The Denver home market remains tighter than ever, according to new statistics from REcolorado, the state’s largest MLS.
While new home listings increased by 12% in February over January — certainly good news for homebuyers — the overall inventory hit record lows, showing a 6% decrease from January and a 2% decrease from February 2015.
The average sold price remained mostly stable in February compared to January ($371,996 vs. January’s $370,378), but prices rose 8% over last year.
As Denver’s housing market continues to sizzle, the rental market is showing similar signs of high demand. According to a study by apartment data research firm Yardi Matrix, Denver area apartment rents are predicted to rise 11.2% this year. This is despite the fact that 4.3% of the total market inventory was added through new construction in February — a percentage increase in new construction “only matched by Seattle,” according to Denver Real Estate Watch.
Yardi Matrix noted, however, that the rate of growth could begin to slow, due to the building boom in luxury apartments and the slowdown in tech and energy industries.
“Rents have begun to crest,” Jeff Adler, a vice president of Yardi Matrix told Denver Real Estate Watch. Even so, “It’s pretty hard to find an apartment for less than $1,000 a month,” he said.
While rising prices can create concern, they are fueled by the city’s high desirability. Denver enjoys a national reputation that few areas can currently claim, with studies consistently ranking the Mile High City at the top of quality-of-life lists. U.S. News & World Report, for example, recently put Denver at the top of its list of Best Places to Live.
“To make the top of the list, a place had to have good value, be a desirable place to live, have a strong job market and a high quality of life,” U.S. News noted.
The study cites the plethora of jobs at Denver’s research institutions and in prominent industries, such as biotech, health care, finance and telecommunications. The city’s hospitality industry is also booming, as more than 15 million people visit Denver each year.
Finally, U.S. News also praised the city’s low unemployment rate – 3.1%– and it high average salaries. Workers earn, on average, $53,060 a year in Denver, compared to $47,230 nationally.