2017 ended with a significant increase in rental prices. Rents were up compared to 2016, but the increases are modest compared to the 49% increase from five years ago! The majority of rent growth for 2017 happened in the second half of the year. Are we in for another year of increases or will things stabilize with more inventory hitting the market in the first and second quarter of 2018? Stay tuned…
Median Denver Metro Area Rents ($)
People keep saying rent is expensive in Denver. We have a map to prove it. When you dig into it, median rents are above $1,500 in all but one neighborhood for the fourth quarter. The hot spots shouldn’t be surprising with the exception of Greenwood Village. Denver Tech center living is getting more attractive as well as pricey!
2017 was another wild year for Denver real estate. If there were three ways to describe it, it would be: low inventory, low days on market, and multiple offers. All three descriptors attributed to rising home prices and frustrated buyers who are getting priced out of the market.
The Most and Least Expensive Denver Neighborhoods
The median sales price for all of Denver County reached $395k in 2017; a number that has nearly doubled from $200,000, just ten years ago. Hilltop ranked the most expensive neighborhood, with a MSP of $1,115,000 and Goldsmith ranked the most affordable with an MSP of $143k. Breaking it out further:
- 31% of Denver’s neighborhoods have an MSP of greater than $500,000.
- 64% of Denver’s hoods landed in the $250k-$500k range, and
- 5% of neighborhoods had an MSP of less than $250,000, making it tough for buyers with a limited budget.
Map of Median Sale Price by Denver Neighborhood
$143,000 – $1,115,000 is a large spread, there are still some affordable neighborhoods (and even a few opportunities to score a deal in more expensive neighborhoods). Either route you go, fast action, well crafted offers, and of course, a strong offer price are required to come out on top of the negotiations when buying a place.
View map in larger screen here.
Denver Neighborhoods that Appreciated the Most + Least in the Last Year
One of the most common questions we get asked is, “which neighborhoods can we expect to appreciate the most in the upcoming years?” We can’t predict the future but we can rely on past market activity to give us a general direction of where we’re headed. (more…)
Source: Sydney Bennet of Apartment List
Denver is officially one of 20 finalists for Amazon’s second headquarters. Some news sources, like the New York Times, even believe Denver is a likely pick. HQ2 would bring an additional 50,000 high-wage workers immediately, and 66,250 additional workers over a ten year period. That’s enough people to fill Mile High Stadium 1 1/2 times.
So what will happen in our already crunched housing market? Apartment List projected the rent growth for Denver would be between 0.8% and 1.1% per year. That’s an additional $7,700-11,500 more in renters will pay over a ten year period.
Even without Amazon’s HQ2, Denver will still experience significant job and rent increases as it becomes a thriving tech hub.
Read more of Apartment List’s full analysis on the impact of the proposed headquarters here:
Source: Ben Miller of Denver Business Journal
If you’ve already felt the financial pinch as a single home buyer in Denver, there’s now a report to confirm it. When you’re ready to buy a place to call home, plan on it taking an extra three years to save for the down payment over the national average. Another reason couples have it easier? 79% of homes in Denver are considered affordable for married couples versus a mere 17% being affordable for singles. The good news? It takes less than half the time to save for a down payment in Denver as it does in San Jose.
Let’s rewind, take a stroll down memory lane, and sift through 2017’s housing data…
Days on the Market and Inventory
The new year is here, but it forgot to bring new homes for sale along with it! The following two charts go hand in hand and help influence the median sale price. Notice any similarities? As buyer demand increases and the average days on the market decreases, inventory usually drops with it.
Dial back to 2012 and you can see we were in a neutral market and average days on the market were in the upper 60’s. Fast forward to the end of 2017 with inventory for detached, single-family homes at literally the all-time low. December saw a mere 800 detached and 839 attached homes (condos, townhomes) available for sale. That leaves Denver with a puny 1.5 months of inventory; still a strong seller’s market, with average days on the market lingering in the mid 20’s.
Inventory, nothing new here…
And the best real estate agent quote from the last five years goes to… “it’s a seller’s market!” Barring any domestic or global financial crisis, our inventory will remain low until Denver focuses on creating more “affordable” housing (i.e. dense condo projects). The city and state leaders need to make condo defect law reform a top priority for 2018. Stop putting bandaids on it. It’s time for a complete overhaul with both sides coming to the table to find a compromise that spurs condo development. If we can add 10-12k apartment units this year, there is absolutely no reason why we can’t increase our condo unit delivery rate to half that number by 2020.
Source: Jon Murray at The Denver Post
The Denver Green Roof Initiative passed on November 7th by 54.3% of voters, and became effective on Jan. 1st. Here’s a breakdown of what this means:
Reduce Denver’s urban heat island effect from heat radiating issues. This happens when human activity causes urban or metro areas to become significantly warmer than surrounding rural areas.
Rooftop gardens on all buildings with at least 25,000 square feet and residential buildings over 4 stories. Depending on building size, 20-60% of available roof space have to have green-roof coverage (industrial buildings only have to have 10%). –
- Cost for developers.
- Fees that will be charged for buildings that get variances.
- Watering requirements in Denver’s already dry climate.
- The major structural alterations that will be required to replace roofs on buildings that weren’t built for green roofs.
* This replacement clause is one of the biggest reasons that this initiative faces so much opposition and it makes Denver’s green-roof initiative the strictest in the nation. Toronto and San Francisco are considered “green-roof pioneers” but they do not require existing buildings to replace their roofs, only new ones.
So what’s next?
The city is implementing the initiative but changes are to be expected. In May, the city will re-evaluate what changes need to be made and as of right now, the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment is putting together a task force to review the initiative.
Source: National Association of Realtors
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was finalized on December 20, 2017 and went into effect after December 31, 2017. So what does this mean for you, as a current or potential homeowner? We give a breakdown on important numbers for current and potential homeowners here:
- $750k = limit on mortgage interest deduction (for mortgages issued after Dec. 15th, 2017)
- $10k = state and local deduction for income, sales, & property taxes
- $12k = standard deduction for single filers
- $24k = standard deduction for married filing jointly
- $0.00 = personal exemptions
- 2 out of 5 years = how long you have to live in a primary residence to qualify for capital gains exclusion
- 15% = max rate on capital gains (generally speaking)
Source: Kelcey McClung at the Denver Business Journal
Affordable housing options in Denver are scarce but there is a group that is doing something about it! A group of 8 funders have partnered to invest around $25 million to create over 700 affordable homes for low-income housing in the Denver area, within the next five years. Not only are they providing housing, the trust is also going to assist families in accessing early childhood education, workforce training and placement, healthcare, and wealth-building opportunities. This won’t completely solve the affordable housing problem but this is an AWESOME start!
Source: Caitlin Hendee at the Denver Business Journal
Real estate development is seeing a parking lot and turning it into a district, which is exactly what The Rockies are doing. The west parking lot at 19th and Wazee will be transformed into what will be known as “the Stadium District,” an impressive and dynamic mixed-used development that will connect LoDo to Union Station and RiNo. This block will have an outdoor plaza, the Rockies Hall of Fame facility, a hotel, retail, entertainment, residential, offices, and food and beverage spaces.
There are two words to sum up the real estate market in November: seasonal slowdown.
Proof of this seasonal slowdown is in the amount of homes that were available for buyers to choose from, the average days that these homes stayed on the market, and the median price of a detached, single-family home.
Inventory was at an all time low, which is nothing new here! With only 1,427 homes listed in November, we had 1.3 months of inventory available in Denver. The average time that these homes stayed on the market was 30 days (in October it was 27).
And let’s talk about prices. The median sales price for a detached, single-family home was $438,500, a $7,450 decrease from October. Although, that’s a welcomed breather from the continual price climb, it’s hardly enough to move the median price to a more affordable level.
Usually the narrative about low inventory revolves around how quickly and how much over list price these homes sell, but this past month was a little different. Yes, we did see some awesome homes go quickly and over list price with multiple offers, but we also experienced our buyers not willing to pull the trigger on a home as quickly. Why? Because they just didn’t have many homes to compare them to. And since these homes stayed on the market longer, sellers were more willing to accept offers below the list price, which explains the decrease in median sales price.
So does this mean that Denver was in a real estate bubble after all and you should be worried about it finally bursting? We are pretty confident in saying no to that question. This seasonal slowdown is most likely just that: seasonal. And it is totally normal. We are in the busiest time of the year with all the holiday festivities of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. If this year’s seasonal slowdown is anything like last year, the market will most likely keep slowing down over the next couple of months and then pick back up around March or April.
Now, if we could just get the snow to fall a little like the real estate prices have!