Denver-area buyers snapped up $566.8 million in luxury homes in the Denver-area last year, according to a report released today by Kentwood Real Estate.
The report, based on Metrolist data, showed less than a 5 percent change in the $594.49 million in single family homes and condominiums purchased in 2010 in the seven-county area that were priced at least $1 million.
The number of transactions in that lofty price range fell even less – a mere 1.3 percent. There were 379 seven-figure transactions last year, compared with 384 in 2010.
The Kentwood report included the counties of Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Elbert and Jefferson. An earlier report by independent broker Gary Bauer showed a similar trend, but Bauer’s report also included Boulder, Clear Creek, Gilpin and Park counties.
Kentwood’s and Bauer’s report showed the most expensive home to trade homes last year was an $8.2 million home in Cherry Hills. That was 17.1 percent more than the most expensive home to sell in 2010, which fetched $7 million, according to Kentwood.
The number of days on the market for luxury homes fell by 2.4 percent to 248 from 254 in 2010.
In December, 29 luxury homes sold, down 14.7 percent from the 34 in December 2010 and the closed volume fell 14.2 percent to $43.8 million from $51 million.
The average sales price in December was up 0.6 percent to $1.51 million from $1.5 million in December 2010. Last month, a home sold for $3.25 million, 4.8 percent more than the most expensive home that closed in December 2010 at $3.1 million.
The average days on the market in December declined by 2.4 percent to 248 from 254 in December 2010.
Economic news took a toll
Deviree Vallejo, a broker with Kentwood City Properties, said last year was a tale of two markets for high-end properties.
“I think it would be a lot stronger in the first half,” she said. “Everyone was feeling very confident because the stock market was strong. People feel wealthier when their stock portfolios are rising, even if the money really isn’t that liquid.”
During the summer, of course, equity markets took a shellacking from events such as S&P downgrading the U.S. for the first time and the rising problems in Europe.
“There was just so much uncertainty and craziness,” she said. “The high-end market kind of came to a screeching halt.”
Although 2012 is a mere pup, the high-end market is already showing signs of life, she said.
“I just put a $1.35 million listing under contract last week, which probably had just been sitting there for nine months. Comparing a January to December is always relative, but this January feels more active that is typical at this time of the year. Usually, things don’t start really picking up from December until the end of January or in February.”
There are pockets of strength.
“So much of it is location-oriented. In Highland, the new stuff Liz (Richards, a fellow broker at Kentwood City Properties) and I are listing is all selling while it is still under construction. And Riverfront Park is doing great. A couple of years ago, Riverfront took such as hit with units selling at $300 per square foot. Now, units are selling at over $500 per square foot. They just shot up.”
That’s not true across the high-end board, though.
“In other places, you can’t give stuff away.”
Meanwhile, the high-end market has a dearth of homes on the market, just like the overall market.
“It’s great for the sellers, but terrible for the buyers. We get internal messages all day long saying things like, if you’ve got anything in the $500,000 to $700,000 range in Wash Park, let me know, because I combed through everything and can’t find the right property for my buyer.
Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com