By Lucas High
LOVELAND — While Northern Colorado home prices are expected to increase in 2019, appreciation rates are likely to be more modest than in recent years. The continued flattening of appreciation across the region was one of the major takeaways from The Group Real Estate’s annual Northern Colorado Real Estate Forecast and Expo. Hundreds of real estate professionals packed a large conference room Wednesday evening at Loveland’s Embassy Suites for the event. “We’ve been on a path of rapidly accelerating appreciation for many years,” Brandon Wells, president of The Group Inc., said. “But what you’re seeing is some of the appreciation has started to stabilize and normalize.” But, he was quick to note, “that does not mean that average sales are declining. It just means the rate of appreciation is slowing.” In some cases, slower appreciation rates are a result of more — and more affordable — new housing stock becoming available. In Fort Collins, the average 2019 sales price for attached and detached homes is forecast to be $443,576, up 5 percent from the average price of $422,454 in 2018. That appreciation rate is down slightly from a recent high of 6 percent in 2017. Loveland’s average price this year is predicted to be $400,217, up 3 percent from 2018. The city posted a recent high appreciation rate of 9 percent in 2017. Average 2019 prices in the Greeley/Evans area are expected to be $319,700, a year-over-year increase of 6 percent. The region posted a 10 percent appreciation rate as recently as 2017. Regionally, the average 2019 sales price is expected to be $410,492, up from the $388,200 average recorded in 2018. The total number of homes sold in Northern Colorado this year is estimated to be 10,650. That’s 75 more homes than were sold in 2018. The Group’s forecast in 2018 was better than 95 percent accurate predicting the number of homes sold and the average sales price across the Northern Colorado region. Jason Peifer, president Group Mortgage LLC, predicted that interest rates will continue to rise in 2019. While that could create some challenges for real estate professionals, he said he does not expect interest rate increases to cripple the industry. Rising interest rates “could provide a significant headwind for the real estate economy,” but strong employment and wage growth could counteract some of those impacts, he said.
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