Local home sales, prices remain on upswing in November

RICH LADEN Updated: December 4, 2012 at 12:00 am • Published: December 4, 2012

Single-family home sales and prices rose last month in the Pikes Peak region, more signs that the local housing market is on the mend.

Area home sales totaled 741 in November, a 14.9 percent increase over the same month last year, a Pikes Peak Association of Realtors report showed Tuesday. Year-over-year home sales have increased in 15 of the last 17 months.

Home sales for the year totaled 8,444 through November, up 8.1 percent over the same 11-month period last year, the report showed. Based on those year-to-date numbers, home sales are running at their strongest pace since 2007.

“There’s much more activity, and the activity indicates the market is increasing,” said Alan Wilaby, a real estate agent with ERA Shields Real Estate in Colorado Springs.

Home showings on the part of ERA Shields agents were up 28 percent last week when compared with the same week a year ago, Wilaby said. The same trend has held for the last several weeks, he added.

Low mortgage rates are attracting buyers, but there may be a fear factor, too, Wilaby said. Many buyers probably worry that rates will rise because of inflation. Last week, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.32 percent nationally, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

“People are paranoid that we’re going to see higher interest rates,” he said. “Because of that, a lot of people that had been sitting on the fence now believe that the bottom has probably hit, and so they’re buying.”

Prices also rose in November; the median price of last month’s home sales rose to $203,000, a 9.7 percent year-over-year increase, the Realtors Association report showed. Homes prices have risen for nine straight months on a year-over-year basis.

The median is the midpoint of all sale prices. While market conditions have improved, Wilaby speculated that the nearly 10 percent jump in the median price was skewed by the sale of some very expensive homes.

Even though sales of higher-end properties have struggled, enough have sold of late to help boost overall prices, Wilaby said.

“We’ve absolutely stabilized and potentially seen some small increases,” he said. But overall growth in prices, he said, is “nowhere near the 10 percent number.”

Even as demand has increased, the supply of homes listed for sales hasn’t exploded, which is helping the overall market improve. The supply of homes for sale totaled 3,322 in November, down 9.4 percent from a year ago. As long as supply remains in check, the market should continue to improve, real estate industry members have said.

The Realtors Association’s monthly report covers homes whose sales were handled by real estate agents, not individual owners. Most of those sales took place in El Paso and Teller counties, with a few in other Front Range counties.

As the re-sale market has improved, so has home construction. A report Monday by the Pikes Peak Regional Building department showed the pace of single-family home construction was up nearly 50 percent in November, while the pace of homebuilding year-to-date was at its highest level in five years.

Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228 Twitter @richladen
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