Denver Trends for April 2020

April is the first full month of data with the COIVD-19 pandemic. In addition to the monthly market stats, I want to share some great data points from the Colorado Real Estate Journal’s “Impacts from previous macroeconomic downturns.” It’s a great article on multifamily in Denver.

April is the first full month of data with the COIVD-19 pandemic. In addition to the monthly market stats, I want to share some great data points from the Colorado Real Estate Journal’s “Impacts from previous macroeconomic downturns.” It’s a great article on multifamily in Denver. Below are a few sections that I highlighted:

The National Multifamily Housing Council reported that 84% of apartment households made a full or partial rent payment by April 12 nationally, compared to 91% that paid rent by March 12, and 90% that paid rent by April 12 in 2019. These numbers indicate that national delinquency was up 7% in April compared to the prior month.

Locally, the Colorado Apartment Association reported that 91% of renters were able to make payments in April based on a poll that included 75% of the apartment units in the Denver metro area. The numbers indicated that the April rent delinquency rate locally was only 1.8% higher than the January and February rates. The CAA further stated that only 3% of residents had asked for payment plans. Even with increased delinquency, the ratio of Colorado multifamily households that paid rent is much higher than the national average in April. It also is notable that Colorado’s current collection ratio during the pandemic is similar to the national average prior to the impact of the coronavirus.

The relationship between occupancy and rent growth will be of paramount importance over the coming months. The historical relationship between the two indicates that rent growth is rapid when occupancy is above 94% in the Denver metro area. Further, rent growth flattens when occupancy drops to 93% and rents begin to fall with occupancy at/or below the 92% to 93% range.

Colorado Real Estate Journal

Denver MLS Market Stats

The Denver MLS trends data for April 2020 is out. Comparing year over year (April 2019 to April 2020) is better than comparing the previous month, because we have defined seasonality trends.

ACTIVE LISTINGS

  • Pretty close to same as end of April 2019, -2%
    • Homes -6%
    • Condos +8%
  • However, with fewer buyers in market, the MOI (months of inventory) went up
    • Still a seller’s market, more favorable to buyers at entry and mid prices (around 1.8 MOI for < $300K, which is up from around 1.0 MOI)
    • Moved from slight seller’s market to slight buyer’s market in luxury
    • YCRE defines luxury as $900K+, that’s the most expensive 10% of the market.
    • This MLS report’s top bracket is $1MM+, the MOI for that segment is 7.1… buyers market.

NUMBER OF UNITS CLOSED

  • Down 31% in April ’20 vs April ‘19
    • Homes -28%
    • Condos -37%
  • This makes sense; the slow down has been most pronounced under $300K (mostly FTB first time buyers) and top 10% luxury.  Condos are skewed to more affordable product.
  • Mid-market ($300-900K) has been strongest
  • Dr. Yun, the economist at NAR, expects unit count for US to be down -13.5% in 2020 vs. 2019.
    • I suspect Denver will also be down, but not quite a much as the US average.

UNDER CONTRACT

  • Down -46%
  • Expect May closed volume to be off -40% to -55%
  • Unit counts will start to recover in June, assuming all of the Denver metro counties allow showings by mid-May.
  • Around six weeks ago, I expected 50-60% declines in May, so this is better than I had expected.

AVEREAGE PRICE

  • Up 2%
    • Homes -0.3%
    • Condos +4%
  • I sent an email a few weeks ago predicting a decline in house prices due to “mix variance.”
    • That is, we’re selling fewer luxury homes than we used to, so the average goes down….
    • … Even though the “typical” entry level home price still went up.
    • That (barely) happened this month.  Expect to see it for a few more months.
    • The media will lose their mind over this, which may unnecessarily alarm clients.
    • You’ll need to be the voice of reason to explain what the media is incapable of explaining.

MEDIAN PRICE

  • Up 5%
    • Homes +3%
    • Condos +7%
  • If you arrange every sale in order from cheapest to most expensive and take the value of the one exactly in the middle, you have the median price.
  • In times where you have mix variances, the median price is a much more accurate representation of what is really going on than the average price.
  • Condos prices were up more than homes due to a reverse mix variance.
    • First-time buyers have really retreated from the market
    • The % of condos that sell in the most affordable price brackets has dried up
    • Plenty of mid-market ($300-900K) condos are still selling
    • Some of the slow down in luxury is there are fewer jumbo loan products for the time being.
    • There are not that many condos in “luxury” over $900K, so the softness in lux impacts homes more than condos

DAYS ON MARKET

  • Down 31% (several days)
    • Average 19 days for homes
    • Average 23 days for condos

DISCOUNTS

  • Average home sold for 99.96% of list price.
  • If you have a buyer writing on a home with <30 DOM, don’t expect a discount.
  • If > 60 DOM and if in a slow segment (< $300K or > $ 900K), push hard for a discount.

DISTRESSED PROPERTY SALES

  • In April there were only three bank-owned properties sold in the Denver metro. In 2010 there were 612.
  • YTD there are 26 short sales. During the same time in 2010, there were 1,191 short sales.

Source: The above executive summary is from Lon Welsh of Your Castle Real Estate.

Denver Housing Trends April 2020

The first two graphs are from the Denver Metro Association of Realtors.

Denver Housing Trends April 2020
Denver Housing Trends April 2020 Data Snap Shot
Current Market - Denver Housing Trends April 2020

Video: Denver Trends for April 2020

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Authors
Chris Lopez
Chris Lopez is a Denver area real estate entrepreneur and investor, as well as the host of Bigger Pockets’ House Hackerz and the Denver Real Estate Investing Podcast.
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