We may not be in a citywide bull market, but there are plenty of reasons to feel pretty darn good about real estate in the Mile High City this year. This is especially true of Highlands, which has become a nationally recognized, trendsetting model for the possibilities of 21st-century new urbanism. Here’s how Highlands became the hottest part of town—and which local neighborhoods might be next.
8z CEO and founder Lane Hornung on the surprisingly sunny picture of Denver real estate.
Q: What’s your overall assessment of the current market?
A: We’re still in a recovery, but it’s gathering momentum in different places.
Q: What is it about Denver’s real estate that makes things so much better than in the rest of the country?
A: There are a couple of things: In home-price metrics, Denver’s been in the top five, at least, for the last couple of years. A guy on CNBC just sent me something saying Denver is the place he’s telling investors and real estate pros to buy property. We have a migration happening, and it’s in the right demographics. We’re third in the country in migration, but in the key demo of 25- to 44-year-olds, we’re number one. Those people are moving here not necessarily for jobs, but for lifestyle and a better housing market. It’s relatively stable and healthy, and it doesn’t look skimpy to them. The markets on the coast are getting healthy enough to let people get out of them.
Q: How did the downturn affect people’s assumptions about home ownership?
A: You’d think that the dream of home ownership is dead, especially among the millennials. But survey after survey says the millennials want home ownership as much as any other generation. It’s smaller, smarter, not so much fix-and-flip, but they really want home ownership.
Q: But they’re going about it differently?
A: Right. It’s gotta be smart and well-researched. They’re way savvier, and they know the market. They’re really cautious, and rightly so, all the way through the transaction. What’s great about that is that they make great sellers later on, because they bought right. They’re not underwater, or in a bad house with a bad floor plan, or on a bad street.