Metro Denver home sales continue to slow under weight of higher interest rates

Home sales in metro Denver fell last month under the pressure of mortgage rates on 30-year loans approaching 8%, but the market found ways to keep on breathing, according to a monthly update from the Denver Metro Association of Realtors.

Buyers closed on 2,986 homes and condos in October, down 11.6% from September and 15.7% from the pace of sales a year ago. Through the first 10 months of the year, the metro market has seen a fifth fewer home and condo sales than in the same period of 2022 and a third fewer than in 2021.

There were 7,482 properties listed for sale at the end of October in the Denver area, down 1.9% from September and up 2.6% from last year. Sellers provided 3,816 new listings, which was down 16.8% from September and off 0.6% from a year earlier.

The median price of a single-family home that sold in October was $649,000, up 1.4% from September’s median sales price of $640,000 and 3.8% from a year earlier. For condos and townhomes, the median sales price was $425,000, up 1.2% from September and 4.9% from October of 2022.

Libby Levinson-Katz, chairwoman of the DMAR Market Trends Committee, said market activity this year is tracking with the more restrained pace seen in 2019 before COVID-19 disrupted the world.

“Ultimately, sellers need to get the pandemic years out of their minds. Sellers need to focus on value and put themselves in the buyer’s shoes. Buyers are no longer willing to overpay and, as such, pricing is the No. 1 key in this market to sell a home,” she said in comments included with the report.

Buyers are becoming pickier about inspections and what they want to be fixed than was the case in the past couple of years. Sellers are being advised to get “pre-inspections” so they can address potential repairs that might kill a sale.

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Nearly six in 10 sales involved sellers providing a concession to buyers, and those concessions, when provided, averaged $9,390, according to the report. But sellers of existing homes have a hard time competing with what new home builders are offering, up to $30,000 in some cases, according to real estate brokerage Redfin.

About three in 10 home sales are new construction, which is the highest on record for the third quarter, according to a report from Redfin.

An increasing inventory of listings is providing buyers with more options during what typically is a slower period for competition.

“Many buyers tend to hibernate for the winter, but for those who continue to look through the holiday season, there is less competition and sellers are usually more motivated to sell before the end of the year,” Levinson-Katz said.

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