Expert Opinion

This week, take a listen to Matthew Gardner, Windermere’s Chief Economist as he discusses the current state of the housing market.​​​​​​​

 

He takes a deep dive into interest rates, price appreciation and where the market is headed.

 

You can watch his video HERE

 

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Q4 2020 Colorado Real Estate Market Update

The following analysis of the Metro Denver & 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 your Windermere agent.

 

REGIONAL ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

The job recovery that appeared to be firmly in place in the summer has started to wane. Though Colorado has recovered more than 209,000 of the jobs lost due to COVID-19, employment levels remain almost 210,000 below the level seen last February. Even with employment growth stalling, the unemployment rate stands at a relatively respectable 6.4%, down from a peak of 12.2%. Regionally, unemployment levels range from a low of 5.4% in Boulder to a high of 6.9% in Greeley. Rising COVID-19 infection rates continue to impact the job recovery, and I do not see much in the way of palpable improvement until a vaccine becomes freely available, likely in the second half of this year.

COLORADO HOME SALES

❱ In the final quarter of 2020, 12,207 homes sold. This represents an increase of 21.8% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, but 19% lower than in the third quarter. I am not concerned, though, because seasonal influences tend to impact sales in the winter.

❱ Sales rose in all markets other than El Paso compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. I believe sales are only limited by the number of homes on the market.

❱ Inventory levels remain well below what I would like to see. The average number of homes on the market in the fourth quarter was down 55% from the same period in 2019.

❱ Pending sales were 34% lower compared to the third quarter. Again, seasonality and a lack of homes to buy impact this figure. Pending sales are still 13% higher than a year ago.

Colorado Counties Graph

COLORADO HOME PRICES

Price appreciation in various Colorado counties.

❱ Home prices rose significantly in the fourth quarter, with the average price increasing 13.7% year-over-year to $532,492. Prices were up 1.8% compared to the third quarter of this year.

❱ Interest rates are unlikely to drop much further and this will lead price growth to slow as we move through 2021.

❱ Year-over-year, prices rose across all markets covered by this report, with significant appreciation in Clear Creek, Gilpin, Park, and El Paso counties. Every county but Arapahoe saw double-digit price gains.

❱ Affordability in many Colorado markets remains a concern as prices continue to rise at well-above-average rates. That said, I anticipate we will see price growth moderate in 2021.

A bar graph showing the annual change in home sale prices in various Colorado counties.

DAYS ON MARKET

❱ The average number of days it took to sell a home in the markets contained in this report dropped 15 days compared to the final quarter of 2019.

❱ The amount of time it took to sell a home dropped in every county contained in this report compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.

❱ It took an average of 26 days to sell a home in the region, down 3 days compared to the third quarter of 2020.

❱ The Colorado housing market continues to demonstrate solid demand, and buyers are clearly competitive as suggested by the short length of time it is taking to sell a home.

A bar graph showing the average days on market for homes in various Colorado counties

CONCLUSIONS

A speedometer graph indicating a seller's market in Colorado.

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

Home sales and prices are significantly higher than a year ago, and demand for housing is very much in place. Naturally, this favors home sellers who are still in control of the market. I do expect to see some improvement in listing activity this year, which, in concert with modestly rising interest rates, will likely start to take some of the steam out of the market. However, any moderation in the market has yet to appear. Even given the possible headwinds mentioned above, I am moving the needle a little more in favor of sellers, as demand is likely to exceed supply for the time being.

 

ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER

Matthew Gardner - Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate

As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.

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Colorado Real Estate Market Update

Housing Market

The following analysis of the Metro Denver & 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 your Windermere agent. 

 

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

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.

 

HOME SALES

  • In the third quarter of 2020, 15,065 homes sold. This represents an increase of 20.4% over the third quarter of 2019, and a remarkable 52.7% increase over the second quarter of this year.
  • Home sales rose in all markets other than El Paso compared to the second quarter of 2019. I believe sales are only limited by the number of homes on the market.
  • Inventory levels remain remarkably low, with the average number of homes for sale down 44.5% from the same period in 2019. Listing activity was 17.8% lower than in the second quarter of 2020.
  • Even given the relative lack of inventory, pending sales rose 17.8% from the second quarter, suggesting that closings for the final quarter of the year will be positive.

 

HOME PRICES

  • After taking a pause in the second quarter, home prices rose significantly in the third quarter, with prices up 11.9% year-over-year to an average of $523,193. Prices were up 7.4% compared to the second quarter of this year.
  • Interest rates have been dropping. Although I do not see there being room for them to drop much further, they are unlikely to rise significantly. This is allowing prices to rise at above-average rates.
  • Year-over-year, prices rose across all markets covered by this report. El Paso, Clear Creek, and Gilpin counties saw significant price appreciation. All but four counties saw double-digit price gains.
  • Affordability in many Colorado markets remains a concern, as prices are rising at a faster pace than mortgage rates have been dropping.

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home in the markets contained in this report dropped one day compared to the third quarter of 2019.
  • The amount of time it took to sell a home dropped in nine counties, remained static in two, and rose in one compared to the third quarter of 2019.
  • It took an average of 29 days to sell a home in the region.
  • The Colorado housing market continues to demonstrate solid demand, and the short length of time it takes to sell a home suggests buyers are competing fiercely for available inventory.

 

CONCLUSIONS

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

Demand for housing is significant, and sales activity is only limited by the lack of available homes to buy. Prices are rising on the back of very competitive mortgage rates and a job market in recovery. I suggested in my second-quarter report that the area would experience a “brisk summer housing market” and my forecast was accurate. As such, I have moved the needle a little more in favor of home sellers.

 

ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER

As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.

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New Home Surge

Sales of new homes have jumped to their highest levels in 14 years.

 

The annualized rate of single-family new construction homes is now at 901,000 according to the new Census Bureau report.

 

This means that across the U.S., at the current pace of sales, there will be almost 1,000,000 new homes built and sold over the next 12 months.

 

This pace is 36% higher than one year ago and the highest it has been since the end of 2006.

 

Given the low inventory levels of previously-owned homes that most of the Country is experiencing, this uptick in new home activity is welcome news.

new home

At Windermere Real Estate we are taking Safer at Home and Social Distancing very seriously.  Our people are following our Safe Showings protocol, staying connected to their clients, and providing help wherever needed.

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Zero Correlation

It’s an election year which means that our clients are asking us if election years impact real estate.

According to research done by Real Trends there is zero correlation between election years and the number of transactions in the market compared to non-election years.

They found that sales were down in 1980, 1988, and 2008 compared to prior years, and sales were up in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2012, and 2016.

To hear more about what will happen this year in real estate and the factors that really do impact our market, be sure to get registered for our annual Market Forecast event next week.

It’s time to register for our annual Market Forecast event.  We will be live at 5:30 on January 15th at the Wellshire Event Center.  Back by popular demand is our Chief Economist Matthew Gardner.  Save your seat HERE.

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