Tag Archives: Peregrine

The Relevance of “New” to Seller’s in Today’s Market

Through May 2010, Single Family Building Permit activity was 45.8% ahead of the same pace in 2009. June 2009 was the month that single family permitting actually returned to life, so the first five months of this year presents a very valid point of reference for one of the major ramifications effecting the marketplace: the value of new.
Actively marketed sellers need to examine for themselves what the same dollars might buy somewhere else in El Paso County. This might seem ridiculous and foolish: why compare downtown Colorado Springs to Lorson Ranch in Fountain? Why compare Peregrine to Pine Creek? How can Falcon in the $300,000’s compare to Gleneagle? Would an appraiser ever compare these two areas? Never. But is a buyer? Maybe. Okay, probably. Okay… most likely. Hey, if you wanted to sell a ’99 Benz for $10,000, and a buyer could get a 2006 Honda Accord for the same price and mileage… that’s how consumers tend to think.
There are 515 homes for sale from $225,000 to $250,000. The average sales price market-wide in June improved to $237,000 and change. So why is there an 8 month backlog of sell-time in this price-range? Consider: Classic Homes is no longer the city’s largest builder. The same company that produced more than 1200 homes in 2005 now has less market share than two companies that did not even exist in the market in 2004 (Journey Homes and St. Aubyn Homes). These two builders, along with Challenger Homes, account for 1/3rd of the marketshare among new home builders. Classic is now fourth. These Top Three builders are all producing homes in the $200,000’s (and no, that’s not the advertised “from the $200K’s… those are closed values). No, they’re not in Oak Valley Ranch, Divine Redeemer or even Springs Ranch areas where homes in this price range should be flying off the shelf (but aren’t)… but it begins to explain why resale homes are struggling to sell from $200,000 to $300,000.
Classic Homes builds entry level homes, but their average sales price is $375,000. The new-build focus from 2002 to 2006 shifted to a higher and higher price bracket due to the ready availability of cheap credit, especially jumbo credit. After the market freefall and credit crunch, the game had to change dramatically. While Saddletree/Symphony is still making a profit, and Keller, Vantage, Acuff and Classic all seem to have “survived” the downtown, the growth is not in their price range: it’s in the average-priced-home available with a two car garage, new HVAC efficiencies and shiny new appliances.
Of severe significance: average now equates to a custom experience for the home buyer. At average price… they can pick their colors; their trim; their flooring; their appliances; their landscaping. Double that average price point, and how special does a resale home have to be when there are granite slabs to be chosen, wet bars to be designed, 16″ tile to be selected for the two-person shower? In the higher price brackets, a new built $500,000 home is not the same as a new built home from four or five years ago. First, it is probably energy-star rated. The added insulation and HVAC inspections cost more money. The counters are probably slab granite. The appliances are probably standard stainless. The lot has probably been discounted. It might have a standard basement finish. The builder has trimmed work forces and had to trim their profit margin on the building. This all adds up to a property that probably offers 10% more value than the same product purchase three or four years ago.
Add to that money leverage. Every one percent drop in interest rate increases a buyer’s buying power by 11%. Consider this crazy reality: the market has fallen in value 5% to 20% depending on neighborhood. It is fair to say in general terms that prices are about 8 to 10% less than they were two summers ago. Rates at that time were 6%. Rates today are as low as 4.5%. That means buyers have 25% MORE BUYING POWER than they did just two years ago.
Add to that the fact that buyers still control the market. A balanced market has 6 months of inventory: neither buyers nor sellers control the market at 6 months. Below six months, sellers control the market and appreciation is likely. Above six months, buyers control the market. Appreciation is less likely due to increased supply. Buyers correspondingly hold out for… MORE.
That “MORE” that buyers hold out for is critical. They are operating in a whole other realm of reality and possibility right now with 25% more buying power this summer than two summers ago. With that come heightened expectations. The first place that is made manifest is in the house itself. Yes, that lot might have value. Yes, that location might have value. But buyers simply will not tolerate: outdated carpet and paint; 80’s/90’s fixtures; lack of cleanliness; lack of snappy curb appeal; prices that are even slightly out of line.

Sure, it’s the Great Recession. But take one look at the Promenade Shops at Briargate parking lot any day of the week and you’d never know. New and New-On-Sale are today’s consumers two favorite categories.

2255 Cape Pine; 1.2 acres of updated privacy in Peregrine

2255 Cape Pine in Peregrine

Two Story Great Room

Updated Island Granite Kitchen with new lighting & plumbing fixtures

How do you best take advantage of the double-market?

The double-market, for those not familiar with such a term is defined as a market where the opportunity to sell at the median to average price point is above average, and the opportunity to buy a move-up valued home is enhanced by strong selection, depressed prices and low interest rates.

Frequently buyers right now are looking at new construction properties in the over $500,000 price range. This is understandable: in less than six months, buyers can get “exactly what they want”. But if what they want is a home with:

Over an acre

On the west-side

Total Privacy

On a cul-de-sac

Views, Views, Views… with native mule deer part of the foreground

Walking distance to an IB Elementary School and miles of local hiking and mountain biking trails

Well, that doesn’t fit the bill of new construction. That’s Peregrine and 80919, one of the most enchanting and unique neighborhoods in Colorado Springs. Such a home just listed at 2255 Cape Pine Way

Panorama of Synthetic Deck in Backyard


Updated Master Bath

Master with sitting area & fireplace

Main Level Bedroom with 3/4 attached bath

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.