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