Thursday, April 30, 2009

“The End is Near”

Well last week I told you the week would bring some interesting twists to the market. And I was right. New mortgage applications for home purchases and refinancings were up 77 percent from the same week in April 2008.

Mortgage rates continue to average well below 5 percent – 4.7 percent last week on average for 30-year fixed rate loans and 4.5 percent for 15 year loans. Rates like these are a major factor pushing applications.

Nearly 600,000 home buyers have already claimed either the $7,500 tax credit from last year or the $8,000 credit for this year, according to IRS data cited by the National Association of Home Builders.

Also of interest, new home sales have been showing signs of improvement. Last week the Commerce Department reported that March sales were off just 0.6 percent, exceeding analysts’ expectations, after climbing in February.

In other positive trends, interestingly enough, The Wall Street Journal reported this week, “Analysts say: The end (of declines) is near. While new home sales show signs of stabilizing as builders cut back on building and boom-bloated inventories are slowly absorbed, prices of both new and existing homes are still being dragged down by a flood of foreclosures. Still, the experts were optimistic that the federal government's efforts to stem foreclosures eventually will have an effect by the end of this year or early next year; Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's, even ventured (jokingly) a date when home prices would stop falling—December 15, 2009.”

It’s hard to know whether or not the sum of these indicators is equivalent to a recovery but my sense is that the end is near—if we haven’t already passed it here in Colorado (some experts are even saying that we’ve already hit bottom and we’re in slow recovery mode). When the bottom has hit exactly is hard to predict but based on what I am seeing in our offices, based on the statistics that I am seeing on pendings and buyer interest/activity and based on the overall national recovery effort, it seems the prediction by many experts (in late 2008) that we would hit bottom by the middle of 2009 is probably not far off.

Now for those of you who are “timing” the market, I have to caution you on this. The only way you know that the market has hit bottom is when it is on its way up. While certainly housing is one of the biggest and most important investments we will make in our lifetime, it is also important to remember that our home is so much more than an investment. It is where we raise our family, where we create memories and where we plant our roots. So as you try to “time” the market, remember these key facts and make sure that beyond the investment, you are choosing a home that will bring you the happiness you deserve. Because in the end, that is what matters most. Choose the home that is right for you and your family right now and for years to come. Historically speaking, Colorado real estate brings long-term investment gains for almost all homeowners so if you choose the home that is right for you, you almost can’t loose.

Now, let’s take a look at this week in real estate:

  • Boulder/Longmont—Our Boulder office reports that new listings were up about 10% last week as Spring approaches. Despite a fair amount of bad weather, sales and showings stayed pretty level. More Agents are reporting frustration with getting deals closed, largely due to wildly different methods of handling short sales from one company to another as well as problems with appraisals. The Longmont office reports this is the second week in a row that our showing activity is up. We are up 15% week over week. Our homes "under contract" are up as well as our listings taken. We have more buyers looking at new builds and writing contracts on current builder inventory new home starts. Short sales and foreclosures are still impacting the values of local neighborhoods. Appraisals are continuing to be a stumbling block for some sales. It really is an area where the local Realtor can assist. One of the Agents here today commented that "I am rocking and rolling" with new business. It feels good!
  • Evergreen/Conifer—We had a total of six new listings for the week. Six of our listings went under contract including one priced at $1,300,000. There were 74 showings for the week which was back to the normal level following a decline the prior two weeks due to bad weather and our office being closed for three days.
  • Denver Central— We are seeing an increase in under contracts as of late. We continue to see drops in inventory.
  • Devonshire—This week we have seen a decrease in showing activity which is quite a seasonal anomaly. On the other hand, we are seeing lots of offers being written and actually accepted. It seems that this week buyers have seen what is on the market and are now at the decision making stage. With May here, we are still projecting a strong month and a good summer.
  • Douglas County—Our Southwest Metro office reports that showings were the best yet for 2009 so far. Friday-Sunday we had 175 showings. Agents are very busy with buyers and have had numerous calls regarding the $8,000 credit. We definitely see signs that buyers are starting to seriously look and make offers on properties. We had several listings that went under contract in less than a week with one on the same day. Our mortgage rep continues to be very busy with loan applications. Sellers are calling, wanting to list their homes.
  • El Paso County—No information reported.
  • Larimer County—Our Fort Collins/Loveland office reports that showing activity continues to increase in our market and we had the best week yet with property showings increasing by nearly one hundred showings. We are seeing many first time home buyers coming into the market to take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit. These first time buyers are buying power priced homes in the low to mid $200,000 price range. We had a solid number of homes go under contract last week. In fact, it was the most for a one week time period this year. However, no multiple offers were reported. If your property is in a good location, clean, well priced and under $300,000 there is a good chance it will sell in this tough market.
  • North Metro—The average price range under contract is around $250,000. Sales to list price is 98% to 100%. Days on market decreased to around 85 days. We've seen multiple offer situations on homes this week when the listing is power priced. Open house activity has increased as have the number of floor and sign calls. We continue to have the challenge of getting appraisers out quickly & loans out of underwriting in time for closing. We're working with many sellers.
  • Parker—Our Parker office reports: another record week for showings! Once again, sales activity increased last week. We received multiple offers on several power priced listings including eight offers on a bank owned property and three offers on a $1,300,000 listing. The inventory in our marketplace is steady. Depending on the price range however, we see a huge difference in the amortization rate from less than two months in the lowest to over three years in the upper range. In the million dollar plus market, it is necessary to position listings way below the competition in order to create activity.
  • Southeast Metro—We set 700 showings last week! Open houses traffic continues to increase as buyers are ready to make a move. We have put under contract 139 properties just this month! Homes in the high energy areas of the city are seeing a significant decrease in the average days on market. However, outer areas in the price point above $400,000 are still a bit sluggish.
  • West Lakewood— If you have a buyer wanting to purchase a bank owned property, they most likely will need to offer a substantial amount over the list price. We've had buyers offer $15,000 over list price and still not be the highest offer. One West Agent went under contract with a buyer for $800,000 a possible indicator that there may be some movement in this price range. Two $500,000 homes were placed under contract this week, again a possible indicator that there may be movement in this price range as well. Showings at all price ranges have increased.

No matter how cynical you are about today’s economy—and trust me, with as much as we’ve all been through over the last few years, I certainly understand—it’s important to point out the positive signs that we are seeing in the local marketplace. All signs are definitely pointing towards a recovery.

Next week I will release my May Reality Check message and I will focus it on why today’s market brings such prime opportunities for savvy investors. I hope you will check it out.

Until then,
Make it a great week,

Chris Mygatt

Thursday, April 23, 2009

First Time Home Buyers Are Finally Fueling the Come Back!

It’s finally happening! In my August 2008 Reality Check message I discussed our market’s need for the revival of the first-time home buyer. Because, as we know, first time home buyers are a critical force that will help jump start our market rebound, creating that important domino effect that will ultimately benefit all price points.

Confused? Just think about it. If first time home buyers purchase entry level homes, that allows the entry-level homeowners to sell and move-up to a mid-level, move-up market. By purchasing those homes, the move-up market is able to sell and ultimately purchase homes in the luxury arena. It’s a much-needed domino effect that could catapult our market’s rebound.

Well I talked about it eight months ago but at least you can’t accuse me of being a day late and a dollar short. I guess in this case I was a day (or eight months) early and, as my wife would say, still a dollar short. But it’s finally happening and numbers released over the last two weeks are certainly proving that.

First, let’s look at NAR’s release this week of its March existing home sales. Now of course some media did use the nationwide decrease in sales as an opportunity to take a negative spin but there were a lot of positives in this news. First, nationally, prices rose from February to March by 4.2 percent which is much higher than the typical 1.8 percent seasonal increase between those two months.

Second, housing inventory at the end of March fell 1.6 percent to 3.74 million existing homes available for sale which represents a 9.8 month supply at the current sales pace.

In the West, existing home sales declined 4.2 percent to an annual rate of 1.13 million in March but, and this is a big but people, are 18.9 percent higher than last year at this time.

Now what do all of these numbers mean? Well the fact is, the share of lower priced home sales have trended up, indicating a return of many first-time buyers. Sales in the upper price ranges remain stalled but there are two reasons for this. First, jumbo loans still are difficult to obtain right now—though that may change in the second and third quarters thanks to the government’s work to restore this—and second, now that first time home buyers are once again entering the market, it will take some time for the domino effect to take shape onto other price ranges.

Another interesting note, the Mortgage Bankers Association this week released its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending April 17. The index showed an increase of 5.3 percent from the previous week and that was a 76.9 percent increase compared with the same week a year ago. Yes, 76.9, that’s not a typo.

Whatever you think about what our government is doing to revive our economy, it seems some of the early work like the first time home buyer tax credit is working. Earlier this week Inman News reported that the preliminary numbers from the IRS suggest 1.4 million taxpayers will claim the federal first-time home buyer tax credit on their 2008 tax returns, meaning the program is likely to meet or exceed the 2 million target set by lawmakers before it ends November 30, 2009.

Finally and I think this is probably most notable, the Wall Street Journal reported this week that prices have fallen back into line with what the typical household can afford to pay in most of the U.S. The report showed that home prices are dubbed “fairly” valued in 202 of the 330 markets studied. That means the average price level is within a band 14% above or below the historical norm. Twenty-one markets are “overvalued” or between 14% and 34% above the norm. And 106 markets are considered “undervalued” or more than 14% below the norm. Take a look at this graph which showcases where we were in the early part of the decade as compared to today:

Now I know some of you are scratching your heads and saying, how is the drop in property value a positive thing. But the fact is that though the ride was nice in the big real estate boom of the early 2000s, we couldn’t sustain those types of record appreciation levels without eliminating certain consumer niches, including first time home buyers. Now that levels are back within range, the first time home buyers are once again able to reenter the market which is why we are seeing such a strong surge in sales in that level.

It’s just a matter of time before we weed through the remaining banked owned inventory and we should begin to see prices stabilize. Once we see that, the remaining areas of the market should begin to see an upswing, too.

With that said, let’s take a look at this week in real estate:

  • Boulder/Longmont—Our Boulder office reports that under contracts in the Boulder market are up 30% over the previous week with new listings down over 40%! I know it's only a week, but that's the kind of trend we like. The Boulder office showed a big uptick in under contracts over the previous two weeks. The Longmont office reported that business is happening. Our showings increased by 19% week over week. This is especially significant due to the blizzard like weather late in the week which caused us to close the office early on Friday. Some buyers are choosing not to buy foreclosures and short sales due to the challenges that those properties can bring. This bodes well for the non-distressed sellers. Homes in the lower and moderate price ranges are selling quickly. After the snow, the weather became wonderful. Spring has made it to the Rocky Mountains. We are also experiencing positive job growth year over year and the unemployment rate in Boulder county is lower than the state figures.

  • Evergreen/Conifer—Our Evergreen office reported that we had a total of two new listings for the week. Three listings went under contract. There were forty-eight showings for the week. Sales and showing activity were affected by the weather. Our office was closed for three days.

  • Denver Central—No information reported.

  • Devonshire—Our Devonshire office is reporting that in spite of snow storms and other weather issues, showings are increasing consistently. Buyers are finding it easier to pre-qualify for loans and are anxious to get out and begin looking. The moderate price range properties are holding strong with multiple offers. We know that the upper end will follow in the next few months. Buyers are coming to realize that if they don't move quickly on available properties someone else will.

  • Douglas County—No information reported.

  • El Paso County—Our Colorado Springs office reports that buyer activity is picking up dramatically mostly due to military and Schriever Space Center. Short sales are slowing and a lot of those sellers are renting their homes. REOs have slowed as well as foreclosures.

  • Larimer County—Our Fort Collins office reports that activity continues to increase in our market with property showings increasing and still the occasional multiple offer situation. The majority of the current activity is coming from homes in the $200,000 to $300,000 price range. The upper end is moving slowly. The three days of rain/snow did decrease the activity somewhat last week, but we are looking to rebound strong with the great spring weather and 70 degrees this week. We are still experiencing numerous short sales and some foreclosure activity. However, the banks are responding to offers a little quicker than before as these situations are becoming more commonplace. Interest rates are the lowest they have been since 1954 and the property values are holding relatively strong for our economy. If you are waiting for a better time to buy you may have to wait another 55 years!

  • North Metro—Our North Metro office reports that Agents are going out on many listing appointments. Some sellers remain overly optimistic about the price they would like to get for their home, over current market value. We are seeing an increase in listing appointments that are in short sale situations. The first time home buyer tax credit is helping to increase the number of buyer appointments. The result is a lower average sales price of the homes we put under contract. Floor calls continue to be strong. Average list price this week has been around $250,000.

  • Parker—Our Parker office reports that although we set a new record for listings under contract for the month of March, our inventory increased slightly because we added another high producing team to our sales force. Showing activity has been the highest since 2006! Our number of showings increased by over 100 in one week! We still receive multiple offers on power priced listings. Last week’s record was 14 offers on one listing within the first four days on the market.

  • Southeast Metro—WOW!! Busy, busy, busy with showings averaging 100+ per day! Our success story of the week is a condo near City Park that went on the market and closed in two weeks at full price! We continue to see multiple offers on homes priced below $250,000. Open houses are generating lots of energy and excitement in the market.

  • West Lakewood— Nearly 70% of our sales are under the $250,000 range. Very little is moving over $500,000. Many, many first time homebuyers are taking advantage of the $8,000.00 tax credit. Nearly all multiple offers are on bank-owned properties.

Next week will bring some more interesting news. Check out this article that ran Monday in The Wall Street Journal: Once we see the results of new home sales (existing home sales were already reported), we should have a better indicator of where we are. I’ll leave you with this excerpt from the The Wall Street Journal’s story:

“Whatever the March numbers say, there are good reasons to think that home sales will improve as the spring selling season gets underway. Anecdotal reports suggest that low mortgage rates and an $8,000 first-time home-buyer tax credit are coaxing buyers back into the market. And while foreclosures are set to rise as banks begin to move on delinquent homeowners, that actually could boost home sales as banks auction homes for whatever the market will bear.”

The market is without a doubt changing and we may finally be seeing the end of the great housing challenge of the 2000s. I for one am very happy to see it.

Until next week,
Have a great one,

Chris Mygatt
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Colorado

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Are Happy Days Here Again?

We awoke Thursday morning to some very positive economic news—Wells Fargo reported a better-than-expected first quarter profit of $3 billion surging the company’s stock by 32% and boosting shares of many other big banks as investors bet that Wells Fargo’s peers may also post results that exceed Wall Street’s estimates. The hope by all involved is that the banking sector is stabilizing. Much of Wells Fargo’s recent success is in part related to the recent increases in mortgage loan applications which could be a strong sign that consumer confidence is on the rise.

Also revealed this week is the fact that new jobless claims fell more than expected. The Labor Department said Thursday that the tally of initial jobless claims fell to a seasonally adjusted 654,000 from a revised 674,000 the previous week. Analysts expected claims to drop to 660,000

This week there were so many positive headlines that, rather than provide you with my ongoing synopsis, I thought I’d give it to you straight from the horse’s mouth. Yes, even the media is now on board with the positive headlines which tells me that the market is definitely changing.

And with that very exciting and uplifting news in tow, let’s take a look at this week in real estate:

  • Boulder/Longmont—Our Boulder office reported new listings continue to rise in the Boulder market, especially condos but sales are increasing as well. Sales in the Boulder market are up 36% from the week before. New listings are up 48% week over week. A front page story in the newspaper today shows 1st quarter single family home sales in the 1st quarter of 2009, down 50% from 2008. Prices up 0.4%. Prices also up in Louisville (0.9%), Superior (4%), Erie (4.2%) and Lafayette (6.9%)! Sales were up 15.9% in Broomfield, but prices were down 5.7%. Figure that out!
  • Evergreen/Conifer—Our Evergreen office reported we had a total of four new listings for the week. Of the three listings that went under contract, two are short sales. There were 60 showings for the week. We had five buyers put under contract during the week, but only one was a bank owned property, the others were normal sales. One contract is for land ($400M), two are for homes priced in $175,000 range, one home is at $400,000 and one REO is priced at $900,000.
  • Denver Central—We have seen a big increase in activity in March/April. With interest rates so low, buyers and investors are purchasing properties. We continue to see a marked reduction in inventory. Number of days on the market continues to drop. Our office average is 82 days.
  • Devonshire— Our Devonshire office reports that once again we are seeing a surge in showing activity which indicate that buyers are jumping off the fence and into the market. All of the economic reports and the news coverage seem to indicate that the bottom is here or near for home prices and buyers are hearing the news, therefore moving ahead in their search for homes. The federal government first time home buyer tax credit is helping to create momentum for buyers. As the listing inventory decreases, sellers are seeing that this is the time to get their own homes on the market. They don't want to miss this surge in buyer activity. I would say that this spring should show a considerable surge in sales. We look forward to a productive summer.
  • Douglas County— Our Southwest Metro office reports that showings were down a little last week due to the weather, especially Friday and Saturday. We are still seeing buyers looking and writing on properties. We had several Agents that had buyers looking and then writing on properties. We had several Agents with buyers that wrote on properties where there were multiple offers. Recently we are seeing properties going close to their list price. Sellers are now looking into listing their home this month or in early May. Our mortgage rep is still very busy taking loan applications and approving buyers. Open houses and floor calls are still going strong.
  • El Paso County—Colorado Springs reports that the weather has slowed the market a bit but board sales remain good, as do ours. Commercial vacancies are still growing and unemployment here is growing fast.
  • Larimer County—Activity is up and multiple offers are coming in on well-priced homes. One Agent reported three offers on a new listing that had only been on the market for one day. Consequently, the property went for above asking and the sellers were thrilled. Buyers will come out of the woodwork to see well priced homes in the area. Showing activity has been steady and the spring season is bringing additional inventory to the market. Home prices are stable. Prices have been virtually flat or only slightly down for the last several years and with exception to short sales and foreclosures, the market appears to be at or very near the bottom. Given what has been happening on both coasts as well as Arizona/Nevada, we are fortunate our prices have remained comparatively stable. Homes in this area represent an excellent value for today's home buyer.
  • North Metro—Our Agents are busy going out on numerous listing appointments, power pricing the homes to get them sold. A total of 14 of current listings put under contract in this past week. The price of homes put under contract this past week are all under $250,000. Higher priced homes are still slow, with minimal showings. We had numerous floor calls from buyers looking for properties, both personal and investment.
    Average days on the market in the office before a contract is written is right around 92 days.
  • Parker— Although we set a new record for listings under contract for the month of March, our inventory increased slightly because we added another high producing team to our sales force. Showing activity has been the highest since 2006! Our number of showings increased by over 100 in one week! We still receive multiple offers on power priced listings. Last week’s record was 14 offers on one listing within the first four days on the market.
  • Southeast Metro—In the southeast area we are seeing a steady increase of activity in the luxury home market. Inventory overall is increasing and there is fierce competition in the price point $200,000 and below. Buyers are moving quicker to write offers. Spring has sprung!
  • West Lakewood—Many sellers are still unreasonable regarding their price. One Agent in particular felt he priced a home well, however the feedback from Agents is that it is substantially overpriced. Another Agent would not take a listing because the seller was unwilling to price for the market. Buyers do not seem to know the market is changing. They still think everything should be a "steal.” In the $200,000 - $300,000 range the market is still saturated with short sales and foreclosures. The stimulus package is working in the lower price points. It will take time to have it work upwards in the higher price points.

Now what should we do with these positive stories? Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth! Spread the word. One of the biggest challenges hindering our sector right now is low consumer confidence. We’ve just finished three years of a very gloomy and challenging time in United States real estate. And while this optimism can’t yet be explained by official statistics, which lag behind the current market by 30-60 days, pendings are up in many markets and units sold are certainly on the rise. It’s time to target our family, friends and clients alike and educate them on the opportunities and possibilities in today’s market. The time is right now. The market is poised for a rebound. With the $8,000 first time home buyer tax credit, the historically low interest rates, the high rate of affordability—we couldn’t be in a better position for a rebound. Read my lips: spread the word! Tell your friends. Tell your family. If you’re considering buying a home, now may just be the perfect time.

Next week I will be taking a brief hiatus from Weekly Market Watch. I’ll return the following week with another exciting, robust edition.

Have a great one,

Chris Mygatt
President and Chief Operating Officer
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Colorado

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I’m Invigorated!

Okay, I know that headline seems a little exaggerated and maybe even a little far-fetched, but honestly I am. I don’t know if it is a combination of the sun, the clean Spring air and the excitement that seems to be brewing in our offices, but I can feel that change is abuzz in the real estate market and for the first time in a long time, I’m truly invigorated!

This week was yet another week of milestones. Several weeks ago I questioned, are all of these positive indicators the start of a trend or are they just that, positive indicators that will have a short shelf life. Well, after at least four weeks of some strong, positive gains, I truly am invigorated.

This week, NAR released its Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in February, reporting that pending home sales rose 2.1 percent to 82.1 from a reading of 80.4 in January. Pending home sales have a way to go for there to be a meaningful increase, but recent increases in shopping activity are hopeful indicators that we’ll see additional sales gains.

NAR’s Housing Affordability Index also rose 0.9 percentage points to a record high of 173.5 in February from an upwardly revised index of 172.6 in January, and is 36.3 percentage points higher than a year ago. This broad measure of housing affordability using consistent values and assumptions over time, shows that the relationship between home prices, mortgage interest rates and family income is the most favorable since tracking began in 1970. 1970!!!!

Also interesting, Inman News released a survey this week noting that of the 225 readers who responded to an online survey from March 23 to April 1, 48.9 percent said housing markets in their area were improving, 27.1 percent said they were stabilizing and just 12.9 percent characterized them as worsening.

That, along with the indicators I’ve referenced over the last several weeks including last week’s jump in mortgage applications, the historic drop in interest rates and the surge in new housing starts, we truly are seeing some very positive and indicative signs of recovery. I truly believe that buyers are seeing inventory move and that gets them moving.

It seems some of Obama’s various recovery efforts are starting to have some effect on the market. The billions to slow foreclosures and goose bank lending, plus the tax credit, are getting buyers to move which is a positive sign.

Now, of course, we’ll have to keep our eye on it and watch as the market continues to progress through our traditionally busy Spring selling season, but thus far the signs are positive and my magic eight balls says “Outlook is Good.”

With that good news in tow, let’s take a look at this week in real estate:

  • Boulder/Longmont—Our Boulder office reported very strange two weeks in the Boulder market. New listings fell about 33% during the last week of March compared to the week before but under contracts skyrocketed! They went from 3 to 27! A 900% increase. Showings were down due to the snowstorm. Inventory in Boulder County continues to increase but we are holding steady at about 10% of going under contract in the first two weeks on the market. Our Longmont office reports showing activity was down 35% from last week…the blizzard of March 2009 did impact the showings! The week ended on a positive note with the showings going up again. Buyers are finally getting the message that the interest rates are awesome! More investors are writing contracts to purchase.
  • Evergreen/Conifer—Our Evergreen office reported a total of two new listings for the week. Two listings went under contract, one is a short sale property. 63 showings for the week making a total of 335 for the month of March.
  • Denver Central—Our Denver Central office reports we have seen a big increase in activity in March. The lower-end market is very hot right now with multiple offer situations. We are also seeing increases in sales volume.
  • Devonshire—Our Devonshire office is reporting that we are still seeing showings increase even with the unsettled weather. Buyers are getting tired of waiting for things to stabilize and are anxious to get out there and get a home. They are however, looking at many more homes before making a decision. The interest rates are wonderful so I believe that activity and closings will increase as we move further into Spring. Sellers are seeing that price and staging of their homes are more important than ever. Now is truly the time to move forward towards your real estate goals.
  • Douglas County—Our Southwest Metro office reports our floor has been generating great leads this past week. We have had four Agents that picked up buyers from their floor shifts. Open houses were very successful this past weekend. We are seeing a turning point (small but turning). Our mortgage rep is still very busy. He registered 25 leads out of 26 this month!
  • El Paso County—Our Colorado Springs office reports that the under $250,000 market seems to be the hottest price range right now compared to $350,000 two months ago. This may be due to more of the workforce of some of the companies at the Space Command Center at Schreiver coming in and the executive transfers have slowed.
  • Larimer County—Our Fort Collins/Loveland office reports that Spring has sprung and following a fast-moving blizzard this past week, we've seen a spike in activity in Larimer County. Loveland overall remains slower, but all indicators are that the Spring selling season is underway in the Fort Collins/Windsor area as showings are up 20% from previous weeks. Contracts are strong as well with an end of month blitz that doubled the number of the week before. We are seeing an increase in open house activity and sign calls as interest in current inventory increases while interest rates remain unbelievably favorable.
  • North Metro—Our North Metro office notes that Agents are going out on many listing appointments. Sellers are ready to "sell.” Numerous buyer appointments as well. Seeing an increase in number of short sale listings. Average days on market for our listings is about 95 days.
  • Parker—What a busy week last week of March! We set a record for March under contracts as well as for showings during week one of March of over 300! The biggest impact comes without a doubt from the first time home buyers that want to take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit. Because of the increased activity and the decreased inventory, more and more communities in the lower price ranges show a stable value. The upper end communities are still slow, however it's only a question of time until those pick up as well.
  • Southeast Metro—No information reported.
  • West Lakewood— We have bank owned properties that are receiving multiple offers. This week we had a short sale listing receive seven offers. Of the property with seven offers, the selling Agent was asked to give their highest and best offer. Two owner-occupied homes which have been listed since Fall received multiple offers. The buyer offered $10,000 over list price and lost the home to an investor. First time buyers who want to take advantage of the tax credit are finding themselves either in multiple offer situations or the property went under contract within hours of them viewing it. They are also in competition with investors. Owner occupied sellers are busy getting their homes ready for market. They are open to staging, painting and carpeting so they can compete well. Eight parties came through a $730,000 home at an open house last weekend. That is the highest traffic since last summer.

As you can see, the market is heating up. Consumer confidence is finally on the rise and buyers are edging off the fence. For those who are still cautious, please consider all of the positive signs that are knocking at your front door. From the first time home buyer credit to the historically low interest rates to the increases in conforming loan limits to the generous amount of inventory to the motivated sellers to the…honestly, the list goes on. Opportunity is knocking and it is time for buyers to recognize this and jump in.

Until next week,
Have a great one,

Chris Mygatt
President and Chief Operating Officer
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Colorado