Denver's "Most-Improved" Housing Market

June 2010

Although mortgage rates around the country are hovering close to their lowest levels in decades, demand for refinancing loans fell last week---an indication that housing markets aren't entirely healthy. Moreover, demand for home-purchase mortgages fell for the fifth straight week to the lowest since 1997, according to The Wall Street Journal, in a report noting that home-buying has dropped off since the expiration of the tax credits that ended in April. Early indications point to home sales plunging in May, with markets in Denver and several other cities down by around 25 percent compared with 2009, which wasn't exactly a stellar year either. Yet an analysis by BusinessWeek finds signs of life returning to housing markets despite high unemployment and foreclosures. And while not a glowing report, the magazine concludes that Denver is the "most-improved market overall." Why? "Prices in the Denver area jumped 5.8 percent during the first quarter, and unemployment dropped slightly, to 7.8 percent in April from 8.3 percent in January," writes the magazine, which reports slow recoveries around the nation. Boston and St. Louis place second and third, while Las Vegas and Miami---where prices fell 13.1 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively---are at the bottom.