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.
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.
There is an abundance of great news when it comes to employment in Colorado.
The unemployment rate is incredibly low at 2.7% which is almost a full percentage point lower than the U.S. average.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Metro Denver added 28,300 jobs over the last year which ranks 15th out of all metropolitan areas nation-wide, many of which have much larger populations than Denver.
While this is positive news, what is even more remarkable is what is happening in the other, smaller cities along the Front Range.
Anytime job growth exceeds 2.0% per year, it is a sign of a very healthy economy.
Here is what the other Cities have seen in terms of job growth over the last 12 months.
• Fort Collins 2.6%
• Greeley 2.5
• Colorado Springs 1.9%
This is a Tale of Two Counties.
When it comes to new home activity, there is a big difference between Larimer and Weld Counties.
Larimer County’s new home starts are down 10% and new home closings are down 15% compared to last year.
Weld County’s new home starts are up 18% and new home closings are up 8% compared to last year.
This is all according to the new home research experts and Metrostudy.
So why the difference? It comes down to price and availability.
There is more land available for new home development in Weld County.
Plus, the land tends to be less-expensive than Larimer which means that builders can deliver a lower-priced product and reach a larger pool of buyers.
The average price of a new home in Larimer County is $507,105 while the average new home price in Weld is $411,269.
The following analysis of the Metro Denver & Northern Colorado real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact your Windermere real estate agent.
Colorado’s economy picked up, adding 64,900 new non-agricultural jobs over the past 12 months — a growth rate of 2.4%. Over the past three months, the state added an impressive 28,300 new jobs.
In August, the state unemployment rate was 2.8%, down from 3.4% a year ago. Unemployment rates in all the counties contained in this report were lower than a year ago. It is fair to say that all markets are now at full employment.
- In the third quarter of 2019, 17,562 homes sold. This is an increase of 5.1% compared to the third quarter of 2018 but 1.6% lower than the second quarter (which can be attributed to seasonality). Pending sales — a sign of future closings —rose 9.7%, suggesting that closings in the final quarter of 2019 are likely to show further improvement.
- Seven counties contained in this report saw sales growth, while four saw sales activity drop. I am not concerned about this because all the markets that experienced slowing are relatively small and, therefore, subject to significant swings.
- I was pleased to see an ongoing increase in the number of homes for sale (+16.9%), which means home buyers have more choice and feel less urgency.
- Inventory levels are moving higher, and demand for housing appears to be quite strong. As I predicted last quarter, home sales rose in the third quarter compared to a year ago.
- Home prices continue to trend higher, with the average home price in the region rising 3.8% year-over-year to $477,776.
- Interest rates are at very competitive levels and are likely to remain below 4% for the balance of the year. As a result, prices will continue to rise but at a more modest pace.
- Appreciation was again strongest in Park County, where prices rose 7.8%. We also saw strong growth in Weld County, which rose 7.4%. Home prices dropped in Clear Creek County, but, as mentioned earlier, this is a small market so I don’t believe this is indicative of an ongoing trend.
- Affordability remains an issue in many Colorado markets and this will act as a modest headwind to ongoing price growth.
DAYS ON MARKET
- The average number of days it took to sell a home in the markets contained in this report rose seven days compared to the third quarter of 2018.
- The amount of time it took to sell a home rose in all counties compared to the third quarter of 2018.
- It took an average of 30 days to sell a home in the region — an increase of 1 day compared to the second quarter of this year.
- The Colorado housing market is still performing well, and the modest increase in the length of time it took to sell a home is a function of greater choice in homes for sale and buyers taking a little longer to choose a home.
This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors.
For the third quarter of 2019, I continue the trend I started last summer and have moved the needle a little more in favor of buyers. I continue to closely monitor listing activity to see if we get any major bumps above the traditional increase because that may further slow home price growth. However, the trend for 2019 will continue to be a move toward a more balanced market.
ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER
As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.
In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.
Some fascinating research from the Denver Metro Association of Realtors…
37% of properties that sold last month along the Front Range had a price reduction at some point during the listing period.
Property owners who have to reduce their price take an average of 58 days to receive an offer.
Those who don’t have to reduce their price only take 13 days.
This stat obviously speaks to the importance of pricing your property right on day one.
We have our pulse on the high-end luxury market.
The activity in price ranges over $1,000,000 is an effective indicator of the health of the overall market.
If buyers for luxury properties are active, it tells us that “smart money” is confident about real estate in Northern Colorado.
So far this year, 107 luxury properties have sold in Larimer and Weld Counties. Last year at this time 93 had sold and in 2017 it was only 56.
It seems “smart money” is confident.
If you want to see even more insights about the Colorado market so that you can make really good decisions about your real estate, you are welcome to watch this complimentary webinar, just click HERE.
Fort Collins | |
For home sellers who would like to move to a new home this year, there is a window of time that is closing as we head into the Fall months.
Most people know that the Spring and Summer are the most active months for real estate and that activity trails off into the Fall and Winter.
Here are the specific numbers behind this…
The number of homes sold along the Front Range in November tends to be between 15% and 29% lower than September.
That means the best window of time for current sellers to obtain a contract from a buyer and close by the end of the year will occur over the next 45 days.
For sellers who have homes on the market today, it is time to ensure that:
- The home is priced right versus the competition
- All of the marketing elements are in place
- It is easy for a buyer to make an offer on the home
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So how much real estate is sold in Northern Colorado?
As it turns out, a lot!
Last month alone there were 1,099 single family homes that sold in Larimer and Weld Counties
The average price was $429,144 which means the total sales volume for one month was $471,629,129 (almost a half a billion)!
Over the last 12 months, just over $4.5 billion worth of single-family homes have sold.
That’s a lot of real estate!
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