For the 14th time this year, 30-year mortgage rates set a record and hit an all-time low.
Based on data just released by Freddie Mac, rates are now at 2.71%. Their weekly survey of the 30-year mortgage rate dates back to 1971.
Just one year ago rates were at 3.68%.
So, what does this mean for buyers?
Based on a $400,000 loan, current rates result in a monthly payment that would be $212 less than one year ago.
It’s interesting to look at what population growth means for housing. On average, along the Front Range, 2.5 people live in each housing unit.
What that means is 4 housing units are needed for every 10 people who live here. So, for every 1000 new people moving to our area, 400 new housing units are required.
The population of Metro Denver is just under 3,000,000 and the population of Northern Colorado is just over 650,000.
Assuming the Front Range grows in population at 2% per year, that means 60,000 new people in Metro Denver and 13,000 new people in Northern Colorado each year.
To house those people, 24,000 new housing units need to be built per year in Metro Denver and 5,200 in Northern Colorado.
Here’s something true about today’s market. Properties are selling fast.
Compared to one year ago, the number of days it takes for a property to sell is significantly lower.
The industry term is “Days on Market” or DOM.
DOM is way down.
Here is the comparison of May 2020 versus May 2019:
Initially, this may seem counter-intuitive. How could homes be selling faster in today’s environment?
Here’s the deal. The buyers and sellers who are active in today’s market are serious.
There really aren’t ‘tire-kicker’ buyers out looking at properties just for the fun of it.
There really aren’t sellers testing the market to ‘see what they can get.’
For the most part, buyers and sellers are on a specific mission and this mindset is showing up in the numbers.
For sellers especially, this is no time to test the market and be overly aggressive on price.
Properties that are priced right and in good condition are selling and often selling fast.
There was clearly a pent-up real estate demand created during the recent time when in-person showings were not allowed. The numbers back it up.
First, a little background. During a portion of “Shelter in Place,” all in-person viewing of properties ceased. Instead, buyers spent time online viewing virtual tours and 3-D photography.
Even though clients could view homes virtually, purchase activity did slow down.
Today, showings are allowed again as long as clear protocols are followed. We’ve implemented a Safe Showings program to keep our clients protected.
Now, to the numbers.
Through the first two weeks of May 2020, the number of closed properties is down compared to the same time period in 2019.
In most cases these closed properties are a result of purchase agreements that were written in April- a time when in-person showings were restricted.
So, a decrease in closings was expected.
However, the number of new written contracts so far this month is up considerably compared to the same time frame last year.
So, buyer activity is up compared to last year, even in our current environment.
This speaks to the resiliency of our market and the effect of low interest rates.
At Windermere Real Estate we are taking Safer at Home and Social Distancing very seriously. Our people are following our Safe Showings protocol, staying connected to their clients, and providing help wherever needed.
To no one’s surprise, activity in April in terms of closings and new contracts did slow significantly.
Much of this slowing was caused by in person showings not being allowed for most of the month.
(showings are now allowed again by following Safe Showings protocols)
Here’s what the numbers say…
Closed transactions were down compared to April 2019
New written purchase agreements were down compared to April 2020
So, while activity did slow, there was nothing resembling a “screeching halt” that took place.
While the way property is shown has certainly changed, the market is still very active and we expect activity to increase even more with showings now being allowed again.
On Wednesday April 22nd you are invited to a special online event with Windermere’s Chief Economist Matthew Gardner.
He will be giving his insights into the U.S. economy and what that means for real estate along the Front Range of Colorado.
You will hear the answers to the biggest questions we are hearing from clients now like “do you think housing prices will crash?”
This event is exclusively for clients and friends of Windermere Real Estate. To receive the registration link simply comment on this blog or reach out to your Windermere real estate broker.
Many of you have heard Matthew speak at our Market Forecast events we hold each year in January. He is famous for making complex economic dynamics very simple to understand.
You will get useful and valuable information which will give you clarity about where the market is headed and when we can expect the economy to improve.
For example Matthew predicts unemployment to hit 15% by the end of June, but then to improve to 8% by year-end and 6% by this time next year.
Again, if you would like the link just comment on this blog or reach out to your Windermere broker.
With the stock market on a wild ride and the Dow Jones dropping nearly 1,000 points yesterday, it makes some people wonder if the local real estate market might also crash or at least “correct.”
A little history lesson is in order.
Over the last 40 years, the real estate market along the Front Range has averaged 5.5% appreciation per year.
The highest appreciation in one year was 15.9% in 1994.
The lowest ever was -4.0% in 1982.
The last time Wall Street was in turmoil and the stock market was plummeting was 2008. This was, for many reasons, the worst economy of our lifetime.
That year real estate along the Front Range dropped 2.2%.
Meanwhile that year the Dow Jones fell 33.8%.
Bottom line, our market has no history of crashing or even experiencing a major correction.
Why is that?
The answer is fundamentals.
Our local economy has inherent fundamentals that insulate it from big downturns.
We have an incredibly diverse economy which is not reliant upon a single industry. We have all the way from health care, to technology, agriculture, oil and gas, major universities, and financial services (just to name a few).
We are a global destination with a major international airport.
Oh, and the quality of life here isn’t too shabby.
Prices of real estate, just like prices of anything, come down to basic economic principles of supply and demand.
Because of our diverse economy and desirable quality of life, there has been strong, consistent demand for housing along the Front Range.
While there may be little bumps along the way, over the long term our market has proven that it performs.
If you would like to see a video recap of our annual Market Forecast you can watch that HERE.
Metrostudy, who in our opinion is the leader in new home research, recently did a study on the average price of a new home in each of the Front Range Counties.
Here are some interesting takeaways…
If you want to find the least expensive new home on the Front Range, the places to look are Weld County and El Paso County.
· Weld County Average New Home Price = $411,269
· El Paso County Average New Home Price = $427,361
The most expensive place for a new home is in Boulder County (no surprise) at $698,208.
Jefferson County has the largest difference between the average price of a new home and the average price of a resale home: $664,600 vs. $510,003.
Here’s the County by County breakdown of the average price of a new single-family home:
· Boulder = $698,208
· Jefferson = $664,600
· Douglas = $624,315
· Broomfield = $612,779
· Denver = $581,480
· Arapahoe = $545,943
· Larimer = $507,105
· Adams = $480,464
· El Paso = $427,361
· Weld = $411,269
If you have questions about real estate in Northern Colorado I’m here to help!
Here is a fact…
If you have ever thought about owning a new home, the last two months of the year are usually the best time to make that happen.
Many builders have year-end goals and sales quotas to hit. If they have a “standing inventory” of homes that are completed but not sold, they are typically motivated to sell these homes by the end of the year.
This dynamic can be especially true for publicly-traded builders who are even more motivated to hit year-end sales numbers.
Up and down the Front Range there are beautiful new homes in fantastic neighborhoods. The builders of these homes may be happy to make concessions and provide incentives as long as you close by year-end.
I just recently helped a buyer with a very compelling incentive package from a builder which included a lower price (well below appraised value) and builder contribution towards the buyers closing costs so they had less to pay out of pocket at closing!
If you would like more details about these kinds of opportunities, reach out and I can help.