Interest rates continued climbing throughout the second quarter, while median home prices started a two month decline. The struggle to find a home for the average buyer is still very real, there are some emerging trends worth keeping an eye on. Is the market changing or is it an early seasonal correction?
Does the chart below remind you of the elevation gain during your last run? 2018’s interest rates started out at 3.9% and are currently at 4.57%. Most experts predict continued increases for the remainder of 2018. If you are currently under contract, a conversation with your lender to lock your rate should be priority number one.
The last time interest rates were at the 4.5% mark was in December of 2013. For those financing their purchase, increasing rates decrease buying power. For those on a budget, that means lowering your max price to accommodate the extra interest in your payment. (more…)
Source: Joe Rubino of the Denver Post
In the late 1940’s, Harold Hill opened his farm machinery business at 3100 Brighton Boulevard. At this time, the street was a dusty two-lane strip with warehouses and a foundry. The business is now Do-It-Ur-Self Plumbing & Heating Supply, owned by Harold’s grandson, Rick Hill. Over that time, Rick has seen the neighborhood transform from an industrial park to a vibrant hub of business, culture, and art.
On Brighton between 30th and 38th streets more than $55.8 million in commercial construction has been permitted. Hill calls Brighton: “one huge craps table.” While the city boasts the public infrastructure investment as kickstarting the surge of private investment, local developers Mickey and Kyle Zeppelin mention it was actually the private investment and the formation of the RiNo Arts District that attracted visitors to the district. Eventually, backing from the City of Denver followed. Overall, this largely collaborative effort between the City and local business owners has created a corridor that is easily accessible while holding true to it’s uniquely industrial roots.
A brief timeline:
Late 1940’s: Harold Hill opened farm machinery business at 3100 Brighton Boulevard
2000: Zeppelin Development company buys the former cab company hub just off Brighton and begins to lobby the city for Brighton Boulevard improvements. The Taxi Community has been growing constantly since
2003: The City of Denver creates its River North Plan, a vision for the RiNo Art District
2013: The Source market hall, the first business of its kind, opens at 3550 Brighton Blvd. in the aforementioned foundry
2016: Brighton Boulevard is still a two lane street with no curbs, drainage, limited sidewalks
October 2016: Brighton Boulevard construction begins
Spring 2018: Phase 1 of construction, between 29th and 40th Street to be completed. The cost of the redevelopment is $41 million. The RiNo Art District neighborhood advocacy organization estimates at least $85 million in private projects have gone up in the surrounding area
The three years of road construction have come with several challenges. The largest of which being reduced accessibility due to construction, which has driven traffic away from RiNo. Rebel Restaurant, a block from Brighton and 38th Street has announced it will close. Comida, a beloved tenant of The Source and Love Your Hood, has seen its business fall by $800,000 from October 2016-2017.
Josh Peebles, President of RiNo branch of Collegiate Peaks Bank, believes the public improvements will open the door to larger entities bringing their business to the neighborhood. Collegiate Peaks has financed more than $100 million in RiNo projects.
With the combination of local government and business support, Hill’s “craps table” has become one of the most promising of Denver’s many growing neighborhoods.
U.S. New Home Construction Expected to Fall 300,000 Units Short of Demand This Year, More Pressure for Home-starved Markets Like Denver
Source: Joe Rubino of the Denver Post
The National Association of Home Builders forecast new construction at 909,000 homes in the U.S. — a whopping 300,000 homes short of their projected demand, based on data gathered from Redfin. In Denver, median home prices have been hovering around $500K, with homes still flying off the market soon after being listed. Labeling Denver as a “seller’s market” in today’s environment is quite the understatement.
The biggest factors behind the housing shortage:
The cost of lumbar has risen 62% since the start of last year. Why? Tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber have driven the costs of new construction up by roughly $9,000.
Another factor behind the supply/demand gap are local regulations, such as the banning of slot-homes in Denver. These types of structures previously allowed developers to maximize the number of units on a lot by turning them sideways.
People, especially Millennials, love Denver. And they’re coming here in droves. Although there are signs that Denver’s popularity is waning, is it enough to ease the demand and close the gap in the housing shortage?
In the meantime, developers are focusing on attached developments, namely town homes. Last August in Denver, around 30% of new residential construction on the market were attached homes. With a changing demographic, economic, and regulatory environment in Denver, it appears that town homes and new urbanism will increasingly become the norm.
Niche scoured through heaps of data to rank the best places for Millennials in Denver (and across the country). They looked for neighborhoods with a high percentage of young adults, college grads, access to coffee shops, bars, and restaurants, cost of living, and more.
Here are their rankings of the 10 hottest Denver neighborhoods for Millennials, a ballpark of what it’s going to cost you to live there, and the ease of getting around:
As people migrate back to city centers, it’s no surprise that all top 10 neighborhoods for Millennials on Niche’s list have an urban feel with high walk scores. The bigger question is: are these neighborhoods still affordable for the majority of Millennials or will many of them be priced out of the market?
Check out Niche’s site for a complete list of rankings and the details on their methodology.
Source: Tara Siegel Bernard of the New York Times
Throughout the US there are countless people who would love to buy a home, but continue to pay that rent check to their landlord every month instead. Why is this?
For the average aspiring homeowner, the largest obstacle to overcome is the down payment. Several companies, including San Francisco-based Unison, have found an opportunity in this challenge: shared equity.
Shared equity allows homeowners to split their down payment with an investor in exchange for a piece of the appreciation when the home sells.
How shared equity benefits homeowners:
- Increase buying power
- Retain some of your savings and buy a home
- Avoid costly private mortgage insurance and high interest rates
The average loan to value (the percentage borrowed to purchase a home) for a first-time homeowner is 92.6%. Homebuyers who borrow more than 80% of a home’s value upfront are seen as risky by lenders. Traditionally, they overcome this with unfavorable interest rates and mortgage insurance. Shared equity allows for buyers to afford a large enough downpayment to avoid these costs.
The downside? By sharing equity with a firm like Unison, a home buyer saves upfront but ends up giving up a cut of their proceeds from sale if their home has increased in value.
Regardless of whether you are the type to give up some of your equity to allow an outside investor to alleviate some of the capital-intensiveness of home buying, shared equity is catching on. Unison invested alongside 450 homebuyers last year, and they project to invest with roughly 2,500-3,000 more people in 2018.
Check out the full article to dig deeper into the mechanics of shared equity.
Rising interest rates along with the Federal Reserves recent rate hike announcements should help cool Denver’s crazy housing market, right? In reality it’s actually tightening it up a bit. Buyers are starting to feel pressure on their budget not just from rising home prices but now increasing interest rates are reducing their buying power. Month’s of inventory keeps decreasing as consumption keeps increasing. We suppose the old saying, “get em’ while they’re hot!” applies this summer.
$512,250!?! Yes, that’s exactly how we said it when we saw the median prices for single-family, detached homes. We surely thought it was a mistake in our computations, but just like Santa we checked it twice. Home prices have been climbing a proverbial 14er since January, where they’re up a whopping 15.1% from this time a year ago. Interest rates are trending up, but buyer demand is still strong with inventory trickling down to 1.2 months. The length of time it’s taking homes to sell took a dramatic dive down to 20 days, almost a week shorter than the previous month. 88 more homes sold in April compared with March, indicating demand is just waiting for new inventory to hit the market.
Source: Jon Murray of the Denver Post
Denver City Council unanimously approved zoning code changes preventing future development of sideways facing slot homes. The change has been a long time coming for some Denver residents but it will only affect future building permit approvals. There are several projects still in the pipeline that will be grandfathered in before the new zoning takes place. The change would require new developments to orient the building toward the street connecting it to the neighborhood better. Berkley, Jefferson Park, and West Colfax have the highest concentration of slot homes in Denver. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, in this article there are great before and after satellite views showing how the neighborhood has changed.
Source: Aldo Svaldi of the Denver Post
Denver’s popularity is in question for the first time in many years. After waves of people moved to the metro area in the last decade, the spark is starting to sizzle. Why? For many, it’s becoming too expensive and too crowded. Denver lead the way as the country rebounded from the Great Recession. Young workers flocked to Denver for job opportunities and recreation heaven. As the unemployment rate in the rest of the country has dropped, Denver’s luster is starting to fade. Median home prices are becoming out of reach, leaving natives and newcomers with thoughts of ditching Denver for greener pastures.
Some good news for Denver renters — the rental market appears to be cooling down a little bit! As we head into our peak rental season expect rental rates to remain close to the same or increase ever so slightly. The exception to this will be sought after, hot neighborhoods where people are willing to pay a premium for a high walk score.
Denver two year look back for median rental rates.
The first quarter started out relatively flat compared to the sharp increase seen at the beginning of 2017. New apartments have steadily been hitting the Denver market, helping to slow the rent increases we’ve been accustomed to. As we get into prime leasing season (May – August) we would expect to see a very slight increase for three and four bedroom units, since new units of this size aren’t being built as frequently as their smaller counterparts. One and two bedroom rent will likely remain flat and could even show a small drop due to the new inventory hitting the market each month.
Median Denver Metro Area Rents ($)
As we look at median rental rates around the metro area, one neighborhood that sticks out is Union Station (LoDo). Why? The 1 year change was -0.9%, mainly due to the increased competition from new rental units hitting the market. The 5-year change was only 1.7% — proof that added density and inventory is what Denver needs to curb rising rents.
View map in larger screen here.
Note: Think of this map as a 30,000 feet view of the rental prices in Denver. You can click on each neighborhood for exact numbers and year-over-year statistics.