Forbes magazine just released their list of the 10 best cities for home sellers in 2008. And guess which market came in at #7? Our very own Denver!
To assess each market, Forbes looked at unsold vacancy rates, construction starts (to see if a lot of new construction would be cropping up and making vacancy rates worse), job creation (to see if buyers would have jobs, so they could buy houses) and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae's new conforming loan limits (to see if those buyers could get loans without having to pay premium "jumbo" mortgage rates).
Apparently Denver looks good. We have a 3% unsold vacancy rate, which is great news because last year our rate was 23%. A 20% vacancy drop is a very, very good thing. We've also seen a 2% jump in new jobs, and -- best of all -- a 49% cut in construction starts. This makes me happy. Less new homes springing up means less inventory on the market, and more buyers gravitating toward purchasing existing homes.
And, if you'd like anecdotal evidence to back up the good news, I listed a 1970's Littleton townhouse a few weeks ago, and it went under contract within a week.
If you really want to feel better about our market, compare it to some of the riskiest markets. Phoenix, for example. When I lived there in the late '90's, housing prices were skyrocketing. Now they've tanked. There are over 53,000 homes currently on the market there. Fifty three thousand. That's over a five-fold increase over the past three years. Can you imagine competing with 52,999 other homes to sell yours? And the Catch-22 is that the local economy is built heavily on construction jobs. If construction starts decline (which they really need to do, with 53,000 existing homes in current inventory), then construction jobs are lost and buyers fall out of the market. It's tough to win in a scenario like that.
Yep, we've got it pretty good here in Colorful Colorado!