Category Archives: Housing

Wealthy Blue-Staters Are Using Shady Alaskan Trusts To Dodge SALT-Deduction Caps

Wealthy Americans living in blue states are scrambling to find tax loopholes that will help them get around one of the most controversial (and for some, infuriating) provisions in President Trump’s tax plan: The capping of the so-called SALT deduction. Enter real-estate planner Jonathan Blattmachr, who this week made the mistake of explaining to a Bloomberg reporter about a plan he’s devised for his clients who are trying to get out of paying the additional taxes on their summer homes in the Hamptons or Cape Cod. According to the Bloomberg story, Blattmachr is planning on transferring the interest in his two New York residences – one in Garden City and one in Southampton – into LLCs, which he will then divide up into five separate trusts that will be based in Alaska. He can then use the trusts to take the maximum $10,000 deduction five separate times. In this way, he can deduct $50,000 in mortgage taxes from his federal tax bill instead of $10,000.

“This is an under-the-radar thing and it’s novel,” said Blattmachr. (Or at least it was under-the-radar until you went blabbing to the media). The trusts that Blattmachr and other savvy estate planners are using to take advantage of this loophole are called non-grantor trusts. While trusts are typically used by the wealthiest Americans to preserve their wealth as it’s handed down from generation to generation, the tax law is giving the merely wealthy an incentive to explore setting up these trusts to pay taxes at rates found in low-tax red states. The trusts can help property owners avoid paying an additional $100,000 in taxes across their properties.

However, the plan isn’t practical for everybody, and even those who can reap the benefits over the long term must take an up-front risk because they must pay the maintenance costs for the trusts – which can be as high as $20,000 – up front. If the IRS ever issues guidance invalidating the loophole, there’s no way to recover those costs.

Setting up dozens of non-grantor trusts for those with six-figure plus property taxes can be impractical and burdensome. Plus, those whose taxes are under six figures feel the new cap most acutely, according to Steffi Hafen, a tax and estate planning lawyer at Snell & Wilmer in Orange County, California. Those clients often have monthly mortgage payments that eat up a big chunk of their take-home pay, Hafen said.

More than 10 percent of taxpayers in New Jersey will see a tax hike under the new law – the highest percentage in the U.S. – followed by Maryland and the District of Columbia at 9.4 percent, 8.6 percent in California and 8.3 percent in New York, according to an analysis earlier this year by the Tax Policy Center. Those who’ll pay more are mostly being affected by the state and local tax deduction limit.

Mark Germain, founder of Beacon Wealth Management in Hackensack, New Jersey, said the strategy is “absolutely viable,” adding that he has about a dozen clients who want to create non-grantor trusts.

Building and administering the trusts could cost about $20,000, according to Brad Dillon, a senior wealth planner at Brown Brothers Harriman. But those expenses would be justified after a few years, said Scott Testa, a lawyer who leads the estates and trusts tax practice at Friedman LLP in East Hanover, New Jersey.

Already, it’s unclear just how much longer individuals will be able to take advantage of the loophole. As Bloomberg explains, an existing provision in the US tax code could easily be revived to prohibit Americans from using trusts to avoid paying SALT taxes. Though it would take effort on the IRS’s part.

Still, the Internal Revenue Service could issue guidance that would prevent taxpayers from using the trusts to get around the SALT cap. An existing provision says that multiple non-grantor trusts with identical beneficiaries and identical grantors – and whose primary purpose is to avoid taxes – can potentially be considered a single entity, with just one $10,000 SALT deduction. But the measure has never been bolstered by regulations, leaving it vague.

That IRS provision could potentially derail the whole strategy, Dillon said. But compared to the other workarounds that have been proposed by high-tax states, the non-grantor trust “is the only one that’s come out of the fray that seems like a viable structure,” Dillon said.

Furthermore, people with large mortgages might have difficulty convincing their lender to allow them to transfer ownership over to an LLC.

The strategy isn’t for everybody: People with large mortgages on their homes might not be able to win approval from the bank to transfer ownership to an LLC. Also taxpayers with a primary residence in Florida, which like Alaska doesn’t have an income tax, can’t take advantage of the scheme because of complex rules surrounding the state’s homestead exemption.

But for those who are curious, here’s an in-depth explanation of how the process works:

Here’s how it works: First, you set up an LLC in a no-tax state such as Alaska or Delaware. Then, you transfer fractions of that LLC into multiple non-grantor trusts, which are trusts that are treated as independent taxpayers (unlike grantor trusts, where the person who creates them are generally taxed on the trust income). Each trust can take a deduction up to $10,000 for state and local taxes.

If a spouse is designated as the beneficiary, another “adverse” party – meaning someone who may want the money also — has to approve any distributions.

Keep in mind that you no longer control or can benefit from anything placed in the trust. And you have to put investment assets in the trust that will generate enough income to balance out the $10,000 deduction. One option would be a vacation home that generates rental income, according to Steve Akers, chair of the estate planning committee at Bessemer Trust. Marketable securities could also work.

Some caveats: If the home placed in the non-grantor trust is sold, the trust recognizes the gains on the sale and has to pay taxes on it – and it won’t be able to take advantage of a special home sale exclusion that’s available under a separate tax rule. For those with New York residences, putting the home in the LLC or the trust could potentially trigger the state’s 1 percent mansion tax, which is levied on sales of homes of at least $1 million.

As we pointed out earlier this year (citing research from BAML), the Northeast and West coast – traditionally liberal bastions and, according to some, explicitly targeted by the Trump administration – generally have higher average amounts and will feel most of the pain. The chart below shows a heat map for average amount claimed under SALT deductions, with redder states farther above $10k and greener states below.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018.06.15salt.jpg?itok=I0kc76vc

For those who are still getting up to speed on the new tax law, Goldman offered this guide earlier in the year to the most important provisions. Of course, estate planners aren’t the only ones searching for loopholes. Several blue-state governors have threatened “economic civil war” on Washington by devising loopholes for their residents that will allow them to take advantage of a “charitable” fund being set up by certain states that will essentially allow them to convert some of their taxes into charitable contributions that can still be deducted from their federal tax bill. However, the IRS has already warned states not to try and circumvent the SALT deduction caps. The retaliation has sent state lawmakers scrambling for an alternate solution. As next year’s tax deadline draws closer, expect the conflict between blue states and the federal government to intensify.

Source: ZeroHedge

***

The Sources Of Tax Revenue For Every US State, In One Chart

In the aftermath of Trump’s tax reform, which many mostly coastal states complained would cripple state income tax receipts and hurt property prices, S&P offered some good news: in a May 30 report, the rating agency said that “[s]tate policymakers have a lot to cheer,” noting the current slowdown in Medicaid signups and dramatically higher revenue collections, to the tune of 9.4%, are significantly boosting state fiscal positions.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/S%26P%20states.jpg?itok=b_rsP1fm

Still, the agency’s view is that current conditions are “most likely only a temporary respite” (very much the same as what is going on at the federal level) means that the agency is likely to focus on “a state’s financial management and budgetary performance during these ‘good’ times” to determine its “resilience to stress when the economy eventually softens” according to BofA.

To that end, S&P warns that:

“For those [states] that either stumble into political dysfunction or – out of expedience – assume recent trends will persist, this moment of fiscal quiescence could prove to be a mirage.”

For now, however, let the good times roll, and with real GDP growth tracking at 3.8% for 2Q18, state tax receipts should grow at a rate of over 10% based on historical correlation patterns, with the growth continuing at 9% and 8% in Q3 and Q4.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/state%20taxes.jpg?itok=lpbVNyfL

This is good news for states that had expected a sharp decline in receipts, and is especially important for states heavily skewed to the personal income tax since revenue from that source should rise by over 14%, according to BofA calculations.

Finally, the BofA chart below is useful for two reasons, first, it shows the states most reliant on individual income taxes from the Census Bureau’s most recent annual survey of tax statistics. Oregon – at 69.4% of total tax collections – is most reliant on individual income taxes, followed by Virginia (57.7%), New York (57.2%), Massachusetts (52.9%) and California (52.0%). More notably, it shows the full relative breakdown of how states collect revenues, from the Individual income tax-free states such as Florida, Texas, Washington, Tennessee, and Nevada, to the sales tax-free Alaska, Vermont and Oregon, to the severance-tax heavy Wyoming, North Dakota and Alaska, and everyone in between: this is how America’s states fund themselves.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/state%20revenue.jpg?itok=PBD-1Mn5
(click here for larger image)

Source: ZeroHedge

Advertisements

Affordability Crisis: Low-Income Workers Can’t Afford A 2-Bedroom Rental Anywhere In America

https://i2.wp.com/houzbuzz.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Transformarea-unui-apartament-de-2-camere-in-unul-de-3-How-to-turn-a-2-bedroom-into-a-3-bedroom-apartment-980x600.jpg

The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s (NLIHC) annual report, Out of Reach, reveals the striking gap between wages and the price of housing across the United States. The report’s ‘Housing Wage’ is an estimate of what a full-time worker on a state by state basis must make to afford a one or two-bedroom rental home at the Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) fair market rent without exceeding 30 percent of income on housing expenses.

With decades of declining wages and widening wealth inequality via the financialization of corporate America, and thanks to the Federal Reserve’s disastrous policies (whose direct outcome is the ascent of Trump), the recent insignificant countertrend in wage growth for low-income workers has not been enough to boost their standard of living.

The report finds that a full-time minimum wage worker, or the average American stuck in the gig economy, cannot afford to rent a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the U.S.

According to the report, the 2018 national Housing Wage is $22.10 for a two-bedroom rental home and $17.90 for a one-bedroom rental. Across the country, the two-bedroom Housing Wage ranges from $13.84 in Arkansas to $36.13 in Hawaii.

The five cities with the highest two-bedroom Housing Wages are Stamford-Norwalk, CT ($38.19), Honolulu, HI ($39.06), Oakland-Fremont, CA ($44.79), San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($48.50), and San Francisco, CA ($60.02).

For people earning minimum wage, which could be most millennials stuck in the gig economy, the situation is beyond dire. At $7.25 per hour, these hopeless souls would need to work 122 hours per week, or approximately three full-time jobs, to afford a two-bedroom rental at HUD’s fair market rent; for a one-bedroom, these individuals would need to work 99 hours per week, or hold at least two full-time jobs.

The disturbing reality is that many will work until they die to only rent a roof over their head.

The report warns: “in no state, metropolitan area, or county can a worker earning the federal minimum wage or prevailing state minimum wage afford a two-bedroom rental home at fair market rent by working a standard 40-hour week.”

The quest to afford rental homes is not limited to minimum-wage workers. NLIHC calculates that the average renter’s hourly wage is $16.88. The average renter in each county across the U.S. makes enough to afford a two-bedroom in only 11 percent of counties, and a one-bedroom, in just 43% .

FIGURE 1: States With The Largest Shortfall Between Average Renter Wage And Two-Bedroom Housing Wage

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screen-Shot-2018-06-15-at-7.20.19-AM.png?itok=KaVotzhn

Low wages and widespread wage inequality contribute to the widening gap between what people earn and mandatory outlays, in the price of their housing. The national Housing Wage in 2018 is $22.10 for a two-bedroom rental home and $17.90 for a one-bedroom, the report found.

FIGURE 3: Hourly Wages By Percentile VS. One And Two-Bedroom Housing Wages 

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screen-Shot-2018-06-15-at-7.35.24-AM.png?itok=iHn8hTTb

Here is how much it costs to rent a two-bedroom in your state:

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screen-Shot-2018-06-15-at-7.31.37-AM-768x656.png?itok=SXGF28_H
https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screen-Shot-2018-06-15-at-7.38.14-AM-768x523.png?itok=XbVW_WOH

Case Shiller House Prices have continued to surge to bubble levels with growing demand for rental housing in the decade post the Great Recession.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DeaHhBBVAAAeXNU-1-768x822.jpg?itok=YoWejOTe(Click here for larger image)

The report indicates that new rental construction has shifted toward the luxury market because it is more profitable for homebuilders. The number of rentals for $2000 or more per month has more than doubled between 2005 and 2015.

Here are the Most Expensive Jurisdictions for Housing Wage for Two-Bedroom Rentals

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screen-Shot-2018-06-15-at-8.30.11-AM.png?itok=U4SbvhkU(click here for larger image)

Here is how your state ranks regarding Housing Wage: 

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screen-Shot-2018-06-15-at-8.31.40-AM.png?itok=OEREudkr(click here for larger image)

“While the housing market may have recovered for many, we are nonetheless experiencing an affordable housing crisis, especially for very low-income families,” said Bernie Sanders quoted in the report.

The fact is, the low-wage workforce is projected to soar over the next decade, particularly in unproductive service-sector jobs and odd jobs in the gig economy, as increasingly more menial jobs are replaced by automation/robots. This is not sustainable for a fragile economy where many are heavily indebted with limited savings; this should be a warning, as many Americans do not understand their living standards are in decline. American exceptionalism is dying.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screen-Shot-2018-06-15-at-7.39.37-AM.png?itok=bqrovzMC

The bad news is that for the government to combat the unaffordability crisis, deficits would have to explode because even more Americans would demand housing subsidies, setting the US debt on an even more unsustainable trajectory. Even though Congress marginally increased the 2018 HUD budget, the change in funding levels for some housing programs have declined.

Changes In Funding Levels For Key HUD Programs (FY10 Enacted To F18 Enacted) 

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screen-Shot-2018-06-15-at-8.12.49-AM.png?itok=ZdxA6T54

But wait a minute, something does not quite add up: consider President Trump’s cheer leading on Twitter calling today’s economy the “greatest economy in History of America and the best time EVER to look for a job.”

Source: ZeroHedge

Consumer Credit Expansion Continues During Q1, 2018

https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/media/images/v4/press_center/home-prices-homeownership-and-housing-wealth.jpg?h=320&w=640&la=en

Total Household Debt Rises for 15th Straight Quarter, Led by Mortgages, Student Loans

Just Released: New York Fed Press Briefing Highlights Changes in Home Equity and How It’s Used

Household Debt And Credit Report Q1, 2018

Remarks at the Economic Press Briefing on Homeownership and Housing Wealth

A Close Look at the Decline of Home Ownership

 

San Francisco Sues Airbnb Users For $5.5M

https://imagesvc.timeincapp.com/v3/mm/image?url=http%3A%2F%2Fcdn-image.travelandleisure.com%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Fstyles%2F1600x1000%2Fpublic%2F1525361502%2Fsan-francisco-ARBNBFNE0518.jpg%3Fitok%3DbAbkJyCJ&w=800&q=85

The city of San Francisco is seeking $5.5 million from two Airbnb owners who illegally rented out 14 apartments for nearly one year. They made more than $700,000 from the illegal rentals.

Darren and Valerie Lee own 45 apartments in 17 buildings across the city. San Francisco law restricts building owners to one short-term rental per building — and that apartment must be the owner’s home. According to the city’s lawyer, 14 of the Lees’ apartments were short-term rentals, rented under the names of friends and associates who pretended to be genuine tenants.

During inspection, the couple went through elaborate motions to make it appear like people actually lived there. But it was evident that it was a fraud.

“Every apartment had the same staging: the same Costco food items scattered about, the same arrangement of dirty breakfast dishes in every kitchen sink, same personal products in each bathroom, same damp towels artfully draped over doors as though someone had recently showered, the same collection of shoes and clothes in closets, and same houseplants in each apartment,” city lawyers wrote in the court filing.

The motion to the court seeks a penalty of $750 for every day that each apartment was available and $1,500 for every day that an apartment was rented. The penalty comes out to a grand total of $5.5 million. (Under state law, the penalty could have been as high as $30 million.)

San Francisco first sued the Lees in 2014 when they evicted tenants to turn their building into a collection of rentals to list on Airbnb. A year later, they settled for $276,000 and a promise to abide by short-term rental law.

The couple’s “greed, fraud and deceit was breathtaking,” city attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement.

The case will be heard in court on June 12.

Airbnb did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Source: by Cailey Rizzo | Travel And Leisure

Housing Starts, Permits Tumble In April

Having bounced notably in March, both Housing Starts and Building Permits in April tumbled (-3.7% MoM and -1.78% MoM respectively).

  • March building permits growth was upwardly revised from +2.5% MoM to +4.1% MoM
  • March housing starts growth was upwardly revised from +1.9% MoM to +3.6% MoM

Starts dropped 3.7% MoM in April – far worse than the 0.7% drop expected but while permits also dropped 1.8% MoM, this was slightly better than the expected 2.1% drop…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-05-16_5-34-03.jpg?itok=8B4H7_68

For some context, Starts and Permits remain over 40% below their 2005/6 peaks…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-05-16_5-32-15.jpg?itok=i-6Djf8L

Housing Permits breakdown…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-05-16.png?itok=OoA8ZcQy

The driver of the tumble in housing starts is a 11.3% plunge in multi-family.. (single-family 893k vs 894k prior and multi-family 374k from 428k)

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-05-16%20%281%29.png?itok=wf60mKdp

Three of four regions posted declines in starts, led by a 16.3 percent decrease in the Midwest and a 12 percent drop in the West.

Construction climbed 6.4 percent in the South, reflecting the fastest pace of single-family starts since July 2007.

As always, weather is blamed for any downside.

Source: ZeroHedge

WSJ Sounds The Alarm: “There’s No Getting Over” Gas at $4 a Gallon

Consumers, who are already being squeezed by rising interest rates (even as the return on their cash deposits remains anchored near zero), are facing another potential constraint on their already limited purchasing power. And that constraint is  rising gasoline prices, which, as we pointed out last month, could erode the stimulative impact of President Trump’s tax plan as rising prices sop up what little money the middle class is saving.

As prices rise and banks scramble to update their forecasts, the Wall Street Journal has become the latest publication to sound the alarm over what is, in our view, one of the biggest threats facing the US economy in the ninth year of its post-crisis expansion. 

In its story warning about $3 a gallon gas (of course, we’re already seeing $4 a gallon in parts of California and other high-tax states), WSJ cited Morgan Stanley’s latest projection that rising gas prices could wipe out about a third of the annual take-home pay generated by the tax cuts.

Rising fuel costs can also feed inflation and pressure interest rates. Even though the Federal Reserve typically looks past volatile energy prices in the short term, higher energy costs help shape consumer confidence. And with the central bank poised to be more active this year, rising energy costs pose an additional risk to the economy.

Morgan Stanley estimates that if gas averages $2.96 this year, it would take an annualized $38 billion from spending elsewhere, an upward revision from the bank’s $20 billion estimate in January. That would wipe out about a third of the additional take-home pay coming from tax cuts this year, the analysts said.

Patrick DeHaan, petroleum analyst at GasBuddy”Three dollars is like a small fence. You can get through it, you can get over it,” said Patrick DeHaan, petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, a fuel-tracking app. “But $4 is like the electric fence in Jurassic Park. There’s no getting over that.”

Of course, MS’s take appears downright pollyannaish when compared with a Brookings Center report that we highlighted last month.

The left-of-center think tank, which of course has every reason to hope that the next recession will materialize on President Trump’s watch, projected that consumers would soon spend about half of the money saved from tax cuts on fuel costs.

And in a report published in April, Deutsche Bank illustrated how rising fuel costs will disproportionately squeeze the most vulnerable among us – a cohort of consumers who already shoulder an outsize share of the country’s household debt.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018.05.15db.jpg?itok=H0g5_RQa

The FT put it another way…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018.05.15ft.jpg?itok=HdnzBFje

As the chart above shows, middle-income families – aka the engine of consumption – will be the hardest hit by rising gas prices.

Indeed, small business owners in California, where gas prices are the fifth highest in the nation thanks to taxes and stringent emissions standards, say they’ve seen their energy bills shoot higher in the past few months. Car salesmen say consumers are asking more questions about mileage, according to WSJ.

Robert Lozano, a car salesman in Los Angeles where some gas prices are already above $4, said the dealership’s gas bill has climbed from about $9,000 to about $12,000 a month recently.

Customers are inquiring more about electric vehicles, he said.

“It’s more in the consumer’s mind as to what the most efficient vehicle is.”

With oil already at $70 a barrel, early indicators imply that the summer driving season could see an unusually large spike in demand for gas…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018.05.15vacations.png?itok=oOyR1nG8

…As the number of Americans intending to take vacations in the next six months climbs to its highest level in decades.

Heightened vacation intentions suggest the number of vehicle miles driven will also climb (because people tend to travel greater distances when they go on vacation). As the chart below shows, fluctuations in miles driven – a close proxy for gas demand – are quickly reflected in prices at the pump.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018.05.14gascorrelation.png?itok=Q3j2fPOJ

While the US’s increasing prominence in the oil-export market could soften some of the economic blow as the energy business booms, other large business from airlines to shipping companies would feel the pinch at a time when costs are already rising.

But some economists say the growing importance of energy to the U.S. economy could blunt some of the impact from rising oil prices.

The country has become a more prominent supplier of crude oil and fuel. Domestic production has reached record weekly levels of 10.7 million barrels per day and a lot of it is being exported.

[…]

“People don’t understand how we could double crude oil production” and see higher gas prices, said Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service. “The answer lies in the balance of payment. We are an exporting power right now.”

[…]

Airlines and shipping companies will also be paying more for jet fuel and diesel – costs that may be passed along to consumers. Even companies such as Whirlpool Corp. have noted that higher oil prices have boosted the cost of materials.

Refiner Valero Energy Corp. said it wouldn’t expect consumer demand to drop off until oil prices are at $80 to $100.

But demand is only one factor driving up oil prices. Supply issues have also weighed on oil traders’ minds. Traders pushed oil prices higher as the US pulled out of the Iran deal as some worried that it could impact global supplies (though, as we’ve pointed out, there are plenty of other buyers waiting to step in and buy Iranian crude). Even if the Iranian crude trade isn’t impacted by sanctions, plummeting production capacity in Venezuela could ultimately have a bigger impact on global supply.

Conflicts in other oil producing regions could also impact supplies, pushing prices higher.

Last week, Bank of America became the first Wall Street bank to call $100/bbl for Brent crude (at the time, it was trading around $77/bbl) in 2019. That could send prices to highs not seen since 2008. Other banks have been scrambling to raise their forecasts as well. 

With the Fed changing its language in its latest policy statement to reflect rising inflation expectations, rising oil prices could also inspire the Fed to hike interest rates more quickly for fear that the economy might overheat. That could result in four – or perhaps five – rate hikes this year.

The resulting effect would be like economic kudzu strangling the buying power of consumers and possibly forcing a long-overdue debt reckoning as millennials, who are already drowning in debt, are forced to put off home ownership and family formation until they’re in their late 30s or even their 40s.

Source: ZeroHedge

Eviction Courts Overwhelmed As Housing Crisis Unfolds In Colorado

https://s16-us2.startpage.com/cgi-bin/serveimage?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd2t1047w253zzm.cloudfront.net%2Fcities%2Fdenver-co-apartments-for-rent.jpg&sp=5512f46074c635c978a362621f2b53ba

It is official. Consumers in Colorado appear to be tapped out.

This comes at a time when the recovery is now tied for the second-longest economic expansion in American history. The stock market is near an all-time high, unemployment is the lowest in two decades, consumer confidence is beyond euphoric, and Trump tax cuts are stoking the best earnings quarter since 2011 — unleashing a record amount of corporate stock buybacks.

While a real economic recovery could be plausible this late in the business cycle, the unevenness of the recovery has left many residents in Colorado without a paddle. Accelerating real estate and rent prices across Colorado are squeezing residents out of their homes at an alarming pace.

According to ABC Denver 7, Denver metro area’s skyrocketing cost of living, stagnate wage growth, and lack of affordable real estate has fueled an enormous housing crisis — overwhelming the state’s eviction courts.

Colorado Center on Law and Policy (CCLP), which has spent decades advocating for tenant rights, warns that an eviction crisis is underway in the Denver region.

ABC Denver 7 said, “27 percent of all civil cases filed in Colorado in 2017 were evictions, which represents 45,000 cases.” In Denver alone, eviction cases accounted for nearly 18 percent (8,000 eviction cases) of all evictions across the state. Arapahoe County, the third-most populated county outside of Denver, experienced the most significant number of eviction cases at nearly 22 percent (10,000 eviction cases) in 2017.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screen-Shot-2018-05-04-at-7.53.11-AM-600x334_0.png?itok=UuTxB6Q6

Jack Regenbogen, attorney and policy advocate for the Colorado center on Law and Policy, told ABC Denver 7 that most tenants are underrepresented in eviction court cases. In return, this has led to more evictions forcing tenants out onto the streets. He says about 90 percent of landlords are represented by legal counsel during an eviction process, but less than one percent of tenants have legal assistance.

“Traditionally, Colorado has been a very friendly state towards landlords. We really need our policymakers to begin investing meaningful resources to address this issue,” said adds.

ABC Denver 7 indicates that more than 50 percent of Coloradans are renting, and as court dockets continue to expand with evictions in 2018, the crisis is far from over.

According to the Denver Metro Association of Realtors (DMAR) May housing trends report, the average cost of a single-family home in the Denver metro area edged up, as it hit $543,059 in April. More and more homes are listing in the range between $500,000 to $750,000 than all of the price ranges below $500,000 combined. A spokesman from DMAR said homes priced between $500,000 and $749,000, is now considered the “new norm.”

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-05-04_09-10-30-768x372.png?itok=eIfKB9Xb

“This demonstrates home buyer demand remains robust,” said Steve Danyliw, Chairman of the DMAR Market Trends Committee. “As new listings poured into the market, buyers that were waiting for them quickly gobbled them up, driving the average days on market down to 20 days.”

Danyliw, further said housing activity remains stable, but increasing interest rates could have an eventual impact on the real estate market.

Evidence continues to build that housing affordability is getting worse, particularly for everyday Americans. Colorado is the latest example of consumers physically tapping out, as they can no longer afford soaring real estate/rent prices – which is now overwhelming state courts in Denver. 

Source: ZeroHedge