Whether you are an active duty, veteran or military retiree family, you may be on the move this year. Are you looking for a place to call home over the next three years or maybe you are in the market for your forever home?
One key to making a smart choice whether to rent or buy a home is knowing the local real estate market. Moving every couple of years per the military lifestyle can intimidate anyone out of buying a house. Yes, it can be a gamble. However, thousands of mil-families roll the dice so to speak and come out with an excellent investment.
Colorado Springs Real Estate
To look at the current housing market in Colorado Springs, we turned to one of the “A-Graded” REALTORS® on PCSgrades.com.
Retired Army Officer Harv Singh uses his past military experience to provide concise knowledge of Colorado Springs Real Estate. His team at Rocky Peak Homes is passionate about helping military families, veterans, and retirees to navigate the Colorado Springs housing market.
IS NOW A GOOD TIME TO BUY IN Colorado Springs?
Colorado Springs is often ranked on those lists of ‘Best Places to Live,’ and many feel the market is poised for continued growth this year. Singh says 2019 is definitely a good time to buy. “Interest rates are still relatively low, and market conditions look favorable.”
IS IT A BUYER’S MARKET OR A SELLER’S MARKET?
Inventory in the Colorado Springs Housing Market is currently low. Singh says military families moving during the upcoming spring and summer PCS cycles may find themselves in competitive offer situations. “In our experience, each home purchase is different,” says Singh. “A good agent will be able to inform his or her buyer on what is the best strategy for them.”
Singh says off-cycle movers might have an advantage, due to less competition in the fall and winter months.
STATUS OF INVENTORY in Colorado Springs Real Estate
Current inventory in the first quarter of 2019 is low with approximately 1700 homes available. This equates to only 1.3 months of inventory. “Traditionally, 5-6 months of inventory is a benchmark of roughly equal leverage between buyer and seller,” says Singh. “Once inventory levels increase to above 5-6 months, this advantage moves towards the Buyer.”
AFFORDABLE HOMES – HOMES FOR SALE IN COLORADO SPRINGS
According to Singh, affordable housing is becoming a huge issue not only in Colorado Springs but throughout most of the country. He says it’s due to several factors including a steady increase in the price of existing homes over the past several years. “The cost of new builds is rising, and interest rates are also rising,” says Singh. “But personal income growth has remained relatively flat.”
The median sales price of a home sold in Colorado Springs is $285,000 which is reasonable given current BAH levels.
WHAT IS THE COMPETITION LIKE?
Competition on homes below the median sales price is stiff as is competition on homes in desirable school districts. Houses with an easy commute to any of the local bases and those in good condition are also in high demand. Singh tells us bidding wars have been the norm for the past two years during the busiest PCS cycles. “In our experience, each home purchase is different, and a good agent will be able to inform his or her buyer on what is the best strategy for submitting an offer.”
OPTIONS FOR RENTERS
The rental market in Colorado Springs Real Estate is very competitive. Many rentals spend less than a week on the market. Singh points out the rental market is considerably slower, two to three weeks, during the off-peak PCS seasons of fall and winter.
LEASE BARGAINING POWER
Incentives such as free rent for a month or two, free parking spaces or waived amenities fees have not been available in the Colorado Springs housing market for several years now because of the stiff competition in the rental market.
AVAILABILITY OF NEW CONSTRUCTION
New construction inventory is also currently low. Builders have not been able to keep up with demand. Singh says builders are only building a few spec homes because they don’t want to have lots of overhead or risk. Homebuyers can expect 1-4 months of build time for most new homes.
“If a new build is what you want,” says Singh, “it’s still best practice to have a Realtor. They will be able to advocate for you, review contracts, advise you on selections, layouts, and resale considerations.” He points out the builder pays the buyer’s real estate agent’s fee. “Most builders will not offer you a discount even if you don’t have a Realtor,” says Singh, “So best practice, have a realtor representing you and looking out for your for your interest.”
ADVICE FOR FIRST-TIME BUYERS
“The advice I would give to first-time buyers is to get pre-qualified with a local lender,” says Singh. “They understand the local market, timelines and have experience with the military buyer.” Being pre-qualified will help you understand your budget right from the beginning.
Singh also recommends finding a Realtor you trust, who understands your unique requirements as a military member. He says it’s important to find an agent who understands your short and long term goals, whether it’s selling, retiring or turning the home into a rental/investment property.
IS IT EASY TO RESELL IN A FEW YEARS?
“Our approach to military home buyers is two-fold,” says Singh. “We help them find the home that not only fits their current needs, but also has the potential to be resold or rented out in the future.”
Colorado Springs has seen steady growth. With four military bases in the local area, there is a lot of opportunity during the PCS seasons. Singh says due to the nature of the local housing market, “it is also important for military personnel to have a back-up plan to possibly use the home as a rental with a reputable Property Management company.”
The military buyer needs to take into consideration their current and future plans and needs. “They need to look into the potential for growth in equity or to use the home as an investment vehicle,” says Singh. “Colorado Springs is a very desirable place to live. Its growth is outpacing many other cities across the country. So yes, it is a good time to buy, but with clear plans in mind.”