Denver Real Estate Blog
There is one simple ritual that strikes fear into homeowners the most. It often goes unnoticed, as a seasonal event, one that seems innocuous at first, but can quickly cause even the most experienced to shiver with a cold chill. Quite simply, it is that first day in the fall when the thermostat is changed from cooling to heating. This simple act not only sets in motion preparations for winter and the fluctuations so common in Denver’s climate, but also highlights the current condition of the house.
Fortunately, as mature adults, we do not need to be afraid of old man winter and his snow and wind. There are several easy things you can do to hold back the cold and keep your living space warm and cozy all year round without constantly running your heater. These few simple tricks may even save you enough money to enjoy a few nights at your favorite restaurant or club.
Simple Steps to Warm Your Denver Home
Perhaps one of the easiest and most forgotten tricks is to use your ceiling fan. While it is fantastic to keep you cool on hot summer days, it also can help warm a room in the winter. Reverse the fan to move clockwise in the winter. This will push the warm air gathered at the ceiling to the spaces below. This is especially effective in rooms with tall ceilings.
Change your filters. Ok, this one is a no-brainer, but it is important to change your filters often during the winter. Not only does this cut down on dust and allergens from a closed house, but is also allows the furnace to work more efficiently, which enables it to heat the house at less cost.
Check around your windows for gaps. While many manufacturers will tempt you to replace your windows to save money, many times you just need to check the gaps around the windows to make sure air isn’t coming into the house. First make sure the windows close all the way. Having them open in the summer is great but it also allows dust and dirt to build up which can affect function.
Secondly on a cold day, light a candle (be careful) and hold it near the edge of the windows to see if any air is coming into the house. If it flickers or wavers you can use caulk to seal the problem areas. Another remedy is to pick up and install a relatively inexpensive plastic window kit. If there is a large amount of air seeping through you can also use insulation or expanding foam placed around the frame.
Here are some more inexpensive tips for prepping your home for winter:
Enjoy the Seasons in Denver
One of the best things about owning a home in the Denver area is the change of seasons. Winter is not a time of year to dread, but rather to enjoy. Getting your home ready is just part of living close to the mountains and enjoying a great way of life. If you are considering selling your home this winter, contact us to find the best way to warm up your house for a quick sale!
Cheers to a safe and festive holiday season! There is always so much to do this time of year, but we hope you can take time to enjoy a few of the wonderful things Denver has to offer in December.
Zoo Lights 2014 (December 5th - January 4th)
Come and experience a holiday light safari with more than 38 brilliantly-illuminated acres of lights, featuring more than 150 animated animal sculptures that swing through trees, jump across lawns, hide in bushes and appear in places where they're least expected. Get details here.
Parade of Lights (December 5th - 6th)
This spectacular Colorado tradition has been going on for nearly four decades! Come enjoy sparkling lights, marching bands, giant balloons, dazzling floats and so much more. Click here for all the details!
Southwest Rink at Skyline Park (Now - February 16th)
Take a spin on the ice in downtown Denver for free! Grab your family and friends and head to 16th and Arapahoe -- skate rentals are $2. Learn more here!
Disney on Ice (December 4th - 7th)
It's one colossal party on ice, with all your favorite Disney friends at the Pepsi Center in a magical medley of holidays, celebrations and festivities from around the globe. Buy tickets here.
Jingle Bell Run/Walk (December 14th)
This race for Arthritis is a fun and festive way to kick off your holidays by helping others! Wear a holiday themed costume and tie jingle bells to your shoelaces! Register for the race here.
BALLS! A Holiday Spectacular (December 8th and 15th)
Described as, "A rollicking variety show with flashy guest stars, audience sock puppet sing-alongs, spontaneous haikus, and a white elephant. Mostly heart-warming and entirely fun". Proceeds from the show go to a non-profit every year. Learn more about the show here.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (December 17th - 28th)
Enjoy this family friendly show at the Buell Theatre! "Magnificent sets and costumes inspired by Dr. Seuss' original illustrations help transport audiences to the whimsical world of Whoville and helps remind us of the true meaning of the holiday season". Learn more here.
A Colorado Christmas (December 19th - 21st)
The Colorado Children's Chorale team up with the Colorado Symphony for four performances to fill the hall with the warm sounds of the holidays. You won't want to miss this Christmas spectacular. Learn more here.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Philadelphia Flyers (December 31st)
Tickets are on sale now for this New Year's Eve game hosted by the Avs! Click here for tickets.
New Year's Eve Fireworks (December 31st)
Ring in the New Year on the 16th Street Mall, and catch one of the two firework shows! Click here for information.
The best way to really understand our real estate market is to take the time to dig deep and look at the numbers. Whether you're a home owner wanting to understand how your biggest investment is doing, a renter thinking about taking the plunge into home ownership, or a real estate investor looking for your next opportunity, understanding the market data is critical. So, this month we are going to walk you through the Colorado Association of Realtors metro Denver quarterly snapshot, explaining each entry to help you make sense of our housing market.
There are five columns in the chart:
- Key Metric - self-explanatory
- Historical Sparkbars - the data from 2011 to the present
- Q3-2013 - the quarterly data from one year ago
- Q3-2014 - the most current quarterly data
- Percent Change - the yearly percentage difference
New Listings: -8.6 percent. The number of new listings continues to drop, leading to the extremely low inventory of housing in our market. Our supply/demand equation is somewhat out of whack with a huge number of buyers and very few sellers, which has led to our strong market and rising prices the past five years.
Pending/Under Contract: +1.5 percent. There is virtually no change in this number. About the same number of properties has gone under contract this year as last year, but with a lower inventory of homes on the market keeping the inventory of available homes low.
Sold Listings: -7.8 percent. This number surprises a lot of people. Everyone thinks we're having this massively crazy up market and lots and lots of homes must be selling, but in fact it's not true. Because our inventory is so low - close to the lowest inventory per capita ever in metro Denver - there just isn't a big selection of homes to buy. The result being that the number of homes sold is down, not up, and by a significant number.
Median Sales Price: +9.1 percent ($310,000). The median price is the middle price of all homes sold - not the average price. For example, if five homes were sold in an area at the following prices: $100,000, $200,000, $300,000, $800,000, and $900,000, the median priced home is $300,000, but the average priced home is $460,000. A 9.1 percent yearly price increase is strong, but not scary in our opinion. Over the past 40 years metro Denver home prices have increased on average 5.9 percent per year. 9.1 percent is significantly above average, a result of a lots demand for homes, not much supply, a strong employment market, a strong economy, etc. But it's not so high that it will lead to an unpleasant crash in prices, as is predicted in some of the cities currently rising at 15-17 percent per year. We're seeing price increases slow down a bit over the past several quarters which is healthy.
Average Sales Price: +7.2 percent ($366,099). When the Average Sales Price is below the Median Sales Price it means that the lower end of the market is doing somewhat better than the higher end of the market, and of course the opposite is true as well. The fact that both yearly percentage changes are relatively similar means the market is more or less consistent both above and below the average and mean prices.
Percentage of List Price Received: +0.1 percent (99.3 percent). A sign of a very strong market is when the final sales price compared to the list price is almost the same, as it currently is in our market. In a weak market buyers will try to lowball an offer and often get the property well below asking price, but in a market like ours, sellers are getting 99.3 percent of their asking price and that percentage is almost identical to what it was a year ago. This is another sign of a strong, healthy housing market.
Days on Market: -21.1 percent (30 DOM). A normal market of balanced supply and demand will have about 90 days on market (which is the same as six months of inventory in case you run across that number). A stronger market will have fewer days on market, and vice versa. Thirty days on market is incredibly low. It means demand is very high for housing and sellers are selling their homes in near record time. Furthermore, the 21.1 percent drop in DOM means that the demand has increased relative to the supply of homes in the past year, making homes even easier to sell now than they were a year ago. If you have been out looking at homes recently you'll know what we mean. More and more often we run into other folks looking at the property at the same time because there are so few properties on the market and the buyer demand continues to increase. Smart buyers have learned to act quickly to get the home they want, driving the DOM even lower.
Affordability Index: -6.8 percent. This index combines the metro Denver income trends with interest rates and local housing prices to calculate the proportion of local households that can afford the median priced house. The higher the Affordability Index the more affordable homes are. The Affordability Index was very low during the run up of prices that ended in 2007 when homes prices reached record highs. Homes were at all-time affordable highs during the downturn, peaking in 2011. Since then, prices have been increasing enough to lower the Affordability Index year-over-year, continuing with another 6.8% drop in the past 12 months. Buyers having been watching this number fall with dismay the past few years and we think this is one of the many reasons there is so much demand now; renters want to buy when homes are still relatively affordable as they are now (given ultra-low interest rates and strong wages) so we have yet more buyers jumping into the market.
Active Listings: -36.8 percent. The number of active listings has plummeted. In 2007 during the downturn we had over 31,000 homes on the market - a true buyer's market. Now it's the opposite. We had only 7,964 homes on the market at the time of this snapshot, an incredible plunge supporting our seller's market. If you've ever thought about selling, this is the type of market you'll want to sell in!
Months of Supply: -32.4 percent. Months of Supply is the corollary to Days on Market. The lower the Months of Supply, the lower the Days on Market. The 32.4 percent drop in the past year means our housing market continues to tighten as demand rises and supply falls pushing prices ever higher.
If you're reading this you probably have at least a passing interest in real estate. The more you learn the more likely you'll make the right decision when it's time to make a move. We spend time studying these figures and many others to try help you achieve your goals. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or there's anything we can help you with.
As many homes were lost to bad mortgage loans and lost jobs during the recession, owners moved into rentals. Now the renters market is saturated and prices are staggering as vacancies fall short of the demand. None felt it more than the residence forced to evacuate or who lost their homes during the floods of 2013.
According to a Fox31 article, in spite of the increasing numbers of rental units being constructed in the past couple of years, rentals are hard to come by. Between 2008 and 2012, only 2,700 apartment rental units were constructed in Boulder and Denver metro area, whereas last year there was the construction of 7,800 apartment units. Another 9,000 apartments are expected to be built.
The Changing Colorado Market
As higher-quality jobs increased in places like Fort Collins, who’s experiencing a huge growth, landlords see hire-wage employment as a sign to raise rents. According to the Colorado Division of Housing in a Denver Post article by Howard Pankratz, the average rents in Colorado hit a new high of $1,026 in the first quarter of 2014, up 8 percent from $950 in the first quarters of 2013 and 3.4 percent from $992 in the fourth quarter.
Pankratz also noted that in the Fort Collins / Loveland market, vacancy rates hit a 13-year low of 1.7 percent in the first quarter, compared with 5.2 statewide. The vacancy rate in Denver was at 5.1 percent with 6.7 percent in Colorado Springs; 5.3 percent in Grand Junction; 4.4 percent in Greeley; and 8.1 percent in Pueblo.
This has made a push in multifamily construction of apartment buildings across the bigger cities in Colorado, particularly in Denver and Colorado Springs. But as the job rate continues to grow, so will the purchases of houses which might ease the pressure on the vacancy rates across the state and lower the all-time high of rental rates in Colorado.
Colorado foreclosure filings went down to 31 percent in May. From January through May, according to the Division of Housing, foreclosure filings were down 25.3 percent in 2014 when compared to the same period last year. Foreclosure auction sales were down 40.3 percent over the same period.
If you’re trying to get out of the difficult renters market, talk to the New Era Group to buy a home that meets your needs and helps you reach your financial goals. Or try out our first in class search feature:
The beautiful gold, yellow and red colored leaves that glisten in the Mile High City sunshine this time of year is one of the wonderful features of Colorado’s colorful fall season. But, when rain, wind and even early season snow blow those glorious leaves from your yard’s trees, the changing of seasons can soon become a homeowner’s headache. To keep the beautiful fall colors from becoming more burdensome than enjoyable, try incorporating the following outdoor home maintenance tips into your routine this fall.
Add Fun to Your Yard Clean Up
Raking leaves can seem like a constant chore this time of year. But, if you sprinkle in some family fun as you form piles of leaves in your yard, the task can seem a little less daunting. Let your kids help with raking, encourage them to frolic in the piles while filling up garbage bags and use some of the leaves as part of your Thanksgiving decorations!
Trim Trees After Picking Up Leaves
After a full summer of abundant tree, plant and shrub growth, it’s important to cut back the vegetation in your yard after the leaves have been deposited. Trimming your trees in the fall can help promote healthier growth when spring rolls along and can help minimize losing branches during the winter months from heavy, wet snow pack accumulation.
Clean Gutters Lead to Less Winter Work
As multicolored leaves decorate your backyard in the fall, it’s easy to stay focused on removing the leaves occupying your outdoor landscape. But, when leaves above your home are blown off their branches, they typically take up residency above ground when they get caught in your roof’s gutter system. To promote unblocked water flow as snow melts and runs off your roof this winter, fall ‘tis the season to clean out your gutters. If you don’t have the proper equipment to do this outdoor task safely on your own, make sure to schedule an appointment with a gutter professional in your area.
Stay on Task Now to Open the Door to Free Time this Winter
Staying on top of fall outdoor maintenance now will leave more time this winter for family fun in the Colorado Rocky Mountain snow and can help eliminate possible outdoor home hassles as the holiday season approaches. But, if you’d rather leave outdoor maintenance and upkeep to someone else and you’re in the market for finding a new home with less yard work and responsibilities, give the Denver metro area real estate experts at New Era Group a call at 303-991-9878. We can sell your current maintenance-intensive home for top price and help you find your next forever home that meets your lifestyle needs and dreams. Maybe it is time to go for a condo filled with community amenities - see our post on this subject.
Reporting the market trends for the greater Denver area is a service we provide on a monthly basis. The data is interesting, but the story at a macro level continues to be one of a seller's market. Again, this month you can see above that inventory is down a full 20% from this same time last year, the days on market are down 20% and average sold price might end the year showing a double-digit increase.
These market conditions lead to questions such as: "How can we help buyers and investors find opportunities in this market?", and "When is the right time for a seller to take advantage of their rising property values?" One tool that is unique to our company that helps us provide guidance is the price change map that we produce quarterly. This map allows us to give you a clear sense of the current real estate trends in each neighborhood. This more micro level hyper-local data advises you on how to make a better decision whether you're buying, selling or investing. The map below is at too low a resolution to review online as it covers a large geography, however once you have a 36" X 18" hard copy of the map in-hand the information is indeed very interesting!
How Our Custom Tools Can Help
If we were to sit down to review the map together, here are some examples of what could be gleaned. First, pick a neighborhood that interests you, say City Park. During the past 12 months in City Park the average Days on Market (DOM) for a listed property was 20. There has been a 15% price increase in the past year, and the average sold price was $464,000. There were 23 sales in this time period, and currently there is only 1 Active property for sale, which equates to a .5 month supply. What does this tell us about City Park? It tells us that prices have been rising swiftly in the past year (low DOM and increasing prices) and the inventory is at rock bottom (only 1 Active property on the market!), which will help sellers in the neighborhood. With currently only a .5 month supply of homes for sale (6 months of supply is a balanced market) this is a red hot neighborhood. This example parallels the more macro level trends and a seller could expect top dollar at this time.
However, if we were to take a look at University, the DOM is 29 and there has been a 7% rise in home prices in the past year. The average sale price is $398,000 and in the previous 12 months there have been 149 sales. Currently there are 18 Active properties and there are 1.4 months of inventory. What this tells us is that University is a strong neighborhood with rising prices and low inventory, but not quite as strong as City Park and a buyer might find an opportunity.
Although the primary printed map we produce focus on Denver Metro, we can produce custom maps for the suburbs as well. Regardless as to where you wish to buy, sell or invest this tool provides a visual heat map as to where the market is hot, and where it might be a bit more temperate.
Give me a call and I'd be happy to sit down with you and review a full size copy of the Denver Metro area map or a custom map for your area of interest.
We are officially to the start of the holiday season and weekend ski trips in the mountains. There are always great things to do in Denver, here are just a few during the month of November.
Kinky Boots (October 29th-Nov 9th)
Kinky Boots is the exhilarating Broadway musical that will lift your spirits to new high-heeled heights! Winner of six Tony Awards including Best Musical, this inspirational story follows a struggling shoe factory owner who works to turn his business around with help from Lola, a fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos. Get tickets here.
Denver Arts Week (November 7th-15th)
Denver Arts Week celebrates the Mile high City's vibrant arts and culture scene. Enjoy a week of special events, concerts, art shows, theatre, dance, special deals and discounts. Click here for all the details!
Veteran's Day Celebration at the Denver Zoo (November 11th)
Denver Zoo will offer free admission to the zoo for veterans on November 11 in order to honor and support a new generation of veterans and their families. The zoo will also offer free 90-minute, guided tours designed to engage families of veterans in a fun-filled day together exploring Denver Zoo's public areas. Registration is required for tours. Get event details here!
37th Starz Denver Film Festival (November 12th-23rd)
With over 200 films and over 150 film industry guests attending - you won't want to miss the outstanding films, red carpet premieres, receptions, panels and excitement happening during this year's festival. Visit the official website here.
Denver International Wine Fest (November 19th-21st)
The 10th Annual Denver International Wine Festival is the premier wine and food festival in the Rocky Mountains. Meet celebrity TV chef and author Sara Moulton. This is a "can't miss" fall wine festival! Learn all about the celebration here.
Mile High United Way Turkey Trot (November 27th)
Come take part in the 41st annual run or walk at Denver's beautiful Washington Park. There will be lots of family fun, activities, fun booths, freebies and a beer garden all for a great cause! Learn more here.
Downtown Denver Grand illumination (November 28th)
As part of Downtown Denver's Winter in the City program, at 6 p.m. on Nov 28, 2014 Downtown Denver's Grand Illumination event will light up Downtown, from Denver Union Station to the City and County Building. Following a countdown shortly after 6:30 p.m., Denver Union Station will be ablaze with brightly colored floodlights illuminating the historic structure in the heart of Lower Downtown and its lighted tree in front. Light Exhibition runs through the end of December. Learn more here.
The Nutcracker (November 29th - December 27th)
Kick off the holiday season in spectacular fashion with Colorado Ballet's 54th annual production of The Nutcracker, featuring unforgettable characters, dazzling costumes, onstage blizzards, timeless choreography and Tchaikovsky's extraordinary arrangement performed live by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra. Click here for performance information.
October may be the official season of fall, but it’s also the official month of fright, ghosts and goblins. To help you and your family prepare for the upcoming Halloween traditions, it’s important to keep safety top of mind whether you’re out and about collecting candy or distributing pounds of chocolate, sugary Halloween treats.
Prepare Your Denver Home for Trick-or-Treaters
If you’re planning to participate in the trick-or-treating tradition of Halloween by providing candy and ghoulish goods at your doorstep, then make sure you prepare your residence safe, fun Halloween decorations and décor.
- Clear a safe, lit path to your door, especially if it’s a snowy night, as is the tradition Colorado Halloweens.
- Remove all obstacles or possibly dangerous objects from your yard.
- Remove any dogs or other animals from your house so you don’t have to deal with your animals possibly escaping through the door when handing out candy or getting stressed out hearing the doorbell ring multiple times throughout the night.
- Light your house well along your sidewalks and at your front door.
- If you’re going the scary route with decorations this year, warn trick-or-treaters before they enter your property so parents with younger children can decide whether your home is age appropriate for their family.
Review Safety Tips with Your Kids
Before you hit the streets in your best-dressed costumes and scouring the block for the best candy in the neighborhood, take the time to go over the following Halloween safety tips from the Denver Police Department - pdf sheet download.
- Children under the age of 14 should always trick-or-treat with an adult.
- Costumes should be flame-resistant and well fitted, while masks should have large eye holes.
- Use reflective tape on clothes and trick-or-treat bags, especially if you’re planning on being out after dark.
- Try to do most of your trick-or-treating before dark, but bring a flashlight along if it gets dark before you’re finished.
- Only visit homes you know and stay in well-lit areas.
- Always walk (don’t run) on sidewalks and only cross the street at corners using traffic signals and crosswalks.
- Only eat factory-wrapped treats and throw away candy if wrappers are faded, torn or show signs of re-wrapping.
Have a Ghoulish Fun Halloween Celebration
Halloween is all about having fun, but staying safe should also be a top priority for kids and parents. Keep these tips in mind as you adventure through your neighborhood with your little pumpkins, ghosts and goblins in tow so everyone can have a fun and safe holiday. Happy Halloween from the Denver real estate experts at New Era Group!
It’s nearly complete! The seven-story Amaranth Apartment building at 11th Avenue and Gaylord commissioned by Denver developer MGL Partners LLC is nearly complete. The original building was bought in 2008 with the idea of building a luxury senior housing that had secured them a loan for $41.1, but the environment of the Great Recession wasn’t a good one for the luxury senior housing. MGL Partners were forced to rethink their idea. The new idea would be a seven story, 34-unit apartment building.
The project wasn’t very popular at first with Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods (CHUN). Their concerns were for the already impossible parking in the area to be aggravated by so many new tenants. But MGL showed its true strength by involving the residents, keeping them informed, obliging a more than necessary parking plan that would go beyond the city of Denver’s code of one parking space for every unit. Instead, MGL worked it out by building a two-level, below-grade parking garage with about 234 spaces. CHUN was more than happy with MGL’s dedication to the neighborhood and its new neighbors.
New Denver Apartment Buildings
After starting construction in 2012 with a 20-month construction period, the new apartment building is nearly complete. For months 11th Avenue was bustling with large cranes, demolition vehicles and dump trucks. The previous building was demolished in short time, the ground dug up and the building rebuild from bottom up.
The new Amaranth apartment building is a lovely new addition to this grand neighborhood. Flanked by Cheesman Park and Congress Park, snugly set alongside the Botanic Gardens, this masterpiece will certainly bring more neighbors to this bustling neighborhood.
And while MGL Partners build-a-new; just a of couple blocks down, Julie Koeppe Architects puts a new face on an ugly building at Marlene Apartments at 2315 12th Avenue. The old building had its share of notorious residents who filled the rundown apartment building. A management company managed the Marlene apartments as the owner of the building resides out of state in New Mexico. As a result many of the tenants felt that the landlord cared little about the residents’ concerns. The worn-out carpets smelled of dust, the walls were bleak and the windows portrayed the building’s grim state. The updated Marlene Apartments building is predicted to be a vast improvement!
As old neighborhoods replenish old eyesores, new life is breathed into a continually growing and eclectic area of Denver. If you are interested in moving to the Congress Park area, contact one of our neighborhood experts at the New Era Group.
While there are going to be many events during the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), one in particular marks a little shift in how American the GABF has become.
The American Beer Movement
One thing to take note is that the entire world is now looking to our movement in craft beer. When we began our craft beer movement at the beginning of the 1970s, it was truly a handful of pioneers with exceptional willpower that made it all happen. Men like Fitz Maytag who rekindled the old Anchor Brewing Company and would launch a movement that would influence the world 40 years later, or Jack McAuliffe, who would be an influential persona that would be imitated for his engineering and passion. Of course, Ken Grossman, creator of Sierra Nevada, who would put the US on the world beer map as perhaps the father of hoppy American beer. But more locally and very much the global kick starter is Charlie Papazian.
The Great American Beer Festival
Charlie Papazian moved to Boulder in 1981 and would bring the entire show into one ring, the Great American Beer Festival. All these men and many more have created a beer industry and culture that has never before been seen in world beer history. This influence is now being imitated around the world. As Italy, with all its history dating back as far as 900 BC, adds a new chapter in 1996 with beer. Or Germany, whose long standing brewing laws is now being scrutinized to keep up with craft beer. The American craft beer culture has brought longtime and legendary breweries from Belgium from the brink. Now they too are enjoying the resurgence of their beer as many craft American brewers have imitated their styles. But new beer cultures like Italy are emerging. Japan imports so many beers from around the world that they are now a big part of the movement. Brazil, Mexi-Cali, Peru, Argentina and Spain all have begun their craft beer movements.
The Craft Beer Scene in Denver
So it’s no surprise that during this great celebration of American craft beer there will be a panel of diplomats from around the world discussing their craft beer scenes here in Denver. Some of the attendants from 3 pm to 5 pm, October 2nd at Jazz@Jack’s, located at the Denver Pavilions on the 16th Street Mall, will be government representatives including top ambassadors/diplomats from Belgian, Canada, Japan and Mexico. Representing Italy will be locals Bryan Jansing and Paul Vismara who wrote the first book about the Italian craft beer movement, Italy: Beer Country. The event will be moderated by Ed Sealover, writer for the Denver Business Journal and author of Mountain Brew: A Guide to Colorado Breweries.
It’s certainly beer week in Colorado, but it’s a week being participated and watched by the entire world. I’ll toast to that.