What the Numbers Say

During a time of varying opinions and heavy speculation about the Front Range real estate market, let’s see what the actual numbers are telling us:

Inventory is up significantly year over year:

  • Larimer County = +48%
  • Weld County = +52%
  • Metro Denver = +74%

However, supply is still low as measured by months of inventory:

  • Larimer County = 1.1 Months
  • Weld County = 1 Month
  • Metro Denver = 1 Month

Transaction count is down as the pace of sales is slowing:

  • Larimer County = -24%
  • Weld County = -15%
  • Metro Denver = -19%

Yet, average prices are still up versus last year:

  • Larimer County = +18%
  • Weld County = +10%
  • Metro Denver = +14%

The post What the Numbers Say appeared first on Fort Collins Real Estate | Fort Collins Homes for Sale & Property Search.

What the Numbers Say

During a time of varying opinions and heavy speculation about the Front Range real estate market, let’s see what the actual numbers are telling us:

Inventory is up significantly year over year:

  • Larimer County = +48%
  • Weld County = +52%
  • Metro Denver = +74%

However, supply is still low as measured by months of inventory:

  • Larimer County = 1.1 Months
  • Weld County = 1 Month
  • Metro Denver = 1 Month

Transaction count is down as the pace of sales is slowing:

  • Larimer County = -24%
  • Weld County = -15%
  • Metro Denver = -19%

Yet, average prices are still up versus last year:

  • Larimer County = +18%
  • Weld County = +10%
  • Metro Denver = +14%

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With a “T”

One of the reasons we are so confident about the long-term health of the market is because of the equity that exists in peoples’ homes today.

Because there is so much equity, there are very few homeowners who are ‘underwater’ with a loan that is more than the actual value of the property.

According to the latest ‘Homeowner Equity Insights’ report from CoreLogic, only 2.3% of all homes are ‘underwater’ with negative equity.

To put that in perspective, in the fourth quarter of 2009, 26% of all mortgaged properties had negative equity.

Nationally, homeowner equity has increased by $2.9 Trillion during the last 12 months (that’s Trillion with a ‘T’)!

Locally, only 1.4% of Colorado mortgage holders have negative equity, which is one of the lowest rates in the Country.

What this all means is very, very few distressed sales and overall health in the real estate market.

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Staggering Stat

By definition, a real estate market is balanced when there is 4 to 6 months of inventory currently for sale.

Anything less than 4 to 6 months means a Sellers’ market, anything more means a Buyers’ market.

For example, if there are 1,000 closings per month in a market, the market would be balanced if 4,000 to 6,000 homes were available for sale.

Here is a staggering stat for you…

At the current pace of sales, the Front Range market would need 6 to 7 times more inventory for the market to be balanced.

This is why we don’t see any sort of significant market correction or anything resembling ‘the market crashing.’ Bottom line, the market is still undersupplied.

Here are the numbers:

• Larimer County has 441 properties for sale and would need 2,200 to be balanced.
• Weld County has 322 properties for sale and would need 2,000 to be balanced.
• Metro Denver has 3,023 properties for sale and would need 20,000 to be balanced.

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Calculated Risk

The economic research blog called “Calculated Risk” just completed a fascinating study on home prices.

Specifically, they looked at the correlation between home price growth and inventory.

They used price data from the Case-Shiller Home Price Index and inventory data from the National Association of Realtors.

No surprise, they found that the lower the inventory the higher the home price growth.  Also no surprise, as inventory goes up, price growth slows down.

This all correlates with simple economic rules of supply and demand.

The interesting part of their research is this:  at a certain level of inventory, prices have the potential to go down.

That level, according to their research, is six months of inventory.

That means, prices don’t have a chance of decreasing in a market until there is at least 6 months of inventory available for sale.

To put that in perspective, today there is two weeks of inventory on the market along the Front Range.

So, there would need to be 12 times the amount of homes for sale on the market for prices to even have a chance to go down.

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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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Job Bounce

“How could the real estate market be so strong in the middle of a pandemic?”

That is a fair question and one we hear frequently from our clients.

There are several reasons for this but two stand out.

  • Interest rates
  • Jobs

Employment has bounced back much quicker than most people expected.  When COVID first showed up, the expectation was that many industries would be hit hard for a prolonged period of time.

The reality is that only a few industries were severely impacted by COVID and the rest were able to get back to a near-normal level of business relatively fast.

Additionally, what we find along the Front Range is that our ‘job bounce’ is even better than the national average.

 

Here are the numbers…

The COVID-peak unemployment rate for the Front Range looked like this:

  • Larimer County = 11.1%
  • Weld County = 10.1%
  • Metro Denver = 12.3%

Today it looks like this:

  • Larimer County = 5.2%
  • Weld County = 5.2%
  • Metro Denver = 6.4%

 

Nationally, unemployment peaked at 14.8% and now stands at 6.7%.

So, a main reason why demand is high now is because jobs have bounced back, and the bounce is even higher than the average across the country.

Bounce

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Pendings are Popping

Temperatures may be cooling off but the Front Range real estate market is not.

 

Typically the market starts to slow down a bit in the Fall after a hot Spring and Summer.

 

Not this year.

 

The indicator we use to measure future closed sales is current pending sales.

 

Simply, we look at the number of properties under contract and scheduled to close versus the same time last year.

 

Current pending sales are way up along the Front Range when measured against 2019:

 

Metro Denver up 34.1%

Larimer County up 48.6%

Weld County up 50.2%

Based on these numbers, closed sales numbers over the next 60 days will be very strong.

bubbles

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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Forbearance Falls

The number of loans in forbearance just fell to their lowest level since mid-April.

 

This is good news for the real estate market.

 

Less and less people are seeking payment relief on their mortgages.

 

The number of loans currently in forbearance stands at 7.16%.

 

This news coincides with the U.S. Unemployment Rate falling to it’s lowest level in 5 months as more people are getting their jobs back.

 

The economy has added back roughly half of the 22.2 million jobs that were lost in March and April of this year.

waterfall

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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Rebound

The Case-Shiller Home Price Index tracks appreciation in the 20 largest real estate markets across the U.S.

 

Their most recent quarterly report was just released this week.

 

Metro Denver prices are up over last year by 3.89% which is just slightly higher than the average of the 20 markets.

 

It is interesting to see how the 20 locations have performed since the pre-Great Recession housing peak.

 

Turns out that Denver has done the best out of all the markets.

 

Since 2008, Denver home prices have appreciated 64.9%.  Second-best is Dallas at 55.5% and Seattle is third at 41.2%.

 

Believe it or not, there are markets where average home prices have still not returned to their 2008 levels.

 

Las Vegas is 14.5% below 2008 and Chicago is 12.8% below.

 

These numbers are another indicator of the long-term health and performance of the Front Range market.

basketball

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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