Mark and Lisa CramerTake a look at what our clients have to say and you will better understand why 95% of our business is referral based.

We recognize that a realtor’s reputation and business success go hand-in-hand. That’s why we treat every transaction as an opportunity to build a relationship and showcase our integrity, competency, and commitment.

--Mark and Lisa Cramer
Kentwood Cherry Creek's #1 Sales Team

Denver’s Upper Market Feeling The Squeeze


Upper Market Moves into Seller’s Territory
The National Association of Realtors has long held that six months of inventory equates to a balanced market. Months of inventory, or sometimes called “absorption rate”, is the number of months it would take to sell all of the currently listed homes if they sold at the same rate at which they sold during the previous 12 months. Our most recent analysis of the central Denver market shows that the upper third of our market, homes over $615,000, which was hovering last January in balanced territory at around 5.62 months, has fallen to 3.75 months — well below NAR’s standard of balance at six months.

Market Tightens Across All Price Points
The lower (homes under $415,000) and middle (homes between $415,000 and $615,000) markets have been in seller territory for a couple of years and have tightened even more since the previous January; however, not as much on a real or percentage basis as the upper market. Regardless, the chemistry of real estate transactions is not that different whether you have 2 months or 1 month of supply – it’s still a strong seller’s market!

Buyers Find Solace at The Very High End
We were curious to see how high in price you had to go to find a balanced market. At $1.8 million the market is back to equilibrium, which represents the top 4% of the market by price. As we move into the spring market, increasing demand will outpace increasing supply. We expect to see a drop in months of inventory even at the very, very high end.

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Kentwood Cherry Creek’s #1 Sales Team for 2015

towncrierAnnounced Last Week
We are proud to have been recognized as Kentwood Cherry Creek’s #1 Producing Sales Team for 2015! We made the switch from Coldwell Banker Devonshire exactly a year ago. In 2014 at Coldwell Banker we were the #1 selling agents for the Devonshire office and #2 for Coldwell Banker in the state of Colorado.

Our success comes from the support and trust of our clients and friends.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Kentwood Continues to Dominate the Central Denver Market
The Kentwood Company continues to dominate the cental Denver real estate market with a 17% lead over the number two real estate company in total dollars sold. Kentwood’s total sales for 2015 was $2.4 billion. We are honored be a part of this great team.

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Showing History

gold_pannerNot since Colorado prospectors yelled “gold” from the banks of where the Cherry Creek runs into the South Platte River, has Denver seen such a rush on real estate as we did last spring. The current median price for a detached home in central Denver (26th to Hampden and Broadway to Quebec) has risen from $430,000 to $498,000. We are now seeing a return to normalcy in terms of number of showings per listing.

Demand on the Streets
The graph below represents the number of showings per listing over the past 21 months for homes priced up to $1 million. The red circles show that demand for homes last month is pretty much in line with demand for homes for September 2014. What is more eye opening is the precipitous climb in showings starting in the cold month of January (see the red box).


Two Takeaways
1) Right now is a great time to be looking for a home. If spring of 2016 is a repeat of 2015’s spring market, then the battle between buyers will begin in January. Also, our inventory is slightly higher right now than it was a year ago.

2) If you are considering selling your home in 2016, then starting earlier than April or May, might be to your advantage.

The continued low interest rates speak favorably for buyers and sellers to both of the above points.

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What Do Jack Nicklaus and The Cramers Have in Common?

JN2Hint: It’s not our golf game 
Just like Jack Nicklaus has won The Masters six times, we were just awarded the 5280 Magazine Five Star Real Estate Award for the sixth time. We have won this award all six years that it’s been offered. Less than 1% of Denver Realtors can claim the same.

Why we care
The 5280 Magazine Five Star Award is the only comprehensive real estate award in Denver that’s based on customer satisfaction. 5280 Magazine hired a third party to survey recent buyers and sellers regarding their satisfaction with their Realtor. Making our clients happy is our marketing – not bus bench advertising, or Broncos football schedules (you can find those here). Other than referrals from our clients, this is the only measurement that we receive that we are “marketing” effectively.

Thank you!
Thank you to our clients who responded to 5280 Magazine’s survey. We are very lucky and honored to work with you. Thank you for your support, referrals, and business. Fore!

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575 Circle Drive

575 Circle Drive is an impressive castle-like estate built in 1931 and recently renovated in 2001 and 2014.  This residence sits on over three quarters of an acre in the most prestigious Country Club location, Circle Drive.

Every detail has been meticulously executed with the highest level of craftsmanship.  The home features breathtaking woodwork, leaded glass and ornate plaster ceiling moldings.

The formal living room and dining room are grand and elegant.  The gourmet eat-in kitchen is bright and sunny with an adjacent butler’s pantry. There are his and hers offices and a luxurious master suite with a private sitting room.

There are 6 generously sized bedroom suites and 9 bathrooms.  The above grade square footage is 7,476 and the total square footage is 10,212.

The basement is finished with a media room, office, kitchen, wine cellar, gym, sauna, steam shower and a relaxing massage room.  For the automobile enthusiast there’s a heated driveway and 4 car garage.

The magnificent private back yard has many spacious patios, a fire pit and a seemingly endless lawn — perfect for entertaining on intimate or opulent scale

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A Closer Look at Inventory

Our supply of housing continues to freefall in Denver. What you need to know:

1. The supply of homes has fallen from 35,000 to 5,000 since February 2011. That’s about an 85% drop.


2. The rate of inventory decline is dependent on the price. The lower the price the greater decline in inventory.

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3. The number of available homes for sale in the luxury market is about the same as it was last year, but the number of homes under $400,000 is down 54%.

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Make no mistake, the Denver real estate market is strong at all price points. It’s worth noting, however, that your negotiating power is dependent on the market in which you are buying or selling.

If you or anyone you know is considering purchasing or selling a home, we would be delighted to be of service.

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We Just Moved!

No, we did not sell our home — that would be silly
After ten years at Coldwell Banker, Devonshire we have decided to move to Kentwood Real Estate. While Kentwood’s cost of doing business is a bit more expensive for us (not our clients), we believe that our buyers will benefit from access to more homes before they hit the market, and our sellers will benefit from exposure to stronger agents at our pre-market broker opens.

Why Kentwood?  Based on our own anaylysis of the MLS data, Kentwood sells 50% more homes in central Denver than their next competitor! And Kentwood sells approximately 23% of their homes to clients represented by other Kentwood agents compared to Coldwell Banker’s 13%. They do more business and communicate internally better than any other real estate company in central Denver. Ultimately our clients are better served.



Geek Facts
We were surprised to learn from our analysis that a whopping 545 real estate companies listed the 2,915 homes sold in central Denver last year.

Of those 545 companies a whopping 56% sold only 1 home in central Denver for the entire year.

A whopping (lots of whopping) 87% of real estate companies sold five or fewer central Denver homes for the year. Kentwood will sell more central Denver homes this week than 87% of the market will sell this year!

If you or someone you know is considering making a real estate move, we would love to put our talents and efforts and the power of Kentwood Real Estate to work. Thank you for your support and referrals!

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Overcoming that Awkward Silence

It’s the last day of Chanukah and it’s Christmas Eve and you probably have a few parties between now and New Year’s day. If you’re running out of topics to chat about, here are some Denver real estate statistics to stoke the fire.
Evaporating Inventory
At the top of our list to Santa this year is “more housing inventory please”! We’ve plummeted from 5,322 homes for sale in June 2010 to 643 this month. More egg nog?
Ever Strong Demand
The number of homes sold would be even higher if there were more homes available for sale. Demand for Denver is strong, and in case you missed this story about Denver’s growth as seen through the eyes of restaurateurs this should put a smile on your face and a grumble in your belly:

Top Chefs Discover Denver’s Fast Growing Restaurant Scene(Click here)



Prices Are on The Rise
No Black Friday deals here. Median home prices are up about 26% since 2009.


Luxury Market is Strengthening
During the economic downturn the luxury market was hit hard and has recovered slowly. We are now at 3.4 months of inventory for homes over $800,000, which represents the top 10% of the market. 6 months is a balanced market – so we are in a sellers’ market even at the high end. “Bah humbug” say the buyers!




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The Seasonality of Buyer Panic

Sellers need to ask for more than a good price this coming spring.  Like last spring, low inventory and high demand will force buyers to write contracts in a panic only to back-out before closing.

The graph below shows how seasonally we moved toward a frenzied market during the first half of the year as the number of homes under contract (yellow line) nearly reached the number of homes for sale (blue line).  During the same time, the homes that actually sold (green line) were about 60% of those under contract (yellow line).  Later in the year as the market cooled the closing success rate improved to about 85%.

Denver Real Estate Statistics

Denver Real Estate Statistics

Here are seven recommendations to improve your success rate and get the most money for your sale:

  1. Require a “painful” amount of earnest money for the buyer to lose
  2. Thoroughly vet your buyer’s finances and their lender’s pre-approval process
  3. Counter offers with terms that remove appraisal, loan conditions, and inspection
  4. Shorten contingency deadlines to the first two weeks
  5. Beyond these “austere” measures, stay friendly and make it easy for your buyer to close
  6. Communicate with the appraiser and provide a pricing analysis and any competing offers
  7. Fix all known home defects prior to listing, or clearly address them in the Seller’s Property Disclosure

Once you accept a contract there is rarely an opportunity to gain more money or better terms, so lock them in up front.


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Denver’s Continued Appreciation

Central Denver’s housing market continues to appreciate with low inventory and high demand.  The appreciation rate has dropped from the double-digit numbers that we saw last year, but is still strong:

12 Month Appreciation Rate – 5.5%

Average Days on Market – 34

Median Original Price $429,000

Median Sold Price – $425,000

Denver Median Price

Inventory across the board supports a seller’s market until you cross over the $2 million mark, which represents the top 0.1% of the market.

Denver Inventory

There appears to be no reason for a slowdown in the near future.  Even an increase in interest rates may actually increase home prices as buyers rush to lock in low rates before they are gone.  This may sound implausible, but historically has held true.

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5280 Magazine Awards Cramer Group for Fifth Year in a Row

Five-Star-Logo-Five-Years5280 Magazine has recognized The Cramer Group every year since they began the Five Star Real Estate award for exceptional service and overall satisfaction. This is our fifth year in a row!  Thank you to our clients and industry peers who responded to the Five Star Survey regarding criteria such as integrity, communication, and customer service.

While we have won a number of awards for sales production over the years, we covet the 5280 Magazine award most, because it is based on client satisfaction, which is the engine of growth for our business.

Thank you for your support, your business, and your referrals.

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Denver Real Estate Slows Over Long Summer Weekends

Buyers Take a Break

We’ve discovered a treasure trove of data from Centralized Showing Service, the company that schedules over 50% of all home buyer showings in Central Denver.  According to this data, buyers prefer to take a break from looking at homes on the long summer weekends, Labor Day and Memorial Day.

Holiday_ShowingsA Significant DifferenceBuyer traffic is up approximately 40% on the weekends before and after these holiday weekends.  We have heard realtors speculate in the past that these long weekends are great opportunities to launch homes on the market, because buyers will use them to go house hunting.

While you might be more likely to capture an out of state buyer on one of these holiday weekends, overall you will have significantly less interest.  Timing the market for a powerful launch could mean the difference between choosing among multiple offers, or negotiating with the only buyer not enjoying their time off.

Lisa and I take pride in digging deep into the market data to better serve our clients.  We look forward to serving you or your referrals.

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5 Reasons Homeowners are Not Selling

Record Low Inventory

Two years ago this month we wrote about the dwindling supply of homes for sale in Denver.  As you can see from the chart below, this trend has continued.


Five reasons homeowners are not selling, and what you should do:

1. “With so little inventory, I’ll be left homeless once I sell my home.”

If you need to make a change, this reason should not deter you.  There are a couple of ways around this problem such as making the sale of your home   contingent on you finding a suitable home.  Leasing your home back from the buyer on flexible terms is another option — this allows you to compete for your next home with cash in your pocket.

2. “I don’t want to give up my low interest rate loan.”

Interest rates are still historically low, but perhaps not as low as they recently were — those days are probably over.  If you know that you will make a change in the future, why not take advantage of the low rates while we still have them.

3. “The market is appreciating so quickly, why would I sell?”

If you plan on moving into a less expensive home in the future, it probably makes sense to stay in your current home; however, if you plan on making a move up in price, you would be better off taking advantage of the lower interest rates and lower prices now.

4.  “Rental rates are at a historic high.  I am going to rent my house.”

We can’t argue with that.  We are big fans of real estate as an investment.

5.  “I am still underwater on my mortgage.”

Thankfully this scenario is becoming less and less likely.  In some cases unfortunately it may still be a reality.  If you are able to take the loss and still purchase a home, you may find the switching from a property with a stunted appreciation rate to a home with a better return makes more sense in the long run.  This probably rings true for anyone who ever chose a bad stock purchase, and passed by strong returning stocks in hopes of breaking even on the bad stock decision first.

If you are considering moving up, now is a great time to make a move.  Interest rates are still very low, and prices for the foreseeable future are only going up.  You will end up paying more and getting less if you wait.  If you are considering moving down then staying put is probably the right choice.

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Denver Neighborhood Performance

olympic ringsThe results are in….
49 neighborhoods competed over the past twelve months for highest price appreciation.

The medal winners are:

Bronze – University Hills (18.7%)

Silver – LoHi (19.2%)

Gold – Cheesman Park (19.4%)

Strong contenders included Lowry (18%) and Highlands (17.6%).

Higher median priced neighborhoods such as University Park (-5.9%), Country Club (-1.6%), and Greenwood Village (-1.1%) showed depreciating numbers.

Candidly, the appreciation numbers can swing dramatically from neighborhood to neighborhood; especially in small neighborhoods where there are few transactions, or in neighborhoods with widely varying price points.

Not surprisingly, inventory was low across the board.  National Association of Realtor’s states that six months of inventory is a balanced market.  47 of the 49 neighborhoods in our analysis were below six months, a seller’s market.  Cherry Hills Village and Polo Club had six months of inventory, a balanced market.

See the full results, and click on individual neighborhoods for detailed reports.

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Denver Luxury Home Report 2013

Absorption Rate

Given the active inventory and the rate at which homes have recently sold, if no other homes came on the market, it would have taken only four months to consume November’s available inventory of detached single family homes over $850,000 (the top 10% of Denver’s market by sold price).  The graph above shows how well the luxury market has performed this year compared to 2012.  National Association of Realtors calculates that 6 months of inventory is a balanced market; under 6 months is a seller’s market. 

Improving numbers across the board

The improved absorption rate is not only being driven by lower inventory, but by higher demand.  31% more luxury homes sold this year than in 2012, and the bargaining power of sellers on average increased 2.4% as buyers gobbled up homes that were on the market for almost half of the time compared to the previous year.  As a result the median price increased 4.3% to $1.1mm.

The luxury home market in Denver took the brunt of the hit from the downturn in our economy and will recover much slower than the lower priced market.  We expect to see continued gradual improvement through 2014.  That’s great news, but we still have a ways to go as the median price for homes over $850,000 in 2007 was $1.22mm.

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The frost is on the pumpkin

On Cinco de Mayo of 2012 we wrote about the onset of a major shift in our real estate market’s direction (see article). During the past 17 months we have witnessed an extraordinary surge in prices and activity, and a stunning decrease in inventory.  June of this year we set the all time record for highest median price ($509,007) and in July we sold more homes (428) than any other month in the history of central Denver real estate (see map).  At the same time, our available inventory was down about 50% this summer from 2011 levels.

The market remains a seller’s market as you can see from the absorption rate graph below that shows how many months it would take to consume the current available inventory if homes sold at the same rate at which they have sold for the past twelve months.  The graph is divided by price point.  According to the National Association of Realtors, a six month supply is a balanced market; less than that is a seller’s market.


Across all price points, with the exception of million dollar plus homes, we have a strong seller’s market.  Our current buyers can attest to this as well!

 We believe that this Halloween will mark the beginning of a soft rebound to a more balanced market for three reasons.  First, we are seeing a slight decrease in appreciation from 12% to 11% — we can’t sustain these double digit numbers forever.  Second, most mortgage brokers agree that interest rates are on their way up — we’ve already seen them escalate slightly.  Third, as the graph below shows, our inventory this month will most likely surpass last year’s October inventory — the first time for any month since that fateful cinco de mayo weekend in 2012.

Right now is a great time for buyers to purchase as interest rates are historically low, inventory is slightly increasing, and prices are continuing to appreciate at double digit rates.  Right now is also a great time to sell as interest rates and inventory are still historically  low, and we’ve surpassed prices set at the height of the market in 2007.

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The Big Squeeze

Available homes for sale in central Denver during the month of May peaked at 1,800 homes in 2008. This past May there were less than 600.

Homes sold in central Denver during the month of May bottomed out at 196 homes in 2009. This past May, a whopping 363 homes sold.

Supply and Demand for the Months of May

In May of 2007 home sales prices in central Denver averaged $475,000. This past May we broke that record with an average sales price of $481,000.

  Average Price for the Months of May

While we still have a ways to go before we exceed the record average sales price of $537,262 for any month, set in November 2007, the pressure from the supply and demand squeeze is quickly moving us in that direction. This past May our average days on market in central Denver dropped to 48 days — the lowest on record ever. 


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Four Reasons You Should Sell Your Home Today

Statistics are based on sales data from Metrolist from Broadway to Quebec and Colfax to Hampden.

Click on thumbnail for full view.

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Buyer Strategies for a Seller’s Market

Given the lack of homes for sale these days, it’s not uncommon for sellers to receive multiple bids.  Usually, in such cases, sellers will ask buyers to submit their highest and best offer by a certain deadline.  The seller will then review them and choose the one that best meets their needs.  In such a scenario, savvy buyers might consider using an escalation clause to win the property without overpaying.

An escalation clause states that the buyer is willing to pay $X more than the highest competing offer up to a total of $Y (the ceiling).  The offer is contingent upon the seller providing the buyer with a copy of the bonafide competing offer and accompanying pre-qualification lender letter.  The contract still includes an offer price (the floor).

The key to an escalation clause is to choose the right numbers for X and Y.  For X (the increment) you want to choose a number that not only differentiates your offer, but overcomes any potential shortcomings in your terms. Remember, a purchase contract is a balancing act between price and terms.  One side sets the price and the other side sets the terms.  For example, if you believe you may be competing against builders or investors for a property who can offer cash, and you are limited to financing, then a bigger X may help you overcome your weaker terms.

Choosing a good Y (the ceiling) can become dizzying if you attempt to guess what the other competing buyers may offer.  Instead, you need to review the home market analysis that we provide and choose a ceiling where you would feel equally happy to win or lose the property.  You don’t want to lose and say, “I wish I had offered more,” and you don’t want to win and feel that you overpaid.

The escalation clause allows you to bid a range of offers instead of pinning you down to your highest number.  We’ve successfully used this strategy a handful of times this year already for our clients and ourselves.

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Rising Denver Home Prices by Neighborhood

Denver’s real estate market continues to appreciate as a result of low supply and high demand in most every neighborhood.  We measured the difference between 2011 and 2012 median prices by neighborhood (click here to see our complete report and neighborhood details).  Here are our results:


There are different reasons for changes in median price from neigborhood to neighborhood.  For example: a rising demand for main floor master bedrooms in Polo Club North is causing prices to rise.  Rising prices in South Park Hill and the Highlands are motivating buyers and developers to take advantage of lower prices in North Park Hill and LoHi respectively.  Stapleton’s market remains flat as builders are keeping pace with buyer demand.

While the changes in median price vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, the general trend for Denver shows a continued appreciating market.  We expect to see a slight seasonal increase in inventory again this spring along with a significant jump in demand.  To succeed in this market, buyers will need to hunt instead of fish for homes.  They will need to act quickly when they find a good value — this market is very efficient.  Sellers, as always, will need to price their homes right.  This is especially true for more expensive homes, over $600,000, where sellers are overpricing as evident by the lengthy days on market in luxury neighborhoods. (see the full report).
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Denver’s Luxury Market Making a Comeback

Denver’s luxury market is making a come-back!  All seven denver luxury neighborhoods, those with a median price of $600,000 or more, are appreciating:

Denver Luxury Neighborhoods (12 Month Comparison)

NeighborhoodMedian PriceAppreciation
Country Club$1,605,0003.5%
Cherry Hills Village$1,193,3008.3%
Polo Club$917,4002.8%
Greenwood Village$747,2503.2%
Cherry Creek$709,1707.8%
University / Observatory Park$603,00013.8%

As you know from our previous emails, home inventory in Denver is tight, and demand is strong.  As a result we are seeing an increase in prices — about 3.5% overall for central Denver.  That’s great news; however, the increase has not been shared equally among the 48 neighborhoods that the Cramer Group tracks (see the complete report).  In fact, 16 of those 48 neighborhoods, or 33%, have lower median prices than they had 12 months ago — they are depreciating.

What is quite surprising is that none of the seven luxury neighborhoods listed above were among the 16 in the red.  The luxury market was hit hardest in Denver during the economic downturn, so we see this as another positive sign that our market is recovering. Another positive sign: the 33% depreciating market is down from 52% last January!

If you or someone you know is thinking about buying or selling a home, we would be honored to hear from you.  Thank you for your continued support and referrals.  Please feel free to pass this email on, or repost to your facebook page.

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