Tag Archives: Old Colorado City

After the Tax Credit. What now?

The first listing I sold was 1620 N. Nevada in March, 2000. After pricing the house at $325,000, I looked up the public record to see what the seller paid for it back in 1989: $88,000. 370% appreciation in 11 years!

A present downtown listing

Was that lovely 1898 Victorian Grand House shiny and new in 2000? Or was the value of that property something established by something fundamental? Examples: there are photos of it in the Pioneer’s Museum; Old North End dirt has been considered valuable for 125 years. Why is that house now today probably worth $500,000? Hint: it has nothing to do with the kitchen counters!

I predicted that the market would hit 9200 sales this year. That is exactly the pace the market is on. But I no longer think the market will hit that number. Statistically, fewer homes sold the first four months of 2010 then in 2008. Anyone care to remember the real estate bliss of 2008? I had a moderately bullish forecast in January due to supply and demand trends that no longer exist. The market is better now than it was in 2008 or 2009: but those were lousy years. Comparative analysis requires thoughtful honesty. If the market was actually “improved”, the market would have less than 6 months inventory right now which would catalyze summertime appreciation. It is at 6.5 months despite a massive 1500+ under contract properties. With the 31% increase in listings year to date, it might not get below 6 months this year . More at The Stat Pack.

I financially benefited from the tax credit. This has personally been one of my most successful years in the business. Yet it has also been the most puzzling. 1.) A great number of the listings that soared onto the market this spring were trying to capitalize (too late) on the move-up tax credit. Will these people stay on the market without a $6500 government incentive? 2.) Shiny and new is always popular, but it is also always depreciating. Why oh why is there a 15 month supply of housing of pre-1950 housing $200,000 and up downtown, while there is only a 5.5 month supply of housing of 1998 or newer over $200,000 in Powers? Yes, there are more buyers for properties in PWR than CEN, but we’re comparing 77 active listings downtown to 275 in PWR, and still there is 1/3rd the months of inventory out east? Consumers are habituated to buying disposable things, like a flat screen TV, a Starbucks, or a car with a loan. This behavior seems to be alive in real estate purchasing. I am guessing that the “sale” aspect of the tax credit encouraged it.

The real value of buying in 2010 is to leverage REMARKABLE. Prices went down for 3 years. Buying power is  25% better than it was in 2007 when you account for pricing drops and money leverage. This opens up a lot of 1620 N. Nevada scenarios for a lot of people.

Location is the first and greatest real estate fundamental. Prime location areas have not sold well year to date. It’s not just Broadmoor and upper Peregrine, but downtown, Manitou, Old Colorado City and places where the value is in the dirt.

If you are choosing to sell or buy, qualify your “WHY.” Why are you doing this?  If you are selling and can seize other opportunities, then get it over with. If you are buying, what’s the most remarkable area you can afford?

Real estate isn’t fair; never is, never was. Removing the carrot from before the horse helps consumers more honestly assess their wants and needs.

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.
WHAT MATTERS NOW:
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.

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.

RED LIGHTS

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 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)

The ALMOST THERE…

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.

Where to Buy 2010, Part III: Green Light Data Edition

Wolf Ranch 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 28 111 84 80 57 52 69
Avg Price 305970 348121 394526 396895 367503 368180 363533
Expired/Failed 16 10 20 55 65 41 35
Total Units 44 121 104 135 122 93 103
Probability Sale 64% 92% 81% 59% 47% 56% 64%
Listed 30
Avg. List 371416
Skyway 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 40 43 34 25 8 26 29
Avg Price 249746 273427 333679 305375 333987 243388 289934
Expired/Failed 28 21 15 21 18 22 21
Total Units 44 64 49 46 26 48 46
Probability Sale 64% 67% 69% 54% 31% 54% 57%
Listed 11
Avg. List 331054
Pinecliff 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 23 24 13 27 15 13 19
Avg Price 345293 358016 367884 406895 384080 325053 364537
Expired/Failed 12 7 6 16 15 13 12
Total Units 35 31 19 43 30 26 31
Probability Sale 66% 77% 68% 63% 50% 50% 63%
Listed 7
Avg. List 389314
Cordera 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 21 13 18 30 21
Avg Price 402201 427005 417182 388590 408745
Expired/Failed 0 6 15 16 9
Total Units 21 19 33 46 30
Probability Sale 100% 68% 55% 65% 69%
Listed 19
Avg. List 438845
Downtown 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 137 131 156 92 108 86 118
Avg Price 186939 198821 198488 210545 196956 187402 196525
Expired/Failed 109 76 80 85 78 41 78
Total Units 44 207 236 177 186 127 197
Probability Sale 64% 63% 66% 52% 58% 68% 60%
Listed 54
Avg. List 237723
Fairfax 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 143 150 140 120 99 67 120
Avg Price 215679 251518 252542 250635 237804 247789 242661
Expired/Failed 50 42 65 72 65 63 60
Total Units 193 192 205 192 164 130 179
Probability Sale 74% 78% 68% 63% 60% 52% 67%
Listed 29
Avg. List 247096
Gatehouse 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 111 128 91 79 61 58 88
Avg Price 249826 269487 281448 287350 276485 271733 272722
Expired/Failed 59 35 30 42 53 44 44
Total Units 170 163 121 121 114 102 132
Probability Sale 65% 79% 75% 65% 54% 57% 67%
Listed 11
Avg. List 274372
Vista Grande 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 101 116 113 94 78 59 94
Avg Price 168762 187375 186714 181848 168075 162927 175950
Expired/Failed 53 30 54 59 65 41 50
Total Units 44 146 167 153 143 100 144
Probability Sale 64% 79% 68% 61% 55% 59% 65%
Listed 16
Avg. List 237325
Summerfield 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 51 53 44 55 24 18 41
Avg Price 306615 331506 392408 365449 341415 317113 342418
Expired/Failed 13 13 15 28 19 19 18
Total Units 64 66 59 83 43 37 59
Probability Sale 80% 80% 75% 66% 56% 49% 70%
Listed 3
Avg. List 354996
Wedgewood 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 29 38 48 21 17 7 27
Avg Price 247500 277220 292065 264229 252552 281877 269241
Expired/Failed 19 10 11 8 10 7 11
Total Units 44 48 59 29 27 14 37
Probability Sale 64% 79% 81% 72% 63% 50% 72%
Listed 3
Avg. List 233250
Sable Chase, Misty Meadows, BRI 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 95 119 90 87 55 56 84
Avg Price 184598 200240 206681 210392 197909 192956 198796
Expired/Failed 41 32 38 43 35 30 37
Total Units 136 151 128 130 90 86 120
Probability Sale 70% 79% 70% 67% 61% 65% 70%
Listed 12
Avg. List 211250
Wagon Trails 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 194 197 133 109 97 82 135
Avg Price 235039 244862 252418 251508 239808 233896 242922
Expired/Failed 133 67 91 91 116 47 91
Total Units 327 264 224 200 213 129 226
Probability Sale 64% 75% 59% 55% 46% 64% 60%
Listed 30
Avg. List 296418
Pinon Valley 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 53 52 54 45 35 37 46
Avg Price 229440 229645 240097 237371 250062 227110 235621
Expired/Failed 25 15 14 23 14 8 17
Total Units 78 67 68 68 49 45 63
Probability Sale 68% 78% 79% 66% 71% 82% 74%
Listed 5
Avg. List 237840
Stetson HIlls 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 203 313 355 297 297 268 289
Avg Price 194051 209000 227478 240000 235572 222201 221384
Expired/Failed 124 125 172 272 232 174 183
Total Units 327 438 527 569 529 442 472
Probability Sale 62% 71% 67% 52% 56% 61% 61%
Listed 75
Avg. List 259399
Springs Ranch 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 234 299 244 155 118 123 196
Avg Price 222269 235000 246000 237478 218691 217583 229504
Expired/Failed 116 110 120 163 133 71 119
Total Units 350 409 364 318 251 194 314
Probability Sale 67% 73% 67% 49% 47% 63% 64%
Listed 54
Avg. List 245237
Norwood 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 141 118 104 81 62 54 93
Avg Price 195322 201336 213976 215038 208335 201727 205956
Expired/Failed 94 52 57 44 50 30 55
Total Units 44 170 161 125 112 84 148
Probability Sale 64% 69% 65% 65% 55% 64% 63%
Listed 13
Avg. List 220623
Rockrimmon 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 152 133 110 103 69 54 104
Avg Price 308490 320571 352425 366151 344536 311085 333876
Expired/Failed 101 46 54 84 77 60 70
Total Units 253 179 164 187 146 114 174
Probability Sale 60% 74% 67% 55% 47% 47% 60%
Listed 26
Avg. List 388530
Contrails 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 109 99 89 67 46 41 75
Avg Price 200913 216404 222565 230572 217874 215608 217323
Expired/Failed 48 16 23 46 25 21 30
Total Units 44 115 112 113 71 62 105
Probability Sale 64% 86% 79% 59% 65% 66% 72%
Listed 11
Avg. List 220427
Mesa Heights/PV 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 44 58 44 24 33 22 38
Avg Price 198826 214456 226259 252070 201974 224381 219661
Expired/Failed 15 25 23 14 18 11 18
Total Units 44 83 67 38 51 33 55
Probability Sale 64% 70% 66% 63% 65% 67% 68%
Listed 15
Avg. List 247040
Mesa Heights/PV 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Avg
Sold 44 58 44 24 33 22 38
Avg Price 198826 214456 226259 252070 201974 224381 219661
Expired/Failed 15 25 23 14 18 11 18
Total Units 44 83 67 38 51 33 55
Probability Sale 64% 70% 66% 63% 65% 67% 68%
Listed 15
Avg. List 247040

Where to Buy in 2010: Part II, Green Lights

Where to Buy in 2010 is a complicated affair. The buyer has so much chatter to sift through, so many conflicting opinions, and so much emotion to manage, that while it is a great opportunity, it is also fraught with peril and possible future disaster.

To be clear: it is a good time to buy. But it is a good time to buy IF a buyer is wiling to set aside priorities of shiny and new and instead, buy into a neighborhood.

Rather than rank neighborhoods or get too complicated with a convoluted metric that only makes sense to a statistical geek like myself, I have color-coded 44 neighborhoods in to easy-to-associate categories: Green Light. Yellow Light. Red Light. The data I used to come to these opinions involved analyzing and comparing these neighborhoods over each of the last six years, calculating the marketplace average for that time span for sake of comparison, and then plotting that against the present-day active market conditions. I looked at units sold, units that failed to sell, the average selling price, the probability of sale and what today’s total active units and average sale price looked like. A neighborhood that exceeded a 50% chance of sale over each of the last 6 years was unusual. A neighborhood that was selling above the 6 year average in 2009 was also notable. A neighborhood that had high unit sales, scarce active listings, a high probability of sale and a geographically desirable location proved to be an overall market leader.

A nearby neighborhood at a higher dollar figure with an increased probability of sale but a 20% drop from peak average value and a location that made it’s future demand questionable got the Yellow Light. An area associated with million dollar properties but an average sales price in the $700,000’s and less than a 20% chance of sale this year… that was a pretty easy Red Light.

Within any of these areas, there are homes and pieces of dirt that are exceptional and valuable in the long-term. This is a study of how actual neighborhoods are doing, not individual properties. It is very apparent that dirt matters. It is also apparent that there are notable market improvements throughout Colorado Springs. Of the 44 neighborhoods researched, green lights were awarded to exactly half (22).

Lastly, before showcasing the performance of these areas, this project is not complete. As usual, I bit off more than I could chew… or at least chew and digest. I need to add at least a dozen different neighborhoods in the coming weeks to include multiple parts of Monument, the East-Side, the Southeast Side and Fountain. Right now I am showcasing the information for the areas where I personally show or preview almost every month, and definitely make an appearance every quarter. There are other neighborhoods in town that have made spectacular improvements on the city’s east and south sides; and there are parts of Monument where demand has disappeared almost completely. This data will take longer to process, but will be treated with the same value association.

So without further ado: Where to Buy 2010

Green Light:

Sundown, Nor’wood, Oak Valley Ranch, Pinon Valley, Fairfax, Gatehouse, Sable Chase/Misty Meadows and Meadow Ridge/Contrails are the market leaders. These are areas in northeastern and northwestern Colorado Springs that have endured the market setbacks with consistent popularity and surprising value resilience. Every area has enjoyed a better than 60% probability of sale year to date and typically enjoys a better than 64% chance of sale over the last six years. The market average year to date is around 46% and has been less than 50% for each of the last three years. Prices suffered in each of these areas between November and March of last year due to bank-owned properties slamming the marketplace. Buyers gobbled these up quickly, frequently in bidding wars. Values plunged almost 10% in less than 2 quarters. The resiliency of these areas is all proven in the fact that they are all rebounding in price to nearly the same point as they were at the end of 3rd quarter 2008.

Among the newer areas, Stetson Hills/Ridgeview and Cordera are very solid value propositions. Stetson Hills has posted more units sold than any other neighborhood in each of the last six years. It is a huge area and I have some reservations about lumping it as a single area. But it tends to rise and fall as a singular entity. Presently, the average price stands above the six-year average. Over 300 units will probably close this year, behind only 2004 and 2005. Cordera is a real surprise. A record number of units have sold this year already and prices have been stable throughout the four-year history. It also boasts a 65% probability of sale. Apparently the master plan and collection of builders is finding fans in the buyer community.

Additional neighborhoods that get the Green Light include Mesa Heights/Pleasant Valley, Downtown (Patty Jewett & Divine Redeemer), Wagon Trails and Vista Grande. These areas have been less resilient to price fluctuations and have a lower probability of sale, but still have certain factors that show price appreciation in 2010 is likely. In Pleasant Valley, the average year to date sales price is still above the six-year average and the probability of sale has varied no more than 6% over the last half decade, varying from 64% to 70%. The only reason this is not an all-star is because there is a slight over-supply of housing with 15 units presently for sale, when only 22 have sold this year. Vista Grande is priced below 2004 values but has only 16 houses for sale. Such scarcity against the demand of 59 year to date sales says that sellers can probably stop worrying about depreciation. The average asking price is 40% higher than the year to date sales price, so if a buyer is looking under $180,000, they’re probably buying very well in Vista Grande. Wagon Trails has started to return from the big 2008 foreclosure crunch. Thirty units may sound like a lot for sale, but considering that this neighborhood sold more than 190 units in both 2004 and 2005, that is a very low supply for an always popular area. Prices have taken a hit downtown in terms of what has sold, but the asking prices show that there is still some resilience. With supply and demand heading back to a direction that favors sellers, downtown should experience an additional pick-up in activity in 2010.

Wolf Ranch and Pinecliff are two Green Light surprises. Wolf Ranch probably suffered more from the market meltdown than any other sizable neighborhood. In 2007, the average sales price dropped almost 10%, and then 2008 saw three national builders leave the market (John Laing went bankrupt) and foreclosures swept across the area. But prices have stabilized which is very unusual for a market in the mid-$300,000’s and the probability of sale has increased to over 50% which is also unusual for the pricepoint. Pinecliff has taken a beating this year in price, but that is primarily due to a value-enhancing quality: there is very scarce inventory. What has been on the market in 2009 has generally been below-average in terms of price. Only 13 units have sold this year (peak was 27 in 2007), but there are only 7 for sale (this is a 440 unit neighborhood). This is characteristic of a marketplace where sellers with equity have simply waited out the market not wanting to compromise their investments.  The higher end properties will probably start selling once more units come on the market and buyers begin looking at three to four homes in the area rather than one or two here, and ten somewhere else.

Briargate hosts two areas where buyers can probably scoop up a pretty good bargain: Wedgewood and Summerfield. Both of these areas have averaged a 70% probability of sale in the last six years but have stumbled in 2009. That means they have sellers who probably are ready to unload their houses in an area that is typically a magnet for relocation traffic (which is a big part of why they have stumbled in 2009: relocation is off tremendously from the 2006 peak).

Neighborhoods that just squeaked in on the Green Light are Old Farm, Skyway, Rockrimmon and Springs Ranch. In each of these areas, the prices that are selling are well-below the average sold price and the peak. But the probability of sale is visibly increasing. Since all three areas have pockets of higher end properties interspersed with properties at or even below the market average, they deserve attention from savvy buyers looking for long-term investments. A caveat is that in all three areas, the present listing supply is generally leftovers from the summer season. These may move up the list by 2nd quarter 2010. Springs Ranch has not performed nearly as well as it’s northern neighbor Stetson Hills over the last three years. The bigger concern is that there are still 54 units for sale. Properties take longer to sell here and while the probability of sale has increased, there is not the supply:demand ratio swing that shows definite price growth now. It looks likely in 2010, but has not yet materialized. The probability of sale has increased in 2009 from 47% to 64%. This was in part due to sellers getting more realistic with lower prices.

Finally, a handful of neighborhoods that rate as near-misses. These are interestingly all Higher End areas… and Old Colorado City. These are yellow light areas for a fairly uniform reason. Flying Horse, Pine Creek, Mountain Shadows and Broadmoor Bluffs/Spires are all known for higher value homes than their 2009 average sales price. The 2009 average sales price is well below the 6-year average in each of these areas. But almost without fail, where the inventory problem lies in these areas is in units that are well-above the six-year price average, and often well-above the market-peak for average price seen in 2006 and 2007. Strangely… Old Colorado City has the same problem. OCC is really a $200,000 area, but the average sales price stands at $154,000 for the year. When the median on-the-market asking price is 35% higher than the year to date average sales price… something still is not right. These are some of the Yellow Light Properties, where green shoots are beginning but improvements are yet to get rolling but should begin by 2nd quarter, 2010. More on these tomorrow.

Updated, Remodelled, Charming… and $8000 Eligible. 307 N. 22nd Street

Vintage elegance meets peace of mind at 307 N. 22nd Street in Old Colorado City.

For the buyer who appreciates no problems, peace of mind and recent improvements, consider…
New roof, new stainless appliances, new granite counters, just-refinished hardwood floors, new professionally-finished basement with bedroom and bathroom (even code compliant window wells), new water heater, new fence, new sewer line; modern foundation (1989), and updated electrical, and plumbing. That’s a healthy list anywhere in town, but especially in Old Colorado City, and almost unheard of at $209,000.

307 N 22nd Exterior

307 N 22nd Exterior

There is a spacious charm to the home as well. This 1944 stucco rancher features 1673 square feet with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a main level laundry/mudroom, and an attached one-car garage. The main level boasts a remodeled kitchen with granite counters and stainless appliances (yes, there is even a dishwasher!), a formal dining room with classic built-ins, a cozy living room with reading nook, and two bedrooms (one with period built-in closet). Newly-refinished hardwood floors (September, 2009), arched doorways, and antique light fixtures complete the charm. With fantastic natural light streaming in from the prominent southern exposure, there are well defined spaces but also ample room to stretch out.

Downstairs, a 2009 remodel has added a whole new dimension to livability by adding a professionally-finished master suite and 3/4 bath. This area could easily be utilized as a family room or office. The basement has many unique characteristics. First, it is not a stone foundation, but a raised-poured concrete foundation, part of the Old Colorado City restoration project in 1989. Done to modern specifications, it has allowed for ample headroom, as opposed to the usual duck and stoop basement so commonly found in either downtown or Old Colorado City. With a generous storage room hosting the updated mechanicals, it offers everything a homeowner could want in a basement… bedroom or gathering space, 3/4 bath, storage, and the feeling of livable space.

Worried about storage? Ample closets, classic built-ins, a sizable 3-entry laundry room/mudroom (complete with washer and dryer), a generous storage room, and an attached one-car garage provide more than enough space. There is even a fenced dog area for Fido.

Top it all off with the location. Nestled in quaint OCC, you can walk to the cafes and farmers market, or bike to nearby Garden of the Gods

and Red Rock Canyon. Or, just stay home and enjoy the Pikes Peak views from the large fenced back yard or private bistro-style patio.

With all the major improvements, this vintage home provides charm AND total peace of mind. Add that to the fundamental value of location-location-location and this is the best value in Old Colorado City. For First-Time Buyers, the list price on this home is well under the $8000 tax credit. With rates presently dropping to just over 5.00% for FHA loans…. your buying power could not be better!