By Larry Hotz, Senior Editor
You hear it from bankers. You hear it from real estate brokers. I hear it from people trying to buy or sell a home. And, everyone hears it at cocktail parties.
It’s common knowledge throughout Denver and the suburbs that Denver’s better than the rest of the country. At least, our home prices have depreciated the least and home sales have held up the best.
These facts were just confirmed at the Colorado Real Estate and Economic Forum hosted by the Kentwood Companies. Over 1000 folks showed up to hear a variety of speakers including Erik Davidson Senior Director of Investments for Wells Fargo Private Bank not only repeat the mantra but prove it!
The most recent Case-Shiller Report continues to show that home prices in Denver have declined the least of the 20 major markets they track. Denver has always been a resilient market during the last 20 years. It was then that employment became more diversified and depended less on the energy sector.
Wells Fargo forecasts that home prices will continue to decline in the Denver metro area but only at about a 3% rate next year. That’s actually great news. You see home prices are declining much faster in depressed and areas that have been blighted by massive foreclosures. These are generally areas north and east of the city. But the better areas of Denver and the south suburbs have maintain prices much better. So, a 3% decline in overall home prices means that the better areas of town should see stable prices and may even see pockets of price appreciation.
The fact that underlies the strong Denver economy is that unemployment has been running much less than that of the national economy. Wells Fargo forecasts that that trend will continue into 2009.
I guess it’s fair to say that Realtors have to be optimistic about the future. But bankers don’t. So, it is interesting to hear their Wells Fargo is forecasting a much rosier future for Denver than it is for much of the rest of the country. There is no doubt that the housing trends are changing both in Denver and nationally. But it’s reassuring to hear that these changes may continue to rock the boat but are unlikely to sink it!
I guess all of us who live in Denver are “Denver chauvinists”. We love living here and we know that Denver has some inherent advantages over the rest of a country. Every once in a while, it’s reassuring to hear that we have a right to our justifiable pride in Denver, its economy and its future.