Monthly Archives: November 2009

Boulder County’s Unemployment rate Continues Decline to 6.7 Percent

Boulder County’s unemployment rate continues decline, hits 6.7 percent

By Michael Hughes   November 30, 2009

81,000 people have dropped out of the Colorado workforce since last October 2008 when it was 2.7 million.  The workforce is; the number of people with jobs or looking for work.  At the same time, state officials say that some of Colorado’s biggest industries added jobs in October. Government added 7,300 more jobs and 1,900 were added in education and health services. Some of the job additions will be due to seasonality.  “The main reason our unemployment has been falling is because of people dropping out of the labor force,” said Alexandra Hall, the chief economist for the Department of Labor and Employment. The dwindling labor force may be attributed to people who are frustrated and quitting their job search or are going back to school for degrees or advanced degrees. Boulders’ unemployment rate is much better than the overall state which sits at about 7 percent. Jobless rates in Boulder and Broomfield counties continue to decline while the national unemployment rate is 10.2 percent.

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Struggling With Potential Forclosure-This could Fix it!

Forget Foreclosure Make Mortgage Affordable

By Michael Hughes November 29, 2009

There’s a new sheriff in town and their going to help you out. Government’s new Home Affordable Modification Program, known as HAMP.

The U.S. Treasury created the program as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. It is intended to help struggling home owners work with their lenders to get those payments down to what is more reasonable.

“The U.S. Treasury has introduced a streamlined process to expedite more affordable monthly mortgages addressing current financial hardships,” said Meg Reilly, a spokeswoman from the Treasury Department. “We surpassed our goal sooner than anticipated with over one-half-million borrowers who already have trial modifications underway.”

While some lenders have been slow to start HAMP is proving to be quite a life saver to those in need who have now gone through the process.

“ More than 25,000 applicants are being processed each week through HAMP”, Reilly said. To qualify for HAMP, a home owner’s monthly mortgage, including principal, interest, taxes and insurance, must be greater than 31 percent of total gross monthly income.

“Once a mortgage modification is approved, it will reduce a monthly mortgage to 31 percent of monthly income for at least five years,” Reilly said.

There is no cost to have a mortgage modified in HAMP.

HAMP can reduce a homeowner’s payment by lowering the interest rate to as little as 2 percent, extending the repayment term to as long as 40 years.

The reduced interest rate will remain in place for five years. After that period, the interest rate can only go up to a capped current market rate based upon the day the modification is effective per Freddie Mac’s weekly market rate survey. Currently the maximum the rate could reach is approximately 5 percent.

“Our goal is to have delinquent customers or those who are current but know they are going to have trouble making their mortgage payments to receive timely financial assistance to lower their payments through a modification or some other means,” Goyda said. “We’ve hired and trained more than 5,800 additional employees this last year in our home-retention department to address the increased demand.”

Wells Fargo was among the lenders criticized early in the process for not modifying enough eligible mortgages.

The HAMP process generally consists of a homeowner contacting his or her mortgage provider. Home-retention specialists ask questions and request documentation to determine qualification.

Upon preliminary approval, a homeowner will be placed on a three-month trial with a lowered monthly mortgage payment while the documentation is processed and reviewed.  The deadline to participate in HAMP is Dec. 31, 2012.

“We are making many of the HAMP forms available online and many can be signed and forwarded with an electronic signature to expedite the process,” Reilly said.

Once final approval is received after the trial period, the HAMP applicant will receive documentation in the mail outlining all details. Since this program is still in its infancy, a two-month trial period extension is possible if needed to provide all documentation. To avoid scams and people asking for a fee go to

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Boulder, Green since day one!

By Michael Hughes October 2, 2010

The first inhabitants in Boulder did something new and different. First populated by Miners who came to the area when gold was first discovered in the canyons nearby. The beginning of the green movement was 1859 when a group of Insightful settlers organized the Boulder City Town Company. Even back then, the town grew slowly, because lots were expensive and mercantile type companies were limited to selling to the mines and miners. Boulder homes still continue to be expensive and most homes are near green space, open space or paths.  Railroads came and with that the population tripled by the 1880’s. Boulder as a community began preserving land as early as 1898 with the purchase of the area now known as Chautauqua Park. By the end of the 19th century, Boulder had established itself as a center for health, recreation, and culture. In 1896, the Seventh Day Adventists built a sanitarium for tubercular patients on Mapleton Hill. In 1898, the Colorado Chautauqua opened on a 26-acre site donated by the city of Boulder at the base of the foothills. It is one of only 4 Chautauqua’s that have survived over the years.   In 1908, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. (yes his father was Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. who designed and created Central Park in NYC) was commissioned to advise the city on improvement to its physical surroundings. Olmstead envisioned a high-quality environment, with residential areas kept isolated from industry, in order to maintain clean air where people lived. Olmsted’s report served as a guide for growth in the coming years.  Boulder has been on the cutting edge of the green movement for quite some time. In 1910 there was a threat of an amusement park on the summit of Flagstaff Mountain and accessed by an incline railway that rallied concerned citizens to speak out.  This led to long range plans to protect the foothills and the mountain backdrop.  In the future Boulder citizens decided to prevent further development by acquiring land before it could be developed.  Collectively protecting the land and the ecological integrity of the area. Boulder Real Estate continues to be the best investment in the states. The early settlers took their cue from the Chief of the Arapahoes.  Realizing that clear blue skys, pure water and land preservation be respected.  Smart growth, healthy living, smart children, it’s a wonderful life in Boulder, Colorado.  Boulder continues to buy green open space and buffers the housing with extraordinary green areas and space unknown to other cities in the U.S. We are proud to call this our home Boulder, Colorado.

If you have questions about this article or anything Boulder give me a call anytime. Michael Hughes-Fuller Sothebys International Realty=303-359-6627 or you can visit my website at

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Sotheby’s sells Tommy Hilfiger Estate $20M

By Michael Hughes       November 27, 2009

The Hilfiger luxury estate listed at around $28M sold for $20M in Greenwich, Connecticut.  Sotheby’s International Realty says the mansion is being purchased by a family who toured it in September.

The mansion features a 2,000 bottle wine cellar, indoor basketball court, sauna, massage room with a waterfall and home theater.  It sports eight bedrooms and nine bathrooms boasting over 20,000 square feet of living space.

Hilfiger purchased the home in 2005 for $18 million.  It has been on the market since 2008.  The designers’ reason cited for moving was to relocate to New York City.

The Hilfiger mansion is located on Connecticut”s Gold Coast which has an abundance of suburban/country perfection.  and is home to Martha Stewart Judge Judy and Mary Tyler Moore to mention a few.

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Boulder Colorado–One more thing to be thankful and grateful for

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have, into enough, & more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

On the street people are talking about the local real estate market improving.  Scott Smith said “When the full recovery begins, it will probably begin here.”  Citing Boulders’ continued strength in attracting new businesses, strength in the energy industries, will continue to stabilize Boulders’ economy.   Even the most talked and debated business in town has boosted the commercial space real estate sector-yes Medical Marijuana.  Housing affordability is at an all time high and as always interest rates will fluctuate throughout 2010.  The last real hurdle to economic recovery is the reinstatement of consumer confidence from the lows that they sit at today.  As the economy improves people will relax and consumer confidence will rebound.  Happy Thanksgiving!  May 2010 be blessed with great momentum.  Cheers!

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Greatest City on the planet: Boulder, Colorado

Greatest city on the planet;  Boulder, Colorado!

By Michael Hughes November 25, 2009

We have so much to be thankful for; we live in the most beautiful Colorado town on the planet.  We have enviable weather where many people walk or bike to work or class.  The blue skys, the crisp mornings, the wonderful running, biking, hiking, climbing are awesome .  World class restaurants, chefs and foodinistas.  Life is supposed to be fun!  Boulder!

Parts of the movie “Sleeper,” with Woody Allen, were filmed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and at the clam shaped “spaceship” house along I-70.

Running, walking and bicycling are so highly regarded in Boulder that sometimes the city plows the Boulder Creek path before they plow the streets! Priorities!

The well known television show Mork and  Mindy utilized a house in Boulder on Pine St. for the exterior shots of the characters home.

Baseline Road is a significant east-west route to both Boulderites & cartographers, as it marks the 40th parallel on world maps. The total length of Baseline Road is about 38 miles.

A 1992 survey by the Centers for Disease Control found that Colorado had fewer overweight people per capita and more people who exercise than any other state.  Because we have numerous opportunities to workout and move our bodies.

A Colorado Daily poll found that seven out of ten Boulderites own bicycles. Another guidebook states that Boulder’s bicycle count is approximately 93,000 – almost equal to the total population!

The Chautauqua Auditorium is an all-wood structure built in 1898. In the evening, when the Colorado Music Festival musicians stop playing, you can often hear the rafters-dwelling owls hooting along with the music.

The Flatirons got their name by pioneer women who said they looked like flat, metal irons used to iron their clothes.

Flagstaff Mountain was named for the flagpole that sits on top of the summit, which was visible when Boulder was first settled, as it was a completely treeless plain.

Scott Carpenter, a NASA astronaut, grew up in Boulder. He named his space capsule after his home on Aurora and 7th St. The capsule was Aurora 7.

The University of Colorado at Boulder’s buildings are built with red sandstone, quarried in nearby Lyons.

With majors Coors, Anheuser-Busch this area has become the largest beer-producing area  in the world. Not to mention the microbreweries (Boulder Beer, Walnut Brewery, Left Hand, nearby Oskar  Blues and many more).

Robert Redford was a janitor at The Sink, before moving on to become famous!

Boulder has more used bookstores per capita than any other city in the country.

Boulder’s going to the dogs! Recent visitor counts to Boulder Mountain Parks found a ratio of 1 dog to every 5 visitors.

Every year, Boulder Mountain Parks core area receives 1.8 million visits.

In 1967, Boulder became the first city in the United States to tax itself for funds to be used specifically for the acquisition, management and maintenance of Open Space.

The Hotel Boulderado was named by combining Boulder and Colorado so no visitor would ever forget where they had stayed.

Best of Boulder

Boulder has won more accolades than any other city in America for its recreation, culture, health, business climate and overall quality of life.


America’s Smartest City – Forbes magazine, February 2008

The West’s Greenest Restaurant – The Kitchen – Sunset magazine, March 2008

Top 10 World’s “Greener Cities” – Urban Land Green magazine, Spring 2008

#5 in “Top 25 Best Green Places to Live” – Country Home magazine, April 2008

Top Pick for Food & Wine Vacations – Organic/Veggie – Orbitz, April 2008

Top 25 Destinations in the US – TripAdvisor, April 2008

Top 100 Destinations in the World – TripAdvisor, April 2008

#3 in “Top 10 Cities for Masters Runners” – Masters Athlete magazine, May 2008

The 10 Brainiest Places to Retire – US News and World Report, May 2008

#8 in “Top 25 Small Cities & Towns for Art” – AmericanStyle magazine, June 2008

America’s Top 5 Cities for Cycling – Bicycling magazine, June 2008


#8 in “Top 10 Cities for Artists” – BusinessWeek, February 2007

Top Triathlon Town – Inside Triathlon magazine, April 2007

#7 in “Top 25 Best Green Cities” – Country Home magazine, April 2007

#5 in “Best Cities for Empty-nesters” – Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, June 2007

Top 10 Hottest New Restaurants – Bon Appetit magazine, June 2007

#8 in “Top 25 Small Cities & Towns for Art” – AmericanStyle magazine, June 2007

#3 in “Top 10 Rooftop Bars” – Sunset magazine, July 2007

#6 in “Top 10 Farmers’ Markets” – EatingWell magazine, August 2007

Best Places to Retire – US News and World, August 2007

#1 “Top Small-City College Destination” – Denver Business Journal, October 2007

#4 “11 Most Bicycle-Friendly Cities in the World” – Virgin, Nov. 2007

Top 10 Best New Restaurants – 5280 magazine, December 2007

Contact me today if you or anyone you know needs real estate help….
e-Mail Direct 303-359-6627

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Louisville, Colorado Named Top Place to Live

By Michael Hughes

Population: 19,405
Median home price (2006): $322,812
Average property taxes (2006): $1,979
Pros: Historic downtown; Farmers Markets, Running, hiking, biking, outdoor concerts (summer)  and skiing
Cons: Technology -heavy economy with a side of Bio Tech

Louisville was founded in 1882 and the iconic buildings give the town a feel of downtowns of long ago.  Near Boulder, Colorado. Where you can check out a house in Boulder, Boulder Real Estate or Homes in Louisville.  Louisville’s economy is nouveau tech: Technology firms are the area’s mainstay (IBM, Sun Micro, Ball, Level 3, Amgen  and more).  Not to mention the upcoming ConocoPhillips alternative energy campus in the works.  Louisville is only 6 miles from Boulder and 22 from Denver. Outdoor living at its best.  Panoramic views of the front range Rocky Mountains abound.  Louisville’s 26-mile wooded biking and running path winds through much of the town. On summer Friday nights, residents head to the downtown Louisville Street Faire, for concerts, entertainment,  artisans, beer and food. Saturdays head to the farmers market or in July the summer film series.  A great place to live with excellent restaurants that have been here forever.  Solid deals, nice people, all American type of town.
Home prices are up recently because this is one of the greatest places in America to live.  Family friendly.  A cool place to thrive.  It can snow one day and be gone the following day.  As Garrison Keillor says “where all the women are strong, the men are good looking and the children are above average.”

I can help. If you have questions about this article or anything Boulder give me a call anytime. Michael Hughes-Fuller Sothebys International Realty=303-359-6627 or you can visit my website at

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