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 | Category: Buyers, Gardner Report, Real Estate, Sellers | 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%.

       ________________________________________

         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 | Category: 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 | Category: Buyers, Fun Facts, Gardner Report, Real Estate, Sellers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What Our Expert Thinks

 

• Existing Home Sales up 1.9% to 5.4 million units
• Home Prices up 4.4%
• New Home Sales up 6.9% to 695,000 (the highest since 2007)

 

If you want to see all of Matthew’s predictions including where interest rates are headed, get signed up for our annual Forecast. Click the link below!

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

The Gardner Report | Metro Denver & Northern Colorado Q3 2018

 

Posted on January 4, 2019 at 6:25 pm
Julie Maxwell | Category: Buyers, Gardner Report, Real Estate, Sellers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Still Up

All the talk of the market cooling off might make someone think that prices must be going down.

The truth is prices are still going up.

Here are the latest year-over-year appreciation numbers from the Federal Housing Finance Authority (they track 243 markets all across the Country):

Colorado Springs 11.44%

Greeley 10.53%

Denver 9.97%

Boulder 9.89%

Fort Collins/Loveland 8.64%

Posted on December 21, 2018 at 6:46 pm
Julie Maxwell | Category: Fun Facts, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Waiting and Waiting

Anytime the market cools off we sometimes hear prospective buyers say “I think I’ll wait for the market to correct, then I’ll buy after prices come way down.”

The reality is this… History shows that this wouldn’t be a good strategy.

Our go-to source on price appreciation is the Federal Housing Finance Authority who produces a quarterly home price index.  They have been tracking Larimer County for 41 years.

Their numbers show:

  • Yearly prices have decreased only 6 times in history
  • The average amount of that decrease is only 1.7%

So, someone who is waiting for prices to drop:

  • Might be waiting a long time
  • Might be disappointed that prices didn’t drop by all that much
Posted on December 14, 2018 at 11:21 pm
Julie Maxwell | Category: Fun Facts | Tagged , , , , ,

Good Loan News

 

Here are two recently-announced pieces of really good news for home buyers.

 

  • The Colorado Housing and Finance Authority recently raised the income limit for their down payment assistance program to $115,600.  Now more people can get help with a down payment.
  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac raised their conforming loan limits so that more people can use a conforming loan and not be forced to use a ‘jumbo’ loan.

Contact us if you would like to hear how these pieces of news could help you.


 

It’s Time to Register for the Market Forecast

Join us for an interactive and insightful look at Colorado real estate.  Our Chief Economist Matthew Gardner will give you all kinds of fun facts and takeaways about where are market has been and where it is going.

 

January 17th at 5:30 pm.  Marriott Fort Collins.

Seating is limited.

Click the blue button below to register.

REGISTER HERE

Posted on December 7, 2018 at 4:34 pm
Julie Maxwell | Category: Buyers, Fun Facts | Tagged , , ,

A History Lesson

One of the most common questions we hear from clients is “Where do you think interest rates are going?”

Virtually all of the experts we follow put rates above 5% going into next year and some see rates approaching 5.5% by the middle of 2019. What’s certain is that there are economic forces at work that are pushing rates higher.

So, how about a little history lesson? How do today’s 30- year mortgage rates compare to this same date in history going all the way back to 1990?

• Today = 4.85%
• 2017 = 3.94%
• 2015 = 3.82%
• 2010 = 4.27%
• 2005 = 5.98%
• 2000 = 7.84%
• 1995 = 7.75%
• 1990 = 10.22%

While today’s rates feel high only because they are higher than 2017, they are quite a bit lower than at many times in history.

Posted on October 19, 2018 at 3:32 pm
Julie Maxwell | Category: Buyers, Fun Facts | Tagged , , , ,

The Cost of Waiting

 The Cost of Waiting

It’s true, certain parts of our market are cooling off. We are seeing fewer multiple offers, fewer bidding wars, and fewer inspection concessions.

However, homes that are priced right and in great condition are selling, and in many cases, selling quickly.

As buyers feel the market cool a bit, it may cause them to want to wait. They sometimes feel like it’s a better choice to ‘wait and see what happens.’

The reality is, there is a real cost to waiting given two specific facts.

1. Interest rates will continue to rise
2. Prices will continue to rise

Interest rates are a little more than 0.5% higher than a year ago and experts predict them to be another 0.5% higher by this time next year.

Prices have been appreciating at roughly 10% per year for the last four years. Based on the numbers, we see that appreciation could be 5% per year for the next two years.

So, let’s look at a house priced at $450,000 today. If prices go up “only” 5% for the next 12 months, that home will cost $22,500 more in a year.

And, if rates go up another half percent, the monthly payment will be $206 higher. That’s an 11% increase!

In an environment of rising prices and rising rates, there is a real cost to “wait and see.”

Posted on September 7, 2018 at 6:53 pm
Julie Maxwell | Category: Buyers, Fun Facts, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , ,

Everyone’s Talking

Everyone’s Talking

It seems like everyone’s talking about affordability and making an assumption that homes are less affordable than they have ever been.  Not so fast…

Let’s look at home prices relative to the median income needed to purchase the home.

It’s true that home prices have appreciated year-over-year for the last 76 months in a row, largely driven by high demand and low supply.

According to a recent study by Zillow, the percentage of median income necessary to buy a home in today’s market (17.1%) is well below the mark reached in 1985 – 2000 (21%), as well as the mark reached in 2006 (25.4)!

Bottom line, interest rates would have to increase to 6% before buying a home would be less affordable than historical norms.

Source:  Keeping Current Matters


If you want to be totally clear on all the stats, facts and trends in Colorado real estate so that you know what the future value of your home looks like, watch this video.

This is a complimentary service for our clients and friends.

See all the latest facts, stats and trends of the Colorado market from the comfort of your own laptop.

Watch the Windermere Workshop video for a mid-year market update.

WATCH HERE


Posted on August 31, 2018 at 5:59 pm
Julie Maxwell | Category: Buyers, Fun Facts, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , ,