It was a busy week for real estate.  For starters, there were dozens of reports on the impending expiration of the tax credit.  Countless news outlets used the expiration as an opportunity to focus on what to expect next from the housing market.  Of course for us, we used this as a prime opportunity to plug our new Buyer Bonus program, a unique strategy that provides sellers with the opportunity to credit buyers 3% of the sale price up to $8,000.  The fact is, the tax credit has had a very positive effect on the market, but many buyers will be either too late or ineligible to take advantage of the federal tax credit.

As a result, many sellers have told our Agents that they’d like to find a way to extend the benefits of the tax credit to keep the market vibrant and help their sale.

The Buyer Bonus event encourages buyers to stay in the market, while appealing to those who did not qualify for the federal tax credit.

It will also enable sellers to differentiate their homes from others on the market with national marketing support.  We are confident this program will benefit our sellers tremendously and we’re truly excited about its launch.

Now on to a look at the national market.  It is increasingly apparent from recent Case-Shiller reports that home prices are stabilizing in many markets, which signals a much healthier outlook for housing. Both the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and Fannie Mae remain directionally positive in their full-year forecasts for 2010 and 2011. On a combined sides and price basis, Fannie Mae expects 2010 to be up 5% from the prior year, and the NAR forecast calls for a 10% improvement over 2009. By the same combined measure, Fannie Mae expects 2011 to bring a 9% volume increase and NAR estimates an 8% year-over-year volume increase from 2010.

While these third-party forecasts point to a recovery in housing, we think the best yardstick of where we are in the process will become more apparent later in the year as we gain some perspective on how the existing home sale market is behaving absent the impact of the homebuyer tax credits. Generally speaking, we believe that the material declines in the average sales price are over and modest increases should now be the expectation, and our market outlook is more optimistic than it has been in the past four years.

Now, let’s take a look at this week in Colorado real estate.  First let us share that this week we released our Denver Luxury Home report which revealed a sales dip in March but a slight price increase.  For the complete report, visit our Table Talk blog.

  • Boulder/Longmont—Longmont reported showings continue to be high in number.  Our market seems to be embracing the move-up buyer as evidenced by the price of homes being shown. One quarter of the homes being shown are in a price range above $300,000.  The final push for the tax credits is causing a rush of activity.  Now getting these deals closed will be the challenge.  The spring weather is making our landscaping pop!  This is a great time to be on the Front Range of Colorado.  It’s getting greener by the minute.
  • Colorado Springs—We had a huge surge of homebuyers trying to take advantage of the government tax credit offer.  The push to get under contract before the April 30th deadline kept our Realtors running on fumes.  Once the deadline arrives, we may see a little slow down in the urgency, but the fact that people are still looking to purchase will remain.
  • Evergreen/Conifer— No information reported.
  • Denver Central – March and April sales have been great!  Inventory has been low but we are seeing an increased number of Sellers putting their homes on the market.  We continue to see home appreciation in the Denver metro area.  It’s important to be working with a professional that can educate & give you the proper advice to make the right real estate decisions.  It will be interesting to see how the market is after the April 30th under contract deadline for the tax credit.  The inventory shortages in the lower end market has created multiple offer situations for most homes in that market.  It might take a couple of offers before Buyers find the right property.  Over 50% of the home sales in the Denver metro area continue to be priced in the under $250,000 range.  If you are looking to sell a home that is priced under $300,000, this is a great time.  We’re seeing improvement in the higher-end market.  This is definitely a great market to move up to a higher priced home.
  • Denver West— Today is a very busy day with agents writing offers anticipating that the buyers will be under contract by this Friday, April 30th.  Five days left!!  The other good news is that many , many listings are going under contract due to this tax credit deadline. We’ve seen an increase in condo sales.  Appraisals are still somewhat of a problem in that they are coming in below contract price.  Activity is brisk.
  • Devonshire— With an increase in showing activity, listings and contracts written and accepted, we have a trifecta in the Devonshire office.  It is buzzing in the real estate world as we near the end of the time frame in which the buyer incentives are valid.  We feel strongly that the energy generated this spring will carry us into a good summer selling season.  Our business is up dramatically from 2009.  Open houses are very busy and our sellers are very pleased with the number of people at their open houses and with the activity generated by the real estate community.  Sellers who are on the fence should hurry to get their homes onto the market while inventory is low.  We have buyers just waiting for the right home to hit the market.  We look forward to great energy & optimism going forward.
  • Larimer County—Our Fort Collins/Loveland offices report showings, under contract homes and listings taken are all steady.  We’re seeing the tax credit push come to a close and buyers are scrambling to get into a home before the April 30th deadline.  Now we will see how the market responds without this extra incentive to buy a home.  We may see a bit of a lull just after the deadline, but new buyers both move and first time, will be coming out after the school year comes to an end in late May, early June.  Don’t hesitate to put your home on the market.  The Springs is still a wonderful time to list a home!
  • North Metro— The North Metro Agents have put 74 homes on the market so far in April.  They are priced from $99,000 to as high as $1,350,000.  We’ve seen a slight decrease in April for showings as compared to March, however we still had 2420 buyers through our listings.  Open House activity is beginning to pick up & many of our agents are starting to plan for their spring garage sales.  We’re hoping to continue to see this tremendous activity even with the expiration of the Tax Credit at the end of this month.  We’re looking forward to having our Sellers & Buyers participate in the Buyer Bonus Sales Event.
  • Parker— Weekly sales in the Parker office remain steady and should continue to do so into May with the Coldwell Banker “Buyer Credit Promotion.”  Our listing inventory is down so anyone who is thinking about selling will find this to be an excellent time to put their home on the market.
  • Southeast Metro— UNBELIEVEABLE!!  That’s the only way to describe the energy in our market!  We’ve averaged over 775 property showings a week this month and open house traffic continues to be strong.  With over 170 properties under contract and over 150 scheduled to close, we’re predicting a record setting month at the SE Metro office.  First time buyers are pushing hard this last week to contract on a home.  Mid to higher priced homes are also enjoying increased traffic and ready buyers.  There continues to be competing offers in every price point below $300,000.  It has never been a better time to buy or sell as the marketing has great momentum moving into the seasonally busy time of the year.
  • Southwest Metro – There is lots of activity in the office as well as in our market.  We are seeing buyers rushing to take advantage of the April 30th deadline & many of our sellers are ready to list their homes as school is ready to get out & people are ready to move.  Open houses have been a good source of business as well as our floor.  The feeling is that buyers & sellers are feeling good about the market & are ready to take advantage of the interest rates & ready to move forward.  We’re seeing good activity in our $350,000 to $500,000 range.