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Luxury homes sales slow



  • Kentwood releases luxury housing report.
  • Shortage of homes leads to slowing.
  • Prices rise.


This 4,177-square-foot, 5-bedroom home in Hilltop sold for $913,500.

This 4,177-square-foot, 5-bedroom home in Hilltop sold for $913,500.

Luxury housing market sales in the Denver area slowed in February, as well-heeled buyers had fewer high-end homes available to buy.

A report by Kentwood Real Estate shows that 21 homes priced at least $1 million closed in February, down 27.6 percent the 29 in February 2013.

The dollar volume was $32.3 million last month, a 19.5 percent drop from the $40.13 million a year earlier.

The average sales prices, however, rose 11.2 percent to $1.5 million from $1.38.

In the first two months of the year, there were 52 luxury home sales, a 13.3 percent drop from the 60 in January and February of last year.

Total sales volume fell 3 percent to $82.13 million from $84.73 million.

The Kentwood report does not include Boulder.

Peter Blank

Peter Blank

“I’ll tell you why,” sales have slowed, said Peter Blank, a broker with Kentwood City Properties.

“It’s because there is a shortage of homes, not any shortage in demand,” Blank said.

There is not only a shortage of homes priced at $1 million or more, but an acute shortage of the type of expensive homes that are most in demand, he said.

“We are seeing a lot of people moving to Denver from either coasts and bigger cities,” Blank said.

Those cosmopolitan buyers don’t want just a big home.

“They want open floor plans and a lot of light,” he said.
 “It can be quite frustrating. Denver hasn’t kept up with what is happening in other cities.”

No where is that more apparent than in Hilltop, he said.

Last year, he and Carmelo Paglialunga, also of Kentwood City Properties, sold 12 homes in Hilltop, more than any other individual broker or sales team in that neighborhood.

“Things have been a little slower so far this year,” Blank said.


Carmelo Paglialunga

“First, Hilltop is a very stable market, so there is not much turnover. That is true in a lot of Denver neighborhoods with expensive homes. Second, there just aren’t many homes to available right now,” although several renovations will be hitting the market later this year, he said.

“Hilltop is finding new and exciting energy,” Blank said.

“There is a new breed of homeowners and buyers in Hilltop that are transforming this very diverse area. Smaller homes are being remodeled to accommodate contemporary open floor plans.” he continued.

“Buyers who are building new homes in place of homes that have been razed are using smaller footprints that respect the site and the neighborhood,” Blank said. “Architects, builders and homeowners alike have realized that you can have exciting architecture and modern, functional homes in a smaller space.”

That has not always been the case.

In the 80s, 90s and early 2002s, a number of homes were razed and replaced with 6,000 to 8,000-square-foot McMansions.

Homes that are big just for big sake, can be a challenge to sell, he said.

“Some of them, even though they might have only been built in the ‘80s, already look dated,” he said.

In contrast, homes that were built in the 1950s through the 1970s and carefully renovated, are flying off the shelf.

“These homes had such great bones that they withstand the test of time,” Blank said.

“I am Mr. Mile High Modern,” Blank said. “I find that people who like modern homes, not because they buy modern furniture.”

Rather, they appreciate the style and workmanship of a bygone area, but want thoughtful renovations that open up the space and bring in light, he said.

Hilltop increasingly is attracting singles and young couples, “but is still great for families because of the great schools,” he said.

It also benefits from its proximity to Cherry North and the Cherry Creek shopping center, he said.

Hilltop is just east of Cherry Creek North. Established from the 1930s through the 1960s, the neighborhood showcases stately architecture from Tudors to mid-century modern ranches

One client of Blank’s and Paglialunga’s is renovating a Georgian style home that will maintain the architectural integrity from the street.

Another client is building a modern, but modest homes.

On Clermont Parkway, a client is renovating an iconic Dutch Colonial that will showcase a modern, open kitchen and entertaining area while architecturally respecting the stately parkway.

“Hilltop will continue to evolve,” said Blank. “There is a balance between grand stately homes and new builds that will be on a smaller scale.’
 Both Blank and Paglialunga live in Hilltop.

Paglialunga lives in a classic French château and Blank is building a new single-level home inspired by the iconic Mid-Century Modern Ranch design

“I am building a 2,400-square-foot ranch,” Blank said.

“Some people might consider 2,400 square feet a big home. I used to live in a 1,500-square-foot home, so it does feel big to me. But 2,400 square feet if very small in Hilltop.”

On the other hand, it will have lots of style.“It is kind of old Martha Vineyard meets Santa Barbara and lands in Denver.”

Meanwhile, there were two luxury condo sales in the metro area in February, double the number in February 2013, when only one luxury condo, priced at $1.29 million, traded hands.

So far this year, four luxury condos have sold, while only two sold in the first two months of 2013.

Currently, there are $470 million in luxury single-family homes and condos on the market. Kentwood has $97 million of those listing, a 21 percent share.

Interested in buying a luxury home? Please visit COhomefinder.com.

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.