Tag Archives: Wagon Trails

Greenshoots 2013: Northeast Colorado Springs

Within the city limits, on the big MLS map hanging on the office wall, is this big, giant area with rooftops. Northeast Colorado Springs (N/E) is a monster of an area, with a everything from inexpensive fixer uppers to the occasional million dollar mansion on the rim of University Park. Quite literally, it also has everything in-between.

We had some interesting discoveries this year in looking at N/E. Some of the most regular and easily predicted pricing is found here (Newport Heights), but also, there are fantastic pockets of opportunity. Let’s be honest, people are starting to get excited about real estate again, and by excited, we mean “making money.” The risk of flipping a home is still pretty significant, but Northeast has the prime spot: a four bedroom, two-car garage home in Vista Grande east of Union. The 100% price variance we saw in these areas on multiple occasions indicates that there are ample numbers of distressed homes selling at severe discounts, and a marketplace ready to buy turnkey quality. Since these are closed sales, too, it usually means that they’ll pass muster on appraisal. We also saw inventory levels at the start of the year at less than 40 days, a market time 80% faster than the already quick PPAR market.

This is the single largest blog post of the bunch due to the sheer volume of neighborhoods. We’ll start with the District 20 outlier in Northeast, Woodland Hills. All other neighborhoods are in Colorado Springs School District 11.

Woodland Hills (ACADEMY D20 SCHOOLS): Very regular pricing with an improved, turnkey market making up 2/3rds of the sales. Very high probability of sale.

Woodland Hills Neighborhood Patterns Woodland Hills Scattergram Woodland Hills Buying Patterns Woodland Hills Time to Sell

Colorado Springs District 11 N/E

Canyon View: this is an example of an area where the project exceeded the data. There isn’t much data – at all – to report on in Canyon View. Talk amongst yourselves…

CV Scattergram CV Neighborhood Patterns CV Buying Patterns

CV Time to Sell

Deliverance: because there were fewer sales, the two-market effect (turnkey; needs a lot of work) was less visible, but it’s still present in Deliverance.

Deliverance Scattergram Deliverance Neighborhood Patterns Deliverance Time to Sell Deliverance Buying Patterns

Erindale & Pulpit Rock: The numbers here say “stay away” because the average sales price was only $15,000 higher than the city, yet the probability of sale was 22% lower and an 8 month supply of housing that’s nearly double the city average. If nothing is selling, is that a smart investment? Unpacking the riddle, 2012 saw some crazy houses for sale in this area, and speaking individually, I got to show my first six-level home ever last year in here. There usually isn’t a market for that many stairs (or in that REO house’s case, pet urine), but that accounts for the much higher than normal failed-to-sell rate in 2012: weird, overpriced houses. The reality is, we’re pretty bullish on this area because the prices seem way too low for what you get (open space; healthy Ponderosa; views) and there’s a new twist: Dublin is now open through to Nevada. We think that’s a game-changer on this neighborhood, making it almost like an inexpensive westside enclave with the retail conveniences of Northeast. True to form, the year ended with a blitz in here, and while the graphic software is reporting 18 for sale, eight of those are spoken for and are actually pending-sale. That means the inventory is actually a normal 4.5 months based on sales rate.

Erindale and Pulpit Rock Scattergram Erindale and Pulpit Rock Neighborhood Patterns Erindale and Pulpit Rock Time to Sell Erindale and Pulpit Rock Buying Patterns

Greencrest: sold at a slower pace, but still commanded a pretty decent price.

Greencrest Scattergram Greencrest Neighborhood Patterns Greencrest Buying Patterns Greencrest Time to Sell

Garden Ranch: Garden Ranch is an area we spent a lot of time in during 2012, and it’s a superb example of the changing market. There are some huge lots in this area, surprise open spaces, and access into Palmer Park underneath Austin Bluffs. Oh… and it’s cheap compared to other parts of the city. The back end of Flintridge is a quiet little oasis. Savvy consumers figured this out, and it sold better than most other areas and embodied the “two market” effect we’ve seen in other places, with consistent pricing for improved turn-key properties and more scattered, inconsistent pricing for those needing a lot of work. Of special note: demand has been so great of late, inventory levels were at one month at the start of 2013.

Garden Ranch Scattergram Garden Ranch Neighborhood Patterns Garden Ranch Time to Sell Garden Ranch Buying Patterns

Newport Heights: Don’t bother arguing with an appraiser in Newport Heights. Pricing couldn’t be tidier or more associated with square footage. But it’s selling well, with a single home for sale at the start of the year (calculated as 20 days of inventory!).

Newport Heights Scattergram Newport Heights Neighborhood Buying Patterns Newport Heights Buying Pattern Newport Heights Time to Sell

Northwind: Northwind had an interesting pricing pattern that was highly regular… until $250,000. Then a single home sold way above the curve. Another very popular year-end area, with a mere month of available inventory.

Northwind Scattergram Northwind Neighborhood Patterns Northwind Buying Patterns Northwind Time to Sell

Park Vista: Park Vista is just to the northeast of Southern Vista Grande, but totally different, on half acre, county-zoned lots. With in-city, country-living and some big views, the area started to experience a Renaissance in 2012. Kind of fun: list your house for sale in May in here, because nothing happens until then, and it’s usually all over by Labor Day. See Buying Pattern. 

Park Vista Scattergram Park Vista Neighborhood Patterns Park Vista Buying Patterns Park Vista Time to Sell

Saddle Rock: Like many of the view-areas throughout Colorado Springs, Saddle Rock has custom homes and custom prices. Price is much more associated with lot and view and quality of house than simple square footage. 

Saddle Rock Scattergram Saddle Rock Neighborhood Patterns Saddle Rock Buying Patterns Saddle Rock Time to Sell

Sunset Ridge & Vista Mesa: this was the best selling area in Colorado Springs for homes in the upper $200,000’s. Consumers tended to prefer – significantly – homes with finished basements, showing a willingness to pay a premium for finished square footage.

Sunset Ridge and Vista Mesa Scattergram Sunset Ridge and Vista Mesa Neighborhood Patterns Sunset Ridge and Vista Mesa Buying Patterns Sunset Ridge and Vista Mesa Time to Sell

University Park: University Park had a similar probability of sale as neighboring Erindale, but an average price 80% higher. Wild price elasticity was exhibited here, a correlation again to views and house quality. Yet intriguingly, there was a large cluster of sales activity around the average pricepoint in the mid-$400,000’s; that’s unusual in a custom area, where prices tend to be more scattershot.

University Park Scattergram University Park Neighborhood Patterns University Park Time to Sell University Park Buying Patterns

Vista Grande. Technically Vista Grande is broken up into sub neighborhoods, but in the MLS descrition field, it usually just goes by “Vista Grande.” This presents an analytical and graphing challenge, so we had to break it into three different areas, somewhat arbitrarily: Southern Vista Grande, Eastern Vista Grande and Western Vista Grande. Southern Vista Grande is around Russell Middle School to Austin Bluffs and Academy. Eastern Vista Grande is above Russell, along Montebello (but below Saddle Rock) and up north to Deliverance and near Dublin stretching out to Flintridge. Western Vista Grande is west of Union and the newest of the areas. Notably, Southern Vista Grande tends to have one-car garages as frequently as two-car garages, and the other two areas tend to have two-car garages, hence one of the reasons for price (age of home tends to be older further south as well).

Eastern Vista Grande

Eastern Vista Grande Scattergram Eastern Vista Grande Neighborhood Patterns Eastern Vista Grande Buying Patterns Eastern Vista Grande Time to Sell

Southern Vista Grande

Southern Vista Grande Scattergram Southern Neighborhood Patterns Southern Vista Grande Buying Patterns Southern Vista Grande Time to Sell

Western Vista Grande

Western Vista Grande Scattergram Western Vista Grande Neighborhood Patterns Western Vista Grande Buying Patterns Western Vista Grande Time to Sell

Wagon Trails & Bridle Pass

Wagon Trails Scattergram Wagon Trails Neighborhood Patterns Wagon Trails Buying Patterns Wagon Trails Time to Sell

Some MLS Marketwide baselines… Probability of sale last year for the entire MLS was 63.8%. That was the highest probability since 2005. These graphs sometimes reflect mostly lower numbers, but that is because the software counts under contract properties as still “active”. In essence, these are contracts, and in certain cases, we notated what happens to months of inventory and probability of sale if you “count the contracts” that are there at the start of the year. Saying that, for the most part, Northgate inventories are low carrying over into 2013, but there are not a lot of under contracts in these neighorhoods outside of Flying Horse.

If you would like any of these slides emailed to you for specific information, hit me up at Benjamin@BenjaminDay.com. Yes, we realize that they read a little small, but we’re preciously attached to our WordPress format, so, sorry.

The software used to create these graphs is from http://www.Focus1st.com and we used a date range of January 1, 2012 to January 11/14, 2013 for all of the searches, doing as many as possible on two different business days to get a competitive comparison for a single snapshot in time.

Disclaimer time: Benjamin Day composed this blog post and is solely responsible for it’s content. This information reflects data and opinion of real estate licensee in The State of Colorado. Based on information from the Pikes Peak REALTOR Services Corp. (“RSC”), for the period January 1, 2012 through January 21, 2013 . RSC does not guarantee or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by RSC may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.

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 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.