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Is Denver’s Housing Inventory Problem Improving?

We're not yet back to total sanity, but recent trends are encouraging.

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The past few years have seen the local real estate scene flirting with coastal-type price increases. Would-be sellers have been suffering from a post-recession PTSD that made them more cautious about putting their properties on the market, because even if they could be sure their home would sell, the historically low inventory meant that they might not be able to find a new house to move into.

These inventory deficits have resulted in bidding wars on properties that actually made it to market, inflating average and median prices enough that the whole endeavor began to seem uncomfortably like the housing bubble that contributed so mightily to the Great Recession in the first place. In Colorado, it wasn’t helped by the ongoing slowdown in new condominium construction.

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But a recent report from the Denver Metro Association of REALTORS (DMAR) indicates that some of these troubling trends may be starting to abate. Earlier in August, DMAR released numbers that showed, among other things, that the metro area had 20 percent more active listings in July than it had in June, and that new residential home listings were up 5 percent over the previous month and 13 percent year-over-year. This placed the area’s average home price at about $366,500 and its median price at almost $315,000. The DMAR report also noted that at the end of July, there were almost 7,500 active listings. That’s 21 percent more than there were in June but 10 percent less than during the same month last year.

(Read: How to Navigate Denver’s Competitive Sellers’ Market)

Bidding wars are still occurring, particularly in that mid-$300,000 range. (To wit, yours truly just refinanced a condo near downtown Denver whose appraisal showed that its value has increased by almost one-third in only 18 months, a spike that’s absurd and unsustainable, but sure did make for a pleasant closing.)

With unresolved tension still brewing between buy-and-hold homeowners, the ongoing inventory issues, and the continued influx of newcomers to the area, much work remains. Hopefully these positive signs will keep pointing upward.

Follow 5280 editor-at-large Luc Hatlestad on Twitter at @LucHatlestad.

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