With home prices continuing on a strong uptrend in Greeley and most of Colorado, many people are wondering if we are reaching a peak? Are home prices about to bubble?
While there is no clear cut answer, here’s a good look at what impacts whether or not home prices will continue up in Greeley.
How Have Prices Been Trending?
Since pictures paint 1000 words, this chart does more justice than I can. Prices have been going up! But does that mean it’s a bad time to buy? Many would argue this recent price increase is just the area recovering from the drop several years back. Certainly the historical trend is that prices go up with small dips in between.
Let’s look at whether prices might continue to go up or not.
What Do Experts Predict for Home Prices?
Some analysts see home prices in the Northern Colorado area doubling within the next 10 years (source article). Certainly other areas in the United States have home prices this high, but perhaps it’s worth looking at the factors that may keep prices in check.
What Are the Factor in Home Prices
Ultimately, home prices are determined by supply and demand. Are there more buyers or sellers? But what causes these numbers to shift?
- Population growth – are more people moving into Greeley or out?
- Job growth and local economy, which contributes to population growth
- Interest rates and ease of getting a loan
- Affordability of loans
- New homes construction – can additional building meet demand?
Can New Homes Keep Up with Population Growth?
We see people moving into Colorado every month. If you drive the roads of Denver or even our backyard in Northern Colorado, you’re very aware of this! So with Colorado continuing to be a very attractive place to live, can new homes be built to keep up with demand?
We are reaching a point in Greeley Colorado where it makes sense to build homes for the average buyer. That is, price points are high enough that builders can make money building homes. However, that price point is continuing to increase. Builders are competing with oil companies for labor. Material prices are higher. Regulations are more restrictive. All of this contributes to a higher cost to build new homes, which means people may outpace new home growth for the foreseeable future.
Are Loans Affordable for Buyers?
Interest rates are staying at rock-bottom levels. And there are many grants now available for buyers, many of which don’t even need to be repaid. Learn more about some of these programs on our home buyer incentive page.
This makes it easier for buyers to afford homes even if prices are up. In fact, if you’re thinking about selling your home, you may be able to capture the appreciation your house has gained and get into a nicer house for little change in your monthly payment.
So in looking from this perspective, yes–even though house prices are up, loans are doing their part to keep affordability in check.
How Do Home Prices Compare to Income?
This question paints a very interesting story. Median income is not going up at the same rate as home prices. In fact, home prices are very sharply outpacing income.
While the previous two questions point to continued home price increases, this question shows me signs of a pending bubble.
While data is not available for every locale, have a look at this chart (data courtesy of Zillow).
The gray line is Denver. The green line is the US.
What you see is home prices in Denver sharply pulling upward relative to income, whereas it has stayed much more steady across the US. This means home prices in Denver are going up, but income is not.
In fact, home price to income is the highest it has ever been. The curve over the last few years is so sharp, I just cannot see how this is sustainable. After the last major upturn, we saw a decline in home prices relative to income for the next few years.
It’s certainly possible this is the new norm, but it also shows a good sign that home prices cannot continue to be this high.
Looking at these various factors, there are several indications that home prices will continue to rise. Namely: 1) New home construction should be able to meet demand soon, and 2) Loan packages are staying affordable thanks to grants and low interest rates.
The big question is can we sustain such a sharp increase in prices without a corresponding increase in income.
In the long run, I fully expect prices to continue up. We may have a dip in our near future, but I’d expect that to recover and then continue on up.
In most cases, I still believe both buyers and sellers can do well in this market, but I’m keen to keep an eye on the developments over the next year. We aren’t seeing any slowdown yet!
What are your thoughts?