Real Estate Market

Numbers to know.

As prices set new records, why aren’t Denverites selling their homes?

The median sale price has hit an all-time high of $653,000 in Denver. Inventory continues to decrease, and 1,464 homes sold in May, which is 6% above the last five-year average. Active listings were also down 20% in May. People aren’t selling their homes. The question is, why?

Denver is becoming one of the most expensive cities in the country. The median sale price has increased by 31% over the last three years with no sign of cooling off. Traditionally, sellers move every few years for various reasons — size requirement changes, a neighborhood change, or a lifestyle or work change. People are now staying put because they cannot afford their next home in Denver or fear being unable to secure a new home.

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April 2021 stats recap: Denver home bidding wars continue to drive up prices

I recently read an article published online by a Denver television network. It was titled: “Home out of range: 65% of Denver homes sell over asking price.” As I began to read, I didn’t even make it through the first sentence before I was met with disappointment. It started, “Littleton, Colorado…” So which is it, Littleton or Denver? Being a stats geek, I had to find out the actual number of Denver listings that closed at or above list price last month, in addition to pulling monthly stats (see below).

We’ve all heard the bidding war stories that are floating around and I knew the number would be high, but the numbers really were astonishing. In April, there were 1,519 homes that closed, and of those, 1,215 sold at list price or above. That means that a staggering 79.9% of homes sold at or above list price! Let that sink in a bit — now it makes even more sense why the median sale price for single family homes jumped another $20k from March, up to $650,000. 😳

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Denver housing market up 18.8% since January

Interest rates are back above 3% again, and the Denver housing market didn’t even notice! In fact, the bidding wars that everyone keeps talking about (which are real) have pushed the median sale price for single family homes past 600K, a record high for Denver and an 18.8% increase since January. Inventory, typically measured in months, was down to 1.06 months in March. There is so much pent-up buyer demand that I believe we’ll soon be measuring it by weeks. This is going to be another fast-paced, multiple-offer summer unless we start seeing a large number of listings hitting the market soon.

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Denver home prices reach an all time high

In case you missed it, the single family housing market is on 🔥 ! February’s numbers are in and the median sales price jumped 11% from January and almost 23% from February 2020’s benchmark. In fact, this month’s median sale price has set an all time high for Denver City and County. With interest rates hovering around all time lows and outpacing buyer demand, don’t expect to see the rising home prices reverse until inventory increases dramatically. Until then, we will be on the edge of our seats, feverishly watching!

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The Top Denver Neighborhoods of 2020

What a year 2020 was! With everything that happened in the world unrelated to real estate, you would have hoped we’d be seeing numbers that are kinder (a.k.a. less expensive) this year. One word to sum that up: nope!

The Most and Least Expensive Denver Neighborhoods

We’ve all heard how expensive Denver is becoming. When we look at the stats for the entire Front Range, counties like Boulder and Clear Creek tend to skew the numbers. Dialing into just Denver County, we see that the median sale price (MSP) went up 9.1% in 2020, but some neighborhoods have seen an even higher increase. So, to answer the burning question, is Denver becoming unaffordable? I’ll let you decide…

  • The most affordable neighborhood (bottom of the list) rose 18.3% from 2019, to an MSP of $210,000.
  • Over 51% of Denver’s neighborhoods have an MSP greater than $500,000 (up from 45% of neighborhoods in 2019).
  • Only 43% of Denver’s neighborhoods are in the $250k-$500k range (down from 50% in 2019).
  • Just 3.8% of neighborhoods have an MSP of less than $250,000 (unchanged from 2019).

See Full List

Denver Neighborhoods that Appreciated the Most + Least in the Last Year

We ranked Denver’s hottest up-and-coming neighborhoods using historical price growth data. A newcomer to our MSP growth list in 2020 was Hilltop, at 28.9% above Denver’s county’s already high appreciation of 9.1% (total appreciation of 38.0%!). Hilltop’s appreciation was driven by its larger lots and high amount of home renovations and new construction compared to its peer neighborhoods. The word is also getting out about Clayton, which boosted its neighborhood appreciation by 25.6% (approximately $100k of appreciation).

On the flip side, Union Station was hit hard by the pandemic as large-building living became less popular and an influx of new listings hit the market. Other traditionally hot neighborhoods saw a cool-off as well, which was welcomed by buyers searching in those neighborhoods.

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2020 Denver Real Estate Market Recap

What a year — and that’s just in reference to the Denver real estate market!

Imagine you were flying at 45,000 feet, staring down at a hurricane, with its eye directly over downtown Denver and winds stretching across the Front Range. I know this sounds like a strange analogy for real estate (especially since we don’t have hurricanes in Denver), but bear with me since I majored in aeronautical science and minored in meteorology (think, former professional pilot and weather nerd, turned real estate pro). Back to the hurricane… the wind represents the fast-paced, single-family home market where homes have been selling in days (sometimes hours), prices are skyrocketing, and buyers are frustrated. Then, look over to downtown Denver — where the condo market isn’t fast and furious. Just like the eye of a hurricane, it’s relatively calm and clear. Those who’ve been following the condo market in downtown Denver can understand — it’s been very slow and experienced a price correction in the pandemic.

Alright, enough analogies. On to the stats!

Days on the Market

We started 202o off strong, in the 40-45 average days on market (DOM) range. Then, well… you know. After the pandemic started gaining momentum, inventory started to shrink and buyers that were committed to buying saw it through. The buying frenzy that followed pushed the average DOM down to the mid-twenties for the remainder of the summer, and into the fall.

Inventory

The initial decline of inventory that started in January leveled off, then inventory began to jump in mid-late March when the stay-at-home orders hit.

In fact, it peaked all the way up to 3 months, a level we haven’t really seen since 2013! What was interesting to watch (statistically) in the midst of the media’s doom and gloom, was what happened as-stay-at home orders began to ease. As soon as Governor Polis deemed the real estate transaction an essential service, inventory began to plummet, eventually dipping lower than one by year-end. Yes, less than one month of inventory!

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Denver buyer demand sets records

I guess November didn’t get the memo, because buyer demand is supposed to slow down! In Denver last month, there were 1,417 closed transactions recorded. To give a little context, the 10-year average for November is 914 closed transactions — buyer demand is up 55%! Couple that with active listings being down 19% from November 2019 and we have a whopping 1.1 months of inventory. Folks that are touring homes and getting their offers trumped know what we’re talking about. Being a buyer in Denver (with the exception of the downtown condo market) is tough, really tough. With low inventory, high buyer demand, and all-time low interest rates, buyers have to bring their A game!

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Denver housing market is building on previous highs

There are no signs that the Denver real estate market is cooling. In fact, it’s picking up momentum as we head into the slower months of the year. Sales volume is up, inventory is down, and the result is a 21% increase in the median sales price from October 2019 and a 5.6% increase from September. The biggest news to talk about is the 11.8% increase in median sale price for attached single family properties. In fact, it set a new attached record at $436,000, and it’s only the second time the attached MSP has been above the $400k threshold.  It seems that buyer confidence is reducing the gap between attached and detached homes.

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Downtown Denver real estate market offers opportunity

Overall, Denver is setting home sales records for soaring median sales prices, low inventory, and the number of homes sold. Tell that to someone who’s trying to sell a condo downtown†, and you’ll probably be met with a puzzled look! Since COVID-19 swept the headlines, living downtown has become less popular. The psyche of buyers looking to call downtown home have changed, and the statistics are backing that up. The downtown real estate market comprises a small percent of Denver’s overall monthly activity, so it’s getting buried by all of the records the rest of the city is experiencing. Here are a few stats we pulled from the downtown condo/loft market for September:

  • Median sale price is down 14.2% to $485,000, from $565,000 in September 2019.
  • The number of sales for September is down 60% from September 2019.
  • There was 4.3 months of inventory, up 21% from September 2019.

Just like the stock market, our housing market has sectors that are down while the overall market remains strong. Can someone say opportunity? Market reports are great, but keep in mind: they are broad in scope and usually give you the 30,000 foot view. The statistics that really matter are the ones for the neighborhood you’re looking to call home!

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† In this article, Downtown Denver includes the neighborhoods of Union Station (LoDo) and Central Business District. 

Summer is winding down, but the Denver real estate market is staying strong

Summer is winding down, but the Denver housing market appears to be continuing its momentum right into fall. Interest rates have inched even lower, tempting buyers who have been on the fence about buying during a pandemic. We’ve had the best August in the last ten years for the number of homes sold at 1,507 (the average number of homes sold in August since 2011 is 1,240). With tight inventory and a new all-time low interest rate, expect to see prices continue to rise along the Front Range for the foreseeable future.

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