According to John Burns, founder of Real Estate Consulting in Irvine, California, 54 percent of total households in the U.S. could qualify for a home priced at $250,000, assuming a five percent mortgage rate and a 20 percent down payment. If rates rise to nine percent, almost 22 million households (36 percent of those who originally qualified) would be ‘priced out of the market.’

Similarly, Burns says that based on the same assumptions, slightly more than one-twelfth (9.7 million or 8.8 percent) of U.S. households can qualify for a home priced at $750,000. If rates go up to 9 percent, 5.9 million households (61 percent of those originally qualified) would also be unable to afford their property.

While most real estate experts concur that interest rates will not increase before yearend, buyers may want to act sooner rather than later, based on Burns’ data.

Desirable North End Property on the Market

Doug Barber of The Rawhide Company Realtors was promoting a 120 acre listing in northern El Paso County that sounded almost too good to be true. Listed at $840,000 for the entire parcel, the property may also be divided and sold in three portions, priced from $300,000 to $325,000.

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Only on the market for a few weeks, the parcel is already under contract.

One of its selling points: good access – in contrast to the Milam Road debate developers like Dan Potter have faced. “We have easy access from the east off Colt Court, a county road,” Barber said, “as well as Steppler Road from the west.

Another selling point for the property: there are no special taxing districts to slow progress. “We pay taxes to El Paso County, Lewis-Palmer School District #38. the Pikes Peak Library District and to the El Paso County Conservation District and that’s it,” he said.

The property is currently zoned RR-3 (agricultural) and lends itself to a single estate or to development. Topography shouldn’t pose too many problems, based on the land’s rolling hills and pond.

“We had multiple offers,” said Barber. “The buyer is local and will use the land for private use.”

Land Sales Activity Rocks

With June only three months away and thousands of troops returning from overseas, Doug Barber also sees building activity in both residential and commercial markets. Barring a Base Review and Closure (BRAC) order to move Ft. Carson, the broker sees nothing but good business ahead.

“Our lot sales at Highland Park have been very active,” he said. “Out of a total of 119 lots, we only have 30 left. It’s very encouraging. Just look at the Black Forest News and read about the land use proposals for new subdivisions. People are running out of good lots.”

Sales at Highland Park, where parcels range from 2.5 to 4.5 acres, are expected to close by year end. Prices range from $100,000 to $175,000.

“Many of our buyers like the fact they can hold their lots for a few years and are not forced to build right away as in other parts of town. Some are planning for the future and want to purchase while there’s still a decent inventory.”

East El Paso County Tract for Sale

“For a long term investment,” he said, “I just listed another parcel off Franceville Coal Mine Road. It’s been used as a pig farm and has four leased dwellings on it. For the right long-term investor, it’s 500 acres of RR-3 property, adjacent to the Banning Lewis Ranch off Highway 94.” Priced at $1.2 million, Barber says water is available now – and legal rights to an additional well are available if a replacement source is found.

Medical Offices Leases</b.

Ted Link of Cascade Commercial Group just represented the tenant, Dr. Brian Olivier, on the lease of over 5,000 square feet in the Regency Executive Building on Kelly Johnson Boulevard. Link, who represents a number of medical owners and tenants, says the building is now 93-percent leased.

Link recently finalized four more office leases for professional and medical users. One of those included the expansion of the Colorado School of Professional Psychology at 555 E. Pikes Peak Blvd. The school will now occupy more than 16,500 square feet, including space formerly leased by Lawyer’s Title in the Homburg Building.

Western Hydro Opens New Office

Lloyd Riphenburg of the Olive Real Estate Group worked with Joy Focht of Proforma Real Estate to secure a new Colorado Springs office for Western Hydro. The company has been serving the area from Denver for years, but business has picked up in Southern Colorado so the pump and equipment dealer decided to open a new location.

The 8,824-square-foot Western Hydro building at 5610 Parachute Circle off Drennan Road was just completed by owner, Dar Faaborg, earlier this year. Tom Hardes will manage the Colorado Springs office. It’s great to see businesses expanding into the Pikes Peak region&

Building Sells for $8.6 Million

Trammel Crow’s Randy Miller, Doug Arnell and Steve Suechting facilitated both sides of a transaction between seller, Greenbriar Property Associates and buyer, IVY Bell Development LLC, in the sale of the 100,256-square-foot office building at 7150 Campus Dr.

Miller attributes the buyer’s enthusiasm to the office building’s 80-percent occupancy and visibility from I-25. In a related transaction, he also just signed a lease with long time tenant, RSIS, an expanding technology company, for more than 9,200 square feet. Once again, growth is progress.

-Becky.Hurley@csbj.com