Karl Lueders Presents: 1045 Monroe, a Modernist Bungalow in Congress Park

Classic brick bungalow in the heart of Congress Park. Lush landscaping both front and back offers a Zen-like retreat within two blocks of 12th Avenue fun: coffee, ice cream, wine, pizza and, of course, TAG Burger Bar. Inside, enjoy contemporary touches mingling with the original craftsman styling throughout the house. Note the modern updates in the bathroom, fireplace and lighting throughout. Enjoy hardwood floors, a foodies kitchen, extra office space off the back, evaporative cooler, great storage, 220 wiring outside and a huge, welcoming front porch. Opportunities abound!

If you’re ready to sell your Congress Park home quickly and for the best possible price, call Karl to discuss strategy. Better yet, call these sellers to find out how satisfied they are with their results!


Denver Real Estate… I’ve Heard of it, But Where Is It?

There is a dirty myth floating around Denver right now, that there are no homes for sale. Wrong. There are plenty of homes that are, have been and will be for sale. You’re just not fast enough to get one of them.

Take, for example, 1650 Dahlia in Park Hill: back in March, we listed Dahlia for $419,000 on a Friday and sat back and waited for the two dozen offers to roll in, which would hopefully get us to full price.

Karl Lueders Presents 1650 Dahlia

As it turned out, a blizzard hit two hours after hitting the MLS, dashing the open house planned for Saturday morning and any hope for the mayhem my sellers and I so morbidly desired. As it turns out, you only need one offer. One enterprising Realtor convinced her buyers to strap on snowshoes and weather the Friday storm once she heard about the numerous showing cancellations and the open house.

Before the open house was supposed to have started, my sellers accepted an offer for $425,000, and closed without incident 30-odd days later.

The buyers had been waiting for months for south Park Hill, which is why they were willing to spend a bit more for this location, but they were missing on houses left and right prior to securing 1650 Dahlia. Note what the one buyer said: “they were missing houses left and right.” That means that they weren’t sitting around waiting for Kentwood to list 1650 Dahlia. They were up to bat, taking swings at other opportunities. So, yes, there are houses on the market; it’s just none of them are staying on the shelf long enough to be counted as “inventory.”

Inventory talks about unsold property that is active at the time when the nerds come through with their counters and chart movement. And, like any retail operation, inventory costs money because it gathers dust, and you have to pay for space to keep it. So when you hear that inventory levels are down 70+%, or that we’re at all-time lows in available houses, you can interpret that as the market has a ton of buyers looking to lock in an artificially low interest rate before everything blows up in our face. They just have to be particularly aggressive to get their house.

Interestingly enough, sales numbers haven’t dipped at all. In fact, sales numbers that ebb and flow with the seasons have been eerily consistent over the past 4 years. Believe it. See the chart. Blue line – inventory. Red line – sales. Home sales figures are consistent, yet “inventory” is down?

Karl Lueders Presents

Karl Lueders Presents Sales v. Inventory 2007-2013

So is the Denver real estate market inflated? Well, buyers are paying a premium for homes, but they accept that the premium can be offset by the sub-4% interest rate within a few years of taking possession. Plus, $5,000-$10,000 over asking price is a small price to pay over 30 years than paying 5% every month v. 3.5%.

Most of this love/hate duality comes from the misconception that hidden somewhere within all this exuberance is a free lunch for a buyer or seller. There isn’t. Some buyers are reluctant to compete with others because they feel like they are overpaying for a home that could go down in value. Well, that’s true no matter when you buy the house; plus, if you would rather rent while you’re on the sidelines, notice the ridiculously low vacancy rate in Denver right now. Talk about overpaying? I have friends in the multi-family construction business that still can’t believe that they are able to get away with more than $2/foot in rent. This is 100% higher than levels in 2009. There is a good chance that the gold rush will continue as long as interest rates are low. Denver is the country’s most popular city with dozens of people moving here every day. And I don’t think any of them moved here to rent forever.

Conversely, many itchy would-be sellers are waiting for this crazy gravy train to make their homes shoot up even more in value so they can reap the same benefits as their neighbors. Again, don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. Their profit is tied to their individual life decisions. And if they bought before or after you – in more favorable market conditions – they have a different baseline. Think about early 2001, when you were waiting for your dot-com portfolio to double… again! It didn’t. Chances are that your home has never been more valuable than it is today, regardless of what the market thinks of its value.

Of course, if you are a seller, you wield considerably more power than buyers. Put your house on the market and see what happens. Psych! Not really selling… but you probably will when you see what you can get for your house. Back in Chicago in the mid-1990s, I advised a lot of my friends to do the exact same thing. It worked because they got over their fear that nobody would want to buy their home. Most of them sold; some did not. But they all achieved clarity.

If you’re a buyer, I’m not gonna lie, you need a pair to buy a home these days. You can’t be in it 75%, 85% or even 99%. There is going to be someone up to the challenge of cutting out of work, waking their baby from a nap or walking off the golf course to find the house they want. Are they crazy? No, they’re committed. If you want to dabble, wait for the interest rates to go up; of course, your payments will also increase by 25-50%, but at least you can finish your round.

Karl Lueders is a Denver Metro Association of Realtors Million-Dollar Roundtable honoree, as well as a 5280 Five Star Realtor. He can be found in traditional ways: if Twitter, G+ and LinkedIn are the new traditions. Calling Karl Lueders 720-971-8267 also works. Especially if you’re planning on living in or leaving Washington Park.

2012 Denver Real Estate Statistics – Washington Park (East)

Two reasons why East Washington Park’s real estate performance shockingly dipped from 2011 to 2012:

  1. Wash Park is so far ahead of the curve in terms of Denver real estate that the tony east-side neighborhood actually experienced its 2012 in 2011 (take a minute), and there’s no way any neighborhood could hold this kind of momentum.
  2. It didn’t.

I may have gotten some of you to think #2, since you wouldn’t expect deception from this blog. And you would be right.

East Wash Park has always been the bellwether of Denver real estate, and people tend to freak out if Wash Park starts to tank. I’m here to tell you: you may continue with the good times.

Since 2010, average sales prices in East Wash Park have hovered between $650,000-$670,000. That part is no surprise. Check last year’s East Wash Park wrapup. Average prices in 2012 ticked up to $654,000 from $650,000 in 2011, and the price per square foot has crept ever closer to the $400/PSF, finishing 2012 at $394/PSF.

And, just to brag, 12 of the last 14 Wash Park homes that sold in 2012 went under contract in less than 30 days. Nine of those sold in less than a week. Boom.

A few trends from 2012:

  • the 76 homes that sold in East Wash Park is more of an indication of the low inventory than ability to sell. That’s not much of a stretch.
  • Lots that sold in East Wash Park hovered around 5422 SF, which shows a trend toward scrapes (double lots are 6250 SF), putting an emphasis on yard size with the house.
  • Only one half-duplex sold in 2012.
  • Days on Market averaged 47 days, still a month under the city average. That number included 13 homes that sat on the market for more than 100 days.

What can I say? Don’t mess with East Wash Park.

Karl Lueders is a Denver Metro Association of Realtors Million-Dollar Roundtable honoree, as well as a 5280 Five Star Realtor. He can be found in traditional ways: if Twitter, G+ and LinkedIn are the new traditions. Calling Karl Lueders 720-971-8267 also works. Especially if you’re planning on living in or leaving Washington Park.


2012 Denver Real Estate Statistics – West Washington Park

It would be foolish to assume that West Wash Park home sales could improve upon itself, year-over-year, but then again, it’s foolish to underestimate the power of the Park… both sides.

Real Estate Statistics 2012Last year, West Wash Park saw 158 single-family home sales in the area loosely defined as Virginia Ave., Downing, Louisiana Ave., and the Lincoln/I25 combo on the west. Of these 30 were duplexes (attached homes, if you will) and the other 128 detached homes of varying prices and sizes.

While duplexes tend to hold value without major dips or rises – duplexes rose in value a mere .4% from 2011 to 2012 – the average time they spent on the market dropped significantly, shaving more than 3 weeks’ of time from list date to contract date. In 2011, duplexes took 109 days; last year, they spent only 86 days on the market.

Detached homes – the garden variety bungalow, Denver square or pop-top – also dropped their days on market by 22 days (77 to 55). WWP detached homes also enjoyed uncharacteristic rises in average sale price. In 2011, the average detached home sold for $393,975; last year, that number jumped 17.4% to $462,790. Part of this jump resulted in the volume of high-end home sales in West Wash Park.

Despite falling under the elite Wash Park banner, the west side had always been known as the more “affordable” side, with property values appreciating but never really skyrocketing in the same fashion as its East side counterpart. In fact, WWP has never had a $1 million-plus homes sale. Until last year. Last September 28, 801 S Downing sold for $1.1 million cash.

Welcome to the big leagues, West Wash Park. East Wash Park to come.

Karl Lueders is a Denver Metro Association of Realtors Million-Dollar Roundtable honoree, as well as a 5280 Five Star Realtor. He can be found in traditional ways: if Twitter, G+ and LinkedIn are the new traditions. Calling Karl Lueders 720-971-8267 also works. Especially if you’re planning on living in or leaving Congress Park.

2012 Denver Real Estate Statistics – Congress Park

In terms of real estate values, I have always thought of Congress Park as central Denver’s bellwether neighborhood. It’s far from Washington Park‘s irrational exuberance (I shall prove this about Wash Park shortly) and Cherry Creek‘s roller coaster resale; it’s a smaller swath of land than Park Hill so it’s easier to define, and with the emergence of 12th Avenue as a destination for people outside the boundary (for purposes of this argument, 8th Avenue to Colfax and Josephine to Colorado Blvd mark the territory; different than last year), Congress Park is starting to lose its best-kept-secret sheen.

Which is great for real estate. Consider these simple statistics: in 2011, 105 homes sold in Congress Park. Last year, 135 homes sold. That’s easy, happy math. Interestingly, the difference came in the form of attached homes, duplexes, if you will. Detached single family homes remained constant from 2011 to 2012: 101 to 104. But duplexes increased 750% from 2011! Only 4 sold in 2011; 31 duplexes sold last year.

We haven’t talked about double-digit

increases for a long time, much less 12.2%.

Part of this increase can be attributed to low interest rates and buyers coming out of their bomb shelters from the last few years. We are also seeing buyers recovering from the foreclosure scars suffered in the mid-2000s, ready to get back in the game. Traditionally, duplexes are about 25% cheaper than their detached counterparts. And while duplexes enjoyed a modest increase in value year over year (from $282k to $295k in 2012), detached homes skyrocketed in comparison.

In 2011, the average Congress Park home sold for $381,313 (the most expensive home award going to 1044 Milwaukee), but in 2012, 936 Fillmore sold for $765,000 – the highest in Congress Park – helping raise the average sale price to $434,069. We haven’t talked about double-digit value increases for a long time, much less 12.2%.

It wouldn’t hurt to mention that it average days on market (known by real estate nerds as DOM), have dropped by about half the time for Congress Park. So, is it a good time to move in or out of Congress Park? How about both?

Karl Lueders is a Denver Metro Association of Realtors Million-Dollar Roundtable honoree, as well as a 5280 Five Star Realtor. He can be found in traditional ways: if Twitter, G+ and LinkedIn are the new traditions. Calling Karl Lueders 720-971-8267 also works. Especially if you’re planning on living in or leaving Congress Park.

Denver’s Start-Up Community Adding Steak to the Local Sizzle

The karmic payback for Denver following such a crappy ski season last winter might have been worth the pain of brown ski runs and early closings. Now that the resorts are opening up (finally!), let’s remember a couple highlights of 2012:

  1. This January, FOX News called Denver the place to live and buy real estate. Not a bad prediction: real estate sales have benefited tremendously from supremely low interest rates (albeit artificially sustained) and oddly low inventory (too many homeowners with not enough positive equity). Yet for those fortunate enough to sell, they were welcomed with multiple offers often higher than asking price. Of course, selling a house will turn quickly turn someone into a buyer, relegating them to the shark tank of homebuying. There haven’t been too many complaints about this climate from my end, though.
  2. Colorado has become a battleground state. Not five years ago, Colorado was just another swath of the great midwestern sea of red on every election big board visited by presidential candidates from about 30,000 feet. Of course, now we can’t get them to leave.
  3. Apparently, Colorado will also see a rise in flavored corn and potato snack consumption. Unless, of course, Governor John Hickenlooper convinces the feds to buy out the state’s entire supplies of Cheetos and Goldfish, thereby discouraging recreational users statewide from the cause by denying them the oh-so delicious effect.
  4. More importantly, and curiously close to yours truly, is the emergence of the start-up and requisite incubators to the Denver business landscape. Most notably, although not alone, is the recent arrival of the Galvanize tech campus to the Golden Triangle (my ‘hood), giving entrepreneurs a place to create and reap the rewards of immersing themselves amongst other starts-ups. Some more (oxymoron alert) established start-ups like Forkly and Roximity have already snatched up private suites, but the traditional bullpen atmosphere is what’s being promoted heavily.
  5. And, of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the major free-agent football pick-upduring the off-season. Cornerback Tracy Porter, Super Bowl hero for the New Orleans Saints from three years ago and proud Indiana University alumnus, has helped shore up the local football team’s secondary.

It’s good to be in Denver.

Karl Lueders is a residential Realtor with The Kentwood Company at Cherry Creek (and IU grad). He can be reached at 720.971.8267, email, Twitter or G+.



Karl Lueders Presents… It’s Official, LoHi is no Longer Hip

Say what you want about Forbes magazine and its subscribers, but I doubt many of  them are leafing through a copy in LoHi coffee shops such as Metropolis or Shangri-La.

Which is to say that Forbes may not be the most accurate barometer of things hip. More accurately, Forbes is the exact opposite of hip. It is the proverbial “man” that hipsters love to loathe (while they’re still poor). And Steve Forbes is the proverbial “man.” He doesn’t hire skinny jean-wearing punks to help shape his editorial platform.

But there it is, in full digital color. Forbes named the 20 Hippest neighborhoods in America, and for what it’s worth, LoHi is 17th. It’s behind the obvious: LA’s Silver Lake, NYC’s Williamsburg, etc., but ahead of Boston, Miami and Houston. To be fair, Forbes‘ digital content is decidedly less corporate than its monthly print version, but Maxim doesn’t really analyze Wall Street, either, so consider the source.

Back in my journalist days, we used to joke that once a daily newspaper “discovered” a trend, it was likely already played out. I think in this case, however, Forbes is merely stating the obvious: LoHi arrived a long time ago and congratulations if you saw it coming.

Karl Lueders is one of Denver’s top residential Realtors. He has been selling homes all over the metro area, but in 2012, 25% of his business has been in LoHi.  Find out more about Denver’s most popular neighborhood (see what I did there?), search for homes, or get info on where Denver’s truly hip spot is by calling Lueders 720.971.8267, emailing Lueders, karl@denverrealestate.com or by blowing him up @KarlLueders or on LinkedIn.

Karl Lueders Presents.. Tejon Square – Another Sold in LoHi!

It’s all connected. A house I sell in Highlands Ranch this past April leads to a sale on this rare Tejon Square townhome in LoHi, just a couple of months later…  Karl Lueders

Tejon Square

Karl Lueders Sells Another Home in LoHi... Tejon Square

Sitting at the closing table for my Highlands Ranch buyer, I was killing time with the buyer’s lender, lamenting (bitching and moaning, actually) how low Denver real estate’s inventory was, and how few condos and townhomes were available for sale downtown and in the Highlands. I would call other top Denver agents, but I was coming up empty for this buyer. Coincidentally, the lender happened to know quite a few people at Tejon Square and suggested I contact a couple of owners who had been considering selling their places.

It didn’t happen overnight, but a couple of letters and a few phone calls later, my buyer bought a hot property in Denver’s best neighborhood without waiting for the property to come on the market.

Karl Lueders is an experienced residential real estate agent who goes the extra mile for his clients. Find out more about Karl or listen to his past clients and find out why the best service comes from the best Denver real estate agents. Call Karl at 720-971-8267 or dial Karl up on LinkedIn.


Big Changes to Denver’s Landmark Designation Process?

(Ed. note: Karl Lueders lived in Driving Park Historic District for more than 10 years and served on that neighborhood board as well as acted as a liaison to the Landmark Preservation Commission during that time.)

On September 18, 2012, the Denver Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) will hold a public hearing to address the Community Planning and Development‘s proposal to change the process in which LPC reviews landmark designation applications.

Some of these proposed changes are administrative in nature, such as raising the fee for non-owner applicants to potentially designate certain historic structures (plus raise the buy-in). A more notable proposal, however, will require each application be sponsored by three people who either own or live in the City or County of Denver. This revision is likely in response to the current liberty that allows any Denver resident or property owner to submit a landmark designation application on any property in the city. There have been recent well-publicized accounts of this occurring, where the applications have allegedly been filed by non-owners to slow or stop potential development of certain Denver properties that did not have landmark designation protection.

There are several other proposals within the Community Planning and Development’s draft. If you live in one of Denver’s 50 historic neighborhoods, you should read the above proposal and consider attending the meeting on September 18, 2012, at 1 pm in Room 4.F.G in the Webb Building, 201 W. Colfax.

Owning a home in one of Denver’s landmark neighborhoods carries an additional responsibility from those that don’t, and as a homeowner or resident, you need to be aware of the policies that govern those areas.

Karl Lueders is a residential Realtor with Kentwood Real Estate. He has intimate working knowledge of the LPC and what it takes to make home improvements within those neighborhoods. Please give Karl a call if you have questions about whether you live in a historic area, are considering buying in a historic area or plan to make improvements to your home. You can reach him at 720-971-8267. You can also follow him on Twitter or find him on LinkedIn.

Read about the benefits of landmark designations by visiting Historic Denver.

Karl Lueders Presents…. LoHi Loft Sold in a week.

It’s been a busy summer, so Karl Lueders Inc. hasn’t been able to post the recent sales and listings from July, mostly because they’re selling as quickly as he’s putting them on. Denver real estate has been humming right along since the spring, with low inventory and lots of buyers creating bidding wars for desirable properties.

Credit listing agents who know not to overprice homes and cave in to the temptation of testing the market. Buyers are more savvy than ever, and for every Denver house that sells in a day, there are two like it getting no love at all.

Karl Lueders Closed This Lohi Loft in 2 weeks. Cash. That doesn't suck.

This amazing loft in the original LoHi corridor of 15th Street sold twice, actually. After 10 showings in a day, the sellers received a full-price offer, but the buyers backed out once they understood the complexities of home ownership and maintaining such a large condo.

A week later, Karl Lueders and his seller drew another offer – cash, this time – and closed the property faster than had the original offer stuck around. True, LoHi is one of Denver’s – not to mention the country’s hottest neighborhoods – but Denver condos have been struggling for years. And while this was a cash deal, banks are finding creative ways to lend money to good borrowers.

Updates on more condos, like 2441 Broadway #206, which sold last month, are coming. Along with yet another Lohi sale and even properties out of town!

Karl Lueders is a residential Realtor with The Kentwood Company. You can “find” him on LinkedIn, Twitter or G+. The phone method works well, too. 720-971-8267. And email: karl@denverrealestate.com.