Denver is Booming, in More Ways than Ever

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Denver is Booming, in More Ways than Ever

Denver is now a perennial favorite on Top 10 lists that rank metro areas as best for job growth, business health, high-tech concentration, happy people and more. That’s not surprising, given the fact that Denver has added 27,000 new jobs and 1,500 businesses to its economy since 2011, according to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s recent State of the City address.

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As for lists, Metro Denver has a new claim to fame as the “Baby Boomer Capital of the World,” with 300,000 people, aged 55-64, living here. That’s according to Boomers Leading Change in Health, the local arm of a national community-oriented movement for adults 50+.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the National Association of Realtors® places Denver third as a “best purchase market” for millennials (born 1977-2000) who comprise a group economic force of 75 million nationwide. NAR estimates Denver has about 15 percent of U.S. millennials and continues to experience a “solid inflow” in this age group attracted by jobs and lifestyle.

The boomer empty nesters, as well as the up-and-coming 20/30 somethings, are the dynamic demographic duo helping to influence the Denver condo market, which posted $1.4 billion in closed dollar volume YTD, according to the July 2014 market update from the Denver Metro Association of Realtors®.  The update covers 11 areas in or near the Denver Metro. Year-over-year sales of condos in the $500,000 – $699,999 price range rose nearly 166 percent from last year, while condos in the $1 million to $1.9 million rose nearly 10 percent. There was even a rise in sales of condos priced at $2 million and up.

Upscale urban living is still solidly in style. “City dwellers will be the most intrinsic part of the development of …making Denver the city center of the west,” Hancock noted in his State of the City address.

Susie Bernardi, a Fuller Sotheby’s International Realty broker who has sold a number of high-end condos in downtown Denver, believes yet another market is developing, due to the hearty economy. She believes the market will see an uptick in out-of-state and international buyers, who want a second home or a comfortable, private space to stay when in Denver on extended business.

1084742_Rooftop_highSo what’s hot among these discriminating buyers?

Boomer buyers are looking for quality finishes and unique styles that are elegant enough for entertaining but casual enough for comfortable daily living. City dwellers of all ages are attracted to the possibility of selling cars and using a scooter, bicycle or even a short-term rental car for quick trips around the neighborhood.

“We are seeing older adult buyers who still want some elegant living space for entertaining and a reasonable amount of storage, which they are used to having,” said Bernardi. “Style and design that allows personal expression is important. Condo spaces may be smaller but offer something the buyer has never had, like a spectacular view, for example.”

Bernardi also adds that for buyers in downsize mode, the quality of space now trumps quantity. Additionally, smaller spaces are likely to be more efficient in energy and lifestyle use, which is important to boomers and the 20/somethings buyers.

Affluent boomer buyers may have an ulterior motive for choosing the condo lifestyle: the opportunity to own both a place in the city and another in the mountains or on the beach.

“There may be complete method in their madness!” Bernardi said.

Here are a few tips for condo buyers of any age to consider:

* Homework:  Check the rules, regulations and especially budgets set to manage the condominium property. Ask for six months worth of minutes from homeowner association meetings and look for past or upcoming discussion on special assessments, especially in older buildings.

* Ask: Buyers should ask themselves if condo living suits their lifestyle or the one they aspire to be living.  Amenities or space needs that were important 20 years ago have likely changed. What is most important now?

* Explore: Walk the potential new neighborhood to get a sense of the community and its amenities.

* Exit Strategy:  Who will you sell to when it’s time to move?  Will your view get blocked with new construction? Will buyer trends be different in five to seven years?

* Engage: Work with a real estate professional to represent your best interests in the transaction, and for the latest information on pricing, neighborhoods and trends.

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