Last year was another record-breaker for Colorado Springs-area home sales, and 2017 should remain strong - even with an uptick in mortgage rates, some real estate agents predict.
Single-family home sales totaled 15,318 in 2016, a nearly 16 percent jump over the previous record of 13,250 sales that was set just one year earlier, according to a Pikes Peak Association of Realtors report for December. The association's figures only cover the last 30 years, but real estate agents have said numbers for the last two years likely are record totals.
Healthy sales and rising prices last year signaled that the housing market has fully recovered from the Great Recession.
That turnaround reflects an improvement in the local economy; as jobs were added, the demand for homes increased and prices rose, said Charles D'Alessio of Synergy Realty Group in the Springs and the Realtors Association's 2017 board chairman.
But the improvement of the housing market also has been a mixed bag, D'Alessio said. Last year was a great time to sell a home, he said, but buyers now face rising prices and mortgage rates.
"If you're buying a property, along with rates ticking up, it still creates that divide for some people to not be able to afford a home," D'Alessio said.
Nationwide, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.2 percent last week, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. Rates have been on the rise since late October.
Even with those increases, D'Alessio said he expects the local housing market to see more gains in 2017.
Property values should rise by perhaps 4 percent - a slight dip from 2016, but still positive, he said.
Sales also should remain robust, D'Alessio said. Not only will demand remain strong, but there are increasing numbers of local real estate agents, and many of them - especially newcomers - will aggressively look be courting homeowners to sell, he said.
Other highlights of the Realtors Association's December report include:
- In December alone, home sales totaled 1,236 or a nearly 12 percent increase on a year-over-basis, the report showed. Monthly sales now have risen for 29 straight months.
- Homes sold in an average of 40 days in December; a year earlier it took an average of 60 days to sell a home.
- The median price for homes sold in December rose to $255,000, up 6.3 percent from the same month a year earlier. Prices have increased for 25 consecutive months on a year-over-year basis.
- The supply of homes for sales dwindled to 1,536 in December, also a record low. D'Alessio said he expects the inventory to gradually rise by early spring.
The Realtors Association report looks at home sales reported by its members, and doesn't include sales by individual property owners. About 90 percent of the transactions took place in El Paso County.