LOVELAND — In just 10 years, Fort Collins' housing market will mimic Boulder today, Larry Kendall, chairman of The Group Real Estate told a capacity crowd at its annual real estate forecast Thursday at Embassy Suites.
With landlocked borders, Fort Collins' single-family lots will be built out, the average home cost will top $610,000 and most new construction will be in attached houses such as condominiums and townhomes.
"Northern Colorado is Boulder 10 years out," Kendall said.
Today, the same 1,000-square-foot house in Boulder is twice the price as that same house in Fort Collins. And, Fort Collins is twice as much as Greeley, Kendall said.
But Fort Collins has an opportunity to learn from Boulder's mistakes, particularly as Colorado State University looks at the future of Hughes Stadium off Overland Trail after a new on-campus stadium opens next year.
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"Most of the people who work at CU live elsewhere," Kendall said. "For most of them, CU is just a job site ... and Fort Collins is headed in that same direction."
CSU could build affordable housing for CSU employees including apartments and single-family homes on the vast acreage at Hughes Stadium in west Fort Collins.
Thus far, CSU has not announced plans for the stadium. In a meeting with City Council, CSU President Tony Frank said the university plans to go through a "visioning" process to come up with ideas for the site on the west side of town. Leaving the property dormant for several years doesn't make financial sense, he said.
Giving the property away or developing a high density project to maximize profits are not likely scenarios, he said.
Forecast looks rosy
Home sales throughout Northern Colorado this year are only expected grow 2 percent due to lack of inventory and shortage of new building lots that will plague Northern Colorado throughout the years, said Steve Bricker, a broker associate/partner at The Group.
Larimer County was in the top 10 of U.S. markets last year for home appreciation rates, which rose more than 13 percent. Sales prices of homes in Fort Collins/Timnath last year averaged $339,763, according to IRES, which collects and tracks real estate data.
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This year, The Group estimates home prices in Fort Collins will top $366,000 while Windsor prices will top $402,000, the highest in the region.
Greeley/Evans will continue to be the most affordable city with sales prices averaging about $241,000 this year.
Fixed costs such as land, water and permit fees, which average between $150,000 and $225,000 before construction begins, are pushing home costs in Northern Colorado beyond the affordable range, Bricker said, and pushing would-be homebuyers farther outside the region's borders.
While the lack of homes for sale is expected to affect prices, Kendall said the absence of attached housing, or condominiums, is limiting the supply of affordable homes.
According to IRES, only five condominiums in Fort Collins are on the market. Condos, what Kendall calls the gateway to affordable home ownership, typically sell for less than a single-family detached home.
But a construction defects law that allows as few as two condo owners to file a class action suit against the developer scares builders away. Previous efforts to change the law have failed in the state Legislature, but another bill is expected to try again this year.
In a typical market, about 30 percent of the new home market would be in condo construction. Currently, condos account for less than 4 percent of the new home market.
Windermere forecast coming up
The Group is the second of several expected real estate forecasts. The Everitt Real Estate Center at Colorado State University issued its projections in December. Windermere will present its forecast from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Fort Collins Marriott, 350 E. Horsetooth Road, Fort Collins. President Eric Thompson and Windermere's chief economist Matthew Gardner will discuss real estate stats and trends, home value and the Northern Colorado neighborhoods most likely to grow. To register visit http://whoozin.com/EHD-A47-NJFJ or call 970-460-3033.