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Plenty of Positives in Northern Colorado Economic Forecast

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Casey Serin
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Creative Commons/Flickr

The Northern Colorado Business Report recently surveyed business experts in the area to determine what may lie ahead for various industries in 2013.

Many of the findings will be presented at their annual economic forecast Thursday. A team of reporters consulted with experts in eight main industries: Real estate, health care, banking, tourism, technology, agribusiness, renewable energy, and oil and gas.

For the most part the outlook for the coming year is positive, says NCBR publisher Jeff Nuttall -- depending on the field.

"Some of the sectors depend on factors that have yet to be determined. For example, folks in the tourism industry are depending on the weather for a successful 2013 season," he notes.

Nuttall says both commercial and residential real estate are likely to be strong, as well as oil and gas. The 2013 Northern Colorado Economic Forecast takes place Thursday at 11:00 a.m.

Interview highlights:

On the positive outlook for real estate this year:

"Brokers are expecting good things to happen in 2013. On the residential front, both home sales and home prices are expected to rise in the coming year, by as much as 3 percent. Across the region last year, the overarching trend saw a drop in the number of homes on the market as a result of lower foreclosure rates and increased consumer confidence — all of which inspired home buying.

In commercial real estate, industrial space will become an even hotter commodity in 2013, with oil and gas continuing to grow, and the microbrewing and distilling industries will also drive demand."

The boom in energy production is expected to continue in 2013:

"The oil and natural-gas business is expected to see even more growth in Northern Colorado as key producers ramp up their investments in the Denver-Julesburg Basin. Anadarko Petroleum, for one, will invest more than $1 billion in Northern Colorado, as the company expects increased production next year. Meanwhile, Noble Energy plans to invest $1.7 billion with plans to drill 300 horizontal wells, including 150 in Northern Colorado.

On the flip side, the industry could face challenges from stricter regulations, such as proposals [being debated this week] for greater spacing between wells and buildings and new rules on groundwater testing."

On the healthcare industry ramping up for changes over the next two years:

"The federal Affordable Care Act means changes for every kind of healthcare provider, and many of the act’s more seismic provisions will begin taking effect in 2014. But primarily, providers will be changing their focus from ‘volume-based’ care to ‘value-based’ care, because of a change in the way hospitals are paid for their services. That means it will be in the hospital’s best interests to keep patients well, rather than allowing them to be repeatedly readmitted."

As host of KUNC's Colorado Edition, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. And because life is best when it's a balance of work and play, I love finding stories that highlight culture, music, the outdoors, and anything that makes Colorado such a great place to live.
Northern Colorado Business Report publisher Jeff Nuttall helped establish the business journal in 1995 and its expansion to a biweekly format in 1999. Jeff is involved with numerous community activities in Ft. Collins. He discusses regional business and economic issues impacting northern Colorado every other Thursday at 5:35 and 7:35 during KUNC’s Morning Edition.
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