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Denver Home Prices Still Sky-High, but Some Reasons for Hope

This three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,451-square-foot home at 2590 South Lafayette Street is on sale for $685,000, just under the average price for a detached home in greater Denver right now.
This three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,451-square-foot home at 2590 South Lafayette Street is on sale for $685,000, just under the average price for a detached home in greater Denver right now. Google Maps
The September market report from the Denver Metro Association of Realtors includes both tough realities and (modest) reasons for optimism. Prices for single-family detached homes remain higher than at this time last year, but they've dipped a bit from last month. Still, there are fewer properties available, raising concerns that the prices will remain high during a season when they typically soften.

An example of the mixed data: The average price for a detached home in metro Denver in August, the most recent month for which data is available, came in at $687,768, a 1.29 percent dip from the $699,795 figure for July. But the July average was down 3.51 percent from the previous month. And the 4,304 new listings in August represent a 15.99 percent drop from the 5,123 that popped up in July.

During 2021, the cost spikes in metro Denver have largely been driven by demand outstripping supply, and that phenomenon isn't over. There were 2,469 active listings at the end of August, as compared to 2,878 at the end of July — a decrease of 14.21 percent. As summer slips into fall, the number of house hunters typically lessens — but if potential buyers who weren't able to find anything over the summer remain on the lookout, prices could remain high longer.

A graphic from the DMAR report, which runs from the start of 2008 to July 2021, puts these factors in historic perspective. The yellow line corresponds to active listings at the end of each month, while the blue line shows sales that closed over the same periods:
The number of closings in August — 3,974 — was also down, slipping by 9.46 percent from the 4,389 in July; the latter number was adjusted up from the original estimate of 4,123.

All this hasn't prevented the most attractive properties from being snapped up quickly — but shoppers have a little more breathing room. The average number of days in August that detached homes in metro Denver spent on the MLS, or multiple listings service, was ten, up from eight in July. Then again, the average number of days in August 2020 was 23.

Bidding wars aren't a thing of the past, either, even though the new stats suggest a slight easing in the competition. The August closing average was 102.78 percent of list price, whereas July's stood at 104.44 percent.

With winter coming, the Denver-area housing scene tends to cool down. But given the strange nature of the market in 2021, there are no guarantees.

Click to read the Denver Metro Association of Realtors' September market trends report.
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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

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