Here are the top three reasons why prices are unlikely to crash even though the market has cooled off:
- Inventory – Ultimately, prices are driven by supply and demand. Although supply has increased, it still remains relatively low with less than two months’ supply in most areas.
- New Homes – New home construction still lags behind the demand stemming from population growth. New home starts today are roughly 2/3 of what they were in 2005.
- Credit – Home buyers today are highly qualified which protects the market from a glut of ‘distressed’ properties hitting the market in an economic downturn. The average credit score of buyers is now 776 which, by definition, is ‘excellent.’ Only 2% of loans today are given to buyers with scores under 640 whereas in 2001 25% of buyers had that low of a score.
A review of the September market stats shows a slight increase in inventory along the Front Range.
The way we currently measure inventory is in days.
Meaning, at the current pace of sales, how many days would it take to sell all of the inventory currently for sale.
The results, based on September’s activity, shows only a slight increase compared to August. This increase can be tied to seasonality as we always experience a slight cooling off of the market heading into the Fall.
Here is what the residential inventory looks like in each of our markets:
- Larimer County = 25 days
- Weld County = 23 days
- Metro Denver = 21 days
Bottom line, the residential market is still very healthy.
Here’s the latest from one of our favorite data sources – the Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA).
They track home prices across the Country and produce a quarterly Home Price Index report.
It is not uncommon to find Colorado near the top of the list for year over year price growth.
The latest report has us ranked 13th with only a 13% year over year increase (said with sarcasm).
Idaho is first with a whopping 24% increase. Utah is second at 19%.
Here is our interpretation of these numbers…
Colorado has a history of strong, steady price growth instead of booms and busts.
Our market does not take the big, wild swings in prices that other markets sometimes do.
The fact that Colorado is not at the very top of the list right now is actually good news to us.
We know that our clients appreciate a market that is more steady instead of one that can feel like a rollercoaster.
“Buying a house in Fort Collins these days can feel like a combat sport. Maybe more like the
‘Hunger Games.’ Or Charlie Brown and the football — every time you get close to the ball,
Lucy whisks it away…”
Pat Ferrier at the Fort Collins Coloradoan breaks down the housing market in Northern Colorado with the help real estate professionals across the front range. Click the link below to read on!
New home construction is behind by 5.5 million homes over the last 14 years.
Since 2007, new home starts have lagged significantly behind the long-term average.
The Census Bureau started tracking National new home starts in 1958.
Between 1958 and 2007, an average of 1,102,938 new homes were started each year.
Between 2007 and 2020 the average fell to 708,186 which represents a shortfall of 394,752 per year.
That adds up to a total shortfall of 5,526,525.
The under-supply of new homes is of course a significant reason why the market is under-supplied overall.
credit Inman News as the source of this story
Recently it seems there are many attempted comparisons being made between today’s real estate market and the 2006-2007 market.
It seems that people fear a repeat of what happened to the market in 2008 and 2009.
Buyers, understandably, want to make smart decisions and don’t want to buy in advance of any downturn.
The reality is this. There are some similarities between now and the pre-bubble market of 15 years ago. Namely, prices are appreciating quickly.
However, there is one massive difference.
The inventory of homes for sale right now is drastically different than 15 years ago.
The rules of economics tell us that, in order for prices to crash, demand needs to diminish, supply needs to swell, or some combination of the two.
Here’s the deal. Supply today is a fraction of what is was 15 years ago.
Homes for sale today:
- Larimer County = 238
- Weld County = 226
- Metro Denver = 2,594
Homes for sale 15 years ago:
- Larimer County = 2,998
- Weld County = 1,113
- Metro Denver = 29,045
The reason why prices flattened and decreased slightly along the Front Range in 2009 is because the National economy had a meltdown and there was a glut of supply.
We do not have anything similar to those same dynamics today.
We are watching the market closely every single day. While we don’t expect the current pace of appreciation to keep up, we believe inventory levels keep us insulated from any kind of crash.
In the residential real estate industry, inventory is typically measured in months.
For example, the definition of a “sellers’ market” is when there is less than 4 months of inventory on the market. Meaning, at the current pace of sales, it would take less than four months to sell all the homes currently for sale.
Today it makes more sense to measure inventory in days instead of months.
Here is the number of residential properties currently listed for sale in each market:
- Larimer County = 255
- Weld County = 261
- Metro Denver = 1,645
Here is the current pace of sales in each market:
- Larimer County = 10/day
- Weld County = 10/day
- Metro Denver = 112/day
So, at the current pace of sales, this is how long it would take to sell all the residential properties currently for sale in each market:
- Larimer County = 26 days
- Weld County = 27 days
Metro Denver = 15 days
It turns out that ‘yes’ is the answer to the most common questions we hear right now about the market…
Do you think more properties will come on the market this Spring? Yes, the normal pattern in our market is for new listings to be 40% to 70% higher in April versus January. The peak month for new listings is typically June.
Do you think buyer demand will grow even more as time goes on? Yes, for two main reasons. Buyer activity, just like listing activity, increases significantly in the Spring and Summer. Plus, we expect the economy to open up even more as the COVID vaccine gets rolled out over the course of the year.
Do you think interest rates will go up? Yes, all of the trusted forecasters and economists expect rates to be slightly higher by the end of the year. Our own Chief Economist sees rates at 3.07% by year-end.
Do you think prices will keep rising? Yes, because of the simple economic forces of supply and demand. Supply is at historic lows. The number of properties for sale today is roughly 80% below the average. Demand is being fueled not only by the low-interest rates, but also a rebounding local job market that is poised to rebound even more. Plus, the new work-from-home dynamic positions the Front Range as a sought after place to live.
A hot topic of conversation these days is the prospect of another real estate bubble. People wonder if prices can continue at their current pace and some fear a repeat of 2008.
Because we get asked about this topic so often from our clients, we thought it would make sense to ask our in-house expert, Matthew Gardner.
Matthew is our Chief Economist and was our Keynote Speaker at the Windermere Annual Market Forecast.
During the Forecast presentation, he discussed the bubble concerns and laid out his reasons why he sees no potential of prices bursting along the Front Range.
Quite the opposite actually, he sees that prices will continue to go up, but just not as fast as they have been.
His reasons for no bubble bursting are as follows:
- Record-low inventory – prices cannot crash without a glut of supply on the market
- Highly-qualified buyers – lending guidelines are more stringent today than they have been in our lifetime
- Growing jobs – job growth in Colorado is projected to far outpace the national average this coming year
So, we project a healthy real estate market in 2021.
To see a replay of the Forecast presentation, simply reach out to us, we would be happy to send you the recording.
The latest quarterly report from our Chief Economist Matthew Gardner is now available. Here is a quote from the report with his take on the Front Range economy:
What a difference a quarter makes! Following the massive job losses Colorado experienced starting in February—the state shed over 342,000 positions between February and April—the turnaround has been palpable.
Through August, Colorado has recovered 178,000 of the jobs lost due to COVID-19, adding 107,500 jobs over the past three months, an increase of 4.2%.
All regions saw a significant number of jobs returning. The most prominent was in the Denver metropolitan service area (MSA), where 78,800 jobs returned in the quarter.
Although employment in all markets is recovering, there is still a way to go to get back to pre-pandemic employment levels.
The recovery in jobs has naturally led the unemployment rate to drop: the state is now at a respectable 6.7%, down from a peak of 12.2%.
Regionally, all areas continue to see their unemployment rates contract. I would note that the Fort Collins and Boulder MSA unemployment rates are now below 6%.
Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, which is troubling, but rising rates have only slowed—not stopped—the economic recovery. Moreover, it has had no noticeable impact on the state’s housing market.
To receive a complimentary copy of the latest Gardner Report, simply reach out to us and we will send it to you right away.