The price of the average home has continued to increase despite the pandemic. (Shutterstock)

Dick Greenberg recalls back in the ‘90s a time he and his wife, Mary, brokers/owners of New Paradigm Partners, lost out on a residential sale in Fort Collins because they didn’t want to list the home for more than $400,000.

Oh how times have changed.

Greenberg, a former forecast economist for Lockheed Martin in Denver, enjoyed a 30-year-career in economic development, including in Loveland and Pueblo, before making the switch to residential real estate.

He remains an economist at heart and continues to monitor the northern Colorado real estate market on a monthly basis. His most recent statistics for May indicate home prices have once again risen across the board:

In Greeley, the median home price went up 2.2% to $378K from $370K, while the average price was up 0.3% to $400K from $398K during the same period.

In Loveland, the median price gained 15.2% to $500K from $434K in April 2021, while the average price gained 15.5%, to $579K from $501K.

And in Fort Collins, the median price gained 4.7% to $534K from $510K in April 2021, while the average price gained 5.9%, to $592K from $559K.

If that’s not enough to make you wonder if you’ll ever be able to own your own home, here’s another fun fact: Home prices in the Loveland and Fort Collins market have increased $100,000 over this time last year, according to Greenberg.

“With franchises building people out of home ownership, everything has become luxury homes for the affluent. Everyone else will have to rent,” he said.

Another factor in high home prices heading upward on the graph, Greenberg said, is reticence on the part of current homeowners to sell their homes during the pandemic, which has brought the inventory of homes way down.

“We had historic lows starting in October, and it has kept declining,” he said. We had 100-plus homes for sale (in northern Colorado) in April. Usually the number would be 600.”

Where does this leave the luxury home market?

“What’s going on with million-dollar homes has little to do with the real estate market,” Greenberg said. “A lot of people have done well (financially) out of the pandemic. We have basically a fundamentally stable economy in northern Colorado with good basic employment. There is a very affluent chunk of people at the top end. Those are the ones buying luxury homes.”

New construction of million-dollar homes is strong in this area, especially in Windsor, Timnath and Fort Collins where homes sit on large lots, often with water or mountain views, he added.

John Clarkson, manager of Benchmark Custom Homes LLC in Greeley, agrees that there is a market for high-end homes, but existing luxury homes are not always “snapped up as quickly as homes under $700,000.”

Although Greeley is not yet a major market for luxury homes, Clarkson said there is “the money here to support that.”

“It takes a year-plus to build a custom home,” Clarkson said, compared to seven months for a “regular family home” and a month or so for homes by franchise builders.

He added, “What is on the market seems to be sitting.”

Case in point: Swan Lake Estate, 3696 65th Ave., Evans, has been for sale for well over 300 days. The fully furnished 29-room property, listed at $7,750,000 was built in 1977 and sits on 12 park-like acres. It features six bedrooms and 12 bathrooms and comes with a 20,000 square foot barn for receptions, a ’50s-style diner, a spa that seats 20, a movie theater and a workshop. The property is listed by LIV Sotheby’s International Realty.

By Luanne Kadlub, At Home Colorado.