Local home sales, prices jump in October

November 2, 2012
photo - Home prices and sales were up in October in the Pikes Peak region. Photo by BILL RADFORD, THE GAZETTE
Home prices and sales were up in October in the Pikes Peak region. Photo by BILL RADFORD, THE GAZETTE 

Home prices and sales rose again last month as the re-sale side of the Colorado Springs-area housing market continued to show signs of improvement.

But even as the numbers look better, the market still has a ways to go before it fully rebounds, and not all segments are doing as well as others, some local real estate experts say.

According to a report by the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors:

• The median price of homes sold in October climbed to $211,650, a 14.4 percent increase over the same month last year. Prices have now increased for eight straight months on a year-over-year basis.

• Last month’s home sales totaled 794, up 4.7 percent from October 2011. Sales have improved in 14 of the last 16 months.

• Homes sold in October spent an average 78 days on the market before their sale, compared with 91 during the same month last year.

• For the first 10 months of the year, sales totaled 7,703, or 7.5 percent higher than thesame period in 2011.

• The number of homes listed for sale totaled 3,513 in October, an 11.3 percent year-over-year decline. A relatively stable inventory of homes for sale has helped drive up prices for sellers, who saw their values decline over the last several years when the economy slumped and foreclosures rose.

In general, low mortgage rates have been credited by real estate experts with helping to boost the market. Nationally, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.39 percent this week, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

The market improvement is being seen mostly in homes selling for $300,000 or less, said Brian Maecker, a real estate agent with Re/Max Advantage in Colorado Springs.

Prices have risen, in part, because the supply of low-priced homes has been exhausted and more homes in the $180,000 to $190,000 range are selling — which helps to pull up the area’s overall median price, he said.

But sales of homes listed for $400,000 and up are still slow, and those sellers are having a tough time getting their asking prices, Maecker said. The area needs more good-paying jobs to create a pool of buyers to absorb upper-end homes, he added.

“I think everybody’s a little nervous to say we are recovered because the high-end market is continuing to struggle,” Maecker said. “When you get above $400,000, it’s not pretty up there. When you get to those upper price ranges, $400,000 and up, $500,000 and up, there’s not enough high-paying jobs here. ...That’s why we’re not fully recovered yet.”

The Realtors Association’s report includes homes whose sales were handled by real estate agents, not individual owners. Most of the monthly sales took place in El Paso and Teller counties.

Home construction also has taken steps forward this year; single-family building permits in October were up 53.2 percent compared with a year ago, while permits for the first 10 months of the year already have exceeded 2011’s total, a Pikes Peak Regional Building Department report showed this week.

Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228 Twitter @richladen
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