2018 was without a doubt an explosive year for Denver’s residential real estate market. As the dust settles (figuratively, not literally), here at Love Your Hood we’re bringing to light the market conditions affecting current and future Denver homeowners.
Interest Rates Falling
Interest continue to fall this quarter, as they have since reaching a 2018 high in October last year. Falling mortgage rates mean more buying power. In Denver, lower borrowing rates along with other factors have driven the price of both attached and detached homes up consistently over the past three months.
Home Prices Starting Another Climb?
Jumping into sales price; the above graph visualizes the end of a brief lull in Denver home prices in the final quarter of last year. The final patches of snow are melting away, the flowers are in bloom and Denver’s real estate market is heating up too! After last year’s record-setting summer prices eased off largely in part to growth of Denver County’s inventory. Now, Denver is experiencing the opposite–Dropping inventory and rising median home prices. Will median housing prices reach the rates they did last summer?
Housing Inventory Retreating Once Again
Denver’s supply of inventory grew slowly but surely from last July to a nearly 2.75 months this February (the most inventory Denver county has on record since October of 2013!!) Median home prices dropped over that time as inventory rose. The above graph shows the last year of inventory with a sharp drop off after February. Compared to last year, though, inventory in Denver County is high…
More Inventory in Denver, Yet Less Homes Sold
If the cranes dominating the Denver skyline and the orange construction cones guiding you to work every day could be quantified on a graph: this would be it. The above graph shows inventory and sales over the past month compared to last March. Across the geographic area represented above, there is one bar that dominates the graph: active listings in Denver County. With a significant bump in available housing going into Spring of 2019, homebuyers will have a multitude of housing options. It’s even possible median home prices will soften this year compared to last.
Source: Laura Kusisto of the Wall Street Journal
Our nation’s economy experienced one of the strongest six month periods in decades during Q2 and Q3 of the past year. Yet, the housing market grew increasingly stagnant. The nationwide slowdown is led by the the same cities that have had the strongest growth following the previous recession: Seattle, Denver, New York City, Boston and the Bay Area. Wall Street Journal reporter Laura Kusisto states this decline as “the longest slump in more than four years.” Kusisto dives into further data, graphics and stories of how market pressures have affected new people in the full article.
Source: Bruce Finley of the Denver Post
A quick glance at this article’s title might merit a smug “duh” or “of course.” As a city grows, green space almost always disappears. However, based on research from The Denver Post, this is a critical issue for Denver residents. Based on aerial imaging and historical trends, Denver’s green space could drop to 30% of the total city by 2040. Only New York and a few “mega cities” exceed the rate at which Denver’s green space is being developed over. An arguably more important metric is the fact that Denver ranks last among major U.S. cities in park space as a percentage of total area. City planners and the Denver community as a whole are going to have to get creative to prevent these grey projections from becoming a concrete reality.
November home prices fell from the previous month, but still showed an increase of 7% from a year ago. The median November price of $465,588 is just shy of the yearly median home price. The bigger point to notice is the increase in housing inventory. While we’re still solidly in a sellers market, with 2.2 months of housing inventory (a 57% increase over this time last year), we’re steadily moving towards a more neutral market. It would be hard to not attribute some of this to the rising mortgage rates in a market that is continually becoming less affordable.
Source: Matt Vance of the Colorado Real Estate Journal
Standing on a downtown balcony, cranes are visible in every line of sight. But just how fast are we growing? 10,200 apartment units are in planning or under construction right now, which would grow the downtown apartment stock by a whopping 49 percent. Are we really growing that fast!?
The Colorado Real Estate Journal analyzed the jobs to apartment units ratio (how many new jobs are needed to fill one new apartment). With Denver’s jobs to apartment units ratio falling and more jobs entering the city, this means Denver’s population is shifting towards renters. The 10,200 new apartment units will may help Denver’s downtown keep up with the city’s influx of jobs.
Source: Andrew Kenney of the Denver Post
Whether it’s Denver’s ambitious Outdoor Downtown plan coming to life or simply repairs to the aging swing set at the park down the street from your home, big improvements are coming to Denver’s park system. The change comes in the form of over $45 million per year flowing into the parks department. The addition to the parks budget coincides with funding for nonprofits which provide mental health care, scholarships, and healthy food for children. It will all be paid for by an increase to the city’s sales tax of 0.66%, approved by 60% of Denver voters. Starting January 1st this parks budget boost will affect every neighborhood in the city.
Interest rates continue to rise, and September’s brief lull in rising median home prices and sales has disappeared. Prices in October have reached a quarterly high. While inventory is up over last year it is down from the past month. Buyers expecting to gain some leverage in what appeared to be a home market about to recede might have to readjust their budgets. Some of us may be letting out a sigh of relief that average prices are below the $500,000+ mark we reached this spring. However, October is a reminder that we still live in one of the most competitive real estate markets in the country.
Source: Aldo Svaldi of the Denver Post
Colorado residents are more than familiar with our state’s population surge in recent years. In fact, the state has grown nearly twice as fast as the U.S. population in the past decade.
Several factors are changing this:
- a slowing rate of state immigration,
- an aging population, and
- a birth rate below that of the 2.1 replacement rate
This leads to an uncertain future for Colorado’s economic and population growth. State demographer Elizabeth Garner offers further analysis and potential solutions in the full article.
Source: Ronda Kaysen of the New York Times
Imagine yourself a couple years into a solid career. With a few dollars saved up and a strong sense of belonging in your city, you decide it’s time to become a homeowner. Many of you reading are likely in this exact situation; with your dream home, a few kids, and several pay raises away, you’re looking for a starter home. Fit for your current lifestyle, this is a home where you plan to live for 5-10 years before moving into something “better.” It’s a reasonable plan, and even likely what your parents did.
However, this plan may not work out quiet the way you envision. With a rising interest rates, limited properties for sale, and rising sale prices, Americans are staying in their starter homes for longer. Are you are in the market for your first home? Are you trying to decide between a move or a renovation? Check out the full article to get versed in this trend.
Source: Ben Casselman of the New York Times
Denver residents are familiar with soaring housing prices and construction visible in almost every corner of our city. While the economy is in great shape, analysts believe the housing market is experiencing a plateau because the prices are finally at a level higher than most middle class buyers are willing to pay. Housing prices are up roughly 8% over the past year, showing growth at a declining pace. With average hourly wages up 6% over the past year, this trend makes sense. Economics writer Ben Casselman delivers further insight and figures in the full article.