For metro Denver’s housing market, 2018 will go down as a tale of fire and ice, where a very hot first half of the year was followed by a much colder second half. And there were no signs of that downward slide easing in December.
Home and condo sales in metro Denver dropped 17.8 percent in December from November to 3,396. Comparing December 2018 to December 2017, home sales are down by 23 percent, according to the market trends report from the Denver Metro Association of Realtors. Measured across the entire year, home sales in metro Denver are down 5.5 percent in 2018 versus 2017.
“Sellers celebrated in the first half of the year with a crazy blur of multiple offers and fast sales,” said Jill Schafer, head of the DMAR market trends committee and a local Realtor, in a release. “It was buyers’ turn to celebrate when the housing inventory jumped up in May and June, causing a market adjustment in the second half of the year and finally giving them some choices.”
As sales fell, properties lingered longer on the market and the inventory of unsold homes piled up from record low levels. There were 5,577 unsold homes on the market in December, up 44.7 percent from the record low set a year earlier. Compared to November, however, the inventory was down 25.9 percent, as sellers took listings off the market for the holidays. Single-family listings spent 41 days on market on average, while condo listings spent 35 days.
Home sellers in the second half of the year had to start making price reductions, something new to them. Despite that decline of market power, home prices found a way to keep rising, Schafer said.
The median price of a single-family home sold in December came in at $430,000, which was up only 3.3 percent from December 2017. The median price of a condo sold was $298,225, which is up 4.5 percent from December 2017.
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Measured across the entire year, the average price of a single-family home sold was $522,839, up 8.05 percent from 2017. The average price of a condo sold increased 9.82 percent to $351,677. Those gains were supported by a continued influx of people to the state and more millennials buying homes, Schafer said.
Although the number of homes and condos sold is down in 2018, higher prices allowed the market to hit a record sales volume of $26.5 billion, which is 2.36 percent above the volume sold in 2017, according to the DMAR report.