Oh, Africa (and Low Interest Rates), I Miss You So

Oh, Africa (and Low Interest Rates), I Miss You So

  • Victoria Merchant
  • 03/3/23

I’m back from Africa. And it was delightful. I was in a complete time-day-place void, and, honestly, it’s not easy being back in reality. But I’m giving it a go, and things are falling into place. 

Okay, so Africa. Things I was NOT expecting:

  • Our flight from London was delayed because a luggage cart ran into the plane's engine, so after 12 hours in London and an 11 hour flight to Johannesburg we missed our connection within Africa and had another 4 hours layover; it was exhausting even with all the excitement.
  • They do something called load shedding where there are multiple power outages a day throughout South Africa because the electrical grid has not been upgraded in 20+ years. Yes folks, that means no wifi and no AC. 
  • The reserves are parceled off; they’re massive but not open wilderness as I expected. There’s fencing all around. Our reserve had no lions but had zebras, impalas, turtles, very unattractive storks, water buffalos, hippos, and elephants, and we saw cheetahs that were on the other side of the fence at our neighboring reserve.
  • Hippos never come out of the water during the day.
  • The lushness of the rolling hills was phenomenal; it was cool at night and humid all the time. I looked 10 years younger for a total of 5 days.
  • Dottie, my travel companion, was so much fun (she’s 84!), and I hope to have half the energy she has when I’m 84!
  • The chemistry within our group was incredible; we were with a couple of Brits who were so cool and Americans from all over, also so cool. We were quite the gang, and each became fast friends! Speaking of, happy birthday, Alex!

Here’s what we did: 

  • Safari was 6 am to 8 am, then breakfast, then excursion, then lunch, then evening safari, then dinner- you have one guide the whole time; ours was James; he was terrific and patient with us.
  • We went on a hippo and crocodile boat cruise in St. Lucia, and the town was super cute. 
  • We went on a snake and crocodile tour where I held a python. Lemme tell you, I’m not joking; that python was sweet. I hate snakes. I love this python. 
  • We did many safaris in the mornings and afternoons and many excursions that took up our whole time and didn’t leave room for many cultural experiences (so, yes, we need to go back).
  • We got to feed elephants on this tremendous elephant interaction trip. I got to pet them, and just being in their majestic presence was insanely intense in the most spectacular way. 
  • We went on a 4-hour safari (George’s idea) in a different reserve to look for lions, which was supposed to be almost a sure thing. So much laughing I thought my stomach and cheeks would never recover. I didn’t care that we didn’t see any lions. George, you are forgiven. 
  • Eventually, in another reserve, we did see a male lion who was taking a bath in the grass under the shade of trees. I mean, seriously. Does it get better than that?
  • Because there’s an issue with infertility within the large cat community, there’s a cheetah rescue that allows medium cats to mate and stay safe while pregnant. We got to go and see and get pretty close to some pretty fierce cats. 

I wish we had time to do more cultural activities, but we were slammed with the excursions and safaris. My group of new friends will stay friends; I have no doubt. We’re still communicating so much. And the goal is for all of us to do this again somewhere else—many more times. 

This trip taught me that I need to deepen my relationships with people and make genuine connections with the potential for growth. It’s so easy to get complacent, so this was eye-opening, and now I’m sold. And Tag is amazing and knows I need to be my own person and have some adventure like this. I love that; he’s so supportive. As always.

And to top it all off, I came back to a home and family intact, healthy, even thriving. Sterling is a better reader and can focus better at school since we’ve started being more intentional with his reading exercise EVERY night. Bridger is doing great; baseball starts this weekend. And he’s getting better grades this trimester and has a cute new girlfriend and a solid group of friends. 

Life is good. 

My Colorado Real Estate Status

Interest rates are increasing, but that didn’t stop this from happening: I made an offer on a house the day I got back from Africa; it was over-asking, and had five other offers, but we did not get it. Not by a mile. The national real estate news is just short of bleak, however, in our slice of heaven here in Colorado I foresee us maintaining a relatively stable and sold market.

So, as I always say, if you want to sell or buy, there’s an opportunity. You just need to find it. Well, I guess that’s my job. But you know what I mean. 

I have a couple of listings coming up soon, so that will be good. I’ll keep you posted.

Current Denver Area Real Estate Market

Pending units continue to increase, even more so in the over $1,000,000 segment.

Now that we have the Super Bowl and President's Day weekend behind us the market has really gained momentum. Inventory continues to drop with only 3,633 active units for sale heading into last weekend, but new inventory making its way to market jumped by 5.7% over the previous week with 907 units listed. This however was not enough to offset the overwhelming amount of demand with an increase in pending units going up by 9.1% week over week putting 1,023 units under contract. We are truly in our Compression Cycle where we have more buyers in the market than homes to sell. In speaking with listing agents who put properties under contract this week approximately 35% stated that they were in multiple offer situations. More to come on that next week when I pull the monthly numbers for February.

I want to shine a spotlight on the market over $1,000,000. Pending transactions this last week increased week over week by 35.6% with 61 units between $1,000,000-$1,500,000 units going under contract. Months of inventory dropped to 1.2 months making this market competitive again. The odds of selling increased 6.8% over last week to 55.5% which is a very healthy number. Median days in MLS plummeted to 6 days, with only 15.8% of homes making price decreases with an average of -8.2% off of the original list price. Homes that are staged in this price range, with great photography, pre-inspected, updated and in great locations are absolutely flying off the shelves.

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