Saturday, September 14, 2019

Frisco seeks site for historic Excelsior House relocation

#Frisco #Colorado
Summit Daily

The town of Frisco is looking for a new location for one of its most prized historic properties: the Excelsior House.
The somewhat worn-down red house — currently sitting on a set of steel beams in the Frisco Adventure Park’s boneyard — might not look like much. But the structure serves as an important reminder of the town’s mining history, and officials are hoping a change of location could help provide new life for the house.
“It’s been preserved because it’s a symbol of Frisco’s mining history,” Frisco Historic Park and Museum manager Rose Gorrell said about the house. “It’s an opportunity. It’s a really great chance to be able to find a spot that’s going to be able to represent Frisco’s history.” 
The Excelsior House served as an administration office for the Excelsior Mine — a gold, silver, lead and copper mine in the north Ten Mile Canyon — beginning in the late 1890s. At its peak, the mine operated a boarding house, barns and ore houses along with the mill. But perhaps most importantly, the mine also operated a hydroelectric power plant that ran a power line to the town — Frisco’s first source of electricity.
The Excelsior Mine and its mill closed its doors for good in 1921, and Frisco wouldn’t regain electricity until the 1940s, according to Gorrell. Though, the Excelsior House still stood following the closure. It was moved to 208 Galena Street in 1938, where it remained for almost 80 years until developer Larry Feldman — who owns the Galena Street property — donated the house to the town of Frisco and had it moved to Frisco Adventure Park. 
Now, the town is looking to move the house again, hopefully for the last time. The move was outlined in the 2019-20 Frisco Strategic Plan, which called for town staff to establish a new plan for the relocation of the Excelsior House. Staff presented the town council with a number of potential sites for the relocation at the council’s regular meeting Tuesday night.
According to Bill Gibson, Frisco’s assistant community development director, the council helped to narrow the possible locations for the house to just a few, including 113 Galena St., the pocket park at Third and Granite streets and the Peninsula Recreation Area. Gibson said the town also is considering a partnership with private landowners for the relocation, including Feldman, who’s pitched locations on his land in the past.
Gibson said the next step is a detailed analysis of potential locations, including zoning, opportunities for reuse, historical context, cost, access to roadways and utilities and more.
“Just big picture, we’re going to take a closer look at those sites and start looking at more details of the property and feasibility and what opportunities each property has for the use of this building,” Gibson said.
Of note, Gibson said the town is considering ways to create an “adaptive reuse” of the Excelsior House — which could mean anything from a public gathering space to employee housing among other options — though the town hasn’t yet determined what new utility the house will have once moved.    
The town expects relocating the house to cost about $25,000 to $35,000 along with another $50,000 to $100,000 for restoration work. Gibson noted that those price tags are mere placeholders until the town decides on a new location, reuse strategy and the scope of restoration work on the house.
The project will return to the council before any decisions are made, and Gibson invited members of the community to share their thoughts on the relocation with town staff.
“Hopefully, we can find a spot where we can reuse the house,” Gorrell said. “One of the community’s desires is to make sure our history is preserved. And the best way to preserve is to find a way to reuse.”
Courtesy Summit Daily.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Trump administration working to end Fannie/Freddie profit sweep in September

Actively negotiating new Fannie, Freddie amendment.

 Department of the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the administration is currently looking to end the profit sweep of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Mnuchin explained that not only is President Donald Trump trying to end the profit sweep, but it is looking to do it soon. 
“We are actively negotiating an amendment try to get it done by the end of the month,” Mnuchin said Thursday in an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box.
And Cowen Washington Research Group put out a note to clients saying the profit sweep may end as early as this month.
“We expect a deal prior to Sept. 30 in which Fannie and Freddie will stop paying a quarterly dividend to Treasury,” Cowen Managing Director Jaret Seiberg wrote in the note. “Instead, they will pay a commitment fee for the outstanding preferred capital line. This means they can retain the rest of their profits in order to rebuild capital.”
Freddie Mac has repaid a total of $119.7 billion to the Treasury, exceeding its original draw during the financial crisis by about $48.1 billion. Fannie Mae has drawn a total of $181.4 billion, compared to $119.8 billion that it drew.
But now the profit sweeps may be coming to an end as the GSEs prepare to exit conservatorship. Because the profit sweeps were enacted via an executive order, Trump should be able to end the profit sweeps without waiting on legislative action.
Mnuchin also explained that Trump already approved of the Treasury’s plan to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
In an appearance before the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday Mnuchin didn’t confirm if Trump approved the plan, but he did confirm it later.
On September 5th, the Trump administration released its long-awaited plan to reform the nation’s housing finance system and privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, calling it the “last unfinished business of the financial crisis.”

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Freddie Mac: Mortgage rates tick up from last week’s 3-year low

This week, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.56%

This week, the average U.S. fixed rate for a 30-year mortgage reversed course, averaging 3.56%. That's seven basis points above last week’s three-year low of 3.49% but more than a percentage point lower than the 4.6% of the year-earlier week, according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
“Pipeline purchase demand continues to improve heading into the late fall as purchase mortgage applications are up 9% from a year ago,” Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater said. “The improved demand reflects the still healthy underlying consumer economic fundamentals such as a low unemployment rate, solid wage growth and low mortgage rates.”
While there has been a material weakness in manufacturing and consistent trade uncertainty, Khater says so far, the American consumer has proved to be resilient with solid home purchase demand.
The 15-year FRM averaged 3.09% this week, ticking up from last week’s 3%. This time last year, the 15-year FRM came in at 4.06%.
The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.36%, slightly up from last week’s rate of 3.3%. This rate is still a large decline from the same week in 2018 when it averaged 3.93%.
Courtesy HousingWire newsletter

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

CoreLogic: Lack of housing inventory drives home prices up 3.6% in July


The company projects home prices to increase by 5.4% come July 2020

 In July, home prices climbed by 3.6% from the previous year, according to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Forecast.
The CoreLogic HPI projects future home price growth based on several economic variables and measures the number of owner-occupied households in each state.
 According to CoreLogic’s data, home prices increased by 0.5% from June and are now projected to increase by 5.4% come July 2020.
 “Sales of new and existing homes this July were up from a year ago, supported by low mortgage rates and rising family income,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic. “With the for-sale inventory remaining low in many markets, the pick-up in buying has nudged price growth up.”
Nothaft said if these trends continue, CoreLogic expects home-price growth to strengthen over the coming year.
CoreLogic’s recent MCI report, which details the housing values in America’s 100 largest housing markets, revealed that 37% of the nation’s metropolitan areas had an overvalued housing market as of July.
Additionally, as of June, the company stated that 23% of the country’s top 100 metropolitan areas were undervalued, and 40% were at market value.
The MCI categorizes home prices in individual markets as undervalued, at value or overvalued, by comparing home prices to their long-run, sustainable levels, which are supported by local market fundamentals such as disposable income and more, according to CoreLogic.
Frank Martell, the president and CEO of CoreLogic said although the rise in home prices has slowed over the past several months, the company sees a re-acceleration over the next year to just over 5% on an annualized basis.
“Lower rates are certainly making it more affordable to buy homes and millennial buyers are entering the market with increasing force,” Martell said. “These positive demand drivers, which are occurring against a backdrop of persistent shortages in housing stock, are the major drivers for higher home prices, which will likely continue to rise for the foreseeable future.”
NOTE: The CoreLogic HPI is based on public record, servicing and securities real-estate databases and incorporates more than 40 years of repeat-sales transactions for analyzing home price trends.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Cheap rates create record high in “refi-eligible” population

11.7 million mortgage holders are eligible for refinancing, Black Knight says.

More than half of all homeowners with a 30-year mortgage are now paying interest that’s 0.75% or higher than current rates, the largest share in six years, according to Black Knight.
Of those, 11.7 million are “refi eligible,” meaning they also meet broad-based underwriting criteria such as credit scores at 720 or above and enough equity to satisfy most lenders, Black Knight ssid.
“This is the largest number of `high-quality' refi candidates since Black Knight began tracking the data point in 2000,” the company said in a statement.
That includes most of the mortgages originated in 2018, before trade wars and recession fears sent mortgage rates tumbling through most of 2019. 
“Keep an eye on the 2018 vintage: 80% of active mortgages originated last year have interest rates at least 0.75% higher than where they are today,” Black Knight said. “Some 5 million mortgages were originated in Q2 to Q4 of 2018 when rates averaged 4.5% or higher, representing 10% of the active mortgage universe and 17% of all refinance candidates.”
Cash-out refinancings, in which borrowers tap some of the equity in their homes and get money at the loan closing, are making a comeback. In 2019’s second quarter, 62% of all refinance lending was for cash-out mortgages, Black Knight said.
Tappable equity reached an all-time high of $6.3 trillion in the second quarter as home-price gains made real estate more valuable, the mortgage data company said in a report last month. The new record high is 26% above the 2006 peak near the end of the housing bubble.
The average owner with tappable equity has $140,000 available to borrow against, Black Knight said.
Mortgage rates have tumbled in recent months on signs the economy is slowing. The average U.S. rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 3.49% last week, according to Freddie Mac. That’s almost a full percentage point below a year earlier.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Breckenridge deploys electric buses

#Breckenridge #Colorado
Summmit Daily

The two new electric buses that Breckenridge has been testing since August are now ready to be added to the transit route. This is part of the town’s sustainability plan as the buses eventually will be powered by a renewable energy grid as the town of Breckenridge is working with Xcel Energy to achieve 100% renewable energy.
The town will host a ribbon cutting to celebrate the deployment of the buses as they are added to the Free Ride fleet. The event will take place at 9 a.m. Sept. 10 at Breckenridge Transit Station, 150 Watson Ave. in Breckenridge. Representatives from Proterra, the Colorado Department of Transportation and town officials will be in attendance, and council will ride on the inaugural route of the new buses.
Courtesy Summit Daily.

Saturday, September 07, 2019

The tale of a lost (and found) wedding ring

#Summit County #Colorado.
Courtesy Sheriff's Office

The Summit County Water Rescue Team spends most of its time training for emergency situations — jumping into action for a water rescue, recovering bodies and assisting in underwater investigations with evidence recovery.
But on occasion, the team has a chance to go above and beyond to help out community members, even when the stakes are low.
One such occasion presented itself last month, when a long-time boater at the Frisco Bay Marina had his wedding ring slip off his finger and into the lake. Luckily, 10 days later, the dive team was able to recover it — something Summit County Sheriff’s Office special operations Sgt. Mark Watson called a “one in a million” find. 
“This is another example of how our search and rescue team, the water rescue team, and this community of emergency responders helps our community in many ways,” Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons said. “They can go in and rescue people and save lives in water environments but can also rescue the community in other ways. This was an emotional rescue. And to me a win is a win. If we can bring some happiness and closure to someone in the community like this, then that’s awesome.”
Valdis Zebauers, better known to some by his nickname “Zeke,” lives in Golden with his wife of 46 years, Yvonne. Zebauers — a Latvian native and former platoon leader and engineering company commander with the U.S. Marina Corps during the Vietnam War — said he has a slip at the Frisco Bay Marina and has been coming up to Summit County to boat a couple of times a week during the summer for more than 20 years 
But things went awry during one excursion last month.
Zebauers said he was out sailing with friends Aug. 17 and his unique wedding ring — casted from wax models he and his wife had made when they were married — fell into the bay as the group was putting the boat to rest at the dock. 
“It was just a horrible feeling to see that thing go in the water,” Zebauers said. “I thought that it was gone forever. My wife and I have been married for 46 years, and I didn’t have the ring off the entire time. I felt like I lost a part of me.”
Zebauers reached out to employees at the marina, who in turn contacted the Summit County Water Rescue Team to see if there was anything they could do. The team — a volunteer group that operates under the authority of the Sheriff’s Office — decided to act.
The team went to the marina Aug. 22 with a special underwater camera and was able to locate the ring 16 feet under the surface and mark it with washers lined with marking tape to help locate it again once divers were available.
“We were really fortunate to actually see the ring with the camera. There was some luck there,” said Watson, who provides assistance to the team on the land-based side of operations. “Our biggest concern is that it would disappear into the mud below, especially being such a small, little object.”
Divers arrived Aug. 27 to retrieve the ring. Though even with the markers in place, the mission was no picnic.
“The biggest problem is visibility,” Watson said. “Even at just 16 feet, you can’t see because it’s so murky. So they dove down a couple of times. Fortunately, they managed to clear the silt from the area, and the next time they went down with their lights, they managed to get a glimpse of it glimmering below them. It’s sort of one in a million that things came together and the ring was recovered considering the conditions in the lake and the size of the object. … But for the team, it was a great satisfaction to help out. It’s a good group of guys with a passion for diving and helping people.”
Courtesy Summit Daily.