At first glance, the biggest news in the June 2021 market trends report from the Denver Metro Association of Realtors is yet another new record average price for a single-family, detached home in the greater Denver area — just over $700,000.
But the first-ever breaching of this barrier distracts from another story: The pace of price increases is slowing, suggesting that this crazy seller's market in the Mile High metro may finally be about to plateau, and giving hope to buyers who've had a damnably difficult time landing a home they can afford.
Demand continues to overwhelm supply, as has been the case for more than a year in Denver. The number of new single-family, detached-home listings in May, the most recent month for which data is available, landed at 4,545, down 2.51 percent from the 4,662 put on the market in April and 13.01 percent fewer than the 5,225 available in May 2020.
But by the end of May, only 1,336 of those listings remained — a month-over-month decrease of 18.54 percent from April, when 1,640 listings were still active, and a jumbo 71.72 slide from the 4,725 hanging around at the conclusion of May 2020.
A graphic from the report, which runs from the start of 2008 to April 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:
Meanwhile, the average price for a detached home in the Denver metro area in May — $700,559 — is just 0.63 percent higher than the $696,203 figure calculated for April. But the year-over-year difference is much greater: 29.25 percent over the May 2020 average of $542,003, resulting in a typical price tag that's risen by more than $150,000 in just twelve months.
The dynamic is similar when home sales are analyzed by their median price — the precise price midpoint of properties for sale in Denver. In May, that number was $595,000, a 2.23 percent bump from the $582,000 standard in April and 26.60 percent above the $470,000 median in May 2020.
The overwhelming majority of detached homes in Denver continue to go fast. The median span between listing and sale in May was just four days — the same as in April, but half the eight days recorded in May 2020. And most are still selling for above the original asking price: In May, the average closing price was 105.92 percent of list. But that was just 0.53 percent more than the 105.36 percent figure in April, albeit a 6.54 percent leap from the 99.42 percent in May 2020.
Some of these stats hint at possible relief in the future. But Andrew Abrams, chair of DMAR's market trends committee, confirms that many house hunters are currently at wits' end.
"Buyer fatigue is the most prevalent conversation within realtor circles right now," Abrams states. "Like a marathon, buyer fatigue has slowed people down but has not stopped anyone from crossing the finish line. Interest rates continue to be relatively low and consistent. Listings continue to slowly hit the market, while buyers continue to gobble up properties as soon as they do. Just this weekend, I wrote one offer in the $400,000 price range that had forty offers, and one in the $1 million price point that had double-digit offers."
Abrams notes that many observers thought 2020 would prove to be an outlier in terms of price spikes, with 2021 shifting to normalcy. That hasn't happened yet — but there are hints at reasons for optimism.
Click to read the Denver Metro Association of Realtors June 2021 market trends report.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.