8th Annual Best Places to Live

The Denver metro area is growing fast- now can new developments keep up?

Stunning vistas. Easy access to world-class outdoor adventures. A vibrant arts scene. Award-winning restaurants and breweries. Five major professional sports teams. Great shopping. All that sunshine. Really, it’s no wonder the metro Denver region is consistently ranked among the fastest growing population rates in the nation.

“Many of the people moving to Denver are looking for a lifestyle change,” says Stephanie Lepard, a broker associate with Kentwood Real Estate. “Denver has so much to offer. People work so hard these days; it seems our connection to work never ends. … Why not live in a place that helps you make the most of your free time?”

But that doesn’t mean moving here is a cinch. According to last month’s report from the Denver Metro Association of Realtors, home prices in the area are up 19 percent year over year on average, while active listings are at an unprecedented low. In fact, the report shows a mere 4,079 homes were for sale at the end of February in Denver and its surrounding counties—that’s a 33 percent drop in inventory over the same time last year.

“Homes are selling quickly and there just isn’t enough inventory out there,” Sonya Peterson, a broker associate with Coldwell Banker Devonshire says. “In the more desirable neighborhoods, homes are under contract within a day or two.”

And home sales frequently are going for well beyond asking price.

“I am seeing many cash buyers that do not need to sell in order to buy,” says Amy Frankmore, a realtor with RE/MAX Cherry Creek. “These buyers are willing to pay top dollar for a property in an ideal location with the right features and benefits. This is broadly seen across all price points.”


Luxury properties on the rise

Scott Webber, president of LIV Sotheby’s International Realty, says the area’s luxury market also is seeing a strong rebound, with more showings per listing than in 2014.

“For luxury homes throughout the entire metro area, we are experiencing a very healthy and advanced market with a three and a half to four month supply of homes,” he says. “Luxury homes are selling in a very reasonable time frame, however savvy buyers still want to make an informed decision as to the value of the investment.”

He says sellers can do very well, but shouldn’t take the market for granted by expecting to achieve an unreasonable price.

“With interest rates remaining at incredibly low levels, this would be a fantastic time to assess whether your personal housing needs are being met, and determine if a lifestyle change would be appropriate,” Webber adds.

Michael Lies, realtor with My Castle Real Estate agrees.

“With the low interest rates, fewer restrictions on jumbo loans and the ease of selling a starter home, we are seeing a higher percentage of families move up to larger homes,” he says.


Family matters

Photography: Evan Semon and Visit Denver

Photography: Evan Semon and Visit Denver

Jamie Harris, a broker associate with Kentwood Real Estate, says she’s currently working with several buyers looking to move south from the city to areas like Cherry Hills, Greenwood Village and Centennial.

“These buyers are typically families with school-age children who want to be close to the city, but are attracted to the great schools in the southern suburbs,” she says. “Even in the million dollar range, the desirable homes in these areas will sell in a matter of days, again with multiple offers. If a home is sitting without offers in this market, there is no question that it is priced too high.”

Harris points to a recent listing in the Foxridge neighborhood between Dry Creek and County Line roads.

“Priced at $475,000, it was in outstanding condition, nicely updated and fed into a great school system,” she says. “We had 24 showings in 48 hours and received three offers over full price. This situation makes it more important than ever for buyers to be pre-approved with a lender, doing everything they can to make their offer stronger than the competition.”

Lepard says that while, yes, now is a great time to sell a home in Denver, buyers are extremely in tune with pricing and do not want to overpay, even in the current tight market.

“I feel that this is the most common seller mistake; the market will take care of you if you price your home well,” she says.

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