Marshall Fire wreaks havoc on metro Denver real estate | News

The waves of impact from the Marshall Fire roll on through the deadly winter fire that claimed at least one life and destroyed more than 1,000 homes, particularly in the already strained Metro Denver real estate market.

The most immediate impact is on homeowners who have just closed or had a demolished home on the market and their respective buyers. But the wave is likely to roll over the greater Denver real estate market in the years to come.

A look at two numbers makes it clear: 1,081 and 1,477.

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The first is the estimated number of homes destroyed and the second is the number of homes for sale on Jan. 1, according to the Denver Metro Association of Realtors. Some of the houses that were destroyed were under contract and in the market.

“The housing shortage really is a crisis, and when you add the terrible loss of homes from that fire, it’s beyond a crisis at this point,” said Ryan Carter, president of 8Z Real Estate, with offices in Boulder and Louisville.

As of Friday, there were only 146 single-family homes and condos for sale in all of Boulder County.

And it will be years before these families’ homes are rebuilt if they are to stay in the area, where the average price of homes is more than double the national average of $ 416,900.

“The journey for these families is going to be challenging,” said Carter, adding that several of 8Z’s customers have lost everything. “It really affects us and we are shaken as an organization.”

Susan Schliep’s in-laws lost their Grand County home in the East Troublesome Fire, which began in October 2020.

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“At first, they talk about replacing toothbrushes and winter coats and don’t really think about where they’re going to live in the next year or more. Once the dust settles, these people will have at least a year, maybe 2-3, without a home, ”said Schleip, broker for the ReMax Alliance. “Fourteen months after East Troublesome and only two homeowners have rebuilt. And they came after – they called construction workers while the fire was still burning. “

Grand County’s residents looked for available homes on a spreadsheet that wasn’t updated live, and Schliep said it came up with the idea of ​​starting a Facebook group where people can list available properties.

“I drove home on Friday thinking it would have been so helpful to connect people about living and how can I do something to help,” she said.

Schleip and Amanda DiVito Parle, also from the ReMax Alliance, started the Marshall Fire Housing Needs and Availability Group and it has more than 3,000 followers.

“We really want to keep it at living, so we had to approve positions – so many people want to help and have offered supplies,” she said. “We want to be a trustworthy resource.”

People have been offering basements, spare bedrooms, AirBNB homes, rentals, RVs, and second homes.

“Everyone thinks of these people,” said Schleip.

Carter said he believes the market will adjust as best it can as AirBNB owners may convert properties into long term rentals.

“It won’t be a nice solution,” he said. “Many of these families will have to consider a life change in terms of geography.”

As recently as October, Boulder lost 81 homes in a fire that destroyed an entire building on Pearl Street.

“We’re trying to focus the site on long-term, private residential construction,” says Schleip. “While a lot of people have space in the basement, these people need their own space. You need yards. There are families with children and dogs who have lost a family home. Crashing someone’s basement for a long time is not a good idea. “

“There is a large part of the population who all need the same thing. And they all need it now, ”said Kelley Moye, spokeswoman for the Colorado Association of Realtors. “You can’t leave for half an hour because the children have to stay in their school district.”

Builders everywhere are waiting longer than usual to hire carpenters, electricians and plumbers, and these specialists are even supported with waiting for parts.

From start to finish, building a 2,500-square-foot home in Denver would typically take four to five months. Today, the same project typically takes eight to ten months, said John Covert, director at Zonda Advisory, a Denver-based housing research firm. The surge in local demand after a disaster only makes the problem worse.

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While some have asked if a developer will go into a subdivision and rebuild the whole thing, Schleip said it isn’t likely.

“For builders, the money is in the country. They are not going to buy back all of these lots, ”she said. “And how would you get 300 homeowners together for something?”

“There’s just no market solution right now,” Carter said. “But it’s just great to see how the community comes together at the grassroots.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.