Leading Indicator

We are watching close to see where the real estate market is headed. Anecdotally we can tell you that the vast majority of transactions that are under contract are still closing. We have seen very few transactions cancel because of employment issues or the wild swings of the stock market.

An interesting leading indicator was announced this week that sheds some light as to where the market is headed. Each week the Mortgage Bankers Association releases their index which tracks new mortgage applications.

They track both purchase applications and refinance applications. To no one’s surprise, the index was down this week but not as much as you may have guessed.

New purchase applications were down 11% compared to the same week this last year. Refinance activity fell more sharply, down 34%.

This is a statistic we will watch closely as time goes on.

Continue reading 

Posted on April 6, 2020 at 8:00 am
Jon Holsten | Category: Northern Colorado Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , , ,

Coronavirus Protections for Home Buyers

 

As the situation develops with the COVID-19 pandemic, Windermere Real Estate is dedicated to taking steps to reduce the spread of the virus while continuing to work with home buyers. To help with this process, here are some ways you as a home buyer can keep yourself and others safe during the buying process.

 

WHEN TOURING HOMES

❱ Only tour the property if you feel healthy.

❱ Ask your Windermere agent to show you the property instead of attending an open house.

❱ Drive separately from your agent to the property.

❱ Be considerate of the seller’s home and wash or sanitize your hands before entry, touching as little as necessary. While many sellers will likely provide it, bring your own hand sanitizer and use before and after you tour the home. You might also consider wearing disposable gloves for further safety.

❱ Ask your agent to confirm with the seller’s agent that they have not recently been sick or in contact with someone suspected of having COVID-19.

❱ Sellers often ask you to take off your shoes when you tour their home or wear protective booties that have been provided. Consider bringing your own booties and throwing them away when you’ve finished touring.

❱ Be mindful of how much you touch things in the home and minimize contact with doors and hand railings.

❱ Reduce the amount of time spent with other people in the same room. This “social distancing” practice can curb person-to-person spread.

DO NOT TOUR HOMES IF

❱ If you are currently self-quarantined because of illness or other reasons, you should not tour homes in person. Ask your Windermere agent to video chat with you while they tour the home so you can see it virtually.

❱ Do not view homes when you’re sick, feeling like you’re about to be sick, or getting over an illness.

❱ We do not recommend touring homes after returning from international travel or travel that exposed you to a large group of people in close quarters, like large events.

Posted on April 5, 2020 at 8:00 am
Jon Holsten | Category: Buying, Northern Colorado Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , ,

Coronavirus Protections for Home Sellers

 

Before you decide to sell, be sure to seriously consider the risks of putting your home on the market right now. Talk with your Windermere agent to discuss your options.

 

❱ While open houses generate interest and traffic, groups are hard to control, and we want to practice “social distancing” when we can. We recommend only allowing showings by appointment; this ensures that only serious buyers enter your home, reducing possible spreading of the virus.

 

❱ Consider vacating the property from list date to offer review date by staying with family or friends or at a short-term rental.

 

❱ Wipe down surfaces following every showing of your home.

 

❱ If you start to feel sick or have knowledge that you have been in contact with someone suspected to have COVID-19, take your home off the market immediately.

 

❱ Ask your agent to pre-screen buyers before they enter your home to ensure they aren’t ill and have not potentially been exposed to the virus.

 

❱ Place a placard in the entry of your home requesting that any person who has recently been ill or may have been in the company of someone who is suspected to have COVID-19 to not enter your home.

 

❱ Provide hand sanitizer throughout your home.

 

❱ It’s common for sellers to provide protective booties for buyers who tour the home; consider also providing disposable gloves.

 

❱ Leave interior doors open so that buyers who tour the home don’t have to touch the handles when entering rooms.

 

❱ Disinfect your home with proper cleaning supplies after every open house.

Posted on April 4, 2020 at 8:00 am
Jon Holsten | Category: Northern Colorado Real Estate, Selling, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Health Crisis not Housing Crisis

Here is the latest video from our Chief Economist Matthew Gardner.  It’s full of great nuggets about what is happening in the economy and the real estate market today.  Just click the image below to play the video.

Posted on April 3, 2020 at 5:09 pm
Jon Holsten | Category: Northern Colorado Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , ,

Bubble Burst

Every so often we will hear a concern that another housing bubble is forming.

To help answer that question it’s valuable to look at the reasons that caused the last one.

There were three main drivers of the bubble that burst in 2008:

  1. Easy Credit – loans were very easy to attain
  2. Over-Leverage – people were using their homes at ATM’s
  3. Over-Supply – too many new homes were being built

Now, let’s compare that to today:

  1. Stricter Credit – the average home buyer today has a FICO score of 755
  2. High Equity – collectively, U.S. homeowners have $19 Trillion of equity in their homes and collective mortgage debt has not increased for 13 years
  3. Under-Supply – today we are building only two-thirds of the new homes being built in 2004 yet the population is much higher

Given this healthy information, we don’t see another housing bubble forming today.

If you would like to see a video recap of our annual Market Forecast you can watch that HERE.

Posted on March 25, 2020 at 8:00 am
Jon Holsten | Category: Buying, Fort Collins Real Estate, Housing Trends, Northern Colorado Real Estate, Selling, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Finding Your New Home in Four Steps

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or you currently own and are looking for a new home, the ideas below will help you better navigate that all-important first step: Finding a property that is both appealing and affordable.

 

The search for a new home always starts out with a lot of excitement. But if you haven’t prepared, frustration can soon set in, especially in a competitive real estate market. The biggest mistake is jumping into a search unfocused, just hoping to “see what’s available.” Instead, we recommend you first take some time to work through the four steps below.

 

Step 1: Talk to your agent

Even if you’re just thinking about buying or selling a house, start by consulting your real estate agent. An agent can give you an up-to-the-minute summary of the current real estate market, as well as mortgage industry trends. They can also put you in touch with all the best resources and educate you about the next steps, plus much more. If you are interested in finding an experienced agent in your area, we can connect you here.

 

Step 2: Decide how much home you can afford

It may sound like a drag to start your home search with a boring financial review, but when all is said and done, you’ll be glad you did. With so many people competing to buy what is available, it’s far more efficient to focus your search on the properties you can afford. A meeting or two with a reputable mortgage agent should tell you everything you need to know.

 

Step 3: Envision your future

Typically, it takes at least five years for a home purchase to start paying off financially—which means—the better your new home suits you, the longer you’ll most likely remain living there.

Thinking of your near future, what life events do you anticipate in the next five or six years? If you’re planning to add to the family or change careers, or even rent out a portion of your home to others, share this information with your real estate agent. They will be able to help you evaluate your current and future needs to help find the best home that you can grow into.

 

Step 4: Visualize your ideal home

When it comes to this step, be realistic. It’s easy to get carried away dreaming about all the home features you want. Try listing everything on a piece of paper, then choose the five “must-haves,” and the five “really-wants.”

For more tips, as well as advice geared specifically to your situation, connect with an experienced Windermere Real Estate agent by clicking here.

Posted on March 17, 2020 at 8:00 am
Jon Holsten | Category: Buying, Fort Collins Real Estate, Northern Colorado Real Estate, Timnath Real Estate, Wellington Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate, Windsor Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

A History Lesson

With the stock market on a wild ride and the Dow Jones dropping nearly 1,000 points yesterday, it makes some people wonder if the local real estate market might also crash or at least “correct.”

A little history lesson is in order.

Over the last 40 years, the real estate market along the Front Range has averaged 5.5% appreciation per year.

The highest appreciation in one year was 15.9% in 1994.

The lowest ever was -4.0% in 1982.

The last time Wall Street was in turmoil and the stock market was plummeting was 2008.  This was, for many reasons, the worst economy of our lifetime.

That year real estate along the Front Range dropped 2.2%.

Meanwhile that year the Dow Jones fell 33.8%.

Bottom line, our market has no history of crashing or even experiencing a major correction.

Why is that?

The answer is fundamentals.

Our local economy has inherent fundamentals that insulate it from big downturns.

We have an incredibly diverse economy which is not reliant upon a single industry.  We have all the way from health care, to technology, agriculture, oil and gas, major universities, and financial services (just to name a few).

We are a global destination with a major international airport.

Oh, and the quality of life here isn’t too shabby.

Prices of real estate, just like prices of anything, come down to basic economic principles of supply and demand.

Because of our diverse economy and desirable quality of life, there has been strong, consistent demand for housing along the Front Range.

While there may be little bumps along the way, over the long term our market has proven that it performs.

Posted on March 13, 2020 at 5:56 pm
Jon Holsten | Category: Living, Northern Colorado Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , , , ,

Refresh Your Bathroom into a Spa

With some creative thinking and a few do-it-yourself projects, you too can transform an everyday bathroom into a spa-like experience:

 

High-end shower head

There are a plethora of shower head options available today that can make even a simple shower space feel like a luxuriating experience.

 

Heated towel rack

Once out of the tub/shower, heated towels help you comfortably maintain your body temperature while the pampering continues.

 

Dimmable lights

Adjust the bathroom lights to match your moods and activities: brighter for primping, and dimmed to create a calming effect.

 

Less clutter

Not everything that’s meant for the bathroom needs to be stored in the bathroom. Look for things that can be moved elsewhere to make the space feel a bit bigger and more organized.

 

Calming scents

Essential oils, luxury soaps, and scented candles are an easy way to create an aromatic atmosphere of luxuriousness.

Posted on February 26, 2020 at 8:00 am
Jon Holsten | Category: Living, Northern Colorado Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Affordability

Housing affordability is a hot topic especially after the strong price appreciation that has occurred in our market over the last 7 years.

Here’s some interesting research on affordability…

Each quarter the National Association of Home Builders measures affordability in hundreds of markets across the Country.

Their method is to count the number of homes in a market that could be purchased with that particular market’s median income.

For example, San Francisco is the least-affordable market where only 8.4% of the homes could be purchased with their median income.

The most-affordable is Monroe, Michigan where 95.3% of the homes could be purchased with their median income.

Guess where all of the 10 least-affordable markets are.  California!

Guess where almost all of the 10 most-affordable markets are.  The rust belt (cities in Michigan, Ohio, upstate New York, etc.)

The U.S. average is 63.6%.

Metro Denver comes in at 55.3% and Northern Colorado at 54.5%.

So, roughly half of the homes in our market could be purchased with our local median income.

Posted on February 21, 2020 at 8:00 am
Jon Holsten | Category: Buying, Fort Collins Real Estate, Homes for Sale, Housing Trends, Northern Colorado Real Estate, Selling, Timnath Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , ,

Supply and Demand

Northern Colorado gave us a real-life economics lesson in January 2020.Compared to one year ago…

  • Inventory was down 10% (Supply)
  • Homes under contract went up 31% (Demand)
  • Prices were up 5% (Result)

 

If you would like to see a video recap of our annual Market Forecast you can watch that HERE.

Posted on February 18, 2020 at 8:00 am
Jon Holsten | Category: Fort Collins Real Estate, Northern Colorado Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , ,