Get Real

We’ve seen some headlines recently that suggest home prices along the Front Range have peaked and are starting to decline.

When we dig in and do the research, this is what we find…

Home prices are still going up, just not as fast as they have been.

We’ve known that the double-digit appreciation that we’ve seen for the last several years could not be sustained and we expected the pace of appreciation to slow down.

So far in 2019, this is the case.  Prices still going up, just not as fast.

It’s like running up stairs.  Eventually you will get tired and you will need to start walking (but you’re still going up).

Headlines that suggest that prices have peaked and are falling create unrealistic expectations for buyers and give sellers a skewed perspective on the market.

Here are the numbers…

Average Price:

  • Up 1.53% in Metro Denver
  • Up 6.1% in Larimer County
  • Up 5.1% in Weld County

Months of Inventory:

  • 5 Months in Metro Denver
  • 5 Months in Larimer County
  • 4 Months in Weld County
  • (Remember that 4-6 months of inventory represents a balanced market)

There has been an increase in Days on Market which means that homes are taking longer to sell.  But the increase is measured in days, not months.

Here are those numbers…

Days on Market:

  • Up 4 Days in Metro Denver
  • Up 11 Days in Larimer County
  • Up 3 Days in Weld County

So, be mindful of headlines that can be sensationalized and might suggest that the market is falling.

Bottom line, the market is going up, just not as fast as it was.


Posted on April 5, 2019 at 5:50 pm
Julie Maxwell | Posted in Buyers, Fun Facts, Real Estate, Sellers | Tagged , , , ,

It’s Tax Time

You probably don’t need a reminder that this is tax season.

Not only because tax returns are due in two weeks but also because you will soon receive your property tax notification in the mail.

Every two years your County re-assesses the value of your property and then sends that new value to you.

When this happens, many of our clients:

  • Don’t agree with the new assessed value
  • Aren’t sure what to do
  • Are confused by the process
  • Want to save money on property taxes

Good news! We have a webinar that will help you. On the webinar we will show you:

  • How to read the information from the County
  • What it means for you
  • How to protest the valuation if you want
  • How to get an accurate estimate of your property’s value

You can listen to the webinar live or get the recording. In any case, you can sign up at www.WindermereWorkshop.com

The webinar is April 17th at 10:00. If you can’t join live, go ahead and register so you can automatically receive the recording.

This is a complimentary online workshop for all of our clients. We hope you can join!


Posted on March 29, 2019 at 9:35 pm
Julie Maxwell | Posted in Real Estate | Tagged , ,

Party Like It’s 2018!

 

Just a few months ago most people thought mortgage rates were heading to 5% and now they are back to where they were a year ago.

You probably saw this week’s news from the Federal Reserve declaring that they would not raise their Federal Funds rate for the rest of 2019

(just three months after saying they would raise rates at least twice this year).

While this is big news, even bigger news for mortgage rates is that the 10-year Treasury yield just hit its lowest point since January 2018. One thing we’ve learned from our Chief Economist Matthew Gardner is that mortgage rates follow the 10-year treasury (not necessarily the Fed Funds rate).

Last Spring it looked like mortgage rates had bottomed out and they steadily climbed through the Summer and Fall of 2018. It looked certain that they would hit 5% around January.

Instead they started dropping. Now with the 10-year Treasury at a 15-month low, they just dropped a little more and they are back to where they were a year ago.

Great news for buyers! Party like it’s 2018!


Posted on March 24, 2019 at 5:29 pm
Julie Maxwell | Posted in Buyers, Fun Facts, Real Estate | Tagged , , , ,

Condo Cyclone

 

While the “Bomb Cyclone” closed roads and schools last week, the “Condo Cyclone” is opening new opportunities for first-time buyers.

What’s the “Condo Cyclone”? It’s the proliferation of multi-family inventory that has come on the market up and down the Front Range.

 

Compared to last year, multi-family inventory which includes town-homes and condominiums, has increased…

• 79% in Metro Denver
• 34% in Larimer County
• 45% in Weld County

This is terrific news for the market overall, as inventory has been unusually low for several months. It’s especially terrific news for first-time buyers who need this type of product as a stepping stone to home ownership.

What we notice is a $170,000 to $130,000 difference in average price between a single-family home and a multi-family home in Front Range markets.

Specifically, here’s the spread between multi-family and single-family average price:

• $349,801 vs. $512,312 in Metro Denver
• $312,493 vs. $469,294 in Larimer County
• $237,645 vs. $370,027 in Weld County

So as we dig out from the “Bomb Cyclone” we can be happy for the “Condo Cyclone” which brings more affordability and opportunity to our markets!

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Just Released (a new resource site just for you…)
• Want to see the latest market trends? 
• Curious to see the process of buying or selling a home? 
• Interested in what it takes to own investment property? 
• Be sure to visit www.ColoradoLivingBlog.com


Posted on March 20, 2019 at 4:55 pm
Julie Maxwell | Posted in Buyers, Fun Facts, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

8 Eye-Opening Things Home Inspectors Can’t Tell You

What’s included in a home inspection may not be as important as what isn’t.

home inspection may feel like a final exam, but it’s not quite so clear cut. Your inspector’s report won’t include a clear-cut  A+ if a house is a keeper or an F if it’s a money pit.

What is included in a home inspection report is a set of neutral facts intended to help you decide on a home’s final grade.

Oh sure, a seasoned inspector will know if a home is a safe bet or full of red flags. But they’re actually bound by a set of rules that limit what they can tell you.

Here’s what they can’t say:

#1 Whether They Would Buy This House

Here’s the big one: Many buyers think an inspector will give them a thumbs up or thumbs down, but they can’t. Giving real estate advice violates the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors’ code of ethics.

Clues to look for: Count up your issues. “The average inspection turns up around 20,” says Larry Fowler, a home inspector in Knoxville, Tenn., who has done around 10,000 home inspections in his 22 years in the business. “If there are more than 30 items, you may have a bad house,” Fowler adds. “If there are fewer than 10 items on the list, you may have a bad inspector.”

The bottom line is that every house and buyer are unique and what inspection results one person is fine with, another may not be. Confer with your agent once you have the report.

#2 If It Has Termites, Rats, or Mold

Yikes! You might assume this trio of homewreckers would be part of every house inspection checklist, but your inspector isn’t licensed to look for them.

Clues to look for: Inspectors can note that those sagging floors are evidence of termites, or that shredded insulation is evidence of rats, or the black stuff on the walls is evidence of fungal growth. To turn evidence into proof, ask a specialist for a follow-up inspection.

#3 If the Pool or Septic System Are in Good, Working Order

Home inspectors aren’t certified to inspect everything that could appear in any home. So for example, if there’s a pool, some may turn on the pool pump and heater to make sure they work, but they won’t look for cracks or plumbing leaks. You’ll need to find a pool inspector. In other cases, you may need a septic systems or wells expert, an asbestos or radon specialist, etc.

Clues to look for: Any special feature is your cue to find a specialist. “We’re general practitioners,” Fowler says.

And here’s a bonus tip: Consider a home’s advanced age a “special feature,” as they’re likely candidates for lead paint, asbestos, and other old-home hazards.

#4 That They’re Making The House Look Worse Than It Is

Some inspectors make note of every tiny thing in a house, even inconsequential ones. Like chipped paint. Scratched windows. Surface mold in a shower. These folks are sometimes known as deal killers. “Some inspectors like to show they know more than somebody else,” Fowler says. “It’s annoying.”

Clues to look for: If your inspector’s report is pages long and full of items that won’t hurt the value of the home, it’s probably not a big deal. Sit down with your agent, and go through the report to determine which (if any) issues could affect your offer.

#5 If That Outlet Behind the Couch Actually Works

An inspector can only check what they can see without moving anything. This means the foundation could be cracked behind that wood paneling in the basement. Or the electrical outlet behind the sofa might not work.

Clues to look for: The inspector should note if they’re unable to inspect something critical. Consult with your agent about what to do, such as asking the seller to take down the paneling or offering to pay to have it removed. Alternately, offer a lower price.

#6 Whether They’ve Inspected the Roof Closely

Some inspectors will climb up on the roof to look closely at shingles and gutters — but they’re not required to. If it’s raining or icy, or the roof is steep or more than two stories high, they can stay on the ground and report what they can see from there.

Clues to look for: They should note whether they walked the roof, but if it’s not clear, ask. If they haven’t, keep this in mind when evaluating their roof inspection report. They should still note any missing or damaged gutters or downspouts and the general condition of the roof based on what they can see from the ground.

#7 What You Should Freak Out About (or Not)

It’s an inspector’s job to find things wrong with the house. Big things, little things, all the things. It’s not their job to categorize them as NBD or OMG. A checkmark next to a crumbling foundation will look the same as a checkmark next to chipped paint.

A few things you may find on an inspector’s report that aren’t a big deal:

  • Condensation in a basement or crawl space
  • Early signs of wood rot on trim
  • Cracks in bricks from the house settling
  • Faux stone siding that’s been improperly installed
  • Radon levels below 4 pCi/L

These items, however, could trip your freak-out response (if you’re not prepared to address them):

  • Standing water in a basement or crawl space
  • HVAC not working
  • Outdated wiring, especially knob-and-tube wiring or aluminum wiring
  • Wood rot
  • Old plumbing pipes
  • Radon levels above 4 pCi/L

#8 Who They’d Recommend to Fix It (and How Much It Will Cost)

Your inspector may seem like the perfect source of insider info on repairing issues they see all the time, but the opposite is actually true.

You don’t want your inspector to make financial decisions based on their report. Think about it: If an inspector’s buddy Steve gets a plumbing gig every time a certain issue turns up on a report, it gives that inspector some pretty big (and not cool) motivations to find that issue.

Even giving you a price range for the repair is off-limits. It’s not their area of expertise, it creates a conflict of interest (they could be endorsing Steve’s great deal, after all), and, perhaps most importantly, it’s against the ethics rules.

Clues to look for: This is good home ownership practice. Try to price out every item on your home inspector’s report, big and small. Do some research, and call three contractors or check out three retailers for the service or part needed to resolve each issue. You’ve got this, future homeowner!

Source: https://www.houselogic.com/buy/house-hunting/what-is-included-in-a-home-inspection-report/


Posted on February 15, 2019 at 5:18 pm
Julie Maxwell | Posted in Buyers, Real Estate | Tagged ,

Colorado Real Estate Market Update

The following analysis of the Metro Denver & Northern Colorado real estate market (which now includes Clear Creek, Gilpin, and Park Counties) is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact your Windermere agent.

 

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

The Colorado economy continues to grow, adding 69,100 new non-agricultural jobs over the past 12 months, which represents a solid growth rate of 2.6%. That said, we are continuing to see a modest slowdown in employment gains, but that is to be expected at this stage of the business cycle. My latest forecast suggests that Colorado will add a total of 65,000 new jobs in 2019, representing a growth rate of 2.3%.
In November, the state unemployment rate was 3.3%, up from 3% a year ago. The increase is essentially due to an increase in the labor force, which rose by 77,279 people. On an un-seasonally adjusted basis, unemployment rates in all the markets contained in this report dropped between November 2017 and November 2018. The highest rate was in Grand Junction, but that was still a very respectable 4%. Fort Collins and Boulder had the lowest unemployment rate of 2.9%. All the regions contained in this report are essentially at full employment.

HOME SALES ACTIVITY

  • In the fourth quarter of 2018, 12,911 homes sold — a drop of 13.8% compared to the last quarter of 2017 and down 22% from the third quarter.​
  • The only market that saw growth in sales was Clear Creek, which rose by 3.8%. This is a small market, however, and is prone to rapid swings in price as well as sales. There was a significant drop in sales in the Denver market. I will be watching closely to see if this is an anomaly or a longer-term trend. At this time, I believe the former to be true.​
  • Interestingly, this decline in sales in Denver came as inventory levels rose by 37%. For now, I attribute this to seasonality and expect to see sales growth return in the spring.
  • Inventory growth continues to give buyers more choice, allowing them to be far more selective — and patient — before making an offer on a home. That said, well-positioned and well-priced homes are selling relatively quickly.

HOME PRICES

  • Despite the rapid rise in listings and slowing home sales, prices continue to trend higher, though the rate of growth is slowing. The average home price in the region rose 6% year-over-year to $454,903. Home prices were 2% higher than in the third quarter.
  • In all, the data was not very surprising. As with many markets across the country, affordability is starting to become an issue. However, the recent drop in interest rates likely stimulated buyers at the end of 2018 and I expect to see good price growth in the first quarter of 2019.
  • Appreciation was strongest in Park County, where prices rose 28.2%. We can attribute this rapid increase to it being a small market. Only Gilpin County saw a drop in average home price. Though this, too, is due to it being a very small market, making it more prone to significant swings.
  • As mentioned, affordability is becoming an issue in many Colorado markets and I anticipate that we will see some cooling in home price appreciation as we move through late 2019.

 

 

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home in Colorado rose by one day compared to the final quarter of 2017.
  • The amount of time it took to sell a home dropped in four counties: Boulder, Larimer, Gilpin, and Park. The rest of the counties in this report saw days on market rise relatively modestly with the exception of the small Clear Creek market, which rose by 20 days.
  • In the fourth quarter of 2018, it took an average of 38 days to sell a home in the region, but it took less than a month to sell a home in five of the eleven counties contained in this report.
  • Housing demand is still there, but buyers appear to have taken a little breather. I anticipate, however, that the spring will bring more activity and rising sales.

CONCLUSIONS

The speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors.

For the fourth quarter of 2018, I continue the trend I started last summer and have moved the needle a little more in favor of buyers. I will be closely watching listing activity in the spring to see if we get any major bumps above the traditional increase because that may further slow home price growth — something that would-be buyers appear to be waiting for.

 

 

As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.


Posted on February 5, 2019 at 6:33 pm
Julie Maxwell | Posted in Buyers, Gardner Report, Real Estate, Sellers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why No Bubble?

Below is a slide he shared at our recent market Forecast events.

It shows U.S. Home ownership rate, which is simply the percentage of the population who own their home (versus renting).

The long-term average is 65% represented by the red line.

In the graph you can clearly see the bubble forming. Starting in the mid-90’s, driven by several political and economic factors, more people than ever before became homeowners.

Then, starting in, 2008, the bubble burst and the percentage tumbled back down.

Now, as you can see, we are back at a “normal” level that resembles the long-term average.

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If you would like a copy of the entire Forecast presentation, go ahead and reach out to us. We would be happy to put it in your hands.


Posted on February 4, 2019 at 6:12 pm
Julie Maxwell | Posted in Gardner Report, Real Estate | Tagged , , ,

Misery Index


Last week at our Market Forecast events, Chief Economist Matthew Gardner shared, among many stats, his famous “Misery Index.”

A valuable statistic with a funny title.

The Misery Index simply measures inflation plus unemployment.

It’s an effective way to look at our Nation’s economy.

Today’s Index sits just below 6%. Back in October 2011, it was close to 13%.

The lowest it has been in the last 7 years is October 2015 when it was near 5%.

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         If you would like a copy of the entire Forecast presentation, go ahead and reach out to us.

We would be happy to put it in your hands.


Posted on January 28, 2019 at 6:35 pm
Julie Maxwell | Posted in Fun Facts, Gardner Report | Tagged ,

Our Forecast

Our Forecast

 

This past Wednesday and Thursday evenings we had the pleasure of hosting our annual Market Forecast events in Denver and Fort Collins.

 

Thank you to the 700 people who attended.  We appreciate your support!

 

In case you missed the events, here are some highlights including our forecast for price appreciation in 2019:

 

  • In 2018 Prices went up:
    • 8% in Fort Collins
    • 8% in Loveland
    • 8.5% in Greeley
    • 8% in Metro Denver
  • Inventory is (finally) showing signs of increasing:
    • Up 25% in Northern Colorado
    • Up 45% in Metro Denver
  • There are distinct differences in months of inventory across different price ranges = opportunity for the move up buyer.
  • There are several reasons why we don’t see a housing bubble forming:
    • New home starts along the Front Range are roughly 60% of pre-bubble highs 14 years ago.
    • Americans have more equity in their homes than ever, $6 Trillion!
    • The average FICO score of home buyers is significantly higher than the long-term average.
    • The homeownership rate is back to the long-term average.
  • Our 2019 Price Appreciation Forecast:
    • 6% in Fort Collins
    • 6% in Loveland
    • 7% in Greeley
    • 6% in Metro Denver

If you would like a copy of the presentation, go ahead and reach out to me.  I would be happy to put it in your hands.


Posted on January 18, 2019 at 7:22 pm
Julie Maxwell | Posted in Buyers, Fun Facts, Gardner Report, Real Estate, Sellers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

More Choices

Great news for buyers! There are more homes to choose from. It seems there is relief from the days of drastically low inventory levels.

Compared to a year ago, residential inventory levels are up:
• 9% in Northern Colorado (Larimer & Weld Counties)
• 45% in Metro Denver (wow!)

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You can get many more fun facts like these plus get our predictions on the 2019 market by joining our annual Market Forecast. Just click the link below!

https://www.eventbrite.com/o/windermere-real-estate-12011801121


Posted on January 11, 2019 at 6:36 pm
Julie Maxwell | Posted in Buyers, Fun Facts | Tagged , , ,