Be sure to watch the report. A link to it, titled “Watch this report” can be found at the bottom of this article.
The Denver housing market recently got a national shout-out from housing and real estate investing expert Greg Rand on Fox Business.
While millions watch Fox Business, many may have missed the program in which Rand, owner of OwnAmeica.com lavished praise on Denver’s housing market and economy, because it originally aired on the holiday weekend between Christmas and New Years. But the video is starting to make the rounds in Denver real estate circles.
“Probably two dozen people today asked me if I had seen the Fox news clip,” said Peter Niederman, CEO of Kentwood Real Estate. “I’m not kidding. Wherever I went today, whether it was at lunch or in a business meeting, everyone asked me about it – and not just people in Kentwood. It is amazing! It is exciting. It was fun to hear that there might be more in-migration to the area. He talked about all of the things you and I have talked about in the last 12 months, but it was exciting to hear an outside pinpoint what a great place Denver is to live.”
Rand, a real estate investment consultant, author and radio and TV personality, pitched the attributes of Denver for much of the 4 minute and 4 second program in a way that would have made any chamber of commerce-style cheerleader proud.
“It looked a little bit like we had written an advertorial,” quipped Tom Clark, executive vice president of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. “It is just one of those times that somebody looking for a good place to invest in real estate and housing and hands us a gift.”
Clark said his group will definitely be showcasing the TV report. “If we have anything to do with it, it’s going to be a help,” as far as drawing more people to the Denver area, he said.
“There doesn’t seem to be much wrong with Denver,” the Fox financial reporter interviewing Rand said at one point.
“That’s a good way to put it,” he said.
Report heavy on facts, charts
But the report wasn’t fluff. It was full of statistics and charts being quickly flashed on the screen. For example, Fox showed a chart tracing the history of home prices in Denver during the past 15 years, which Rand noted does not illustrate a housing collapse, but simply a housing correction.
Clark, however, said that Denver’s relatively steady home prices have been a “little bit of a disadvantage,” when pitching the metro area to other companies considering moving or expanding here from other parts of the country. “We’re starting to get a lot of activity and interest from people in the Midwest, where people have taken huge hits on their homes that we did not experience here,” Clark said. “They experience a little bit of sticker shock, when they find out that our prices did not crater like their prices did. We counter that by telling them if you bring employees here, they won’t need to fear that their houses are going to lose a lot of value, because of our stable real estate market.”
The flip-side is that low housing prices aren’t the selling point that they might seem at first blush. “I was talking to one CEO who told me, “Sure, I can buy a $500,000 home in Phoenix for $190,000, but I would have to wait four years before I have any neighbors.”
Rand noted that the average age in Denver is 31 years old and the unemployment rate is below the nation’s. He said while people are living the southeast, northeast and California, people in Denver can’t imagine living anywhere else. He said when he talks to people in the Denver area, they tell him that they don’t just “like‘ living here, “but love living in Denver…Amazingly, it all comes down to lifestyle.”
In a telephone interview with InsideRealEstateNews this afternoon, Rand said that he does the Fox show once a month, as part of the network’s attempt to drill down to what is important to people on Main Street.
“Fox is trying to compete with CNBC on business news and CNBC does all of these reports on stocks and bonds and mutual funds and currency,” Rand said. “Fox does that, too, but on my show they really want to step back to show where people are moving and living and where home prices are likely to appreciate, and how they can invest in real estate. When you look at all of the demographics, Denver comes up beautifully.”
He said he looks at housing markets the way a Home Depot or Lowes looks at an area before it decides to build a new store.
But that only tells part of the story.
“When you look at all of the data points, it always comes down to the softer, lifestyle-oriented issues,” Rand said. “In Denver, people love the fresh air.”
Denver a draw to young professionals
Tami Door, president and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership did not see the program when it aired, but clearly Rand is preaching to the choir, in her case.
“What he is saying is reflecting what the Downtown Denver Partnership started pursuing in a big way four or five years ago,” Door said. “All of our research was showing – and all of the research that we are collecting is showing – is that professionals in the 24 to 35 year-old range will be making a significant career movement if they can be within three miles of an authentic center-style city. We overlayed that on top of focusing all of our efforts to attract that demographic, while doing everything to make our downtown even more vibrant, exciting and full of amenities. What research shows is that they don’t have to be living in the heart of downtown, but what they need to do is have that healthy, vibrant downtown available to them.”
Indeed, that is more important than drawing corporations to relocate downtown.
“If these young, educated workers come to Denver first, the companies will follow,” Door said.
Independent real estate broker Gary Bauer said that Rand’s comments mirror what many in the Denver real estate community have been saying for years.
“We are a true market unto ourselves,” Bauer said.
Rand, for his part, said he has not spent near as much time in Denver as he would like, although he plans to be here next week on a business consulting trip.
“Really, all of Colorado has a lot going for it, with Denver in the heart of it.”
Video: Watch this report
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Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com