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Why You Can't Find a Home You Can Afford in Denver Right Now

This three-bedroom, two-bath, 2,006-square-foot house at 4212 Grove Street in Denver is currently listed at $625,000, a little under the average price for a single-family home in Denver last month.
This three-bedroom, two-bath, 2,006-square-foot house at 4212 Grove Street in Denver is currently listed at $625,000, a little under the average price for a single-family home in Denver last month.
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The average price of a single-family home in metro Denver passed $600,000 for the first time ever in August, the most recent month with available data, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Judging from a deeper look at the numbers for the six largest markets in the area — Denver, Aurora, Adams County, Arapahoe County, Douglas County and Jefferson County — compiled by the Denver Metro Association of Realtors, house hunters are lucky the costs haven't risen even higher than the current hikes, which range from 6 percent to 17 percent year over year.

In Denver proper, the average home price rose to over $650,000 last month, a hike of more than 10 percent from August 2019 — but inventory fell over 50 percent.

The scenario was even more extreme elsewhere. In Adams, Douglas and Jefferson counties, active listings in August were off more than 60 percent. Yet metro Denver saw more homes under contract in August 2020 than a year earlier, by between 27.9 percent and 57.9 percent. That means a greater number of homes were purchased from a shrinking stockpile.

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The eagerness of buyers was also reflected in the reduced time that listings were available. Adams County, for instance, saw this metric tumble from an average of 29 days to just seventeen. Moreover, house shoppers were generally paying above list price — a natural consequence of the bidding wars commonplace along the urban corridor. Only Douglas County homes are selling below their asking price, but not by much; the percentage of full list there is estimated at 99.8 percent, compared to over 100 percent everywhere else.

Here's the DMAR breakdown for six areas in metro Denver, with a focus on inventory, homes under contract, days on the market, average sale price and list-price percentage.

Denver
Inventory of Active Listings through August 2019: 1,406
Inventory of Active Listings through August 2020: 696
Percentage change: -50.5 percent
Under contract through August 2019: 729
Under contract through August 2020: 1,045
Percentage change: +43.3 percent
Days on market until sale through August 2019: 27
Days on market until sale through August 2020: 21
Percentage change: -22.2 percent
Average sale price through August 2019: $566,253
Average sale price through August 2020: $654,919
Percentage change: +10.5 percent
Percent of list price received through August 2019: 98.9 percent
Percent of list price received through August 2020: 100.4 percent
Percentage change: +1.5 percent

Adams County
Inventory of Active Listings through August 2019: 1,148
Inventory of Active Listings through August 2020: 411
Percentage change: -64.2 percent
Under contract through August 2019: 695
Under contract through August 2020: 889
Percentage change: +27.9 percent
Days on market until sale through August 2019: 29
Days on market until sale through August 2020: 17
Percentage change: -41.4 percent
Average sale price through August 2019: $416,725
Average sale price through August 2020: $449,346
Percentage change: +7.8 percent
Percent of list price received through August 2019: 99.4 percent
Percent of list price received through August 2020: 100.8 percent
Percentage change: +1.4 percent

Arapahoe County
Inventory of Active Listings through August 2019: 1,386
Inventory of Active Listings through August 2020: 567
Percentage change: -59.1 percent
Under contract through August 2019: 868
Under contract through August 2020: 920
Percentage change: +56.9 percent
Days on market until sale through August 2019: 26
Days on market until sale through August 2020: 20
Percentage change: -23.1 percent
Average sale price through August 2019: $492,410
Average sale price through August 2020: $578,023
Percentage change: +17.4 percent
Percent of list price received through August 2019: 99.2 percent
Percent of list price received through August 2020: 100.5 percent
Percentage change: +1.3 percent

Aurora
Inventory of Active Listings through August 2019: 826
Inventory of Active Listings through August 2020: 365
Percentage change: -55.8 percent
Under contract through August 2019: 477
Under contract through August 2020: 706
Percentage change: +57.9 percent
Days on market until sale through August 2019: 29
Days on market until sale through August 2020: 18
Percentage change: -37.9 percent
Average sale price through August 2019: $421,375
Average sale price through August 2020: $449,465
Percentage change: +6.7 percent
Percent of list price received through August 2019: 99.2 percent
Percent of list price received through August 2020: 100.6 percent
Percentage change: +1.4 percent

Douglas County
Inventory of Active Listings through August 2019: 1,485
Inventory of Active Listings through August 2020: 531
Percentage change: -64.2 percent
Under contract through August 2019: 615
Under contract through August 2020: 839
Percentage change: +36.4 percent
Days on market until sale through August 2019: 38
Days on market until sale through August 2020: 28
Percentage change: -26.3 percent
Average sale price through August 2019: $586,166
Average sale price through August 2020: $629,322
Percentage change: +7.4 percent
Percent of list price received through August 2019: 99.0 percent
Percent of list price received through August 2020: 99.8 percent
Percentage change: +0.8 percent

Jefferson County
Inventory of Active Listings through August 2019: 1,284
Inventory of Active Listings through August 2020: 481
Percentage change: -62.5 percent
Under contract through August 2019: 697
Under contract through August 2020: 985
Percentage change: +41.3 percent
Days on market until sale through August 2019: 26
Days on market until sale through August 2020: 19
Percentage change: -26.9 percent
Average sale price through August 2019: $537,808
Average sale price through August 2020: $590,433
Percentage change: +9.8 percent
Percent of list price received through August 2019: 99.2 percent
Percent of list price received through August 2020: 100.7 percent
Percentage change: +1.5 percent

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