Colorado Real Estate News

Colorado Housing Market Scorches Before Summer Heat Sets In

Written by Gretchen Rosenberg, President and CEO of Kentwood Real Estate

Metro Denver ended March 2021 with just 1,654 active listings on the market and an average sale price of $663,749. That’s for a metropolitan area of approximately 3 million residents.

The Fort Collins market was down in new listings 16.4% YOY from Feb 2020 to Feb 2021 (therefore pre-COVID shut down.) Median days on market in Denver is … 4! Those are the days listing brokers need to sift through 35+ offers and create spreadsheets for sellers to evaluate.

When the supply of houses for sale is as low as it is today, buyers are left struggling to find homes to purchase. Competition among purchasers is fierce and some bidding wars are legendary. Sometimes buyers only have 15 minutes in a house and then need to decide whether to purchase the biggest investment of their lifetimes.

Thus, home prices are rising rapidly, and sellers are negotiating hard to meet their ideal terms. Buyers are faced with impossible choices like waiving home inspections and putting more money down to guarantee a sale even if an appraisal comes in lower than the purchase price. 

Where Are the Sellers?

Homebuilders can’t build fast enough and they’re experiencing severe constraints on their supply chains, which increases prices and slows construction. Many resale homeowners are fearful, and that fear is motivating them to stay put. Last year it was fear of COVID. This year it’s the fear of not finding a suitable replacement home, the fear of entering a bidding war.

We must figure out ways to encourage homeowners to become sellers or many buyers will come off the field. The potential of rising rates in future months will certainly chill demand somewhat. What if there was a way to increase homeowners’ desire to sell, therefore improving supply? Would a government tax credit help? Could a waiver of capital gains tax exempting those with more than $250,000/$500,000 in proceeds help spur the supply side? Now is the time for our industry and our policy-makers to get creative in solving for the massive supply/demand imbalance.

All along the Front Range of Colorado, there are many buyers who are ready, willing, and able to purchase a home. Low mortgage rates and a year filled with reevaluation have prompted many people to think differently about where they live. Our housing supply is not keeping up with the extraordinary demand. It’s a tremendously advantageous time to be a seller if you’re game.

Colorado Real Estate News

Housing for All is Not Aspirational, It’s Fair

Written by President and CEO of Kentwood Real Estate, Gretchen Rosenberg

Fair housing as a concept began when legislators and practitioners acknowledged that housing policy had not previously been equitable. April is national fair housing month, however, it takes every month of the year and every day of the month to right past wrongs and create housing equity.

The American Dream

Having a place to call home that we own remains a cornerstone of the American dream. Home signifies safety and stability for many people and impacts where families send their children to school, where people work and how they get to work, and where they access community services. Homeownership boosts household wealth through equity and appreciation, and over time, provides many other social and economic benefits. It strengthens neighborhoods.

The Reality and Challenge

Unfortunately, not all people have enjoyed equal access to homeownership. Bias and prejudice throughout our country’s history have resulted in people experiencing both subtle and direct housing discrimination due to their race, national origin, the color of skin, religion, veteran status, sexual orientation, disability, or family status. Discrimination in housing is wrong; it is also illegal. 

Fair Housing is Everyone’s Job

As respected leaders in our community, it is our responsibility and commitment to ensure that every person who desires to rent or purchase housing is able to do so without bias or discrimination. All of our licensed REALTORS® at Kentwood Real Estate receive formal training on the topic. Fair Housing is part of the National Association of REALTORS® code of ethics. In addition, our lending associates at Prosperity Home Mortgage have an equal commitment to Fair Lending. Each of us must be 100% committed to Fair Housing and Fair Lending. 

Honoring Fair Housing month is a reminder that we’ve come a long way, yet we have miles to go to achieve equity.

Colorado Real Estate News

How Do We Say Goodbye?

Written by President and CEO of Kentwood Real Estate, Gretchen Rosenberg

So many residents of the Boulder, Colorado community were impacted by this week’s tragic events. At Kentwood Real Estate, we’re reflecting on and grieving the lives lost.

It quite literally takes my breath away to see the number of young people who were victims. Knowing those parents and families will be traumatized forever. Every one of the victims leaves behind loved ones and friends who weren’t prepared to say goodbye without actually having an opportunity to say goodbye.

The Boulder police officer who rushed in to provide aid was beyond any simple definition of bravery or heroism. He leaves behind a wife and 7 children. 

This week we mourn. That’s what communities do together. Some days are for celebrations. Others are for saying goodbyes.

Colorado Real Estate News

What to do With 40 Years – Build a Brand

Written by Kentwood Real Estate President and CEO, Gretchen Rosenberg

I have exciting news! Kentwood Real Estate is 40 this week!

Henry Ford said, “Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” We’ve completed 40 successful years of changing lives.

In 1981 five brokers formed the beginnings of our brand, The Kentwood Company, which was renamed Kentwood Real Estate in 2008.

The incorporation papers were signed by Roger Campbell this week in 1981. Roger told me, “We wanted a name that was easy to say, easy to spell, memorable, and upscale so we settled on Kentwood.”

Colorado Real Estate History

Other notable names in Colorado real estate who contributed to our success as founders, owners, and leaders are Jim Nussbaum, John Fitzpatrick, Jerry Weigand, Bill Moore and Peter Niederman, Julie Hummel, Dee Chirafisi, Jim Theye, and Chris Vuletich. 

Our original office remains the DTC flagship. In 1998 we added Cherry Creek, in 1999, City Properties, and in 2018 we expanded to Northern Colorado. We added Denver Rental in 2011. Kentwood Commercial and Prosperity Home Mortgage were both launched in 2017.

Our previous owners sold the company to HomeServices of America in 2016, beginning the adventure of our Berkshire Hathaway affiliation.

To our brokers, our staff, and the management team – thank you for your ideas, collaboration, and professionalism. YOU make this company admired, productive and competitive.

To our clients, we say thank you for 40 years of working with the best brokers in the business, for your business, and your support. A focus on clients fostered our success over these 40 years. That laser focus on client experience and market knowledge keeps traditional brokerage relevant into the 21st Century.

Our brokers, loan officers, and support staff make our company special. An organization, no matter how well designed, is only as good as the people who live and work in it. We celebrate all who have contributed to 40 years at the pinnacle of real estate.

We have so much to be proud of at Kentwood Real Estate, Kentwood Commercial, Denver Rental, and Prosperity Home Mortgage, and much more to look forward to. 

At Kentwood Real Estate we believe in community. That we accomplish more together. That deep roots matter. We inspire people to imagine the next steps in their life journey.

Cheers to 40 years!

Colorado Real Estate News

Top 3 Reasons We’re Watching Inflation

Written by Gretchen Rosenberg, President and CEO of Kentwood Real Estate

The Colorado housing markets remain white-hot and even some commercial sectors are in a positive rebound. We’re watching the economic indicators closely to gauge what the short- and long-term trajectory might be.

The Federal Reserve monitors inflation and says their target benchmark for altering policy is a 2% inflation rate. 

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) judges that inflation of 2 percent over the longer run, as measured by the annual change in the price index for personal consumption expenditures, is most consistent with the Federal Reserve’s mandate for maximum employment and price stability. 

3 Metrics to Watch

Long Term Rates – “Signs of faster economic growth, an improving job market, and increased vaccine distribution are pushing (mortgage) rates higher,” said Joel Kan, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. In turn, this is slowing the refinance markets according to the Mortgage News Daily Blog.

Consumer Price Index – This is showing signs of heating up according to a recent article on CNBC. It’s to be expected, and if you’re looking to purchase a house or investment property you’re still able to lock in historically low rates. They just feel higher compared to last month.

Demand-Pull Indicators – “When an increase in the supply of money and credit stimulates overall demand for goods and services in an economy to increase more rapidly than the economy’s production capacity. This increases demand and leads to price rises,” explains Investopedia. Our government has been faced with stimulating the economy with a combination of both increasing the supply of money and stimulating credit to get the economy through the pandemic-induced recession. Now, they’re watching the hangover and gauging the best way to keep our economy moving without ramping up inflation too rapidly.

Good News for Real Estate

These are interesting indicators to watch, but what do they mean practically for everyday people?

Mortgage rates are still extremely low and should remain so throughout 2021 (great for buyers.) Housing price inflation is increasing due to high demand (great for homeowners and sellers, not so great for buyers.) One thing I’ve learned throughout my 2 ½ decades working in the real estate industry is that people will always need houses, shops and restaurants, and offices. Things like the Great Recession or the COVID Pandemic may slap us with a pattern interrupt, but we always get back to an even keel and we always have people who need to transact.

If you’re one of those people, contact a Kentwood Real Estate Residential or Commercial broker. We represent clients from Colorado Springs to Denver to Boulder and Fort Collins. Our brokers are experts in their field and will help educate you on these important indicators and advise you on the next steps in your life journey!

Colorado Real Estate News

Three Ways to Protect Yourself When Buying New Construction

Written by Gretchen Rosenberg, President and CEO of Kentwood Real Estate

When you’re looking to purchase a brand-new home, it’s wise to hire a real estate broker as your trusted advisor. Homebuilders are in the business of building and selling properties and maximizing profit. As any business would be. They’re not fiduciaries to buyers and will not give you the clear-eyed advice you need as you move through the process.

When I was actively selling real estate, I was fortunate to represent many homebuyers when they purchased new construction. It was a privilege to help them wend their way through the complex process. I learned the ins and outs of a typical builder’s contract language and the important questions to ask.

Three Important Questions

  1. Where is the Earnest Money Held? Did you know that builders like to hold your earnest money in their operating accounts? Wouldn’t it be better to request they hold your earnest money at a title company in a trust account? 
  2. When Can we Schedule an Inspection? Did you know that most builders will permit you to have a home inspection? You should absolutely do a full-blown inspection. One time, we discovered the sewer line from the house hadn’t been connected to the city main. Another time, the builder had forgotten to spray insulation into the attic. And another time we found that a roof truss had been dropped through the living room sub-floor and punched a hole through it! We were standing in the basement looking up at a hole in the wooden floor and saw they’d covered it with carpet and pad.
  3. Can I use a Broker? A real estate professional is your expert and your advocate. They will work on your behalf throughout the process of building or buying new construction. Brokers help you understand the contracts, the key steps, manage negotiations (you may not get much off the price in these heady days, but you might get a few freebies.) Do not walk through the door or sign in without bringing your broker in the first time. Commercial projects require pre-set appointments so this would be more difficult than residential where the showrooms beckon.

Bottom Line for New Construction

Don’t go it alone when choosing new construction. Builders factor in the cost of commission and they don’t back it out if you’re unrepresented. They pocket the difference. So use that money to your benefit.

At Kentwood Real Estate we have both residential and commercial brokers who understand first-generation space. Contact us for all of your Denver and Fort Collins, Colorado real estate needs!

Colorado Real Estate News

The Colorado Luxury Real Estate Market is Thriving in 2021

Written by Gretchen Rosenberg, President and CEO of Kentwood Real Estate

In Colorado’s overheated real estate markets, one notable sector that has benefitted from our current frenzied climate is the luxury sector. Two years ago, homes over $1 million were plentiful and sellers often had to reduce their price to get an offer. Our supply shortage was primarily in the mid-to-low-tier price ranges. At the time, we generally saw 4-6 months of inventory on the high end, providing buyers time to make their decision.

As people today are focusing on a revised set of housing needs, many are turning to the upscale housing sector for the space and features that will fit a new lifestyle. In a recent Luxury Market Report, the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing (ILHM) said:

“In a snapshot of 2020, despite the devasting effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the luxury real estate market has seen one of its strongest years since 2008. In comparison to experts’ predictions in early 2020, it is remarkable how significant demands for property type, location, and amenity preferences have changed amid the pandemic.”

Our Colorado lifestyle has provided those seeking Denver real estate and Fort Collins real estate with a new opportunity to work from home and a growing interest in having extra space for things like virtual school, working out, and a designer kitchen to cook more meals at home. The desire to own a home that can meet these needs continues to increase. Additionally, record-low mortgage rates are creating opportunities for homebuyers to stretch their legs into higher price points or even expand their real estate portfolios. The ILHM report continues to say:

Experts believe that the demand for exclusive residential properties outside the metropolitan areas will continue well into 2021; even with the introduction of vaccines, the pandemic is far from over.

For those who have moved to the suburbs and beyond, moving back to the city full time is unlikely while the work from home trend remains. Many of these affluent homeowners are now making their secondary properties their primary residences for the foreseeable future.”

If you’re interested in buying a home this year, it’s helpful to understand that our Colorado luxury home market is finding buyer interest nearly as intently as our mid-tier market is. Be prepared to put your best foot forward when making an offer. Sellers should look to maximize their pricing by placing effort on the prepping and staging of the residence prior to putting it on the open market.

Javier Vivas, Director of Economic Research at realtor.comnotes:

“Interestingly, markets, where new supply is improving the fastest, tend to be higher priced than those that have yet to see improvement, suggesting sellers are more active in the more expensive markets.”

Good to Know

With rates still bouncing along the bottom, it’s good to know that you can buy more by leveraging your purchase. If you’re hoping to buy the luxury home of your dreams, this could be the year you achieve that goal. 

At Kentwood Real Estate we’re especially equipped to handle the purchase and sale of any luxury residence along the Front Range. We stand ready to help guide you through the complexities of our current real estate markets. Search for your next home at Kentwood.com and let us know how we can help!

Colorado Real Estate News

Five Trends to Watch in Colorado Economic Development

Written by Kentwood Real Estate President and CEO Gretchen Rosenberg

When I moved to Denver in 1982 it was literally and figuratively a cow town. Nothing wrong with cows, they’re cute. I won’t eat one, but the ranching lifestyle they represent has been deeply embedded and identified with our region for many generations.

That hasn’t been the case in recent years and it’s becoming more a part of our history and legacy than the day-to-day reality for most Coloradoans. Ranching, cows, and sheep are not a driver of our region’s future as much as what built the foundation for our success in the new economy of the 21st Century.

Colorado’s Future

The trends I’m watching for our future involve passionate and committed community members who are fashioning the Front Range of Colorado into a vibrant and exciting region. From technology to bioscience, green energy to healthcare solutions, Futbol to mountaineering, and of course, wine, microbrews, and fine dining. We’re on the move out here in Colorado.

  1. World Cup 2026 – We’re working to bring the 2026 FIFA World Cup to Denver! For all the Futbol lovers out there, we promise you an experience of a lifetime if we secure Denver as a host city. If you don’t know Futbol, you may recognize a game we know as soccer. We’re pretty excited to yell GOOOOOOOOOAL! When FIFA chooses Denver to host in 2026. Visit https://denver2026.com to learn more and sign up as a booster or volunteer. #Denver2026!
  2. Clean Energy – The news that Vestas wind energy company is closing and repurposing some facilities does not dampen Colorado’s leadership on clean energy and green energy. The Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation is helping lead the way to a balanced energy economy. The energy and natural resources industry is Colorado’s most diverse. Coloradoans are committed to supporting all of the sectors within the energy industry to help us move to cleaner energy while maintaining employment and innovation. http://www.metrodenver.org/industries/energy-natural-resources/
  3. Colorado Lifestyle Reigns – Visit Denver and Visit Fort Collins offer exciting ideas for how to get out and enjoy our wonderful lifestyle. Most of us transplants came for the outdoors and stayed for a combination of outdoors along with the arts, sports, dining, and community. Even with COVID restrictions, we’re finding ways to stay in tune with our environment and our communities. This trend will only accelerate as COVID restrictions lift and life gradually begins to hit the stride of our new normal post-pandemic. https://www.denver.org/things-to-do/https://www.visitftcollins.com/
  4. Housing Opportunities – Along the northern Front Range of Colorado from south of Metro Denver up through Loveland and Fort Collins we currently have a shortage of available housing. Many homebuyers are looking to purchase and are faced with making repeated competing offers to secure a winning bid. This, along with record-low interest rates have driven home prices to new highs. Renters are also struggling with availability and affordability. The opportunity for our homebuilders, who are struggling to meet demand, and potential home sellers is terrific. This is, and will remain for some time, a great season to sell a property. Check out the Colorado Market Trends from the Colorado Association of Realtors: https://www.coloradorealtors.com/market-trends/regional-and-statewide-statistics/
  5. Wine – Do I have your attention? What does Colorado have to do with wine or wine with economic development, you’re thinking? We do actually have a wine and vineyard industry, generally concentrated along our Colorado Western Slope. https://coloradowine.com/ AND we also have a burgeoning wine scene in Metro Denver. Kentwood Real Estate is working with Naked Wines to help them plant their flag in Colorado. We’re very excited to welcome the Naked Wines team to Colorado and I’m particularly enthused about hosting a wine tasting as soon as we’re able. Check out the Naked Wines site here: https://us.nakedwines.com. I’m drawn to Willamette Pinots and Pinot Gris Rose’s. It will be fun to see them flourish once they set up their stand in Colorado.

Stay tuned for more from Denver, Fort Collins and Colorado in general! We’re growing on you!

If you’re thinking of making a move to Colorado, check out the Kentwood Real Estate website for more information on all of our local communities and to search for your next home. www.Kentwood.com.

Colorado Real Estate News

Congratulations to the Kentwood Top 25 in 2020

As we wrapped up 2020 we took a deep breath and paused to consider what a roller coaster we’d just been on. Despite being shut down and shut out of real estate sales for close to two months, we were able to bounce back once real estate was deemed essential and showings were again permitted.

A Company Rooted in Excellence

Our Company Purpose is the core of how we operate and a large reason we rebounded so successfully in 2020:

At Kentwood, we believe in community.

That we accomplish more together.

That deep roots matter.

We inspire people to imagine the next steps in their life journey.

Our Top 25 Individuals and Teams in 2020 are hardworking professionals who exemplify our Purpose. Congratulations to everyone on the list!

Individuals sales volume:

Individuals units:

Team sales volume:

Team units:

Colorado Real Estate News

Top 3 Ways to Protect Yourself from Fraud

Written by Gretchen Rosenberg, President and CEO of Kentwood Real Estate

There is a cyber-crime epidemic happening and it’s hitting real estate transactions particularly hard. According to FinCen, the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, “Drug traffickers, corrupt officials, money launderers, and other criminals seek to exploit real estate transactions to hide their illicit profits, conceal their identities, and launder funds.”

Consumers are at risk by virtue of being involved in a real estate transaction and must be highly vigilant to avoid becoming the next statistic. About 40% of all wire fraud moneys are recovered, which means 60% are not. 60% of those buyers lost their down payment and in some cases the entire purchase price. Sellers lost the sale of their house and had to put it back on the market or wait for the buyers to recover their funds or access other funds. This is amounting to billions of dollars lost to criminals.

How can you protect yourself? 

  1. Do not click on links or attachments. At Kentwood Real Estate we have a mantra – No Links, No Attachments! What we mean is to maintain heightened awareness whenever we receive an email with a link or attachment we aren’t expecting. We know that cyber-criminals send phishing attempts constantly and use social engineering to make us think something is important or urgent. We don’t click the FedEx link, the phone company attachment, or title company email until we systematically verify the email is legitimate.
  2. SAIL your email. Vet any suspicious email through the acronym SAIL. Sender. Attachments. Information. Links. Do you know the sender? Were you expecting this email from them? Were you expecting an email with an attachment? Does the information in the email make sense? Are there spelling or grammatical errors? Did you hover over links to see the underlying URL? Same for the email account it was sent from? Is the domain in the URL misspelled or does it substitute a number for a letter, etc?
  3. Don’t fall for fake branding. It’s easy enough to copy and paste a company’s branding, or even someone’s email signature, into a phony phishing email. The criminals know how to appear compelling by attempting to use “social proof.” An email signature or company logo is not proof. Pick up the phone and call your broker or lender and ask if the information you received is information they intended to send you. NEVER accept wiring instructions via email that hasn’t arrived on an escrow or title company secured platform or isn’t encrypted. And ALWAYS call to confirm the wiring instructions before initiating a wire with your bank.

Together, we will overcome cyber-crime.

The best way to avoid becoming a statistic is to ask questions, pay close attention to your email, and slow down. We would much rather see you close, move into your home, and avoid the pain of being a victim. Our Kentwood Brokers, residential and commercial, stand ready to assist. We look forward to helping you take the next steps in your life’s journey!