EconomicMarket Data January 15, 2021

Economists Prediction on Interest Rates

Interest Rates

Where are interest rates headed?

This question was one of many which were addressed during our annual Market Forecast yesterday.

Our Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, provided insight on rates, prices, inventory and many other fascinating topics.

Matthew’s prediction is for rates to creep up to 3.07% by the end of 2021.  They are currently at 2.79%.

The image below shows how his prediction compares with predictions of his economist colleagues.

Please let me know if you have questions or if you would like a recording of the full presentation.

Market Data December 7, 2020

Real Estate Market Perspective

House

Here’s a little perspective on the inventory of homes for sale in today’s market…

First we’ll look at Metro Denver:

  • The average number of residential listings for sale at this time of year is 15,577
  • The highest-ever for this time of year is 29,722 which occurred in 2006
  • The number of listings right now is 4,821
  • So, inventory in Metro Denver is roughly one-third of the average and 25,000 fewer than the highest-ever.
  • DMAR is the source of the stats listed above

 

Now, Northern Colorado:

  • Larimer County has 802 active listings today
  • Based on 10 years of data, this is the lowest it has ever been
  • The high in Larimer County occurred in 2010 with 2608 listings so today’s inventory is one-third of what it was 10 years ago.
  • Inventory today in Weld County is 727 which isn’t the lowest-ever.
  • The lowest during the last 10 years was 2017.

The highest was 2010 with 1791 properties so today there are roughly 1,000 fewer properties to choose from.

Home Design December 7, 2020

Home Remodeling ROI’s

Remodel

Americans spend $400 billion per year remodeling their homes.

So, which remodeling investment gives the best return when it comes to resale value?

It should come as no surprise, especially leading up to Thanksgiving, that the best money to spend upgrading your home is in the kitchen.

It’s the place where most homeowners spend most of their waking hours.

According to the research from the National Association of Realtors, it’s where remodelers will see the biggest return on investment.

Here is the ranking of various projects in terms of the value it adds to the home:

  1. Complete kitchen remodel
  2. Kitchen upgrade
  3. HVAC replacement
  4. Owner’s suite renovation
  5. Bathroom renovation
  6. Finishing a basement
  7. Adding a bathroom

If you have questions about what your property is worth or what the best remodeling value for your home is feel free to reach out. I’m always happy to share what I’ve learned.

Mortgage December 7, 2020

How many all time low rates this year?

Microscope

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

EconomicMarket DataUncategorized October 29, 2020

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.

EconomicMarket Data October 28, 2020

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.

Market Data October 6, 2020

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!

Investors September 29, 2020

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.
Market Data September 29, 2020

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.

 

EconomicMarket Data July 22, 2020

Consumer Confidence in Housing Survey

This week Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, dives into the most recent National Housing Survey results which tell us a lot about consumer confidence both pre- and post-COVID and whether or not they feel this is a good time to buy or sell a home. The results might surprise you.