- Amy DeNicolo
Real Estate Boom: Strike While the Iron is Hot
Historically low rates have spawned a real estate boom in Douglas County
Colorado’s real estate boom has been cause for many headlines this year and the experts will tell you that the market hasn’t even peaked yet. The boom arrived as a result of historically low interest rates, changing homeowner needs, and a mass exodus from large cities by a new generation of buyers. Colorado has long been a vacation destination for many, but with increasing numbers of tech companies moving to the Denver Metro area, work from home jobs, and 300 days of sunshine per year, we are seeing large numbersof people relocating to the state. For many people moving from metro markets like San Francisco, Colorado real estate prices are affordable and “site unseen, cash offers” are becoming a norm. Those of us who have lived in Parker, Castle Rock, or South Aurora, have seen new neighborhoods popping up for two decades. These three cities are the fastest growing cities in Colorado, considering just five years ago, these areas were 7-9% smaller than they are currently. This has given way to beautifully planned developments, parks, award winning schools, and phenomenal economic growth. Realtors familiar with these areas will tell you that while it’s a seller’s market,due to historically low interest rates it’s a win for buyers as well. With today’s rates, buyers who may not have been able to purchase a year ago are now able to realize their dream of home ownership while move-up buyers are able to qualify for a higher purchase price than expected. While the winter months are typically slower in real estate, historically low interest rates and growing home equity and demand have many buyers considering new construction. As realtors prepare for a busy spring real estate season, sellers who list their homes have little competition as Colorado is experiencing extremely low housing inventory. Many current homeowners are taking advantage of the significant increase in home equity they have gained in recent years and moving up to design their dream homes in one of the new award-winning, master planned communities.
Let’s take a closer look at three such neighborhoods in Parker, Castle Rock, and South Aurora, and what the driving force is that makes these communities so popular.
TRAILS AT CROWFOOT
Parker, Colorado - pop. 61,492
#2 BestPlaces to Live in America (2020 Money.com)
#6 BestPlaces to Work from Home (2020 Money.com)
#1 Healthiest Counties in America (2020 US World & Report)
#6 Wealthiest Communities in America
#7 Fastest Growing Communities in Colorado (2020 Census)
Surrounded by more than 100 acres of open space, 4 miles of looped trails, several pocket parks, and resort style amenities, this new Parker community will feature 890 residential homes and the 17-acre “Trails Great Park,” a new public park owned and operated by the Town of Parker. Trails Great Park will include baseball and soccer fields, basketball courts, tennis/pickleball courts, 9 hole disk golf, and play and shade structures.
And for those living in the Trails community, an enormous clubhouse and pools, complete with cabanas to lounge in, will complete the development.
The Trails at Crowfoot and its neighboring communities, Anthology, Meadow Lark, Stepping Stone, The Timbers, and Stone Creek Ranch will complete the most recent housing developments in the Parker area. With through access to Parker Road via North Pinery Parkway almost completed, and quick access to Parker, Castle Pines, Castle Rock, and Franktown, the homes in the Trails at Crowfoot community are the talk of the town.
Five home builders in the Trails at Crowfoot community including Epic Homes, Tri Pointe, Taylor Morrison, DR Horton, and KB Homes, give future residents several floorplan and pricing options starting in the low $400k’s to the mid $900k’s.
We were fortunate to be invited to explore this community by two of its builders, Epic Homes and Tri Pointe homes, who combined have sold over 40 new homes in the past two months.
Upon our visit to Epic Homes' newest model, Craig Dunkelberger, Sales Director, told us:
“We have unveiled our newest floor plan, The Invite. At nearly 5000 sqft, this stunning 2 story floor plan will hypnotize you right as you enter the front door. This newly modeled floor plan compliments the rest of our award-winning floor plansthat have the market buzzingin Parker. Equallyas stunning are our 31 home sites in phase 1. At an averagesize of 1/3 acre, all 31 back to naturalopen space and sit up at the highest point in the community, creatingan exclusive enclaveof semi-custom built homes in Parker’s newest master plan community”
And hypnotize it did! We left the model home awestruck by both the beauty of the finishes and open space to the thoughtfulness that went into planning each feature of the home. No doubt, justifying all the “talk” of this new Parker community.
Castle Rock, Colorado- pop. 75,452
#1 Place to find a job in Colorado(Nerdwallet)
#6 Best Places to Work from Home (2020 Money.com)
#1 Healthiest Countiesin America (2020 US World & Report)
#4 Best Place to Live (Money Magazine 2011, 2012, 2014)
#4 Fastest Growing Cities in Colorado (2020 Census)
#14 Fastest GrowingCities (US Census Bureau 2018)
As one of the nation’s fastest growing cities, Castle Rock’s new“Top 5 Master Planned Community,” Crystal Valley is just minutes from the heart of Castle Rock and boasts access to more than 600 acres of open space and hiking and biking trails. Their motto,“The Nature of Happiness,”encompasses all that this community offers its residents…gorgeous homes built to take in all that we love about Colorado living.
With four builders currently offering homes in this community, including Century Homes, Richmond, DR Horton, Kauffman Homes, and prices starting in the low $400k’s to the mid $700k’s, this community strives to give families the feeling of being outside of the city while being just five minutes from downtown Castle Rock and less than 30 minutes from the Denver Tech Center. Crystal Valley offers its residents the newly completed Pinnacle Park with outdoor sport courts, amphitheater, dog park, and play areas. And Pinnacle Rec center is a YMCA-operated program, which includes swimming and group fitness classes, as well as seasonal community activities.
With construction of a new interchange at Interstate 25 and Crystal Valley Parkway, “the town’s No. 1 transportation priority," gives residents the added benefit of an easier commute.
With two decades of experience and four new construction homes under contract in the past couple of weeks, Realtor® and new construction expert, Medra Volpi, explains how it may make sense to take advantage of the current low inventory and list your home for sale, even if it results in a double move.
“Over the last few months, several of my clients have realized unexpected equity gains which has more than offset the cost of a double move. In addition,the base price of their new construction homes have increaseddramatically during the build period, allowing them to close with positive equity. So while it might seem scary and cumbersome to make a double move, it’s possible that it could reap financial rewards.”
Aurora, Colorado - pop. 388,783
#24 Best Park Systems in the UnitedStates
#17 Cities Where Millennials are Moving (2020 SmartAsset)
#12 Hardest Working Cities in America (2020 WalletHub)
#21 Best Large Cities to Start a Business & BestLarge City to Live in (WalletHub)
#1 Best-Run City in Colorado (WalletHub)
#3 Hottest Housing Marketin the Country (Redfin)
#7 Cities to Buy a FamilyHome (Smart Asset)
#25 BestCities for Young Professionals (Smart Asset)
#24 Cities with the Best PublicSchools (Niche)
South Aurora is home to Colorado’s largest Lifestyle District, Southlands. This area is a perfectly planned district of residential living, outdoor activities, retail and dining, award winning Fitzsimmons Medical Center, and Cherry Creek schools, along with easy access to DIA, Buckley AFB, Denver Tech Center, and neighboring Parker communities.
There are many communities that make up the Southlands District, one of the biggest and most popular is Southshore. Since 2005, Southshore has offered its residents “Life at the Lake.” A “Top 5 Colorado Master Planned Community” and a rare find in Colorado’s dry climate, this lakefront community seems to have it all. Three builders continue to offer new construction homes here: Toll Brothers, Taylor Morrison, and Richmond, with prices ranging from the mid $400k’s to mid $800k’s.
There are many things that draw home buyers to this community. For starters, the Aurora Reservoir is one of the cleanest in the country and has its own collection of awards and accolades. Surrounding the lake is an 8-mile looped trail where you’ll find residents biking and jogging as they access the lake and trail system from several access points throughout the various neighborhoods. On its banks sits Southshore’s Boathouse, a popular hangout for residents to picnic and fish. You’ll also discover Sandy Beaches, Southshore’s own non-motorized marina. Pick up your dive gear and dive in to discover a mock airplane wreckage under the waves or head over to Senac Pond where you can paddle board, canoe,and pedal boat.
Touting resort-style amenities, the newest 9000 sq. ft. addition, The Lighthouse, is set to open this Spring. In the meantime, residents continue to enjoy The Lakehouse for swimming in the saltwater pool, firepits, movie nights in the theater, childcare, and community events.
What do these communities all have in common that is attracting buyers from all over the country?
#1 Award Winning School Districts - Douglas County and Cherry Creek school districts both offer award winning public schools including many charter schools from which to choose.
#2 Easy access to outdoor spaces and activities – Coloradans are known for their love of the great outdoors and dog friendly venues. This past year as many businesses restricted indoor activities, hiking and biking trails were packed, reservoirs saw record numbers of visitors, neighbors became friends, buyers demanded better outdoor living spaces, and these builders delivered. These communities all offer enormous parks, access to hiking trails, community pools, neighborhood events, and onsite workout facilities.
#3 Smart Home Technology – Americans are home now more than ever, increasing use of electricity and water for many homeowners. Smart home technology is a way for homeowners to utilize technology to have on-demand access to various systems throughout the home. Those building new homes are seeking cleaner more efficient ways to provide these resources including solar panels, energy efficient heating and cooling systems and appliances, recycling and water conservation methods.
#4 Flexible Spaces – This past year changed many aspects of how Americans viewed homeownership needs. One of the greatest changes the real estate industry experienced was the need for more flexible spaces. Many businesses sent their employees to work from home and found that productivity increased, and while new COVID guidelines would cut further into their bottom line, workers have remained working from home offices. So much so, that Douglas County was ranked the #6 best place in the country to work from home. Combined with the fact that homeschooling that continues in some fashion throughout both school districts, homes with more than one office space became highly desirable for homebuyers. Baby Boomers sought homes that offered their aging parents space within their homes that offered privacy, communities like these answered the demand by designing homes with separate entrances, main floor suites, and communities with adjacent 55+ active adult communities.
#5 Easy Commute – All three communities provide an easy commute. Whether you are traveling to DIA, the Denver Tech Center, Downtown Denver, or Colorado Springs, these communities offer quick access to major highways, RTD light rail stations, and public transportation. With a growing number of tech firms moving into Colorado, these master planned communities seemed to have thought of everything!
Historically low interest rates coupled with historically low inventory has made for a unique housing market situation in Parker, Castle Rock, and South Aurora. These conditions are enabling homeowners to cash in on unheard of equity gains and afford more house. If you have been dreaming of designing a new home, moving out of Downtown Denver, or relocating to Colorado, these communities have something for everyone.