- Gary Bauer and Metrolist release September housing report.
- Under contracts up 20%, YOY.
- Closings also up 20%.
You don’t have to tell Lydia Lin that last month was a record September for home sales activity in the Denver area.
Last month, she put about 10 homes under contract in as many days, despite being on vacation for five of those days.
“It’s crazy,” said Lin, owner of One Realty in Denver. “I’ve sold almost 50 homes this year, while in all of last year I sold 32.”
A total of 4,730 homes were closed, the third best September for closings. Closings reflect homes that were placed under contract in previous months.
Bauer said some Realtors he talked to, like Lin, had a fantastic September, while others saw a steeper than normal decline.
Indeed, while contracts were up 19.7 percent from a September 2012, they were down 16 percent from August, which also was a record, with 6,353 contracts being written.
Closings showed the same trend, falling by 16.1 percent from August, but rose 19.8 percent from August 2012.
Part of the drop was the normal seasonal decline, which likely will continue for the rest of the year, Bauer said.
“Right now, we’re still seeing a lot of activity in hyper-local neighborhoods like West Highland, LoHi, Berkeley, Sunnyside and other neighborhoods,” Bauer said. “What is happening in Berkeley is just amazing.”
Also, he and others said if the governmental shutdown continues, it also will hurt the market more than normal.
Lin said September started out slow, but picked up in the middle of the month when mortgage rates fell.
“It seems like the last couple of weeks, things are just going kind of gangbusters,” she said.
“After falling to all-time, historical lows of 3.5 percent earlier this year, they were trending up over 100 basis points and were approaching 5 percent,” Niederman said.
“Then, in the middle of last month, they fell as much as 25 to 50 basis points,” Niederman said. He said a lot of buyers decided to pull the trigger, figuring the odds were better they would continue to rise.
“Mortgage rates are still (near) historic lows, and we don’t see housing demand diminishing due to rates under 5 percent,” said Kirby Slunaker, CEO and president of Metrolist.
Niederman said there is still less than a three-months supply of homes on the market. The inventory of unsold homes was little changed in September 2012 or August, with buyers having 10,348 homes to choose from, compared with 10,470 a year earlier and 10,587 in August.
“We’ve gone from a frenzied market earlier this year to a strong market,” Niederman said.
Meanwhile, the average price of a single-family home sold last month as $331,382, compared with $306,633 a year earlier, and $345,487 in August.
“Prices have been rising so quickly over these past couple of months, even a slight change looks like a large jump,” Slunaker aid.
“I expect the average sold price to flatten out over the winter months rather than plummet.”
That is welcome news, Niederman said.
“My biggest concern has been that prices were going to rise too far, too fast, making Denver unaffordable for a lot of people,” he said.
“Double-digit appreciation is not sustainable,” Niederman said. “If we take a breather on prices going up, I think that is great.”
The year-to-date average sold price of new and existing homes has risen by 10 percent over last year to an average of nearly $340,000. The average sold price of condos in the metro area is just under $200,000, an 11 percent increase year-over-year.
“By all accounts, housing demand is unseasonably strong,” Slunaker said.
“Prices are stabilizing, competition for new listings remains, and inventory increases seem to be steadying the local market overall.nAll of our data points to a healthy market, which leads us to believe we are experiencing a true housing market recovery.”
Lin, who describes herself as a Ninja Realtor, said there is a surprising amount of pent-up demand remaining from prospective buyers.
“I think people have been saving up for down payments,” Lin said. “People are comfortable with buying real estate; they see it as a good long-term investment. Just yesterday, we had a couple in our office who have been “stalking” a neighborhood for four years, watching prices, peaking in windows. They’re now ready to buy. They’re going to make a full-price offer.”
Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com. InsideRealEstateNews.com is sponsored by Universal Lending, Land Title Guarantee and 8z Real Estate. To read more articles by John Rebchook, subscribe to the Colorado Real Estate Journal.