As I was writing the article, I looked out the window to see this bear cub taking a stroll through the yard (don’t worry I was far away on a two story deck with a zoom lens).  Is this a sign?  Is a bear market in the offing?  I was amazed at the recent data tracking the real estate appreciation rates in Colorado.  I would have never guessed the top two appreciating towns in Colorado.  Hint, it wasn’t one of the resort/ski towns.  How much has Colorado been appreciating annually?  How does this recent appreciation compare to historical trends? Where do we go from here on appreciation throughout Colorado?


What was in the Data regarding real estate appreciation in Colorado?

Headwaters Economics did an interesting study of housing prices throughout the country.  Here are some highlights from Colorado:

  1. The highest appreciating town was Jarosa in Costilla county – up 33%
  2. The second highest is Phippsburg in Routt County (outside of Steamboat) – up 28%
  3. The largest appreciation gains are not in Denver; they are in the resort communities of Summit, Routt, and Grand Counties
  4. The typical home in Breckenridge is now almost 1.3m with the average price $1.7m, this equates to about 860/ft and 22%+ appreciation
  5. These eye-popping statistics are happening throughout Colorado Statewide appreciation is running 20% plus year over year
  6. Going back to 2000 the annual home price appreciation has averaged 4%

Long and short, Colorado Real estate from Jarosa to Greeley and almost everywhere in between is appreciating rapidly which leads to the important question of what happens next.

Is Denver real estate a hint of what is coming to the rest of Colorado?

The Denver Metro Association of Realtors monthly publishes a market trends report with statistics and commentary on the Denver Metro Market.  The past several years the reports have basically been a nonevent with inventory remaining low and prices skyrocketing.  September has been an eye opener as the first month  with a substantial change in the market. Here are some highlights from Septembers Denver real estate report:

  • Active listings: increased 10.86%
  • Closed Homes: decrease of 12.81%
  • Median sales price (SFRs): down .86% (still up 12.75% for the year)
  • Average sales price: Declined from a peak of 725k to 688 in September (~ 5% decline)
  • Days in MLS: increase of 30%

From the September data, Denver real estate is slowing.  Historically what happens in Denver eventually happens to the rest of the state.  There is typically a lag where Denver will slow, and 3-6 months later other markets will also slow.  This same trend of slowing sales should start playing out in other markets through the last quarter of the year and early next year.

Where do we go from here on Colorado real estate appreciation?

Denver is a wakeup call that the balloon can’t go up forever.  The current appreciation rates are far outpacing wages which cannot happen into perpetuity.  Real estate throughout Colorado should begin moderating over the next 3-6 months as interest rates rise and the real estate “euphoria” begins to fade.  Best case is flat to small appreciation gains, worst case is 5-10% decline in values.


What areas of Colorado are at the highest risk for a real estate correction?

With real estate starting to pull back and many returning to more “normal” pre covid patterns, markets like Jarosa, Phippsburg, Pueblo, etc.. will see bigger pull backs than others.  The tertiary rural markets and markets that are heavily dependent on other markets will feel the impact the most.  For example Pueblo is appreciating as Colorado Springs pushes prices people out.  As the CO Springs market cools, Pueblo will cool even further.



I’m not surprised in the recent data where Colorado appreciation is off the charts.  Unfortunately, the party can’t last forever and at some point the “punch” runs dry.  Denver is seeing the real estate party start to wind down and the rest of the state will feel the impacts over the next 3-6 months.  The Silver lining is that I don’t think the party will “crash” like in 2008.  There will be some loss in value (5-15% range) but that is on top of huge appreciation the last several years.


Additional reading/resources:



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Written by Glen Weinberg, COO/ VP Fairview Commercial Lending.  Glen has been published as an expert in hard money lending, real estate valuation, financing, and various other real estate topics in Bloomberg, Businessweek ,the Colorado Real Estate Journal, National Association of Realtors MagazineThe Real Deal real estate news, the CO Biz Magazine, The Denver Post, The Scotsman mortgage broker guide, Mortgage Professional America and various other national publications.

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