Thursday, March 30, 2006

Colorado Real Estate Outlook is Bright

Economic analyst Patty Silverstein painted a rosy picture for Colorado at Silverthorne's second annual business community breakfast.

Colorado has come back strong since the 2001 and 2002 recession years, which she described as the most severe in modern Colorado history.

"Statewide, we're back to a very strong job growth rate," she said. But she acknowledged that in some areas the mountain communities still lag the Front Range - in particular in the service and retail sectors. Still, she said, like the rest of Colorado, the mountain region should continue to see economic growth.

Silverstein, president of Development Research Partners, was one of four presenters at the breakfast meeting jointly sponsored by the town of Silverthorne and its Economic Development Advisory Committee.

She said unlike several other states there is not a significant concern over a housing bubble in Colorado, where last year average home prices increased about 6 percent. Obviously, she noted, some areas including the High Country saw stronger price increases, but not to a level of concern.

She cited Arizona and Phoenix and Tucson specifically as regions where median home prices indicate a bubble that could burst. Last year, Phoenix median home price increased 55 percent.

Other speakers at the meeting included St. Anthony Summit Medical Center Administrator Paul Chodkowski, Outlets at Silverthorne general manager Rod Goodell and EDAC chairperson Heidi Bimmerle, who recapped the group's past year activities.

Chodkowski said the hospital, which opened in early December, is already looking at expansion as demand for services have significantly exceeded expectation.

"We have been stretched since the doors opened, no doubt about it," he said, adding that as the facility expands and as the adjoining medical offices open the effect on all areas of the county will be dramatic. And the effect, he said, will touch retail sales, real estate and housing and secondary services.

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