No one knows when the COVID-19 crisis will pass, but the Mile High City real estate scene continues to operate at a fever pitch, with the average closing price for a house in July, as calculated by the Denver Metro Association of Realtors, landing at $601,863, an all-time record.
This number is even more remarkable when placed in historical context. According to DMAR, the highest average price for a home in metro Denver prior to the Great Recession of 2007-2009 was $288,916 in 2006. The market plunged after that, and in 2010, a year after the economic cloud finally began to lift, the average price of $259,084 still hadn't made up all the ground that was lost.
In the years that followed, however, Denver's economy boomed, and attendant lifestyle factors (including an early embrace of recreational marijuana) quickly made the city among the hottest locations in the country. The result was rapid population growth that triggered a scenario in which demand for housing far outstripped supply — and although builders have been busy, their focus on higher-end projects meant that more affordable properties remained comparatively scarce, pushing the average costs up.
This dynamic seemed likely to change when the novel coronavirus necessitated stay-at-home orders and other measures that led to a huge leap in unemployment — and those fortunate enough to keep their job (at least so far) felt the fiscal squeeze, too. Soon, some national sites were declaring Denver real estate overvalued and predicting significant price drops by the first half of 2021.
Nonetheless, Denver has held up better economically than a lot of other metro areas during this period, and because many potential sellers are holding off listing their properties owing to the uncertain times, the market has actually gotten tighter than it had been. The current average price for a home of just over $600,000 is more than twice as high as the average a decade ago. But it's also up over $100,000 from this time last year.
The following timeline, covering September 2019 to August 2020 and featuring key excerpts from DMAR market trend reports linked for each entry, depicts the wild ride that Denver real estate has taken over the past twelve months. Buckle up.
"Average ($488,918) and median ($425,000) sold prices dropped a bit month over month but were up 2.22 percent and 1.45 percent respectively year to date compared to 2018."
"The rate of housing price appreciation has slowed, but it has not reversed. Overall, while it decreased month over month, the average sold price of a home in September was still up 6.06 percent year over year and 2.52 percent year to date, $483,734 and $487,814 respectively."
"In October, the average sold price of a single-family home was $533,483, up 1.96 percent year over year, and the average sold price of a condo was $365,665, up 6.95 percent year over year."
"The average home price in November was $490,874, up 1.43 percent month over month and 6.76 percent year over year. Breaking it down further, the average single-family home price was $537,624 and the average condo sold price was $365,856."
"2019 also established a new historical high and marked the eighth consecutive year of price gains. In 2019 the average home price was $486,695 and the median home price was $420,000, up 2.85 percent and 2.46 percent respectively compared to 2018."
"The average single-family home price was down from its summer highs, but higher year over year by 6.86 percent, to $532,494. The picture is a little different for condos that experienced a 4.98 percent month-over-month drop in average price to $355,754, which is also down 0.37 percent from the same month last year; representing the first price drop in the month of January in at least the past four years."
"The average closed price of a single-family home came in at $544,054, up 2.51 percent month over month. The median year-to-date close price was $465,000, an increase of 8.14 percent compared to 2019."
"The average close price for all single-family homes and condos was $513,526 — setting a new record high and the first time the average close price for both segments topped the half-million-dollar mark."
"The close-price average was down only 1.79 percent at $503,231 from the record in March of $512,386, but that’s still up 1.52 percent year over year and up 3.99 percent year to date. The median close price was up 6.10 percent year to date."
"As expected, the number of sold homes was down in May following the weeks of strict home-showing restrictions, dropping 19.71 percent month over month and 48.86 percent year over year. The average sold price of a home dropped slightly, back below $500,000 to $495,925. That was 1.24 percent lower than April but 2.43 percent higher year to date."
"In March, pre-COVID-19, the average price for a residential property in the eleven-county metro Denver area zoomed above $500,000 for the first time, to $513,535. That price then dipped back down below the half-million-dollar mark during the home-showing shutdown and uncertain economic times in April and May. In June, however, average prices bounced back up to $509,736, the second-highest average price for residential real estate in Denver."
"Pent-up demand from the COVID-19 home-showing shutdown and the continued lack of choices forced homebuyers to bid against each other. Many sellers collected multiple offers at or above asking price. That competition catapulted the single-family home price average up to a record $601,863, which is 7.68 percent higher than June and 9.92 percent higher than July 2019."
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