Denver housing prices drop

New Colorado Realty Association statistics show the median sale price for a single family home in Denver is $425,000, that’s down more than 1 percent and townhouse/condo prices are down 12 percent.

Association spokesperson Kelly Moye tells FOX31 several factors contributed to the shift, “With the elections and the stock market and the subsequent government shutdown, it never picked up.”

Broomfield County is an exception along the front range, with a 4.3 percent increase in the median sales price.

Moye says there are also more homes on the market right now, putting buyers in the driver’s seat, “Where there used to be one or two, they might now have ten or twenty to look at…take advantage and jump on it while you can.”

Moye advises those planning to sell a home with average amenities to list the property just under the most recent comparable price (listed no more than four months prior to placing the home on the market).

As of mid-February, properties remain on the market an average of 48 days. Your real estate agent can help tailor the best plan for selling or buying a home to your specific needs.

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Colorado renters could see fees limited or even returned if new bill becomes law

Renters would have the right to know why a property rejected their application, receive an itemized receipt detailing any and all fees, and get any unused fees returned if a bill introduced in the Colorado House becomes law.

Right now, “there’s no requirement that a unit even be for rent,” said Jack Regenbogen, an attorney with the Colorado Center on Policy and Law. “While this might violate your sense of fairness, there is nothing that would prevent a landlord, legally speaking, from collecting application fees on an ongoing basis even if every unit is filled.”

House Bill 1106 would change that by creating a set of rules landlords and rental companies would have to follow when it comes to charging and refunding application fees. The bill, as it’s currently written, would limit the fees property managers could charge to the costs of a credit check, criminal background check and administrative costs of a reference check. It would require landlords to refund any unused portion of those fees, and to explain to potential renters why they were rejected.

“We’ve heard that it is not uncommon for a prospective renter to exhaust their entire savings on rental application fees, leaving nothing left for first month’s rent,” Regenbogen said.

Several people testified about application fees and other nonrefundable fees that ranged from $50 to $450 per application, including Cesiah Guadarrama from the advocacy group 9to5 Colorado. She read the testimony of a woman who spent more than $5,000 on application fees while living in a homeless shelter.

The bill is being pushed by three Democratic lawmakers, but Republicans and industry groups say they aren’t opposed to regulating rental application fees.

Nancy Burke, a vice president for the Colorado Apartment Association, said she’s working with the bill’s sponsors
“so we can get to a support position.”

One of Burke’s main concerns is that the bill requires leasing companies to charge everyone the same price. She told the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee on Tuesday that the costs for verifying the references and criminal histories of in-state and out-of-state applicants are different.

The bill is also silent on what happens if an applicant can’t be located.

“Sometimes they just vanish, and they never inquire about their applications and they don’t return phone calls,” said Debi Stobie, who owns a 24-unit apartment building with her husband. “It would be an administrative nightmare for us to track them down.”

Stobie said she tries to refund unused application fees, but she and other landlords who testified would like clarity about what documentation a court would rely on as proof of a reasonable effort to return that money.

The bill passed out of committee Tuesday on a party-line vote.

Rep. Hugh McKean, R-Loveland, voted against the bill because it relies on a “reasonable” time frame for landlords to refund unused application fees. But he said he’s willing to work with the bill’s sponsors on changes that could move him to a yes when the bill gets to the floor for a vote.

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FREE: Denver Post hosts Understanding Alzheimer’s event Feb. 7

The Denver Post is hosting an event, following our latest series on Alzheimer’s disease called Mourning the Living.

The Denver Post’s Jessica Seaman will moderate a panel featuring some of Colorado’s leading experts on Alzheimer’s.

The panel and discussion will touch on what families can do after getting a diagnosis, the potential genetic risk of the disease and the toll it takes on loved ones. Panelists will also take questions from the audience.

Provided by Amelia Schafer, Dr. Hillary Lum and Dr. Jonathan WoodcockAmelia Schafer, Dr. Hillary Lum and Dr. Jonathan Woodcock.

The panelists include:

Amelia Schafer, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association Colorado Chapter Dr. Jonathan Woodcock, clinical director of the Rocky Mountain Alzheimer’s Disease Center at CU Anschutz and clinical director of the Memory Disorders Clinic with UCHealth Dr. Hillary Lum, a geriatrician and palliative care physician at the Seniors Clinic at University of Colorado Hospital, University of Colorado School of Medicine, and the VA Eastern Colorado Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center

Details

WHEN: 7 p.m. Feb. 7, 2019 WHERE: Auditorium at The Denver Post, 101 W. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO 80202

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Denver’s new housing assistance program designed to help furloughed workers

Furloughed worker Peggy Livingston protests the partial government shutdown in downtown Denver on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. Livingston helps enforce the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act for the Environmental Protection Agency. (AP Photo/Thomas Peipert)

DENVER – Good news for furloughed workers in the city and county of Denver.

As the longest government shutdown in history stretches into its fourth week, starting Wednesday the city and county will pay for furloughed workers next two mortgage payments, or up to $5,000, to help them survive the shutdown.

There is also financial assistance available for those who rent a home or apartment.

Designed for moderate-income families, workers can qualify by proving a recent financial hardship such as furlough or temporary layoff and do not have to repay the money.

“We want to make sure we can help fill the gap for them during this time. If you have any sufficient savings and the ability to get through it, let’s allow the city to help those who do not,” Mayor Michael Hancock said.

The program is costing taxpayers $485,000. The city says it has enough funds to help around 225 families.

They encourage only those who truly need the help to submit an application through Mile High United Way’s 211 call center.

To apply for the program, call or text 211.

For additional support, there will be a resource fair Saturday, January 19 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m hosted by Denver Human Services at their Sun Valley location, 1200 Federal Blvd and 3815 Steele Street in East Denver.

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Denver: 5 Newest Homes To Hit The Market

DENVER, CO — On the hunt for a new home, and want to get a better feel for what’s available near you? Perhaps you could use some assistance finding the perfect place for you and your loved ones? Thanks to our weekly list of new houses in your area, you can stay on top of the scene.

Here’s a handy list of the five newest properties to hit the market in the Denver area — including one with 3 beds and 2 baths for $149,788, and another in the Hudson area with 6 beds and 4 baths for $629,900.

Like what you see? Just click on any address in the list to get additional pics and details. Happy house hunting!

Price: $425,000
Size: 1,334 sq. ft., 2 beds, and 2 baths

Price: $149,788
Size: 1,243 sq. ft, 3 beds, and 2 baths

Price: $337,000
Size: 1,143 sq. ft., 3 beds, and 3 baths

Price: $435,000
Size: 1,607 sq. ft., 2 beds, and 2 baths

Price: $629,900
Size: 5,000 sq. ft., 6 beds, and 4 baths

Still want to see more options? Keep scrolling for more listings. Or check out Patch’s Denver area real-estate section for a full list of local homes.

Photos courtesy of Realtor.com

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Mortenson implicated in Denver bidding probe

Officials are restarting bidding for a $223 million expansion to the Colorado Convention Center in Denver after discovering allegedly improper communications between Golden Valley-based Mortenson, a finalist for the project, and the company overseeing bidding. (Submitted image: Colorado Convention Center)

A major project in Denver, Colorado, has been delayed over alleged bidding improprieties by several companies, including Golden Valley-based Mortenson.

The Minnesota construction giant was one of three finalists to build a $223 million expansion to the Colorado Convention Center. On Dec. 11, the city of Denver halted the selection process and fired its program management services contractor, Dallas-based Trammell Crow Co., due to what Denver Mayor Michael Hancock called “a significant breach of the public trust and a willful violation of a competitive bidding process.”

Trammell Crow isn’t the only company in the city’s crosshairs. In a Dec. 21 letter, Denver Executive Director of Public Works Eulois Cleckley informed Mortenson he is suspending the company’s prequalification to bid on city projects pending a possible revocation, citing a series of emails between Mortenson and Trammell Crow officials.

The emails in question appear to show Trammell Crow officials providing sensitive procurement documents to Mortenson officials, and exchanging ideas for a series of “live scenario” questions to be asked during a final interview. Mortenson also asks Trammell Crow to pressure city officials to visit another Mortenson project in the area, and to add language to the city’s request for qualifications that “would shut down Turner [another bidder],” according to emails provided by the city.

“These communications demonstrate that Mortenson’s actions and inactions evidence a lack of integrity in the process of the city’s procurement” for the project, Cleckley wrote in his letter.

Hancock has asked the Denver district attorney to investigate the “potentially improper collusion” between Trammell Crow and Mortenson. The city plans to restart the selection process with a new contractor, according to Denver-based 9NEWS.

In an email statement, Mortenson said it is in contact with the Denver district attorney and has promised not to speak publicly on the matter while the investigation is ongoing.

“We take this matter very seriously,” Mortenson Senior Vice President Maja Rosenquist said in the statement. “We have conducted a thorough internal investigation, and commit to cooperating with the city to the greatest extent possible.”

The city originally discovered the issue when a city employee noticed a room had been added to the plans that could have increased the cost by $4 million to $6 million, the Denver Post reported Thursday. The subsequent investigation turned up the emails sharing confidential bidding information.

Mortenson does not have any current or near-term projects that will be affected by the suspension of its prequalification status, according to Wendy Aiello, a Denver-based public relations executive representing Mortenson.

Mortenson, which has offices across the country, has built a number of large projects in the Denver area, including the Denver International Airport Hotel and Transit Center and the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center in Aurora.

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Colorado singled out in federal report for high number of homeless families with children compared to other states

Kayle Quillen, right, feeds her son Omar, 1, during dinner at the Samaritan House on Monday, Dec. 17, 2018 in Denver. Through a series of medical problems, losing jobs and selling off their belongings to live, Rojas and her husband have become homeless with their three kids. The family has found refuge for the next 3 months at the Samaritan House that helps provide for homeless families.

So many Colorado families with children are experiencing homelessness that the Samaritan House shelter in downtown Denver is adding rooms to its family ward to respond to demand.

Colorado is the third-highest state in the nation when counting 3,250 homeless families with children, according to a report issued Monday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on the state of homelessness in the United States. The count was conducted on a single night in January to capture a snapshot of homelessness.

Additionally, 32 percent of those 3,250 families with children experiencing homelessness in the state were not in a shelter — “considerably higher” than the national rate of just under 10 percent, the report said.

The annual report based on data from about 3,000 cities and counties across the country is intended to provide a better understanding of the scope of homelessness and help measure progress toward diminishing it, according to a HUD news release. Among Colorado’s findings: homelessness has slightly decreased since the previous year, rural areas are experiencing nationally-significant levels of homelessness, and there are more families with children trying to survive without a home than in other places in the United States.

In total, the annual homeless count found 10,857 Coloradans experiencing homelessness, the report said.

The Samaritan House shelter has 21 rooms to house families in its extended stay program and is adding four more in a $1.5 million renovation hoped to be completed by late summer, said Mike Sinnett, vice president of shelters at Catholic Charities. The Samaritan House is one of the shelters under the Catholic Charities umbrella.

“We are usually full,” Sinnett said. “Families experiencing homelessness are probably one of the largest under-served populations in the area.”

The rooms can accommodate as many as 10 children, with some rooms featuring hotel-like doors connecting rooms between parents and children. The ward is separate from the main shelter so families have their own living quarters, laundry area and television room.

Cathy Alderman, vice president of communications and public policy for Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, explained some of the struggles homeless families face.

“They often go under-counted because they tend to be living in their cars or in motels, and I think we’re seeing in the Denver metro area, with property values increasing, some motels are no longer affordable or available,” Alderman said. “We’re seeing them seek shelters instead, but there’s not very much family shelter space available.”

Parents also can be reluctant to go to shelters with their children for fear of being separated from their little ones or of negative impacts toward their custody arrangements or kids’ schooling, Alderman said.

The Samaritan House’s family program first requires parents to enroll their children in school, then assists in finding employment or a source of income such as disability if unemployable. The program works with its residents to help them save a percentage of money for payment toward permanent housing.

The report found that homelessness in Colorado decreased by .8 percent in 2018. Homelessness experienced by families with children fell by .3 percent statewide since 2017, the report said.

Nationally, the annual count found 552,830 people experiencing homelessness. Most stayed in shelters, the HUD report said.

Alderman challenges the Colorado numbers, noting that the surveys are voluntary and leave out folks living in motels or their vehicles.

“We are experiencing an increase in homelessness across the state,” Alderman said.

Nineteen in every 10,000 people were experiencing homelessness in Colorado, according to the federal report.

Colorado’s rural homeless community stood out as being among the largest of such populations in the country, according to the report. Colorado came in fifth in the country for having the largest number of rural homeless people — 1,443 — experiencing family homelessness, according to the report.

The same organizations also found Colorado had notably high numbers of unaccompanied homeless youth in rural areas and noteworthy numbers of rural veterans experiencing homelessness. The report listed 246 young people and 315 veterans in rural Colorado are experiencing homelessness this year, putting the state in the top-five for both categories in the country.

Alderman explained that traditional sheltering options aren’t often available in rural areas.

“It may not make sense to have a big 200-bed shelter space if you only have 40 or 50 people who may need it,” Alderman said. “Those rural areas really just haven’t found the right solution for providing emergency shelter options in addition to transitional housing. As the numbers increase, we’re really starting to have those conversations in areas you wouldn’t think we’d normally be having them.”

Some of those places, Alderman said, include Durango, Grand Junction, Nederland and rural areas surrounding Fort Collins.

“Maybe during the warmer months, people were camping in park areas in some of these locations, but now they really are needing to come inside when it gets so cold,” Alderman said. “We get calls like this from across the state.”

While Alderman disputes the modest decrease in homelessness the report found, she admits solid progress has been made in finding veterans more permanent shelter.

“The reason for this is the VA has invested tremendous resources in making sure veterans are more frequently connected to long-term housing solutions,” Alderman said. “If we could make that investment at the federal level and state level and locally, we’d be making a lot more progress than we are.”

For example, the Colorado Department of Human Services along with the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless on Tuesday morning are kicking off construction of permanent, supportive housing for veterans experiencing homelessness. The project is located at 1919 Quentin St. in Aurora.

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Train to be a real estate agent

American Real Estate College is one the Top Real Estate Schools in Denver!

A Colorado Real Estate School, Best American Real Estate License College, Top Continuing Education, CAM Licensing Exam Prep Classes & Training.

Get $100 Off Registration, Just Mention Colorados Best. Watch the segment to find out how long the courses are and what kind of training they offer.

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Adam Lerner, visionary director of MCA Denver, stepping down in 2019

MCA Denver director Adam Lerner is stepping down in June 2019 after his contract expires. (Photo by From the Hip Photo, provided by MCA Denver )

Adam Lerner, the acclaimed director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, will step down in June after a decade-long tenure in which he built an international reputation as a risk-taking, influential and financially savvy leader in a fast-growing creative hub.

“My current contract expires in June and the museum is in a really healthy position,” Lerner said Monday. “I’ve managed to take it from $10 million in debt to very stable financially with a significant endowment. Our building is humming with energy, we’ve doubled our visitations and we have incredible momentum.”

The museum’s board has not selected a replacement, but Lerner said he would make himself available to help through the search process.

Lerner, 52, joined MCA Denver in 2009 as the Mark G. Falcone Director and Chief Animator — the latter title a hint of the playful yet professional tone he has cultivated there. He won the job after gaining attention as founder of the Laboratory of Art and Ideas at Belmar (aka The Lab) from 2004 to 2009 and, before that, as the master teacher for modern and contemporary art at the Denver Art Museum and the curator of the Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, according to MCA Denver.

With a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University and a Smithsonian fellowship under his belt, Lerner has spent the last decade mixing high- and lowbrow art, recruiting and showcasing groundbreaking local and international artists, and harnessing the youthful energy around him to increase the status and revenues at MCA Denver.

As of this month, MCA Denver is on track to see 100,000 visitors in 2018 — more than double its annual attendance a decade ago. With a relatively modest budget of $5.2 million and 23 full-time staff members, the museum under Lerner has developed exhibitions featuring renowned artists such as Marilyn Minter, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Senga Nengudi. Those exhibitions have been exported to 26 museums around the world, the MCA Denver said.

Lerner also worked with MCA Denver’s board to restructure $10 million in pre-existing debt to reinvest in exhibitions and other programs. By the time Lerner steps down in June, MCA Denver will have raised all the funds for its current $17.5 million campaign, which began in 2016, he said. Architectural firm David Adjaye and Associates, which designed the museum’s sleek building at 1485 Delgany St., is working on an upcoming remodel that will tap those funds.

“The reason I stayed in this job so long is that I have an incredibly supportive board of trustees,” Lerner said. “They push me but they also support me, and that’s really rare for a museum to give such freedom to develop a position while being rigorous and giving me feedback about it.”

Mike Fries, chairman of MCA Denver’s board, praised Lerner’s “unparalleled vision and willingness to take risks.”

“Adam has been instrumental not only in making MCA the heart of Denver’s cultural community,” Fries said in a news release, “but also in rethinking the role of a traditional art institution by launching groundbreaking programs that are now mimicked around the country.”

Lerner’s popular “Mixed Taste” lecture series — which pairs wildly and often hilariously incompatible subjects (“Crop Circles and Prenups”) — has been adapted nationally, and there’s an entire chapter in the college-taught 2016 book “Creating the Visitor-Centered Museum” that studies MCA’s experiments and successes.

The museum in 2017 also won a $400,000 grant — its largest-ever — from the New York-based Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to train arts professionals from across the country on MCA Denver’s innovative practices.

“When I see museums using language that’s a little bit more casual, that sometimes even has a little bit of irony in it, I’d like to think that MCA Denver opened up the space for that,” Lerner said of the material the museum puts out — including a dozen well-received exhibition books. “You show your confidence more in what you produce by showing that you don’t actually have to take yourself so seriously. Even when you’re sincere.”

“MCA Denver has an identity and a character that places it in the upper tier of contemporary art spaces in the country,” said Vince Kadlubek, co-founder of the Santa Fe-based art collective and exhibition company Meow Wolf, which is planning a multimillion-dollar Denver location. “He has such a commitment to youth and fringe art, and that’s refreshing in the art world. He’s a trailblazer.”

Kadlubek said he was “incredibly inspired” by MCA Denver’s 2014 exhibition “Myopia,” the first-ever gallery show from Devo leader, visual artist and film composer Mark Mothersbaugh, with whom Lerner worked closely.

“That was the first time I’d gone to MCA, and it was incredible that they were showcasing work by an artist who was truly contemporary,” Kadlubek said. “It built a ton of excitement and momentum for us to see this weird, freak, fringe art on the verge of being mainstream.”

Lerner is too enmeshed in day-to-day operations to think much about what he’ll do next, he said. But he’s sure it will have a creative element, however broadly defined, and he’s confident his successor will inherit a museum that continues to balance the avant garde with the accessible.

“I will remain in Denver and I want to try my hand doing more for the city (and) more to enrich people’s lives,” Lerner said. “The challenge, now that the city and (MCA Denver) is so successful, is making sure we’re including people who might not be at the forefront of prosperity. But I feel like the next chapter in my career will be best served not from the office of a museum director.”

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Denver considering possible $15 per hour minimum wage for city workers

2011 Getty Images

DENVER – Mayor Michael Hancock is considering raising the minimum wage for Denver city employees and people who work at businesses operating inside city facilities to $15 an hour, his office announced Tuesday.

The theoretical increase would be phased-in over several years, the mayor’s office said, and would apply to starting wages for city employees, contractors, vendors and tenants as well.

But first, the city’s Department of Finance will explore the feasibility of such an increase. The mayor’s office said the department plans to talk to community members, businesses and city employees and to release its findings and recommendations to the mayor early next year.

Colorado voters in 2016 approved an amendment to the state constitution that will raise the statewide minimum wage to $12 an hour by Jan. 1, 2020. The current statewide minimum wage is $10.20, and it will increase to $11.10 per hour on Jan. 1.

A group of employees at Denver International Airport have already turned in signatures to try and get their initiative to raise minimum wages for some airport workers to $15 an hour onto the May 2019 ballot in Denver. DIA is owned and operated by the city and county of Denver.

Teresita Felix, the organizer of the campaign to get the measure onto May’s ballot, called the city’s announcement “exciting news.”

“I work for United Airlines at Denver International Airport. My wages are so low my daughter and I have to share a house with 20 other people because I can’t afford to live in Denver on my own. That’s why we’re fighting for $15 at DIA,” Felix said in a statement.

Rising costs of living across parts of Colorado have made the minimum wage a major issue. For instance, Aspen Skiing Co. raised its minimum wage for this year’s ski season to $13.50 an hour – up from $12 an hour last year – in order to attract more seasonal workers who have to live in expensive parts of the state. The company also offers benefits.

The issue has also grown in Denver as housing prices continue to rise.

“While unemployment is low and Denver’s economy is among the strongest in the country, wage growth has not kept pace with a rising cost of living,” Hancock said in a statement. “Lower- and middle-income workers are struggling to get by. I’ve been meeting with many employees and listened to stories and experiences. I believe we have an opportunity here to make meaningful difference in people’s lives.”

Hancock is up for re-election in 2019 and will face a slew of candidates.

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