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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Housing Market News

Three-Legged Market Stool Out of Balance

Spring sunshine and warm temperatures have come early to the Front Range this year, and apparently so has the spring housing market. As expected, market activity has been robust – a gentler way of saying frenzied.

Major forces are at play in the market. Now is a good time to take a step back from the day-to-day market gyrations and review the fundamentals.

One can think of the real estate market as a three–legged stool. Each leg of the stool is a major determinant of the overall market. Collectively, the three legs of the stool overshadow all the other less impactful market factors.

The three legs of the stool are: interest rates, jobs, and listing inventory. And we are seeing shifts in each leg of the stool.

real estate stoolJobsthere’s lot of them these days!

According to a Colorado Department of Labor report out last week, the unemployment rate in Colorado fell to 2.9%, a low not seen since 2001. Colorado is adding 5,000 plus jobs per month. In January, Colorado added 7,900 jobs. Jobs drive demand for housing, and at the moment, a hot job market is fueling a hot real estate market.

Interest ratesthey’re on the rise.

After years of speculation that rates have nowhere to go but up, it’s no longer theory, it’s reality. Rates that hovered between 3.5% and 3.75% last Fall are up about a half a percent to around 4.25% today. For homebuyers who require financing to purchase, this increase of 0.5% has reduced their purchasing power by about 5%. In other words, a buyer looking at $500,000 homes last Fall is now looking at $475,000 homes if they don’t want a higher monthly payment.

Rising rates take buyers out of the market in the long run, thereby dampening demand. In the short run, however, it appears that rising rates are creating a sense of urgency among buyers who have concluded that waiting will increase their payment or shut them out of the market entirely.

Listing inventorythere are even fewer homes on the market than last year.

The lack of inventory is nothing new. What is new is that the shortage is getting even worse. Across the Front Range, the number of active listings on the market is down more than 10% compared to last February. For an even broader perspective, in 2010, there were over 37,000 properties for sale along the Front Range. Today there are less than 9,000.

So the inventory leg of our three-legged stool is short. It has basically been sawed down to one quarter of its typical length. As a result, our stool, and our market, is wildly out of balance.

A Refreshing Look at the Question “What is my House Worth?”

Spring is here, and there more and more homes hitting the market every day. The biggest question on everyone’s mind is how much will homes be going for this year.

You may have noticed neighbors’ homes going up for sale and wondering how much they are listed for. Let’s take a look at some of the stats for our area to get a better idea of what is going on.


In Arapahoe County for February 2017, the average sales price* was:

  • $354,450 for Single Family Homes (up 10.8% from 1 year ago)

  • $213,500 for Condos/Townhomes (up 13.6% from 1 year ago)


In Douglas County for February 2017, the average sales price* was:

  • $442,000 for Single Family Homes (up 6.5% from 1 year ago)
  • $286,500 for Condos/Townhomes (up 10.2% from 1 year ago)

Friday, March 17, 2017

Landscape Tips

Try to slow an early spring

tulips from hilltopSpring has arrived three weeks early and this means plants along Colorado's Front Range are blooming ahead of schedule, especially the bulbs we planted last fall. Tulips and daffodils in a lightly mulched bed may be as tall now as they normally would be on April 8th. Bulbs located in a sunny south facing bed against a house or wall may be already be in full bloom.

Despite an early spring, if your daffodils are in full bloom and temps fall below freezing, those blooms will probably freeze.
You cannot protect those flowers, but if you would like to slow down growth of bulbs as they are emerging, you might be able to do just that.

The process begins by testing the soil temperature.
If your tulips and daffodils are now breaking through the soil surface, do a test using the meat thermometer from your kitchen. A compost thermometer also works.

Brush away the mulch
around emerging bulb plants and push the point of the thermometer down as far as it will go into the soil. If the reading is below 60 degrees, then you should be able keep the soil cool and slow the development of these emerging plants. The process ends by adding more mulch to the bed.

Additional mulch shades and insulates
the soil to keep it from warming in the sun. Keeping the soil cool will slow down growth of the plants and delay bloom time.
If the reading is above 60 degrees and plant growth is taking off, you probably can't slow down the plants because the soil is warm and activating growth. These plants, however, could probably use a splash of water. Give them enough water to moisten the soil to about 1" below the surface.

Word of caution: be careful not to over water bulb beds. Over-watering can make bulbs mushy. If you watered the bed in when you planted, bulbs won't need much more than a sprinkle. And if they're on the east or north side of a structure, test the soil with your hand. If it crumbles like sand, it's time to add water.

Advice for perennials. With the warmth and winds, perennials could use a good, healthy drink of water. They rely on soil moisture along with more hours of sunlight and warmer soil temperatures to wake up and grow in the spring. We have warming soil, more hours of sunlight and now they need that third and most important ingredient - water - to stay alive and healthy for the upcoming season.
Give them a good drink.

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