What’s Starting?

Here are some interesting stats from our friends at Metro Study who study new home activity along the Front Range.

• New home starts are up 14% compared to last year – this is really good news and is helping to relieve the shortage of housing inventory

• Every product type saw an increase in starts compared to last year (single family, town-home and condominium)

• Condominiums saw the largest increase in starts by a long shot, up 112% over last year- this is excellent news for first time buyers and those looking for product in lower price ranges.

Posted on September 28, 2018 at 9:47 am
Fort Collins | Category: Blog, Fun Facts, Market News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Cost of Waiting

It’s true, certain parts of our market are cooling off. We are seeing fewer multiple offers, fewer bidding wars, and fewer inspection concessions.
However, homes that are priced right and in great condition are selling, and in many cases, selling quickly.

As buyers feel the market cool a bit, it may cause them to want to wait. They sometimes feel like it’s a better choice to ‘wait and see what happens.’

The reality is, there is a real cost to waiting given two specific facts.

1. Interest rates will continue to rise
2. Prices will continue to rise

Interest rates are a little more than 0.5% higher than a year ago and experts predict them to be another 0.5% higher by this time next year.

Prices have been appreciating at roughly 10% per year for the last four years. Based on the numbers, we see that appreciation could be 5% per year for the next two years.

So, let’s look at a house priced at $450,000 today. If prices go up “only” 5% for the next 12 months, that home will cost $22,500 more in a year.

And, if rates go up another half percent, the monthly payment will be $206 higher. That’s an 11% increase!

In an environment of rising prices and rising rates, there is a real cost to “wait and see.”

Posted on September 7, 2018 at 9:31 am
Fort Collins | Category: Fun Facts, Market News, Northern Colorado Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Colorado Real Estate Market Update

This analysis of the Metro Denver and Northern Colorado real estate markets 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 us.

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

Colorado added 45,300 non-agricultural jobs over the past 12 months, a growth rate of 1.7%. Although that is a respectable number, employment growth has been trending lower in 2017 as the state reaches full employment. Within the metropolitan market areas included in this report, there was annual employment growth in all areas other than Grand Junction, where employment was modestly lower. There was solid growth in Greeley and Fort Collins, where annual job growth was measured at 4% and 2.7%, respectively.

In November, the unemployment rate in the state was a remarkably low 2.9%, down from 3% a year ago. The lowest reported unemployment rates were seen in Fort Collins and Boulder, where only 2.5% of the labor force was actively looking for work. The highest unemployment rate (3.7%) was in Grand Junction.

The state economy has been performing very well, which is why the wage growth over the past year has averaged a very solid 3.3%. I expect the labor market to remain tight and this will lead to wages rising at above-average rates through 2018.

HOME SALES ACTIVITY

  • In the fourth quarter of 2017, there were 14,534 home sales—a drop of 2.0% compared to a year ago.
  • Sales again rose the fastest in Boulder County, which saw sales grow 17.9% versus the third quarter of 2016. There were also reasonable increases in Weld and Larimer Counties. Sales fell in all other counties contained within this report because there is such a shortage of available homes for sale.
  • As I discussed in my third quarter report, sales slowed due to the lack of homes for sale. The average number of homes for sale in the markets in this report is down by 8.2% from the fourth quarter of 2016.
  • The takeaway is that sales growth has moderated due to the lack of homes for sale.

HOME PRICES

  • With continued competition for the limited number of available homes, prices continued their upward trend. Average prices were up 9.8% year-over-year to a regional average of $431,403, which was slightly higher than the third quarter of 2017.
  • There was slower appreciation in home values in Boulder County, but the trend is still positive.
  • Appreciation was strongest in Weld County, which saw prices rise 14.3%. There were also solid gains in almost all other counties considered in this report.
  • The ongoing imbalance between supply and demand persists, which means we can expect home prices to continue appreciating at above-average rates for the foreseeable future.

 

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home rose by two days when compared to the fourth quarter of 2016.
  • Homes in all but three counties contained in this report took less than a month to sell. Adams County continues to stand out, where it took an average of just 21 days for homes to sell.
  • It took an average of 29 days to sell a home last quarter. This is up nine days over the third quarter of 2017.
  • Housing demand remains strong in Colorado and this will continue with well-positioned, well-priced homes continuing to sell very quickly.

CONCLUSIONS

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

For the fourth quarter of 2017, I have chosen to leave the needle where it was in the previous quarter. Listings remain scarce, but this did not deter buyers who are still active in the market. As much as I want to see more balance between supply and demand, I believe the market will remain supply-constrained as we move toward the spring, which will continue to heavily favor sellers.

Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has more than 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

Posted on February 1, 2018 at 1:21 pm
Fort Collins | Category: Colorado Real Estate, Economy, Market News | Tagged , , , , ,

Should We Be Concerned About Another Housing Bubble?

Over the last several years, many of the circumstances that triggered the previous housing bubble have changed. Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, breaks down how tax policy, bank regulations, interest rates, lending standards, and home equity have improved our ability to avoid another bubble.

Posted on December 20, 2017 at 10:00 am
Fort Collins | Category: Market News | Tagged , ,

How are inventory shortages impacting the housing market?

The shortage of homes for sale has been a major concern for buyers and real estate agents over the last few years. Windermere Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, explains the impact these shortages are having on the housing market.

Posted on October 4, 2017 at 10:00 am
Fort Collins | Category: Market News | Tagged , ,

Baby Boomers: Impact on the U.S. Housing Market

75 million Baby Boomers control nearly 80% of all U.S. wealth, and as this generation ages, retires, and inevitably downsizes, they will have a significant impact on the housing market. Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, explains when we can expect to see Boomers start to sell, opening much-needed inventory and making home ownership available to younger generations.

 

Posted on September 26, 2017 at 10:00 am
Fort Collins | Category: For Sellers, Market News | Tagged , ,

Housing Supply is an Issue that Will Not Improve Any Time Soon and Here’s Why

There are two common concerns about the housing market that one hears from both consumers and real estate professionals alike. First, they question whether or not we are on the brink of another housing bubble, and second, they want to know why there aren’t more homes for sale.

I don’t plan on addressing the concern regarding a housing bubble in this article except to say that we are not currently in “bubble” territory, although affordability does concern me immensely. Today I would like to concentrate on the second question about the lack of homes for sale.

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, there were 1.96 million homes for sale in the United States in May 2017. When adjusted for seasonality, this falls to just below 1.9 million which is essentially the same level we saw back in 2000.

Now consider that the country has added over 21 million new households during that same time period, and you can see why this is so troubling. It is worth noting that many of these new households did move into rental properties, but this still leaves the U.S. with a substantial housing shortfall, which explains why demand for homes is so high.

With the shortage of homes for sale, you would normally expect builders to meet this pent-up demand with new construction housing but, unfortunately, this has not been the case. In fact, new single-family housing starts are running at about 800,000 (annualized), and I believe we need starts to come in at over 1 million to satisfy demand – especially as older Millennials start to create households of their own and begin thinking about buying instead of renting.

We therefore have a quandary. Trust in the housing market has clearly returned, but there are not enough homes to meet the demand of buyers, and when a buyer does find a home, they are met with very stiff competition, which is driving prices increasingly higher.

So why are we in this position and how do we get out of it?

In reality, there is no single reason for the situation we are in today. Rather it is a number of factors that, when combined, suggest to me that the market will not return to equilibrium any time soon.

The first reason for the shortfall is purely demographic. As “Boomers” age, they are not following the trends of previous generations. Many are staying in the workforce far longer than their predecessors, and, as they are postponing retirement, they do not feel compelled to downsize. In fact, almost two-thirds of Boomers plan to age in place and not move even after retirement. Without this anticipated supply of homes from downsizing Boomers, there aren’t enough homes for move-up buyers, which in turn limits the supply of homes for first-time buyers.

Secondly, as a nation we just aren’t moving as often as we used to. When I analyze mobility, it is clear that people no longer have to relocate as frequently to find a job that matches their skill set. There has been a tangible drop in geographic specificity of occupations. Where we used to move to find work, this is no longer as prevalent, which means we are moving with less frequency.

Thirdly, as mentioned earlier, builders aren’t building as many homes as they could. This is essentially due to three factors: land supply/regulation, labor, and materials. The costs related to building a home have risen rapidly since the Great Recession, and this is holding many builders back from building to their potential. Furthermore, in order to justify the additional costs, many of the homes that are being built are larger and more expensive, and this is no help for the first-time buyer who simply can’t afford a new construction price tag.

Fourthly, while the general consensus is that home prices have recovered from the major correction that was seen following the recession, this is actually not the case in some markets. In fact, there are 32 U.S. metro areas where home prices are still more than 15 percent below the pre-recession peak. As equity levels remain low, or non-existent, in these markets, many would-be sellers are waiting until they have sufficient equity in their homes before putting them on the market.

And there is still one more issue that is certain to become a major factor over the next few years: interest rates.

Imagine, if you will, the country a few years from now when interest rates have normalized to levels somewhere around 6 percent. Now consider potential home sellers who are happily locked in at a mortgage rate of about 4 percent who are considering their options. Will they sell and lose the historically low rate that they currently have? Remember that for every 1 percent increase in rates, buyers can afford 10 percent less house. If they don’t HAVE to sell, their thoughts may lead to remodeling rather than moving. I think that this is a very reasonable hypothesis which could lead us to see low inventory levels for a lot longer than many think.

With little assistance from the new home market, I believe we will suffer from low inventory levels until well into 2018.

Our best hope for a more balanced market lies with builders, so hopefully they’ll be allowed to do what they do best – build more homes.

Posted on August 29, 2017 at 2:36 pm
Fort Collins | Category: Economics 101, Market News | Tagged , ,

Gardner Report – Market Analysis

Check out the latest Gardner Report below with information and stats on the Northern Colorado Real Estate Market!

You can download the 4-page PDF here: Gardner Report PDF Download

The Gardner Report | Metro Denver and Northern Colorado Q2 2017

The following analysis of the Metro Denver and 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 me.

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW


Colorado added 62,000 new jobs over the past 12 months, an increase of 2.4% over this time last year. All of the metropolitan markets included in this report saw annual employment growth, with substantial growth in Boulder (4.7%) and Fort Collins (+4.1%), and more modest growth in Grand Junction (0.3%).

In May, the unemployment rate in the state was 2.3%, matching the prior month and down 3.4% from a year ago. The lowest unemployment rate was in Fort Collins at just 2.0%. The highest rate was in Grand Junction, though it was still a relatively low 3.3%. It is reasonable to expect these markets will see above-average wage growth given the tight labor market.

HOME SALES ACTIVITY


  • There were 17,581 home sales during the first quarter of 2017, a solid annual increase of 3.9% over the first quarter of 2016.
  • Jefferson County saw sales grow at the fastest rate over the past 12 months, with a 9.4% increase. There was also an impressive increase in Douglas County (+6.3%).  More modest sales growth was seen in Denver and Weld Counties.
  • Even with the rise in sales, listing activity is still running at well below historic averages, with the total number of homes for sale in the second quarter 7.6% below a year ago.
  • Sales growth continues to trend higher, but inventory levels remain well below where they need to be to satisfy demand.
Annual Change in Home Sales

HOME PRICES


  • Due to solid demand, home prices continue to rise with average prices up by 8.5% year-over-year to an average across the region of $438,980.
  • Boulder County saw slower appreciation in home values, but the trend is still positive.
  • Appreciation was strongest in Denver and Weld Counties, where prices rose by 12.4% and 10.6% respectively.
  • Economic growth is driving job growth, which is driving housing demand. Given the relative shortage of homes for sale, expect to see home prices continue to appreciate at above-average rates at least through the rest of the year.
Metro Denver and Northern Colorado Heat Map
Annual Change in Home Sale Prices

DAYS ON MARKET


  • The average number of days it took to sell a home dropped by three days when compared to the second quarter of 2016.
  • Homes in all counties contained in this report took less than a month to sell. Adams County stood out as it took an average of only 11 days to sell a home.
  • During the second quarter, it took an average of just 17 days to sell a home. This is down by a substantial 13 days compared to the first quarter of this year.
  • The takeaway here is that demand remains robust as evidenced by the remarkably short amount of time that it is taking to sell a home.
Average Days on Market

CONCLUSIONS


This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. After the second quarter of 2017, I have moved the needle even farther in favor of sellers. Mortgage rates remain very competitive and, with the specter of lending standards easing a little, demand will remain robust, which will be reflected in rising home values.

ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER


Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has more than 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.
Posted on August 8, 2017 at 4:45 pm
Fort Collins | Category: Economy, Market News | Tagged , ,

Northern Colorado Market Forecast Overview

Did you miss our Northern Colorado real estate market forecast or do you just want a quick refresher?

Windermere Colorado’s President, Eric Thompson, gives you a recap of what we discussed and what we predict will happen with the housing market in the upcoming years.

A few key points from Matthew Gardner, co-presenter at the forecast and Windermere Real Estate’s very own Chief Economist:

OVERVIEW

Annual employment growth in Colorado was measured at a respectable 2.2% in November and will likely finish the year having created around 55,000 new jobs. Within the metropolitan market areas included in this report, we are seeing employment growth at or above the state level and I anticipate that this will continue to be the case in 2017.

Unemployment rates continue to drop, and with rates now below three percent, all of Colorado’s metro areas are at full employment. Because of this robust level of growth—in concert with very low unemployment levels—I anticipate that we will see some fairly substantial income growth as companies look to recruit new talent and keep existing employees happy.

HOME SALE ACTIVITY

  • There were 14,614 home sales during the fourth quarter of 2016—up by a marginal 0.7% from the same period in 2015.
  • Jefferson County saw sales grow at the fastest rate over the past 12 months, with a 5.9% increase. Sales activity fell in three counties, but this was a function of short supply rather than slowing demand.
  • Listing activity continues to remain well below historic averages, with the total number of homes for sale in the fourth quarter 12.8% below that seen a year ago.
  • The key takeaway from this data is that 2017 is shaping up to be one which will still substantially favor home sellers. I do anticipate that we will see some improvement in listing activity, but it is almost a certainty that demand will exceed supply for another year.

HOME PRICES

  • Demand continued to exceed supply in the final three months of 2016 and this caused home prices to continue to rise. In the fourth quarter, average prices rose by 9% when compared to the fourth quarter of 2015. The average sales price across the region is now $393,969.
  • In many parts of the region, prices are well above historic highs and continue to trend upward. With double-digit price increases over the past year, the market remains very hot.
  • Annual price growth was strongest in Larimer and Jefferson Counties, where prices rose by 11.8% and 10.9% respectively.
  • While we will likely see some modest softening in home price growth in 2017, we can still expect a very strong market.
Posted on February 21, 2017 at 3:27 pm
Fort Collins | Category: Economy, Market News, Real Estate Market Update | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Colorado Real Estate Market Update

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

Annual employment growth in Colorado was measured at a respectable 2.2% in November and will likely finish the year having created around 55,000 new jobs. Within the metropolitan market areas included in this report, we are seeing employment growth at or above the state level and I anticipate that this will continue to be the case in 2017.

Unemployment rates continue to drop, and with rates now below three percent, all of Colorado’s metro areas are at full employment. Because of this robust level of growth—in concert with very low unemployment levels—I anticipate that we will see some fairly substantial income growth as companies look to recruit new talent and keep existing employees happy.

 

HOME SALE ACTIVITY

  • There were 14,614 home sales during the fourth quarter of 2016—up by a marginal 0.7% from the same period in 2015.
  • Jefferson County saw sales grow at the fastest rate over the past 12 months, with a 5.9% increase. Sales activity fell in three counties, but this was a function of short supply rather than slowing demand.
  • Listing activity continues to remain well below historic averages, with the total number of homes for sale in the fourth quarter 12.8% below that seen a year ago.
  • The key takeaway from this data is that 2017 is shaping up to be one which will still substantially favor home sellers. I do anticipate that we will see some improvement in listing activity, but it is almost a certainty that demand will exceed supply for another year.

 

HOME PRICES

  • Demand continued to exceed supply in the final three months of 2016 and this caused home prices to continue to rise. In the fourth quarter, average prices rose by 9% when compared to the fourth quarter of 2015. The average sales price across the region is now $393,969.
  • In many parts of the region, prices are well above historic highs and continue to trend upward. With double-digit price increases over the past year, the market remains very hot.
  • Annual price growth was strongest in Larimer and Jefferson Counties, where prices rose by 11.8% and 10.9% respectively.
  • While we will likely see some modest softening in home price growth in 2017, we can still expect a very strong market.

 

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home dropped by one day when compared to the fourth quarter of 2015.
  • Homes in a majority of the counties took less than a month to sell.
  • In the final quarter of the year, it took an average of just 27 days to sell a home. This is down from the 28 days it took in the fourth quarter of 2015.
  • The Northern Colorado housing market is still firing on all cylinders. The only missing piece is listings, which remain well below the historic average.

 

CONCLUSIONS

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

For the fourth quarter of 2016, the needle remains firmly in the seller’s territory. It will be interesting to see if the recent increase in mortgage rates has any effect at all on the housing market. I believe that it will; however, I expect that it will likely cause a slowdown in home price growth rather than any collapse in home prices.

 

Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has over 25 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

Posted on February 6, 2017 at 1:58 pm
Fort Collins | Category: Market News, Real Estate Market Update | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,