Industry leaders shed light on Northern Colorado’s hot housing market at real estate conference

Chris White of the Colorado Housing Finance Authority

Cris White, CEO of the Colorado Housing Finance Authority, speaks at the 25th annual Northern Colorado Real Estate Conference hosted by CSU’s Everitt Real Estate Center. (Photo: John Eisele, CSU)

Northern Colorado’s already hot real estate market will stay that way for the foreseeable future.

That was one of the themes of Colorado State University’s Everitt Real Estate Center’s 25th Annual Northern Colorado Real Estate Conference, which brought together industry leaders, students and College of Business faculty Oct. 4 during an in-person event at the Anheuser-Busch Biergarten Events Center.

“What the demographer’s office is telling us as we talk about a housing problem is that the number (of people in Northern Colorado) is going to double in the next 20 years.So if housing affordability is an issue now, we better get building,” said Richard Werner, the president and CEO of Upstate Colorado Economic Development.

Werner, one of the three featured speakers who presented during the conference, detailed what his public/private economic development corporation is doing to help make northern Colorado better for businesses and workers.

According to the speakers, part of the challenge in the coming decades will be providing affordable housing to the people who choose to live in this region. Cris White, CEO of the Colorado Housing Finance Authority, presented data showing that while 135,592 people moved to Northern Colorado between 2010 and 2020, only 49,728 new units of housing were built.

“That is everything you need to know about why housing is so unaffordable right now,” he said. “This is why rents are so high and that is why housing prices are so high.”

As this is happening, companies are increasingly competing for talent and raising wages accordingly. James Connor, a regional supervisory economist for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development who spoke at the conference via Zoom, explained that the data shows Colorado is quickly recovering from the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re still seeing strong job growth, and you can see unemployment rates fell pretty quickly after the early months of the pandemic, and they’ve been declining ever since,” he said. “I would expect the unemployment rate to drop to what it was before the pandemic. This is a much faster recovery than the last three recessions.”

Multiple CSU students attended the conference, including Taj Goldsmith, who is a member of the real estate club. “It was an amazing networking opportunity,” he said.

Hllary Klein, the assistant director of the Everitt Real Estate Center, agreed, saying that she’s now seeing graduates who came up through the program mentoring current students. “The real estate center is a bedrock of the Northern Colorado real estate community,” she said.

Honoring Colorado real estate leaders

Julie Piepho
C3 Real Estate and Sonny Lubick

Julie Piepho, president of consumer banking at Adams Bank & Trust, and Jesse Laner and John Simmons of C3 Real Estate were honored during the Everitt Real Estate Center fall conference. (Photos: John Eisele, CSU) 

Twenty years ago, Julie Piepho was packing the gift boxes that attendees at the Everitt Real Estate Center Real Estate Conference brought home. This year, she was one of the main events.

Piepho is the 2021 inductee into the Real Estate Hall of Fame, an honor that encapsulates 40 years of trailblazing in the industry.

“I’m very, very honored to have my name be mentioned among the past honorees and to be the first female and the first mortgage broker,” said Piepho, who is currently the president of consumer banking at Adams Bank & Trust.

She has also helped fund the Everitt Center and serves on several national, state and nonprofit boards, including a committee tackling the dearth of affordable housing in Colorado.

“I think the best advice I can give to all you students today is to do what you want to do, be passionate about what you want to do and do it with all your heart,” Piepho said.

She was introduced by legendary CSU football coach Sonny Lubick, who is now the director of Community Leadership Outreach for the Dean’s Office at the College of Business.

Lubick also recognized C3 Real Estate founders Jesse Laner and John Simmons as the Real Estate Entrepreneurs of the Year.

“It was a real honor to be introduced by the old ball coach,” Laner said. “He always had the unique ability to motivate and care for his players while loving them deeply, and that’s something we try to emulate every day in our company.”