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

Snowshoe Trails in Colorado

Are you anxiously awaiting adventure this winter, tired of watching the snow fall outside your window? If skiing isn’t your thing, why not try snowshoeing? For those looking for fun in the sun and snow, here are some snowshoeing trails so you can get up and go.      

Mills Lake, located in Rocky Mountain National park, is a scenic five-mile hike around a gorgeous frozen lake against a backdrop of snow-sprinkled Pagoda peak and Longs peak. While Rocky Mountain National Park is not exactly an isolated locale, this trail is known for being a little less crowded due to its length. For those feeling particularly motivated, Mills Lake is the perfect mountain trail to test your skills. 

Also located in Rocky Mountain National Park, Sprague Lake is the perfect destination for those donning their snowshoes for the first time. This hike around an idyllic lake is both short and flat, ideal for those looking for a quick adventure before cozying up with some hot chocolate. If you’re seeking a brief snowshoeing experience, look no further than this spectacular Sprague Lake hike. 

Brainard Lake in The Brainard Lake Recreation Area is the best place for those feeling indecisive about how long they want their winter wonderland experience to last. The trail circles beautiful Brainard Lake and connects to other charming trails such as Lake Isabelle in case you’re feeling more ambitious than you originally thought. While the Brainard Lake Recreation Area is bustling in the summer, the crowds dim during the winter months, offering you a serene snowshoeing experience.    

Located in Golden Colorado, you can find Clear Creek Trail in Lions Park. This trail requires a bit of snowfall before you can use it for snowshoeing, but the wait is more than worth it. Clear Creek Trail offers a chance for an exciting urban experience where you can enjoy the small-town charm of Golden painted against a picturesque Front Range background. So, when you’re done spending time in the snow, you can slide right into a fun night of snacking and shopping.  

Quandary Peak is the place to be if you’re looking for a challenging fourteener hike near Breckenridge, Colorado. This seven-mile trek is not for the faint of heart (make sure to read the guidance and warnings before you head out!), but the view from the top makes the climb worth the effort. If you are looking to annihilate a fourteener this winter while snowshoeing, Quandary Peak Trail is the best quest for you.    

Zimmerman Lake in Cameron Pass is an ideal location for snowshoeing all winter long due to the Pass’ excellent ability to retain snowfall. The lake is just one mile away from the parking lot and allows you to admire the Never Summer Mountains. This hike connects to other relatively flat trails if you want to explore more of this perpetually snowy pass.

You don’t have to stay inside and wait for sunny weather to chase adventure. Winter in Colorado means lots of chances to make spectacular memories in the snow. This winter, try strapping on a new pair of snowshoes, follow your feet and find a whole new climb to conquer.

Colorado Real Estate News

Real Estate Market Trends

photo depicting candles lit in front of a wintery window

January 2021 Presented Brand New (Unsurprising) All-Time Inventory Lows
In January, the Greater Denver Metro housing market again broke a new inventory low with only 2,316 total active listings on the market, translating into an inventory shortage and an opportunity for appreciation to accelerate. 

Single-Family Attached and Detached Homes Also Sealed in Record Prices
Single-family detached properties hit a record average price of $629,159, while attached properties hit a record of $397,792. Single-family homesellers saw a 101.03 percent close-to-list-price in January and a drop to five days in the MLS, down from six last month and 24 days last year. Overall, the drive in demand has been proportionally higher for single-family detached properties than attached properties, explaining why the market is currently sitting with historic-low inventory for single-family detached properties.

2021 Shows No Slowing Down for the Luxury Market
Meanwhile, new listings for the Luxury Market jumped a little from one month ago at 2.22 months of inventory in detached luxury homes and 3.65 for attached luxury homes. 

Even with less inventory year-over-year, the market still saw an 85.71 percent increase in closed attached homes and a 70.19 percent increase in closed detached homes. In January, the luxury residential market was up 85.16 percent year-over-year for sales volume of $335,859,100, up from $181,393,127 from one year ago. The detached luxury sales volume was up 90.11 percent, and the attached was up 48.36 percent from one year ago.  

This Month’s Report Confirms a 2021 Seller’s Market
As long as interest rates continue to remain low and inventory scarce, there will continue to be multiple buyers for every appropriately priced house. Sellers across the state will continue to have the opportunity to navigate through multiple offers and differing terms of their choice, ultimately choosing one contract while disappointing several others.

*Written February 14, 2021. Updates may be available after this date.

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!

Colorado Real Estate News

Real Estate Market Trends

2020 Presented Historic Sales Volume in the Denver Metro Real Estate Market

In December, the Denver housing market continued to show buyer resiliency in pursuing homeownership. For the first time ever, there were 62,985 homes purchased throughout the year, 6.95 percent more than 2019.

According to Steve Danyliw, past Chair of the DMAR Market Trends Committee and Metro Denver REALTOR®, in 1990 the Denver real estate market closed only 25,619 homes, which means in 2020 the market closed 145.9 percent more homes. Over the last 31 years, home prices continue to see robust growth with the average price increasing a staggering 457 percent.

Don’t Count Out Ultra-Low Mortgage Rates

Despite the growth in average price, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economic and Senior Vice President of Research at the National Association of REALTORS®, added that buyers should focus on the current low mortgage rates, which mean the Denver area is actually more affordable now than a year earlier even though home prices rose 14 percent. The 30-year fixed rate has dropped more than one percentage point over the past 12 months and is hovering into record lows.

Inventory Is Unsurprisingly Still Low

December presented another historically low month of inventory with 2,541 properties on the market: the first time Denver has seen under 3,000 active properties.

New Listings for Luxury Homes Climb

However, new listings for the Luxury Market were up 14.65 percent compared to 2019, with pending sales climbing to 36.50 percent and closed sales reaching 34.74 percent.

Meanwhile, the Classic Market Stays Competitive

With the average days in MLS at 20 days, 23.08 percent lower than 2019, and median days in MLS at only six days, 45.45 percent lower than 2019, the Classic Market remains strong. 31,913 new residential listings hit the market in 2020, which is 2,255 fewer and 6.60 percent less than the 34,168 that came available in 2019. 

*Written January 8, 2021. Updates may be available after this date.

Colorado Real Estate News

Real Estate Market Trends

winter decor featuring multi sized candles and a white vase with lit up small branches

Denver Metro Real Estate Market Continues to Boost All-Time Records.
November continued to emphasize the desirability of a home in COVID-19, and the market shattered records with median days in MLS for detached single-family homes at a speedy five days, representing a tie for the lowest number on record. Active listings for attached and detached single-family homes came in at 3,415, surpassing the previous low set in December 2017 of 3,854. There was additionally a record-high for November average close price for combined single-family detached and attached properties, and detached single-family homes at $549,756 and $615,766 respectively.

Low Inventory Is …  Low.
While the holiday months generally see a decline in inventory, this November MOI hit another record-low at just .71, easily beating October 2020’s former lowest record at .81. For the single-family detached market, Denver had 1,755 houses currently available for sale, representing just .51 months of inventory.

Change of Pace for Luxury Homes Inventory.
While typically, the most active amount of inventory is the $500,000 – $750,000 price range, this November the dial turned and it was homes priced over a million dollars. Presently, there are 561 homes on the market priced at over a million dollars, almost one-third of the overall inventory. New listings for the Luxury Market were up 17.09 percent compared to last year.

Classic Market Becomes Most Competitive.
MOI for detached homes in the Classic Market dropped to just over .27, arguably making the Classic Market the most competitive segment of the market. For detached and attached homes in the Classic Market, there were 1,781 new listings recorded in November, which was a 35.70 percent drop from October and a 2.64 percent drop from last year. The 2,319 pending sales in November outpaced the number of new listings, furthering the lack of inventory this month and the number of closed sales dropped by 25.38 percent from October and 4.98 percent from last year.

*Written December 8, 2020. Updates may be available after this date.

Colorado Real Estate News

Real Estate Market Trends

Photo of a master bedroom with a fireplace

Denver-area Remains a Steadfast Seller’s Market in October.

The housing market continued to thrive in October, with a record-high for average sales price for both single-family detached and attached properties at $625,100 and $393,733 respectively, as well as a record-low of months of inventory at an astonishing 0.81. The effects of the COVID-19 months have again created historically low inventory with only 4,821 active listings, representing the lowest amount of active inventory for any October on record by nearly 2,000 listings.

Low Inventory Isn’t Halting Transactions.

The lack of inventory hasn’t slowed the actual process of buying and selling, with 5,984 closed transactions in October. With low interest rates and holidays around the corner, buyers are pushing budgets to find ideal homes. Detached closed properties were up 19.52 percent from September and up 32.15 percent year-over-year. With 1.88 months of inventory and median days in MLS dropping 8.33 percent to just 55 days, detached luxury homes firmly sit in a seller’s market.

Good News for Detached Luxury Homes Inventory.

Detached homes remain the preference for luxury buyers. While the Luxury Market firmly continues as a seller’s market, there is optimistic news for buyers as there are more detached home choices than last year with new listings up 14.62 percent. On the flip side, the attached Luxury Market is moving slower as buyers’ preferences lean towards detached homes. While there were 83.87 percent more listings this year than last year and 11.76 percent more listings than last month, the attached market is moving slower than the detached segment.

Don’t Count Out the Attached Luxury Market.

While the months of inventory is a stark contrast to the detached segment at 5.7 months, the year-over-year data proves new listings have steadily climbed from 233 in 2016 to 472 in 2020 and pending sales have climbed from 103 in 2016 to 247 in 2020.

*Written November 10, 2020. Updates may be available after this date.

Colorado Real Estate News

4 Reasons Why the Election Won’t Dampen the Housing Market

Today, Americans will decide our President for the next four years. If you haven’t already, make sure you get out and vote today! While this decision will have a major impact on many aspects of life in this country, the residential real estate market will not be one of them.

Analysts will try to measure the impact feasible changes in regulations might have on housing, the effect of a possible first-time buyer program, and any number of other situations based on who wins. The Colorado housing market, however, will remain strong for four reasons:

1. Demand Is Strong Among Millennials

The nation’s largest generation began entering the housing market last year as they reached the age to marry and have children – two key drivers of homeownership. As the Wall Street Journal recently reported:

“Millennials, long viewed as perennial home renters who were reluctant or unable to buy, are now emerging as a driving force in the U.S. housing market’s recent recovery.”

2. Mortgage Rates Are Historically Low 

All-time low interest rates are also driving demand across all generations. Strong demand created by this rate drop has countered other economic disruptions (e.g., pandemic, recession, record unemployment).

In addition, Freddie Mac just forecasted mortgage rates to remain low through next year:

“One of the main drivers of the strong housing recovery is historically low mortgage interest rates…Given weakness in the broader economy, the Federal Reserve’s signal that its policy rate will remain low until inflation picks up, and no signs of inflation, we forecast mortgage rates to remain flat over the next year. From the third quarter of 2020 through the end of 2021, we forecast mortgage rates to remain unchanged at 3%.”

3. Prices Continue To Appreciate

The continued lack of supply of existing homes for sale coupled with the surge in buyer demand has experts forecasting strong price appreciation over the next twelve months.

4. History Says So

Though it’s true that the market slows slightly in November when it’s a Presidential election year, the pace returns quickly. Here’s an explanation as to why from the Homebuilding Industry Report by BTIG:

“This may indicate that potential homebuyers may become more cautious in the face of national election uncertainty. This caution is temporary, and ultimately results in deferred sales, as the economy, jobs, interest rates and consumer confidence all have far more meaningful roles in the home purchase decision than a Presidential election result in the months that follow.”

Ali Wolf, Chief Economist for Meyers Research, also notes:

“History suggests that the slowdown is largely concentrated in the month of November. In fact, the year after a presidential election is the best of the four-year cycle. This suggests that demand for new housing is not lost because of election uncertainty, rather it gets pushed out to the following year as long as the economy stays on track.”

Bottom Line

There’s no doubt this is one of the most contentious presidential elections in our nation’s history. The outcome will have a major impact on many sectors of the economy. However, as Matthew Speakman, an economist at Zillow, explained last week:

“While the path of the overall economy is likely to be most directly dictated by coronavirus-related and political developments in the coming months, recent trends suggest that the housing market – which has basically withstood every pandemic-related challenge to this point – will continue its strong momentum in the months to come.

If you are ready to buy or sell in Colorado, contact a Kentwood Real Estate broker to help you, and answer all your questions.