Author Topic: Front Range Colorado - whoa!  (Read 3366 times)

2wiresdave

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Front Range Colorado - whoa!
« on: July 19, 2016, 06:58:28 PM »
Thinking that Fort Collins would be a great retirement local for my wife and I we diligently saved and planned to purchase a home there between 2015-2017 to then rent out...problem is the prices have really skyrocketed and left us feeling as though there is either a bubble building or the market really is that strong there - in which case we have been priced out due to a comfort level.

Anyone have any insights as to the market out there and where it may heading? A 200k home 3-4 years ago is now a 325k home - wow!

Catsmeow

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Re: Front Range Colorado - whoa!
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2016, 08:26:51 AM »
Have you given any thought to the Cheyenne or Laramie Wyoming areas? Smaller cities compared to Colorado standards, but closer to the mountains. Housing is not crazy expensive when compared to the Denver metro and Fort Collins areas, and there is no state income tax!

aasdfadsf

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Re: Front Range Colorado - whoa!
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2016, 10:27:03 AM »
Fort Collins routinely makes the list of best places to live in the US. You can't expect to have that and low real estate prices. And if you think Fort Collins is bad, check out the trendy neighborhoods of Denver or anywhere in Boulder.

I agree that if it's mountain scenery and western ambiance you're looking for, smaller and less developed areas in CO or in neighboring states will give you that at low cost. If want that plus the benefits of a big city or major college campus, you're going to have to compromise somewhere. You might find a town on the outskirts that can get you to Denver or Fort Collins within an hour's drive.

Trudie

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Re: Front Range Colorado - whoa!
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2016, 10:32:32 AM »
Does not surprise me.  Search out Threshkin on this site.  He's a swell fellow who lives there and his wife is a realtor.  He will have relevant ideas/suggestions and may even put you in touch with his spouse if you ask nicely:-)

Catsmeow

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Re: Front Range Colorado - whoa!
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2016, 08:40:48 PM »
Also want to point out that Laramie is a university town ( University of Wyoming) and is only 60 miles from foco.  Laramie is extremely bike friendly. Cheyenne is even closer at 45 miles to Fort Collins and is Wyoming's largest city at only 55 thousand people.

Dicey

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Re: Front Range Colorado - whoa!
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2016, 04:42:57 PM »
Um, they legalized pot a while back? My advice is to either wait until a few more states follow suit, so supply increases and demand for property decreases, or look elsewhere if you must move now.
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ice_beard

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Re: Front Range Colorado - whoa!
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2016, 08:12:37 PM »
I recommend spending a week in Cheyenne, in February, before committing.  Cheyenne sits at a higher elevation and is notoriously windy.  The climate is not the same as the Front Range.   

2wiresdave

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Re: Front Range Colorado - whoa!
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2016, 02:06:22 PM »
Cheyenne and Laramie do not hold the same appeal to us for various reasons. I know the front range is growing quickly...and there does seem to be a robust jobs market, but the average wages really haven't kept up in any way to the housing costs, or rent costs. Is this all really about pot? I mean, are people actually moving there and uprooting their lives just based on that? I am serious...and won't doubt any answers, and actually if that's the case we may have others reasons to look elsewhere, not that I have a major issue with legalization.

Maybe the shipped has sailed for us...or other places will legalize,or Colorado will go backwards and make illegal again due to  Fed ruling somehow, or the housing market is simply a bit bubbly and things will chill out. If however it's going to be the next Boulder replete with pan handlers on every corner then forget about it.

aasdfadsf

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Re: Front Range Colorado - whoa!
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2016, 11:39:50 PM »
I think the notion that pot is responsible for the rapid growth along the Front Range is silly. Maybe some of it. I recall a story on the local NPR station recently about young people who move to CO thinking they'll work in the pot industry, only to find that there are no jobs left and they wind up destitute. The growth is better explained by the large number of job opportunities available in other industries and the outdoorsy lifestyle that people desire. And growth begets more growth.

Until housing supply catches up with demand, rents and housing prices are going to remain high and possibly go a lot higher. But there are still inexpensive places to live if you know where to look and are willing to compromise.

Dicey

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Re: Front Range Colorado - whoa!
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2016, 12:55:24 AM »
I think the notion that pot is responsible for the rapid growth along the Front Range is silly. Maybe some of it. I recall a story on the local NPR station recently about young people who move to CO thinking they'll work in the pot industry, only to find that there are no jobs left and they wind up destitute. The growth is better explained by the large number of job opportunities available in other industries and the outdoorsy lifestyle that people desire. And growth begets more growth.

Until housing supply catches up with demand, rents and housing prices are going to remain high and possibly go a lot higher. But there are still inexpensive places to live if you know where to look and are willing to compromise.
Uhm, no, not referring to people looking for jobs in the industry, I'm referring to people who want to be able to legally buy/smoke pot. Outside of Colorado, this is a BIG Deal. Even if the numbers are small, these folks, added to the others you cite, are putting upward pressure on prices.
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Littlekind

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Re: Front Range Colorado - whoa!
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2016, 08:28:38 AM »
Hi, I live in Denver and it is ridiculous in Colorado right now. The growth is definitely related to legal pot. I really think people came out as tourists to get high and then decided to never leave. In fact, there are bumper stickers popping up that say, "no vacancy!" or "you got high, now go home." When I travel to other states, people ask if pot is REALLY legal in CO, so it is definitely creating a spectacle that people are flocking out here for. Then they realize that Colorado is perfect in every way and the housing prices are reflecting that.

Also, a lot of the older desirable neighborhoods have no room for building so lots of people are saying this is not a bubble, this is the new normal. On the other hand, new builds are popping up in the waaaay outer areas at an ever increasing rate, and you and I know the car clowns will move out to those to get more house for their money and there will not be such a supply issue in housing anymore. My husband and I were just dipping our toe in to buying a house - we rent a portion of my mom's house - and then the market blew up like this and we are now priced out of our city. We are hoping that it will slow down in a few years, but who knows. It definitely seems like "luxury apartments" are way overbuilt. There are so many buildings asking 2.5k a month for a 3 bedroom apartment with most of the units sitting empty. I think that is a bubble waiting to burst, but I am not as confident with real estate.

However, there are still good values in smaller Colorado towns. We are eyeing Paonia on the western slope, or Pagosa Springs down south. They are both more isolated and suited to outdoorsy types - and therefore way less inflated than in the cities. I did meet a woman on a camping trip from Paonia and she said lots of city folk are flocking in by selling their Denver homes and buying on the western slope at a discount, which is now inflating their prices, but not nearly to the same extent.

Anyway, Colorado is super and you will love it here. I hope it works out for you.

aasdfadsf

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Re: Front Range Colorado - whoa!
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2016, 11:18:15 AM »
Uhm, no, not referring to people looking for jobs in the industry, I'm referring to people who want to be able to legally buy/smoke pot.

So was I. But being able to smoke pot isn't going to make people move if they can't get a job (though some people are apparently dumb enough) so the economic opportunity has to come first. Denver was growing rapidly before legalized pot, and pot is now legal in at least 3 other states and several cities (and de facto legal in CA and many other places), so it's at best a partial factor. Although if anyone is forthcoming with actual evidence that it's the deciding factor for a significant fraction of migrants, I'll gladly change my mind.

Robot Narwhal

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Re: Front Range Colorado - whoa!
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2016, 05:18:17 PM »
I'm going to say it because nobody has mentioned it yet... if you love Colorado and windy Wyoming isn't your thing, Colorado Springs hasn't quite seen the same market as Denver and the Fort. 

Home prices are going up here, but not quite at the astronomical pace seen up north.  And honestly, because of the constant military turnover here, that growth may stay slower.  I moved down here from Fort Collins about 3 years ago (partly to escape the fast rising costs).  Smaller homes can still be attained here in decent areas for less than 200k, especially if you are handy or willing to do modest updates, and even better deals if you are capable of handling a full scale remodel. 

If you aren't looking to buy right away, rents here are still quite reasonable as well.  And if you like the outdoors, some of the best hiking trails in the state are within a moderate bike from town.  IMHO.

COEE

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Re: Front Range Colorado - whoa!
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2016, 10:26:45 PM »
I feel your pain.  I recently moved across town and bought a house in Longmont.  It was a much more expensive move than we planned.  Last summer when we started the process of moving, houses in my new neighborhood were around 250k to 300k.  Prices this summer have been between $280k and $360k.  I bought my house for $320k.  Redfin says it's worth $380k+ two months later... Zillow is not as generous - and I haven't seen my floorplan go for more than $325 yet, but there is one being offered for $340k around the corner.

I really don't think that pot is the primary driver of the increase.  Sure it may attract some people, but most of those people still need jobs.  Medical pot is legal in like 25 states - something like that?  The reason I chose Longmont - over many places on the front range - Lots of work in my industry within about 15 miles in about 3 directions.  Even if I do lose my job - about a mile and a half from my house - I will hopefully find a job within a 30 minute drive.

Jobs around here right now are great.  Lots of growth in many industries.  The Boulder, FoCo, Denver area has a lot of renewable energy jobs right now.  I feel like it's probably a lot like CA during the Silicon boom.  I personally don't think it will stop.

Robot Narwhal is right about the springs being cheaper, and I agree it probably has something to do with the high military percentage there.  I've always thought that the area was a bit strange feeling - hard to explain... but probably also having to do with the military lifestyle.  I'd really suggest visiting there for a few months if you think you'd like to live there.

Anyway, good luck.

TheMoneyWizard

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Re: Front Range Colorado - whoa!
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2016, 09:06:27 AM »
I lived in Denver for 2 years. I can confirm the housing is insane. I lived in a suburban apartment; my rent went from $800ish to $1,200 per month in just two years.

I don't think the boom is just because of pot. I think it contributes, but I think what we're seeing is bigger shift in living preferences. The whole world is getting "greener" and more environmentally aware. Denver appeals to that because you get the best of both worlds - a big city with an outdoors-y lifestyle.

I also think it's a bit of a generational thing. Denver is often named one of the best cities for millennials, which I attribute to the California atmosphere with (relatively) more affordable cost of living and good job opportunities. The younger people are certainly flocking in droves.

Whether they came for the skiing or the pot, it's easy to fall in love once you're here. As Littlekind said, Denver really is perfect in just about every way... weather, recreation, big city life, etc. For a while I think Denver benefited as a well kept secret, but it was never going to stay under the radar forever.
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clarkfan1979

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Re: Front Range Colorado - whoa!
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2016, 10:30:39 AM »
Fort Collins might have a bubble with McMansions. Fort Collins doesn't seem to have the high paying jobs to support these large houses. Fort Collins does not have the same jobs as Boulder.

However, houses at the median are protected by the University. This Fall the enrollment is supposed to be 33,000 students. There are also many workers at the University.  The farther away from CSU, the cheaper the house. Many people are retiring in Fort Collins and paying cash for houses.

Boulder is crazy expensive and not a bubble because they have the jobs to support it. It's a mini Silicon Valley.

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waltworks

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Re: Front Range Colorado - whoa!
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2016, 11:01:30 AM »
It's probably not a bubble. Rents are through the roof in CO as well. Sorry, OP.

We thought we did great when we sold the Boulder condo we bought for $170k in grad school for $270k. Then it sold 2 years later (last year) for $400k!

Anyway, I wouldn't move back to CO again even if it was cheap. Too crowded now. I70 is a joke, I'd have to quit skiing. Trails are packed, roads are jammed, everything costs a fortune. F that.

There are a ton of cool mountain towns in UT, MT, ID, WY and NM that have great things going for them and are cheap. Go for some road trips!

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The Happy Philosopher

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Re: Front Range Colorado - whoa!
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2016, 11:15:40 AM »
I don't think it's just Colorado, real estate prices have been on fire in any decent sized desirable city throughout the west coast and central west.
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hucktard

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Re: Front Range Colorado - whoa!
« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2016, 02:12:22 PM »
I think Pot might have something to do with it. Also the nice weather and lots of good jobs, and big mountains with skiing. The housing market was pretty underpriced for a few years there IMO, and there is also a long term trend of people moving West to nice places. I don't really see it as a bubble. I will really start getting worried if the double digit appreciation keeps up for another couple of years. It needs to level out at some point.

Caoineag

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Re: Front Range Colorado - whoa!
« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2016, 08:31:36 PM »
101k population increase in one year, 80% of that to the Front Range area, and 3.6% unemployment rate as of December 2015 according to the Denver Post. Not a bubble, its population pressure. No one can build fast enough to compensate for that kind of increase. Don't expect prices to go down anytime soon...