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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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’s Starting?

Here are some interesting stats from our friends at Metro Study who study new home activity along the Front Range.

• New home starts are up 14% compared to last year – this is really good news and is helping to relieve the shortage of housing inventory

• Every product type saw an increase in starts compared to last year (single family, town-home and condominium)

• Condominiums saw the largest increase in starts by a long shot, up 112% over last year- this is excellent news for first time buyers and those looking for product in lower price ranges.

Posted on October 5, 2018 at 10:39 pm
Julie Maxwell | Category: Buyers, Fun Facts | Tagged , , ,

New Features vs. Character

We are often asked, “Which is the better buy, a newer or older home?” Our answer: It all depends on your needs and personal preferences. We decided to put together a list of the six biggest differences between newer and older homes:

The neighborhood

Surprisingly, one of the biggest factors in choosing a new home isn’t the property itself, but rather the surrounding neighborhood. While new homes occasionally spring up in established communities, most are built in new developments. The settings are quite different, each with their own unique benefits.

Older neighborhoods often feature tree-lined streets; larger property lots; a wide array of architectural styles; easy walking access to mass transportation, restaurants and local shops; and more established relationships among neighbors.

New developments are better known for wider streets and quiet cul-de-sacs; controlled development; fewer aboveground utilities; more parks; and often newer public facilities (schools, libraries, pools, etc.). There are typically more children in newer communities, as well.

Consider your daily work commute, too. While not always true, older neighborhoods tend to be closer to major employment centers, mass transportation and multiple car routes (neighborhood arterials, highways and freeways).

Design and layout

If you like VictorianCraftsman or Cape Cod style homes, it used to be that you would have to buy an older home from the appropriate era. But with new-home builders now offering modern takes on those classic designs, that’s no longer the case. There are even modern log homes available.

Have you given much thought to your floor plans? If you have your heart set on a family room, an entertainment kitchen, a home office and walk-in closets, you’ll likely want to buy a newer home—or plan to do some heavy remodeling of an older home. Unless they’ve already been remodeled, most older homes feature more basic layouts.

If you have a specific home-décor style in mind, you’ll want to take that into consideration, as well. Professional designers say it’s best if the style and era of your furnishings match the style and era of your house. But if you are willing to adapt, then the options are wide open.

Materials and craftsmanship

Homes built before material and labor costs spiked in the late 1950’s have a reputation for higher-grade lumber and old-world craftsmanship (hardwood floors, old-growth timber supports, ornate siding, artistic molding, etc.).

However, newer homes have the benefit of modern materials and more advanced building codes (copper or polyurethane plumbing, better insulation, double-pane windows, modern electrical wiring, earthquake/ windstorm supports, etc.).

Current condition

The condition of a home for sale is always a top consideration for any buyer. However, age is a factor here, as well. For example, if the exterior of a newer home needs repainting, it’s a relatively easy task to determine the cost.  But if it’s a home built before the 1970’s, you have to also consider the fact that the underlying paint is most likely lead-based, and that the wood siding may have rot or other structural issues that need to be addressed before it can be re-coated.

On the flip side, the mechanicals in older homes (lights, heating systems, sump pump, etc.) tend to be better built and last longer.

Outdoor space

One of the great things about older homes is that they usually come with mature tress and bushes already in place. Buyers of new homes may have to wait years for ornamental trees, fruit trees, roses, ferns, cacti and other long-term vegetation to fill in a yard, create shade, provide privacy, and develop into an inviting outdoor space. However, maybe you’re one of the many homeowners who prefer the wide-open, low-maintenance benefits of a lightly planted yard.

Car considerations

Like it or not, most of us are extremely dependent on our cars for daily transportation. And here again, you’ll find a big difference between newer and older homes. Newer homes almost always feature ample off-street parking: usually a two-car garage and a wide driveway. An older home, depending on just how old it is, may not offer a garage—and if it does, there’s often only enough space for one car. For people who don’t feel comfortable leaving their car on the street, this alone can be a determining factor.

Finalizing your decision

While the differences between older and newer homes are striking, there’s certainly no right or wrong answer. It is a matter of personal taste, and what is available in your desired area. To quickly determine which direction your taste trends, use the information above to make a list of your most desired features, then categorize those according to the type of house in which they’re most likely to be found. The results can often be telling.

If you have questions about newer versus older homes, or are looking for an agent in your area we have professionals that can help you. Contact us here.

Posted on March 21, 2018 at 10:11 pm
Julie Maxwell | Category: Real Estate | Tagged , , , ,

The Wellington Explosion

What if we told you there is a real estate market that has seen a 300% increase in sales volume in only 5 years?

What if we told you that market was right in our back yard?

The market is Wellington and what is happening there is extraordinary.

Because price increases in Fort Collins have eliminated virtually all options for the sub $300,000 buyer, Wellington has become a very popular place to buy a home.

In June of 2012, the average price there was $185,000. Today it is $300,500!

In 2012 there were 222 residential sales in Wellington. This year is on pace to ecliplse 500.

Yes, Wellington has exploded and we don’t see it slowing down any time soon!

To see homes that are for sale in Wellington, just click here: www.WindermereNoco.com/WellingtonHomesForSale

Fun fact about Wellington:

The Town of Wellington was an oil, coal and agricultural hub throughout the 1800s and became a stopping location for wagon trains, travelers, and military movement between Cheyenne, Wyoming and Fort Collins, Colorado. The town was founded in 1902, incorporated in 1905 and named after C.L. Wellington, an employee of the Colorado and Southern Railroad. 

Around the same time the population began to grow in Wellington, woolly mammoth remains were discovered by a construction crew while digging foundations for new homes. The remains were carefully excavated by a University of Colorado team while residents watched with excitement. Unfortunately, after being taken back to the University for further examination, the tusks were dropped and shattered on a floor. In recognition and remembrance of this event, the subdivision where they were found named a street Mammoth Circle.

Wellington maintained a population around 500 throughout the 20th century and grew to about 1,000 until the early 2000s. Today, Wellington is home to a population of nearly 8,300 residents.

Fun Facts & Image Source: www.townofwellington.com

Posted on July 7, 2017 at 9:01 pm
Julie Maxwell | Category: Fun Facts, Real Estate | Tagged , , , ,

Affordable New Housing

New Home, Construction, Build

While new homes are springing up again, affordable new homes are still hard to find.

“This month’s sales distribution indicates that builders have intensified their focus on higher priced homes. Sale of new homes under $300,000 plummeted from 51 to 38 percent of the market, while homes over $300,000 increased from 49 to 62 percent between May 2016 and May 2017.”

To read the full article, click here: http://research.realtor.com/home-builders-arent-following-market/

Posted on July 3, 2017 at 5:05 pm
Julie Maxwell | Category: Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , ,