A cold, snowy blast of winter weather overnight in northeastern Colorado has made roads wet, icy and snow covered in spots and the Thursday morning commute should be slow going.
Great news on home equity from Bloomberg. Not a big surprise seeing how prices have shot up over the past year and a half.
Solar Energy has a long history in Colorado, which is why it is one of 11 states where a debate is underway over the “true” value of electricity generated by rooftop solar power systems. Whatever decisions are made will influence how power is generated and delivered across the state in the future and thus the price customers will pay for electricity.
What’s all the fuss?
The battle is over net metering, the mechanism allowing consumers to use energy when they need it, not just when it’s produced, by effectively selling energy generated by their rooftop solar panels back to the grid. Some utilities (including Xcel Energy) have not warmed to this idea, fearing that consumers will no longer need them.
After conducting a study on the costs and benefits of net metering, Xcel Energy Colorado submitted a proposal, the 2014 Renewable Energy Standard Compliance Plan, to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to trim the compensation paid to customers giving energy back to the grid.
The Proposal: While net metering advocates argue the credit is simply a fair payment for electricity put back on the grid, Xcel calculates that the contribution of rooftop solar users is not significant enough to avoid new transmission investments. Xcel is ultimately seeking to trim net metering credits down, but not eliminate them.
The Reactions: From the start, Xcel said the proposal was intended to spark debate about the impact of net metering. The proposal received major opposition. Xcel has been actively presenting a “by-the-numbers case” in the news while simultaneously threatening to scale back its Solar Rewards Program if the proposal is not approved.
The Implications: If the PUC approves Xcel’s plan, net metering will be rolled back across Colorado for all solar owners, no matter their utility company. A victory for Xcel won’t mean a reduction in rooftop solar installations, and this is where balance between the needs of both sides comes in. Xcel has been mandated to get 30% of its electricity from distributed sources by 2020 and Colorado has set a target for installing solar on 1 million rooftops by 2030.
This battle in Colorado shows that even utilities supportive of distributed solar are still struggling to define their value to rooftop solar owners. This is the reason Xcel is looking to restrict the parameters of net metering. Observers across the nation are watching Colorado to see how they calculate the value of rooftop solar and the value of utilities’ infrastructure.
We are seeing more buyers want to explore alternative energy when purchasing a home. If you have any questions about so-called “green” features contact Daniel Beckerle, who is a certified “Eco-Broker”.
Fall Real Estate Statistics
Nationwide, home prices are at their highest level since May 2008.
Statewide, Colorado prices are up 9.2 percent year over year.
Home resale prices in the Denver metro area rose 10.2 percent in September from the same month of 2012.
Prices for Denver-area homes and condominiums were almost flat in October from a month earlier, but increased from a year ago. Home buyers paid an average of $304,958 in September. The average price was $278,438 in October 2012.
The number of homes sold is down only slightly in October falling to 4,628 from 4,730 in September, compared to the 4,095 homes that sold in metro Denver in October 2012.
The number of days a home remains on the market in metro Denver has dropped to 44 from 66 a year ago. The average days on the market was 39 in September.
October isn’t typically a strong month for real estate sales, but the numbers are trending up from last year. Be sure to “Like” us on Facebook to stay informed about real estate matters. We post on a variety of real estate related topics and will keep you updated on what is happening in Colorado. Remember, at Alaris, we know that Knowledge is Key.
Trader Joe’s began in Los Angeles in 1958. Combine Trader Joe’s being voted one of America’s healthiest grocery stores with Colorado boasting the health of their citizens, it’s a logical place to build several of these California-based stores.
Shopping at Trader Joe’s is more like going to a specialty-foods store than a chain grocer—you’ll find healthy foods from around the world, all at surprisingly reasonable prices. The store’s impressive and delicious foods contain no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, and no MSG, trans fats or genetically modified ingredients.
The first three out of five stores in Colorado will open in 2014 on Valentine’s Day. The trio will be in Boulder, at Twenty Ninth Street; in Denver, at Eighth Avenue and Colorado Boulevard; and, in Greenwood Village, at the Cherry Hills Marketplace at 5901 S. University Blvd. The fourth outlet will be located at Seventh Avenue and Logan Street and will open sometime in mid-2014. The fifth location is destined for Fort Collins to open late next year.
Colorado has been ranked one of the best states for business, and economists list more jobs as a primary avenue for housing recovery. We are tracking these trends and will continue to post them on various social media platforms. You can follow us on Twitter where we tweet about real estate related topics. Feel free to ask us any real estate related questions. We might turn it into a blog.
The Passive House concept represents today’s highest energy standard with the promise of slashing the heating energy consumption of buildings by an amazing 90%. “Passive” describes the system’s underlying receptivity and retention capacity. Working with natural resources, free solar energy is captured and applied efficiently, instead of relying predominantly on ‘active’ systems to bring a building to ‘zero’ energy.
Nearly 30,000 of these houses have already been built in Europe. However, in the United States, since the first passive house went up 10 years ago in Illinois, only about 90 have been certified.
The good news is that the first Passive House in Colorado has been officially certified in Adams County, a few minutes drive northeast of trendy Denver neighborhoods.
A Certified Passive House must meet three strict standards of performance in terms of:
Air-exchange (two-way, inside-to-outside), which cannot exceed 0.6 of every room, per hour. Vents that look like small, round audio speakers are placed throughout the house to exchange fresh air. These devices have prevented the formation of mold, which plagued the passive-solar movement of the 1970s and 1980s.
Energy usage (basic electricity), which cannot exceed 11.1 kilowatts per square foot annually. An energy recovery ventilator provides a constant, balanced fresh air supply. The result is an impressive system that not only saves up to 90% of space heating costs, but also provides a uniquely terrific indoor air quality.
BTU consumption (typically applying to heating and cooling), which cannot exceed 4,750 per square foot annually. The “lungs” of a Passive House come from a box called a heat (or energy) recovery ventilator (HRV/ERV). It provides a constant supply of tempered, filtered fresh air 24/7 and saves money by recycling the indoor energy that is typically found in exhaust air. The heat from outgoing stale air is transferred to the unconditioned incoming fresh air, while it is being filtered. It provides a huge upgrade in indoor air quality and consistent comfort, especially for people sensitive to allergies.
See the house here.
Remember, Daniel Beckerle is an Eco-Broker if you have any questions about building “green” or adding any “green” features to your home. Click here to read more about Dan.
The Government Shutdown’s Affect on the Real Estate Market
Now that the U.S. government is once again up and running, many wonder what the government shutdown’s impact on the real estate market (especially the mortgage end of that market) was, and what will happen going forward. Some states felt the effects more than others, and Colorado was said to be the eighth most affected state.
One quick red flag comes from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), which reports that newly-built single-family homes were down two points in October.
The NAHB says the decline may be due, in part, to the shutdown; but now that everything is up and running again, the decline should be reversed in the coming months.
“A spike in mortgage interest rates, along with the paralysis in Washington that led to the government shutdown and uncertainty regarding the nation’s debt limit, have caused builders and consumers to take pause,” NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said just as a deal was being reached in Congress. “However, interest rates remain near historic lows and we don’t expect the level of rates to have a major impact on sales and starts going forward. Once this government impasse is resolved we expect builder and consumer optimism will bounce back.”
Be sure to follow us on Twitter, we Tweet on all kinds of real estate related matters.
Philosophers as far back as the ancient Greeks and Romans cited gratitude as an indispensable human virtue, and November is a good time to review the mental and physical health benefits of gratitude:
• Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure
• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More joy, optimism, and happiness
• Acting with more generosity and compassion
• Feeling less lonely and isolated
Being grateful helps people to overcome what psychologists call the “negativity bias”—the innate tendency to dwell on problems, annoyances and injustices. Focusing on the good things in life can help ward off depression and build resilience in times of stress, grief or disasters. Being grateful makes the here and now okay, sometimes even awesome.
So, the advice and urging of this time of year to give back is will bring you better health, longevity, and a sense of purpose. There are many opportunities to give back to our community and the surrounding communities that can leave a healthy lasting impression on you and your family, while also creating a difference for others in need during this holiday season.
Here at Alaris, we attribute our business’ growth to that happiness that grows from gratitude. We are grateful for our wonderful clients and all the business we with which we have been entrusted. Moreover, we believe that, when our clients choose to live and work in areas they understand and feel fortunate to be in, they experience greater happiness in their lives — the benefits are nearly immeasurable.
We also invite you to check out and post on our Gratitude Corner, where we talk about how gratitude is key to greater joy and happiness in your life. We are fueled by gratitude.