Last month, for the first time in seven years, year-over-year median home prices in the Denver-metro area dropped, underscoring a shift in the market.
According to the Denver Metro Association of Realtors’ (DMAR) February housing report, residential median prices dropped 1.23% in February 2019 over last February. Although average sold prices actually increased slightly (1.11% over January and .66% over last February), the downturn in median prices indicates a new reality for sellers.
“Buyers are getting more power and sellers are not loving it,” Jill Schafer, chairwoman of the DMAR Market Trends Committee, told the Denver Post in a recent article.
“[T]he power dynamic is shifting,” notes the article. “One sign of that—more sellers are having to accept offers below their original price.”
In January, notes the Post, six in 10 home sellers were forced to drop their initial price in order to sell their home. A majority of metro homes— 60%—sold for under list price that month.
Experts note that this could be due, in part, to the fact that list prices are based on earlier sales of comparable properties, meaning that the information lags behind current market realities. But it might also be due to rising inventory. February saw an increase of 47.33% of active inventory over last year, giving buyers many more options to choose from.
All told, it means sellers are having to re-evaluate strategies of the past. “If you aren’t getting offers in the first two weeks, time to make a price adjustment,” Schafer told the Post.
“If agents haven’t done it yet, the time is absolutely here to have very realistic discussions with sellers about their expectations ahead of going to market,” adds the DMAR report. “Skills, strategy, competency and an agreed upon plan are the hallmarks of what will lead to fulfilled expectations between agents and sellers in this shifting market.”
On the bright side for sellers, the Denver market is still strong overall. Homes sold relatively quickly in February, at an average of 39 days. Additionally, a recent Lending Tree study named Denver the most competitive housing market in the nation.
While the market may be in transition, “there is something for both sides to love,” Shafer told the Post. “Sellers are still doing OK.”