Colorado Summer Events

Foe me, as Memorial Day weekend approaches, the urge to go out and do something increases. And Colorado has so many options! Festivals for music, art, and food, running or yoga events, the state fair… there is really something for everyone.

Find some summer fun in this list!

Hiking Trails

One of the many great things to do in Colorado in the summer is hiking. If you are looking for a trail, check out these options. There is a key to show you if they are dog or horse friendly, if you can fish, etc.

Have fun out there, and don’t forget water and sunscreen!

May 2017 Real Estate Update

Real Estate News

The question I’m asked all the time by friends, colleagues and clients who are still renting is whether it’s too late to buy a home. “Are we heading for a big downturn?” “Are we too deep in the market cycle to buy?” “Did I miss the boat?!?!” For those of you who read my newsletter and know me well the following will sound familiar but it bears repeating: timing the real estate market perfectly is extremely difficult (maybe even impossible) and those who try usually fail. So don’t try to time the market. Instead, look at factors like the ones below to see if home ownership is right for you.

  1. You should buy a home when you feel it’s the right time in your life to do so. Don’t try to time the market, instead time your life. Are you getting married? Sick of paying skyrocketing rents? Looking for a bigger place for you and your family? Want your own backyard for the kids to play in? Want to be part of a neighborhood community? Plan on staying in one place for a number of years? Want to build long-term wealth? These are the types of questions you should ask yourself when considering whether you want to own a home. To the extent you say yes, home ownership might be the answer for you. One important stat to keep in mind is that the average rental household in the U.S. has a total net worth of only $5,000. In contrast, the average homeowner has a net worth of $225,000 — that’s 45 times those who rent! There’s no doubt that over the long term, home ownership is the tried and true path to wealth accumulation and financial security. (So is owning rental property, by the way. Call me if you’d like to learn more about that as well.)
  2. Interest rates remain near record lows but this can’t last forever. No one knows when they’re going to rise (remember, you can’t time the market!), but rise they will at some point in the future. Though home prices have gone up the past several years, low interest rates continue to make homes relatively affordable – especially compared to renting. Once interest rates do rise the window of home ownership affordability will truly begin to close for a lot of potential buyers. They will be sorry they didn’t act when interest rates were near 50-year lows. To illustrate the numbers, assume you are purchasing a $210,000 condo with a 5 percent down payment. The Principle + Interest payment at 4 percent interest would be $952 per month. Just a 1 percent interest rate increase to 5 percent would result in a payment of $1,070 per month for a total increase of $128/month and $1,416/year. Now assume that rates tick up to 6 percent. That increase would result in a 21 percent increase in payments from $952 to $1,196. Where you really see the effect of these increases is when you hold the property for the full 30 years. On a $210,000, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage that increases from 4 to 5 percent, the borrower who obtains the 5 percent loan would pay an additional $42,772 in extra interest as opposed to the borrower who paid just 4 percent interest. That’s 21.4 percent of the total loan amount! This is why a lot of folks who don’t purchase a home while interest rates are near record lows are going to regret it down the road.
  3. The main reason the average home owner has so much more personal wealth than the average condo owner is that, over time, homes appreciate in value. Over the past 45 years, homes in metro Denver appreciated 6.3 percent per year. If you buy a $200,000 home, you can expect over the long term its value to rise about 6 percent every year. This means you’d make $12,000 in appreciation the first year, an additional $12,720 the second year, another $13,483 in the third year, and on and on. An important fact to note is that in only 4 of the past 45 years did prices actually fall in metro Denver. So if you want to build wealth, your best bet may be to take advantage of these numbers and buy a home for the long term. I can help you do this. Call me and let me show you how.

Buyers

Trulia built a great rent-versus-buy tool, check it out at http://www.trulia.com/rent_vs_buy. All you have to do is answer a few simple questions and the system tells you whether it makes more financial sense to rent a unit or purchase a property. As you see from the graphic you move the slide bar on the five questions back and forth to represent your situation and the model will tell you how much you will save by either renting or buying. Trulia put a huge amount of thought and research into this tool – it’s worth a couple minutes of your time to see what you can learn. You’ll really like it!

 

 

Key Messages for Homes

 Prices are up 9% in the prior 12 months vs historical 6%. Inventories are tighter than last year, especially for small, lower priced homes. In 2017, we expect 8-9% appreciation, flat unit sales volume increases, and continued tight inventories.

 

 

Farmers Markets!

Are you as excited for fresh spring and summer produce as I am? My home garden will be lacking this year as another outdoor project will go right through the area. However, Farmers Markets are here and I can get some juicy tomatoes and fresh, crisp cucumbers there. My mouth is watering just thinking about these. Oh, and the peaches later in the summer…. I can’t wait.

Find one near you!

April 2017 Market Update

Real Estate News

Our strong housing market is not going away any time soon. The large pent up demand for houses continues to gobble up any inventory that makes it onto the market and is one of the many reasons I believe demand for homes is going to stay strong for the foreseeable future. As long as demand stays strong and supply remains constricted (we are at a near record-low homes on the market) you can be sure home prices will continue to rise. Where is this large pent up demand coming from? Here are just a few of the sources:

  1. Home formation (e.g., marriages) fell dramatically during the downturn while the economy crumbled. As the economy improves more people are getting married and creating households. For example, from 2003-2006 a total of 1.6 million households were formed in the U.S. But from 2007-2010, as young people lost jobs, moved back in with their parents, and didn’t have the economic confidence to marry and create households, only 600,000 households were created. That number is now rising quickly. From 2013 – 2016, 1.4 million households were formed, and these folks want to buy homes! In a recent survey by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, 94 percent of 22-25 year olds said they expect to buy a home in the future.
  2. The population of metro Denver increases about 1.5 percent per year and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. What a wonderful place to live! More people = more home sales.
  3. And speaking of population, here’s another important point. The inflow of immigrants from countries around the world, both legal and illegal, plummeted during the downturn because of the reduction in U.S. employment opportunities. As the economy has rebounded immigration is skyrocketing. These folks need a place to live.
  4. During the recession, about 5 million people lost their homes and had their credit destroyed. As their credit improves over time, more and more of them are becoming qualified to buy again. They were homeowners once and most want to be homeowners again as soon as they are able.
  5. Millions of others, especially young people, saw their friends and relatives lose their homes during the recession and swore to never buy a house. They learned the wrong lesson. These are a lot of the people who have been renting the past five years instead of buying, making the rental market historically strong. These are also the very people who lost out on the recovery and forfeited tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in home equity because they didn’t buy when the market was soft and prices were low. As the housing market continues to improve they’re moving strongly toward buying their first home.
  6. Related to #5, many renters have noticed how quickly prices are rising and feel they need to jump in now while homes are still relatively affordable. In the last 12 months the average sales price of a single-family detached home is up 8.1 percent. The more home prices rise, the greater incentive renters have to finally take the plunge and buy a home.

These are just a few of the many reasons demand for homes remains strong. If you’re interested in discussing what YOU should do in this real estate market, let’s talk.

Market Snapshot

 

March 2017 Market Update

Real Estate News

These are very special times in the metro Denver real estate market. Home prices are up, rents are up, inventories of homes both for sale and rent are low and our future outlook continues to look great. We talk about some aspect of real estate every month in this Newsletter but sometimes I think it can be hard to realize just how strong our real estate market is without taking a step back and looking at the big picture. A great way to do this is to check out the recent press headlines and review the real estate news about our local market. In a word, it is amazing!

 

Colorado among toughest markets to crack for first-time homebuyers

“It’s not just your imagination: Colorado is one of the most difficult places in the country for first-time home buyers to break into the housing market. That’s according to a report released Tuesday by Bankrate.com ranking all 50 states based on home prices relative to income, job prospects for young adults, market tightness, credit availability and homeownership rates among millennials. Colorado finished in the top 10 — and not in a good way — the eighth toughest state in the U.S. when it comes to being a first-time home buyer, the report said. Rounding out the ten toughest markets were California, Hawaii, New York, Louisiana, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Texas, Oregon and Massachusetts. On the other end of the spectrum, Iowa, Utah, Minnesota, Kansas, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Vermont and Nebraska were the 10 easiest states for first-time buyers.” “Tight market conditions and unaffordably high prices really plague what many young Americans feel are the most desirable places to put down roots,” Bankrate.com analyst Claes Bell said. Colorado landed on the list where it did largely due to the shortage of available for-sale inventory in the market, Bell said. The state’s housing market is one of the tightest in the nation, the report said, looking at Census data on the percentage of vacant homes for sale or rent, as well as the growth rates for housing stock versus number of households. “Something I heard again and again is that first-time homebuyers suffer in a tight market. Sellers are getting multiple offers,” Bell said. “Because first-time buyers tend to be financing a large amount of their purchase relative to other buyers, they may get shortchanged.” (Affordability certainly matters, though, especially in a market like Denver where homebuyers needed to earn at least $72,771.94 a year to buy a median-priced home in the fourth quarter — and even more if they only put down 10 percent, instead of 20 percent, according to HSH.com. The median household income in the Denver metro area was $70,283 in 2015, the most recent Census data available.) Lower credit availability, determined from data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act on rejected mortgage applications, for one, is what pushed states like Louisiana and Mississippi near the bottom of the pile despite relatively more affordable housing stock. The job market for younger workers — derived from unemployment numbers for ages 25-34 — also plays a role. Younger buyers, Bell said, typically have thinner credit files, which makes their employment history and ability to find work in the future all the more important. But before you give up all hope, Bell recommended first-time buyers look into buyer-assistance programs in their area, as well as whether they qualify for a FHA loan requiring a  lower down payment. “You don’t have to have 20 percent or even 10 percent down to buy a house,” he said. “A lot of first-time buyers qualify for FHA loans.”

Denver Post

2/28/17

Denver still among top 3 cities for home-resale price gains, says Case-Shiller report

“Home-resale prices in metro Denver rose by 8.9 percent in December from a year earlier, in line with the growth rate of previous months, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices Indices report, issued today. Once again, Denver ranked third among the 20 large cities tracked by the closely followed Case-Shiller monthly real estate report series for year-over-year growth in home resale prices. Only Seattle and Portland saw greater annual growth rates, at 10.8 percent and 10.0 percent respectively. Those cities and Denver have shown the highest year-over-year price increases among the 20 cities for each of the last 11 months. The average year-over-year price increase for the 20 cities was 5.6 percent in December and the national rate was 5.8 percent, the report said. According to previous Case-Shiller reports, Denver saw year-over-year price growth of 8.7 percent in November and 8.3 percent in October.”

Denver Business Journal

2/27/17

Single-family home rent hikes in Denver are 4th-highest in U.S.

“Rent hikes for single-family homes in the Denver area rose by more than 10 percent over the past year, placing the area No. 4 in the country for rent hikes. According to rental data company RentRange, rent hikes for single-family homes in the Denver-Aurora area rose 10.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared with the same time a year earlier. Only single-family home rentals in McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas (12.9 percent), Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida (10.9 percent), and Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Oregon/Washington (10.6 percent) had higher annual rent hikes greater than the Denver-Aurora area. The vacancy rate for single-family home rentals in the Denver-Aurora market was 2.8 percent in the latest quarter, according to RentRange. Only the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California area, at 0.9 percent, had a lower vacancy rate of the 25 metro areas in the U.S. researched by RentRange, which said it “gathers rental data on approximately 250,000 single  family houses per month from a variety of contractual sources, including multiple listing services, property managers, landlords and listing websites.” Last week it was reported that 38.8 percent of all people in the Denver-Aurora area rent their homes.”

Denver Business Journal

2/27/17

Denver homes’ value increase was 9th-highest in 2016 in US, says report

“Over the past year, Denver homes have appreciated 9.3 percent to a median of $356,900 in value, which is the ninth-highest gain in the country. That’s according to online real estate company Zillow, which indicated that Nashville, Tennessee, appreciated by the greatest amount in the past year, at 12.4 percent.”

Denver Business Journal

2/23/17

Rising mortgage rates, home prices “a double hit” for prospective Denver homeowners

“The recent rise in mortgage rates could price even more prospective homeowners out of the Front Range housing market. The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has increased sharply in the months since the election, hitting a two-year high of 4.32 percent in late December, up from 3.54 percent in early November, according to Freddie Mac. Rates have stayed above 4 percent so far this year, averaging 4.17 percent  last week. And while the change may seem relatively insignificant compared with historic mortgage rates, it’s enough to take a noticeable bite out of borrowers’ buying power. According to a recent analysis by Fitch Ratings, the average millennial homebuyer in the U.S. lost about 9 percent in mortgage capacity between early October and last month, all else being equal. “For the marginal borrower who’s just squeaking by to qualify, it can make a huge difference in the type of property they can get,” said Bill Warlick, a senior analyst for the credit rating agency. That’s a particularly troubling thought in metro Denver’s hot market where homeownership rates continue to fall, inventory remains constrained and the median sale price for a single-family home was $380,000 in January, according to the Denver Metro Association of Realtors. “There are always buyers right on the margin in every market,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. “In Denver, particularly with rising home values, that in itself is beginning to price people out. On top of that, you’re seeing higher interest rates. It’s a double hit.” Fitch’s study looked at the median mortgage amount for borrowers under 35 according to the most recent Federal Survey of Consumer Finances — a group of mostly first-time homebuyers who have already seen their mortgage capacity impacted in recent years by rising student loan debt, higher rents, stagnant wages and tighter underwriting standards. A borrower whose maximum loan amount was the median $120,000 when rates were at 3.42 percent in early October would have watched that same loan fall to $109,000 at 4.2 percent interest, all else being equal, according to Fitch. According to a recent NAR analysis, in Denver County, where the median home price was $359,485 in the third quarter, a borrower who put 10 percent downand locked in a 3.5 percent interest rate could expect monthly payments of $1,453. At 4.2 percent interest, an increase of 70 basis points, that monthly payment would jump by $129. At 5 percent, it’s $284 more a month In Adams County, where the median price was $272,764, a monthly payment of $1,102 at 3.5 percent interest would jump by $98 and $216, respectively.

Denver Post

2/15/17

 

Denver apartment rent prices rise in past year and in February

“Rents for Denver apartments rose in the past year and rose in February, according to two sources. San Francisco-based Apartment List reports that Denver rent prices grew by 0.9 percent over the past month, and 1.3 percent in the past year. The median rent for a one-bedroom in Denver is $1,380, while two-bedrooms cost $1,750. Highlands Ranch is the most expensive place to rent in the Denver metro, with median rent for a two-bedroom apartment there costing $1,850, and a one-bedroom renting for $1,470. “Rents have grown by a staggering 15.6 percent over the past year,” in Highlands Ranch, according to Apartment List. Over at Zumper, also from San Francisco, Denver’s listed as the 22nd-most expensive place in the country for renters, with the median rent of two-bedroom apartments at $1,650 and one-bedroom apartments renting for a median of $1,250. Rents for one-bedroom apartment rose 2.5 percent in February and have risen 1.6 percent in the past year, according to Zumper.

Denver Business Journal

3/2/17

 

Realtor.com

11/23/16

 

 

If you’re interested in learning more about the real estate market and how you might take better advantage of it, whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or invest, feel free to give me a call. I’d love to sit down with you, answer all your questions, and show you what’s happening in our incredible real estate market!

 

 

Real Estate News – Special times in the Denver real estate market