The Colorado Springs Balloon Festival is one of the most anticipated events in not only the city, but in the state of Colorado, as well as the rest of the world. We have many people from all over the world that join us in this event every year.
Also called the Labor Day Lift Off, the Colorado Springs Balloon Festival is free to everyone!
For 2022, there will be 75 balloons. For 2019, we had 78 balloons that participated in the event, which is more than any previous year.
No dogs are allowed at the Colorado Springs Balloon Festival, though I did still see 4 or 5 at the event. Only one was a labelled service animal.
No matter if you attend the balloon liftoff or the balloon glow, get there early. At least an hour early. You want to do this for parking reasons. Every year, more people attend the balloon festival, and the parking situation is getting worse and worse. You're stuck parking in residential areas nearby, and there are only so many street parking spots.
Take a picture of the cross streets you parks nearest so that you can find your car later.
What to Expect at the Colorado Springs Balloon Festival
When you park and enter Memorial Park, the roads are shut down, with "Road Closed" signs all over. You kind of have to make a path to get to the balloons, which means walking through the grass field, which means wear shoes that don't get wet easily, or stay on the street if you can.
Once you get there, you will be greeted by the smell of funnel cakes. Feel free to get something now, as the lines are shorter than they will be.
Find a grassy spot to park yourself and set up camp. Lawn chairs/camp chairs and blankets are welcome at the Labor Day balloon festival. You have the whole park to park at, which includes the area near Prospect Lake, which is further south (we arrived at the North end of Memorial Park).
Parking in the grass right next to the balloons guarantees you'll see them fill up and get really close, but parking at the lake means better photography, as you'll have both Pikes Peak and Prospect Lake for backgrounds for the Labor Day Lift Off.
You could opt for a hybrid also, which I did, which means we parked in the grass and watched a few balloons fill up and take off, and then we relocated to Prospect Lake for the rest of the event.
Riding in A Hot Air Balloon
If you'd like to take a ride in one of these balloons, you'll have to schedule in advance, and there is only one company that will actually give you rides on the balloons. The rest are for family and friends of the balloon operators.
Rainbow Ryders is the one company who will give rides at the balloon festival in Colorado Springs. The flight lasts 45 minutes to an hour, and costs $345 a person. Check in to the balloon ride is at 6AM.
Rainbow Ryders also offers tethered rides in the evening, where the balloon is held by ropes and are taken to 75 feet in the air. Not a full travel experience, but you still get to feel what it's like to ride in a balloon, and at only $25 a person. Starts at 6PM.
There is one other option for getting a hot air balloon ride, and that is by sponsoring a hot air balloon. Sponsorship packages range from $1,000 to $50,000.
Watching the Hot Air Balloons Lift Off
Balloons start filling up closer to 7AM. The trucks and trailers parked on the grass will need room to fill up, and for the rope handlers who keep the balloons steady as they fill, so make sure you give them room.
Notable Hot Air Balloons
Notable hot air balloons include:
The "Save the Storks" hot air balloon (pictured at the beginning)
The one man hot air balloon (see video)
The Pepsi Football balloon (pictured above)
Fun fact about RE/MAX: they own 110 hot air balloons, more than anyone else in the world. It is the largest fleet of hot air balloons in existence. They are here every year for this event!
RE/MAX's catchphrase for their balloons is "Above the Crowd," which refers to their balloons as well as their commitment to quality of service.
Toys at the Colorado Springs Balloon Festival
The toy tent at the Labor Day Lift Off has a lot of cool hot air balloon toys, and a few other odds and ends. The inflatable hot air balloons are classic!
In case you missed your souvenir, Amazon carries these inflatable hot air balloons, as well as my favorite wind catcher balloon and hot air balloon windchimes I saw at the Colorado Springs Balloon Festival.
Dunkin' Donuts Donut Eating Championships
I didn't snap any pictures of this part of the balloon fest, mostly because I don't care, and partly because I came here for the balloons, not for donuts.
In 2018's festival, my son and I waited in line for Dunkin' Donuts. We waited about a half hour for donuts. I learned my lesson, and the following year, I made a King Soopers run for donuts before we arrived. Just as tasty, without waiting for one.
If you want to join the championship, registration starts at 7AM on the Saturday and Sunday before Labor Day. There are two separate championships, one for adults (14 and up), and the other for kids (ages 5-13). The entry fee is $10 for each.
Right after all the Labor Day Lift Off is the skydiving event, put up by the Wings of Blue Demonstration Team, which represents the Air Force and the Armed Forces.
I missed getting a shot of the first skydiver, who had a huge American flag trailing behind, as I was at Prospect Lake getting some shots of the balloons over the lake, but again, like most people, I came here for the hot air balloon festival, and cared less about anything else. I mean, there were several large bounce houses at the event also, and I love bounce houses, and I didn't care, lol.
Though not a part of the official Colorado Springs Balloon Festival, you will occasionally meet a celebrity. I keep seeing images for Darth Vader on other sites, but I haven't spotted him yet. There were, however, a Darth Vader and a Yoda hot air balloons for the 2018 Labor Day Lift Off. They will be here again for 2022!
The Balloon Glow is on Saturday and Sunday evenings before Labor Day, at 7:00PM. Again, get there early to allow for parking time. The park closes at 10PM.
What time does the Balloon Glow start in Colorado Springs?
The balloon glow starts at 7:00PM on the Saturday and Sunday before Labor Day.
Where do you park for the balloon glow?
Anywhere you legally can! Memorial Park and Prospect Lake will be closed off to allow vendors and balloon operators to park and set up, so your parking options are within the city. There is no metered parking here, just in residential neighborhoods, so get there at least an hour early to find good parking, as parking goes fast.
Remember, you can't park within 15 feet of a fire hydrant, and you can't block anyone's driveway.
What time do the balloons take off?
The balloons take off at 7AM every morning of the festival. They will start filling up at 6:30-6:45AM.
Are drones allowed?
No, drones are not allowed. However, I did see one at Prospect Lake getting shots of the balloons (2019).
Are pets allowed?
No pets allowed, although again, I did see 4 or 5 dogs on leashes at the park, and only one of them was labeled a service dog.
Are coolers allowed?
Yes, coolers are allowed. No glass bottles or glassware though.
The Colorado Springs Balloon Festival is held at Memorial Park, 1605 E Pikes Peak Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80910.
Still A Seller's Market, But It's Easier
Properties in Colorado Springs are getting between 2-3 showings a week on average now, and are going under contract in 16 days, on average. We had a full 2 months of housing inventory for July. 4-6 months is considered a healthy balanced market.
Are prices going to drop? Are we actually starting to head toward a balanced housing market? Or is this just seasonal? Summertime is when the most listings hit the market! On the other hand, the last time we had at least two months worth of housing inventory was back in January 2019. So that hasn't happened in a few years.
There are currently 1,885 properties for sale in Colorado Springs. Out of those, 1,198 (63.5%) have had price drops. Some properties are still selling above asking price though.
553 properties have sold so far in August. 1,084 properties sold in July in Colorado Springs. Compare that with 1,487 properties that sold in July 2021.
The current economic climate has made many buyers question purchasing right now, which has taken the urgency out of buying a home. We're seeing a closer to normal timeframe for days on market for properties.
Colorado Springs Average Sale Prices
You can see that even with the home values seemingly dropping a bit, they are still much higher than they were this time last year!
Also, for land, there are 130 land properties for sale in Colorado Springs right now. 56 of those have taken a price drop, almost half.
8 have sold so far for August. 12 sold in July, out of 151 for sale. 11 sold in June, out of 140 for sale. Land has not been moving as quickly here! If people are unsure of buying a home, they're even less sure of buying land to build a home.
I bring up land because of my luxury vacant lot listing in Kissing Camels, in Colorado Springs. It's ready to build on, and preliminary plans have already been approved. Here's a link if you'd like to get more info on that lot.
The National Housing Info
The NAR (National Association of Realtors) recently released their predictions for the housing market, in their August US Economic Forecast Data. This information something you can look at, interpret, and make some conclusions about what the NAR's economic forecast looks like, and how trustworthy it may be.
Remember, these are national numbers. Your local market will be different. Your city will have unique draws and drawbacks to it. In this case, I live in Colorado Springs, so I will be looking at this data and overlaying what I know about Colorado Springs, as well as what the dats says about Colorado Springs specifically.
Read NAR's August US Economic Forecast Data report here, so you can compare with what I'm saying, or come back to the report later so you can fully digest the numbers in there:
So it looks like the prediction is that we'll continue to see a drop in home values into the end of the year, and starting 2023 the values will start to rise again. New home prices will have very minor drops in value, not enough to really make a noticeable difference.
Home prices for new and existing homes are 14.2% higher than they were last year. Let that sink in. Even with the price drops we've been seeing on homes, the values are still 14.2% higher than last year's prices.
If we do see a 4.2% and then another 21.3% drop in home values, that's a lot! Let's do some quick math. If you have a house that's worth $500,000 now, and you get a 4.2% drop in value, and then another 21.3% drop in value, your home would be worth 479000 after the 4.2% drop, and $381,763 after the 21.3% drop.
Is that a realistic expectation though?
Applying These Numbers to Colorado Springs
Let's take my house, which had at it's highest point (before April 2022) had a Zestimate of 490,000. It's now at $460,000. If I had my home listed for $490,000, would a 30k price drop make sense to sell it in this market?
My $490,000 house would be worth $469,420 after the 4.2% price drop, and $374,127.74 after the 21.3% price drop.
So at a total predicted future value of about $375,000, my house would still be worth ~ $75,000 more than what I bought it for in 2018. Does that sound like a more reasonable appreciation for Colorado Springs, where I live?
Now keep in mind, this is Colorado Springs, it's a generally more in demand city to live in, and these numbers we're talking about are national numbers. Things will be different for each city, and I think Colorado Springs is going to be on the higher end of the scale in terms of property values, generally.
Still, NAR gives some predictions that give some numbers we can play with. At the end of the day, it's still just people's best guesses, and economists, much like the weather people, are often wrong. It's very hard to make predictions, especially when you can't possible know everything.
Additional Thoughts on if Home Prices Will Drop
Other things to keep in mind: millennials are the largest base of buyers right now. We have more people needing homes to live in than any previous generation.
The unaffordability rate of homes is at its largest! If we take the median sale price of a house in Colorado Springs, at $460,000, and we divide that by the median income in Colorado Springs (as of 2016-2020) at $67,719, the price of a home in Colorado Springs is 6.79 times more expensive than a person's yearly income.
In the historical past, the average house cost 5 times the yearly household income. At the height of the 2006 housing boom, that number was at 7 times the yearly household income. We are almost to that same ratio in Colorado Springs. It really does feel like we're all still on a precipice with the economy and the housing market. Still sitting on the fence. Everyone is still waiting. Waiting to see what happens!
The high cost of homes right now definitely makes it difficult to purchase.
The Homes Owned By A Corporation
If you've wondered about the corporations buying up homes in Colorado Springs, I have a name for you: SFR JAVELIN BORROWER LP.
I came across this corporate owner when I was calling people in my neighborhood and found the name registered as the property owner for more than a few properties.
They own 176 homes in El Paso County. SFR JAVELIN BORROWER LP is also known as Invitation Homes, based out of Dallas, Texas. They own and lease 80,000 homes across the country. Invitation Homes is owned by Blackstone Inc.
So if you need to rent a house or know someone who does, Invitation Homes definitely has options right now for people relocating to Colorado Springs.
What are your thoughts? Do you think prices are going to drop for the rest of the year in Colorado Springs? Do you think it will be a good time to buy this year or in 2023 if that happens? Let me know in the comments below!
The cost of living in Colorado Springs in 2022 is at 104.5%. Compare that to Denver, at 128.7%, Pueblo, at 85.2%, and Los Angeles at 173.3%. While Colorado Springs is expensive to live in, it's still relatively inexpensive when compared to larger or more developed cities.
Property showings have continued to be incredibly slow (about 1.5 per listing per week)! Buyer interest has dropped, at least here in Colorado Springs. The market has definitely leveled off.
The Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) stated that 80 percent of consumers believe that now is not a good time to buy a house. According to the survey that is the highest percentage ever of lack of faith in the housing market.
The average sale price in Colorado Springs has started to go down since April. Interestingly, it has bumped up again for July. However, if you look at the "Close Price to Original Price Ratio," you'll notice that on average, homes have not been selling for more than asking recently. This is one metric we can use to look at the market as a whole.
Back in March, Colorado Springs made it onto the top 10 least affordable metro areas in the United States (we placed 10th).
Then, at the end of April, when mortgage rates went up, buyers pulled out of the Colorado Springs market, sharply.
Home builders, after having ignored real estate agents for three years because of the sheer buyer demand, are now soliciting agents again to find buyers for their new construction homes.
6/2022 Interest Rate: 6.1%
12/2021 Interest Rate: 3.1%
Average Days on Market is 13 for Colorado Springs
The Feds are raising the interest rates another 0.75% this week. I expect mortgage interest rates to increase in response, long-term anyway.
Inflation is up 9.1% as of end of June. Anecdotally, I have heard that people's grocery bills/living expenses went up about 20% over the last year. Your cost increases may be similar.
Is any of this sustainable?
This market has slowed down A LOT. But we were going Fast and Furious for a couple years here. Now, it's more normal. However, what that looks like in reality is that showings are much fewer for properties.
There are 1,663 listings in Colorado Springs (2,163 in El Paso County in total). That's only a little bit more than the number of listings we had in July 2019. Remember how low that inventory was?
June 2019 TOTAL Listings: 1,366 in Colorado Springs, 1,680 in total in all El Paso County. Inventory has not changed much since then.
We would need to have about 5,000 listings in Colorado Springs in order to see a truly balanced market between buyers and sellers.
What we are seeing right now is a temporary pullback from buyers, due to shock from:
However, could this pullback turn into a long term thing? Is a recession still possible? I don't see the cost of living decreasing, however...
No one wants to buy right now.
If you as a buyer plan to purchase a property to live in yourself, and you plan to keep it long term, then that's the most important thing for you. If you're going to be paying rent anyway, then I consider it a win to lock in a mortgage payment that won't rise like your rent will.
Only you know where you need to live and what that looks like. Just do what's best for you!
If we do hit some kind of recession, home prices may continue falling in Colorado Springs a bit.
Moody's Analytics estimates that Colorado Springs home values are 41% overvalued. That means that a $500,000 home in Colorado Springs might drop in value down to $295,000. Yeah, I think not.
CoreLogic, which runs the majority of the Multiple Listing Service companies for real estate agents throughout the country, thinks there is a low (10-20% chance) of Colorado Springs home prices falling in the next 12 months. That statistic seems more reasonable, but only time will tell!
If you are considering selling property, be aware that it will take longer to sell, and you are not going to get the multiple offers or extra incentives from buyers anymore. In fact, you will likely be giving seller concessions toward the buyer's loan closing costs. That's something that hasn't really been happening since 2017.
Houses, townhomes, condos, all of those need to be in great shape, with great first impressions, in order to sell. That is what a normal market looks like. Unfortunately, this market is still not normal.
I don't know if home values will suddenly plummet in the next 6 months. Nobody knows. I do know that most buyers are uncertain if they should buy right now. If you want to sell in this market now, be prepared for that. Buyer incentives are making a difference again, because most buyers are hesitant.
In the end, none of this really matters. Investor buyers will buy based on the numbers. People who buy to live in it buy because of a change in their lives. There will always be change.
For home sellers, here's how I may make you up to $15,000 over what you would make selling your home on your own, and for way quicker, and here's how I am different from other agents you may talk to:
As you may know, For Sale By Owner Houses don't usually have the same traction as a house listed by a real estate agent. They also don't usually sell for as much. This is due to the inexperience of the homeowner, bad pictures, incomplete info, and most importantly, the homeowner isn't responsive enough to actually sell their own home (I see this one ALL the time).
And of course, it’s not their full-time job, so they can’t give it full-time treatment, which is what you need to sell a house!
For Sale By Owners also don't have public data on what they listed for, how long they were on market, and what they sold for. It's hard to have good data on them because of this. However, as an example, I personally followed a FSBO in 80907 this year, and this is what I found:
1201 Westmoreland listed for $400k sometime in early April 2021. It sat on the open market for two months before the seller listed with an agent on June 25th. They listed at $395k. It went under contract Jul 9th (14 days on market), and sold for the same price, $395k.
When I talked to the homeowner, I thought his asking price of $400k was too high for the home, and that seems to have been correct! It sat on market for too long, even with an agent, and the seller missed out on getting a bidding war and top dollar for his home.
The listing agent also missed out on getting more for her seller. If they had listed a little bit less, they could have easily gotten into a bidding war!
Let's take a few more for sale by owner examples in 80918:
There are currently 53 for sale by owner homes in all of El Paso County, at least on the Zillow website, and 2 on ForSaleByOwner.com.
More nearby For Sale By Owner homes:
By comparison, the average days on market for an agent listed home in 80918 is 4 days before it goes under contract! Agent listed homes in 80918 have also been selling for 101.1% to 108.2% over the list price over 2021 (last year it was 100.0% to 102.2%).
FSBO homes seem to sit for 2-3 months before they list with a real estate agent, or they finally do get a lower offer that they decide to take because of the sunk cost fallacy. Or they cancel selling altogether and just get frustrated.
If a home has sat for 2-3 months without an offer, and I wanted that home, I'd be offering a considerable amount less than asking. If the house was listed at say $450k, for a couple months on market, I'd offer $400k.
I mean why not, what's the worst they're going to do, say no? They can counter, and we can find some compromise, but I would at least expect a 20k discount on the price of the home. I could be totally off the mark here on pricing, but that's my personal opinion.
So let's say you as the seller sell this house on your own for $430k. After paying the buyer agent commission (3% is an average amount for each agent that we see in Colorado Springs, though this number is negotiable with your agent) and title company costs, you're usually paying around 4% of the amount you sell your home for, if you sell it without a listing agent.
So in the above example, you as the seller doing FBSO would be walking away with $417,100, and that’s if you actually get $430,000.
If you instead listed with a real estate agent, your agent would likely tell you your home needs to be priced lower, at say $430k. Once your agent lists your home, if we expect to sell your home for 101.1% to 108.2% over the list price, like the average for 80918 in 2021, then you could expect to sell it for $434,730 to $465,260. After factoring in 7% for costs (both real estate agents, and title costs, again, your own numbers may be different), your net amount is $404,299 to $432,692.
So selling at the same price, you make $12,801 less, to $15,592 more with an agent than you would selling it yourself, and you'll do it in 4 days instead of 2 months or more on your own. As a good real estate agent will often be able to sell your home for more, you may make even more on the sale of your home with an agent.
Now, if you’re listed in the MLS with an agent, you stand a much better chance to actually sell your home than selling on your own. Often what will happen is a homeowner will try selling their home on their own, give up after a month or two, and then use an agent. The price could have been too high, or the pictures bad, or not enough exposure as many buyers rely on their real estate agent’s MLS search. Often it’s all three.
So based on the information above, you MAY be able to sell for more on your own than with an agent, but without the experience, responsiveness, and discipline that it will take you to sell it, the odds are against you.
You can potentially save the commission you would have paid out to a listing agent, but then that work your agent would have done falls on you instead, and it’s a lot more work than most people are aware. There’s a reason there’s a whole job for it!
Ultimately, the net amount you as the seller walk away with is the most important number. If I can get you a net amount that is as much or higher than what you were hoping to sell your home for, then does it matter if my commission is $1,000, $10,000, or a million dollars? At the end of the day, the important thing is how much net you are making on your home.
I am transparent in what your options are and what the costs for those options look like. Whether it’s listing your home on the local real estate market in Colorado Springs, or getting a quick cash offer, you get to make the best decision for you! Many buyers are also typically willing to let you stay in your home for a month or two (sometimes more) after closing, so that you have time to find your next home!
If you'd like to dive deeper into numbers, I'm happy to do that with you.
Now, if you live in 80918 or know someone who does, then I’ve compiled some data for 80918 in particular:
There are 7 new listings in 80918 in the past week, ranging from $349,900 to $460,000. There are currently 30 homes for sale. There are 85 80918 homes currently under contract, and 427 that have sold in the last 6 months. 80918 is projected to increase in value by 15.4% over the next year.
Median sale price for 80918 in Colorado Springs for the past 5 years:
What I am looking for: someone who is looking to sell their home in 80918 in Colorado Springs, and who is looking for the knowledge and assistance of a local real estate agent. If you are interested, or know someone who is, please let your friendly neighborhood agent know (remember I live here!). Thanks, and I look forward to working with you now or in the future…
I'm Kevin James Bond, native to Colorado and author of this site, which exists to educate anyone who wants to hear a local's thoughts and experiences with Colorado Springs and the surrounding areas. I am also a Colorado Springs real estate agent. You can learn more about my real estate services at Kevin James Bond, RE/MAX Real Estate Group.