Luxury home sales in the Denver area soared in September, according to a report released today by Kentwood Real Estate.
Last month, 41 homes priced at $1 million or more traded hands, a 24.2 percent from the 33 in September 2011, according to the analysis of sales in Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Elbert and Jefferson counties.
The sales volume grew even more, booking a whopping 48.2 percent increase, rising to $72.86 million, compared with $49.15 million in September 2011, shows the report based on Metrolist data.
Homes also were selling faster than a year ago.
The average days on the market fell 39.4 percent to 146 days from 241 in September 2011.
Sales also showed big percentage increases in the first three quarters of the year.
Through September, buys paid $568.1 million for 368 high-end homes, compared with $462.8 million for 306 homes during the first nine months of 2011. That represents a 20.3 percent increase in transactions and a 22.7 percent jump in dollar volume.
And even though four fewer homes sold in September from August, an 8.6 percent decline, the dollar volume on a month-to-month basis was up 14.8 percent from the $63.5 million in August.
That is significant, said Carol Ihli, marketing director at Kentwood.
“It shows the beginning, just the beginning, of an adjustment in prices,” Ihli said.
Indeed, the average sales price of almost $1.8 million in September, was up 26 percent from $1.4 million in August and 19.3 percent from just under $1.5 million in September 2011.
“I keep telling you the same story – there are so many deals at the high-end that we are seeing a big increase in closings,” Marks said.
While high-end home prices are appreciating in Denver-area neighborhood such as Hilltop and Country Club, that is not the case in the suburbs.
“Prices are still down 50 percent from their highs,” in many cases, she said. Marks said other Realtors who sell a lot of high-end homes also are experiencing brisker sales, although she said “each deal is tough” and it often takes a long time to get buyers of expensive homes to the closing table.
“When I’m talking to other Realtors, they say first they first saw an increase in sales in the $1 million range and then in the $2 million range, and now they are starting to see some more sales in the $3 million range,” Marks said.
In one example, Marks is listing a 10,000-square-foot home with a pool and stables in Cherry Hills, which the sellers initially planned to list at $6.5 million 2.5 years ago.
“By the time they were ready to sell and they could agree on a price, I had lowered it to $5 million and then to $4.5 million,” Marks said. “Today I lowered it to $3.3 million.”
She said the land is worth between $1.4 million and $2 million.
“So you are really getting this incredible house with high-end finishes for $1.3 million,” Marks said. She estimated it would cost $4 million to replace the house.
It’s not only bargains driving high-end sales, she said.
“Where else are you going to put your money? The stock market is too volatile and you aren’t getting any yield from bonds. You might as well buy a home and be happy living it. It is the only place you can invest your money and enjoy it, unless it makes you happy holding a gold bar. When I was a little girl my favorite comic book was Scrooge McDuck. He was happy rolling around on his gold coins, but I don’t think that is true for most people. The way most people can enjoy their money is to own a piece of the American dream.”
Marks added that she thinks well-heeled consumers were tired of hunkering down.
“They figure they might as well enjoy a home,” she said. “They are tired of waiting.”