First Western Trust recently joined forces with Englewood Mortgage Company, a leading Colorado-based mortgage firm. Englewood Mortgage CEO, Alan Schrum, a 30-year veteran in real estate, has taken on the role of President, Residential Mortgage for First Western.
Here, Director of Brand, Alexis Owen, gets Alan’s thoughts about the white-hot Denver real estate market and what to expect in the months ahead.
Alexis Owen: The Fed has said it plans to raise interest rates at least once more before the end of the year. Knowing this, what would you say to a prospective buyer about the right time to buy? Do you think rising interest rates will stall Denver’s market?
Alan Schrum: With the Feds move to raise short-term rates, the opinions I am seeing in the residential mortgage market are that the long-terms rate will move upward as well. Predictions are that rates will be in the mid 4’s by the end of the year.
The timing for a prospective buyer in this market is still very attractive right now. Denver continues to attract people to Colorado, and we are seeing a lot of people coming here as a lifestyle decision. I don’t see that changing, and I don’t see rates getting out of hand. The Denver market will continue to be strong.
AO: You’ve been in real estate in the Denver market for a long time. What are the biggest changes you’ve seen over the past 10 years?
AS: The biggest change I have seen is the influx of newcomers, both in Denver and the surrounding suburbs. The metro Denver market has seen record-level growth, which has had a dramatic impact on home values and inventory. The city added 13,000 new residents last year alone. That’s more than 1,000 people a month, and we have sustained this level of growth for multiple years running now.
Interestingly, while many people are beginning to feel priced out of the market—which comes with its own set of problems—the majority of newcomers to Denver are moving from areas that are more expensive than Denver. These people feel Colorado is a great place to live; it provides a more affordable lifestyle for them and their families in a beautiful setting with incredible amenities.
AO: What are the best neighborhoods to invest in if you’re looking for growth?
AS: The areas that surround metro Denver are becoming more popular due to price increases on the more traditionally affordable neighborhoods. New inventory is being built north of the city, such as the Midtown development, as well as expansion of existing developments, like Stapleton, which is adding new neighborhoods closer to Commerce City.
As these neighborhoods get built out with great amenities like pools and parks, strong retail naturally follows. It takes years for a community to mature, but for those willing to wait, their home values will undoubtedly increase.
AO: Any other insights or advice you would offer prospective buyers?
AS: Like any market, real estate has its ups and downs. What won’t change is the fact that Colorado is one of the best places to live in the country. Whether natives or newcomers, my buyers always feel lucky to call this place home.