Friday, December 22, 2017

Real Estate Market News

2018 Real Estate Predictions: More of the same…sort of

Looking into a crystal ball to see the future - 2018 Predictions

The final numbers are almost in.

#1. Inventory Stays Tight
The supply of inventory will remain tight, generally giving sellers the upper hand as buyers compete for a limited supply of move-in ready, market priced listings. Inventory levels will remain well below the six-month benchmark that divides a sellers’ market from a buyers’ market. That said, we will probably see inventory levels creep up to the 7-12 month range during the typical “summer simmer” in July at higher price points.

#2. Affordability Takes a Toll
The rapid rate of home appreciation along the Front Range has far outpaced income growth over the last few years, and the result is that many home buyers are finding it more and more difficult to afford a home in our market.

Affordability is not just a function of home prices and incomes. Prevailing interest rates play a big role as well. Looking ahead to 2018, recent national GDP growth of 3%+ and corresponding moves by the Fed portend higher mortgage rates in 2018. This could exacerbate our affordability challenges since every percent increase in interest rates reduces the home a typical buyer can afford by about 10%.

Even though Colorado’s employment picture is quite strong with one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates at 2.7%, and a projected addition of 56,300 jobs next year according to the CU Economic Outlook, jobs are not enough to offset high home prices for some. In fact, 193,000 people moved out of Colorado last year, but 223,000 moved into Colorado, for a net increase to our population of 30,000. Still, that was the lowest level of in-migration in years.

The headwinds caused by affordability issues coupled with tight inventory will result in modest decreases of 0% to 5% in the number of homes sold in 2018 compared to 2017.

#3. Home Values Up 4% to 6%
Headlines throughout 2017 proclaimed that the market was cooling and home price increases were slowing down or even falling. At the end of the day, prices did not fall in 2017, but the rate of appreciation did moderate from double-digit gains in 2016 to the 6% to 8% range in 2017.

The Federal Finance Housing Authority’s most recent report pegged Colorado’s annual appreciation at 8.5%. Zillow reported a 7.5% increase in 2017 for Colorado.

We expect to see appreciation rates moderate even more in 2018, ending up in the 4% to 6% range. Falling affordability will take some buyers out of the market, but the conditions of low supply and high demand that drive up prices are firmly in place and will continue to fuel appreciation.

You may have noticed that our predictions have yet to reference changes to housing rules in the tax reform package that most observers now expect to become law. Changes that directly impact housing include:

  • Lowering the cap of the loan amount for new mortgages that qualify for the mortgage interest deduction from $1 million to $750,000. Current homeowners will not be affected.
  • Limiting the deduction for property taxes, and state and local income taxes and sales taxes to $10,000.
  • Eliminating the deduction of interest on home equity loans. (Interest is still deductible on home equity loans if the proceeds are used to substantially improve the residence.)
  • Increasing the standard deduction for individuals from $6,350 to $12,000 and from $12,700 to $24,000 for married joint filers reduces the incentive to itemize and claim the mortgage interest deduction.

Some, including the National Association of Realtors, have predicted that the tax reform package could cause a significant drop in home prices. While the new tax rules may influence the decisions and behavior of some home buyers, sellers, and homeowners, it is not clear how the combination of all these changes will manifest themselves in aggregate in the market.

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

Let’s take a look at some of the stats for our area to get a better idea of what is going on in the local housing market!

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

  • $385,000 for Single Family Homes (up 8.5% from 1 year ago)

  • $240,000 for Condos/Townhomes (up 12.4% from 1 year ago).


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

  • $475,000 for Single Family Homes (up 6.7% from 1 year ago)

  • $310,000 for Condos/Townhomes (up 8.8% from 1 year ago).
*Median sales price based on a six-month moving average

Friday, November 3, 2017

fire Extinguisger recall

Hello Morning Mesa Community!

Please be advised that Kidde has recalled over 134 models of extinguishers. 1 death has been reported at this time. Please take a moment to read the link and check if the extinguishers located in your home are safe.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Real Estate News

Fall Market Offers Treats, Not Tricks to Buyers

The leaves are not the only thing changing as we move into fall. The market too is shifting, like it does every fall. And these changes provide some compelling opportunities. In fact, the fall market has some tasty treats for buyers in its candy bowl.
These “treats” include less competition from other buyers. The pace is less “we have to make an offer today”, and more “let’s make an offer this week.” Less “we’re competing with six other offers, and two are cash”, and more “we’re the only offer submitted.”
Another treat for buyers is that sellers in the fall market are typically realistic and motivated. There’s a reason they’re not waiting until Spring to list. (BTW sellers, the same goes for fall buyers- they’re serious).
But the tastiest treat of all for buyers in the fall market candy bowl is the ability to purchase a home at a bargain price – to buy a home “on sale”.

Now for those thinking of Black Friday discounts of 20-30%+ off regular price, you may need to recalibrate for housing, where the discounts are more in the 1-3% range. That may not sound like much, but 2% of a $400,000 house is $8,000.
How do we know that homes are discounted 2-3% in the fall? The market data clearly shows it. Looking through the lens of price per square foot for the entire Front Range, from the peak in the Summer to the low point in the fall/Winter, the price per square foot dropped 1.6% in 2014, 1.5% in 2015, and 2.1% in 2016. We’re already seeing this predictable pattern play out in 2017 as price per square foot shifted lower in August.
Another place where we see the 1-3% fall discount is in the metric of Close Price vs List Price. In each of the last three years along the Front Range, the percent of the closing price to list price fell 1-2% from a peak reached in May/June to a trough in December. In 2014, the market peaked in June when homes sold for 99.5% of list price, compared to the low point in December of 98.3%, a “discount” of 1.2%. In 2015, the peak was 100.8% (yes over list price on average) in June compared to 98.5% in December for a “discount” of 2.3%. And 2016 saw the same “discount” of 2.1% with the peak in May at 100.7% and the December trough at 98.6%.
The consistency of the data and the pattern show just how predictable seasonal market patterns are. Takeaway: if you want to buy a home at a discount, you should look to go under contract in October or November with a December closing.
Knowing this pattern, guess who typically buys in the fall? For lack of a better term, the smart money buys when the first snow falls. Folks who own multiple properties and it’s not their first rodeo. Specifically, investor activity picks up in the fall as properties are purchased for rentals and flips.
Does this mean you should never sell in the fall? Absolutely not. The figures cited above are averages for all properties sold along the entire Front Range. Sellers who work with their agent to prep, merchandise, and price their home properly can easily defy these averages and get top dollar in the fall. Some homes show amazingly well when the grass is still green and the leaves are vibrant reds and yellows.
Every market and every time of year has its advantages and disadvantages, its tricks and treats, for both buyers and sellers. My mission as an 8z Realtor is to ensure that my clients understand the tradeoffs so they can make informed real estate decisions that, above all else, enhance their lives.
Enjoy the fall colors!

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

Let’s take a look at some of the stats for our area to get a better idea of what is going on in the local housing market!

In Arapahoe County for Sept 2017, the average sales price* was:
  • $385,000 for Single Family Homes (up 6.9% from 1 year ago)
  • $236,000 for Condos/Townhomes (up 11.1% from 1 year ago).

In Douglas County for Sept 2017, the average sales price* was:
  • $475,000 for Single Family Homes (up 6.7% from 1 year ago)
  • $310,000 for Condos/Townhomes (up 9.9% from 1 year ago).
*Median sales price based on a six-month moving average 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Community Rules & Regs.Update (Draft)

Hello Morning Mesa Community!

As discussed in yesterdays Annual Owners Meeting, please follow the link to view a PDF of the drafted Updated Rules & Regs. presented by the Board for Community Review.  The Board will allow for a six (6) week review.  The Board will then finalize and then Mail out the final revision via US Postal Mail to the community on 11/30/17.  The Rules will then take effect on 1/1/2018.

Please email with any requested revisions, removal, or addition of verbiage you are seeking.  The Board will then take into consideration those requests and finalize again by 11/30/17.

Thanks in advance,

Your Morning Mesa Board of Directors

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Annual Owner Meeting 10/11/17 @ 3pm

Good Day Morning Mesa Home Owners!

Its that time of year to partake in the Community Annual Owners Meeting.  Please see the attached link, that also went out US Postal Mail.

If you are interested in service on the Board or any Community Committee Volunteer Position (i.e. Landscape or Rules & Regulations), please let Shane Lussier of cherry Creek HOA know your interest.

If you are unable to attend, please make sure that you turn in your proxy to at least count towards quorum to save the Community monies for having to reschedule.

Thanks in advance,

Your Board of Directors

Friday, September 22, 2017

What is my home worth?

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

Let’s take a look at some of the stats for our area to get a better idea of what is going on in the local housing market!

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

  • $475,000 for Single Family Homes (up 6.7% from 1 year ago)

  • $305,050 for Condos/Townhomes (up 8.9% from 1 year ago).

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

  • $385,000 for Single Family Homes (up 6.9% from 1 year ago)

  • $235,000 for Condos/Townhomes (up 11.9% from 1 year ago).

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

When is the best time for tree trimming?

Trimming a tree in the dormant season has its benefits

Posted on: August 11th, 2017
Written by Steve Geist, Senior Consulting Arborist of Swingle Tree Company

One of the most time-honored questions (or controversies) in all of tree care is, “when is the best time of year for trimming a tree?”  Much has been written over the years, with various and contradictory opinions and theories offered.
In the day, pruning was referred to as tree surgery.  For example, when Swingle was founded back in 1947, the company was known as Swingle Tree Surgeons.
For a moment, let’s consider the notion of tree surgery. Before surgery, the “patient” should be in the best possible condition prior to the procedure, thus minimizing unintended side effects and issues, while decreasing the recovery time.
Dead and broken branches may be removed at any time during the year.  Where the real controversy exists is when is the best time to prune live branches from a tree or shrub?
In most cases, pruning in the dormant season (after the leaves have fallen from the tree) is the best time to surgically remove or prune live branches.  From the tree or shrub’s perspective, the dormant season is an ideal time for trimming a tree.
Landscape plants spend their entire growing season storing energy to last through the winter and produce leaf and flower buds the following spring.  Trees and shrubs are the strongest (in the best possible condition) during dormancy. This is when they are best able to defend the open pruning cuts from disease and decay organisms.

Trimming a tree in dormancy protects a trees health

Dormant season is the ideal time to avoid encounters with insects and diseases of trees.  These encounters would be unintended side effects.  Many insects are attracted to scents or smells that the trees emit from the open pruning cuts.  Insects harm trees by feeding and boring into plant tissue.
Several insects also spread diseases along the way.  Dutch elm disease, thousand cankers of walnut, blue stain of conifers, fire blight, and drippy blight of red oak are all diseases spread by insects.  Most wood boring insects that will cause serious harm to trees and shrubs are also dormant or immobile during this time of year.  Therefore, pruning in the dormant season will reduce or eliminate the insect attraction to open pruning sites.
Lastly, for leaf bearing trees, it is far easier to see the branch framework without the leaves.  The question will often arise, “can an arborist pruning a tree tell if a branch is dead or alive without foliage?”
The answer is a definite yes.  Leaf buds, branch flexibility, and bark appearance are all diagnostic clues for branch viability.  Seeing the tree’s framework is important in identifying crossing and interfering branches, seeing branch defects, and determining branch health – or which branches are most important to the tree.  Branches with more foliage buds are more important to the tree than branches with a few green tufts at the canopy edge.  The weaker branches (which should be pruned) are more easily identified in the dormant season.
So, are there any pitfalls to dormant pruning when you’re thinking about trimming a tree?  There are a few.  Sheared plants may be damaged or scorched if pruned during cold weather.  Spring flowering shrubbery should also not be pruned in the winter, as the pruning will take the flower buds along with the pruning cuts – diminishing your spring display.

The Morning Mesa HOA currently reviews trees in the community.  As recently as August 28th we treated trees for insects, disease, and provide general health care with deep root watering vitamins as a preventative maintenance; including reviews as needed for trimming.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Real Estate News

Real Estate Investors: Main Street not Wall Street

Most believe housing is not only a way to enhance one’s quality of life by providing an enjoyable place to live, but also a vehicle to enhance one’s financial situation by providing an attractive investment. This month we will take a closer look at the investment aspect of real estate.

Of course, the most common way to invest in real estate is to purchase a property and live in it. However, once the goal of homeownership has been achieved, the natural next step for many is to purchase a rental property.

This can take on a few different forms:

  • single family home or condo leased on a long-term basis of 6 months to a year
  • multi-unit apartment building
  • the increasingly popular short-term rental property for Airbnb or VRBO

boiling potA recent, detailed study of the investment property brought to light some surprising results that contradict long-held perceptions of the rental property market. The key findings of the Real Trends report, the gold standard for research in the real estate industry, include the following:

  • The majority of rental property owners are actually small entrepreneurs who own five or fewer units. This statistic equates to 10.8 million investors representing 98 percent of all rental property owners, or 80 percent of all rental properties. This is vastly different from the perception that all property investors are large-scale Wall Street players with hundreds of units in their portfolio.
  • Out of the 43.7 million rental households, 15.2 million or 35 percent are single-family residences that represent 43 percent of rental residences. This segment of the rental industry is second only to apartment buildings.
  • The first rental property purchase made by investors is typically found with the help of others. Real estate agents are the leading source, followed by friends and real estate investment clubs.
  • Two thirds of rental property investments are made in the investor’s local area and 52 percent occur in the investor’s city or town. The role of national investors who have no location preference remains a small segment of the market.
  • Half of investors handle all aspects of property management, 22 percent enlist the aid of a third party for some aspects of property management (primarily leasing vacancies), while 28 percent have a professional do all the property management work.

Many Americans have a goal of one day owning investment property. That may mean adding to an existing portfolio this year, or not for another decade until after the purchase of a primary residence, but the goal remains the same.

The great news for Colorado investors is that we just happen to live in one of the healthiest housing markets in the U.S., if not the world.

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

The year is half over, and the Summer market is in full swing. 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 June 2017, the average sales price* was:

  • $382,000 for Single Family Homes (up 8.90% from 1 year ago).

  • $228,500 for Condos/Townhomes (up 13.7% from 1 year ago).

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

  • $470,500 for Single Family Homes (up 7.4% from 1 year ago).
  • $300,600 for Condos/Townhomes (up 8.5% from 1 year ago).

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Aurora News

March 13, 2017          Aurora Municipal Center                      Ward II                7:00 pm         
                                    Aurora Room, 1st Flr                                
                                    15151 E. Alameda Parkway

April 18, 2017            Shalom Cares                                          Ward V                6:00 pm
                                                14800 E. Belleview Drive

April 20, 2017            EchoTech Institute                                  Ward IV               6:30 pm
                                    1400 S. Abilene Street
May 10, 2017             Mimi’s CafĂ©                                             Ward III               6:00 pm
                                    205 S. Abilene Street

May 16, 2017             Martin Luther King, Jr. Library          Ward I                  6:00 pm
                                    9898 E. Colfax Avenue

May 18, 2017             Tin Cup Restaurant                                Wards I/III           7:15 am
                                    Aurora Hills Golf Course
                                                50 S. Peoria Street

May 24, 2017             Mission Viejo Library                             Ward VI               6:30 pm
                                    15324 E. Hampden Circle

July 26, 2017              Heritage Eagle Bend Clubhouse            Ward VI               6:00 pm
                                    23155 E. Heritage Parkway

July 27, 2017              Aurora Central Library                         At-Large              6:00 pm
                                    14949 E. Alameda Parkway

Public Budget Hearings
Regular City Council Meeting
Aurora Municipal Center
Council Chamber, 1st Flr
15151 E. Alameda Parkway


Hello Aurora Neighbors!

On a personal note, I will be retiring from the city of Aurora effective May 5, 2017.   I have so totally enjoyed working with you all.  Your dedication to your neighbors and your community is making Aurora a much healthier and prosperous city.

Marsha W. Osborn
Neighborhood Liaison

Residents invited to share feedback May 11 on bike lane extension on Montview Boulevard to Yosemite Street

The city of Aurora is hosting a public open house in May to provide information on the next phase of mobility improvements planned along Montview Boulevard.

The Montview Connections open house from 6 to 8 p.m. May 11 at the North Middle School Cafeteria, 12095 E. Montview Boulevard, will offer details and drawings related to the proposed extension of on-street bike lanes on Montview Boulevard west from Havana Street to the Montview Bridge over Westerly Creek, and then the south side only from Westerly Creek to Yosemite Street.

Information and exhibits also will be available regarding changes to the intersection of Montview Boulevard and Peoria Street.

Staff will be available to answer questions and take comments. A Spanish interpreter will be on hand as well.

This project is the second phase of mobility improvements on Montview Boulevard, which are based on citizen feedback and the recommendations of the city’s Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan.

Last year, the city added bike lanes as a test project on Montview Boulevard between Havana and Oswego streets. The city is continuing to study how drivers, cyclists and pedestrians have changed how they move along the road with the new alignment.

For more information, visit or email

Marsha W. Osborn
City of Aurora
Neighborhood Liaison
15151 E. Alameda Parkway
Aurora, Colorado 80012

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Aurora News (Property Taxes, Cleanup Day, Workshops)

“Valuation and Property Taxes – Everything You Need To Know”

“Properties in Arapahoe County have been reappraised and new Notices of Valuation will be mailed about May 1.  Arapahoe County Assessor Marc Scott and Arapahoe County Treasurer Sue Sandstrom are available to speak to your group about the valuation process and how it affects your property taxes.  Learn about property values, mil levies, taxing districts, senior exemptions, the valuation appeal process and more.  Get your questions answered.  The presentation can be customized to fit your time requirements.  If interested, please contact Treasurer Sandstrom at or 303-795-4549.”

Aurora Cleanup Day – May 20, 2017
Disposing of large household waste properly is often a challenge, but Aurora Cleanup Day can help.

Residents may bring their large household waste ­­- items that are not appropriate for curbside pickup - to one of six locations from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 20. Each location will have a roll-off dumpster and will be staffed by city staff and volunteers. One site is located in each council ward:
Ward I:            Lowry Park, 1001 Dayton St.
Ward II:
           Northeast corner of South Airport Boulevard and East Alameda Drive

Ward III:          Havana Machine, 840 S. Havana St.
Ward IV:
          Ecotech Institute, 1400 S. Abilene St.
Ward V:
           Griswold Water Purification Facility, 14201 E. Hampden Ave.
Ward VI:
          Red-tailed Hawk Park, 23701 E. Hinsdale Way

This free event is open to Aurora residents only, and participants must show proof of residency with a driver’s license, utility bill or other identification with an Aurora address.

This event is designed for disposal of residential items that are not appropriate for curbside pickup. The following items will not be accepted: refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners or other items with Freon; construction debris such as concrete, sod, dirt, rocks and bricks; car parts such as tires; electronics; household chemicals and paint; and hazardous waste. Disposal resources for many of these types of waste can be found online at
Volunteers are needed to assist city staff at the Cleanup Day sites. Contact Jamie LaDuke at 303.739.7248 or if you are interested. For questions about Aurora Cleanup Day, go to or contact Neighborhood Services at 303.739.7287.

Thank you for your efforts to Keep Aurora Clean!

Other Aurora Places visioning workshops

For staff who can’t attend the employee-only workshop, please join us at one of the following workshops scheduled for the general public (see attachment). We also encourage you to share these workshops with friends and neighbors who might have an interest in attending.

  • North: April 26, 5:30 to 8 p.m., The Hangar at Stanley, 2501 Dallas St.
  • Central: April 26, 5:30 to 8 p.m., Overland High School, 12400 E. Jewell Ave.
  • South: April 26, 5:30 to 8 p.m., Heritage Eagle Bend Golf Club, 23155 E. Heritage Parkway
  • East: May 2, 5:30 to 8 p.m., Vista PEAK Preparatory School, 24500 E. Sixth Ave.
  • Daytime: May 3, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Aurora Central Library, 14949 E. Alameda Parkway

The public workshops will begin with a light meal, followed by the visioning workshop. To ensure there is enough food, please RSVP at 303.739.7271 or Children are welcome, and activities will be provided.

Marsha W. Osborn

City of Aurora

Neighborhood Liaison

15151 E. Alameda Parkway

Aurora, Colorado 80012


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)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Housing Market Notes

What We Love About Our Homes

Valentine’s Day brings out our love for others, but what about the homes where we live? They deserve a little love as well. This month we’ll look at what homeowners love about their homes, as well as what buyers are looking for in a home. Is there a Valentine’s Day match?

When asked what they love about their homes, homeowners responded by describing what they like to do in their homes. Specifically, Americans love to entertain and eat.

According to a Harris poll, the top home features were social spaces where guests could gather and mingle. These included an open floor plan, a backyard deck and a balcony with a view. On the food-related front, amenities like a gourmet kitchen, an eat-in kitchen, and a vegetable garden were cited.

On the flip side, what are buyers looking for in a home? The National Association of Home Builders’ “Housing Preferences Across Generations” report found these 7 features that buyers want most:

  1. Separate laundry room – From Millennials to Baby Boomers, this was the most popular feature desired by 92% of homebuyers.
  2. Exterior lighting – Of course, the house has to be looking good when all your guests arrive. Aesthetics aside, lighting also provides an added safety bonus.
  3. Energy efficient appliances and windows – today’s Energy Star rated appliances and windows provide significant savings on utility bills without compromising quality.
  4. Backyard deck or patio – outdoor areas offer more living and entertaining space even if their use is limited by weather.
  5. Hardwood floors – Wood flooring offers a cleaner look, is easier to maintain, and is more durable than carpet.
  6. Garage storage space – A little bit of cabinetry and shelving in the garage goes a long way for organizing the endless gear and adult toys of active Coloradoans.
  7. Eat-in kitchen – Whether it’s just a regular night at home or an evening of entertaining guests, everyone inevitably ends up in the kitchen.

So do we have a Valentine’s Day match? Do homeowners love the same things buyers are looking for? Not surprisingly, it all comes down to food and entertaining.

Both groups love a home where they can prepare a meal in a gourmet, eat-in kitchen (chock full of energy efficient appliances), and then enjoy that meal with friends and family on a backyard patio or deck. Now that’s a match made in heaven!

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

As Winter is coming to a close, and Spring is right around the corner, many people are getting ready to list their homes or are currently looking for a home. The biggest question on everyone’s mind is how much will homes be going for this year.

We’ve already seen more and more listings popping up, and we’re seeing the Spring market starting to come early, as we expected. Let’s take a look at some of the stats for our area to get a better idea of what is going on.

In Douglas County for January 2017 (anyone else still writing 2016?), the average sales price* was:

  • $440,500 for Single Family Homes (up 6.1% from 1 year ago).

  • $280,000 for Condos/Townhomes (up 12% from 1 year ago).

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

  • $355,000 for Single Family Homes (up 10% from 1 year ago).

  • $210,000 for Condos/Townhomes (up 13.5% from 1 year ago).

The graphic above shows that on average a buyer paid 100% of what the seller listed the home for last month. Also with low months of inventory, this keeps us solidly in a seller’s market for now until more homeowners decide to list their homes.

*Median sales price based on a twelve-month moving average

Monday, February 6, 2017

Patio Gardening Tips

Gardening Tips

orange pansyJust like 2017 is the year of the rooster in the Chinese calendar, 2017 also has a designated bulb, perennial, annual and edible. While a national designation, these "2017 Year of" plants offer noteworthy advantages for Colorado gardeners. Read on to learn which plant was once considered a weed and which one won't be eaten by mice, voles, squirrels, rabbits or deer.

All of the 2017 designees could be good for your landscape - even if your garden plot is as small as a container on your patio.

2017: Year of the Daffodil

Did you know our country has always enjoyed daffodils because women sailing to the new world sewed the bulbs into the hems of their skirts because they had nowhere else to put them on the ships? And if you guessed they are the plant distasteful to many animals, you earn a gold star.

These early bloomers of spring are in our heritage and a great fit for gardens nibbled by wildlife. Daffodils are well suited to Colorado's climate and require little maintenance.

2017: Year of the Brassica

Say what? The word "brassica" denotes the family of hardy, early and late season edible crops that are so healthy for us. Think broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, rutabaga and turnips. These crops have been a major food source throughout history and are grown around the world.

Brassica are among foods highest in Vitamin C, antioxidants and other compounds that reduce risk of cancer. Simply buy a packet of seeds, follow the instructions on the package and you're off and running to enjoy healthy, home-grown veggies.

2017: Year of the Rose

The US National Flower is perennial of the year. Long before arriving in America, the rose was recorded in China some 7,000 years ago. Fortunately, today's varieties are easy-to-grow staples in the landscape. Plant them where they will have 6 to 8 hours of full sun and irrigate them with water-conserving drip irrigation. Drip avoids common diseases brought on by wet foliage watered by spray irrigation.

Roses require some pruning to produce many blooms, but the process is user friendly as long as you know when to prune and avoid the thorns. Ground cover roses require no pruning at all.

2017: Year of the Pansy
The plant considered a weed until early in the 19th century is the pansy. Now varieties are grown worldwide and enjoyed for their range of colors from near-black to bright yellow and many soft shades between. They are suitable for any sunny space and can be planted in the ground, in containers and hanging baskets. Pansies are edibles, so plant them with early lettuce and use their blooms to dress up salads. Blooms can also be candied to decorate cakes.

Colorado gardeners can always rely on pansies for transitional color between the warm and cool season - on the front end of winter turning to spring and on the back end of summer turning to fall

Information courtesy National Garden Bureau

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

2016 Real Eatste Review

2016 Market Unfolded as Predicted

The final numbers are in for 2016. The overarching headline is that 2016 turned out to be a record year in real estate, recording the highest home prices ever in Colorado and the highest volume of real estate sold. The market is carrying a lot of momentum into 2017.

In the spirit of transparency and accountability, let’s review the predictions most experts made a year ago in the January 2016:

Prediction #1 – Sellers Keep the Advantage

“The supply of inventory will remain tight, giving sellers the upper hand as buyers compete for a limited supply of move-in ready, market priced listings. Inventory levels will remain well below the six-month benchmark that divides a sellers’ market from a buyers’ market.”

Reality – Inventory became even tighter in 2016. Despite occasional signs that the supply of homes for sale was trending upward, each increase in listings was absorbed quickly by strong demand, bringing inventory back down. We started the year at 2.1 months of supply along the Front Range, fell to 1.9 months in February, and remained below 2 months for the rest of the year, ending at 1.3 months amidst a market more active than usual in December. Keep in mind, 5 to 7 months of supply is considered a balanced market, anything less favors sellers.

While the overall supply levels remain low, we are seeing pockets this winter where listings are sitting on the market a bit longer, giving buyers more negotiating power, and causing prices to flatten out. This presents a good buying opportunity before the expected spring frenzy arrives.

Grade: A. Nailed it.

Prediction #2 Tight Inventory and Higher Rates Won’t Stop Buyers from Closing More Sales

“Demand from buyers just keeps getting stronger. For Millennials, Colorado has become a hot new destination. Buyers will have to compete for a limited supply of inventory, thwarting many from actually completing a purchase. Enough, however, will figure out a way to close, resulting in an increase of 5% to 10% in the volume of real estate sold in 2016 compared to 2015.”

Reality – Sales volume across all Front Range markets was up 3.4% in 2016 compared to 2015, a bit lower than the 5% to 10% increase predicted.

The headwinds caused by the lack of inventory proved to be a bit stronger than expected. Many ready, willing, and able buyers tried to purchase in 2016, but couldn’t find a home or lost out to better offers. Fortunately, a large percentage of those buyers are still actively looking. Many are finding that new construction homes coming online is the answer to the inventory shortage.

Grade: B+. Close, but no cigar

Prediction #3 – Home Values Up 6% to 8%

“It appears inevitable that the frenzy we saw in the market last spring will be repeated this spring. The conditions of low supply and high demand that drive up prices are firmly in place. We expect to see appreciation rates exceed 10% through the first half of the year before settling back down to the 6% to 8% range by the end of 2016 as interest rates tick up.”

Reality – Colorado home values increased 10.3% in 2016 according to the latest data from Zillow. The Core Logic Home Price Index pegs Colorado appreciation at 8.8%. In Douglas County, home values are up 5.2% according to Zillow, while Arapahoe County values are up 11.0%.

Although lower than actual 2016 appreciation, the prediction of 6% to 8% was quite aggressive at the time. Many so-called experts were predicting much lower appreciation rates. Zillow, for example, predicted 2016 appreciation of 3% to 5% for major Colorado metro areas.

We all knew the market would be hot in the spring. The surprise was that prices kept rising through the end of 2016, hitting new all-time highs each month.

Grade: A-. Not perfect, but better than the rest of the class.

Our overall prediction for 2016 was “a strong real estate market.” There is no question it was a strong market, and we will happily accept a cumulative grade of A- for our 2016 predictions.

2017 is off to a fast start. Rising interest rates and less frenzied winter market conditions are causing many buyers to get off the fence and get busy. Investors are also jumping on attractive rental property opportunities, and sellers are already prepping their homes for the spring market.

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

You know the importance of keeping track of what might be your biggest financial investment – your home – but how can you keep track from month to month as you do with your other investments? Starting this month, let us look at a question we hear often: What is my house worth?

With a few statistics about your particular geographic area such as the average sales price, months of inventory and the percentage of original list price, you can estimate what your home is worth right now and how fast it might sell when the time comes to move-up or downsize. If you are on the buying side of the equation, these numbers can give you an idea of what you will need to bring to the table as a savvy buyer.

Now, on to the numbers for Arapahoe/Douglas for December 2016:

Arapahoe: Rolling average sales price is $354,000 for single family homes and $210,000 for condos/townhomes*

Douglas: Rolling average sales price is $440,000 for single family homes and $280,000 for condos/townhomes*

Even though December is a slow month for home sales with the holidays, the low months of inventory keep us solidly in a seller’s market.
Spring is right around the corner with more inventory.
*Rolling average sales price is used to even out the spikes in home prices.