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Surge in Colorado home prices both record-setting and widespread

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Surge in Colorado home prices both record-setting and widespread

The pandemic put a torch to U.S. home price appreciation, resulting in gains surpassing those seen even during the headiest years of the housing bubble. And in that hot national market, Colorado stands out for how many areas are seeing double-digit gains in home values.

The state is one of eight where half or more of the ZIP codes have measured double-digit gains in the 12 months through July on the Zillow Home Value Index, according to a study from Headwaters Economics, a research firm based in Montana.

“The housing bubble pales in comparison to the price increases we are seeing now. Hopefully, it slows down,” said Megan Lawson, an economist with Headwaters who conducted the study.

If not, more households will be prevented from attaining what has long been the major source of wealth creation in the country, and the gap between those who own a home and those who don’t will only widen.

Lawson looked at how home prices in every U.S. ZIP code performed on the index going back to 1996. The period from July 2020, when the housing market was gearing up again, to July 2021 was unrivaled for the size of gains.

What Lawson said stands out in the current surge in home prices compared to earlier ones is how widespread it is and how deeply it has reached remote and rural areas long considered affordable and once insulated from the housing frenzy seen in more populated areas.

The home price gain leader in Colorado is tiny Jaroso in Costilla County, an unincorporated area where home values are up nearly 33%, followed by Phippsburg in Routt County, up 28.5%.

With the exception of some foothill enclaves, the strongest gains in home prices aren’t coming in metro Denver, but rather resort areas like Summit and Routt counties, in Colorado Springs and Pueblo, and out in Mesa County on the Western Slope.

“Our biggest driving factor in Colorado Springs is we have a complete lack of inventory. Every single month we seem to be breaking records from months before and years before,” said Patrick Muldoon, managing broker of Muldoon & Associates in Colorado Springs.

Of the 20 ZIP codes with the highest home price appreciation rates out of the 494 studied in Colorado, five are in Colorado Springs. They include 80915, 80917 and 80907, where the typical home value has risen by a quarter or more in just 12 months, and 80918 and 80903, where home values are up around 23%.

Some of the strongest gains in El Paso County have come in the pockets once considered relatively affordable, areas hit hard with foreclosures during the Great Recession, Muldoon said. But prices are rising across the board in El Paso County, including in Fountain and Cascade, which both registered gains of 23%.

Colorado Springs for years has seen a conveyor belt delivering metro Denver residents searching for more affordable housing options, especially on the north end, Muldoon said. The shift to remote work arrangements and record-low mortgage rates appears to have sped up that flow, and priced-out Denver buyers were also increasingly joined by deep-pocketed investors looking to lock down rental properties.

As home prices rise in Colorado Springs, more residents on the south end are searching down in more affordable Pueblo, which saw a 22.4% gain in its home price index in the 81003 ZIP.

Pueblo has struggled more than any other Colorado metro to recover from the economic blow dealt by the pandemic. In July, it nursed an 8.9% unemployment rate, one of the highest in the country. And yet home prices rose 20% plus, which doesn’t line up with an economy struggling like that.


“Flying by the seat of our pants”

The Zillow Home Value Index tries to get at the value of a typical home in a given geography, making it different than measures that track the price of properties sold in a given month, which are influenced by the mix of homes selling at a given point in time.

As of August, the statewide rate of home price appreciation on the Zillow index was running 20% in Colorado, said Jeff Tucker, senior economist at Zillow. Going back to 2000, a period that includes the housing boom, annual home price appreciation has averaged 3.9% in the state.

Effectively, Colorado’s housing market has found a way to pack five years’ worth of already elevated gains into one 12-month period.

“Our market has changed and there is no road map for this. We are flying by the seat of our pants,” said Dana Cottrell, a Realtor at Summit Resort Group in Dillon.

Silverthorne has seen price gains in the 23% range, while gains in Frisco and Dillon are approaching 22%, and Breckenridge is in the 21% range, according to the Zillow Home Value Index for those areas.

Historically, the market in Summit County was about a third local buyers, a third Front Range buyers and a third out-of-state. Since the pandemic, it has swung to 40% Front Range buyers, including more remote workers and people pooling their resources to buy a vacation home.

“We have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of Front Range people who are buying in Summit County,” Cottrell said. “If you can be at home and looking at Baldy Mountain or Lake Dillon while you work, it is pretty sweet.”

It also appears that some Front Range buyers who can’t afford to go high up in the mountains are trying to satisfy their ambitions closer in.

Metro Denver’s leaders for home price appreciation are all up in the Jefferson County foothills, places like Idledale, up 26.5%; Indian Hills, up 23.5%, and Kittredge, up 22.8%. Likewise, Boulder County’s biggest gainers are on its western periphery, with Ward up 22.5%; Nederland up 20.9%, and Jamestown up 20.2%.

Still more demand than supply

Phyllis Resnick, executive director of the Colorado Futures Center at Colorado State University, said the shift to more rural and remote areas is definitely a trend, but she questions whether it will have staying power long-term.

More isolated areas tend to lack active new home construction. When more buyers show up, prices can surge and gains off smaller values can look huge, even if they are still manageable. The more fundamental problem, one that was an issue before the pandemic, and one that will remain so after it passes, is an inadequate supply of homes.

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Lewis & Clark Community College partially reopens after cyberattack

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Lewis & Clark Community College partially reopens after cyberattack

GODFREY, Ill. – Lewis & Clark Community College is reopening its campus Monday to team members only.

The school shut down just weeks before finals due to a ransomware attack on November 23. The school was forced to shut down everything from its phones to the website’s home page.

Student activities and events will all return to a normal schedule starting Tuesday morning.

All classes, campus events, program events, and athletic events were canceled last week as the college’s IT department worked to resolve the matter.

Students were told they will not suffer any academic penalty for this disruption.

Due to the attack, all of the electronic systems on campus were taken offline to prevent further problems. It’s not been made clear how the attack occurred.

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Kiszla vs. O’Halloran: Did Broncos throw too much money at receivers Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick?

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Kiszla vs. O’Halloran: Did Broncos throw too much money at receivers Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick?

Kiz: Broncos general manager George Paton recently spent more than $95 million, including in excess of $50 million guaranteed, in new deals for receivers Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick. During an embarrassing 22-9 loss to Kansas City, however, Sutton and Patrick produced only three receptions for a grand total of 24 yards after being targeted 11 times by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Did Paton throw good money down the drain?

O’Halloran: Handing out receiver contracts days apart remains an interesting development, particularly because Jerry Jeudy is making plays befitting a No. 1 target. But two games is too small of a sample size to serve as a judgment on the deals because Paton is playing the long game, trying to keep (and then gather) assets that make the Broncos attractive to a veteran quarterback next March. But the numbers also don’t fib — Sutton and Patrick should be more involved. In the last four games, Sutton has nine catches and Patrick 13.

Kiz: The Denver offense definitely isn’t explosive and often isn’t efficient. Should we place all the blame at the feet of offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Bridgewater? Or is it fair to wonder that outside of rookie running back Javonte Williams and 2020 first-round pick Jerry Jeudy, the Broncos’ simply don’t have enough playmakers? Patrick can help you move the sticks on third down. But is either he or Sutton a true big-play threat?

O’Halloran: Much of the criticism should be directed at the play-caller (Pat) and trigger man (Teddy), which you correctly took to task after the Chiefs’ 12th consecutive win over the Broncos. Where is the originality? Where is the smart-but-aggressive chances? Where is the downfield accuracy? The Broncos called an early shot to Patrick, but Bridgewater overthrew him. They threw a pass to Sutton down the right sideline, but he couldn’t break free of coverage. And they went deep to Sutton, but the pass wasn’t anywhere close to being accurate. In the biggest game of the year, the Broncos were particularly short-handed at quarterback.

Kiz: I understand the logic behind the new deal for Patrick. He’s a football warrior. While Sutton is a solid teammate and stand-up guy, he doesn’t strike me as either a true No. 1 receiver or a target who will make it any more likely for Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers to dream of playing quarterback for the Broncos in 2022. While I firmly believe Paton has shown what it takes to be the GM who returns this team to an elite level, I also think he showed too much love to Sutton.

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Security on Metro transit to increase following shooting of MetroBus driver

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Security on Metro transit to increase following shooting of MetroBus driver

ST. LOUIS – Officials from the region’s largest transit system, Bi-State Development, are beefing up security for bus drivers and riders after a MetroBus driver was shot Friday evening. The driver has remained in the hospital in critical condition since the incident.

MetroBus is adding private security patrols to select routes and working with law enforcement to boost police presence.

The Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis is investigating the shooting that caused the bus driver to crash into a utility pole. The incident happened just after 7 p.m. Friday at the 3400 block of Lucas and Hunt Road. 

The driver, whose name has not been released, was hit in the upper body. There were several passengers on the bus at the time. They were not injured from the gunshot, which they said was a single gunshot from outside the bus.

While the driver remains in hospital, a vigil was held Sunday. More than 20 people gathered to pray for their co-worker and friend.

President and CEO of Bi-State Development Taulby Roach said the Metro Transit System will continue to invest in operator shields, cameras, and radios to increase security.

Police ask anyone with information on the shooting who wishes to remain anonymous to call 866-731-TIPS. Anyone with information could be eligible for a CrimeStoppers reward of up to $5,000.

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