By Amy Edelen
The Denver Post
About 84 percent of homes gained in value in the past 12 months
The national median home sales price in June surged to an all-time high of $236,400 in June, up 6.5 percent from a year ago, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors.
The total number of sales increased year-over-year for nine consecutive months and jumped to 5.5 million in June, up 3.2 percent from May. The existing home sales report surveys townhomes, condos, single family homes and co-ops.
“Buyers have come back in force, leading to the strongest past two months in sales since early 2007,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, said in a release. “This wave of demand is being fueled by a year-plus of steady job growth and an improving economy that’s giving more households the financial wherewithal and incentive to buy.”
Denver’s average single-family home price was $362,000, while condos sold at an average of $217,999 in June.
Nationwide, the supply of for-sale homes averages about five months, with properties staying on the market for 34 days in June, down from 40 days in May.
In June, about 47 percent of homes sold in less than a month — the highest percentage in two years, according to the National Association of Realtors.
However, in Denver, a single-family home or condo stays on the market for about 20 days, said Anthony Rael, Metro Denver regional spokesman of the Colorado Association of Realtors.
“Anytime you are in five- to seven-month range, it’s a healthy, balanced market,” he said. “If you contrast that to Denver, we measure on weeks.”
Although the breakneck pace slowed somewhat in June, the peak home-sales season is approaching and prices still remain high in Denver, resulting in too little inventory to keep up with the demand of potential home buyers looking to escape high rents.
“Buyers, especially first-timers and boomerang buyers, are tired of renting,” Rael said.
Most buyers who are spending $1,500 to $2,000 a month on rent want to put it toward homeownership, especially with interest rates at historic lows, he said.
In the Western region, existing home sales rose 2.5 percent to 1.24 million in June, up 8.8 percent from a year ago.
The median home price in the West was $328,900, up 9.9 percent from last year, according to the NAR report.
The largest year-over-year change in Western region home sales was in the $500,000 to $750,000 price range, up 35.4 percent.
Denver ranked above the national average, logging a 36.7 percent increase in sales of single-family homes in the same price range and a 59.5 percent increase in similarly priced condos, according to the Metro Denver Association of Realtors.
“When you see a price point of $400,000 and $600,000, it seems to be softer and there seems to be a little more inventory,” Rael said. “But home prices below $400,000 and above $600,000 are absolutely on fire.”
Short sales lingered on the market for the longest time, about 129 days, while foreclosures sold in 39 days. However, both are rare in metro Denver, making up just 1.7 percent of sales.
In terms of value, about 84 percent of metro Denver homes appreciated in the past year, making the city the best performer among the 10 major markets, including San Francisco and Washington, D.C., according to a report by Allan Weiss of Weiss Residential Research.
Smaller homes, with a maximum of two bedrooms, gained the most value, up 9 percent, with medium-sized houses logging 7 percent growth and large homes gaining 5.8 percent.
Across the board, homes closest to the city center are doing best, increasing in value by about 10 percent, Weiss said.
“That’s really very strong,” Weiss said. “But the very inexpensive homes stay strong, no matter how far out you are. The smaller homes are just off the chart.”