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'Never seen anything like it' - seller's market hits Westside too

The house at 3004 W. St. Vrain St.
Westside Pioneer photo
In 2006, Westside-residing real-estate agent Patty Strauch wrote a guest column for the Westside Pioneer, noting how home values had “dramatically escalated in our little part of the world.”
       Ten years later, she'll be the first to say that story needs some updating.
       Strauch's news then was that the Westside - once considered old and undesirable - had become, since the late 1990s, “one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in the entire Pikes Peak region.” That perception, under the rules of supply and demand, was pushing prices up, she wrote in 2006.
       That's still true, the veteran agent said in a recent interview, but now it's become such a seller's market “it's just unreal. I've never seen anything like it.”
       Home-sale information from the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors (available at
The house at 2030 W. Pikes Peak Ave.
Westside Pioneer photo
ppar.com) supports her experience. Examples of major sale increases in short periods of time appear at the end of this article.
       One eye-opener is 3004 W. St. Vrain (built in 1953, with three bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms). It sold in February 2015 for $170,000, then sold again in May 2016 for $245,000.
       At 2030 W. Pikes Peak Ave., the County Assessor's website illustrates a steady uptick in five sales between 1989, when it went for $47,900, and the most recent in April 2016 ($323,500).
       Traditionally, a seller's list price is based on a market analysis, which a Realtor can determine by comparing recent sales of similar properties in an area, Strauch said.
       But now the demand has become so great that sellers are often getting more than the carefully calculated asking price - even for fixer-uppers - and transactions are occurring in a matter of days, not weeks or months.
       This has created new pressure on appraisers to find added value in houses,
Westside real-estate agent Patty Strauch.
Courtesy photo
because if they can't find justification for an over-market bid a prospective buyer might not get approved for a loan, she explained.
       Even an amenity seemingly so trivial as screws instead of nails holding a house's deck together could pump up an appraisal. “They're [buyers] looking for anything they can get credit for.” Strauch said.
       A recent transaction, for a house at 2419 W. Uintah, left her astonished when buyer interest drove the appraisal/sale price to $204,000… from an asking price of $193,500.
       The competition that causes this phenomeon has led to a new urgency for buyers. “My experience before was that buyers felt like they wanted a bargain,” Strauch said. “Now they just want to feel like they're going to get it [the house].”
       Realtors are affected too. If a couple misses out on one time because they didn't move quickly enough or someone else made a higher offer, the next time they're going to want their agent to act at a moment's notice - “even if you're in the shower,” Strauch laughed.
       Much of the new demand is coming from outside the Pikes Peak region. The market to the north, in Denver and Fort Collins, “has exploded,” Strauch said. “So now, agents from there are bringing their buyers to Colorado Springs and Pueblo, where the homes are more affordable.”
The house at 2117 W. Kiowa St.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Even the prospect of a long commute to jobs an hour or more away doesn't dissuade them, she pointed out. Some people from other states are used to that already; also, it helps that, according to Strauch's estimates, $300,000 buys the same house that $500,000 would buy in Denver or Fort Collins.
       One offshoot of the unprecedented market situation is that “flippers” - sometimes notorious for buying cheap houses, doing minimal work and selling for a profit - have been essentially priced out. Prices are so high, “the money isn't in it for them,” Strauch said. “I know someone who's taking his crew to the Phoenix area.”
       No one can say how long the extreme seller's market will last. Lurking in the back of everyone's minds is the 2007-09 time frame, when home values plummeted as
The house at 919 Westmoor Place.
Westside Pioneer photo
part of the Great Recession, leaving thousands of people underwater with mortgages.
       However, “I'm told by experts the market won't fall like last time,” Strauch commented.
       Below are some properties in the 80904 zipcode that were recently sold (making them part of the public record). Listed with each are its recent sale price, what it sold for previously and when, the year the house was built, the number of bedrooms/bathrooms and the size of the property and the house.
       - 3004 W. St. Vrain St. (1,055 square feet, built in 1953 on 7,920-square-foot lot); has 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths). Sold February 2015 for $170,000; sold May 2016 for $245,000.
       - 1368 E. Friendship Lane (2365 square feet, built in 1978 on 12,000-square-foot lot; has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths). Sold August 2011 for $285,000; sold April 2016 for $335,000.
       - 2117 W. Kiowa St. (1065 square feet, built in 1949 on 7,200-square-foot lot; has 2 bedrooms, 1 bath). Sold August 2007 for $114,975; sold April 2016 for $174,900.
       - 919 Westmoor Drive (1,173 square feet, built in 1956 on 6,710-square-foot lot; has 4 bedrooms, 1.75 baths). Sold December 2009 for $235,000; sold April 2016 for $300,000.
       - 3487 Hill Circle (2619 square feet, built in 1994 on 19,086-square-foot lot; has 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths). Sold February 2014 for $660,000; sold May 2016 for $710,000.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 7/23/16; Land: Real Estate - General)

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