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RealtyTrac: Denver prices up 10%

Highlights:

  • RealtyTrac releases 2013 report.
  • Report finds Denver prices out-paced the nation’s.
  • Gary Bauer finds its report consistent with local reports.

The median price of a home sold in the Denver area rose by 10 percent in December from December 2012, according to a nation report today.

That is five times the national increase of 2 percent, according to the report by housing data firm RealtyTrac’s residential and foreclosure sales report.

The median price of a home in the Denver-Aurora metropolitan statistical area was $239,900 at the end of the year, 42.5 percent higher than the national average of $168,391, according to RealtyTrac.

Independent broker Gary Bauer said the local Metrolist numbers are similar to what RealtyTrac is reporting.

“I think that pretty well translates to what our local numbers are showing,” Bauer said. “They’re trending the same way.”

Both the local numbers and RealtyTrac’s data support that 2013 was a gangbuster year for the Denver housing market, Bauer noted.

“The Denver market, throughout 2013, was very strong,” Bauer said.

A number of factors drove the strong market, which during the spring and summer led to sometimes furious bidding wars, he said.

Last year, he and others say, was marked by low inventory, multiple offers, interest rates that were rising off historic low levels, an improving economy, as well as increasing rental rates and falling vacancy rates in apartments, which convinced some people it made more sense to buy than to rent.

Bauer said he does not think that the Denver-area housing market will show double-digit increases in values this year and he is grateful for that

“I think prices are going to increase someplace between 3 and 5 percent in 2014,” Bauer said.

Some formerly beaten-up markets, such as Phoenix and las Vegas, were up 23 percent and 25 percent, respectively, according to RealtyTrac.

Bauer said he is glad that was not the case in Denver.

“But considering how far they had fallen, I am glad they are starting to recover. That is very positive for them,” Bauer said.

In Colorado, RealtyTrac found that 6.6 percent of all sales were to institutional investors, compared to 7.9 percent nationally.

Colorado also lagged the nation for all-cash sales, as 30 percent of the sales in Colorado were for cash, compared with 42.1 percent nationally.

Short sales accounted for 3.5 percent of all sales in Colorado compared with 5.7 percent across the U.S.

Foreclosure auction sales in Colorado accounted for 0.1 percent of all sales, compared with 1.2 percent nationally.

REO sales, in which the lender takes back the property at the end of the foreclosure process, however, accounted for 10.6 percent of all sales, slightly higher than the 9.3 percent U.S. average, according to RealtyTrac.

All distressed sales in Colorado were 14.2 percent, compared with 16.2 percent nationally.

The national number was up from 14.5 percent of all sales in 2012 and up from 15.2 percent of all sales in 2011.

“It may surprise some to see distressed sales rising in 2013 given that new foreclosure activity dropped to a seven-year low for the year,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

“And while short sales did trend lower in the second half of the year, there are still more than 1.2 million properties in the foreclosure process or bank-owned, providing a sizable pool of inventory that the housing market is in the process of absorbing,” he said.

“Meanwhile, non-distressed sellers have not listed their homes for sale in droves, helping to keep the distressed share of sales at a stubbornly high level.”

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.