Wednesday, December 9, 2009

An old clipping

I recently found this old front page clipping. I never read a physical paper, so I have no idea on what page articles appear. Nevertheless, I like to get a featured story every now and then:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Below is some recent newspaper coverage of my most recent foreclosure report found here:

Colorado foreclosure filings up sharply in September - Mark Harden - ‎Oct 7, 2009‎
Foreclosure filings in Colorado's cities rose 71.9 percent in September from the same month a year earlier, but state officials said the big increase was ...

County foreclosure filings up
The Coloradoan - ‎Oct 9, 2009‎
By Coloradoan staff • October 9, 2009 Foreclosure filings in Larimer County and across the state increased in September, in part because of statutory ...

Mesa County foreclosure activity soars in September
Grand Junction Free Press - Wyatt Haupt Jr - ‎Oct 9, 2009‎
A distressed Mesa County housing market continues to suffer, as the number of completed foreclosures surged more than 216 percent last ...

Foreclosure sales drop
Denver Daily News - Gene Davis - ‎Oct 8, 2009‎
Foreclosure sales at auction in Denver last month dropped 29.3 percent compared to the same time period last year, a statistic that some experts believe is ...

Foreclosure rate more than triples in Mesa County
Grand Junction Sentinel - ‎Oct 8, 2009‎
By LE ROY STANDISH/The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel The number of completed foreclosures in Mesa County more than tripled in September of this year ...

Foreclosure filings, sales increase in Larimer, Weld in September
Northern Colorado Business Report - ‎Oct 8, 2009‎
By Staff DENVER - A report issued by the Colorado Division of Housing shows foreclosure activity in Larimer and Weld counties rising sharply in September. ...

Weld foreclosure filings, sales rise in September
Greeley Tribune - ‎Oct 8, 2009‎
Weld County foreclosure filings and sales continue a gradual rise through September, but have not completely returned to top of the state. ...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

October 8 9News Interview

Here's the story that accompanied my Thursday morning interview on 9News:

Foreclosures still on the increase, but trend is slowing

KUSA - The Colorado Division of Housing has released local foreclosure statistics for September, and while the numbers continue to rise, the Division says they are improved over a year ago.

The office said "completed foreclosures" rose by 21 percent in the state from last month, but the September numbers are down 5 percent from 2008.

According to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which regulates all national banks, foreclosures are "completed" when the ownership of the properties is transferred to the servicers or investors and the debts are extinguished.

The OCC website says the process varies by state and can take up to 15 months to finish.

The numbers show Mesa County led the state in foreclosures with a rise of 217 percent over 2008, with Denver County reporting a decrease of 29 percent since this time last year. Arapahoe County totals fell 13 percent.

Housing spokesman Ryan McMaken was on 9NEWS 7 a.m.

McMaken explained completed foreclosures were lower because borrowers are becoming more sophisticated in exploring alternatives to foreclosure.

"This is helpful in keeping down the number of foreclosures that proceed to the end of the process," McMaken said. "Also, the reach of the foreclosure hotline continues to expand and this has helped keep totals down."

As to why completed foreclosures increased since August, McMaken says the division has noticed a slow but growing trend of lenders processing foreclosures more quickly.

Overall, McMaken says there's little in the report to suggest that foreclosures are about to take off again in Colorado, but the problem will persist for a while as the economy continues a gradual recovery.

"I'd expect to see a little bit of growth from September to October in totals," according to McMaken, "but I still expect 2009's numbers to be either flat or lower than the numbers from last year."

The full foreclosure report is available on the Division of Housing blog:

Friday, September 25, 2009

New report on Colo. Metro areas from Bureau of Economic Analysis

Here are selections form the release:


New statistics released today by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis show that the slowdown in U.S. economic growth was widespread: 60 percent of metropolitan areas saw economic growth slow down or reverse. Real GDP growth slowed in 220 of the nation's 366 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in 2008 with downturns in construction, manufacturing, and finance and insurance restraining growth in many metropolitan areas. Growth in real U.S. GDP

In contrast, growth accelerated in 146 metropolitan areas, most notably in areas where natural resources and mining industries are concentrated such as Casper, WY and Grand Junction, CO. Grand Junction had the fastest real GDP growth (12.3 percent) of any metropolitan area in 2008 due largely to growth in natural resources and mining. The professional and business services industry group also showed strong growth in 2008, contributing the most to real GDP growth in 112 metropolitan areas.

The statistics of GDP by metropolitan area in current and real (chained) dollars are available from the Regional Economic Accounts page of the BEA Web site at

Friday, September 18, 2009

FDIC out of money

FDIC May Tap Treasury Line to Bolster Fund, Bair Says

Sept. 18 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is considering tapping a Treasury Department line of credit as the agency examines ways to replenish a reserve fund depleted by 92 bank failures this year, Chairman Sheila Bair said.

Unemployment rates for states

Five states are now over 12%: Michigan, Nevada, Rhode Island, Oregon, and California. Of course, these are also the "official" numbers that exclude discouraged workers and the underemployed such as former financial sector workers who now work waiting tables.

See here for all states.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Double-Dip Recession Looms

Nothing fundamental has changed in the economy since a year ago when Lehman Brothers went under. Savings rates have increased, but Americans are so deeply in debt, they are still nowhere near the level of savings necessary for actual capital accumulation to take place. Unemployment is increasing, the government is engaged in massive inflation of the money supply, and there are simply no resources that can be pulled from a hat that will get Americans investing in production or spending on consumption. So, we are left with an economy that is essentially the same as it was when the financial panic hit and when the recession started way back during the fourth quarter of 2007.

The recent uptick is only a result of inflationary money flooding the economy through the stimulus plans.

Economist William White agrees.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Freedom Communications may declare bankruptcy

CNN Money today repeated reports that Freedom Communications may declare bankruptcy. Freedom most famously owns the Orange County register, but Freedom also owns The Colorado Springs Gazette, by far the most important daily in the Colorado Springs metro area.

Here's my commentary on the Mises Institute blog.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Viva Colorado column

Viva Colorado is a Spanish-Language rack-and-stack newspaper published by the Denver Newspaper Agency. It has the highest circulation of any Spanish-language paper in Colorado. This is a piece I wrote for the paper last month. I admit that I wrote the piece in English and the Viva Colorado editors translated it for me.

The piece covers a new change in law affecting the foreclosure process.

Column in the Colorado Real Estate Journal

Here's a piece I wrote for the Colorado Real Estate Journal. The CREJ is a bi-weekly publication that serves the commercial real estate industry.

Monday, August 3, 2009

CBS4 piece on new foreclosure laws

This is based on a TV piece:

Jul 31, 2009 5:06 pm US/Mountain
New Foreclosure Law Offers Homeowners Relief
Written for the Web by CBS4 Special Projects Producer Libby Smith
Michelle Griego

...Starting on August 1st, homeowners facing foreclosure will get letters in the mail informing them of a new law that could give them an extra 90-days to save their homes.

"Provides potentially a 90-day deferment, that is an additional 90-days for someone during which they can do some negotiation and some workout for their loan," said Ryan McMaken, spokesperson for the Colorado Division of Housing.

The law is designed to help those homeowners who can still make some payment on their mortgage even if it's not the full amount.

"This probably isn't going to be a program for people who have no income at all or they have such greatly diminished income that they can't make that two-thirds payment," McMaken added.

Those who get the notice that they're eligible will then be instructed to call the Colorado Foreclosure Hotline. Call agents will hook them up with housing counselors and the counselors will decide if they're qualified. The law spells out very specific qualifications to get the extra 90-days. Those include:

There are some other stipulations as well.

"What they're really looking to do is work towards a loan modification of sorts with the mortgage company so they can reduce their payments to a reasonable amount compared to their income now," said Shannon Peer, Director of Housing Counseling at Brothers Redevelopment, Inc.

Brothers Redevelopment, Inc. is one of the 27 housing agencies partnered for the Colorado Foreclosure Hotline. As calls come into the hotline, Peer has seen the foreclosure crisis change in Colorado.

"Back in November - December, early December, we started to see a lot more unemployment or under employment clients reaching out for help," Peer explained.

Call agents used to field calls from people struggling under bad mortgages, now they're taking about 2,000 calls a month from people who can no longer pay their mortgage because of the economy. This new law is another tool the housing counselors can use to help homeowners hold on to their homes...

Monday, July 13, 2009

The new partnership with Rocky Mountain PBS

The hotline is now partnering with Rocky Mountain PBS to promote the Hotline. Check out their site "Facing the Mortgage Crisis"

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Latest Colorado State of Mind appearance

I was on Colorado State of Mind on Friday night. The topic was foreclosures.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Interview on Channel 8 in Denver

Last April, I was part of a panel discussion on the housing market in the Denver area. It featured Zach Urban of the Division of Real Estate, Terry Ware of the City of Denver, and Tony Ormsby of the City of Aurora.

Here are some screen shots:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"No one really knows what anything is worth anymore"

[from my latest at the Mises Economics Blog]

"No one really knows what anything is worth anymore. Some sellers appear to be kidding themselves..."

So says David Whitford in this nicely detailed piece about real estate in Phoenix. Overall prices in Phoenix, by the way, are off 53 percent from the peak, and have seen the biggest decline in the nation.

There are some interesting contrasts in the piece. Notable is how at least some of the over-70 crowd wasn't caught up in the speculation and the bust. Those who are too old to be Baby Boomers weren't taken in by the profligacy of that generation. Says one 73-year-old: "If you're going to retire early, you can't have a lot of wives you're paying, you sure as hell can't have kids in college, and you can't have a lot of debt. You gotta get your debt down, get your bills paid, pay for your car. And then when hard times come, you don't participate."

I once had a Baby Boomer try to explain to me his theory of how it was smart to maximize mortgage debt for some reason or other. He probably won't be retiring any time soon.

But what struck me here was the section on how prices are all over the map in Phoenix. "Some sellers appear to be kidding themselves..." says Whitford, and this is hardly peculiar to Phoenix.

It's pretty clear that a great many sellers are still in denial about the current economic situation. And this includes banks who own foreclosed properties. Often, the banks are asking for the most ridiculous prices.

One real estate agent remarked to me recently that she has never experienced a time when people were so clueless about the true value of their homes. Banks will price foreclosed homes at 500K only to have them sell for 350K many, many months later. And this is in the relatively healthy market in Denver. Individual sellers aren't much better.

But can we be surprised when we have economists like those at Wells Fargo who recently declared that there will be economic growth in the second half of 2009, and that the recession will be history by 2010? Many have already convinced themselves that the next boom is already in place.

cross posted at the Mises Economics Blog

Sunday, June 14, 2009

No sign of a housing recovery

[From the Mises Economics Blog]

The new Case-Shiller housing price data was recently released, and cities like Los Angeles are still reporting housing price declines of 22 percent. Miami is down almost 29 percent.

S & P's spokesman declared that "we see no evidence that a recovery in home prices has begun."

These are March numbers, and I'm pretty sure that "popular" economists have been declaring the economy at bottom since at least March. We'll see what April numbers say, but the enthusiasm over the imminent recovery is perhaps misplaced.

With so few people qualifying for mortgage loans, and with so many people with terrible credit and massive consumer debt, it's difficult to imagine the scenario that will lead to all the excess housing inventory being mopped up any time soon.

UPDATE: The mortgage bankers association released new data today showing that mortgage defaults are in no danger of going down. As noted in the comments, it is of course a good thing that home prices are going down because that indicates that some of the malinvestment due to the bubble is being repaired. However, the malinvestment has been so incredibly bad, that the continuing decline in prices indicates that we still have a long way to go. As long as prices are moving down, it's a pretty good indicator that the bubble has still not been repaired and recovery is not on the horizon. What we need is a fast and steep fall in prices, but the bailouts ensure that we're in for a long, prolonged ordeal instead

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Fort Collins Coloradoan on the the latest vacancy rates

Fort Collins apartment vacancies decrease
BY HALLIE WOODS • May 22, 2009

Fort Collins was one of four areas across the state to see decreasing multifamily vacancy rates at the beginning of 2009, a new report says.

The city's apartment vacancy rate fell to 4 percent in the first quarter of 2009 from 4.8 percent in the first quarter of 2008, according to a report released Thursday by the Colorado Division of Housing.

Loveland, however, saw an increase of vacancy rates to 6.1 percent from 5.6 percent in the first quarter of 2008 in the first quarter of 2009, according to the report.

Experts attribute Fort Collins' decreasing vacancy rates to a tightening up of the home mortgage market and a robust economy due to the university and a growing number of renewable energy startups.

"The whole Northern Colorado region still has some stable job opportunities: renewable energy, health care. And, if you are going to live in Northern Colorado, what better place to live than in Fort Collins?" said Terrance Hunt, principal at Apartment Realty Advisors in Denver. Hunt specializes in the Northern Colorado market.

Homeowners falling into foreclosure are typically not turning to multifamily rental housing, such as apartments, but are turning to single-family home rentals, said Ryan McMaken, spokesman for CDH.

Families who might have looked to purchase a home during the housing market boom, however, are either searching for or staying put in multifamily rental housing.

"In 2003, the rhetoric is why are you throwing your money on rent? That is no longer the dominant way of thinking," McMaken said. "People need very good if not excellent credit on a home. For these reasons, people are staying in rental housing longer."

In Fort Collins, the largest drop in multifamily rental housing vacancies occurred on the northwest side of town, where the rate dropped from 7.1 percent in the first quarter of 2008 to 3.8 in the first quarter of 2009.

Candace Capitelli, property manager of Stone Creek Apartment Homes, 1225 W. Prospect Road, said her 167-unit apartment complex has been easy to fill.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Durango Herald on foreclosures

County's foreclosure rates go up
But Durango area looks good when compared with Front Range
by Dale Rodebaugh
Herald Staff Writer
Article Last Updated; Monday, May 18, 2009
Foreclosure filings and real estate auction sales rose sharply in La Plata County from first quarter 2008 to the same period this year, a [CDH] report shows. But by another standard, La Plata County is not doing too badly.

"Your foreclosure rate is low," Ryan McMaken, a researcher and director of communications at the state agency, said Friday. "You're not close to the problems they have on the Front Range."
custom residential construction

The agency's report shows that in the first three months of 2009, there were 10,745 foreclosure filings and 4,354 sales (completed foreclosures) statewide, compared to 11,634 filings and 5,899 sales in first-quarter 2008 - decreases of 8 percent and 26 percent, respectively.

In La Plata County, on the other hand, filings increased from 23 in the first quarter of 2008 to 64 in the same time frame this year - an increase of 180 percent. Auction sales tripled - from seven to 21 - in the same corresponding period.

The second, third and fourth quarters of 2008 saw 44, 30 and 51 foreclosure filings, respectively, in La Plata County. The number of auction sales in the same three quarters - five, eight and six - were almost identical to the seven registered in the first quarter of 2008.

But a snapshot of first quarter 2009 reveals that there was one auction sale for every 944 households in La Plata County. Excluding seven counties that had no foreclosure activity, 35 counties had one foreclosure sale per fewer number of households; 21 counties recorded one sale per greater number of households.

An example: Denver County had one sale for every 352 households while Moffat County had one sale for every 2,629 households.

"Look at Denver County. The rate was almost three times that of La Plata County," McMaken said. "The percentage of households recording a foreclosure sale shows the same trend - .00283 percent in Denver County and .00108 in La Plata County."

McMaken said higher rates of foreclosure sales don't tell the entire story. Eagle, Grand, Summit and Pitkin counties have high percentages of households in foreclosure, but many are second homes, he said.

"The owners still have a place to live," he said.

La Plata County Treasurer Ed Murray added an observation.

"The numbers for the first quarter of 2009 are correct," Murray said in an e-mail. "But first-quarter sales are foreclosures started in a prior year. The soonest a foreclosure sale can occur is 110 days for residential property and 215 days for an agricultural property."

The Department of Local Affairs report said that the 12 most populous counties register 95 percent of foreclosure activity. They tend to be along the Front Range.

"The effects of the recession that began in December of 2007 are not necessarily evident in the number of completed foreclosures," the report said. "However, the fact that the new foreclosure filing totals have not fallen off may indicate that many homeowners are still missing payments.

"We know from data released by the national Mortgage Bankers Association that the number of home loans in Colorado that are least 90 days delinquent continues to rise."

The report said that foreclosure filings are on a pace to equal 2007 and 2008 numbers. Sales, however, aren't expected to reach 2008 totals and foreclosures would have to increase significantly to reach 2007 peak levels, the report said.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Greeley Tribune on Foreclosures

Fewer people lose homes to foreclosure, but ...

by Sharon Dunn

House Bill 1276, the Foreclosure Delay act, gives homeowners and their lenders 90 days to avoid foreclosure by working with certified mortgage counselors to regain their financial footing.

Gov. Bill Ritter is due to sign the bill by June 5, and it will be effective July 1.
According to the bill, within 20 days of notice of foreclosure, the borrower must contact a HUD-certified counselor such as those at the Foreclosure Hotline at (877) 601-HOPE. The counselor will assess the person’s debt and financial situation. If the homeowner is deemed a good candidate, he/she gets an extra 90 days to work with the bank to figure out how, if at all possible, to stay in the home, according to a Colorado legislative staff review of the bill.

If a loan holder receives notice that a borrower is eligible for a loan deferment, the loan holder must defer the foreclosure for 90 days, during which time the borrower must make payments equal to two-thirds of the monthly payment due prior to delinquency, plus one-12th of the annual amount due for taxes and insurance.
The bill states the 90-day delay would only be available through July 2011.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver.
The number of people losing their homes to foreclosures in Weld County has gradually dropped since last spring, but that trend may soon come to an abrupt end.

The first quarter of the year saw a 21 percent decrease in foreclosure sales in Weld County and a 26 percent drop statewide, compared to the first quarter in 2008. But it also was the time when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac put a moratorium on foreclosures. That ended March 31, and in April, Weld saw its biggest single-month bump of foreclosure filings in history at 300.

There are still some adjustable rate mortgages “adjusting,” but many people are now losing their homes because of newfound unemployment, officials say.

“You have an interesting situation where people are unemployed or underemployed, and oftentimes the payment is going up, and they have negative equity,” said Matt Revitte, a broker with ProRealty, 806 8th St. in Greeley, who markets foreclosed properties. “There are just not a whole lot of options out there. It’s an interesting set of circumstances we’re dealing with now.”

More foreclosures may be coming now that the Legislature has passed House Bill 1276, which would delay foreclosures for 90 days to allow borrowers time to work out their financial hardships. Gov. Bill Ritter plans to sign the bill before June 5, according to his spokesman, Evan Dreyer.

Consequently, second-quarter foreclosures may go through the roof.

“When lenders see we passed 1276, they’re going to try to jam as many foreclosures through before that bill goes into effect,” said Ron Woodcock, of Remax Southeast in Denver, who participated in a conference call Monday to discuss first-quarter foreclosures. “My list has jumped up to 900-1,000 per week, just last week.”

Initially, foreclosures numbers look promising for Weld County and the rest of the state. The first quarter, or the first three months of the year, show Weld foreclosure sales dipped 21 percent from the same time last year and filings dropped 5 percent. In Larimer County, foreclosure sales dropped 24 percent but filings grew by 10 percent.

The first quarter’s declines mark the largest year-over-year decreases in completed foreclosures since [CDH] began collecting data in 2006, according to a prepared release.

“The trend you’ll find is that over the last three quarters, completed foreclosures have been declining, but it is the third quarter of increases in new foreclosure filings,” said Ryan McMaken of the [CDH] in the conference call.

There are more filings than actual sales because borrowers have up to four months to cure their bad loans. Housing officials say the Colorado Foreclosure Hotline also shares some responsibility for driving down actual foreclosure sales.

The Colorado Foreclosure Hotline — (877) 601-HOPE — has been in place for more than two years, and according to Hotline records, almost 10,000 households have been able to avoid foreclosure.

A big portion of homeowners avoiding foreclosures is unloading their homes on the market through short sales, or selling the home for less than it’s worth.

Billie Jo Downing, with Remax Action Brokers in Loveland and a founding member of the Foreclosure Prevention Task Force in northern Colorado, said 40 percent to 60 percent of the market now is from either bank-owned properties or short sales.

Weld’s foreclosure rate is one foreclosure sale for every 245 households.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Channel 7 on Foreclosures

More Coloradan's Mortgages Falling Behind
Officials Fear Growth Of Foreclosures

POSTED: 5:55 pm MDT April 29, 2009
UPDATED: 7:04 pm MDT April 29, 2009

DENVER -- State housing officials fear another boom in home foreclosures. The number of homeowners falling behind in their mortgage is growing.

According to the state, the current delinquency rate in Colorado is 4 percent. That is more than double what it was two years ago.

“The current situation is very flexible,” said Ryan McMaken, a representative with [CDH].

State housing officials said a number of Coloradans who haven’t made their mortgage payment in some time could soon face foreclosure since many lending institutions have ended a self-imposed moratorium.

“There are a decent number of borrowers who haven’t made payments in a while but they don’t register as foreclosures yet,” said McMaken.

Many banks and lending institutions instituted a moratorium on foreclosures as they waited to see what the Obama administration would do troubled homeowners. The best advice for anyone behind in their mortgage is to contact their bank immediately.

Don Childears with the Colorado Bankers Association said often times the banks are willing to work with their delinquent customers.

“A lot of borrowers are embarrassed often because they’re behind or delinquent and that will only make the situation worse,” said Childears.

Childears admitted it is in a bank or lenders best interest to work with their delinquent customers rather than go through with a foreclosure. A typical foreclosure costs a lending institution about $50,000. That accounts for a number of things including the home’s depreciation and the cost to sell it.

“That is an expense you’d like to avoid if you can,” said Childears. “Often the bank will work out a plan with that borrower.”

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Front Page - Denver Daily News

I like the Denver Daily News, and I know that among Downtown Denver professionals, it's the preferred reading material of choice over that morning bagel or that sandwich at lunch.

So I was happy about Monday's front page story based on my press release:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

9News, March 10

Gregg Moss, who is one of my favorite humans, has done a lot for the Foreclosure Hotline lately. On Tuesday, we discussed the heavy volume of calls we're dealing with these days.

Here is the link to the video.

Update: I put out a release on Hotline call volume that was picked up by the AP on March 11th. 9News then re-used the Tuesday morning video with this newly written web story:

DENVER - Even though foreclosures are on the decline here in Colorado, the Foreclosure Prevention Task Force Hotline received a record number of calls last month.

In February alone, the Foreclosure Hotline received more than 4,500 calls, in part due to new programs being offered by the government to help with this problem.

President Obama passed the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan (HASP) last month, which will encourage mortgage servicers to offer lower interest rates, extend loans to 40 years and even forgive principle. In January, Congress passed The American Revitalization and Recovery Act (ARRA), which provides money for people who can't avoid foreclosure or who has already lost their home.

Ryan McMaken, with the Foreclosure Prevention Taskforce says, with so many people seeking assistance and wanting to know if these programs can help them, lenders are becoming overwhelmed.

"Notice in this case, it's the squeaky wheel that gets the oil," said McMaken. "You want to first make sure you have all of your paperwork in order to show that you are ready to go and then make sure that you're the type of person that can get through the system and get noticed."

The Colorado Foreclosure Prevention Task Force is a non-profit organization that provides housing counselors who can help answer questions and find the best solution for you. This free hotline service can help homeowners in a variety of situations, from those who think they may miss a mortgage payment in the future to those who have already received a notice of foreclosure.

"(When people call our hotline) they're going to figure out all of those things that they need to find out before they really start to work with their lender."

If you have questions foreclosure, you can call the hotline at 1-877-601-HOPE or go to the Colorado Foreclosure Prevention Task Force at

9News, February 23

Here's a story that features the Div. of Housing.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Colorado State of Mind

I was a guest on Colorado State of Mind on channel 6 last Friday. We talked about housing prices, foreclosures, and unemployment:

Here's the full program.

Monday, March 2, 2009

I want my Rebchook

John Rebchook, the now former Real Estate Editor of the Rocky Mountain News is one of the greatest reporters I've ever known. He'd been covering real estate in Colorado since 1983, and I have the old clippings to prove it.

We discussed a lot of foreclosure data in recent years, and when your'e dealing with a reporter who reported on the high foreclosures of the mid-eighties, the discussion is a lot more learned than it might be otherwise.

I got used to reading Rebchook's real estate stories pretty much every day. Many of them were about things we were doing at the Division of Housing, but I probably always enjoyed the articles about new development the most.

Today is the third day in a row without a Rebchook story to read, and it's quite maddening to say the least.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

test video

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Twitter: the best thing about Facebook

Said Nick O'Neill of the All Facebook blog:

"My guess is that we'll see a large number of status feed applications build and while other apps will be built, any Twitter-like applications will receive the most amount of buzz."

That which makes Facebook more like Twitter can only be a good thing. What made the status updates finally interesting was the new ability to comment on them and have miniature conversations with other members. Of course, this is exactly what Twitter is good for, and with Twitter, you avoid all the obnoxious miscellaneous applications.

Naturally, I have set it up so my Facebook status changes whenever I update my Twitter status.

Facebook leads Myspace

Well, according to

This may be the first survey we've seen that puts Facebook ahead of the News Corp.-owned MySpace in U.S. traffic. It also puts Twitter as the third-biggest social-media site in the country by total page views, with only about six million unique visitors but a whopping 54 million views.

I could never get into Myspace with its cartoonish aesthetic.  More importantly, some studies have shown that Facebook features a membership that has more education and higher incomes. If you're going to blow an evening posting photos of yourself and discussing the minutiae of your life (as I have done), you might as well do it with people who have money.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Blame the media!

The Society of Saint Pius X, a fringe Catholic organization in a state of suspension (I won't bore you with the technical details), has as one of its bishops a nut named Richard Williamson. Recently, Williamson sat for an interview with Swedish television, and during the interview, made it clear that he is essentially a Holocaust denier. Obviously, these views are very unpopular for good reason, but the Society's response was to blame the media:

It is shameful to use an interview on religious matters to introduce secular and controversial issues with the obvious intention of misrepresenting and maligning the activity of our religious society.

Yes, clearly the fact that Williamson was exposed as a fool was all the media's fault. The TV station could have asked Williamson about his thoughts on anything under the sun and Williamson, who is not a child, could have simply refused to answer questions on matters not related to religion. Yet Williamson, who obviously wanted to talk about the Holocaust, did not refuse, and forged ahead with his anti-Semitism. The fact that Williamson is both anti-
Semitic and stupid is not the TV station's fault, but the fact that Williamson is allowed to remain a member of the Society is the Society's fault.

Have you seen my plane and my sweet wheels?

Marcus Schrencker, the Indiana investor who jumped out of a plane and faked his own death, once apparently thought that posing for this photo was a good idea:

This is the file photo used by MSNBC for some of its articles about Schrenker. It probably doesn't do much to win him sympathy among the public, or more importantly, among the members of the jury that will decide his fate in the future.

His clients who lost millions due to Schrencker's mismanagement also probably don't appreciate the high level of class necessary to take a photo with one's high-priced possessions.

Greatest. Spokesman. Ever.

Today's Rocky carries an article penned by David Milstead that says that the Post is surreptitiously borrowing funds from the Denver Newspaper Agency to cover payroll. Whatever the merits of the story (which the excellent Michael Roberts covers here), the Denver News Corp. executive, Joseph Lodovic, who acted as spokesman, provided some excellent examples for how not to respond to media inquiries.

"Who cares who owes what? Money goes back and forth all the time. All the balances will get wiped out altogether in the end."

Brilliant! Just don't tell the Justice Department, since anti-trust laws governing the DNA stipulate that the Feds do in fact care who owes what.

And my favorite:

"The issue is too complicated. It's irrelevant. Who cares?"


The Post likes the give the impression that it's doing spectacularly well, but in reality, it is deeply in debt and it just had its bond rating downgraded about six weeks ago.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A few seconds of the Mortgage Line9

Here is a short video of what the Mortgage Line9 at Channel 9 looks like. It's not of terribly great import, but somewhat interesting (to me).

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lame comment by me

In a recent article in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel about foreclosures, I said: "It’s a totally different situation for Mesa County," said Ryan McMaken, spokesman for the division. "You guys are nowhere near in the same boat as some of the metro areas."

"You guys"?! How horrific.

We should all be categorically opposed to the use of the word "guy" to refer to anyone other than a male chum, although it turns out the word itself is quite interesting.

The word was originally used as a term to describe someone who was grotesque or very odd in some way. It comes to us by way of Guy Fawkes, the hero of the Catholic restorationists who was captured while attempting to blow up Parliament with gunpowder.

So the term, originally used to describe an effigy of Guy Fawkes that was traditionally burned by Protestants to commemorate Fawkes's execution, has its roots in anti-Catholicism and British nationalism.

Whatever its origins, my folksy use of "you guys" is no good.

Here's the article (edited down):

Mesa County foreclosures not near Front Range levels

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A recent [CDH] foreclosure report paints Mesa County in a better light than the rest of the state.

The report tallied completed foreclosures, or foreclosures that went to sale, rather than the number of filings.

As of the end of September, there had been one completed foreclosure for every 749 houses in Mesa County. The ratio in Adams County is one in 58 houses, in Denver County one in 78 and in Pueblo County one in 102 houses.

“It’s a totally different situation for Mesa County,” said Ryan McMaken, spokesman for the division. “You guys are nowhere near in the same boat as some of the metro areas.”

McMaken said he used the number of completed foreclosures because it does not duplicate households that may have filed for foreclosure on two different mortgages, and because many foreclosure filings are stopped before going through the entire process. Sales figures were not available to use before, McMaken said.

“That number is telling me that we had a lot more lenders that withdrew the foreclosures,” Brown said. “They did not want us to take the homes to sale. They cured or withdrew and renegotiated the sale.

Year-to-date, the number of foreclosures filed in Mesa County is 445, which is more than the total for 2007, Brown said. He predicted it will reach between 450 and 460. The number of completed foreclosures will be about 101, he added.

Counties nearby are in a similar situation in terms of the number of completed foreclosures, McMaken said.

“Housing’s so tight in Garfield County that if you can’t make payments, you just sell your house, and it goes in a month,” he said. “Moffat County is the other lowest place. Where mining activity is happening, there’s just nobody foreclosing.”