EDITOR’S NOTE: In the week before the presidential election, RealtyTrac is releasing a series of housing articles — dubbed the ‘Swing State Housing Scorecard’ — taking a closer look at eight swing states representing 95 electoral votes — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire, Virginia and Wisconsin. These states are considered tossups and crucial to winning the White House. The articles will evaluate which candidate will win each state if voters choose a candidate based on whether their state's housing market is better off (presumably Obama) or worse off (presumably Romney) than it was four years ago.
Since 1972 Colorado has only voted for the Democratic presidential candidate twice — first in 1992 with President Bill Clinton, and again in 2008 with President Barack Obama. Whether Obama can count on voters in The Centennial State to be loyal to him this time around depends on many factors, but certainly the condition of the housing market is one of them.
An analysis of several key data affecting the state’s housing market show that if voters cast their ballots based solely on whether the housing market is better off today than it was four years ago, the GOP would take back Colorado and its 9 electoral votes.
Those key data impacting the housing market are average home prices, unemployment, foreclosure inventory, foreclosure starts and percent of distressed sales. Although Colorado is better off compared to four years ago based on two of the metrics — percent of distressed sales down 10 percent and foreclosure inventory down 45 percent — the other three metrics paint the picture of a housing market that is worse off than four years ago.
The average price of a residential property in Colorado is down 18 percent compared to four years ago, while the unemployment rate is up 57 percent over the same time period. Foreclosure starts in September 2012 were 31 percent higher than September 2008, indicating the state is not completely out of the woods when it comes to the foreclosure problem.
Attorney William Bronchick, president of the Colorado Association of Real Estate Investors, is encouraged by the signs he sees in the housing market in 2012. He likes the lower interest rates, which encourages demand, and the slightly better economy he sees. People are feeling better about the housing market, which is helping to increase demand, and artificially low inventory levels are causing prices to rise.
Still, he believes Gov. Mitt Romney is the right choice to get the state and the country moving further in the right direction.
“[Romney] will keep capital gains tax low and get the job market moving,” Bronchick said. “Obama will raise capital gains and tax the crap out of real estate income with his healthcare plan.”
On the other side, Sandi Storck, team leader of The StorckNest Team and broker associate at Coldwell Banker in Boulder, believes the state should stay the course in 2012.
“Obama has done a great job on turning around the economy, albeit slower than people want, but with as much debt that was being bled from the previous administration it’s more like trying to turn around a huge sinking ship like the Titanic... and that can't happen overnight or in just four years,” Storck said. “We have seen traction this year and the bleeding from foreclosures has reduced year after year.”Other Swing State Housing ScorecardsNevada May Double Down on Obama