Greeley and Weld County’s housing market hit quite the rebound in the last year, with a decade-low of foreclosure sales, the highest median sales prices ever, and building permits tripling — bringing the area back to what would be considered normal in some cases.
Weld County’s foreclosure sales hit more than a decade low last year after leading the state for years. Weld saw 525 foreclosure sales, 44 percent fewer in 2013 compared to 2012, when 938 homes were sold at auction. The last time foreclosures were so low was in 2001, when the county had 478 sales.
That comes on the heels of the Greeley/Evans area market last year hitting its highest median sales price for single family homes at $170,000. Also, Greeley building permits for single-family homes tripled from the same time last year to 155 — the first time permits hit triple digits since 2007, when there were 152.
“We’ll continue to see positive gains,” said Chalice Springfield, CEO and managing partner of Sears Real Estate in Greeley. “I tend to be pretty positive but, overall, there’s not many signs that would indicate, unless something tragic happened to our economy or our area in particular, I don’t anticipate the market is going to go anywhere but up.”
Weld County’s drop in foreclosure sales and filings rivaled the entire state. State foreclosure filings fell 48 percent in Weld vs. 46.3 percent throughout the state. Larimer County filings also fell 48.3 percent over the year.
Larimer foreclosure sales dropped 47.2 percent for the year to 295; Weld’s 525 represented a 44 percent drop, compared to the entire state’s drop of 41.4 percent.
In the last three months of 2013, filings and sales dropped 63 percent and 67 percent, respectively, from the same time in 2012.
Weld County led the state in foreclosures for much of the last decade, hitting a high of 1,919 foreclosures in 2007.
“We’re probably back to more normal levels, thank God,” Springfield said. “The distressed market has just turned around. We’re not seeing the number of short sales, and median sales price increased and not as many people are under water.”
The average sales price topped out at $170,000 for 2013 — that’s up about $50,000 from five years ago, Springfield said.
“That’s the highest we’ve ever had, ever,” Springfield said. Last year also saw a 43.3 percent increase in single-family home sales to 255, versus 178 in 2012, she said.
“That’s good news for the real estate market and home ownership,” Springfield said.
Now comes the return of construction.
Greeley building permits for single-family homes grew more than 180 percent to 155 for 2013, and were already up this January by 177 percent with 25 permits vs. nine in January 2013.
Jeff Demaske, owner of J&J and Journey Homes, had his best year ever last year, with 686 homes going up in northern Colorado and Colorado Springs.
This year, he’s forecast building and selling 150 homes for the Greeley/Evans market.
Demaske said he’s got 85-90 units to build in Owl Ridge in west Greeley and another 60 units in Riverview Farms on the east side of town. Both areas have more lots to build on through 2015, he added.
“We have about a two-year supply,” Demaske said. “I think it’s as good as it’s ever been. I can’t say that exactly about Greeley, it’s just a general statement about northern Colorado.”
Median sales prices increased in all three communities last year, Springfield reported.
The Greeley/Evans area grew the most at 12.6 percent; Loveland prices increased 8.7 percent; and Fort Collins’ prices grew 6.1 percent.
Of the 405 single-family homes on the active market in Greeley/Evans, 205 of them have a contract on them, Springfield reported.
“A lot is driving that,” Springfield said. “Jobs are driving that, interest rates still stable, demand is driving that, all that is helping with those incredible numbers. Inventory is just really hard. We probably have less than half of the inventory we had in a normal market.”
Demaske said his crews will be busy filling a need of the market through 2016.
“In northern Colorado in general, Larimer and Weld County, you can’t build stuff fast enough. … The multi-family was good, the single-family market was good. I don’t think anyone has seen any great things happen with commercial yet, but that’s next.”
“I tend to be pretty positive but, overall, there’s not many signs that would indicate, unless something tragic happened to our economy or our area in particular, I don’t anticipate the market is going to go anywhere but up.
— Chalice Springfield, CEO and managing partner of Sears Real Estate in Greeley