Home sellers in metro Denver came out ready to play ball in a big way in January, but buyers didn’t show up to meet them in equal numbers. That mismatch resulted in declining sales, longer listing times and slowing home-price gains.
The number of single-family home and condos sold in January fell 30.8 percent from December’s volume and is down 14.8 percent from the pace of a year earlier, according to a monthly update Tuesday from the Denver Metro Association of Realtors.
There were 1,909 single-family homes sold in January, down 30.2 percent from December, and 735 condos sold, down 27.9 percent from the prior month.
In recent years, a lack of available properties held back sales. But sellers were game-day ready. They listed 3,312 single-family homes in January, up from 1,565 in December, and 1,509 condos, up from 734 in December.
Despite lower mortgage rates, buyers didn’t engage as expected. The number of residential properties listed on the market, 5,881, is now 52 percent higher than January of last year. But it remains at under half the historical average of 13,469 active listings averaged in January since 1985.
“The government shutdown and stock market dip may have affected our early January activity due to consumer fear,” said Jill Schafer, chair of the DMAR market trends committee, in comments included with the monthly report.
A big slug of potential home sales last month were pushed into February, a sign the second half of the month was busier than the first. Homes under contract were up 33.97 percent in January from December and are up 7.24 percent over the year.
Single-family listings spent an average of 43 days on the market in January, up from 37 days on average a year earlier. Condos listings spent 40 days on the market, up from 30 days.
The sluggish sales market continues to weigh on home-price gains. The median price of a single-family home sold last month was $425,000, down 1.16 percent from December and up only 1.67 percent over the past year.
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The median price of a condo sold last month came in at $290,000, down 1.89 percent from December and up only 1.7 percent from January of 2018.
DMAR has been hesitant to declare a buyer’s market, preferring to use the phrase “moving towards a balanced market.” But for the high-end, homes worth $1 million or plus, it has acknowledged a shift in the balance of power.
“There are 7.65 months of inventory in the $1 million plus price point, so the pendulum has fully swung and the luxury market has officially changed to a buyer’s market,” Andrew Abrams, a member of the market trends committee, said in the report. “However, that hasn’t necessarily changed how quickly luxury buyers need to pull the trigger.”