Denver housing market in 2017: Low inventory despite ‘coming soon’ listings

The median sale price for condos rose more than single-family homes -- 12.74 percent higher than last year.
Stoiberhof, the historic mansion at 1022 Humboldt Street. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; historic; residential real estate; mansion; kevinjbeaty; denverite; colorado;
Stoiberhof, the historic mansion at 1022 Humboldt Street. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Way to start the year on a low note, Denver real estate market.

This January was a new record-low with only 3,989 listings on the market, according to the Denver Metro Association of Realtors. The previous record was 2015’s 4,171 listings. 

One silver lining is that many real estate offices are reporting an increase in the number of new and “coming soon” listings, according to DMAR. Still, with housing inventory at historic lows, it’s not clear that there will be enough new properties to meet the demand.

At the same, both the average and median sold price rose for single family and condos compared to last year, according to DMAR.

The median sale price for condos rose more than single-family homes -- 12.74 percent higher than last year.
The median sale price for condos rose more than single-family homes — 12.74 percent higher than last year.

All this has kept Denver near the top of the Case-Shiller index for home prices.

Seattle, Portland, and Denver had the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities over each of the last 10 months. Both Seattle and Portland saw increases above 10 percent, but Denver prices increased by a meager 8.7 percent.

In related news that makes real estate purchasing less appealing, home value appreciation is expected to slow in the most nation’s most expensive markets, according to Zillow.

For Denver, it’s already taking longer to break even on a home as a result, according to the company’s “breakeven horizon.”

Now it takes 2 years and 3 months before it makes more financial sense to own a home, rather than rent it. Last year, it was just under two years.

Foreclosures in Denver also rose for the first time since 2007, according to the city officials.

“With the strong real estate market, we anticipated the number of foreclosure filings to go down in 2016. Instead they went up,” said Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson. “We had 30 more cases in 2016 than in 2015.”

“If there’s a bright side to that, it’s that the homes we had to sell at foreclosure auction usually sold for more than was owed,” she said. “So we were able to return more money to homeowners.”