Supply of Houses for Sale in Colorado Still Not Keeping Up With Demand

This three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 948-square-foot home at 4705 Newton Street is currently listed at $574,000 — just over the median price for a single family home in Denver during October.
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This three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 948-square-foot home at 4705 Newton Street is currently listed at $574,000 — just over the median price for a single family home in Denver during October.
Sky-high prices for Denver homes, which typically moderate when the weather turns cold, are holding steadier than anyone expected. According to the Colorado Association of Realtors, similar scenarios are playing out statewide for the simplest of reasons: Demand continues to outstrip supply.

The association's latest market trends report is filled with observations on this phenomenon from the likes of Fort Collins realtor Chris Harvey, who notes that "the pace at which homes are selling remains robust, but the dynamic has changed. In the Fort Collins area, 225 new listings came on the market and 256 listings were sold. This single ratio describes the ongoing disparity between supply and demand."

Statistics for metro Denver are just as telling. Inventory fell in October, the most recent period for which numbers are available, on a month-over-month basis, continuing a trend dating back to at least late 2020. Colorado Association of Realtors figures show that new listings for single-family homes are down 9.8 percent year over year, with entries for condos and townhomes tumbling by19.3 percent. Likewise, sold listings for single-family homes and condos/townhomes dropped 22.2 percent and 13.9 percent, respectively, over twelve months. Meanwhile, the median sales price for single-family homes in greater Denver climbed 14 percent during the year leading up to last month, and 11.6 percent for condos and townhomes.

As a result, the median price for a single-family home in Denver rose from $562,000 in September to $570,000 in October. Responds Denver realtor Matthew Leprino: "We all know prices are up, and ‘affordability' — well, what does that even mean anymore? It seems the definition can sometimes change from month to month as a relative response to what a ‘normal’ house sells for. That said, we know Denver is no longer the affordable relocation destination it once was."

Overall, new listings for single-family properties fell 8.1 percent in October from the same month in 2020, and sold listings dropped 18 percent. The numbers are even more dramatic in specific parts of Colorado; as calculated by Durango realtor Jarrod Nixon, single-family inventory in La Plata County tumbled 41 percent year over year. And then there's the situation in mountain communities, as spelled out in this CAR graphic depicting data from Summit, Park and Lake counties:
Summit County realtor Dana Cottrell puts the scenario into perspective. "Fluctuation is happening in the amount of sold listings," she notes. "Summit has fewer residential sales compared with the year before. As of November 8, there are 118 Summit properties for sale. Park and Lake counties have more homes selling than before."

She continues: "With fewer properties for sale and inventory remaining low, prices continue to rise as compared to the same time last year. So far, Summit has surpassed the $2 billion in sales volume, which beats any full year before. As long as interest rates remain low, demand remains high and we don’t experience a shutdown, expect mountain real estate prices to rise."

Last month, the lowest sale price in Summit County was $345,000 for a studio in Breckenridge, with the high-water mark for a single-family home set by a Breck property that went for $5.99 million.

That sound you hear is prospective home buyers softly weeping.