Denver, the most expensive housing market between the two coasts, hit an important milestone in February. For the first time ever, the average sold price of a single-family, detached home topped $500,000, at a record breaking $502,986. The year-over-year appreciation was up 11.78% from February 2017. The dramatic price increase came as the total sales volume posted a double-digit drop. The 2,002 single-family homes sold in February marked a 10.59% reduction in closings from a year earlier, DMAR data shows.
Home prices are rising while at the same time mortgage rates are rising. Rates are now averaging close to 4.45% for a 30-year mortgage, while rates below 4% were available not long ago. Part of the reason home prices are going up so quickly, especially so early in the year, is because some people are bidding up home prices before they rise even more.
Historically, when single-family home prices shot up, more consumers – especially first-time buyers – chose less expensive condos and townhomes. With an average price of $345,632, attached homes are significantly less expensive than single-family homes. However, condo prices have risen even more than single-family homes jumping 16.95% from February 2017.
Another, often overlooked, reason the average price has risen so much is the mix of homes being closed. That is, more expensive homes selling in any given month can drive up the average price. Indeed, the $1 million and up price range showed the most improvement of any price strata from a year earlier. 102 homes priced at $1 million and over sold last month, a whopping 56.92% increase from the 65 luxury homes that traded hands in February 2017.
At the end of February, there was a 7.83-month supply of unsold $1 million-plus homes on the market. That’s a 37.46% plunge from the 12.52-months of inventory for luxury homes a year ago. Overall, there was a 1.51 month supply of homes on the market, a slight increase from the 1.46 months of inventory on the market in February 2017. However, buyers will find slim pickings for homes priced between $200,000 and just under $500,000. In that price range, there is less than a month’s supply of unsold inventory.
An uptick in the number of homes on the market, both on a month-to-month and a year-over-year basis is good news for prospective buyers. There were 4,084 houses, both single-family and attached, on the market at the end of February, a 5.56% increase from January and a 5.31% increase from February 2017. If inventory levels continue to rise, it could help to dampen the rising prices.