Fort Collins real estate investor competition increases


Thousands of homebuyers entered the Fort Collins real estate market as the Great Recession came to a close in 2009. Some saw renewed financial opportunity. 

About 2 percent of buyers purchased multiple homes over 5-year period in Fort Collins.

More than 12,060 homes were purchased within city during 2009-14. About 260 buyers — or 2 percent — bought more than one single-family property.

The top three buyers scooped up 26 properties for less than $300,000 each — no longer an easy task in today’s real estate market.

“When we were first coming out of the recession, people were able to find properties in high $100,000s and low $200,000s. I don’t think that’s true any more,” said Francie Martinez, past president of the Fort Collins Board of Realtors and Elevations Real Estate broker.

“I don’t think investors grabbed properties right away, but once people saw home values start to increase the market just got kind of frenzied,” Martinez said. “The market is affecting the well-qualified average and median income buyers who qualify for those same houses investors are going after. They can’t compete.”

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Fort Collins resident Richard Wilson purchased more than any other buyer from 2009 to 2014: 11 single-family properties throughout the city.

Wilson transferred ownership of seven of the 11 properties to his company Fort Collins-based Hard Way LLC. The homes ranged from $174,900 to $229,000, with the exception of a four-bedroom property on the 3600 block of Shallow Pond Road.

The Shallow Pond property was sold to Wilson in 2010 for $780,000. He declined to comment on his purchases, telling the Coloradoan, “No harm, no foul, I’m just a private person.”

The second-biggest buyers were Li-Ching Tsai and Chen Yi-Show. Tsai and Yi-Show purchased nine homes in Fort Collins ranging from $190,000 to $237,442. Recycled Properties LLC was the third-largest buyer. The company purchased six homes in 2014 and one in 2013, ranging from $163,500 to $275,000.

Recycled Properties sold two of those seven properties in Fort Collins from 2009-2014. The average sale price was 55 percent higher than the purchase price creating a $243,870 net profit.

Recycled Properties is an affiliate of Windsor-based Pickett Properties Investments, a company registered to Heath Pickett. Pickett, Tsai and Yi-Show declined to return calls from the Coloradoan.

INTERACTIVE MAP:Compare home prices in Fort Collins neighborhoods

A Coloradoan analysis of single-family home sales show the average sales price for a single-family detached home in Fort Collins in 2014 was $325,044, up 15.3 percent over two years. In 2012, the average sales price was $281,945.

“It was financially smart to buy before the recent increase in home prices,” Martinez said. Now investors or competing with typical buyers for homes listed under $300,000. The situation is intensified by lack of new homes coming on the market in that price range.

“I don’t think you can build under $300,000 anymore in Fort Collins,” Hartford Homes President Landon Hoover said.

‘Tough picture’

From 2011-2014, Encore Homes — an affiliate of The Hartford Companies — sold 227 homes in the Dry Creek subdivision. The houses in north Fort Collins sold for an average of $227,579 each.

“Within 28 months we built and sold the homes,” Hoover said. “It’s definitely the fastest selling subdivision we’ve ever had.”

The company was able to sell the homes for less than the area average because tap and sewer infrastructure already existed in the Dry Creek project. The infrastructure was present from when Dry Creek housed a mobile home park. The park closed in 2006 displacing 130 families.

PROPERTY TAXES: Taxes jump along with home values

Encore Homes was the second-largest seller of homes from 2009-2014, behind only Journey Homes. The Greeley-based company sold 461 homes in Fort Collins in that six-year period for $239,490 on average.

Encore is in the process of developing the Timbervine neighborhood just east of Dry Creek. The company expects homes in the area to be more expensive than the earlier project.

“Planning process costs have gone up,” Hoover said. “Fort Collins is one of the most expensive places to develop. That added costs translates into a beautiful city, but also translates into higher home prices.”

In addition to planning fees, construction, infrastructure, material, water and other costs have also increased.

The overall cost trend for an average 2,300-square-foot home in Fort Collins, including land, fees, taxes, building material and labor, has gone from about $195,000 in 2000 to $278,400 in 2013, according to a preliminary city-sponsored study done by Economic & Planning Systems Inc., or EPS, of Denver.

“It’s a combination of a lot of things,” Hoover said. “It’s a tough picture for affordable housing.”

Source: Growth & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached at 970-224-7835 or

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Will Malizia is a licensed Colorado real estate broker at C3 Real Estate Solutions in Loveland, CO.