Colorado Real Estate Market Update

Housing Market

The following analysis of the Metro Denver & Northern Colorado real estate market 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

What a difference a quarter makes! Following the massive job losses Colorado experienced starting in February—the state shed over 342,000 positions between February and April—the turnaround has been palpable. Through August, Colorado has recovered 178,000 of the jobs lost due to COVID-19, adding 107,500 jobs over the past three months, an increase of 4.2%. All regions saw a significant number of jobs returning. The most prominent was in the Denver metropolitan service area (MSA), where 78,800 jobs returned in the quarter.

Although employment in all markets is recovering, there is still a way to go to get back to pre-pandemic employment levels. The recovery in jobs has naturally led the unemployment rate to drop: the state is now at a respectable 6.7%, down from a peak of 12.2%. Regionally, all areas continue to see their unemployment rates contract. I would note that the Fort Collins and Boulder MSA unemployment rates are now below 6%. Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, which is troubling, but rising rates have only slowed—not stopped—the economic recovery. Moreover, it has had no noticeable impact on the state’s housing market.

 

HOME SALES

  • In the third quarter of 2020, 15,065 homes sold. This represents an increase of 20.4% over the third quarter of 2019, and a remarkable 52.7% increase over the second quarter of this year.
  • Home sales rose in all markets other than El Paso compared to the second quarter of 2019. I believe sales are only limited by the number of homes on the market.
  • Inventory levels remain remarkably low, with the average number of homes for sale down 44.5% from the same period in 2019. Listing activity was 17.8% lower than in the second quarter of 2020.
  • Even given the relative lack of inventory, pending sales rose 17.8% from the second quarter, suggesting that closings for the final quarter of the year will be positive.

 

HOME PRICES

  • After taking a pause in the second quarter, home prices rose significantly in the third quarter, with prices up 11.9% year-over-year to an average of $523,193. Prices were up 7.4% compared to the second quarter of this year.
  • Interest rates have been dropping. Although I do not see there being room for them to drop much further, they are unlikely to rise significantly. This is allowing prices to rise at above-average rates.
  • Year-over-year, prices rose across all markets covered by this report. El Paso, Clear Creek, and Gilpin counties saw significant price appreciation. All but four counties saw double-digit price gains.
  • Affordability in many Colorado markets remains a concern, as prices are rising at a faster pace than mortgage rates have been dropping.

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home in the markets contained in this report dropped one day compared to the third quarter of 2019.
  • The amount of time it took to sell a home dropped in nine counties, remained static in two, and rose in one compared to the third quarter of 2019.
  • It took an average of 29 days to sell a home in the region.
  • The Colorado housing market continues to demonstrate solid demand, and the short length of time it takes to sell a home suggests buyers are competing fiercely for available inventory.

 

CONCLUSIONS

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

Demand for housing is significant, and sales activity is only limited by the lack of available homes to buy. Prices are rising on the back of very competitive mortgage rates and a job market in recovery. I suggested in my second-quarter report that the area would experience a “brisk summer housing market” and my forecast was accurate. As such, I have moved the needle a little more in favor of home sellers.

 

ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER

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 Governors 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 October 29, 2020 at 3:42 am
Brandon Bidwell | Category: Economic, Market Data, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Housing and Economic Update

In this episode Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner dives into three of the latest housing market data releases and gives context to their historical significance.

Posted on October 28, 2020 at 5:50 am
Brandon Bidwell | Category: Economic, Market Data | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Remote Worker’s Home Buying Process

Home Office

Image Source: Getty Images

The pandemic’s influences on home life are far-ranging, prompting buyers to look at homeownership through a new lens. Remote work has created a paradigm shift in the wants and needs of homebuyers. Here’s what the remote worker should keep in mind when looking to buy.

Location

The location, location, location cliché has taken on new meaning for homebuyers who work from home. Because remote work gives us the opportunity to work from anywhere, home searches are expanding. Work commute times typically play a significant role in the home buying process; however, many buyers now have the option to view homes further away from their places of work.

Those who previously dreamed of the quiet life, but didn’t want the commute that came with it, are now able to make a move toward a more suburban environment. If you prefer to be away from the hustle and bustle of a downtown area but don’t want to feel isolated, search for properties in the suburbs with active town centers.

The proper space

When COVID-19 began sending workers home in the early months of 2020, homeowners worldwide discovered their varied level of preparedness for remote work. Some had spacious home offices and were able to make the transition easily. Others had to create makeshift workspaces out of living rooms or bedrooms. What we have learned is that a dedicated workspace is paramount to productive remote work, its importance emphasized by the unknown timeline of a return to working in-person in many parts of the country.

Before you buy: 
  • When searching for homes, understand that a home office situated in an open floor plan is more prone to distraction.
  • Look for features such as an additional bedroom, finished basement, or bonus room that offer ample space to create your remote work environment.
  • Having a designated space you can associate solely with work will not only drive your focus but helps to balance your home and work life. It allows you to wrap up the workday, leave your home office, and easily transition back into the goings-on of your household.
After you buy: 
  • Light it up: You’ll want plenty of light in your home office to stay fresh throughout the workweek. If you are next to a window, let in as much natural light as possible. Add in desk and floor lamps to brighten your space.
  • Work comfortably: While working at home, it’s easy to sit in one place for hours on end. Shop for comfortable desk chairs that provide proper lumbar support. Explore alternatives to desk chairs like yoga balls and standing desks.
  • Personalize: Adding personal touches will help to make your home office feel comfortable. Inspirational quotes, your favorite artwork, and pictures of loved ones are all types of décor that will keep you inspired in your remote work.

For all these considerations and more, talk with your Windermere agent about how your remote work is shifting where you’re looking for a home and what you’re looking for when it’s time to move there.

Posted on October 27, 2020 at 8:43 pm
Brandon Bidwell | Category: Buyers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Troutman Park Real Estate Market Update Q3 2020

Now that we’ve made it through the 3rd Quarter of 2020 it’s time to look back and see how Troutman Park’s Real Estate market has performed compared to other recent years. Earlier in the year many felt like property values would decline like so many other investments did through all the Covid-19 adjustments. If you own a home in the Troutman Park area you’ll probably be happy to see that we’ve actually fared quite well though.

In Northern Colorado we typically see the market take a little bit of a seasonal breather during the 3rd quarter of the year as families put their home search on pause to get ready for back to school. This year has been a little different though as we saw our neighborhood’s real estate sales accelerate significantly from July through September.

Here are the numbers compared to the 3rd Quarter of recent years:

2020 Q3 – 27 homes sold for $11,109,356. They ranged from $340,200-$480,000 at an average of $411,457

2019 Q3 – 19 homes sold for $7,555,400. They ranged from $300,000-$494,500 at an average of $397,652

2018 Q3 – 17 homes sold for $6,043,650. They ranged from $290,000-$449,500 at an average of $355,508

2017 Q3 – 18 homes sold for $6,290,750. They ranged from $296,000-$429,900 at an average of $349,486

2016 Q3 – 19 homes sold for $6,288,000. They ranged from $260,000-$405,000 at an average of $330,947

It is noteworthy to point out that the 1st two Quarters of 2020 only saw 2 more sales in our neighborhood than the 3rd Quarter!

If you have questions about Real Estate I’m always happy to share what I know. I grew up here in Fort Collins, I’ve worked in Real Estate since 2002 and live right here in Troutman Park so feel free to reach out if you ever have questions.

Posted on October 21, 2020 at 3:10 am
Brandon Bidwell | Category: Troutman Park | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Latest NoCO Real Estate Stats

Wooden Bridge Through Autumn Woods

We just completed a review of the September numbers in our market.

Here is the one number that is standing out to us – average price.

Prices are way up over last year.  Here are the specific average price increases in each of our markets compared to September 2019:

  • Metro Denver = 13.2%
  • Larimer County = 16.9%
  • Weld County = 7.4%

This change in prices has of course generated questions from our clients.

To help our clients answer questions about prices and other real estate topics, we have set up a private online event with our Chief Economist Matthew Gardner.

The event is set for Tuesday from 9:00 to 10:00.

Here is the registration link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6400354351666419467

Matthew will be addressing these questions as well as many others:

  • What effect will the election have on the economy and on real estate?
  • How long can interest rates stay this low?
  • Can prices keep appreciating at their current pace?

This online event is for the clients and friends of Windermere.  If you would like more information feel free to reach out!

Posted on October 6, 2020 at 3:13 am
Brandon Bidwell | Category: Market Data | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to Improve your Curb Appeal!

Image Source: Canva

 

When it comes time to sell your home, first impressions are crucial. Improving your curb appeal helps to make the most of a buyer’s first glance and sets the stage for their interest in purchasing your home. The following projects are simple and inexpensive ways to enhance both your home’s first impression and its value.

 

Landscaping

 

  • Lawn: A healthy, well-tended lawn goes a long way towards improving your curb appeal. Clean up all weeds, leaves and debris, and consistently water your lawn to give it that fresh green look. If you live in an arid climate, consider grass alternatives like artificial turf for the best lawn aesthetic.
  • Plant colorfully: Adding color variety to your front yard will grab buyers’ attention. Align smaller plants, like groundcover and flowers, neatly within your flower beds, aiming for symmetry when possible. Use larger plants and trees to frame in your entryway or walkup. If your front yard doesn’t have flower beds, try adding hanging planters or window boxes.
  • Lighting: Landscaping lighting boosts your curb appeal during nighttime, accentuates your shrubbery, and adds a welcoming touch for visitors as potential buyers, lighting the way to your door.

 

Image Source: Canva

 

Porch

Front porches set the stage for all your home has to offer. Improvements here will play a significant role in how comfortable potential buyers feel about the property and how inspired they are to explore the inside of the house.

 

  • Door: Your front door is an opportunity to make a tasteful statement. Look at bold color choices that are within or slightly stretch your home’s exterior color palette. Take time to prepare the surface for a fresh coat of paint to make the color pop as much as possible. Try stylish doorknob options that accentuate the aesthetic to give your door some added flair.
  • House numbers: New and stylish house numbers are an easy, eye-catching touch to the look of your porch. Look for styles that match with your exterior color palette and any exterior lighting fixtures.
  • Go for comfort: Incorporating classic front porch elements like a porch swing, sitting bench, and other outdoor furniture gives a welcoming aura to the front of your home and creates a sense of comfort for prospective buyers.
  • Shutters: Windows are the gateway to the inside of your home. Shutters of delicate fabric will bring elegance to your front porch, while wooden shutters deliver a solid, cozy vibe.

 

Other

These miscellaneous projects will add the finishing touches to your home’s curb appeal and get it in prime selling condition.

 

  • Quick maintenance: Small chores and minor fixes like cleaning gutters, repairing chipped paint, and cleaning windows are important for buyers with a detailed eye.
  • Staining: Instead of replacing fences or garage doors, look into applying a fresh stain. This brings a refreshed look and is much cheaper than a full renovation or replacement.
  • Power wash: Power washing your walkways and driveways makes a significant difference in curb appeal. If buying a power washer is outside your budget, explore rental options from the big-name hardware stores.

If you have particular questions about your property feel free to ask me what you can do to improve your home’s value and curb appeal. I’m always happy to share what I’ve learned.

Posted on September 29, 2020 at 3:10 am
Brandon Bidwell | Category: Home Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Buying a Fixer-Upper

Image Source: Shutterstock

For some home buyers, a fixer-upper is their idea of a dream home. Preparing for the process comes down to creating a plan, knowing what to look for, and understanding what financing options are available.

 

Create a plan 

Fixer-uppers require a future-oriented mindset. Knowing the magnitude of the project you and your household are willing to take on will help dictate your budget and expectations as time goes on. Understand that in addition to the down payment and closing fees, the costs inherent in a fixer-upper purchase have the potential to go over-budget easily. Familiarize yourself with permitting in your area to understand how to navigate any legal roadblocks in the renovation process.

 

What to look for 

Location: Whether you are purchasing a fixer-upper with plans to sell it, rent it out, or live in it, consider its location before purchasing. If you’re planning on selling or renting, location is one of the most important factors to making a return on your investment. And if you’re planning to live in your fixer-upper, keep in mind that location will be a large part of your experience in the home.

Scope of renovation: If you are looking for a smaller scale renovation, look for fixer-uppers that require cosmetic projects like new interior and exterior paint, fresh carpeting and flooring, appliance upgrades, and basic landscaping maintenance. More expensive and involved projects include reroofing, replacing plumbing and sewer lines, replacing HVAC systems, and full-scale room remodels.

Inspections: Beyond a standard home inspection, which covers components of the home like its plumbing and foundation, consider specialized inspections for pests, roof certifications, and engineering reports. This will help differentiate between the property’s minor flaws and critical problems, further informing your decision when it comes time to prepare an offer.

 

Financing options

Renovation loans allow buyers to finance the home and the improvements to the home together. Extra consultations, inspections, and appraisals are often required in the loan process, but they help guide the work—and thereby, added value—of your fixer-upper. Talk with your lender about which option is best for you.

 

  • FHA 203(k): The Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) 203(k) loans can be used for most projects in the process of fixing up a home. In comparison to conventional mortgages, they accept lower incomes and credit scores.
  • VA renovation loan: With this loan, the cost of the improvement projects is combined into the loan amount for the home purchase. Contractors employed in any renovations must be VA-approved, and a construction fee may be charged by the lender.
  • HomeStyle Loan – Fannie Mae: The HomeStyle Renovation Loan can be used by home buyers purchasing a fixer-upper, or by homeowners refinancing their homes to cover the improvements. Funds are distributed directly to contractors via a separate escrow account. This loan also allows for luxury projects, such as pools and landscaping.
  • CHOICERenovation Loan – Freddie Mac: This renovation mortgage is guaranteed by Freddie Mac, allowing projects that bolster a home’s ability to withstand natural disasters.
If you’re interested in buying a fixer upper, just let me know and I’ll be happy to help you understand the process and discuss what makes the most sense for you.
Posted on September 29, 2020 at 3:04 am
Brandon Bidwell | Category: Investors | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Northern Colorado Real Estate Market Update

 

The following analysis of the Metro Denver & Northern Colorado real estate market 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

COVID-19 had significant negative impacts on employment in Colorado. The pandemic caused the loss of over 342,000 jobs in March and April as unemployment rose to 12.2%. For comparison, peak unemployment following the Great Recession was 8.9%. However, it appears as if the massive contraction in employment is behind us (at least for now). Employment in Colorado rose in May by 68,800 jobs, a monthly increase of 2.8%, pushing the unemployment rate down to 10.2%. Regionally, the Denver metro area added 18,600 jobs in May and the Fort Collins metro area added 3,500 jobs. It is certainly too early to say that we are out of the woods, but we seem to be headed in a positive direction. Colorado’s COVID-19 infection rates started increasing again in June, which could slow down the economic recovery. However, I do not believe that it is likely to have any substantial impact on the housing market.

 

HOME SALES

  • In the second quarter of 2020, 9,867 homes sold. This represents a drop of 20.7% compared to the second quarter of 2019, but sales were 7.4% higher than in the first quarter of this year.
  • Sales dropped across all markets compared to the second quarter of 2019. I do not find this concerning as the drop can be attributed to limited supply and COVID-19.
  • Inventory levels remain tight, with the average number of homes for sale in the quarter down 21.3% from the same period in 2019. However, listings were up an impressive 15.6% over the first quarter of 2020.
  • I was pleased to see total pending sales in the quarter increase 16.3% compared to the first quarter, suggesting closing data for the third quarter will be better than we are currently experiencing.

 

HOME PRICES

  • Home prices held steady compared to the second quarter of 2019 at an average of $480,831. Prices were up 0.7% compared to the first quarter of this year.
  • Interest rates remain at very low levels and will stay in the low 3% range for the balance of the year, if not longer. This can allow prices to pick back up.
  • Price growth across the region was varied. Seven counties saw price growth and five experienced a drop in average sale price. Clear Creek County again saw prices rise substantially. However, as you are likely aware, it is a very small market and subject to wild swings. Prices dropped most in the equally small Gilpin County.
  • I am still watching affordability in many Colorado markets and will take this temporary “pause” as a good thing.

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home in the markets contained in this report dropped by only one day compared to the second quarter of 2019.
  • The amount of time it took to sell a home dropped in eight counties, remained static in one, and rose in three compared to the second quarter of 2019.
  • It took an average of 29 days to sell a home in the region.
  • The Colorado housing market is demonstrating solid demand, and listing activity is trending higher. I expect that the summer market will be brisk.

CONCLUSIONS

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

Demand appears to be returning, which—combined with historically low interest rates—should lead to a brisk summer housing market. Assuming that the state gets new infection rates under control, I do not see why the housing market wouldn’t perform well this summer. As such, I have moved the needle just a little more in favor of home sellers.

 

Posted on September 29, 2020 at 2:58 am
Brandon Bidwell | Category: Market Data | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Troutman Park Mid-Year Real Estate Review

Now that we’ve made it through a very unique 1st half of 2020 it’s a good time to look back and see how Troutman Park’s Real Estate market has done compared to other recent years. Many felt like property values would decline like so many other investments did through all the Covid-19 adjustments. If you own a home in the Troutman Park area you’ll probably be happy to see that we’ve actually fared quite well though. Here are the numbers:

2020 Q1-Q2  29 homes sold for $11,357,425. They ranged from $325,000-$507,000 at an average of $391,635

2019 Q1-Q2  33 homes sold for $12,724,583. They ranged from $320,000-$477,000 at an average of $385,593

2018 Q1-Q2  24 homes sold for $8,813,900. They ranged from $290,000-$465,000 at an average of $367,245

2017 Q1-Q2  25 homes sold for $8,594,519. They ranged from $257,000-$443,000 at an average of $343,780

2016 Q1-Q2  27 homes sold for $8,645,100. They ranged from $205,000-$436,000 at an average of $320,188

A noteworthy sale from April this year was 731 Benthaven St which set the all time record high for our neighborhood at $507,000! So as you can see the 1st half of 2020 was actually quite impressive for property values here in Troutman Park, especially in light of everything we’ve all gone through recently.

If you have questions about Real Estate I’m always happy to share what I know. I grew up here in Fort Collins, I’ve worked in Real Estate since 2002 and live right here in Troutman Park so feel free to reach out if you ever have questions.

 

Posted on July 17, 2020 at 2:57 am
Brandon Bidwell | Category: Market Data, Troutman Park | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How has the housing market faired through Covid-19?

On this week’s episode Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, analyzes several aspects of the housing market to see how it has fared over the past 16 weeks amid COVID-19.

Posted on July 16, 2020 at 5:48 pm
Brandon Bidwell | Category: Economic, Market Data | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,