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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

U.S. new home construction expected to fall 300,000 units short of demand this year, more pressure for home-starved markets like Denver

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:
Lumbar costs

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.

Local Regulations

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. 

Migration

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.

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The Hottest Denver Neighborhoods for Millennials

Source: Niche

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.

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Rental rates based on March 2018 numbers detailed in our first quarter rental market breakdown. Medial home prices based on 2017 prices complied in our semi-annual neighborhood stats.

Getting down payment help now. Sharing home’s gain (or loss) later.

Source: Tara Siegel Bernard of the New York Times

Getting down payment help now. Sharing home’s gain (or loss) later.

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.

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Rising Rates Not Slowing Buyer Demand for Homes in Denver

Denver Real Estate Market Snapshot - May 2018
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!?! Denver Home Prices Reaching New Highs

Denver Real Estate Market Snapshot - April 2018

$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.

Denver council outlaws slot homes after years of neighborhood outcry

Source: Jon Murray of the Denver Post

Denver Slot Home Crack Down Comes Too Late

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.

 

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Is Denver’s Popularity Fading? More People Looking to Move out Than in

Source: Aldo Svaldi of the Denver Post

Is Denver's Popularity Waning? More Moving Out Than In

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.

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Some Much Needed Relief for Denver Renters

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, Colorado Rental Rates Q1 2018

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.

Denver Median Rental Rates by Bedroom Q1 2018

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.
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Real Estate Investors Will Benefit From New Tax Law

Source: Jeff Johnson and Andrew Monette of Pinnacle Real Estate Advisors

Real Estate Investors Will Benefit From New Tax Law

Do you invest in real estate? If so, we have great news for you! The largest tax system overhaul in 30 years will benefit most real estate investors. Let’s shed some light on a few of the less apparent changes in the new tax code:

There will be no new restrictions on 1031 exchanges.

Unfamiliar with IRC Section 1031? It allows real estate investors to postpone paying taxes on gains, so long as those profits are reinvested into bundles containing property similar to the one they profited on. Keeping this section in place favors real estate investments over other opportunities.

Several changes were made to the way equipment and other improvements are depreciated.

For residential owners, nonaffixed appliances and furniture can be fully expensed in the first year. The same is now true for property that falls under MACRS with a life of 20 years or less, computer software, water utility property, and other qualified improvements. The last depreciation change the article mentions is the increased cap for immediate expensing of tangible personal property from $500,000 to $1,000,000.

A pass-through tax deduction, or bonus depreciation has been created.

This allows for sole proprietors and investors using pass-through entities to enjoy a 20% deduction on taxable income. A pass-through entity is one that allows investors to set up an entity to relieve liability of themselves, while “passing” their revenue through that entity to themselves before paying taxes at their personal rate.

As a result of the new tax code, the authors of this article predict a shift in investment from equities to real property both in the Denver market and Across the United States.

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How to Avoid Being Scammed on Your Next Rental

Source: Sally Mamdooh of the Denver Channel

How to Avoid Being Scammed on Your Next Rental

While browsing listing sites for a rental property to call home, Stephanie and Matthew Leschen stumbled upon a Trulia listing they thought could be the one. A man claiming to be the listing agent sent the Leschen’s a security code to the home, and they went to tour the place by themselves. Several conversations and a $3,400 later, Matthew and Stephanie found out they were the victims of a rental scam.

Unfortunately, this is not the only instance of such a scam. Watch the video below to see the rest of the Leschen’s story, and incorporate our tips for avoiding a scam into your next search for a rental home.

 

Tips for avoiding a rental scam
Do your research.

Trulia, like many apartment listing services, is widely used and trusted. However, this does not prevent scammers from posing as real estate agents. View the listing agency’s website and verify their legitimacy by searching for reviews and testimonials from other independent sources.

Beware of agents who ask for money before they show you an apartment or home.

An “admission” cost for a showing or open house should be an immediate red flag.

Meet with a landlord or listing agent in person.

A legitimate agency will always be willing to send an agent or manager out to a property to meet with you.

Beware of unusually high fees or security deposits.

Application fees are commonplace in a competitive market. However, if you are asked to pay a security deposit that is several times higher than one month’s rent, or to pay fees that seem unreasonably high, this is cause for concern. A legitimate agency will clearly explain any and all deposits and fees for you.

 

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