The First Decade

The other day I was searching for my daughter’s cell phone number – which I haven’t memorized because I simply speed-dial it – and I realized it’s been years since I memorized anyone’s phone number. And this was just after I’d booked a flight online and selected my seat, and downloaded some new music into my iPod.

It occurred to me that these are just three examples of the tremendous changes that have happened just since the new millennium began. At the beginning of this decade, iTunes, YouTube and Facebook did not exist. Today, their combined daily views and downloads are in the billions.

An article in Newsweek a few months ago highlighted how much things have changed in a decade. The numbers are staggering and surprising.

    • Ten years ago, a total of 400,000 text messages were sent per day; today 4.5 billion are zinging through cyberspace every day.
    • In 2000, 12 billion emails were sent each day; today 247 billion are sent daily (many of which were in my spam filter this morning).
    • Ten years ago, about 208 billion letters were mailed through the postal system each day; today the number of letters mailed daily is less than 176 billion.

This decade has been tumultuous, to say the least. Beyond the tremendous technology-driven advances, we are still struggling with this economy. Unemployment rates are too high. Banks are still struggling. And it is heartbreaking that people have lost their homes.

Even though there is a lot of uncertainty, I remain optimistic. I am realistic enough to know that this recovery will take awhile. But recover we will.

One thing that hasn’t changed in the past decade is the resiliency of real estate over time. When you look at median single-family home prices ten years ago versus this year, you’ll see that home values have increased since 2000. This is encouraging, especially when you consider that the stock market today is the same place it was 10 years ago. For most people, their home is worth more today than when they bought it. It might be worth less than it was two or three years ago, but real estate has never been about day trading. It’s a long-term investment. And if the last 10 years, or 100 years, are any indication, we can count on growth in home values.

And that’s a good thing.

July Median Home Prices* 
2000

2010

National
$151,100
$182,600

*Source:  NWMLS

What are some of the most memorable changes for you in the past decade?

Posted on March 5, 2019 at 11:30 am
Fort Collins | Category: Blog | Tagged , , , , ,

Are You Better Off Paying Your Mortgage Earlier or Investing Your Money?

Posted in BuyingSelling, and Living by Guest Author 

Photo Credit: Rawpixel via Unsplash

Few topics cause more division among economists than the age-old debate of whether you’re better off paying off your mortgage earlier, or investing that money instead. And there’s a good reason why that debate continues; both sides make compelling arguments.

For many people, their mortgage is the largest expense they will ever incur in their lives. So if given the chance, it only makes logical sense you would want to pay it off as quickly as possible. On the other hand, a mortgage is also the cheapest money you will ever borrow, and it’s generally considered good debt. Any extra money you obtain could be definitely be put to good use elsewhere.

The reality is, however, a little less cut and clear. For some homeowners, paying off their mortgage earlier is the right answer. While for others, it would be far more advantageous to invest their money.

 

Advantages of paying off your mortgage earlier

  • You’ll pay less interest: Each time you make a mortgage payment, a portion is dedicated towards interest, and another towards principal (we’ll ignore other costs for now). Interest is calculated monthly by taking your remaining balance, the length of your amortization period, and the interest rate agreed upon with your lending institution.

If you have a $300,000 mortgage, at a 4% fixed rate over 30 years, your monthly payment would be around $1,432.25. By the time you finish paying off your mortgage, you would have paid a total of $515,609, of which $215,609 were interest.

If you wanted to lower the total amount you pay on interest, you don’t need to make a large lump sum to make a difference. If you were to increase your monthly mortgage payment to $1,632.25 (a $200 a month increase), you would be saving $50,298 in interest, and you’ll pay off your mortgage 6 years and 3 months earlier.

Though this is an oversimplified example, it shows how even a small increase in monthly payments makes a big difference in the long run.

  • Every additional dollar towards your principal has a guaranteed return on investment: Every additional payment you make towards your mortgage has a direct effect in lowering the amount you pay in interest. In fact, each additional payment is, in fact, an investment. And unlike stocks, bonds, and other investment vehicles, you are guaranteed to have a return on your investment.
  • Enforced discipline: It takes real commitment to invest your money wisely each month instead of spending it elsewhere.

 

Your monthly mortgage payments are a form of enforced discipline since you know you can’t afford to miss them. It’s far easier to set a higher monthly payment towards your mortgage and stick to it than making regular investments on your own.

Besides, once your home is completely paid off, you can dedicate a larger portion of your income towards investments, your children or grandchildren’s education, or simply cut down on your working hours.

 

Advantages of investing your money

  • A greater return on your investment: The biggest reason why you should invest your money instead comes down to a simple, green truth: there’s more money to be made in investments.

Suppose that instead of dedicating an additional $200 towards your monthly mortgage payment, you decide to invest it in a conservative index fund which tracks S&P 500’s index. You start your investment today with $200 and add an additional $200 each month for the next 30 years. By the end of the term, if the index fund had a modest yield of 5% per year, you will have earned $91,739 in interest, and the total value of your investment would be $163,939.

If you think that 5% per year is a little too optimistic, all we have to do is see the S&P 500 performance between December 2002 and December 2012, which averaged an annual yield of 7.10%.

  • A greater level of diversification: Real estate has historically been one of the safest vehicles of investment available, but it’s still subject to market forces and changes in government policies. The forces that affect the stock and bonds markets are not always the same that affect real estate, because the former are subject to their issuer’s economic performance, while property values could change due to local events.

By putting your extra money towards investments, you are diversifying your investment portfolio and spreading out your risk. If you are relying exclusively on the value of your home, you are in essence putting all your eggs in one basket.

  • Greater liquidity: Homes are a great investment, but it takes time to sell a home even in the best of circumstances. So if you need emergency funds now, it’s a lot easier to sell stocks and bonds than a home.

 

Misael Lizarraga is a real estate writer with a passion for teaching real estate concepts to first time buyers and investors. He runs realestatecontentguy.com and is a contributing writer for several leading real estate blogs in North America.

Posted on March 4, 2019 at 8:00 am
Fort Collins | Category: Blog, Buyers & Sellers, For Buyers, For Sellers, Mortgage | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Interest Rates Rise… So What?

The Federal Reserve raised their benchmark interest rate 0.25% this week.

So what does this mean for real estate?

Some perspective is in order…

First, mortgage rates are not directly tied to the Fed Funds rate. They are, however, closely tied to the 10-year Treasury.

While the Fed was raising their rates this week, mortgage rates actually dipped lower (although slightly).

Mortgage rates today on a 30-year loan are essentially 4.25%.

The long term average for mortage rates, going all the way back to 1970 is 7.5%

For every 1% rise in rates, there is a corresponding 10% impact to the monthly payment.

Mortgage rates have increased about 0.75% since the election.

Most economists expect rates to increase another 0.5% by year-end.

Click HERE to read a great article that goes a little more into depth about what this means for homeowners.

We are watching mortgage rates closely and will continue to keep our customers updated as to where the experts think they are heading. Contact us directly if you have any questions. (970) 460-3033.

Posted on March 17, 2017 at 8:50 am
Fort Collins | Category: Fun Facts | Tagged , , , ,

Limited Choices

Pretend that customer walks into our office and tells us they are looking for a single family home in Fort Collins. We would tell them that there are 314 to choose from. But if they told us their price range is up to $300,000, their choices would be limited to just 10 homes.

Single family homes priced under $300,000 only represent 3.18% of the total inventory in Fort Collins. This is a big reason why buyers are opening up their search to communities that surround Fort Collins.

Here’s a snapshot of the major Northern Colorado markets:

  • Loveland: 176 Homes For Sale/15 Priced Under $300,000
  • Windsor: 151 Homes For Sale/6 Priced Under $300,000
  • Greeley: 98 Homes For Sale/33 Priced Under $300,000
  • Fort Collins: 314 Homes For Sale/10 Priced Under $300,000

What’s important to know is today’s market dynamics create an ideal scenario for the move up buyer to use the equity in their home, leverage the low interest rates, and buy the home of their dreams.

Posted on February 3, 2017 at 8:31 am
Fort Collins | Category: Blog, Fun Facts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Our Crystal Ball

Last week Windermere’s Chief Economist Matthew Gardner joined us for our annual Market Forecast events in Colorado. We were pleased to host over 500 customers at two events in Denver and Fort Collins.

Here are some of the big takeaways that we shared:

  • Interest rates will increase to 4.6% by the end of the year
  • First-time buyers are back and will make up 47% of all buyers in 2017
  • Inventory will remain at record lows and will continue to drive up prices
  • Appreciation is expected to be between 9% and 7% across our Front Range markets
  • Home builders will get creative in order to hit lower price points – we will see more “tiny homes” and more homes without basements

Click HERE to see Matthew Gardner’s infographic on the 2017 Forecast.

Posted on January 27, 2017 at 12:10 pm
Fort Collins | Category: Blog, Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Did You Know?

Windermere Real Estate Northern Colorado Here are some fun “Did You Know?” stats as we wrap up 2016 (arguably one of the most fascinating years in the history of Northern Colorado Real Estate)

  • 2,281 homes were sold in Fort Collins this year
  • That’s 133 fewer than last year
  • Windsor had 197 more home sales than last year
  • The only major market with considerably more sales than 2015
  • Today, as we finish 2016, there are only 10 single family homes on the market in Fort Collins priced under $300,000.

 

Posted on December 30, 2016 at 3:42 pm
Fort Collins | Category: Blog, Colorado Real Estate, Fort Collins Real Estate, Fun Facts, Mortgage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

‘Tis the season to give!

GIVEGIVEPlease consider giving a gift that counts this season.

Donate to help those in need in Colorado. Just click the link below… ALL donations will go to one of three organizations in Colorado that benefit low-income and homeless children and families.

Merry Christmas! #TackleHomelessness

To donate, just click here to go to our secure donation site: https://store.windermere.com/content/colorado-tacklehomelessness-donation

 

 

Posted on December 22, 2016 at 2:38 pm
Fort Collins | Category: Blog, Colorado Real Estate, Foundation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Multi-Wow

apartment-406901_1920Check out what’s happening in the multi-family market in Fort Collins.

The number of condos and townhomes for sale is way down compared to last year. 35% fewer new listings hit the market in November 2016 versus November 2015.

Of course that means prices are up, 15% to be exact. The average price for multi-family in Fort Collins is now at $282,000.

Who would have thought that one day the average price for a condominium or townhome in Fort Collins would be $300,000? Well, that’s close to being a reality.

Posted on December 12, 2016 at 4:59 pm
Fort Collins | Category: Blog, Colorado Real Estate, Fun Facts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

100K

The City Manager for Fort Collins, Darin Atteberry, recently visited our weekly sales meeting. He had several interesting and valuable facts to share, including this…

lego-1044891_640Based on the City’s research, Fort Collins will grow by 100,000 people over the next 25 to 32 years. That will bring the population to approximately 255,000 people. It means Fort Collins will essentially add the equivalent of Boulder’s population over the next two and a half decades.

100,000 people will require 40,000 housing units. That equates to 1,600 new homes/apartments/condominiums/etc. per year for the next 25 years.

Wow!

If you are curious where all of these people with live and how Fort Collins will accommodate them, join us at our Third Annual Market Forecast event on January 19th! Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, is flying here all the way from Seattle to present to us along with Eric Thompson, president of Windermere Colorado. Just visit www.WindermereForecast.com to reserve your seat.

Posted on December 2, 2016 at 4:30 pm
Fort Collins | Category: Blog, Fun Facts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Trump Tantrum

interest-rates-gameSince the election interest rates have jumped from 3.77% to 3.95% according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

“This week’s increase in mortgage rates, being dubbed the ‘Trump Tantrum,’ is the biggest one week increase since the ‘Taper Tantrum‘ in June 2013,” said Bankrate’s chief financial analyst Greg McBride.

Economists say the anticipation of Trump’s pledged spending plans and tax cuts have investors anticipating some inflation and a dose of adrenaline to the economy which have caused a great deal of volatility in the market.

A little perspective is in order- rates today are still lower than the 3.97% recorded last year at this time. And, rates today are still essentially half of their long-term average.

Using a $400,000 home as an example with a 20% down payment, this interest rate increase translates to an additional $34 per month.

Many economists believe that we are now seeing the beginning of a long-term rise in interest rates.

source: Inman News

Posted on November 18, 2016 at 4:51 pm
Fort Collins | Category: Blog, Fun Facts, Mortgage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,