Denver Deep Freeze?

July 1995

Is Denver’s residential real-estate market headed for the deep freeze? After three years of fevered sales and skyrocketing prices, 1995 has seen a cold wind blow into town.

Despite the lowest interest rates in more than a year, metro homes sales through May were down by 16 percent compared to 1994, according to statistics compiled by Metrolist Inc. and Perry & Butler Realty. The month of May itself saw just 2,650 houses sold in the metro area, the worst May since 1988. And those houses that do sell are staying on the market far longer than in recent years — even in sought-after neighborhoods like Cherry Creek, Hilltop, and Cherry Hills Village.

Experts disagree over the market’s long-term forecast. Some say that declining interest rates will inevitably bring buyers back into the market. Others point to an inventory of unsold houses that is simultaneously growing in both price and number, and a slowing in the flood of newcomers to the Front Range as harbingers of a more drastic downturn.

In either case, buyers now find themselves with a level of power they haven’t enjoyed in a long time. And for sellers counting on the quick sales and big profits of recent years, it may be time to realize that the party’s over.