“Choices, choices, choices!”: That’s the way Jill Schafer, chairman of the Denver Metro Association of Realtors Market Trends Committee (DMAR), summed up the Denver housing market in January.
Schafer may have been exaggerating, given that the total number of active residential listings was less than half of the historic average for January (5,881 compared to 13,469). Still, the number of homes on the market was up 5.8% over December and an eye-catching 52% above January 2018. In other words, buyers, indeed, had significantly more options than last year at the same time.
Buyers are also enjoying longer times to make decisions, as properties take more days to sell. In January, homes remained on the market an average of 42 days, a 20% increase over last January.
Does this mean Denver has become a buyer’s market?
Not according to Schafer, who notes that although we are moving toward a more balanced market, we aren’t there yet. “Single-family homes priced under $1 million were still in short supply with less than five months of inventory,” she notes of January, “while some price ranges have less than a month of inventory. (Five to six months of inventory is “considered balanced,” she reports.)
Another indication that buyers aren’t in the driver’s seat just yet is that home prices continue to rise, although at a lesser rate than previously, “with average sold prices creeping up 2.89% from $448,132 in January 2018 to $461,101 in January 2019,” notes Schafer.
Even with a slowing market, Denver home values compare favorably to other cities across the country. Denver was recently ranked the number one most competitive housing market in the country by Lending Tree. And S&P/Case-Shiller notes that Denver’s year-over-year home price increases were even higher than San Francisco’s. (Denver was at 6.2% versus San Francisco’s 5.6%).