Thursday, July 25, 2013

Colorado labor force grows to 17-month high, pushes up unemployment rate

Year-over-year increases in the labor force size in Colorado hit a 17-month high during June, according to new data from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. According to Household Survey data, the labor force rose by 30,000 in Colorado in June, compared to June of 2012. This was the largest year-over-year increase since December of 2011 when the year-over-year increase was 63,000. The first graph shows the YOY increase for each month:

Gains in labor force remains quite small to what was common during the last expansion of 2003-2007.

These gains in the labor force size put upward pressure on the unemployment rate, since the unemployment rate is based on the gap between total employment and total labor force size.

As the labor force size grew, in recent months, the unemployment rate also headed upward in June:

The unemployment rate (not seaasonally adjusted) rose to 7.5 percent in June, higher than the rates seen during March,  April and May of this year. However, the rate was down from June 2012's unemployment rate of 8.4 percent.

Nevertheless, total employment growth in Colorado rose to a 19-month high during June 2013. The 3-month rolling average for new year-over-year jobs gains was 56,000 jobs, comparing June 2012 to June 2013.

56,000 was the largest year over year gain since January 2012 when more than 68,000 new jobs were added compared to the same month of the previous year.

The first graph shows year-over-year comparisons in total employment:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Strong Demand Pushes Rent Growth in Denver Apartment Market [Video]

This is basically a commercial for the industry, but it contains some good data:

Metro Denver apartment vacancies down to 13-year low

The apartment vacancy rate in the Denver metro area fell to 4.2 percent during the second quarter of 2013, dropping to the lowest vacancy rate recorded in any quarter since the third quarter of the year 2000. According to a report released Wednesday by the Apartment Association of Metro Denver and the Colorado Division of Housing, the metro Denver apartment vacancy rate was down from 2012’s second-quarter rate of 4.8 percent, and was also down from 2013’s first quarter rate of 4.6 percent.  

For the past fifteen quarters, the vacancy rate has fallen when compared to the same quarter one year earlier. The last time the quarterly vacancy rate rose year over year was during the third quarter of 2009.
From the second quarter of 2012 to the same period of 2013, the vacancy rate dropped in Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson counties. During the same period, the vacancy rate rose in the Boulder/Broomfield area, but remained very low at 3.8 percent in that region during the second quarter of this year.  

“In spite of very low mortgage rates for home buyers, renting apartments remains a very attractive option for many households,” said Ryan McMaken, an economist with the Colorado Division of Housing. “The demand for real estate in the metro area remains solid as well due to a stable employment situation and demographics that point toward continued population growth.”

As vacancy rates moved down, the area’s average rent increased. During the second quarter of 2013, the average rent in metro Denver rose to $1,022, increasing 4.3 percent, or 43 dollars, from 2012’s second-quarter average rent of $979.

When adjusted for inflation, however, the average rent has not yet returned to the all-time high reached during the third quarter of 2001. Following the dot-com bust, inflation-adjusted rents fell from late 2001 through 2007.

“The good news for renters is there are an estimated 15,000 new units in the pipeline,” said Mark Williams, Executive Vice President for the Apartment Association of Metro Denver. “These new units mean new competition which will keep rental rates in check.”

The average rent rose in all counties measured, with the largest increases found in Douglas County and the Boulder/Broomfield area where the average rents grew year over year by 9.8 percent and 9.4 percent, respectively.  The county areas with the highest average rents were Douglas County and the Boulder/Broomfield area where the average rents were $1,1242 and $1,194, respectively. Adams County reported the lowest average rent at $933.

“The four percent increase in average rent is reflective of Denver’s robust employment growth, influx of new businesses, and overall great lifestyle,” said Heather Campbell, Vice President of Mill Creek Residential. “In short, people want to live, work and play here. And, with several new projects under construction, we believe that Denver will continue to deliver more rental opportunities at a variety of price points to meet the growing rental demand, further solidifying the city’s growth prospects.”  

2013’s second-quarter vacancy rates by county were Adams, 3.8 percent; Arapahoe, 4.5 percent; Boulder/Broomfield, 3.8 percent; Denver, 4.6 percent; Douglas, 2.9 percent; Jefferson, 3.7 percent.

Average rents for all counties were: Adams, $933; Arapahoe, $979; Boulder/Broomfield, $1194; Denver, $1025; Douglas, $1242; and Jefferson, $1003.   

Over the past year, Colorado unemployment fell farther in Colorado than in the nation

Colorado 's unemployment rate remained below the national unemployment rate for the thirteenth month in a row in June, dropping to 7.0 percent in Colorado compared to 7.6 percent for the nation overall. (These are seasonally adjusted numbers.)

Colorado's seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was down year over year in June, dropping from 8.2 percent during June 2012 to 7.0 percent during June 2013.

The national unemployment rate also fell at the national level, year over year, with a drop from 8.2 percent during June 2012 to 7.6 percent during June 2013.

Year over year, unemployment declined farther in Colorado than in the nation overall. 

The graph shows a comparison between the two rates since 2006 through June 2013:

See here for the employment article archive. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Housing News Digest, July 22

Springs homes selling at fastest rate in years If someone puts a home on the market today, chances are good it’ll sell within two months. As of June 30, single-family homes spent an average of 62 days on the market, the lowest number since June 2006, when the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors started keeping records. The total number of active listings is extremely low at 3,450, said Fred Crowley, associate director of the Southern Colorado Economic Forum. He compared that number with around 6,000 active listings in June 2010.

  Colorado Springs' housing market continues to improve The improving Colorado Springs-area housing market showed no signs of slowing last month, as home sales soared and prices jumped to their highest levels in six years.

  2013 Colorado Housing Market Compared to many states, Colorado endured the bursting of the housing bubble relatively unscathed. The state’s home prices only dropped 9.5 percent from the first quarter of 2007 through the first quarter of 2012, well below the price plummets of most other states.

  Western National and Nor’wood to Develop Colorado Springs Community Colorado Springs, Colo.—In their fourth joint venture in Colorado Springs, Colo., Western National Group and Nor’wood Development Group are developing a multifamily community in the InterQuest Marketplace development. The InterQuest Marketplace features restaurants and entertainment options. The multifamily community will feature 250-300 units, including one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans.

Forest Service land repurposed to affordable housing FRISCO, Colo. (AP) - U.S. Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet have introduced legislation to allow the use of Forest Service land for affordable housing in Summit County. The legislation calls for a 40-acre land exchange from the Dillon Ranger District to Summit County. U.S. Rep. Jared Polis introduced a similar bill in the House.

Three-day training on federal housing requirements for grantees

A number of grantees have requested acquisition/relocation training.  In response, Jade Santoro, HUD Relocation Specialist,  is inviting grantees here to the Denver HUD Office for training.  She has coordinated with the Region 8 Labor Relations Specialist, FHEO Division, and FHA homeownership center to put together a three day training session on the URA, as well as those "Other" Federal Requirements with which you must comply.  Please share this with your HOME and CDBG subrecipients, and you all should register as soon as possible through the following registration link.  If you should have any questions, please contact Jade at the below number.

This training will be on a first-come, first-served basis, so early registration is definitely advised.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Buildfax: May remodeling index shows 6 percent decline in U.S. West

According to the Buildfax remodeling activity index for May 2013, home remodeling activity was up 17 percent form May 2012 to May 2013. 

In the US West region, activity was down 6 percent over the same period.

According to the press release:

National Residential RemodelingResidential remodels authorized by building permits in the United States in May were at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 3,560,000. This is 11 percent above the revised April rate of 3,201,000 and is 17 percent above the May 2012 estimate of 3,039,000.
Regional Residential Remodeling
Seasonally-adjusted annual rates of remodeling across the country in May 2013 are estimated as follows: Northeast, 721,000 (down 2% from April and down 25% from May 2012); South, 1,506,000 (up 9% from April and up 29% from May 2012); Midwest, 1,103,000 (up 55% from April and up 74% from May 2012); West, 723,000 (down 1% from April and down 6% from May 2012).
Viewing the Economic Recovery Through Remodeling
"Volatility in residential remodeling activity has continued through the first five months of 2013, with May showing significant gains from April in the South and Midwest, and modest drops in the West and Northeast," said Joe Emison, Chief Technology Officer at BuildFax.

There has been no obvious trend in remodeling activity in the West in recent months, as year-over-year changes have swung between a 41% year over year increase in January of this year, to a 21 percent decline in March of this year.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

All Colorado metros but Pueblo in NAHB's July list of improving housing markets

According to the National Association of Home Builders, all Colorado metro areas except Pueblo were on the "improving housing markets" list issued for July. The listing is based on employment, permits, and home prices. Not surprisingly, the Denver/Boulder area and northern Colorado show some of the most growth while Grand Junction shows some of the smallest growth rates.

Permits Growth Prices Growth Employment Growth
Trough From Trough From Trough From
 MSA  Date Trough Date Trough Date Trough
Boulder, CO 11/30/09 16.5% 01/31/11 10.5% 08/31/09 9.0%
Colorado Springs, CO 04/30/09 3.5% 01/31/12 9.9% 03/31/10 3.3%
Denver, CO 03/31/09 4.5% 02/28/11 12.4% 01/31/10 7.8%
Fort Collins, CO 03/31/09 9.2% 12/31/10 7.9% 12/31/09 8.3%
Grand Junction, CO 06/30/11 3.7% 07/31/11 9.5% 01/31/10 2.7%
Greeley, CO 01/31/09 4.0% 02/28/11 9.3% 12/31/09 10.4%

Here's the press release:

255 Metros Listed as Improving Housing Markets in July

WASHINGTON, July 8 - A total of 255 metropolitan areas across 49 states and the District of Columbia qualified to be listed on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) for July, released today. This is down slightly from the 263 metros that made the list in June, but is more than triple the number of metros that were on it in July of 2012.

Redfin: Denver area homes selling at faster pace this year

According to a recent report form Redfin, "Denver['s home sales market] sped up the most between May 2012 and May 2013, as the rate of homes going under contract in 14 days moved from 26.1 percent to 47.8 percent."

According to the report, the percentage of homes for sale in the Denver area in May 2013 that became pending sales within one week was up to 30%, and the rate increased to 48 percent after two weeks. 

While up significantly year over year for May, the speed of sales fell from April to May this year, reflecting a decline in demand driven by increases in the mortgage rate. 

See the full report here.  

Corelogic: Foreclosure inventory in Colorado down slightly in May 2013

According to the May 2013 foreclosure report from Corelogic, the foreclosure inventory in Colorado was 0.8 percent of all homes with a mortgage during May 2013, dropping 0.6 percentage points form May of 2012. 2.6 percent of homes with a mortgage were seriously delinquent during May 2013.

According to the report, 14,039 completed foreclosures occurred during the 12 months ending in May 2013. That's down 27 percent from May 2012 when there were 19,289 in the 12 month period ending May 2012.

Nationally, the foreclosure inventory was 2.6 percent of all homes with a mortgage, and 5.6 percent of all homes with a mortgage were seriously delinquent. There were 706,349 completed foreclosures in the 12-month period ending May 2013, which was down 13 percent from 819,327 completed foreclosure reported during the 12 months ending in May 2012.

The states with the highest percentage of seriously delinquent loans were Florida and Illinois with rates of 13.3 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively. The states with the lowest rates of seriously delinquent loans were Wyoming and North Dakota with rates of 1.8 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cassidy Turley: Denver area one of top ten strongest office markets

According to a recent report by Cassidy Turley on nationwide office markets, Denver was one of the top markets in the nation during the second quarter of 2013. According to the report:

The top 10 strongest markets in terms of rent growth were Salt Lake City, with 11.3% year-over-year rental appreciation; Denver, with 9.8%; New York, with 9.0%; San Jose, with 8.5%; Columbus, with 8.4%; Austin, with 7.7 %; San Francisco, with 6.3%; Nashville, with 5.9%; Baltimore, with 4.6%; and San Mateo, with 4.2% rent growth.

 Here's the full press release:

U.S. Office Sector Strengthens in Q2 2013
Big Gains in New York, San Jose, Houston and Atlanta
WASHINGTON, July 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Demand for U.S. office space strengthened in the second quarter of 2013, as 60 out of the 82 metros tracked registered positive gains in occupancy, according to research released today by Cassidy Turley, a leading commercial real estate services provider in the U.S

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Corelogic HPI: Colorado home prices up 9.4 percent in May

CoreLogic today released its May home price index (HPI) numbers. After surging to over 12 percent during April, the year-over-year change in May was 9.4 percent.  May marks the fifth month in a row during which the year-over-year chang ein the HPI was above or near 10 percent.   The national home price was propelled upward by big home price growth in California, Arizona, and Nevada. Nationally, the index grew 12.2 percent from May 2012 to May 2013. Housing prices continue to increase at some of the largest rates seen since before the financial crisis. 

15 states had larger growth rates in the HPI than Colorado, with the highest growth rates being in Nevada, California, and Arizona. Nevada's HPI grew 26.0 percent year over year, and California's and Arizona 'a HPIs grew 20.2 percent and 16.9 percent respectively. Only two states showed declines in their HPIs over the same period with the declines being in Delaware and Alabama where the HPI declined 0.6 percent and 0.1 percent respectively.

Propelled by record-low mortgage rates and small amounts of new home sales, and limited inventory, home sales continue to head up with home prices following suit.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Case-Shiller: metro Denver home prices in April head back near peak levels

Case-Shiller released its home price index for April 2013 last week. The home price index for the Denver area rose 1.8 percent percent from March to April, and rose 9.9  percent, year over year, from April 2012 to April 2013.  The year-over-year increase in April was the sixteenth year-over-year increase in a row for Denver.

The first chart shows trends in the Case-Shiller index for the Denver area and for the 20-city composite index. It is clear that Denver did not experience the kind of price bubble that occurred in many other metropolitan areas, and consequently, the index has not fallen nearly as far in Denver compared to the larger composite. The metro Denver index value is at the highest value seen since 2006.

As of April, the 20-city composite is down 26 percent since it peaked in July 2006, but the Denver index is down only 1.4 percent from its August 2006 peak.

The second chart compares year-over-year changes in the Denver area index and in the 20-city composite. Overall, the index has been less volatile in Denver than has been the case for the 20-city composite. The year-over-year change in the 20-city composite during December was positive for the eleventh month in a row.

After many months of higher growth rates in Denver than in the 20-city index, the Denver index was surpassed in March 2013 as the 20-city index YOY growth rate rose to 10.9 percent. The composite index growth rate remained higher than Denver's growth rate in April, growing 12.0 percent, compared to Denver's 9.9 percent.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Request for Applications (RFA) for the Homeless Prevention Activities Program

The Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Division of Housing (DOH) is excited to announce this Request for Applications (RFA) for the Homeless Prevention Activities Program (HPAP) Funds that provide assistance to households who are at risk of losing their homes without some kind of assistance. Funding for the program is made available through a State Income Tax Check-off, which allows Colorado residents to make voluntary contributions on their State Income Tax Return.

In 2012, Senate Bill 12-158 passed, authorizing the transfer of the Homeless Prevention Activities Program from the Colorado Trust to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Division of Housing (DOH) effective July 1, 2012.
Agencies interested in applying for funds under the Homeless Prevention Activities Program must submit one application electronically to by 5:00 pm on Monday July 15th

When you submit your application please name all of the files with your agency name and then name of document. 

For example:
xyzagencyapplication, xyzagencyw9, xyzagencyIC, xyzagencyAF

If you have any questions please contact:
Autumn Gold, Homeless Prevention Specialist at