Impact waves from the Marshall Fire continue to surge in from the deadly winter blaze that claimed at least one life and destroyed more than 1,000 homes, especially in the already strained Denver metro real estate market .
The most immediate impact is on homeowners who were in the process of closing or had a home on the market that was destroyed, and the respective buyers. But the wave is likely to sweep the Denver real estate market in the years to come.
A glance at two digits explains it: 1,081 and 1,477.
The first is the estimated number of homes destroyed and the last is the number of homes available for sale on Jan. 1, according to the Denver Metro Association of Realtors. Some of the houses destroyed were under contract and on the market.
“The housing shortage is really a crisis and then when you add to that the horrific loss of homes with this fire – it’s beyond a crisis at this point,” said Ryan Carter, president of 8Z Real Estate , which has offices in Boulder and Louisville.
As of Friday, there were only 146 single-family homes and condominiums available for sale across Boulder County.
And it will be years before these families’ homes are rebuilt – if they are to stay in the region where the median home price is more than double the national average of $ 416,900.
“The road for these families is going to be tough,” Carter said, adding that several 8Z customers had lost everything. “It really affects us and we are shaken up as an organization. “
Susan Schliep’s in-laws lost their Grand County home in the East Troublesome fire, which began in October 2020.
“Initially, they talk about replacing toothbrushes and winter coats, without really thinking about where they are going to live next year or more. Once the dust settles, these people face at least a year, maybe two or three, of homelessness, ”said Schleip, real estate agent for ReMax Alliance. “Fourteen months after East Troublesome and only two owners have rebuilt. And they went after him – they were calling for builders while the fire was still burning. “
Residents of Grand County searched for available homes on a spreadsheet that was not updating live, and Schliep said she came up with the idea of starting a Facebook group for people to list. properties available.
“I was driving home on Friday and thought it would have been very helpful to put people in touch, in terms of accommodation, and how can I do anything to help,” she said.
Schleip and Amanda DiVito Parle, also with ReMax Alliance, launched the Marshall Fire Housing Needs and Availability group. It has gained over 3000 subscribers so far.
“We really want to keep the housing, so we had to approve messages – so many people want to help and have offered supplies,” she said. “We want to be a trusted resource. “
People donated basements, spare rooms, AirBNB homes, rentals, RVs, and second homes.
“Everyone thinks of these people,” Schleip said.
Carter said he believes the market will adjust as best it can, with AirBNB owners eventually turning the property into a long-term rental.
“It won’t be a pretty solution,” he said. “A lot of these families are going to have to think about a life change in terms of geography.”
It wasn’t until October that Boulder lost 81 apartments in a fire that destroyed an entire building on Pearl Street.
“We’re trying to focus the page on long-term private housing,” Schleip said. “While a lot of people have room in their basement, these people need their own space. They need yards. These are families with children and dogs who have lost a single family home. Crashing in someone’s basement for the long haul is not a good idea.
“It’s a big part of the population who all need the same thing. And they all need it right now, ”said Kelley Moye, spokesperson for the Colorado Association of Realtors. “They can’t get away for half an hour because the kids have to stay in their school district.”
Builders everywhere are waiting longer than usual to line up carpenters, electricians and plumbers, and these specialists themselves are being supported while they wait for parts.
From start to finish, building a 2,500 square foot home in Denver would normally take four to five months. Now that same project typically takes eight to 10 months, said John Covert, director of Zonda Advisory, a Denver-based residential construction market research firm. The local increase in demand after a disaster only exacerbates the problem.
While some have questioned if a developer will go into a subdivision and rebuild the whole thing, Schleip said that is not likely.
“For builders, the money is in the earth. They are not going to buy back all these lots, ”she said. “And how would you get 300 owners together on something?” “
“There just isn’t a market solution right now,” Carter said. “But it’s so great to see the community coming together locally. “
The Associated Press contributed to this report.