Saturday, February 24, 2007


More good news out of "Fort Fun", aka Fort Collins, home of Colorado State University and subject of my website. Business 2.0, Money Magazine's online business portal, has named Fort Collins one of the top ten cities in America for real estate investing over the next five years.

Predicting a five year appreciation of 28%, the Business 2.0 article states:
Fort Collins appears time and again on the media's "best" lists - best place to live, best place to retire, best place to raise a family, best "dream" town, even the best place to "reinvent your life."

"Great schools, low crime, good jobs in a high-tech economy," Money Magazine crowed earlier last year when it named Fort Collins its No. 1 small city. And talk about a lifestyle play: The city is an outdoorsman's fantasy come to life, boasting 40 parks within the city limits, more than 60 miles of hiking and biking trails, three city-owned golf courses, and easy access to whitewater rafting, kayaking, fishing, and skiing.

The presence of Colorado State University makes it a college town, to boot. Add to all this that Colorado has been a housing price laggard in recent years, with "relatively anemic" price appreciation, according to economist Andrew Leventis at the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. With tech companies fleeing high-priced Silicon Valley, bringing California émigrés with them, now looks like a good time to buy.

I was up in Fort Collins with an investor earlier today, and the white snow draped on the foothills behind Horsetooth Reservoir under a bright, blue sky made for an extraordinary site. We stopped for a quick bite at CooperSmith's and toured about a dozen homes on a typically crisp, sunny winter's day. There's a lot to love about Fort Collins, and it looks like the secret is getting out.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


An interesting report came across my desk this week from the US Census Bureau, detailing migration patterns in America during 2006.

As I have highlighted in this space previously, one of the many enticements for investing in Colorado real estate is the healthy and prospering condition of the state's economy (unemployment currently stands at just 4.0%) with virutally NO help from the residential housing market over the past four years.

While the economies of California, Arizona, Florida and other "boom" states have been propelled in part by the massive equity extractions of homeowners flush with paper profits, no such phenomenon has existed here.

Now the Census Bureau report is interesting for several reasons... let's take a look at the top ten states last year for population growth:

Table A. Leading 10 States/Equivalents by Population Changes: July 1, 2005 to July 1, 2006

Top 10 Fastest Growing
1) Arizona 3.6%
2) Nevada 3.5%
3) Idaho 2.6%
4) Georgia 2.5%
5) Texas 2.5%
6) Utah 2.4%
7) North Carolina 2.1%
8) Colorado 1.9%
9) Florida 1.8%
10) South Carolina 1.7%

Top 10 Numeric Gainers
1) Texas 579,275
2) Florida 321,697
3) California 303,402
4) Georgia 231,388
5) Arizona 213,311
6) North Carolina 184,046
7) Washington 103,899
8) Colorado 90,082
9) Nevada 83,228
10) Tennessee 83,058

From both a percentage basis and the numeric gain standpoint, Colorado ranks number eight. But what stands out is that every single other state on both lists is either experiencing or has experienced a significant housing "boom" in the past five years.

As we have discussed previously, both the events of 9/11 and the fallout from the "" crash severely undermined the Colorado economy at a time when it was gaining significant traction. Five years later, it is more robust and diversified than at any time in memory, with the last latent component being the housing market, which is still sifting through a record number of foreclosures caused in part by unregulated lending practices which have since been addressed (to some extent) by the state legislature.

Colorado is a lifestyle driven-state, a magnet for educated workers and entrepreneurs looking for a better place to raise a family (sound familiar?). People are coming here - with dreams and visions of a better life, with the skills and tools to make them a reality.

I can't say that Howard Dean and I have much in common, but I have to believe he made a pretty smart choice when he tabbed Denver to host next year's Democratic National Convention. This is a region of the country that is on the rise, gathering momentum, and seeing its influence grow with each passing day.