Flat real estate market “not terrible”

Flat real estate market “not terrible”

An economist says Colorado is faring better than much of the U.S., where prices rose up to 102% over the past five years.

In what traditionally has been a strong home-selling season, the metro Denver real estate market has remained flat.

The number of homes placed under contract in June was down 3.4 percent, to 6,136, from May. But it was up 1.4 percent from June 2006. Closings were up 0.9 percent from May and down 8.9 percent from the previous year.

“We’re just kind of bouncing along,” said Larry McGee of the Berkshire Group. “It’s not terrible. It is almost exactly even with a year ago.”

The number of homes on the market increased 3.9 percent, to 30,256, from the previous month and down 5.2 percent from the same time last year.

While it may be flat, Colorado’s housing market is faring better than that of much of the nation, said Jeff Thredgold, an economist with Vectra Bank Colorado.

“The national media would have people believe that the housing market is getting absolutely trashed,” he said. “It’s really tied to the fact that prices went too far too fast over the last five or six years.”

The average price of the typical American home rose 53.5 percent over the past five years, Thredgold said.

In Florida the average price was up 102 percent; California was up 99 percent; Nevada was up 96 percent; and Arizona up 94 percent.

But the average price of the typical home in Colorado rose just 21 percent during the same period.

“I would much rather be a homebuilder or a homebuyer in Colorado,” Thredgold said. “You have more potential upside than buying a property in Las Vegas, Phoenix or Miami.”

Thirty-nine percent of the homes sold in metro Denver had a sales price of more than $300,000, pushing the average sales price to a record $304,055.

That’s up 5.2 percent from last month but relatively flat from June’s average last year of $303,574.

“Mainly an issue of mix”

“It’s mainly an issue of mix,” said Gary Bauer, an independent real estate analyst who compiles a monthly housing report using statistics from Metrolist. “More of the higher-priced homes closed this month.”

The median price of a single-family home in June was up 4.2 percent, to $263,000, from the previous month. Condos were up 1.9 percent, to $157,950, during the same period.

“Foreclosures are starting to play less of a role, but they’re still out there, and they’re still impacting the market,” Bauer said.

By Margaret Jackson
Denver Post Staff Writer 

Staff writer Margaret Jackson can be reached at 303-954-1473 or mjackson (at) denverpost (dot) com.

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