It’s no secret that Denver housing is pricey, but the big takeaway from the Denver Metro Association of Realtors’ (DMAR) March Denver Metro Real Estate Market Trends Report really drives home that point: The average sold price of a single-family home in the Denver metro area passed the half-million-dollar mark in February 2018, settling at $502,986. This time last year, that number was 11.78 percent lower.
“This may represent a psychological barrier for some homebuyers wishing to enter the market,” says Steve Danyliw, a Denver Realtor and chairman of the DMAR Market Trends Committee. It may also be bad news for former Denver residents who hope to return to the city, but find themselves priced out of the market. Denver metro homebuyers now need an average annual salary of $79,180 to afford a median-priced home, according to a quarterly update from mortgage research firm HSH.com, yet the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation reports that the median income for Metro Denver was $71,930 in 2016 (compared to $57,620 in the U.S.).
How does Denver compare to the rest of the country? Seattle just broke its own record—which it set last summer—with median prices hitting $757,000 in January 2018. In San Diego, the median home value is $540,500, according to Zillow. It’s $304,800 in Austin, $221,000 in Chicago, and $567,500 in Boston. (It’s worth noting that the median sold price of a single-family home in Denver is $435,000, according to DMAR.)
So what do you get for about $500,000 in Denver? Of the homes that sold in February 2018, the median single-family home was 1,730 square feet, with four bedrooms and three bathrooms, and was built in 1985. The median condo was 1,200 square feet, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and was built in 1996.
If that’s hard to swallow, the bright side is that there are more homes to choose from these days. In February 2018, there were 5.56 percent more active listings in the residential market than in January 2018—and 5.31 percent more listings compared to this time last year. Danyliw says “this is good news, as we normally see a small seasonal decrease this time of year.”
The uptick in inventory comes from a surge of new listings—4,638 in February 2018 alone, which is an increase of 10.88 percent from last month. According to Danyliw, “the Denver area normally sees a 6.76-percent seasonal increase this time of year. These new listings may be ‘fence-sitters’ jumping in as concerns of increasing interest rates mount.”
Without a crystal ball, it’s hard to predict what the Denver housing market will do next, but if the trends are any indication, the metro area may just be gearing up for another hot summer.