Metro Denver Home Sales Rose in 2011 but experts focus on sliding inventory
By Margaret Jackson, The Denver Post, 01/04/2012
Metro Denver home sales edged up slightly last year compared with 2010, even as prices dropped. Last year, 39,387 homes sold, up 1.5 percent from the 38,818 houses sold in 2010, according to an analysis of Metrolist data released Tuesday. The median sale price dropped 2.13 percent to $230,000 for the year, from $235,000 in 2010. However, the continuing story since the summer, according to real-estate experts, is sliding inventory. The number of homes on the market in metro Denver last month was the fewest in more than a decade. “What strength we’ve had in pricing is due to the low inventory,” said Chris Mygatt, president and chief executive of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. There were 12,531 homes on the market in December, down 33.6 percent from the same month in 2010, according to an analysis of Metrolist data. In 2000, the inventory hit a low of about 9,000, said independent real-estate consultant Gary Bauer. “If it continues to drop, it’s going to have a dramatic impact on the market,” Bauer said. “Some people like to see a lower inventory because it increases prices, but I personally think it will reduce transactions.” In August, the number of metro Denver homes on the market dropped more than 20 percent from the year before, and the downward trend continued through the year. Inventory is low not only because sellers take their homes off the market during the holidays but also because they never put them up for sale during the fall selling season.
Homes priced at less than $200,000 are getting multiple offers, and there’s also been a surge in activity for homes priced above $500,000, Mygatt said. “We’ve seen really solid activity at that price point ($500,000) for the last six months,” he said. “Before we see real recovery in Colorado, we’ve got to see strength in the luxury market.”
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“And the government influence on slowing down the foreclosure activity has taken that portion off the market,” Bauer said.