Q4 2020 Colorado Real Estate Market Update

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 agent.

 

REGIONAL ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

The job recovery that appeared to be firmly in place in the summer has started to wane. Though Colorado has recovered more than 209,000 of the jobs lost due to COVID-19, employment levels remain almost 210,000 below the level seen last February. Even with employment growth stalling, the unemployment rate stands at a relatively respectable 6.4%, down from a peak of 12.2%. Regionally, unemployment levels range from a low of 5.4% in Boulder to a high of 6.9% in Greeley. Rising COVID-19 infection rates continue to impact the job recovery, and I do not see much in the way of palpable improvement until a vaccine becomes freely available, likely in the second half of this year.

COLORADO HOME SALES

❱ In the final quarter of 2020, 12,207 homes sold. This represents an increase of 21.8% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, but 19% lower than in the third quarter. I am not concerned, though, because seasonal influences tend to impact sales in the winter.

❱ Sales rose in all markets other than El Paso compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. I believe sales are only limited by the number of homes on the market.

❱ Inventory levels remain well below what I would like to see. The average number of homes on the market in the fourth quarter was down 55% from the same period in 2019.

❱ Pending sales were 34% lower compared to the third quarter. Again, seasonality and a lack of homes to buy impact this figure. Pending sales are still 13% higher than a year ago.

Colorado Counties Graph

COLORADO HOME PRICES

Price appreciation in various Colorado counties.

❱ Home prices rose significantly in the fourth quarter, with the average price increasing 13.7% year-over-year to $532,492. Prices were up 1.8% compared to the third quarter of this year.

❱ Interest rates are unlikely to drop much further and this will lead price growth to slow as we move through 2021.

❱ Year-over-year, prices rose across all markets covered by this report, with significant appreciation in Clear Creek, Gilpin, Park, and El Paso counties. Every county but Arapahoe saw double-digit price gains.

❱ Affordability in many Colorado markets remains a concern as prices continue to rise at well-above-average rates. That said, I anticipate we will see price growth moderate in 2021.

A bar graph showing the annual change in home sale prices in various Colorado counties.

DAYS ON MARKET

❱ The average number of days it took to sell a home in the markets contained in this report dropped 15 days compared to the final quarter of 2019.

❱ The amount of time it took to sell a home dropped in every county contained in this report compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.

❱ It took an average of 26 days to sell a home in the region, down 3 days compared to the third quarter of 2020.

❱ The Colorado housing market continues to demonstrate solid demand, and buyers are clearly competitive as suggested by the short length of time it is taking to sell a home.

A bar graph showing the average days on market for homes in various Colorado counties

CONCLUSIONS

A speedometer graph indicating a seller's market in Colorado.

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.

Home sales and prices are significantly higher than a year ago, and demand for housing is very much in place. Naturally, this favors home sellers who are still in control of the market. I do expect to see some improvement in listing activity this year, which, in concert with modestly rising interest rates, will likely start to take some of the steam out of the market. However, any moderation in the market has yet to appear. Even given the possible headwinds mentioned above, I am moving the needle a little more in favor of sellers, as demand is likely to exceed supply for the time being.

 

ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER

Matthew Gardner - Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate

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.

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Our Commitment to Change: A Message to Our Community

For nearly 50 years Windermere has been deeply rooted in the communities where we do business. However, the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement has made us realize that our roots don’t extend as deep as we thought. It also made us realize that over the decades, the real estate industry has played a significant role in exacerbating systemic racism through redlining and steering, which has prevented many members of historically marginalized communities from building wealth through homeownership.
This summer, we began a robust diversity, equity, and inclusion journey supported by an organization called Moving Beyond that specializes in helping companies integrate and operationalize DEI. Next, we formed two internal workgroups, with a diverse makeup of Windermere franchise owners, managers, agents, and staff to guide and implement DEI efforts across our 10-state organization.
Following three months of collective conversations, we have identified several short- and long-term initiatives on which to focus – all with the aim of building a diverse organization that fosters a sense of belonging and provides equal opportunity across all aspects of homeownership for people of color. Some of these activities can be acted upon right away, as we develop a long-term strategic direction for our DEI efforts.
We’re committed and in it for the long haul, and believe transparency is a critical part of this journey, so here is an update about our goals and progress thus far:
● In August, we conducted an internal survey among our owners, managers, and staff, to create a benchmark of where we are as a company and help guide the direction that we need to take to advance our DEI initiatives. An agent survey is forthcoming in 2021.
● We are producing informational content related to CC&Rs to educate homeowners on how to remove racially restrictive language from their title reports in the 10 states where Windermere operates.
● We are working with an advertising agency that specializes in inclusive and future-forward marketing to evaluate our digital marketing products through a DEI lens.
● We have designated funds for a scholarship program that invests in people of color who want to work in real estate, and are designing training and mentoring programs to aid in their success.
● We are building internal DEI training and development programs, starting with franchise owners, managers, and staff, with plans to expand to agents in 2021.
● We are analyzing our hiring processes to ensure broader representation by people of color.
● We’re generating insights from all these efforts to help us develop a set of thematic pillars to guide our DEI goals and strategy over the long term.
● We’re planning on listening sessions this fall for the Windermere community to continue to have input in this process.
This is just the beginning of what we know will be a long-term journey of awareness and accountability. We are focused and determined to do our part to address discrimination, racism, and inequity within Windermere and the real estate industry. Our efforts stem from the recognition that there is a long history of housing discrimination in the United States and that the inequality in homeownership has deepened the racial divide. Through our work, we hope to play a role in finding ways to correct these inequalities. We realize we were late to this movement and should’ve spoken up sooner, but our eyes are open, and we are committed to leading the way towards positive change from here on out.

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Windermere is Now on Spotify!

Spotify

Americans spend about 32 hours a week listening to music, and for Millennials that number is even higher. Since so many activities connected to our homes are enhanced by music, we want to fuel the joy and memories of those experiences through home-inspired playlists on our very own Spotify channel.

Check out Windermere’s new Spotify channel where you can find playlists for every aspect of what it means to be home. Cleaning house? Check. Hosting a dinner party? Check. Chilling on the front porch? We have tunes for that too, and more. We invite you to follow, share, and enjoy!

Start following the Windermere Spotify channel today!

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Economic Update with Matthew Gardner

Event Invitation

Exclusive Invitation!!!

Tune in on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 9:00am to meet with Matthew Gardner, Windermere Real Estate’s Chief Economist LIVE and get your chance to ask him questions. He’ll be discussing the housing market, employment and the effects of COVID-19 on the local and national economy.

As one of the only real estate companies in the US that has a Chief Economist on staff, we have exclusive insights into the housing market, economy and government happenings. This is a one of a kind event for clients and friends of Windermere Real Estate in Colorado.

To sign up, please contact your Windermere Agent or message us to get the link. Seating is limited in digital meeting room so get your seat!

(If you can’t attend live, you can register to automatically get the recording.)

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Colorado Real Estate Market Update

 

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 agent. 

 

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

COVID-19 had significant negative impacts on employment in Colorado. The pandemic caused the loss of over 342,000 jobs in March and April as unemployment rose to 12.2%. For comparison, peak unemployment following the Great Recession was 8.9%. However, it appears as if the massive contraction in employment is behind us (at least for now). Employment in Colorado rose in May by 68,800 jobs, a monthly increase of 2.8%, pushing the unemployment rate down to 10.2%. Regionally, the Denver metro area added 18,600 jobs in May and the Fort Collins metro area added 3,500 jobs. It is certainly too early to say that we are out of the woods, but we seem to be headed in a positive direction. Colorado’s COVID-19 infection rates started increasing again in June, which could slow down the economic recovery. However, I do not believe that it is likely to have any substantial impact on the housing market.

 

HOME SALES

  • In the second quarter of 2020, 9,867 homes sold. This represents a drop of 20.7% compared to the second quarter of 2019, but sales were 7.4% higher than in the first quarter of this year.
  • Sales dropped across all markets compared to the second quarter of 2019. I do not find this concerning as the drop can be attributed to limited supply and COVID-19.
  • Inventory levels remain tight, with the average number of homes for sale in the quarter down 21.3% from the same period in 2019. However, listings were up an impressive 15.6% over the first quarter of 2020.
  • I was pleased to see total pending sales in the quarter increase 16.3% compared to the first quarter, suggesting closing data for the third quarter will be better than we are currently experiencing.

 

HOME PRICES

  • Home prices held steady compared to the second quarter of 2019 at an average of $480,831. Prices were up 0.7% compared to the first quarter of this year.
  • Interest rates remain at very low levels and will stay in the low 3% range for the balance of the year, if not longer. This can allow prices to pick back up.
  • Price growth across the region was varied. Seven counties saw price growth and five experienced a drop in average sale price. Clear Creek County again saw prices rise substantially. However, as you are likely aware, it is a very small market and subject to wild swings. Prices dropped most in the equally small Gilpin County.
  • I am still watching affordability in many Colorado markets and will take this temporary “pause” as a good thing.

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home in the markets contained in this report dropped by only one day compared to the second quarter of 2019.
  • The amount of time it took to sell a home dropped in eight counties, remained static in one, and rose in three compared to the second quarter of 2019.
  • It took an average of 29 days to sell a home in the region.
  • The Colorado housing market is demonstrating solid demand, and listing activity is trending higher. I expect that the summer market will be brisk.

CONCLUSIONS

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.

Demand appears to be returning, which—combined with historically low interest rates—should lead to a brisk summer housing market. Assuming that the state gets new infection rates under control, I do not see why the housing market wouldn’t perform well this summer. As such, I have moved the needle just a little more in favor of home sellers.

 

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.

 

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Matthew Gardner Weekly COVID-19 Housing & Economic Update: 7/6/2020

On this week’s episode of “Mondays with Matthew”, Matthew Gardner discusses what is needed to motivate more Millennials to buy and the important role they play in the long-term health of the US housing market.

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Matthew Gardner Weekly COVID-19 Housing & Economic Update: 6/29/2020

On this week’s episode of “Mondays with Matthew,” Matthew Gardner discusses housing affordability and how he believes that despite the impact of COVID-19, affordability issues will remain and may actually get worse as we move forward.

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Questions to Ask During Your Virtual Home Tour

Thanks to COVID-19, the new reality is that many open houses and home tours are being conducted virtually. For prospective home buyers, this new territory brings an added element to prepare for in the home buying process. Some of the questions that should be asked in a virtual home tour parallel those of in-person tours, but others are unique to today’s virtual world.

 

Could you zoom in?

  • Sometimes it can be difficult to get a true glimpse at what you want to see in a room. Asking the agent to zoom in on specific features is commonplace in virtual home tours, and they understand this is part of the viewer experience. Don’t hesitate to ask multiple times. Getting a better look at everything you want to see will help you feel like you’ve gotten the most out of your virtual tour.

 

How many square feet are in this room?

  • Virtual tours can slightly distort space, making it tough to gauge the size. The room-to-room square footage is information the agent is sure to have handy. Since you can’t be there in person, it will help you piece together the virtual visuals with the sense of physical space that we’re all accustomed to feeling in the places we live.

 

What color is that?

  • In the smartphone era, and computer era at large, we have come to understand that digital representations of color are not always true to the eye. Ask the agent to confirm specific colors so you can plan accordingly. Have a color swatch on hand or look the colors up online as you go through the tour.

 

When were the appliances last updated?

  • The importance of this question rings true in past, present, and future. Knowing the state of the home’s appliances, and the likelihood and timing of when they will need replacement, is vital information for both assessing the move-in readiness of the home and understanding what costs might lie ahead.

 

Has the seller provided an inspection?

  • This is another example of a critical question, whether your home tour is virtual or physical. If the seller has already done an inspection, ask the agent to lead you to any areas of concern based on the inspector’s findings. If there is anything that has not yet been addressed by the seller, have your agent ask what their plan is for making the necessary repairs/updates.

 

When is the offer review date?

  • Understanding the seller’s timeline for reviewing and accepting offers will help guide your decision-making process and allow you to strategize based on the timeline.

 

Whether your home tour is physical or virtual, getting the information you need to make an informed decision remains paramount. Although there is no substitute for physically being in the home you are looking to buy, keeping these questions in mind will position you well as you progress through the home buying journey.

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Matthew Gardner Weekly COVID-19 Housing & Economic Update: 6/1/2020

This week on “Mondays with Matthew”: Now that things have settled down somewhat following the initial impact of COVID-19, Matthew dives into the topic of mortgage rates. Will they go below 3%? Matthew discusses this and the factors that have formed his updated 2020 and 2021 mortgage rate forecast. 

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Matthew Gardner Weekly COVID-19 Housing & Economic Update: 5/18/2020

In this week’s episode of Mondays with Matthew, Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner kicks off a series of episodes in which he answers questions from his followers. The first deals with how COVID-19 will impact buyer behaviors, especially in more urban markets.

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