Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Springs housing market recovery continues

RICH LADEN Updated: April 3, 2013 at 12:00 am

Home sales and prices increased again last month in the Pikes Peak region, another sign that the area’s housing recovery is continuing.

“We’re not fixed, but we’re on the mend,” said Joe Clement, broker-owner of Re/Max Properties in Colorado Springs.

A Pikes Peak Association of Realtors report released this week shows:

• Sales of single-family homes totaled 867 in March, a nearly 20 percent jump from the same month last year. Sales have risen in 19 of the last 21 months. Most sales took place in El Paso and Teller counties, and included only homes whose transactions were handled by association members.

• For the first quarter of the year, sales totaled 2,189, almost 28 percent higher than the same period in 2012.

• Homes sold in March were on the market for an average of 85 days; in the same month last year, homes averaged 96 days on the market before selling.

• The median price of all home sold in March rose to $212,000, a 12.2 percent, year-over-year increase. Prices have now increased for 13 straight months.

• The inventory of homes for sale totaled 3,069 in March, the equivalent of a 3.5-month supply. Monthly inventories had routinely topped 5,000 and 6,000 when the economy was in recession a few years ago, which translated into six- to 12-month supplies of homes for sale. When inventories swelled, sellers slashed asking prices and endured frustratingly long waits before finding a buyer.

But a pent-up demand on the part of buyers and historically low mortgage rates are driving the recovery, area real estate agents have said.

Last week, 30-year, fixed-rate loans averaged 3.57 percent nationally, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

Strong demand, in turn, is helping to boost prices.

There still are some cautionary notes regarding the market, Clement said. An increase in mortgage rates and Department of Defense budget cuts could slow the housing recovery, he warned.

While the Realtors Association report shows an overall improvement in the market, some neighborhoods and price ranges are doing better than others, Clement said.

As the market started to rebound several months ago, homes selling for $250,000-and-under were hot. Now, Clement said, “zero to $500,000 is where it’s at.”

In December, Re/Max Properties had clients in the upscale, north side Pine Creek neighborhood who were poised to sell. Based on comparable sales of nearby properties, Re/Max Properties suggested their clients should list their home for $390,000, Clement said.

The homeowners held off, however. By February, the market had improved to the point where the owners listed the home for $415,000. They received two offers — and wound up selling for $420,000, Clement said.

“There’s certain price ranges and certain areas where we’re getting multiple offers,” Clement said. “People are fighting over stuff.”

But it’s still a buyer’s market for homes selling for a half-million dollars and up, Clement said.

Based on the number of homes currently for sale in the $500,000 to $749,999 range, and based on the rate such homes sold in the first quarter, there’s a one-year supply of properties for sale in that price range, said Clement, citing a Re/Max Properties report.

For homes in the $750,000 to $999,999 range, there’s a more than 2½-year supply, the Re/Max Properties report shows; for homes of $1 million-and-up, there’s a 3.8-year supply.

“You get above $500,000, it really goes in the other direction,” Clement said.

Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228 Twitter @richladen

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