Tag Archives: Broadmoor Spires

Mid-Year Review: July 2011 Market Stats

Click Here for Mid-Year Review Market Report

The Summer Viewing at Pikes Peak Urban Living is on the cat fight between two market metrics: Average Sales Price and Months of Inventory.

Months of Inventory is a handy-dandy metric to forecast, predict or… guess… what the market will do next. The barometer that has traditionally held sway is a 6 month supply of housing equals a neutral market. Get below six months and stay there and the market should see appreciation and increased seller-control. Go above six months, and that much to choose from sways control to buyers and prices drop. The majority of the last four years have been in excess of 6 months with a few brief months in 2009 under 6 months supply. July 1 showed a reading of 5.5 months. After three previous months from 5.9 to 6.1 months of inventory, that should be a predictor of prices going up.

Yet they haven’t done that.

Average price year to date is off 4% from a year ago. A lot of this was the post-tax-credit malaise that wrecked the market last spring. REALTORS went from running their engines at 110% in April to idling them in May, and never really getting them out of neutral the rest of the year. This year has been somewhat spastic, but overall, prices are steady to down then they’re showing appreciation.

Most everyone has an easier time understanding what has happened as opposed to grasping at what might happen, and correspondingly average price gets a lot of press. But as I spoke about last week, the relationship between units for sale and units sold is pointing to possible to likely improvements. The market has crested in inventory and is in the six to seven month cycle of fewer, not greater listings. There will be new listings each month, but not at the rate that they were before, and many good new listings will be recognized more readily as valuable by active buyers because buyers operating in the second half of summer and early fall generally have to make quick decisions. These are general conditions that don’t always hold, but with fewer than 4800 listings for sale, and two more months under 6 month’s supply likely… it will be interesting to see what happens to pricing over the next six months.

To see the active market numbers, Click Here for the Stat Pack.

October 2010 Colorado Springs Market Stats

“If live seems jolly rotten, there’s something you’ve forgotten, and that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing…”


"Cheer up you ol' buggah!"


That’s right, cue the dying whistlers, and give Eric Idle’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” a spin on the old turntable. September 2010 finished with:

  • Over 9 months of inventory supply
  • A mere 603 units closed
  • Over 5500 listings for sale

This post would be objectively bankrupt to not sit back and state: those numbers, suck.

So why “purse your lips and whistle”? No, the reason is not false optimism, nor is it that the real estate industry benefited from 603 morons that bought property last month. For starters, I’m certain Warren Buffett withhold such a judgment from those 603 buyers; and if he’s not, I sure as heck am not. Surely you remember


The Pin-Up of Economic Optimism: Warren Buffett


dead-sexy Warren, “Be greedy when others are fearful, be fearful when others are greedy.” When the Oracle of Omaha is making hay on railroads, it might help to think contrarian just like him. A good deal of the reason that so many people are selling at 2003 to 2004 prices these days is because they were greedy when they should have been fearful when they bought. They bought with the intention of selling higher. Money is not made on the sale. Money is made on the buy. You can never be in charge of the market dynamics when you sell. You can be in charge of market dynamics when you buy. With fear dominating the game right now, anyone with skin to put in the game should ask the question “are the masses, right?” I for one don’t think so. The masses bought with poor intentions.

Here is the positive data:

  • Average sales price for the year is up over 4%. This is not because homes are appreciating. That is not the case at all. It is because people are stretching their money on the low interest rates to get more home. Better homes are selling. Yeah, merit!
  • Interest rates are extremely low, with 4.375 a so-so rate. I have buyers locked on a 15-year right now at 3.65%!
  • Sellers have figured out that asking too much is just plain stupid. Never in the last six years have the: avg. sold price; new avg. listing price; all-listing avg. price; been so close together. If anything indicates a market moving towards balance, it is the relationship of these three values. So despite the big slowdown in demand and the corresponding increase in months of inventory, the prevailing forces of balance still have a strong foothold.
  • Pending sales data stabilized. In fact, weirdest single piece of data this year (so far!) is that September produced more pending sales than May or July.
  • September saw 300 sellers quit the market. This is good. There have been too many sellers trying to sell for too much yet again this year. They started to disappear in 2008 and were almost absent from the market in 2009 but came back this year under the false assumption that the market had improved enough to allow speculative pricing. In fact, the opposite has occurred. This trend will likely continue through the fall, setting up the strange likelihood that months of inventory will shrink between now and December.

The rest of the story is here:


October 2010 Stat Pack


Colorado Springs Real Estate Market Data March 2010

The Stat Pack is sizzling hot HERE.

Silver Bullets are good for killing werewolves. Not much else.

Save your silver bullets for John Landis movies...

Ask anyone in the real estate industry and they have a buyer who is sending them scared-stiff links that “prove” the real estate recovery is not happening like everyone says it is. Some gloomy desk-jockey-number-cruncher is usually quoted with a gloom and doom rubric “5 million more foreclosures” and “21% of American’s underwater” and “it’s now moving to prime mortgages.” The agent response to this phone call or email is usually just as incendiary… they sometimes reply with back issues of the Stat Pack as an attachment. Clashing gospels and dueling clanging gongs creates quite a racket.
The reality is that the economy is a giant gumbo of variables. Within 36 hours this week, all of the following were headlines: Colorado Jobs numbers much worse than expected; National Jobs numbers beat predictions; stock market near 18 month high; mortgage rates expected to rise as Treasuries stops buying servicing; mortgage rates at low for the calendar year; auto sales down 2%; retails sales unexpectedly up; nation’s consumer confidence goes down. Broncos have had a good week for free agents and the Rockies bench is looking pretty deep this year, too. All of these are true. None of these mean a thing on their own.
1.) Leverage: The most counter-intuitive aspect of the market, interest rates are staying below 5%. No analyst can say exactly why, everyone merely ventures a best guess. Most everyone is scratching their heads as to why they’re not going up. The Federal Government has been the wholesale market for treasury-backed securities, longhand for saying, they’ve bought the servicing rights on Fannie/Freddie mortgages for the better part of the last year. So if you’ve seen complaints about why the underwriting on mortgages got nutty, that’s a prominent clue as to why: the government put a trillion dollars of skin in the game on that one… Go figure they would prefer tighter appraisals. That treasury-backed securities practice has a budget that is probably out of gas around the first-of-April. After that… it’s back to the same private money that previously was buying servicing left-and-right up until mid-2008 when they saw the crisis about to break. The thinking on the street is that private money will be hesitant (to put it mildly) to buy servicing rights. Never mind that today’s mortgage has higher costs of origination, higher appraisal standards, higher consumer intelligence and 20 pages of additional disclosures attached to it making it one of the safest and best documented forms of paper wealth in America; these banks have been burned before and are expected to be either cautious or complete non-participants. The investment angle for banks is that they 1.) could make them a lot of money in the long-term based on the few players likely to play and 2.) make their shareholders jittery over the next 90 days and drive their stock value down in the short-term. Can you see the morass mortgages are? The bottomline: they’re low now! They may be going up, but they’ve rarely, in their American history, been lower (within 0.15% of the all-time bottom at this writing). Seasonal demand usually creeps them up in May and June anyhow, so a lock now is not a bad thing. Buying power right now (a.k.a. leverage) is almost unprecedented.
2.) Location: Where a home is greatly influences the value. Relocating buyers (#3 on this list) tend to prefer newer construction and so do the raised on Hi-Def & Wi-Fi generation of buyers. But values have held up well in the foothills. Year to date sales in some of the older areas have been abysmal. After a strong end to 2009, downtown has started off very weak. That might change as the more traditional downtown buyer begins to appear with the pedestrian-friendly, warmer months ahead. The months on market numbers vary wildly from neighborhood to neighborhood. Sellers, you can’t take chances if you have a year of inventory. No one’s going to pay near your price if that’s the case. Buyers… do you really want to buy where you’ll be surrounded by for-sale signs for another year?
3.) Relocation: the biggest drag on the Colorado Springs market has been the national market. Somewhere Else, USA used to be the friend of the Colorado Springs seller. The Pentagon-based Air Force Lt. Col. usually had made $100,000 in 3 years and sold their house with multiple offers. They could come west and buy pretty much whatever they wanted. With the onset of the market downturn nationwide in 2007, our market correction (which began in early 2006) deepened significantly. Reliant on the infusion of wealth from other markets, our over $350,000 market has suffered. Well strangely, of the 5 price-brackets to seen an increase in sales the last 90 days over the previous 90-day track (Nov. to Jan.), all of them were above $325,000. Some of that is local, but some of that is also the effect of other markets around the country having bottomed out as well, and their buyers are now able to buy here.
In closing, March 2010 dawns with more promise and hope then March, 2009. Hard not to. It remains a market of opportunity. Whenever there is opportunity, that means there is risk somewhere. Make your decisions wisely.

2009 End of Year Market Report

Updated Market Data

The 2009 Sales Year ended dramatically different than it began.

January was the depths of doom and gloom, lots of listings, lots of fear, skyrocketing job losses, Wall Street hemorrhaging.

Now, we’re back to worrying about Simon Cowel leaving Idol and “shocked” at the admission Mark McGwire used steroids. In other words, the economy is no longer a paramount concern.

But housing is. Last year, 62% of first-time buyers purchased a home because they had strong sentiments about home ownership. The good value rationale was sited as the number one reason among only one in ten respondents to the National Association of REALTOR’s Profile of Home Buyer’s and Sellers.

Locally, this bore itself out with a dramatic shift in the marketplace. The under $250,000 market improved throughout the year, while the $250,000 to $325,000 market made headway… and above $400,000, things actually got worse. Right now, 38% of all listings are over $300,000. Yet only 16% of all sales in 2009 were over $300,000.

Read more at Colorado Springs market leader in real estate information you can use, THE STAT PACK!

Where to Buy 2010 Part VI: Red Lights

The post that makes enemies faster than friends. In the interest of covering my own fanny, this is analysis based off of data that measures multiple metrics and then draws conclusions when comparing one set of data to another set. It is a formula set designed to assist buyers with purchasing decisions where their home-ownership may be less than 3 years. If that’s the case, The Red Light Properties have supply and demand trends that look like they will continue to put negative pressure on value. If you simply “must have this neighborhood”, or “must have this home”, or you plan on this being your last home purchase and you don’t care if it loses value or not… this post will mean nothing to you. This is a cold, calculated presentation of data as to whether or not these areas will appreciate (or depreciate further) in 2010. My forecast is that the average sales price all of these areas will continue to lose value next year.

To read about the Goal of This Where-to-Buy Series of Posts, Click Here.

To find out the recommended areas that have probably swung past the bottom of the pendulum and are already appreciating, read about The Green Lights. To see the Data for the Green Light Neighborhoods, that is found HERE.

For the bigger risk takers (but probably where the timing favors a turn to appreciation in later 2010), The Yellow Light areas are documented HERE. Note: I accidentally omitted Gleneagle in that post, which has stabilized pretty significantly in the last 18 months and will probably be in appreciation-mode by 3rd quarter, 2010. Up-to-Date Market Data is found here at THE STAT PACK link of www.BenjaminDay.com.


The Red Lights for the most part represent neighborhoods where the average selling price is over $400,000. In some cases, even in the boom years of 2004 through early 2006, it was more probable that a home would fail to sell than actually sell in a ultra-high-end neighborhood like Kissing Camels or Broadmoor Resort. But the impact of the Great Recession, consumer pessimism, tightened underwriting and Jumbo Loan Regulations starting on any loan over $417,000, and the investor-fueled 1.5% to 3.0% penalty in interest-rate since September, 2007 has had a huge effect on the higher end. These are the same factors that have driven down the average sales price in Colorado Springs from over $270,000 in July, 2007 to $213,000 today: there is not only less demand for a high-end home, it’s just plain hard to buy one.

A Few Good Buys, but New and Expensive will Sit Forever:

Jackson Creek, Stone Crossing/Middle Creek, Erindale/Pulpit Rock and Sunset Mesa/Saddlerock all have average on-the-market values considerably higher than the year to date average sales price. All four have had less than a 47% probability of sale each of the last two years. All four have an average year-to-date sales price that is less than the six -year average. Of the four, Stone Crossing has withstood price pressure the most, only off a couple hundred dollars from the six year average. But the average sales price is only $20,000 higher than the year-to-date sales price and with 15 year-to-date sales and 18 on the market (15 months of inventory), the supply is overwhelming demand and will force values down.

Jackson Creek 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 89 89 99 82 50 46 76
Avg Price 306786 336210 369368 358065 349981 340884 343549
Expired/Failed 31 46 62 77 93 85 66
Total Units 44 135 161 159 143 131 142
Probability Sale 64% 66% 61% 52% 35% 35% 54%
Listed 34
Avg. List 363882
Sunset Mesa/Saddlerock 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 84 85 61 43 35 41 58
Avg Price 291665 308965 330695 329555 305382 304813 311846
Expired/Failed 78 60 68 64 61 47 63
Total Units 44 145 129 107 96 88 102
Probability Sale 64% 59% 47% 40% 36% 47% 57%
Listed 24
Avg. List 463612
Stone Crossing 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 40 44 31 25 24 15 30
Avg Price 393924 471618 526273 516762 467600 474296 475079
Expired/Failed 4 6 17 23 37 21 18
Total Units 44 50 48 48 61 36 48
Probability Sale 91% 88% 65% 52% 39% 42% 62%
Listed 18
Avg. List 501788
Erindale/Pulpit Rock 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 37 40 48 36 28 23 35
Avg Price 259744 291983 276232 269205 283110 249856 271688
Expired/Failed 42 29 39 38 37 28 36
Total Units 79 69 87 74 65 51 71
Probability Sale 47% 58% 55% 49% 43% 45% 50%
Listed 14
Avg. List 304339

Interestingly, all four areas have a pretty large price spectrum, from as little as $180,000 in Pulplit Rock to $600,000 along the cliff edges, $225,000 in Jackson creek to $650,000 for a newer Saddletree with huge lot and views. So to some degree, there are some very good buys in these neighborhoods. Homes priced less than the average sales price have a greater probability of sale. Homes priced 15 to 30% above average sale price however will have greater difficulty.

The Monument Funk

Woodmoor, Bent Tree/Higby and King’s Deer are Slow, Pretty Slow and Very Slow. Each of the last 3 years they have averaged less than a 47% chance of sale, and all have a year-to-date sales price that is significantly lower than the average price of all listings presently for sale. There is a 9 month supply of housing in Woodmoor, 16 months in Bent Tree and 20 months in King’s Deer. With so much of the “average” property in these areas valued at more than $500,000, the ramifications of the jumbo limit capped at $417,000 are huge: not many buyers have $80,000 or more to put down on a home. The rare, secondary financing that is available to buyers usually is no more than $50,000. So a home asking $550,000 in one of these areas will be competing with another, average-priced home. A buyer shopping in any of these areas could wield enormous leverage in terms of negotiating a lower price.

Bent Tree/Higby 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 27 22 23 14 11 10 18
Avg Price 623984 618202 752679 714000 718938 548322 662688
Expired/Failed 20 13 16 22 40 21 22
Total Units 47 35 39 36 51 31 40
Probability Sale 57% 63% 59% 39% 22% 32% 45%
Listed 15
Avg. List 870120
King’s Deer 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 28 45 30 22 21 15 27
Avg Price 553852 649716 669242 778349 613447 690833 659240
Expired/Failed 49 21 43 42 72 54 47
Total Units 77 66 73 64 93 69 74
Probability Sale 36% 68% 41% 34% 23% 22% 36%
Listed 27
Avg. List 787683
Woodmoor 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 219 216 171 136 121 91 159
Avg Price 365452 413316 421580 428742 388008 393657 401793
Expired/Failed 172 111 114 153 149 142 140
Total Units 391 327 285 289 270 233 299
Probability Sale 56% 66% 60% 47% 45% 39% 53%
Listed 77
Avg. List 454801
Bent Tree/Higby 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 27 22 23 14 11 10 18
Avg Price 623984 618202 752679 714000 718938 548322 662688
Expired/Failed 20 13 16 22 40 21 22
Total Units 47 35 39 36 51 31 40
Probability Sale 57% 63% 59% 39% 22% 32% 45%
Listed 15
Avg. List 870120

AWOL Demand, Decent Supply

Three well known luxury areas have seen buyer demand dry up to the tune of a 1 in 3 probability of sale.

Upper Skyway 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 48 58 36 40 38 17 40
Avg Price 613814 620878 698243 602640 558110 569867 610592
Expired/Failed 25 35 34 58 32 35 37
Total Units 73 93 70 98 70 52 76
Probability Sale 66% 62% 51% 41% 54% 33% 52%
Listed 30
Avg. List 1136400
Cedar Heights 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 8 9 6 4 4 11 7
Avg Price 537611 600550 712333 560875 560875 544850 586182
Expired/Failed 18 9 14 20 19 20 17
Total Units 26 18 20 24 23 31 24
Probability Sale 31% 50% 30% 17% 17% 35% 30%
Listed 8
Avg. List 767112
Unviersity Park 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 29 24 22 15 15 12 20
Avg Price 502279 521746 621344 623465 629780 463813 560405
Expired/Failed 23 23 40 39 33 31 32
Total Units 52 47 62 54 48 43 51
Probability Sale 56% 51% 35% 28% 31% 28% 38%
Listed 22
Avg. List 642754

Cedar Heights is actually rebounding somewhat and has only 8 months of inventory right now. That’s reasonably low for Cedar Heights. The problem however is that the average asking price is a full $200,000 above what has been the average selling price. Recent sales have submarined values to 2004 levels and today’s buyers will likely make similar demands on the present listing inventory. Upper Skyway and Skyway Heights makes a somewhat surprising appearance. Broadmoor Bluffs and the Spires has registered a dramatically higher sales rate in 2008.  Companion neighborhoods Stratton Forest and Stratton Preserve just saw their first sale in two years last month. Perhaps it is the age of the inventory or the difficulty in access, but 2009 has not been a great year near Bear Creek Park. The most heavily impacted area by far, and possibly in the city, is University Park. University Park has a large number of million dollar dwellings and lots valued at over $250,000. However… there has been a 29% chance of sale over the last three years and the average selling price this year is well below the average in 2004. Worse news for present sellers: the average asking price is $180,000 above the average selling price year-to-date. Sellers today will very likely have to make big price concessions to move their property.

The Ultra High-End

The massive economic upheaval and how consumer values have changed (and how they have stayed the same) is readily evident in three neighborhoods known for million dollar properties. The Broadmoor and Kissing Camels are hard places to sell a home, but are showing signs in 2009 that traditional neighborhoods commonly associated with luxury (the Broadmoor) and locations with a true, one-of-a-kind location (Kissing Camels) have value, even in a bad economy. The Broadmoor Resort meanwhile shows the difficulty of selling in a true custom-home neighborhood: one man’s custom, is another man’s consolation. There is a single MLS sale recorded in the Resort this year (translates to 14.8 years worth of inventory). There are additional new homeowners this year in the Resort, but the idea of buying someone else’s home has less value when builders are willing to build “exactly” what they want… and charge less than they did four years ago.

Broadmoor Resort 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 6 17 17 9 6 1 9
Avg Price 1068448 1299786 1392895 1637777 1306333 790000 1249207
Expired/Failed 31 28 16 15 13 18 20
Total Units 37 45 33 24 19 19 30
Probability Sale 16% 38% 52% 38% 32% 5% 32%
Listed 16
Avg. List 1921875
Kissing Camels 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 12 16 24 16 6 9 14
Avg Price 736666 790402 971606 1055814 935000 826700 886031
Expired/Failed 15 19 34 21 36 32 26
Total Units 27 35 58 37 42 41 40
Probability Sale 44% 46% 41% 43% 14% 22% 35%
Listed 28
Avg. List 930487
Broadmoor 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 36 40 21 19 27 24 28
Avg Price 750302 807591 1086173 1085915 825496 673337 871469
Expired/Failed 44 37 35 45 25 29 36
Total Units 80 77 56 64 52 53 64
Probability Sale 45% 52% 38% 30% 52% 45% 44%
Listed 28
Avg. List 1420785

Where to Buy 2010, Part V: 59% increase in unit sales

All the data is Posted Here.

The hurry-up to the analysis is here…

Did the Gazette just describe the real estate market as “Soaring?” What happened to “plummet, freefall & plunge?
Remember November, 2008? There was not a cable-news network minute that went by without some new bank showing signs of weakness, some new stock plummeting, some new unimaginable sum in the billions of dollars being dedicated to a bailout of some enormous, household name entity that was ruled too big to fail. It was being called the biggest Wall Street Panic since the Great Depression and calling it the Great Recession seemed to be a euphemism for investors that were losing money to the tune of 30 to 60% in a single year. Terminology like plummet, freefall and plunge was routine. It was accurately applied to housing as average selling prices lost over 15% in 4 months and demand shriveled up.
December 2nd, 2009: Sales Increase 59%. Last November was the worst November in 15+ years in the Pikes Peak MLS. Numbers are numbers. A cynic looks at that increase and says, “that’s like the Broncos posting 10 points last week in a loss and winning with 16 the next. So what? The offense is still broken.”
In some regards, the system is still broken. There is less than 4 months supply of housing under $250,000 (that is NOT broken, that’s actually a hot-market). But there is over 10 months supply above $250,000 (that’s pretty slow, even for late Fall). If the numbers are used just to describe where things are today as compared to the recent past, the story is told halfway. It is better now than it was then; but how could it really be worse?
Where the numbers start to really illustrate and tell the whole story is when they are mapped and analyzed for trends. Months of Inventory has not been below 6 months on December 1st since the heyday of the boom market in 2005. That’s where it is now. Average price citywide is about $20,000 less than that time and interest rates are a full percent lower. And there are tax incentives to stimulate more demand, most importantly from first-time buyers who by definition, do not have a home to sell. The December Jobs Report showed a significant decrease in the rate of unemployment filings and durable goods orders are coming in ahead of forecast. Baby it’s cold outside… but the sun is shining. Consumers are cautious and value-oriented… but they are no longer terrified.
What Lies Ahead?
Be prepared for lots of forecasts and lots of media attention in the slow December News Cycle to be dedicated to the green shoots of a housing recovery. Some of this will be helpful, some of this will be accurate and a lot of it will paint with a brush broad enough to cover all 50 states in a minute and five seconds. The Real Estate Bust has definitely shown that real estate can move downward as a nation just as it can move upward as a nation. But the extremes of the market have been in coastal areas and places that posted unsustainable rates of growth. Middle America, places where population has continued to grow, places with lower than national rates of unemployment and neighborhoods that were less impacted by the explosive growth of new construction from 2003 to 2006 are the places where the recovery has already sprung. All of the above market conditions apply to Colorado Springs greater metro area.
“Value” will be the operative phrase to describe any recovery. The 2009 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers showed that the overwhelming reason First-Time Buyers chose to buy a home in 2009 was NOT the First-Time Buyer Tax Credit. Over 60% had the desire to own a home. The 2nd reason? Affordability (10%). Third? Change in Personal Situation (8%). Only 6% sited the tax credit. And yet look at those November sales when the tax-credit was initially supposed to end. It is a nice carrot that helps propel buyers past the tipping point of personal desire, decent selection, low interest rates and real estate at a four to seven year low in price. The tax credit is eventually unsustainable and it certainly does borrow buyers from the future and activate them in the present. But what better time to do that than when housing affordability is at one of it’s highest levels in record? Who else will consume the inventory of properties of willing (or unwilling) sellers who either need to move or hope to change their real estate investment? It greases the wheels of recovery so that the majority of participants can once again begin to buy and sell real estate.
Make no mistake, the old days will not return and the market has changed in nature and what consumers consider “valuable”. Over 90% of 2009 buyers started their search online; 37% found their home via the internet, and only 33% by their REALTOR. That sends an enormous message to sellers: BUYERS WON’T BE FOOLED. Buyers want thorough property descriptions of high-quality properties and will not waste time looking at over-priced and under-conditioned properties. Affordability has increased. Probability of sale will begin to increase. But that will happen only for properties (and sellers) deemed a better value than their peers.

Where to Buy 2010, Part IV: Yellow Lights

In my recent post, Where to Buy 2010, Part II: Green Lights, I documented two dozen areas that were showing positive enough signs of life to conclude that:

  • Price Depreciation was likely over
  • Supply and Demand was weighted slightly in favor of Demand increasing (or better)
  • The probability of sale was increasing
  • Values would like begin increasing by the end of first quarter, 2010 (if they were not already actively appreciating)

Now comes the harder part. Offending people who live in places where these important stabilizing factors are less evident. These are “the Yellow Lights” areas where:

  • Price Depreciation may still be occurring
  • Supply and Demand is not clearly favoring an increase in demand and an over-supply may exist
  • The probability of sale is at the market average (47%) or worse
  • Prices may not start appreciating in first quarter 2010. It might take until late 2010 for that to happen

Very quickly, anyone who can read through my cautious language will notice “may”, “maybe” and “might” all dominate the language of this post. The Yellow Lights are areas where there can still be some excellent buys. But a smart buyer who wants in on one of these areas needs to quantify their decision making. Is the home I’m interested in below the median value for the area? Are there any fatal flaws that would possibly hinder appreciation (near or backing to a busy road, non-conforming floorplan, etc.). Am I buying upgrades or dirt? (because the dirt is where the value is)


These three areas all had one little glaring problem that kept them from Green Light Status.

OCC 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 186 216 199 149 109 122 164
Avg Price 169046 180837 171750 170945 152462 154462 166584
Expired/Failed 152 143 152 177 155 91 145
Total Units 338 359 351 326 264 213 309
Probability Sale 55% 60% 57% 46% 41% 57% 53%
Listed 58
Avg. List 220220
Tamarron 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 37 41 22 23 27 23 29
Avg Price 224281 240781 247860 263530 239940 228813 240868
Expired/Failed 17 9 19 22 19 20 18
Total Units 54 50 41 45 46 43 47
Probability Sale 69% 82% 54% 51% 59% 53% 62%
Listed 15
Avg. List 257420
Newport Heights 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 31 47 37 31 21 24 32
Avg Price 241980 265093 261895 296119 258056 246493 261606
Expired/Failed 31 14 22 21 17 10 19
Total Units 62 61 59 52 38 34 51
Probability Sale 50% 77% 63% 60% 55% 71% 62%
Listed 6
Avg. List 256933

In the Old Colorado City area, the probability of sale has increased and demand has picked up. But price has taken a beating every year since 2005. That’s odd that average price in this boutique and unique area started to drop two years ahead of other market. The consumer demand has been largely for less expensive properties. Qualifying the unique qualities of an over $200,000 home will be important for a 2010 buyer in Old Colorado City. Likewise, pricing has taken a hit in both Tamarron and Newport Heights. While the probability of sale has never dipped below 50%, it is interesting to note that surrounding areas have performed better.  When Tamarron (D20) is compared to Pinon Valley or Oak Valley Ranch (both D11), a larger, similarly priced property has had a lower chance of sale in the normally more appealing D20 area. Newport Heights average list price is actually below the 6 year average sold price. One difficulty here however is that the area is small and has many streets impacted by road noise (proximity to Dublin and Austin Bluffs). Homes on the inside and near open space will sell much more easily.

The, “These can’t possibly stay Yellow Light for Long” areas

Cheyenne Meadows 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 74 70 64 45 42 30 54
Avg Price 192149 204087 214987 211952 218016 209383 208429
Expired/Failed 31 22 28 30 48 35 32
Total Units 44 92 92 75 90 65 76
Probability Sale 64% 76% 70% 60% 47% 46% 64%
Listed 12
Avg. List 212041
Northgate 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 67 54 53 41 25 16 43
Avg Price 320870 382583 352463 333648 338654 344293 345419
Expired/Failed 23 30 28 39 33 23 29
Total Units 90 84 81 80 58 39 72
Probability Sale 74% 64% 65% 51% 43% 41% 59%
Listed 19
Avg. List 355089
Crystal Hills 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 15 18 25 12 20 18 18
Avg Price 280953 308650 345796 336833 315120 337027 320730
Expired/Failed 4 6 11 19 17 19 13
Total Units 19 24 36 31 37 37 31
Probability Sale 79% 75% 69% 39% 54% 49% 59%
Listed 14
Avg. List 346792

I was scratching my head looking at Cheyenne Meadows. That’s right up next to Ft. Carson and an always popular area with junior officers. With an average sales price similar to the city and high rental rates, this can’t possibly stay down long. But the probability of sale is lousy and price has reset to 2004 levels. Weird. Very similar circumstances north of New Life in Northgate (collectively Trailridge and Deer Creek). Prices are at the 6-year average and the probability of sale has been low for four years running. This despite a superb location and near many of the destination D20 schools. Then there is Crystal Hills. The only suburban-style neighborhood in Manitou, the problems here are a lower than expected probability of sale and higher than usual inventory. With the price reset to the six year average and an over-supply heading into winter, pressure is down on price (for the short-term). All three of these areas have something somewhat extraordinary to extremely special in their location. That will have to make a measurable impact on a return to better value sometime in 2010.

High-End Areas where the worst is probably over (but boy what a hit)

Mountain Shadows and Peregrine have both seen demand sour substantially in 2009. At one point in October of this year, Mountain Shadows had only 3 properties that had sold for over $400,000 the entire calendar year. For a long stretch of the summer, a half dozen Peregrine properties were in a race to the bottom in price, starting around $650,000 before settling between $575,000 and $615,000. And for the last several years, the Old North End has been characterized by very low demand over $500,000.

Mountain Shadows 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 77 87 74 48 57 44 65
Avg Price 323627 356627 374161 381103 378998 332717 357872
Expired/Failed 42 25 37 71 46 52 46
Total Units 119 112 111 119 103 96 110
Probability Sale 65% 78% 67% 40% 55% 46% 59%
Listed 26
Avg. List 440203
Peregrine 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 53 65 73 56 38 22 51
Avg Price 445883 520341 573800 528103 526349 471336 510969
Expired/Failed 34 25 32 41 37 44 36
Total Units 44 90 105 97 75 66 80
Probability Sale 64% 72% 70% 58% 51% 33% 64%
Listed 30
Avg. List 561746
Old North End 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 42 54 56 46 41 20 43
Avg Price 352358 376357 430213 406895 400573 384725 391854
Expired/Failed 40 28 34 27 30 25 31
Total Units 82 82 90 73 71 45 74
Probability Sale 51% 66% 62% 63% 58% 44% 58%
Listed 33
Avg. List 769969

In all three of these areas, the average list price remains above the six year average. But the year to date sales price has dropped below the six-year average. In all of these areas, a home under $500,000 is very much worth looking at. Homes asking over $650,000 though will have to offer the buyer something extraordinary. That is, until inventory levels shrink even more.

The Million-Dollar Drag

Pine Creek. Spires. Flying Horse. All of them have taken a beating with direct competition with new construction. All of them have a lot of inventory sitting on the market. All of them have a lower than expected probability of sale. Broadmoor Glen has the added nuance of present new construction that is starting at twice the average of the rest of the neighborhood.

Pine Creek 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 102 97 107 96 63 48 86
Avg Price 412235 456217 491999 491366 468159 429007 458164
Expired/Failed 56 59 61 93 81 82 72
Total Units 158 156 168 189 144 130 158
Probability Sale 65% 62% 64% 51% 44% 37% 54%
Listed 36
Avg. List 667759
Spires/B Bluffs 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 108 87 68 98 50 44 76
Avg Price 551509 575448 586949 579556 580599 520501 565760
Expired/Failed 58 47 65 85 85 69 68
Total Units 44 134 133 183 135 113 124
Probability Sale 64% 65% 51% 54% 37% 39% 61%
Listed 50
Avg. List 776643
Broadmoor Glen 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 32 24 18 19 17 11 20
Avg Price 340134 358016 392818 392647 452308 582500 419737
Expired/Failed 5 7 10 14 21 16 12
Total Units 37 31 28 33 38 27 32
Probability Sale 86% 77% 64% 58% 45% 41% 62%
Listed 8
Avg. List 602100
Flying Horse 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 16 57 48 36 32 38
Avg Price 491533 490972 491940 448718 417985 468230
Expired/Failed 2 13 44 61 38 32
Total Units 18 70 92 97 70 69
Probability Sale 89% 81% 52% 37% 46% 54%
Listed 34
Avg. List 912304

In all four areas, the “average” property for sale requires not just jumbo financing, but super jumbo financing or a cash buyer. There are not many of either. Since all three areas have homes from $400,000 to well over a million, even talking about them as “areas” requires a discussion of areas within areas. A home on the Golf Course in Pine Creek with a nice lot and great upgrades will probably sell at a respectable price. A home that isn’t on Paisely (where it seems everything is for sale near the top) and is in the low $600,000’s will likely sell in the Spires. In Broadmoor Glen homes can move very quickly… or take forever. The price span is largest here, with home starting around $300,000 (selling very well) and an over-supply of million dollar new construction in the Canyons (one to three units selling per year). Flying Horse is having a hard time selling anywhere north of $500,000, but under $450,000 is actually moving faster than 6 months. In all three areas, the bottom of the neighborhood in price seems to be activated; but the majority of the present listings are quite a bit more than “average”. These will take a year or more to see improvements.

The operative term here is “Yellow Light”. Many drivers see yellow light and hit the accelerator. That means change is about to happen, and if they act quickly, they can beat the change. That might be the case in some of these places. The safe money is found in the Green Lights. The Curve-Beating money is found when the light is yellow.