors represented 21 percent of the market, up from 18 percent.

Investor purchases grew the most during the COVID-19 pandemic, as home sales and prices soared. Investors bought twice as many homes in June 2021 as in June 2020, representing a 100 percent increase in the number of purchases.

Repeat buyers increased 66 percent over the same period, while purchases from first-time buyers increased 47 percent.

The Bank of Canada study was released the same week the BC government announced a record number of new enrollments in 2021.

“Data on registered new construction is collected at the beginning of a project, before building permits are issued, making it a leading indicator of BC housing activity,” the province said in a press release.

The latest figures from BC Housing show that 53,189 new homes were registered in BC in 2021. That’s a 67.5 percent increase from 2020 and the highest annual total since the provincial housing department began collecting data on new housing registrations in 2002.

The total includes 12,899 purpose-built rental apartments, a 47.7 percent increase over the previous year.

“This report demonstrates that when cities work with us to quickly secure building permits for these registered units, we can meet the challenge of increasing the supply of much-needed rental housing for individuals, families and seniors in BC,” said David Eby, BC Attorney General and Minister in Charge of Housing, in the provincial release.

“The numbers show that together we can respond to the more than 25,000 new people who have moved to British Columbia in the last three months in search of homes, and the thousands more we know who are still living coming,” Eby added. “We can only successfully meet this great challenge if we have committed partners in cities, the federal government, nonprofit organizations, First Nations and the private sector to get these Registered Homes built and open.”

However, the majority of newly registered homes are not rentals, and Bank of Canada data suggests a significant number of them will be purchased by investors as BC’s housing market continues to slip out of reach of many would-be newcomer buyers.

In an interview earlier this month, UBC director of urban economics and real estate Thomas Davidoff told CTV News that current conditions are benefiting people who already own properties rather than those trying to enter the market.

“If we continue to have an environment of very low interest rates and very high rental growth, then yeah, I think it’s going to get harder and harder for people to accumulate down payments and really be able to amortize mortgages over their working lives,” Davidoff said.

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Roaring U.S. housing market may cool, keep climbing as Fed ends emergency support

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Home prices in the U.S. have risen nearly 20% over the past year, giving home-owning families a major financial boost during the pandemic.

But Wall Street, a major source of home finance, sees major questions ahead for the red-hot housing market after the Federal Reserve shifted its focus to fighting inflation as the economy recovers from the pandemic.

“The increase in house prices contributed significantly to the growing net of households
worth and likely to decelerate due to higher interest rates and falling affordability,” wrote the fixed income strategy team at Brad Tank and Neuberger Berman in its first-quarter outlook.

“In addition, the state’s mortgage forbearance programs have not been extended and households benefiting from the relief must resume paying.”

The Fed’s monetary policy pivot in December includes a plan to raise interest rates faster than expected weeks ago, but also a faster end to its emergency asset purchase program, which is now likely to be March.

That leaves the market with “two key questions,” according to the Neuberger team, about how much mortgage bond supply others will have to absorb as the Fed shrinks its nearly $8.8 trillion balance sheet. And what happens to the surge in home prices and refinancing activity if interest rates rise as much as expected?

Read: Housing construction is in the grip of an inflationary storm – and it is being exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic

Why living isn’t like 2008

After the 2008 financial crisis, the government’s importance in the US housing market grew, in part through its mortgage guarantees, but also through the accumulation of borrowings in the $8.2 trillion agency mortgage market.

Agency mortgage bonds accounted for 66% of all housing debt in December, according to the Urban Institute. That made the sector a benchmark for 30-year mortgage rates, even during the recent refinancing boom, when lenders originated more than $1 trillion in home loans each quarter.

The government’s outsized presence in the mortgage market led to swaying in mortgage rates and lending standards after the subprime debacle a decade ago, but it has also guided government housing relief during the pandemic to stave off a wave of evictions and foreclosures.

Many borrowers, rocked by job losses in 2020, stayed in their homes rather than face late fees, collections and worse until the economy could get back on a firmer footing.

Now, forbearance rates on all home mortgages, even those held by banks, have fallen sharply since their pandemic peak, recently set at a low 1.7% in November (see chart), on higher wages and low unemployment.

Declining home loan arrears

Deutsche Bank

In terms of households, that means only about 835,000 homeowners were in forbearance in November, according to Deutsche Bank researchers, compared to 4 million before the pandemic.

Other key departures from the crisis of the last decade are a current housing shortage rather than an oversupply, coupled with a new era of institutional landlords in the single-family home market.

That means deep-pocketed private equity owner Zillow Z, -2.21%,
and other Wall Street-funded firms compete with families looking for property.

Mortgage experts say the momentum could help home prices continue to normalize in 2022, even as 30-year mortgage rates rise and homes become harder for families to afford.

See: High-poverty neighborhoods in Twin Cities are seeing an explosion of investor-owned homes. The Minneapolis Fed is now keeping track

“Rising interest rates won’t make house prices go negative, but they can certainly slow house price increases,” Scott Buchta, head of fixed income strategy at Brean Capital, said in a phone call.

His forecast says prices will rise 6% to 10% this year, depending in part on where 30-year mortgage rates are headed.

Which rate is too high?

As it did after the 2008 crisis, for the past two years the Fed has loaded its balance sheet with government bonds and agency mortgage-backed securities during the pandemic to maintain liquidity flow and creditworthiness.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell is now hoping for a “soft landing” by raising interest rates and tightening funding conditions to curb inflation without damaging jobs or triggering a recession.

Many on Wall Street now expect short-term interest rates to rise potentially four times this year, from 0% currently to 0.25%. However, longer-term rates are likely to depend on how aggressively the central bank reduces its holdings of mortgage bonds, Buchta said, particularly as the Fed works to bring annual inflation closer to its 2% target of 7% in December.

“I don’t think they want to shock the markets,” he said, noting that historically, house price inflation has been about 2% to 3% faster than inflation, or about 5% growth per year. “20% is not sustainable.”

However, every 100 basis point increase in the 30-year mortgage rate means a loss of purchasing power of about 13% for a homeowner who needs financing, Buchta estimates.

In other words, affordability, which is already an issue for many families looking beyond the market price, could get a lot worse.

See also: Interest rates are rising – but the Fed’s actions could make it easier to get a mortgage

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Naples’ Real Estate Market continues to boom but for how long?

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According to the Naples Area Board of Realtors (NABOR), the average selling price in Naples by the end of November 2021 was up 31% compared to November 2020, while inventory was down 76%.

Adam Vellano, Sales Manager in Naples at Compass Florida, states in the November 2021 NABOR report: “Year-on-year business growth of the kind we saw last year is simply not feasible in today’s market. But our topic is exactly what all other industries are facing right now: supply. We just become the store that sells out.”

Will the real estate market collapse?

“Adam’s observation is spot on. Stock is becoming very scarce which means it is a seller’s market. If you’re 65 or older, there’s never been a better time to start selling your home,” notes Tom Mann, Vice President of Moorings Park Communities and Senior Living Expert, “I’m seeing the ‘data’ in real time. In 2021, Moorings Park Communities saw record sales. And everyone who moved in sold their previous home in record time and for record prices.” Mann continues, “Most boomers and seniors that we deal with saw it as an opportunity to take money off the table before this real estate market collapses.”

Luxury keeps Naples’ boomers close by

“Obviously when you sell your home you have to move somewhere, and luckily for us, that choice was overwhelmingly a Moorings Park community. With prices ranging from just $421,000 to over $5 million, Moorings Park’s three communities were designed for those with sophisticated tastes – those who want a lifestyle surrounded by beautiful scenery, delicious meals, life-enriching activities and amenities, and the first and want the nation’s first prize-winning health and wellness programs,” notes Mann.

“One of the reasons we were drawn to Moorings Park Grande Lake was the clubhouse. You really feel like you are in a resort. The three restaurants, the pool, the fitness center, the salon and spa, the theater…everything. It’s spectacular!” says Marvin Easton, who recently sold his home in Port Royal.

All three Moorings Park communities not only offer the best and most diverse housing options in the entire Naples area, but also some of the most incredible views in all of Southwest Florida.

Location remains important

Location, location, location. When it comes to real estate, location is the most important variable. All three Moorings Park communities are just minutes from the wonderful restaurants and shops of 5th Avenue South and beautiful Naples beaches. And while location still reigns supreme in the real estate world, luxury accommodation and views come second.

Take Moorings Park, for example, which is just off Goodlette-Frank Boulevard. In a rare opportunity, a limited number of residences are currently available. Located just steps from the infamous clubhouse, these residences offer some of the finest panoramic views in the entire community.

Homes range in size from 882 to 2,700 square feet. They are perfect for those seeking a low-maintenance lifestyle while living in a residence that overlooks the lushly landscaped grounds, parks and shimmering lakes. Moorings Park admission fees range from just $421,000 to over $4 million, with a 50% refund option available. “I expect all 12 of these residences will be reserved by May,” confides Mann. “So if you are interested in attainable luxury, now is your chance!”

Located directly on the Golden Gate, the residences at Moorings Park Grande Lake offer a magnificent view of a 75-acre lake framed by the manicured fairways and greens of the Naples Grande Golf Course just beyond.

Moorings Park Grande Lake offers two-bedroom plus den or three-bedroom plans ranging from 2,230 to 2,735 square feet under air, each with the area’s largest lanais creating stunning indoor and outdoor living perfect for entertaining.

Two fabulously designed penthouses measuring over 6,000 square feet were also recently released, one of which has already been sold. Moorings Park Grande Lake admission fees start at $1.6 million to over $5 million and are 70 percent refundable, a portion of which is tax deductible.

Moorings Park in Gray Oaks, located directly at Pulling Airport, offers the best of both worlds. In addition to all of the amazing amenities and services found at the luxurious community clubhouse, residents of Moorings Park in Gray Oaks also receive a sports membership at Gray Oaks Country Club, which includes access to three championship golf courses, eight tennis courts, bocce ball , pickleball, casual and fine dining restaurants, resort style swimming pool and spa, wellness center and much more.

“With so many great amenities available to residents of Moorings Park in Gray Oaks, they may have trouble deciding where to start their day — or how to end it,” comments Mann. “But that’s just one more reason why our Moorings Park at Gray Oaks members are having twice as much fun.”

Moorings Park at Gray Oaks consists of stunning residences overlooking three themed gardens as well as penthouse style residences in the clubhouse. The square footage of these spacious homes ranges from 2,067 to over 7,000 square feet. Entry fees start at $1 million, with a 50% refund option available.

Internationally renowned for the very best in wellness

In addition to on-site social and recreational facilities, Moorings Park Communities has also been driving innovation in retirement living for over 41 years, including the latest medical advances, wellness trends for baby boomers and what retirees could be doing to live their best life.

This month, the International Council on Active Aging recognized Moorings Park Communities as the top wellness-based communities in the Americas.

Seeing is believing

Moorings Park Communities will host an informational presentation explaining why the three Naples area campuses, Mooring Park, Moorings Park at Gray Oaks and Moorings Park Grande Lake, are simply the best in Southwest Florida. And you’re invited!

The presentation, hosted by Mann, will touch on the three campuses, all ideally located just minutes from downtown Naples, with an emphasis on the value of each and how accessible the good life is. Guests will be socially distancing and receive a gourmet packed lunch to go at the end of the presentation.

The informational presentation will take place on Wednesday, January 19 at 11:30 am at the Sheffield Theater at Mooring Park’s prestigious Center for Healthy Living® at 132 Moorings Park Drive. Moorings Park is located on Goodlett-Frank Road and adjacent to the Country Club of Naples.

Those interested in attending the informational presentation on the 19th are asked to call 239-232-3903 or visit MooringsPark.org/Events by Monday, January 17th.

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