Check the guest column in this week’s Business Journal from longtime Colorado Springs Realtor Harry Salzman, and you’ll read his anecdotal description of a potentially game-changing new trend in the local market for residential real estate.
Salzman talks about a growing number of incoming Colorado residents moving to the state because they will be working in the Denver Tech Center area or farther south toward Castle Rock. But those newcomers are hitting the wall as they try to buy homes in Denver’s insanely competitive home-selling market, with countless offers made and deals done before listings even go public.
Facing those circumstances in every desirable development across the Denver metro sprawl, the home-buyers are starting to notice Colorado Springs just down Interstate 25, and more of them are beginning to check out the available inventory in our midst. For them, a 45-minute drive to and from south Denver might well be worth it, considering how much more they can get for their money in El Paso County.
Actually, this is far from being fresh news in the Monument/Tri-Lakes area on the county’s north edge, which now has a population in the 35,000 range, double what it was 20 years ago. We hear that many homeowners in Lewis-Palmer School District 38, perhaps more than 25 percent, already commute to Castle Rock or Denver.
But now some folks who work up north are venturing farther toward Colorado Springs, even down into the city itself.
If this sounds outlandish, rest assured it’s not. In fact, we heard another amazing tale this week from a close acquaintance, actually a Realtor in the Denver market, that amplifies Salzman’s message.
This Realtor had clients wanting to buy a house in Denver that was listed for $320,000. They offered $325,000, a common tactic these days in the Mile High City, but with a contingency offer of $1,000 more than any other offer that might surface, up to $350,000. Not only that, but the clients also indicated a willingness to pay $5,000 more than whatever the appraisal might turn out to be.
Despite that super-aggressive strategy and pushing beyond what the listing was presumably worth, the Realtor’s clients lost the house because someone else came in with a $350,000 cash offer that also waived the need for any appraisal or financing — all that, for a $320,000 listing.
That kind of scenario, we’re told, is happening every day in Denver. And you can’t help but think it will drive more and more exasperated buyers to look at Colorado Springs.
We don’t have to be passive about such a trend, either. Perhaps the time is now for the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors, along with the Colorado Springs city government, to look into innovative ways to connect with people seeking to buy in Denver’s southern suburbs and Castle Rock.
If more of those buyers learn about the lower home prices down here, not to mention the greater abundance of outdoor recreation and even the revival of direct daily bus-commuter service between Colorado’s two largest cities, we could see more demand for residential real estate in our midst. And since it would be coming from new residents with good-paying jobs, the economic impact would be even more noticeable.
Bottom line, Denver’s housing market is sizzling, and there’s reason to conclude that could mean a nice spillover effect for Colorado Springs. It would be worth the effort.