Sunday, August 25, 2019

Freddie Mac: Mortgage rates hit another 3-year low

This week, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.55%
HousingWire newsletter

The average U.S. rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to another three-year low this week, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
According to the company’s data, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.55% for the week ending August 22, 2019, down from last week’s rate of 3.6%. That's almost a percentage point lower than its 2018 average of 4.53%.
Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater said the drop in mortgage rates continues to stimulate the real estate market and the economy.
Home purchase demand is up 5% from a year ago and has noticeably strengthened since the early summer months, while refinances surged to their highest share in three and a half years,” Khater said. “Households that refinanced in the second quarter of 2019 will save an average of $1,700 a year, which is equivalent to about $140 each month.”
“The benefit of lower mortgage rates is not only shoring up home sales, but also providing support to homeowner balance sheets via higher monthly cash flow and steadily rising home equity,” Khater said.
The 15-year FRM averaged 3.03% this week, retreating from last week’s 3.07%. This time last year, the 15-year FRM came in at 3.98%.
The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.32%, falling from last week’s rate of 3.35%. This rate sits much lower than the same week in 2018 when it averaged 3.82%.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Parks and Wildlife gives $270K grant to Swan River Restoration Project

#Breckenridge #Colorado
Courtesy Summit County

As part of its Fishing is Fun grant program, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has awarded $755,000 to 11 projects across the state. The program aims to improve angling opportunities by funding projects that improve angling access, fishing habitat, or trail and boat access.
One of the beneficiaries is Summit County’s Swan River Restoration Project, the county’s effort to restore the Swan River after it was destroyed by dredge mining during the twilight of the Colorado gold rush in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
After the first phase of the project, which also received a Parks and Wildlife grant, a mile of stream channel has been restored, establishing year-round flows, creating 16 acres of new riparian habitat and improving habitat for fish like the mottled sculpin. 
The project has been awarded $270,000 from the Fishing is Fun program for a second phase covering another mile of stream channel. Another $2.4 million in funding will come from sponsors.
Some residents in the area continue to oppose the project due to concerns over truck traffic and noise generated by gravel crushing required to clear the sites for riparian development.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Here are the 25 costliest places to live in the U.S.

Beach towns make up most of the list

In some markets, you can get a lot for your money. In others, well, it's the opposite.
Here are the 25 housing markets where buyers have to pay the largest percentage of their income to afford a house, courtesy of U.S. News' Best Places to Live report for 2019. 

Here are the 25 most expensive places to live in the U.S.:
  1. San Juan, Puerto Rico
  2. Miami, Florida
  3. Los Angeles, California
  4. New York, New York
  5. San Diego, California
  6. Santa Barbara, California
  7. Salinas, California
  8. Honolulu, Hawaii
  9. Santa Rosa, California
  10. Daytona Beach, Florida
  11. Port St. Lucie, Florida
  12. Stockton, California
  13. Modesto, California
  14. Fresno, California
  15. San Francisco, California
  16. Orlando, Florida
  17. Sacramento, California
  18. Fort Myers, Florida
  19. New Haven, Connecticut
  20. McAllen, Texas
  21. San Jose, California
  22. Brownsville, Texas
When calculating these lists, median mortgage payments, property taxes and median rents are calculated when deciding how to rank the cities. Then, housing costs and local median annual household income are compared to determine the affordability.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Breckenridge gets electric buses, encourages visitors not to rent cars

#Breckenridge #Colorado
Summit Daily

The town of Breckenridge is working to increase public transportation, encourage visitors not to rent a car and improve sustainability. To address these goals, the town purchased two fully electric buses, which will be added to the current Breckenridge public transit routes, replacing two diesel buses. 
The buses were purchased using grant money given to the town of Breckenridge and Summit County in 2018 by the Federal Transport Authority.
One bus currently is being tested and used for mechanical and driver training, but both buses are scheduled to be added to routes by the second week of September. The buses will be charged at the recently constructed Bus Barn, which can fit up to six buses. 
The buses are part of the town’s plan to encourage visitors to not bring cars into Breckenridge when they visit. Town spokeswoman Haley Littleton explained that not having to deal with a car or parking in Breckenridge can reduce stress while on vacation.
The idea is feasible, she said, because shuttles — which are equipped to drive in the mountains — bring visitors to Breckenridge from Denver International Airport. Once visitors arrive in Breckenridge, gondolas, the free bus system and walking paths make everything in town accessible. 
As for residents, the electric buses enhance the Green Commutes program, which encourages employees to use sustainable methods of transportation for their commutes.
“The town has some multimodal goals for residents and visitors to help us achieve our goals for the climate action plan,” Breckenridge Sustainability Coordinator Jessie Burley said.
The major goals of the climate action plan are to reduce emissions by 25% by 2030 and 91% by 2050. While the new buses might seem like a small step toward that goal, they will prevent about 229,167 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually. The new buses also are larger than the existing buses, allowing them to transport more people in a single trip.
While more sustainable transportation options will help to achieve the goal, people have to use them in order to cut down on carbon emissions. A May survey showed that only 16% of Breckenridge residents use public transit. 
“The buses alone are not going to get people out of their cars,” Burley said. “It has to be a comprehensive option, but once we get the buses here, we can work on encouraging people to use public transport.”
The electric buses are part of the town of Breckenridge’s transit master plan project. Once the new buses are implemented, the next step is to evaluate the buses for efficiency and determine where best to use them on the routes. The transit master plan project is expected to be completed in the fall, and more diesel buses are eventually expected to be replaced by electric buses.
Courtesy Summit Daily.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

CDOT expects minimal traffic impacts during Colorado Classic bike race

Michael Yearout Photography

The third annual Colorado Classic is kicking off in Steamboat Springs this week, though traffic impacts are expected to be minimal, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.
The Colorado Classic, a four-stage women’s professional bike race, begins Thursday, Aug. 22, in Steamboat and takes racers through Avon and Golden before ending Sunday, Aug. 25, in Denver. The race shouldn’t impact traffic in Summit County, but there will be closures around the state beginning Thursday.
“Our traffic, maintenance and communication personnel and resources will be working collectively to make sure the Colorado Classic is as safe and successful as possible for riders,” CDOT executive director Shoshana Lew said in a news release. “Our Whole System – Whole Safety initiative is not only about day-to-day usage of CDOT assets but also extends to maintaining a safe environment when our highway system is part of a world-class event such as this.” 
On Thursday, both north- and southbound off-ramps from U.S. Highway 40 to Mount Werner Road will be closed from 11 to 11:30 a.m. and from 12:45 to 1:50 p.m. Colorado Highway 131 between County Road 14E and C.R. 14 will be closed from 11:30 a.m. to noon and between C.R.s 14 and 17 from 11:45 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.
On Friday, both east and westbound U.S. Highway 6 between Beaver Creek and Post boulevards will be closed from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. On Satuday, the eastbound off-ramp from Colorado Highway 58 to McIntyre Street will be closed from 11 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. and the westbound off-ramp to McIntyre will be reduced to one lane.   
For real-time information about highway impacts, sign up for travel alerts via email or text at
Courtesy Summit Daily.

Monday, August 19, 2019


 The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly  announced the following new residential construction statistics for July 2019: 

Building Permits

Privatelyowned housing units authorized by building permits in July were at a seasonally adjusted
annual rate of  1,336,000.  This is 8.4 percent (±1.1 percent) above the revised June rate of 1,232,000
and is 1.5 percent (±1.4  percent) above the July 2018 rate of 1,316,000.

 Single‐family authorizations in July were at a rate of 838,000; this is  1.8 percent (±1.4 percent) above the revised June figure of 823,000. 
Authorizations of units in buildings with five  units or more were at a rate of 453,000 in July.

 Housing Starts

 Privately‐owned housing starts in July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,191,000.  This is 4.0 percent  (±8.0 percent)* below the revised June estimate of 1,241,000, but is 0.6 percent (±8.2 percent)*
above the July 2018  rate of 1,184,000. 

Single‐family housing starts in July were at a rate of 876,000; this is 1.3 percent (±11.8 percent)*  above the revised June figure of 865,000. The July rate for units in buildings with five units
or more was 303,000.  

Housing Completions 

Privately‐owned housing completions in July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,250,000.  This is 7.2  percent (±11.4 percent)* above the revised June estimate of 1,166,000 and is 6.3 percent
 (±12.0 percent)* above  the July 2018 rate of 1,176,000. 

Single‐family housing completions in July were at a rate of 918,000; this is 4.3  percent (±10.8 percent)* above the revised June rate of 880,000. The July rate for units in buildings with five units or  more was 321,000.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Creation and growth of Summit County’s ski areas shaped the mountain sports community

#Breckenridge #Colorado
Peak 8 Ski Area in 1961

Breckenridge Ski Resort co-founder Trygve Berge points out several locations from his perch at The Crown coffee shop above Breckenridge’s Main Street. Few structures resided in the footprints of these contemporary buildings when he first visited six decades ago.
He waxes nostalgic about how property was alarmingly cheap to purchase. He emphasizes how there was hardly anyone here. Historical records chronicle the Rocky Mountain mining town’s population dipping to 383 in 1960. Scouring his memory, Berge recalls that number being closer to 200 — maybe fewer.
“It was becoming Alma or some of these ghost towns,” Berge said about Breckenridge. “Mountain towns with very few people, very little going on. … (The ski area) changed it totally.” 
Now 87, the 1956 Olympic Norwegian Alpine skier still skis more than a half-century after he first arrived to scout the potential of a ski area. Berge was invited by Bill Rounds, of the Kansas-based Rounds and Porter Lumber Co., along with fellow Norwegian Olympic downhiller Sigurd Rockne. In 1960, the trio toasted to the town’s future near the current location of the upper terminal of the Colorado SuperChair on Peak 8.
Fast-forward 59 years to this past June: Berge hops off the Independence SuperChair at tree line on the resort’s Peak 7. It’s just a short ski north along the Tenmile Range from where he, Rockne and Rounds toasted in 1960. On this warm, sunny day, Berge sticks to trails below tree line, though many others ride the Imperial Express SuperChair to ski from just below the summit of Peak 8. 
Dreaming big
As impressive as Imperial is, Berge wanted more. He once dreamed of Breckenridge resort offering skiing all the way north to Peak 1 in Frisco with a monorail connecting the two towns. He even considered connecting Breckenridge across Tenmile Canyon to Copper Mountain on the other side.
Berge said his European-style vision was a hard sell for the local mining families, but soon enough, he was teaching their children how to ski. Berge and Rockne started Breckenridge’s ski school in 1961 with just 13 pairs of rental skis.
Day by day, the Peak 8 Ski Area — as it was known when it opened with 1,764 acres in 1961 — laid the snowy tracks for the town’s ski future. Two more ski areas, Keystone and Copper Mountain, opened in the early ’70s. The cluster of four ski areas, along with the completion of the Eisenhower Tunnel in 1973, suddenly made Summit County a popular ski destination easily accessed from Denver.
Over the next 40 years, Summit County grew to become a hub of winter sports and home to Olympic-caliber athletes.
Case in point: On a winter day, it’s not uncommon for the world’s best park and pipe snowboarders to be training at Breckenridge while some of the world’s best downhill skiers train over at Copper. Among them are Olympians Red Gerard and Chris Corning, who call Summit County home. Riding the lifts alongside them are young Summit locals.
“Red Gerard, Chris Corning — all of these people are not just pie in the sky,” said Rodey Robinson, director of development for the Team Summit sports club. “They are real people our athletes associate with on a daily basis. Having that, they are not just on a pedestal. They are people working hard. That opens eyes to what is possible. It’s not just a dream.”
Courtesy Summit Daily.