Denver Metro – Hottest Real Estate Market in the Country

The 20 Hottest Housing Markets in October

In case we needed further proof of just how how the local market is, here’s an article from the National Association of Realtors that shows Denver as the number one market in the country.

Daily Real Estate News | Tuesday, November 03, 2015

The overall housing market is showing signs of slowing, but yearly metrics are still solid, according to realtor.com®’s “Advance Read of October Trends.”

“Monthly inventory metrics point to a strong and steady market that has moved into the slower part of the year and reflect a momentum that has shifted to now favor buyers,” says Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “Robust year-over-year housing metrics and traffic show just how far the housing market has come in 2015.”

Read more: 6 Things Fall Home Buyers Should Notice

Here’s a snapshot of findings from realtor.com®’s latest housing report:

  • National median list price: $232,000 – holding steady from September but up 6 percent year-over-year
  • Median age of inventory: 81 days – up 1 day from September but down by 3 days – or 7 percent – year-over-year

Twenty markets alone are seeing inventory move within 30 to 47 days quicker than the rest of the country. California dominates with 12 of those 20 markets, as tight supplies and strong economies continue to fuel its real estate markets.

According to realtor.com®, the following markets are the 20 hottest markets in the country for October, ranked by number of views per listing on realtor.com® as well as the median age of inventory.

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2014 – The Year in a Nutshell

Under Contract WOC TEam 22014 – What was it like?
Real Estate in 2014 was characterized by Low Inventory, Multiple Offers and Increasing Prices. Here’s an example to illustrate that.

We listed a home in Boulder in November, about a week  before Thanksgiving. As you can imagine, this is normally a very slow time of year. Everyone is thinking about Thanksgiving, travelling and who’s coming to dinner…..not  buying houses!  But not this year. We listed the home on Saturday and had an Open House on Sunday. We had 8 showings on Saturday and 35 parties come through the open house (most were buyers, not neighbors by the way). By Sunday evening we had two offers, one was cash and well over list price and the house closed in a week!

That storyline was played out repeatedly during the year. The market is being driven by extremely low inventory. We thought inventory was starting to rise in late summer,  but by December, there were still 9% fewer homes for sale in  Boulder County then last December. And that trend has been ongoing for about 6 years leading to historic low inventory levels.

As long as there are so few homes for sale and interest rates remain so low, this crazy sellers market will continue.  According to the Federal Reserve, interest rates will most likely rise by the middle of this year, which will influence the market. But, until more sellers choose to sell their homes, we will see a similar dynamic of low supply, high demand and increasing prices.

2014 Price Appreciation – Detached Homes in Boulder County
Every city in the County saw price apprecition in 2014, topped by Louisville at 12.6%! Here’s the rundown.

  • Boulder – 7.9%
  • Broomfield – 1%
  • Erie – 10.8%
  • Lafayette – 3.9%
  • Longmont – 5.3%
  • Louisville – 12.6%
  • Superior – 6.3%
  • Mountains – 1.6%

What to expect in 2015?
Tune in to the next blog post for the 2015 forecast!

 

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Home Inventory Starting to Rise after Years of Declines

monopoly houses jpgNumber of Homes for Sale Increasing Slowly…..
As you probably know, the last couple of years have seen a big turnaround in the housing market. We all hear about multiple offers and houses selling over list price, etc. This has all been fueled by the amazingly few number of  homes for sale – Low Inventory!

To put this in perspective, consider this comparison for the Denver metro area:
Number of Homes for Sale Mid-Year:

2006 – 29,700
2014 –    6,600

Pretty stunning statistic! Of course inventory fluctuates during the course of any year. Housing inventory is lowest in December and highest around June. But what we’ve been seeing is an overall decline in inventory levels year over year for the last 8 years. Until…last month!

June 2014 was the first month in years in which the number of homes for sale in Boulder County was about the same as it was for the same month in the prior year. In recent years, inventory levels were running about 20% less than the year before. As an example, lets look at April compared to June:

April 2013 – 1584 homes for sale
April 2014 – 1302
homes for sale

June 2013 – 1599 homes for sale
June 2014 – 1588 homes for sale

Over the course of a couple of months we went from having 280 fewer homes for sale than last year to about the same number of homes for sale as 2013. That’s a big change! July had a similar statistic. The question is….will that trend continue? You have to think it will. What goes up must come down and vice versa. There’s really no place else for inventory to go but up.

Looking ahead, inventory levels always drop in the fall and winter and start to pick up in January. So, we probably won’t notice any dramatic increase in the number of homes for sale over the next few months. But if this trend continues, we will see some bigger changes next spring including: More homes for sale; price increases leveling off; bidding wars dying down and so on. The glory days for sellers only last so long. Buyers will then have an easier time purchasing homes and they’ll have to hope that interest rates remain kind to them. Time will tell!

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Guess Where Homes Sell the Fastest ??

Denver skyline and mountains jpgAnd the answer is….. Homes are selling faster in the Denver Metro Area than anywhere else in the country! According to a recent article in the National Association of Realtors magazine, the median days on the market in Denver is just 25 days. They don’t say how they calculate that figure. Most likely it’s the number of days till a home goes under contract. Our Multiple Listing Service Data shows that it takes about 55 Days from the time a home is listed to the time it sells in the Denver area.

Regardless, that shows you just how hot a market we are in. And, unlike other areas of the country, where the home inventory levels are increasing,  inventory levels are still dropping around here. In Boulder County, the  number of homes for sale is about 20% less than last year at this time. As long as inventory remains so low, this trend of increasing prices and quick sales will continue.

Here’s the article if you’d like to read more:
Fastest Selling Housing Markets

 

 

 

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Boulder County Real Estate 2013 – A Big Year!

Under Contract 2013 – The Year of the “Under Contract”
It was a great year in 2013 if you were a Seller and a difficult, at times excruciating one, for Buyers. Sellers were treated to multiple offers and selling over list price and getting to pick and choose which offer to accept. Buyers were left scrambling to get to a house first, get their offer in and hope that they won the competition.

It hasn’t let up either. Just last week we had the privilege of bidding on another home for buyers we’ve been working with for over a year. Believe it or not it was the only detached home for sale in all of Louisville under $450,000! The only one! (Is that even possible?) What fun….for the seller….but not for our buyers, who made their best offer at $16,000 over the list price and didn’t get it!

The driver behind all of this is Low Inventory. Here’s an astounding statistic for the Denver Metro Area.

  • In 2007 there were 38,000 homes for sale
  • Today there are 8,500 homes for sale

In 2007, with lots of foreclosures happening, tons of houses for sale, nothing selling and prices dropping fast we thought we’d never get rid of all that housing inventory. Well….we did! In a big way. So now we have the reverse situation….Extremely Low Inventory, which has of course affected prices. People in Longmont, Erie, Broomfield and Lafayette are saying, “It’s about time!”.

House prices up imageHere’s the skinny on Prices last year for Detached Homes in Boulder County, comparing 2012 to 2013:

  • Boulder + 10%
  • Broomfield +9%
  • Erie +5%
  • Lafayette +7%
  • Longmont + 12%
  • Louisville + 15%
  • Superior + 7%
  • Mountains + 9%
  • Plains +12% (Gunbarrel, County)

Wow!! Those are some hefty increases. As long as inventory remains low, the trend should continue. But, as we all know, things change and seek equilibrium. Inventory will probably come up this year as more sellers realize the market has shifted and they can finally sell their home without losing money, or sell for a profit. As that happens, price increases should moderate and Buyers may find some relief with more houses to choose from and a less frantic market to operate in.

Tune in next time for the 2014 Market Horoscope!

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New Mortgage Rules will impact Buyers in 2014

Mortgage Loan imageHow Dodd Frank Legislation may affect Buyers seeking Loans in 2014

You may have heard about the Dodd Frank bill that was passed in the aftermath of the Banking Crisis in 2008. The goal was to put regulations in place that would prevent a similar meltdown from occuring again.

Among the major contributors to the financial crisis were Home Lending practices that enabled almost anyone who could walk, breathe and hold a pen to get a loan. Starting January 1, 2014, certain provisions of the bill that will make it harder for home buyers to get home loans will come into play. From what we hear from mortgage brokers we know, this will particulalry affect buyers who don’t have stellar qualifications. If you have great credit, strong debt to income ratios and the like, things may be much the same as they are today.

The legislation establishes the latest financial acronym….QRM….for Qualified Residential Mortgage. To get a QRM, you need the good qualifcations. If you don’t qualify for a QRM, then the banks are forced by the legislation to carry the equivalent of 5% of the loan value in reserves. Ouucch! As you can imagine, banks will make the borrower pay for this by charging higher interest rates, fees and what have you. We’ve pasted a good article which explains this in more detail below.

Bottom line, if you’ve been thinking about buying a house, and you’re on the borderline for qualifying, it would be wise to buy before years end. It’s also a good idea because the market is slow at this time of year and you may get a better deal now than in the New Yeaer. And, of course, rates are still low and they’ll be headed up next year.

Link to Article:  http://www.inman.com/2013/10/17/new-rules-for-jumbo-loans-qualified-residential-mortgages-could-make-homebuying-more-costly-in-2014/

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After the Flooding in Jamestown

Reflecting on JamestownJamestown friend's home
My wife and I went to a flood relief dinner and gathering for residents of Jamestown last night at the Boulder Theater. We lived in Jamestown for our first 10 years in Colorado and our daughter grew up there. We have so many fond memories of living there and it remains such an integral part of our life and family history. We showed up at the event to see old friends and to do what we could to offer some love and support.

I got to see our good friend who used to live in the home pictured above. It’s been seen a lot in the media lately. It’s surreal seeing all those images and then getting to see the people who lived in those homes. They’re alive, almost all of them, and doing remarkably well, though I’m sure they’re in shock and just in a survival/coping mode at the moment. It was a night for all of the residents to unwind and be taken care of and mostly be together, since they’ve all had to scatter to various temporary living situations around Boulder.

Jamestown 4th of July 1996?This is more how I remember Jamestown. This is right down the street from the home pictured above, and in front of our old house on Main St. I don’t know what to do with this really. It brings tears to my eyes. I know that this is why people choose to live in Jamestown. To have a 4th of July celebration like this. A little parade that lasts about 4 minutes and includes every one in the town, with the exception of those who are making the pancakes for the pancake breakfast. There’s a nice sized crowd of spectators who come up from Boulder and points beyond to be a part of it.

Dawn & Erin jamestown 4th of July 1994?

Erin B. & our daughter Dawn at the lower park, July 4th 1994?

It’s truly like another place in time… a tiny town that time forgot, just a half hour from Boulder. But mostly, it’s a community. That’s what draws people there and keeps them together through all the challenges…the fires, and financial woes, the speed bumps (and dips – Boycott Jamestown…remember that!) and all the Fun, Music and 4th of Julys.

Joey Howlett leading kazoo band 2013Here’s a photo from this years 4th of July celebration. This photo really makes you cry because that’s Joey Howlett leading the kazoo band down Main St at the start of the parade. Joey was the one who was killed in the mudslide that slammed into his house in the middle of the night during the flood. Joey, as you’ve probably heard, had lived in town for years and owned the cafe, the Merc and was a patriarch of the town. I imagine this is how he would like to be remembered…leading the kazoo band down Main St.

Jamestown, and many other places that were ravaged by the floods, will be needing a lot of support in the months ahead. It’s going to be a long process. There are volunteer work days being planned and donation websites. If you’d like to make a donation or keep informed of volunteer needs, here’s the link to the Town of Jamestown website  http://www.jamestownco.org/  Or you can buy a Jamestown T-shirt here  https://steve-lowtwait-ntgq.squarespace.com/jamestown/  and have 100% of the proceeds go to Jamestown flood relief. Thanks for your support!

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