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 Housing Market Is a Battlefield

It’s purely by coincidence that we are emailing this market update on such a historic military day, the invasion of Normandy, and using the battlefield analogy.  Read on to find out the dynamic forces that are driving more buyers to fight over fewer homes.
Central Denver’s home inventory in May continued to plummet to a new low; down 55% compared to May 2010, just 2-years ago!  We are seeing a continued month-to-month decrease in inventory between March, April, and May.  We checked the books for the past 20-years and found no other spring where inventory decreased as we headed into summer.
The ongoing effect of this historically low inventory was further compounded by a surge in demand — home sales were up 59% compared to last year in May and up 41% from just last month.  In fact, the last time that we sold this many homes during any given month was June 2006!
Prices appear to be on the rise too.  The average price for the previous three years for a home during the month of May is $423,000.  This year the average May price is $460,000 (monthly averages fluctuate seasonally because of school calendars and weather conditions).  Multiple-offer bidding wars and cash offers are today’s Denver real estate trend.
If you, or someone you know, is considering purchasing or selling a home, we would be honored to help you navigate the Denver real estate battlefield.
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Low Housing Inventory Fuels Bidding Wars

Lisa and I just had our craziest Cinco de Mayo ever, and it didn’t involve a drop of tequila or a single cerveza.  While most were enjoying the derby / furry scurry / cinco de mayo weekend, we were attached to our phones fighting multiple bidding wars for buyers and sellers.  This market transitioned from frio to caliente muy rapido!

One of our clients competed against four other buyers for a home that based on recent sales data was liberally valued around $390,000 and was listed at $420,000.  After seeing how overpriced the home was, we asked the seller’s agent for her pricing analysis and her response was, “you’re on your own.”  Another one of our buyers submitted a fair value offer on a home that was slightly over-priced only to compete against two other buyers.  Two of our listings had multiple offers and both will be under contract today.  Pricing homes based on recent sold data appears to have been thrown out the window this weekend.
Denver MLS just released the sales data for the month of April.  Inventory is down 53% compared to this time in 2010.  In addition, fewer homes were on the market in April than in March.  Historically we should see around a 5% increase between those two months.  If you’re moving to Denver and need to buy a home then you may want to rent and watch The Alamo to prepare.

We don’t want to come across too bullish, because we believe that this market holds a lot of inventory on the sidelines that will soon be listed as word gets out.  However, if you are thinking about selling your home and can afford to price it somewhat reasonably then now is the time to be on the market.  No more siesta amigo.
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5 Strategies to Find Denver Homes for Sale

The number of available homes for sale in Denver continues to underwhelm the market.  Looking at central Denver (Colfax to Hampden and Broadway to Quebec) inventory was down 47% this March compared to March 2010 and only slightly up from last month (plus 32 homes) during a time that inventory should really start seasonally accelerating.

So what’s a buyer to do if they can’t find the right home from the meager selection?  We have five strategies for helping our clients uncover hidden inventory.
One)  We hang our licenses under the Coldwell Banker network of agents.  Year after year, the Denver Business Journal ranks Coldwell Banker as the number one real estate company in Denver based on sales volume.  Our offices meet every Wednesday morning to discuss buyer and seller “wants and needs”.  Many times we are able to make a match between buyers and sellers before a home ever comes on the market.  We’ve also taken this network communication to a private Facebook group for cross-office and real-time communication.
Two)  The Cramer Group has downloaded from MLS the email addresses of every agent who has transacted a deal in Denver during the past two years.  We have uploaded those addresses into our own email blasting service to query the entire Denver real estate community on behalf of our clients.  By far and way, this is the most effective strategy we employ.
Three)  Many properties that have previously failed to sell are withdrawn from the market out of frustration.  Given the lack of inventory, a few of those homes now appear worthy of a second look.  The problem for realtors is finding homes that have been withdrawn and not re-listed, or re-listed and sold.  Sifting through the data is laborious and mind-numbing.  The Cramer Group has invested in developing their own software application to search through the data and ferret out these properties in seconds.  Our clients are able to see the property photos from MLS and select the homes that most interest them.  We then follow-up with a letter and a knock on the door to the previously frustrated sellers.  You should see the surprise in their faces!
Four) Soon to be distressed properties are not as widely available in central Denver as they are in the suburbs or in most other cities (knock on wood), but there are still a few.  The Cramer Group subscribes to a service that allows us to see owners who are behind on their mortgage payments.  We’ve identified homes months in advance of their short-sale listing date, and offer those as possible options for our clients.
Five)  Finally, we help our buyers identify homes not on the market that they like and send letters to their owners.  This is usually less successful than the other four strategies and diminishes negotiating power a bit, but in the quest to find the right home it’s best to leave no stone un-turned.
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Denver Home Inventory

What is this: We calculate Denver home inventory using a twelve month period. Home inventory is the number of months required to sell all the homes currently on the market if they were to sell at the same rate at which they’ve sold during the past 12 months.

Home Inventory = Properties for Sale ÷ Properties Sold Past 12 Months x 12

Why is this orange: Our graphs represent Denver home inventory by price point for more meaningful analysis.  In some cases a home might be on the market at a price point that has not sold in the past 12 months.  Since division by zero is undefined, we assume that “Properties Sold Past 12 Months” equals one.  In such cases we represent the assumption with an orange line.


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Denver Homes on The Market Continue to Decline

Central Denver’s available inventory continues to fall as unsatisfied sellers and overwhelmed banks withhold homes.  December shows an almost 40% decrease in available inventory compared to the previous December.

Our analysis shows that the drop in inventory cuts across all price points as well.  The absorption rate is the number of months it would take to sell the current housing inventory at the rate at which homes have sold over the past 12 months.  For Denver the absorption rate has dropped 56% for homes over $1 million and 51% for homes under $200,000.

Most analysts attribute the decrease to frustrated sellers with expectations that the market cannot meet and to new government regulations on banking foreclosure procedures.

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Denver Real Estate Statistics for December

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Who’s Your Santa

We analyzed 7,000+ sales transactions in Denver from the past 12-months to see which type of seller (builder, government, bank, individual, or relocation) was willing to give the biggest discount off their final asking price to get their home under contract (see graph below).

Ebenezer Builders are the least likely to give up much on their prices.  In truth they do offer incentives through material upgrades instead of price discounts.  They are also adept at understanding what buyers want and are willing to pay.

Government and bank sellers are a bit trickier, because they are not, or perhaps should not, be in the business of selling homes and need to move inventory efficiently.  In many cases they underprice homes to create buyer frenzy and force prices closer to market value.  Their “drama pricing” skews the numbers to make them appear, at least in this analysis, not as giving as they might be.

Relocation companies that corporations hire to help sell moving employees’ homes are full of good will and much merry!  In some cases, certainly not all, relocation companies will make up the loss between what their seller paid for the home and how much a buyer is willing to pay for it.  To the home owner, once they are underwater, they don’t care how much of a loss the relocation company will take.  There is a limit to how big the spread can be, but usually it’s quite generous.  Knowing that they have a second round of negotiations for inspection items, sellers are motivated to pass on a bigger loss to the relocation company on the purchase price in order to avoid having to shell out money for inspection items, a cost that most relocation companies will not cover.

It’s easy to assume that the biggest discount equals the best value.  That’s not always the case.  A well priced home with a small discount may be a better value than an over priced home with a large discount — each deal is unique.
We hope you enjoyed our last e-letter for the year, and if we may assist you or some you know buy or sell a home we would be grateful to hear from you.  Thank you for your support in 2011 and here’s loking forward to a great 2012!
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Denver Real Estate Statistics for October

Denver Real Estate Statistics - October 2011

Denver Real Estate Statistics - October 2011

Metrolist released Denver’s October real estate statistics, and as mentioned in previous posts – inventory is down. In fact for the greater Denver metro area, it’s down 33% compared to October 2010. At the same time closed transactions are up 12%.

Our central Denver real estate analysis that includes neighborhoods such as Cherry Creek, Wash Park, Hilltop, and Platt Park shows inventory down 28%. Considering that central Denver has a median price that is almost twice that of the greater metro area, shows that lower priced homes are in shorter supply than more expensive homes. Home under $300,000 in Denver will start to see increasing prices if they are not already.

Pending is a new field that Metrolist recently added, so the increase of 233.6% is a result of poor data capture in the past.

Our Disappering Market

Our Denver real estate market continues to disappear.  October’s numbers show a 28% decrease in available inventory compared to October last year for central Denver (Colfax to Hampden and Quebec to Broadway).  Sadly, prices remain flat at an average of $423,690 compared to $424,518 a year ago.  It appears that buyers are taking their ball and going home as well.

[Denver Business Journal] “Consumers are not putting their Denver homes on the market unless they have a pressing need to sell,” said Gary Bauer of Littleton, an analyst of Metrolist data.

The inventory of listed unsold Denver homes stood at 15,794 in October, down 8 percent from September and 28 percent from October 2010. There were 21,851 homes on the market in October 2010.

“We are moving into new territory with the current level of unsold Denver homes,” Bauer said, noting people aren’t putting homes on the market because of concerns for jobs and the economy.

Read the whole article

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[Denver Business Journal] Home prices in metro Denver posted a year-over-year decline in August for the 14th consecutive month, but they rose from the previous month for the fourth time in the last five months, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices Index, released Tuesday.

Denver’s single-family home price performance also bested the average for 20 major U.S. cities covered by the closely-followed monthly report, both for month-over-month and year-over-year changes.

The prices are for resales of stand-alone single-family homes in Denver only, not new construction or condominiums.

Read The Whole Article

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New Denver Real Estate Project at Kent Place

Work is also under way on the Kent Place property, Denver real estate’s latest addition, as crews continue clearing and grading the site, constructing retaining walls and installing underground utilities.

Kent Place is the proposed development of the former Denver Seminary site that covers 11.4 acres of land at University and Hampden. The original proposal put forward by developer Continuum Partners was to build 270 to 300 luxury residential condominium units along with about 52,000 square feet of retail and office space.

However, the economy brought about changes to the Denver Real Estate market. The current plan calls for construction of a retail development on half the site and will include a new concept King Soopers specialty grocery and food store as the major tenant. The elevations, along with color and material samples for building that will house the grocery store received Denver city approval.

Read the whole article

“Denver Country Club” Top Ten Most Searched U.S. Neighborhood

Denver’s Country Club neighborhood is among the 10 most-searched U.S. neighborhoods, based on search activity for for-sale homes in September at, the online real estate company reported.

Zillow estimates the median value of homes in the Country Club neighborhood at $665,600, which is 244 percent above the estimated median value of $193,500 for homes citywide.

Four of the five most-searched U.S. neighborhoods — and five of the top 10 — are in Portland and Seattle.

View the full report: Top 10 hottest neighborhoods for real estate searches.

Taking the Stress Out of Appraisals

Appraisals these days are as anxiety ridden as an appointment with your accountant or dentist. A below-value appraisal will stick with a property for 4-months with an FHA loan application. Here is a strategy for both home sellers and refinancing home owners to relieve some of that anxiety.

The 2,300 page Dodd-Frank Act enacted July, 2010 states, among many other things, that it is a Federal crime for anyone with an interest in financing a home to:

  • Compensate, coerce, extort, collude, instruct, induce, bribe, or intimidate an appraiser
  • Mischaracterize the appraised value of the property
  • Seek to influence an appraiser or otherwise to encourage a targeted value

So don’t do any of that; however, you do have the right to ask an appraiser to:

  • Consider additional, appropriate property information, including the consideration of additional comparable properties to make or support an appraisal
  • Provide further detail, substantiation, or explanation for the appraiser’s value conclusion
  • Correct errors in the appraisal report

Before the appraisal:

Call the appraiser and ask how many homes he has appraised in the neighborhood in the past 12 months. Tell him that you plan to meet him at the property and that you have additional information to share (the appraiser packet). If you are not satisfied that the appraiser knows your neighborhood, or if the appraiser does not seem receptive to your offer, then ask the lender to assign a new appraiser from the appraiser pool.

  • Contract, listing history, and listing brochure (for home sale)
  • Form 1004MC (we can provide this to you)
  • List of all property upgrades, completion dates, and costs
  • Any previous measurement sketches
  • County assessor records
  • Comparable properties that support your price (listed, pending, sold)
  • Your cell phone number

On appraisal day:

  • Make sure your home is clean, well-lit, and fresh (yes, it matters)
  • Remove your pets from the property including the backyard
  • If you have an attic, remove the cover and set-up a ladder
  • Spread out your appraiser packet on a table
  • Be warm and friendly, but do not follow the appraiser around the house
  • Once the appraiser has completed his inspection, present your appraiser packet
The reciprocity strategy:
Make the appraiser’s job easy without being annoying and you will win some reciprocity so you can ask for the favor.  The favor you want to ask the appraiser before he leaves is to contact you before he submits the appraisal if his calculations do not support your financing needs. Only 8% of below value appraisals are reconsidered once the paper work is filed.  Obviously, you want to make sure that you have a second shot at correcting the appraisal before it is filed.  Building rapport with the appraiser will give you that second shot.
If the appraisal is below your needs don’t panic and make sure you stay friendly with the appraiser.  Ask the appraiser to hold off on filing the appraisal and offer to do more research on the comparable properties.  You may consider extending the closing date to provide you with more time; especially if you know about strong comparable properties that are closing soon.
The Cramer Group:
Knowing how to jump through all the hoops of the contract process is essential to your success.  A “hope and pray” approach to appraisals can create unnecessary stress.  If you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell a home, I would be honored to put our skill and dedication to work to ensure a smooth and easy transaction.

Central Denver Market Performance

The Central Denver Market continues to perform extraordinarily well. Below are the market statistics for the combined area of the following neighborhoods:

Alamo PlacitaCheesman ParkCongress ParkHilltopPlatt ParkUniversity Hills
BakerCherry CreekCory MerrillHarvard GulchPolo ClubUniversity Park
BelcaroCherry Hills VistaCountry ClubMayfairSouthern HillsWash Park East
Bonnie BraeCity Park SouthCrestmoorMontclairSpeerWash Park West
Capitol HillCity Park WestDUPark Hill SouthStokes

Home Sales Statistics for Central Denver
Updated February, 2016

Central Denver real estate has appreciated 13.2% since February, 2015

Sold Properties (past 12 months):

Homes Sold: 2784

Average Days on Market: 28

Median Days on Market: 9

Most Expensive: $4,100,000

Least Expensive: $106,430

Months of Inventory: 1

Original Price Final Price Sold Price Net Sold
Average $642,999 $626,570 $617,784 $616,702
Median $500,000 $495,000 $491,940 $491,200
Avg Price / SqFt w/o Basement $247 $241 $237 $237
Avg Price / Fin SqFt w/ Basement $269 $263 $259 $258

Homes Sold By Price Point
Months of Invertory by Price Point

Cramer Group Party

The Cramer Group had their annual client appreciation party at the Denver Chop House recently.  We’ve posted pictures from the event and the Shutterbooth photo booth on our new Facebook Page, and we hope you’ll check in and click on the “like” button.  If you were at the party and would like a higher resolution photo of any of the pictures, let us know and we’ll email them to you.

A Decade of Denver Home Prices


Central Denver Housing Prices

The sensational news stories that housing prices have “rewound” to 2001 prices, and that we are in a double-dip housing catastrophe certainly grab our attention.  The truth of the matter, at least for central Denver, is that we have continued to plod along a fairly flat trajectory over the past two and a half years, and housing prices today are about what they were in early 2005.

Based on data that we gathered from Metrolist we graphed the annual percentage growth in Central Denver from 2000 to 2011.  Central Denver is defined as Colfax to Hampden and Quebec to Broadway (Congress Park, Wash Park, Hilltop, Cherry Creek, etc.).  This area includes such neighborhoods as Park Hill, Hill Top, Congress Park, Wash Park, and Cherry Creek.  We used 2000 as our baseline.

You can see that  between 2000 and 2005 our homes on average appreciated almost 61% — a compounded annual rate of return of about 10%.

Today we are up 45.22% over 2000 prices, or a compounded annual rate of return of about 3.6%.  Of course if you purchased at the height of the market in 2007 at the average central Denver price of $487,000 and sold this year, you would need to cover a 9% or $48,656 spread.

You will also notice that in 2010 prices ticked up slightly and then dropped back down to 2009 prices in 2011.  We attribute this to the government’s now expired home-buyer tax incentives.  Nothing of substance has changed in comparison to the previous two years.  We continue to bounce along the bottom.  So, no need to get out your rifles, beans, water filters and duct-tape; the world has not come to an end.

These numbers are definitely generalizations, it’s really all about price point.  If you or someone you know is looking to purchase or sell a home, we would certainly appreciate the opportunity to be of assistance.

How price point determines your negotiating power

If you’ve had a chance to read our previous market updates, you know that Denver has a buyer’s market for expensive homes, and a seller’s market for less expensive homes. We wanted to know how that difference played out in negotiations between buyers and sellers.

We looked at the difference between the last list price and the final contract price on homes sold in Denver, Cherry Hills Village, and Greenwood Village over the past twelve months by price point. The graph below shows what we found as a percentage difference.

As you can see, on average buyers purchasing a home between $400,000 and $600,000 were able to negotiate their final price down by only 3.91% from the last offered price. Between $1.0 and $1.2 million, however, buyers were able to negotiate down a whopping 9.93%. Luxury home buyers have 150% more negotiating power than lower end home buyers.

You probably noticed that the negotiating power for buyers is slightly higher in the first two columns than the third. We took a closer look at the data and found that quite a few of the properties in the first two price ranges, especially between $0 and $200,000, were real dogs. Sellers have a tougher time negotiating a price on properties listed as “uninhabitable”, “possible mold”, or “as is”.

You can see from these numbers that a luxury seller who drops their price $50,000 has not really enticed a new pool of buyers much. $50,000 is about half of what an interested buyer would negotiate down anyway. On the other end, a buyer who expects to purchase a $400,000 home for $360,000 will on average find it frustrating to come to agreement with a seller.

Of course every deal is different and each has to be given its own consideration, but having a sense of the numbers is essential to getting what you want. If you or someone you know would like to purchase or sell a home, we would be grateful for the opportunity to put our knowledge to work.

3481 E Kentucky — Sold!

During the past 12 months 17 homes over $2 million have sold in Denver out of 7400+ transactions. Recently The Cramer Group sold this home at 3481 E Kentucky for $2.1 million. Among the 17 homes sold, the average difference between the original list price and the final list price was 17.6% — our transaction difference was only 8.7%, or less than half.

Put The Cramer Group’s technology, marketing, and negotiation expertise to work for you.

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Playing The Denver Luxury Market

The luxury real estate market, homes over $1 million, has had a rough deal from the deck for the past three years both nationally and here in Denver.  While inventory remains high and prices continue to drop, some luxury homes still manage to sell (see our sale of the Phipps’ home in Belcaro).

Here is a review of the market for the past twelve months for the combined area of Denver, Cherry Hills Village, and Greenwood Village (see these markets individually).

Sold: 215 grateful sellers have come up aces and successfully sold their homes.  Over 60% of those sold were less than $1.5 million (see chart).  The average reduction from the original list price to the final contract price was 21.5%.  The number of luxury homes sold has edged up slightly to 217 from 205 the previous year.

About to sell: Currently 20 anxious luxury sellers are under contract awaiting their closing day, a happy day that may rival their wedding day or the birth of a child.  Another 5 homes have contracts that require bank approval before they are fully executed as part of a short sale or foreclosure.

Not selling: Another 260 sellers are keeping the faith as they continue to market their homes.  The average days on market for these faithful is 290 days — the market average under a million dollars is 149 days, or almost half.  The most expensive home listed in MLS, 5000 E Quincy Avenue in Cherry Hills Village, is listed for a mere $18,900,000.

The market has 14.5 months of inventory available; meaning that if no other luxury homes come on the market and luxury homes continue to sell at their current rate, it would take 14.5 months to sell all of them.

Given up: 268 sellers have folded and withdrawn their listings from the market.  If you consider the first two categories above (sold and about to sell) as “successful ventures”, and the second two (not selling and given up) as “failed ventures”, then your probability of selling a luxury home is 1 out of every 3.19 listed.

If you or someone you know is thinking about selling a luxury home, knowing the reality of the market is essential to beating the odds.  Feel free to forward this article on to friends and family and don’t hesitate to send us an email.  We appreciate your continued support and referrals.

Denver Luxury Market by Area

Luxury Real Estate (Homes over $1 million) Performance
Past 12 Months

Jefferson Park Neighborhood

Jefferson Park is know for it’s great views of the Central Platte Valley including Six Flags Elitch Gardens, Pepsi Center, REI Flagship Store, The Children’s Museum and the Downtown Aquarium. It sits on a bluff across I-25 in North Denver. Invesco Field at Mile High (“Mile High Stadium” for us Denver old-timers) is located in the southern part of the neighborhood. The Jefferson Park boundaries are Speer Blvd. (north), 20th Ave. (south), I-25 (east) and Federal Blvd. (west). The park called Jefferson Park is a 6.7 acre park located at 23d Ave. and Clay St.

Jefferson Park was originally platted as part of The Town of Highland in 1873. In 1896 The Town of Highland (which had grown and become The City of Highlands in 1890) was annexed and the area of Jefferson Park was defined and named. Homes were built in the area starting in the 1890s and going through the 1950s so there’s a wide variety of architectural styles of the 1890s, 1910s, 1920s, 1940s and 1950s. In the 1960s Denver’s urban areas experienced a flight to the suburbs and the recession of the 1970s and 1980s left this neighborhood in disrepair.

Attention and investment returned to Jefferson Park in the 1990s as people realized the value of the location next to downtown Denver and the great views. There were affordable homes available and the city of Denver began efforts to improve the infrastructure and undertake beautification projects. The 2010s are showing a continuation of investment and development in the area with many extensive home renovations and new construction of town homes and condos.

Jefferson Park Neighborhood Highlights: