The COVID-19 pandemic stalled much of the economy across Northern Colorado but one area ramped up. The housing market remains hot and shows no signs of slowing down. The Home Builders Association of Northern Colorado along with the National Association of Home Builders fought to designate homebuilding and support services as an essential business during the pandemic. This allowed builders to continue operations and keep employees on the job, with the proper safety precautions in place.
“I think this past year most of us realized the importance of our home,” said Cassy Torres, NoCo HBA’s board chair. “It was important that people in our communities have access to safe homes and the services that provide support to our industry. We were proud to be able to continue to safely provide this essential service, while also keeping people em- ployed throughout this difficult time.”
Continuing these critical operations only helped fuel the demand for homes. As the economy begins to rebound, home- building is leading the comeback. And while there’s been a lot of good news for homeowners in Northern Colorado like low interest rates, there are some obstacles for both home- buyers and builders. Here’s a look at how the pandemic is affecting the housing industry in Northern Colorado.
LOW INTEREST RATES Homeowners across the country were treated to record low interest rates in 2020 and into 2021. This made Coloradan’s buying power much stronger. For many homeowners, this became a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy the home of their dreams at a price-point they could afford. Or, in the case of first-time homebuyers, low interest rates allowed them to be able to afford a home.
PEOPLE WANT MORE FROM THEIR HOMES Last year, employees worked from home, students attended school from home and activities like dining in and working out all became home-based activities. This lifestyle change caused a shakeup in how people utilize their space.
“Suddenly instead of an extra bedroom people wanted space for home offices and workout rooms,” Torres said. “And as the pandemic continued we began to see people shopping for homes with more deluxe kitchens because they had finally had the time to cook after work or just discovered they en- joyed fixing more elaborate meals for their families.”
LOW INVENTORY Extremely low supply, along with increased demand, have home prices on the rise. 2020 was a strong seller’s market in Northern Colorado. People came to the table ready to buy. Whether it was because they wanted a different space or to take advantage of low interest rates while they could, people did not want to wait. They wanted a home now. Many listings fielded multiple offers almost instantly and had bidding wars that resulted in higher prices. And this competitiveness continued throughout the winter, which is when the housing market usually slows down.
BUILDING SUPPLY SHORTAGES Not everyone went shopping for a new home during the pandemic. For many homeowners, more time at home meant time for home improvement projects. That “honey-do” list finally became a reality. The unexpected rush on building supplies coupled with shutdowns and shipping slowdowns meant materials went quick and didn’t come back for quite some time.
LUMBER PRICE SPIKE When lumber mills shut down due to safety precautions at the start of the pandemic it created a shortage of raw mate- rials. NAHB says at one point lumber prices went up nearly 200%. And while prices are still volatile, they have come down in recent weeks. NoCo and NAHB have been advocating for Congress to find ways to end tariffs and examine the lumber supply chain to increase availability.
NoCo HBA will continue to elevate the profile of the homebuilding industry through advocacy and education. For more information on how to become a member, visit www.nocohba.com.