Published: March 25, 2014
Board chairman, Pikes Peak Association of Realtors
Broker-associate, Paradigm Real Estate
Colorado Springs' single-family housing market, like those in other communities, has been on a roller coaster over the last several years. During the recession, home sales and prices plunged. As the economy improved, and mortgage rates fell, the market rebounded.
Now, over the last few months, rates have ticked upward and sales have dipped.
Jack Beuse, 2014 board chairman of the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors, has seen it before. A broker-associate with Paradigm Real Estate in Colorado Springs, Beuse has been in real estate for about a decade and has experienced the market's ups and downs.
Before getting into real estate, Beuse spent 32 years with the now-defunct Longs Drugs chain as a store manager in the Springs and in California.
"I knew they were fading, so at age 53, what are your options?" Beuse said. "Who's going to hire a 53-year-old former retailer?"
After consulting with a family member about whether he'd make a good real estate agent, Beuse decided to give it a try.
"I've worked it hard," Beuse said. "But I decided I didn't want to be with a corporation or a large company or anything like that."
Both retail and real estate mean working one-on-one with people - a positive for any job, Beuse says.
"I've always enjoyed dealing with people," said Beuse, 64.
Beuse talked about the state of the local single-family housing market:
Question: Last year saw perhaps the best year for housing - prices and sales - since before the recession. Was it all about mortgage rates or did anything else help drive the market?
Answer: Certainly, mortgage rates significantly helped the market. However, there had been pent up demand for housing, witnessed by the lack of sales during the previous five-plus years. Additionally, reduced pricing also helped with sales during 2013.
Q: Were there particular price ranges or neighborhoods that were hot in 2013, or was activity strong across the board?
A: Fountain Valley (+25.2 percent), Falcon (+35.6 percent), Falcon North (+42.2 percent) and the Powers (+24.2 percent) areas did well in terms of numbers of sales. In terms of median sales price increases, Northgate (+9 percent), Old Colorado City and Peyton (+18 percent), Northeast and East (+9 percent) did well.
Q: Prices rose steadily in 2013; what do you expect to happen in 2014?
A: I would expect a modest increase in the neighborhood of 1 percent to 2 percent for 2014.
Q: Can 2014 be a repeat of 2013? What has to happen for the housing market to maintain its momentum this year?
A: I believe 2014 will be a reasonable year, though not as strong as 2013. Newer lending regulations, continued economic uncertainty and modest interest rate increases may dampen sales somewhat.
Q: If mortgage rates continue to rise, is there a point where they'll discourage buyers and significantly slow the market?
A: I would expect short-term interest rates to rise in 2014, and long-term rates to show a modest increase through 2015. Conditioning new buyers with higher rates is part of a normal market cycle. Higher rates would slow buying a bit until consumers become accustomed to the higher rates.
Q: Are there any buying and selling trends you've seen of late that buyers and sellers should know about?
A: Buyers who are on the fence should seriously look at purchasing now, while rates are still low and pricing is still reasonable. Sellers - especially if they are moving up - should consider a move for the same reason.
Q: Do buyers simply want a roof over their head or are there new types of features and amenities they're looking for?
A: Buyers are becoming a bit more discriminating in that they are looking for a clean, ready-to-move-into home. Even in the lower price range, they would prefer a nice large oval tub.
Q: Do you use Facebook, Twitter or other social media tools as a Realtor? If so, do they enhance your business?
A: Actually, I don't use those for real estate. I'll occasionally post something that might be useful reading. It's fine for some people. But I prefer the human connection.
Edited for space and clarity.
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