Source: Andrew Dodson of the Denver Business Journal
A lot happened in 2019 for the Denver real estate market. Here are a few highlights.
Opportunity Zone Projects
Investors and developers invested around $1 billion in opportunity zones, a plan known as a “once in a lifetime federal economic development program” that allows investors to defer and possibly eliminate capital gain taxes by investing in underdeveloped neighborhoods.
iBuyers Came to Denver
Zillow and Open-door bought hundreds of homes, allowing sellers to close in as little as week. Although we saw more of this is 2019, it actually represented only 1% of the housing market. As convenient as it may sound, ask one of us to tell you about the downfalls (hello 8-10% fees!)
Apartment-community Sales Galore
What happens when you mix low interest rates with increased rental rates? Apartment deals. New construction and old apartment buildings were traded frequently in 2019, including trading Union Denver to Daydream Apartments (with plans to utilize Airbnb ahead) and the iconic Poets Row on Cap Hill to a buyer that made contemporary updates to the vintage sites.
Broadway, Alameda Station Development
South Broadway is about to get a major addition. This 10-acre development will have 887 residential units, 380,000 square feet of office space and 180,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space across the five building layout! As for Alameda Station, 75 acres of land with 1.25 million square feet of retail/residential space will get an addition 8+ million square feet of development. Talk about big changes.
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.
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.
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: 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.
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: 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.
Source: Jeff Johnson and Andrew Monette of Pinnacle Real Estate Advisors
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.
Source: Sally Mamdooh of the Denver Channel
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.