The Case-Shiller Home Price Index tracks appreciation in the 20 largest real estate markets across the U.S.
Their most recent quarterly report was just released this week.
Metro Denver prices are up over last year by 3.89% which is just slightly higher than the average of the 20 markets.
It is interesting to see how the 20 locations have performed since the pre-Great Recession housing peak.
Turns out that Denver has done the best out of all the markets.
Since 2008, Denver home prices have appreciated 64.9%. Second-best is Dallas at 55.5% and Seattle is third at 41.2%.
Believe it or not, there are markets where average home prices have still not returned to their 2008 levels.
Las Vegas is 14.5% below 2008 and Chicago is 12.8% below.
These numbers are another indicator of the long-term health and performance of the Front Range market.
This year the Spring market is occurring in the Summer.
Typically the busiest months for real estate along the Front Range are April, May and June.
This year, because showing activity was restricted in the Spring months, we are seeing robust activity this Summer.
Here’s an indicator. Sales through July 2020 versus July 2019 are up:
- 12.6% in Metro Denver
- 17% in Northern Colorado
To see double-digit increases in sales despite was is occurring in the National economy, is nothing short of remarkable.
New research from the National Association of Home Builders:
The number of Americans contemplating purchasing a home in the second quarter of 2020 is nearly the same as 2019’s second quarter, according to NAHB’s Housing Trends Report.
At this time last year, 12% of Americans considered buying a home. Today the number stands at 11%.
The same goes for first-time prospective buyers, where 58% considered buying a home in the second quarter of 2019 and 59% are considering it in 2020’s second quarter.
In the second quarter of 2020, Millennials are the generation most likely to want to buy a home (19%), even slightly higher than a year earlier (17%).
Boomers, on the other hand, are the least likely, with the share planning a home purchase falling from 7% to 5%.
Across regions, the share of respondents who are prospective home buyers is unchanged in the Northeast (10%) and South (12%), essentially flat in the West (13%), and just slightly lower in the Midwest (down from 11% to 9%
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.
The market is in short supply.
More homes are needed to fulfill the need to buyer demand.
Compared to exactly one year ago, the supply of homes is down:
- 32.6% in Metro Denver
- 25.1% in Northern Colorado
An interesting and useful measurement we track is months of inventory. This stat tells how long it would take to sell all of the homes currently for sale at the current pace of sales.
Of course, months of supply can vary greatly by price range and location. However, this stat does a good job of explaining the overall state of the market.
Specifically, months of supply tells us if the market is in balance.
A ‘balanced’ market is when there is 4 to 6 months of supply. A buyers market occurs when the stat is higher than this range. A sellers market occurs when it is lower.
The months of supply looks like this in our market:
- 1.0 months in Metro Denver
- 1.3 months in Northern Colorado
So, the market overall is significantly under-supplied and more homes are needed to meet demand.
We’ve been waiting for June to catch up. It finally happened (almost).
Back in April, real estate activity was significantly limited and the showing of property was restricted which caused the number of closed properties in May and early June to be much lower than last year.
Bottom line, fewer properties going under contract in April caused fewer closings 30 to 45 days later.
Closed properties in May were down compared to 2019 by 44% in Northern Colorado and 43% in Metro Denver.
Then activity jumped significantly in May. The number of properties going under contract was way up compared to last year.
We’ve been wondering when we would see this sales activity reflected in the number of closed properties.
Well, it finally happened (almost).
The number of closings so far in June compared to the same time period through June of 2019 is only down 1.8% in Northern Colorado and 1.6% in Metro Denver.
In both markets, there are only a handful of closings separating activity in June 2020 versus June 2019.
By the end of the month, when all the transactions are tallied up, we expect that June of this year will out pace June of last year in terms of number of transactions.
This is significant not only because of COVID-19, but also because of the reduced inventory compared to last year. Quite simply, there are fewer homes to buy.
All of this speaks to the health and resiliency of the Front Range market.
Mortgage interest rates have hit another record low this week.
Mortgage applications for purchases just hit an 11-year high.
Rates are at a level that many people could never have imagined.
Here’s something that is surprising to many people…
Rates are 1.5% lower than they were just two years ago.
Here’s what that means for buyers…
Pretend someone is looking at a $500,000 home and they will have a 20% down payment.
The difference in monthly payment is $320 between two years ago and today.
Obviously that is a significant amount of money.
Imagine what a person could do with $320 per month.
The fact that rates are at record lows is one of many reasons that the market is so strong right now and prices continue to appreciate at healthy levels.
The numbers that we find to be most interesting right now are all related to inventory.
Long story short, inventory is tight.
It was already tight pre-coronavirus and now it’s even tighter.
Here are the numbers.
Active properties for sale versus one year ago are down:
- 11% in Larimer County
- 20% in Weld County
- 26% in Metro Denver
This low inventory is one of several reasons that prices are generally still up across the Front Range.
Money is on sale (again).
30-year mortgage rates now sit at 3.3%.
This is less than half of the long-term, 40-year average.
This is also almost a full percentage point lower than they were one year ago (which was still very low).
Let’s put this in real numbers.
A $300,000 loan at today’s rates has a $1,313 monthly principal and interest payment.
One year ago, that same loan would be $1,432 per month.
That’s a 8.3% difference in monthly payment.
The fact that money is on sale is one of many reasons that the housing market remains very strong right now.