During September, we provided a lot of information on the state of the northern Colorado real estate market. We covered Larimer & Weld Counties and their respective cities; ten neighborhoods in Fort Collins and Loveland; and quite a few specific market segments.
And while this close-up information is very useful for insights on the individual components of our market, the overall question remains: How is the northern Colorado housing market doing?
Here's what's been happening:
Property sales have been better than in 2009 and 2010 - we're seeing some signs of improvement, but we're still way down from the numbers we saw in 2003-2005. Buyers are still relatively scarce, but the time it is taking homes to sell has been trending downward.
Prices are also trending upward, although slowly. Both average and median prices are improving somewhat across the board, and this is good news. We were fortunate that our market never got overheated enough to cause a bubble, so we never saw steep declines in home values - the worst hit segment of the housing crisis was condos and townhomes, and that was caused more by bad timing and over-building than anything else.
The inventory of homes for sale remains low, and it would be our guess that home owners are seeing that the best move for right now is to wait rather than sell if they have the choice. We think that any noticeable improvement in the market would create its own increase in inventory, as home owners who have been deferring the opportunity to sell would move to take advantage of better conditions.
For the immediate future, it is still an excellent time to buy a home in northern Colorado. Prices are probably as low as they're going to get, interest rates are at historic lows and there are a lot of excellent housing choices available, with sellers eager to put a deal together. This is the bottom of the market - the place where you want to be the buyer.
For sellers, it is a bit more difficult - the homes that are selling quickly are either in excellent condition and priced correctly, or are excellent bargains. Proper preparation, pricing and patience, as well as a Realtor who will provide state-of-the-art marketing, are the tools necessary for a successful sale today.
Northern Colorado has weathered the worst of the storm and pretty much held its own. Things are improving slightly, but a recovery is going to depend on regional job growth as a first condition. And there is some cause there for optimism - we have a positive business environment, a highly-educated labor force, and a very well-diversified economic base. There are some projects underway and on-going efforts to find more.
We will continue to post market reports here. Every month we will cover Larimer & Weld Counties, Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Windsor, Berthoud, Johnstown and Wellington. In even months, we'll report on ten neighborhoods - Fossil Lake, Harvest Park, Brown Farm, Ridgwood Hills, Westchase, Old Town, Hunters Run, Mariana Butte, Alford Meadows, and Boise Village North. In odd months, we'll cover the various market segments, such as condos/townhomes, foreclosures, 4 bedroom homes, etc.
If you have an interest in a particular neighborhood or market segment that we're not covering, just let us know - we would be happy to run a special report for you. And if you want to access any of the city or county reports, you can also find them on our website at Market Reports.
Mary & Dick Greenberg
Data Source: IRES MLS