COVID-19 Update: "Crazy" Start to Renewed Denver Home Showings

Victoria Macaskill represented the buyer of this home at 2884 Elmira Street, which sold for $620,000 on April 20.
Victoria Macaskill represented the buyer of this home at 2884 Elmira Street, which sold for $620,000 on April 20. Google Maps
Colorado may not meet federal standards to reopen during the COVID-19 crisis, but the state is still starting to take off its economic shackles with the new Safer at Home program.

One of the first changes on April 27 was the reboot of real estate showings, which had been nixed earlier this month. And according to Victoria Macaskill of Denver Homes, the first two days under the new edict have been "crazy," suggesting that there's plenty of pent-up demand in what had been one of America's hottest housing markets prior to the fiscal blow struck by the novel coronavirus.

At Westword's request, Macaskill recently analyzed the Denver real estate market during the stay-at-home order, which expired on April 26. She noted that while there were occasional reductions and withdrawn listings between late March, when the lockdown began, and mid-April, prices were holding steady for the most part, reflecting considerable demand.

And based on her experiences over the past 48 hours, Macaskill says, that demand is definitely there. She even saw multiple offers on some properties, which were widely thought to be a thing of the past.

"We have had two days of showing homes so far, and things seem to be brisk," she reveals. "Monday I showed a home in Edgewater that my buyer submitted an offer on. We were up against another offer and we didn't win, despite offering very close to the asking price. Tuesday I showed a home in Berkeley that a second buyer offered on. We were the fourth offer to submit, and the agent said they were expecting additional offers. Just crazy."

Granted, she continues, "both of these homes were priced below $600,000 and in very desirable areas, so I don't think this is the norm across the entire metro area or across price points."

Her interpretation: "Inventory is so far below average for this time of year, and now you have buyers who can finally get out and see homes again — and it's creating a perfect storm. It could be that buyers are also very sick of their homes or rentals, and are ready more than ever to get a bigger or better space after being quarantined for so long. We are seeing this initial surge in demand."

But this level of interest could plateau "as we see more inventory hit the market over the next few weeks," she acknowledges. "I suspect that this could be price point- and neighborhood-driven. The luxury market over $750,000 may not be experiencing the same surge, given the retraction in jumbo lending that the market is experiencing."

In the meantime, though, "It's all-out war there right now for these buyers."

And we're just starting day three.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts