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.
Source: Ed Sealover of Denver Business Journal
We desperately need more housing to make things more affordable around here and you would think that everyone would agree. To our surprise, there is a group that is actually fighting for more restrictions on residential growth for 10 Colorado counties, including Denver. Initiative 66 is attempting to regulate new housing by limiting the number of housing permits that can be issued.
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: 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: 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.
Source: Denver Business Journal
Denver real estate has thrown us an interesting curve ball and we love where it’s taking us. Golden Triangle, one of Denver’s oldest neighborhoods, is the most expensive area to rent (we’re talking median rent of $2,100 for a one bedroom!). The art scene, local restaurants and bars, and all of the happening festivities draw people into this culturally rich, upscale neighborhood. But wait for it….
It may be ridiculously pricey to rent in Golden Triangle, but it’s not ridiculously pricey if you want to buy, with properties for sale starting at $219k.* Which means you can buy in this hood and have a mortgage that is less than the median rent. We’ll take it!
*at the time this article was written.