The $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers that is set to expire in April could be the best thing going for Denver's sluggish housing market. Median home prices in metro Denver soared in January compared with the same month a year ago, although sales during the same period declined, according to Metrolist data cited by The Denver Post. The median price for a single-family home is now $210,000, up nearly 16 percent from $181,500 in January last year. Yet, sales appear to be recovering, according to 9News, explaining that condos, though up in price by 15 percent over last year (now a median of $130,500), are where the action is for real estate brokers. "The condo market is up because of affordability and marketability. With the economy today, folks are very interested in having a home that is marketable should they have to move or change jobs," says independent Realtor Gary Bauer. But here comes a monkey wrench for anyone saying the recovery is here: Data from Zillow Real Estate Market Reports find four Colorado markets, including Denver and Boulder, will probably experience declines in home values later this year, notes the Denver Business Journal.
It's called a "double dip" in home values, and there's a silver lining, says Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries: "The good news is that, for those markets that will see a double dip in home values before reaching a definitive bottom, this second dip will not be a return to the magnitude of depreciation seen earlier. [Rather it] will look more like a modest aftershock of the earlier downturn." Retirees could also help Denver home values. Where to Retire magazine includes Denver in its listing of "eight hip cities for urban lifestyles" (via 7News).