Brad Inhulsen has been a real estate broker in Greeley for about 5 years. He says 2018 will be “the year” for homeowners to sell.
“We’re so skewed to the left, to the sellers’ market, that it’s not even funny right now,” he said
More than 77,000 new residents arrived in Colorado this year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. With the state’s unemployment rate sitting at 2.7 percent, many of the homes Inhulsen has listed along the Front Range are selling in less than one month, Inhulsen said.
In comparison, the normal time it takes for a $300,000 home to sell is about 6 months, Inhulsen said.
In the Greeley area, the average home goes for about $280,000, according to Inhulsen — far less than Denver’s, which is well above $400,000.
The state’s net in-migration, which is the number of people arriving minus the number leaving, also drives up the demand for housing. It’s expected to top 61,000 in 2018.
A large concentration of those moving in are coming to Northern Colorado, according to Elizabeth Garner with the State Demographer Office.
“Weld County is a large county, they’ve got a lot of land area,” Garner said. “Housing is a little more affordable than, say, down in the Denver Metro area. So, people are looking at these different components and moving to places where they can make things work.”
Unless developers can catch up, Inhulsen says home costs will continue to go up everywhere.
“If we could get some more land developers to come into the Greeley area and they develop those lots, they’d be able to sell those lots pretty darn quick,” he said.
If the net in-migration continues as predicted, the construction industry will need to build at least half that many homes every year to support the influx, according to Rich Wobbekind, an economist at the University of Colorado, Boulder. But right now, there aren’t enough skilled workers to keep up with that demand, he said.
“And all of that is certainly slowing the output from that sector,” Wobbekind said. “All of that said, we’re projecting higher housing starts in terms of numbers of new houses — both single and multi-family — and that should help with the housing price increases that we’ve been seeing. It should temper them a little bit more.”
This year a Colorado court reformed state rules around condo and multi-family housing projects, which Wobbekind said could make it easier for builders to meet that demand.
In June, the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of the construction industry in the case Vallagio at Inverness Residential Condo Association vs. Metropolitan Homes Inc., which developers said gives them more authority in handling allegations of property defects.
“Hopefully that’s going to help ease this incredibly low inventory situation that we have,” he said.
This year also saw a rise in Northern Colorado’s national reputation for high-priced housing. A report released in March from a Southern California-based company ATTOM Data Solutions ranked seven Colorado counties — including Adams, Larimer and Boulder — as some of the least affordable in the country, when compared to an area’s historical home prices.