Biz to Biz: Feb. 12 | SummitDaily.com

Biz to Biz: Feb. 12

DAILY NEWS STAFF REPORTS

DENVER ” The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will raise the Summit County mortgage limits to a new high for the area as of Feb. 18, 2008. This is in direct response to the current upward trend in home prices in the area.

Purchasers may now borrow up to $362,790 for a one-unit, single family home in Summit County using a loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

The previous limit was $327,750 for a one-unit, single family home. The FHA loan limit in Summit County was last adjusted Oct. 17, 2006.

Median home prices in Summit County have increased dramatically within the last few years. In many cases, HUD has found that purchasers are well qualified from the standpoint of income and credit, but they lack sufficient funds for the size of down payment required on a conventional loan. Since the FHA program requires less of a down payment, it affords more consumers the opportunity to purchase their dream home. The increased loan limits effectively open the market to more of those consumers.

HUD Regional Director John Carson said, “Homeownership plays a vital role in creating strong communities by giving families a stake in their neighborhoods and helping them to build wealth. Increasing mortgage limits ensures that more families will qualify for homeownership through a reliable FHA mortgage.”

Summit County local housing and mortgage professionals were instrumental in gathering data on local housing prices and delivering the research to HUD to effect the change in the loan limit, Carson noted.

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SUMMIT COUNTY ” Despite the wave of pessimism and impeding gloom gripping much of the nation, Summit County business owners and professionals report business is brisk and the local economic outlook remains bright.

he Summit County Business Barometer, a quarterly survey conducted to measure the economic pulse of our county, declined only slightly in the fourth quarter of 2007.

While both national consumer confidence surveys and similar Colorado indexes have plummeted in recent months, Summit County statistics have held up remarkably well.

The final quarter of 2007 produced a current activity reading of 3.39, only marginally lower than the 3.55 reading from the third quarter. Survey participants are asked to rate their level of business activity on a 1-5 scale, with 5 being the strongest reading.

In comparison, the national Consumer Confidence Index stood at 87.9 in January, down sharply from last summer’s high reading of 111.9. At the state level, the University of Colorado Leads School of Business Leaders Confidence Index moved into negative territory in the fourth quarter, falling to 47.9 from the prior reading of 55.6. This is only the second time in 19 quarters that the state index has registered below what is considered the neutral point of 50.

The Summit County survey also asks local business owners and professionals to rate their level of confidence going forward for the next 12 months. The final quarter reading for this index stood at 4.11, virtually unchanged from the prior reading of 4.18. For the 2007 calendar year, the current activity index averaged 3.46 and the business outlook index averaged 4.09.

On the inflation front, 53 percent of respondents indicated the prices they paid for goods and services rose, with the average increase being 5.8 percent. Of those surveyed, 45 percent said prices remained about the same and 2 percent said prices went down.

The focus question in last quarter’s survey asked participants to list their top five concerns related to Summit County’s “quality of life” in the next 10-20 years. The responses are listed here in their order of importance: cost of living, housing and build-out, cost of doing business, transportation and gridlock, environmental, population, health and welfare, education and other.

The Summit County Business Barometer survey is e-mailed each quarter to Summit Chamber of Commerce members but can also be accessed by a link on the Summit Daily News website.

All local businesses and professionals are strongly encouraged to participate. The survey is sponsored by the Summit Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Summit Daily News, Edward Jones Investments, and J. Boozer and Associates.

Comments and suggestions can be directed to the Chamber office at (970) 668-2051 or Mark Nunn in the Edward Jones office in Frisco at (970)668-3811

Lakewood-based FirstBank Holding Company reported net income of $99,134,000 at Dec. 31, 2007, according to John A. Ikard, president of the holding company.

Net income represents a return on average assets of 1.20 percent and a return on average shareholders’ equity of 17.6 percent. Earnings per share were $753.35.

Ikard reported that holding company assets were $8,684,353,000 and deposits were $7,688,742,000 on Dec. 31, 2007, up 11 percent and 8 percent respectively from the previous year. Loans were at $3,330,368,000, up 20 percent over last year.

At Dec. 31, 2007, FirstBank of Silverthorne had total assets of $183.7 million, and FirstBank of Breckenridge had total assets of $157.1 million. FirstBank has an additional Summit County office in Frisco. FirstBank has 119 locations in Colorado, three in California and three in the Phoenix area.

SUMMIT COUNTY ” Local inventors have created a new snowsport. Brothers, David and Corey Smith, have spent years of development to create the KB Binding. The KB Binding is a kneeboard binding that is attachable to any existing snowboard.

“It offers a unique thrill and is as challenging as you want to make it,” says Corey.

The brothers were lifties at Winter Park when the idea of riding the mountain on their knees entered their minds.

“I guess it came from all of the hours of sitting around in the top shack.” It all started with a piece of upholstered plywood, a gunstrap over the knees and a lot of trial and error. Three years ago, the brothers built a successful, rideable prototype in their keystone housing abode.

Over the past 3 years, the brothers have achieved patent pending status, created 3D computer models for production, and have started Michael/Wesley Inc.

The brothers intend on producing the KB Binding for the 2008-09 snow season. For more information, contact Dave at (970) 402-9634 for a complete plan of attack.