Like the weather, the Denver real estate market cooled off in December as a year of blistering price increases and frenzied bidding for homes came to an end.
Observers often describe local real estate events of the last year in breathless terms: “When it comes to Denver’s housing market,” reports the Denver Post, “2015 will go down as the year when home prices and rents blew the roof off.”
Zillow’s home price index for metro Denver, notes the Post, reported a 15.5% annual increase in average sold price in November. That was the 10th consecutive month Denver led the country’s major metro areas for home appreciation. Homes sold in around 23 days overall, nearly four times faster than in years past. “Back in 2012,” says the Post, “it took about 80 days for a new listing to sell on average.”
In December, however, conditions eased, if only slightly. According to REcolorado’s recent Market Snapshot, average sold prices stabilized at $369,568 with only a small change from November’s $367,992. The number of homes under contract dropped 27% from November. And the number of days homes took to sell rose 10%, from 30 to 33.
“December proved to be a great month for home buyers who were able to snatch up previously overpriced listings by making offers without competing offers, and without the same sense of urgency as in previous months,” noted the Denver Metro Association of Realtors’ market report.
Still, no one is predicting the market will drastically change in 2016, although potentially rising interest rates could have an impact. And bargains will likely remain few and far between.
In fact, home buyers should beware of that term overall. A recent Trulia study looked at real estate listings between 2013 and 2015 that included the word “bargain” and found that nearly half of the markets studied showed no difference in price between those listings and comparable properties. It’s no surprise that any “bargains” in Denver were negligible.