And the Beat Goes on. That’s a 1980 song from an American group called The Whispers. The song is about moving on from a lost love. In a different sense, the Boulder Valley, Metro Denver, and Northern Colorado real estate markets have moved on from a period of time when real estate values plummeted, bank foreclosures and short sales multiplied, and banks were draping Out-of-Business signs on their front windows courtesy of the Federal Reserve.
In the span of less than two years the Front Range real estate market has shifted from a buyer’s market to a balanced market to a seller’s market. Driven by pent-up demand and affordable mortgage interest rates the Front Range real estate market regained its mojo. Sometimes the wheels of change move quickly.
The Douglas County real estate market peaked in 2005 and plateaued in 2009. The years 2010 and 2011 mirrored 2009. 2012 saw the market begin to shift upward as the economy improved and mortgage interest rates reached historic lows. Four months into 2013 the Douglas County market is up 30.06% for single family home sales (2068 vs. 1590) compared to the same time period for 2012. Attached unit sales are up 28.72% (242 vs. 188) for the same time periods. The overall market is up 29.92%.
The Absorption Rate for the Douglas County real estate market for single family homes stands at 68 days at the end of April/2013. This is the length of time it would take for the market to fully sell assuming no new listings came into the marketplace and the rate of sales activity remained the same. It’s a good gauge for determining what is happening in the market over the course of the past few months. Absorption Rates normally drift lower as sales activity in the spring and summer markets increase.
The question becomes can the Douglas County real estate market sustain itself? The available inventory of single family homes in Douglas County continues to creep-up, but at a snail’s pace. When comparing the end of April/2013 to the end of April/2012, available single family homes in Douglas County are down 33.24% (1175 vs. 1760).
Across the Front Range the real estate market is beginning to experience the trickle-up effect where more expensive homes are selling. The average single family home through April/2013 in Douglas County has sold for $377,895. This compares to $353,189 through April/2012, an increase of 6.99%. Entry level homes continue to sell well and now the market is undergoing an upper movement in buyer confidence. That’s a positive sign for the market as a whole.
As we enter the peak real estate selling season here are some things buyers and sellers will need to focus on. For buyers, available inventory will continue to remain at a low level with well-priced homes selling quickly. Get your financing in place before you make an offer. This bodes well in the mind of sellers to know they have a qualified buyer. It also makes sense in terms of timing. The early bird catches the worm or in this case makes the home purchase.
For sellers, be aware of changing market conditions. Home values are trending up in most areas and price segments. Take advantage of that shift by pricing your home competitively, but also knowing this is not a discount housing market. There will still be “bottom-feeders” out there looking for “deals”. Don’t feel like you need to buy into that scenario.