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If Housing Is Any Indication, Greeley Is Shrugging Off Oil’s Price Dip

City of Greeley
The City of Greeley

With crude at about $40 a barrel and no oil price recovery in sight, one might expect that Greeley, the town at the center of Colorado’s oil boom, would be seeing a bit of an economic slowdown.

So far, that does not seem to be the case. At least where the housing market is concerned.

July numbers for Greeley’s housing market show the town’s median sales price has continued to climb. It’s now at $225,000. At the same time in 2014, the median price for a single family home in Greeley was $213,000. Demand for houses also remains high, with just about a month’s worth of available housing inventory.

According to Chris Hardy, a broker/owner with Elevations Real Estate in Fort Collins and a board of director member for the Fort Collins Board of Realtors, one reason for the strong housing economy in Greeley could be outward pressure from other Northern Colorado cities. The median home price in Fort Collins is now $335,000, a 15.5 percent jump from 2014. The potential for $110,000 in savings might push some prospective owners who work in Fort Collins to Greeley, Hardy said.

“So there are going to be aspects of, okay, I'll trade a 25 minute drive for that difference in my mortgage payment, and I might live in Greeley, or West Greeley, or something like that to counter that cost,” said Hardy.

A year into a dramatic drop in oil prices, the city’s overall economy seems to be staying the course. The July 2015 unemployment rate is at 4.4 percent, the same as the state’s, and just a bit higher than booming Denver’s, which was 3.8 percent.

As low oil prices continue, towns and counties will eventually see decreasesin the revenue they get from severance taxes, the money oil companies pay for extracting minerals from the ground. That will have an effect on budgets, but, as Greeley’s assistant city manager Victoria Runkle said in April, the town has a diversified economy and is prepared for that decline in severance tax revenues. 

Stephanie Paige Ogburn has been reporting from Colorado for more than five years, primarily from the Western Slope.
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