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2018 Northern Colorado Real Estate Forecast

2018 Northern Colorado Real Estate Forecast

The 2018 real estate market forecast is much the same as in recent years.  That is, Colorado still has a growing economy, there continues to be a large amount of people moving to the Front Range, home values are still increasing and overall things are looking good for the long term.  The main difference is that while these positive factors are consistent, they will improve at an increasingly slower pace.

The real estate market in 2017 had continued growth as predicted (see 2017 Northern Colorado Real Estate Forecast).  For Northern Colorado, the median home price rose 10.8%, year over year as of November 2017, according to data from IRES MLS®.  Looking ahead to 2018 will read much the same way as it has in the last couple of years.  That is, since 2015, while property values are increasing, they are doing so at a steadily slower rate.  For 2018 it is predicted that home values will appreciate at a rate of 3%-5% for the greater Denver area, according to the 2018 Colorado Business Economic Outlook.  Research compiled in this report, put out annually by the Leeds School of Business at University of Colorado in Boulder, shows that there are many contributing factors to our current real estate market.  Below are a few of the highlights from their research.

Colorado’s Economy: 

Colorado is one of the top 10 producing states in the country.  Our state ranked 3rd in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2017, up from 4th place in 2016.  As of September 2017, Colorado’s labor force increased 3.7%, year over year.  This is the fastest labor force increase in the country.  It is projected that job growth will continue at a slower rate in 2018 with a total of 47,100 new jobs vs. 56,300 jobs created in 2017.  Most of the job growth for 2018 is expected to be in Education and Health Services; Professional and Business Services; and Trade, Transportation and Utilities.  However, growth is expected in all sectors.

Additionally, Colorado’s unemployment rate is at 2.5%, the second lowest rate nationally.  This is a great improvement since 2010 when the unemployment rate was 8.7%.  This speaks to a strong and growing economy.

Colorado’s Population Growth:

Colorado continues to have a significant amount of people moving to the area.  The most recent data in 2016 shows a net migration (in-migration minus out-migration) of 60,000, ranking Colorado with the sixth highest rate in the country.  It is projected that the net migration for 2018 will be roughly the same.  When paired with natural increase (births minus deaths), there is projected to be an additional 30,000 added to the population for a total of roughly 90,000 new Coloradans.  The rate is slowing from the nearly 100,000 increase in population in 2015, yet Colorado is still growing at a rapid pace compared to the rest of the nation as a whole, nearly double.

How does the growing economy and population impact the real estate market?  It makes Colorado a more desirable place to live versus other areas of the country.  The influx of people that need a place to live has created a significant lack of housing inventory.  The high demand for housing has caused the skyrocketing property values we have seen in recent years.  On one hand this is good in that it creates significant equity for homeowners.  The flipside of this is that many people, especially those with low wage occupations, find it difficult to afford a home, especially one that is close to their place of work.

The solution?  More new construction.  The good news is that builders have been creating new neighborhoods at a pace not seen since 2006, just prior to the housing crisis.  The not so good news is that most residential new construction along the front range is priced too high for low wage earners.  Hopefully, builders will consider this in future development.

What to watch for this year:

  1. Amazon. Will Amazon set up their 2nd headquarters in the Denver area?  Colorado is still in the top ten states for consideration.  The amount of jobs this could bring as well as high wage earners would have an impact on the local economy, especially the housing market.
  2. New Construction. Will new construction continue to close the gap on our low inventory problem?  This will help to balance our market and further slow property value appreciation.  Further, builders are struggling with a labor shortage.  This will need to be resolved to help developments move forward smoothly.
  3. Affordable Housing. Many people cannot afford a home above $300,000.  Unfortunately, most new construction is geared toward higher income buyers.  Residential resale properties in this price range often have multiple buyers, many with cash, that makes it difficult for buyers with limited cash reserves to compete.  The solution will come as the market balances due to greater inventory and months supply (around 6 months is ideal).  Further, if builders target lower income buyers this will help many get into a home.
  4. New Tax Laws. With new tax laws that benefit corporations, will we see increases in hiring and wages for local employees?  Will we see more startup companies that will provide good wage-earning jobs?  Paired with tax cuts for the middle class, these changes could prove favorable for many who want to buy a home.
  5. Mortgage Rates. Rates have been hovering around 4% this year overall.  If it stays at this level the impact to purchasing power for homeowners is minimal.  However, if rates increase significantly it will have a negative impact on what borrowers can afford in a home at all levels.

 

References:

2018 Annual Colorado Business Economic Outlook.  Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado Boulder.

2017 Colorado Real Estate Forecast.  Sean Gilliam, Realtor®

New Construction: The Solution to Low Inventory.  Sean Gilliam, Realtor®

IRES MLS® Information and Real Estate Services LLC


About the author: Sean Gilliam is a Realtor® with RE/MAX Alliance in Northern Colorado and is a Certified New Home Specialist™.  Sean can be reached at seangilliam@remax.net or by phone at 970-313-6706.  For additional articles see Sean’s blog or to search for properties see his web page.

Interested in buying a home or selling your current home?  I am committed to your success.  Give me a call at 970-313-6706 to get started.

 

 

 

 

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Perfect Bed and Breakfast Property in Estes Park!

Bed and Breakfasts are now allowed in residential zoning districts in Estes Park.  Here is a home that was designed for just such a purpose.  Four bedrooms spaced out throughout the home, each with their own bath.  A walk-out basement with a kitchenette with parking available right out the door.  This is a great investment opportunity.  Call me with questions or to schedule a showing at 970-313-6706.  Click here for more pictures and information: 907 Prospect Park Drive

Large kitchen with views!
Rear view of home.
Walk-out basement.
Master Bedroom.
Deck off of Master Bedroom.
Front view of home.

 

 

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Cost Effective Home Projects

It’s the winter and we tend to turn our attention to the interior of our homes for projects and maintenance.  It might be time for that kitchen we’ve always dreamed of having or the perfect recreation area to entertain our family and friends.  As you contemplate the cost of these ventures, it might be wise to consider which ones will likely give you the most cost recoupment.  Or, to put it another way, which projects will give you the most bang for your buck when you go to sell your home.

Every year, research is conducted by Remodeling that shows how much return on investment you will get for different projects around the home.  They publish the results in the Cost vs. Value Report (www.costvsvalue.com).   They conveniently compile the data by region so you can see the results that are relative to your area.  The results below are for the greater Denver area for midrange homes published in the 2017 report.  Remodel also gathers data for mountain properties as well as they are uniquely different in cost and other variables.  If you would like information for other parts of the country take a look at their website.

So if you’re planning on a project to complete over the long winter months, here are the top three most cost-effective updates you can make to your home.

  1. Minor Kitchen Remodel. This consists of refacing cabinets, putting on new hardware, replacing appliances with more energy efficient models, replacing countertops and flooring.

          Estimated Cost: $20,576      Estimated Resale Value: $18,076      % Recouped: 87.8%

  1. Manufactured Stone Veneer. Replace the bottom third of the siding on the front of your home with stone veneer to give your home exceptional curb appeal.

         Estimated Cost:  $7811        Estimated Resale Value:  $6475        % Recouped:  82.9%

  1. Attic Insulation (fiberglass). This project involves air-sealing the attic floor, then applying loosefill insulation over the top of existing insulation.  The end result should be an insulation value of R-30.  This is a nice feature to help reduce the cost of air conditioning your home.

          Estimated Cost:  $1354        Estimated Resale Value: $1088         % Recouped:  80.4%

While not specified in the report, simply painting the walls and/or replacing countertops can accomplish much in the way of giving your home a new look.  Of course, if you’re selling, make sure you let prospective buyers know all of the hard work you put into your home.  A little TLC can go a long way in making your home more attractive to buyers.

If you have any questions or would like information on the other projects on the list (i.e. adding a deck, refinishing a bathroom, etc.), let me know and I’d be glad to share that information with you.


About the author: Sean Gilliam is a Realtor® with RE/MAX Alliance in Northern Colorado and is a Certified New Home Specialist™.  Sean can be reached at seangilliam@remax.net or by phone at 970-313-6706.  For additional articles see Sean’s blog or to search for properties see his web page.

Interested in buying a home or selling your current home?  I am committed to your success.  Give me a call at 970-313-6706 to get started.

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October Market Insights

Here is the Market Insights report for October 2017 for Boulder County, Colorado provided by RE/MAX Alliance.

October 2017 Market Insights (PDF version)


Sean Gilliam is a Realtor® with RE/MAX Alliance in Northern Colorado and is a Certified New Home Specialist™.  Sean can be reached at seangilliam@remax.net or by phone at 970-313-6706.  To read Sean’s articles see his blog or to search for properties see his web page.

Interested in buying a home or selling your current home?  I am committed to your success.  Give me a call at 970-313-6706 to get started.

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How to Shop for a Mortgage Lender

Ready to buy a home? As you shop for a home you are determining whether or not a property will meet your needs and making sure that you’re not paying too much for it. You should shop for a lender in the same way. Consumers want a good price AND good customer service. Regarding the price, that is easier to evaluate. Each lender will be able to give you an estimate of their costs for the loan. The customer service aspect might be more difficult to assess so ask your local real estate agent and friends for opinions and/or read online reviews.

Let’s look at how to evaluate the cost of the loan. First, it is recommended that you get the opinion of three lenders to see how they stack up. Not sure who to use for a lender? Ask your real estate agent or friends for referrals. With each prospective lender, get an itemized summary of their charges. You can get this information by providing them basic information such as your income, credit score, what type of loan you are applying for (i.e. conventional, FHA, VA) and loan to value ratio. They should be able to do this without making a hard credit inquiry. However, if they do, you typically have a 30-45 day window in which to make multiple credit inquiries while shopping for a loan without it counting as more than one inquiry.  Confirm all of this information with any prospective lender.

Once you get a summary of the lender’s costs for the loan you wish to apply for, compare them side-by-side. Here’s what to look for:

  1. Interest Rate – There are various factors that impact your rate (i.e. your credit score, type of loan, loan discount points, etc.) but some lenders have a higher interest rate than others for the same loan product.
  2. Loan Origination Fees – some lenders will charge a flat fee or none at all. Some will charge a percentage of the loan amount, typically one percent (this is where your loan gets expensive). Example: On a recent transaction, one lender charged 1% for loan origination on the same loan while another charged a flat fee of $450. For a $400,000 loan you will be paying $4000 vs. $400 for the same product.
  3. Underwriting Fees – This is the cost for the underwriter services for your loan.  Compare to see which one is higher.
  4. Additional Fees – Some fees you’ll see have miniscule differences but when added up, can make one lender look more attractive than another (i.e. Tax Service, Credit Report, Appraisal Fee, Flood Certification).

In addition to cost, the level of service provided by a lender is very important. This can make or break a transaction. Some questions to ask:

  1. What is the lender’s availability? Do they return calls/emails to you and your real estate agent in a timely fashion? Do they work weekends and nights if need be? This is crucial if you have important questions, especially those of a time-sensitive nature.
  2. Will you be working with an individual throughout the transaction or a team? Sometimes a personal touch can make all the difference. In any case, you’ll want someone that knows you, what your needs are and where you are at in the transaction. This is especially important with regard to getting the appraisal done on time.
  3. What kind of loans do they provide? Some lenders tend to provide a limited number of loans as they provide service in multiple states. Local lenders will provide basic loans (Conventional, FHA, VA) but also state specific products that will benefit you (i.e. down payment grant assistance programs).
  4. What happens if the lender makes a mistake? Will they correct the issue and compensate you?   It happens, we all make mistakes. A good customer service provider will fix it with the least amount of burden to you.

Once you’ve narrowed your prospects down to one lender, it’s wise to shop their offer around to the other lenders. They can evaluate whether or not they can meet or beat the other lender(s). Once your satisfied you have chosen the right lender, have them pre-approve you for a loan and then you are ready to go shopping for a home and start making offers!


About the author: Sean Gilliam is a Realtor® with RE/MAX Alliance in Northern Colorado and is a Certified New Home Specialist™.  Sean can be reached at seangilliam@remax.net or by phone at 970-313-6706.  For additional articles see Sean’s blog or to search for properties see his web page.

Interested in buying a home or selling your current home?  I am committed to your success.  Give me a call at 970-313-6706 to get started.

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Fun Things to do in October in Longmont!

Looking for fun things to do in Longmont this month?  Here is the list:

 

For larger, more readable list, please click on image below.

Want to see all that Longmont has to offer?  See Visit Longmont for events, restaurants, shopping, hotels and more…!

 


 

About the author: Sean Gilliam is a Realtor® with RE/MAX Alliance in Northern Colorado and is a Certified New Home Specialist™.  Sean can be reached at seangilliam@remax.net or by phone at 970-313-6706.  For additional articles see Sean’s blog or to search for properties see his web page.

Interested in buying a home or selling your current home?  I am committed to your success.  Give me a call at 970-313-6706 to get started.

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Open House This Weekend at Beautiful Mountain Home in Estes Park!

Open House this weekend!  Come see this beautiful mountain home on Saturday 9/30 from 11-2 and Sunday 10/1 from 1-4.  Close to Rocky Mountain National Park.  With 4 beds and 6 baths, you’ll have plenty of room for your family and guests.  This home has a short term rental permit so you can rent it out when you’re not in town. Kitchenette with 2 bedrooms and 2 baths in the walkout basement could serve as in-law quarters.

Click here for more information.

907 Prospect Park Drive

 

 


About the author: Sean Gilliam is a Realtor® with RE/MAX Alliance in Northern Colorado and is a Certified New Home Specialist™.  Sean can be reached at seangilliam@remax.net or by phone at 970-313-6706.  For additional articles see Sean’s blog or to search for properties see his web page.

Interested in buying a home or selling your current home?  I am committed to your success.  Give me a call at 970-313-6706 to get started.

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Eclipse 2017

I remember the solar eclipse back in the early 1990’s when I was in college.  Though I didn’t have the gear to watch the sun, I noticed, by accident, walking across the campus of Eastern Illinois University that as the sun’s light went through the trees it left multiple crescent shapes among the shadows on the ground.  No one else around me seemed to notice but I was amazed at what I saw.  In those days we didn’t have smart phones so I couldn’t get any photos of it.  So when this eclipse came I watched for the phenomena and had to take some pictures!

What causes this is when the suns rays shine through the space between objects like leaves, pine needles, etc.  These spaces act like pinhole cameras such that when the suns rays shine through these openings they project a smaller image of the sun on the ground.  During an eclipse, the sun looks like a crescent and thus casts that image onto the ground.  That is my layman’s explanation anyway 🙂

Shadows through Ponderosa Pine

 

 


About the author: Sean Gilliam is a Realtor® with RE/MAX Alliance in Northern Colorado and is a Certified New Home Specialist™.  Sean can be reached at seangilliam@remax.net or by phone at 970-313-6706.  For additional articles see Sean’s blog or to search for properties see his web page.

Interested in buying a home or selling your current home?  I am committed to your success.  Give me a call at 970-313-6706 to get started.

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Things to do in Longmont in September

Looking for things to do in Longmont this September?  Here is the list!  Enjoy!

Please click on list below to enlarge for easier reading:

 

Want to see all that Longmont has to offer?  See Visit Longmont for events, restaurants, shopping, hotels and more…!

 


About the author: Sean Gilliam is a Realtor® with RE/MAX Alliance in Northern Colorado and is a Certified New Home Specialist™.  Sean can be reached at seangilliam@remax.net or by phone at 970-313-6706.  For additional articles see Sean’s blog or to search for properties see his web page.

Interested in buying a home or selling your current home?  I am committed to your success.  Give me a call at 970-313-6706 to get started.

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