Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Colorado Springs Snapshot: Home prices, foreclosures, and permits

The Colorado Springs area has shown a slightly less robust market in homeownership and home sales than the metro Denver area in recent years. Home prices, foreclosures, and releases of deeds of trust, while suggesting increases in demand for purchase housing, also show that the region is behind the metro Denver area in home price growth and other variables.

Colo Springs home prices inched up during the third quarter of 2012, rising year over year for the first time, year over year, since the third quarter of 2010.

The first graph shows the FHFA's home price  index for both Colorado Springs and the metro Denver area. According to the index, home prices in the Colorado Springs metro area have not established an upward trend, and have been largely flat since early 2011.

The second graph shows the year-over-year change in the index. While the home price index has increased year over year for the past three quarters in metro Denver, they have just moved up slightly in Colorado Springs during the third quarter. The index increased 0.9 percent, year over year, in the Colorado Springs area during the third quarter. The index increased year over year during the third quarter of 2010, but since 2007, almost all quarters have shown year over year declines in the home price index for Colorado Springs. We can also note that the year over year declines have been larger in the Colorado Springs area than in the Metro Denver area since 2007. The year-over-year increase in the index for the metro Denver area was 2.8 percent, for the 3rd quarter. 

The third graph shows foreclosure auction sales in El Paso County and in all metro counties combined. Auction sales are the step inthe foreclosure process when the home is sold off to investors or back to the bank. Since 2010, the combined total and the El Paso total have both generally fallen, but the El Paso County total has not fallen as much as the combined total, and shows that foreclosure activity is not falling off as quickly in El Paso county. For January-November of this year, foreclosure auction sales were down year over year by 19.9 percent in  the combined metro total, compared to the same period last year. Sales were down by 12.1 percent over the same period in El Paso County. 

The fourth graph shows new foreclosure filings for both the combined metro total and El Paso County. Foreclosure filings are the first step of the foreclosure process and are an indicator of future foreclosure auction sales activity. Since 2009, foreclosure filings have declined in both the combined total and in El Paso County, but they have not fallen as much in El Paso County as in the combined metro total.  For January-November of this year, foreclosure filings were down year over year by 6.5 percent in  the combined metro total, compared to the same period last year. Filings were down by 0.5 percent over the same period in El Paso County. 


The fifth graph shows new releases of deeds of trust in Colorado and in El Paso County. Since 2000, El Paso County has shown more release activity than the state overall. (Releases occur when a mortgage loan is paid off, and is an indicator of refi and home sales activity.) We can see in the graph that although release activity in El Paso County has held up compared to the state since the year 2000, El Paso did not see the bump that the state received in release activity from 2008 to 2009. 

And if we look at release activity since 2008, We find that El Paso County has not experienced as much release activity as the state overall. In other words, since 2008, El Paso County has not seen as much refi and home sales activity as the state overall. Release activity fell off farther than the state did during 2008, and while the state index is back to 2008 levels as of the 3rd Q 2012, El Paso County is still below those levels. 


Although the Colorado Springs area is seeing relatively less improvement in several home-sales related indicators, the general trend is still one of improvement. Developers of single-family homes have apparently concluded that the prospects are good for single-family home sales, as single-family permit activity began to accelerate in the Colorado Springs area during 2012. Year over year single-family permitting increased 43 percent in the Colorado Springs area from the first ten months of 2011 to the same period this year. From January through October of this year, there have been 1852 single-family permits issued in the region. During the same period of last year, only 1290 single-family permits were issued. As the last graph shows, permit activity fell off substantially after 2006 in the Colorado Springs area, but 2012 has shown significant increases in permitting over 2011. This may also be influenced by expectations of continued household formation. As I show here, El Paso County has been one of the strongest counties for household formation in recent years. El Paso County has also been one of the most active counties for single-family permits statewide.