April 2017 Statistics Are in the Books

While the news on the housing front continues to paint a rosy picture as we continue to be in a sellers market; statistically we may be entering a phase of normalicy concerning market conditions. While prices remain elevated and there is continued concern that average metro Denver incomes cannot keep up with the inflated housing market we are seeing signs of slowdowns concerning price appreciation and possibly an uptick in inventory coming to market.

Personally I enjoy looking at statistics. When combined with historical personal perspective i.e. lived through it there are insights and trends one may be able to extrapolate.

I was reviewing April 2017 market conditions:

In April 2017, there were 5,361 Active Listings in the metro area.

(Of note, the historical average # of listings in April is 15,710 based on statistics gathered between 1985 and 2016 also related usually the start of the Spring sales season).

Thus our average # of listings continues to be constrained especially when considering the increase of housing stock which has come on-line since the end of the great recession coupled with our population increase

Concerning sales prices:

The year-to-date average sales prices in April 2016 increased 6.05%.

In April 2015 that same statistic was 9.53%.

In April 2014 that same statistic was 12.9% (of note coming out of the recession).

Thus we are witnessing a slowdown in price appreciation (a good thing), slight increase in inventory (a good thing) and overall a potential plateau in the market.

Yes sales prices are stabilizing and getting closer to matching inflation and inventory is beginning to loosen HOWEVER couple this with the stock market at record highs, unemployment at record lows and no appreciable inflation or major interest rate hikes; we may be seeing signs of a housing slowdown in the metro area.

On the luxury side of the market while there have been some blockbuster sales of late, homes priced at $1M and over seem to be languishing on the market for longer periods coupled with price reductions. Granted some inventory came on market overpriced to start however price reductions are happening sooner and price cuts is more severe.

In my local Cherry Creek neighborhood which I admit is far from a barometer for the metro area the inventory of listings seems to be increasing and sales transactions are taking longer to close and usually after a price correction. Granted there has been a uptick in inventory south of 1st Avenue and much of the for sale inventory north of 1st Ave is east of Steele St. which some buyers consider less desirable yet the number of active listings continues to increase. As of this writing there were 41 active listings ranging from $215,000 to over $10M (of note both the lowest and highest price listings are condominiums).

Having been in the real estate brokerage business for a few decades now I am used to witnessing Metro Denver go through 5-7 year cycles concerning increased demand and then stability. While I do not believe we are in for a major correction, I do believe we will continue to see additional inventory come on-line and price appreciation slow to the inflation rate or a few ticks above which is the historic norm.

In the luxury market, which I track, I would be a little more concerned regarding price stability.

In the starter and move-up market baring a serious interest rate hike I am not concerned as demand will continue to outstrip supply. I would be hesitant concerning starter inventory in the exurbs as those markets are dependent on low fuel prices.

As I am advising clients at present:

Sellers: Consider putting on the market now as its low inventory and attractive interest rates.

Buyers: While rates are low, a good opportunity to lock in a fixed mortgage HOWEVER should consider waiting a few months to a year or two as inventory will continue to increase and while interest rates may tick up prices usually do the inverse.

Renters: Rents seem to be stabilizing and with the introduction of additional luxury inventory do not be surprised to see landlord concessions. Thus if in a rental consider resigning for another 6 months with an escape clause and if looking to rent, shop around and look for incentives to bring your net effective rent down.

 

 

At Opportunity Knocks at #1 Colorado Boulevard

For years I have walked by #1 Colorado Boulevard, a stately 2-story brick home on a corner lot. Dominating the NWC of Colorado Boulevard and Ellsworth Avenue, the stately residence dates back to 1939 when Colorado Boulevard was a prestige street. Of note directly across Colorado Blvd at 4001 East Ellsworth Avenue is the original home of one of the founders of the law firm Holland and Hart.

Before World War II the two structures must have been most impressive, located at the pinnacle of a hill moving north from Alameda Avenue. The Hilltop side home has been renovated and is presently an impressive single-family residence.

The future of 1 Colorado Boulevard is more uncertain. Presently configured as two residences with separate electrical meters it is being marketed as a redevelopment opportunity including the complete razing as the present zoning allows townhouses of 3 stories in the site.

The location would allow for phenomenal views over Cherry Creek and the greater valley to the south. While Colorado Boulevard will be a deterrent for many prospective buyers; if I had the financial means I would consider converting back to a stately single-family residence and updating to compensate for the location i.e. place triple-pane glass in the windows, build a sound wall on the east-side of the lot and so forth.

The asking is $600,000 which I believe is correct considering the size of the residence and the lot. Granted the residence is being sold “as-is” and I would assume needs a full interior renovation. Of note the last sale dates back to 1971 when the residence sold for $94,900 ($274,000 in today’s dollars).

For the astute buyer with a vision, to be able to purchase 3,900 SF with four(4) bedrooms and four(4) baths; while not necessarily a fix and flip, with a longer-term vision, a viable option at a below market valuation.