Home sales and prices rose again last month in the Colorado Springs area, as the area's re-sale housing market continued its recovery from the local and national recessions, according to a Pikes Peak Association of Realtors report.

Single-family home sales totaled 929 in October, a 17 percent increase over the same month last year, the report showed. Sales have risen for 16 straight months on a year-over-year basis.

Through the first 10 months of 2013, single-family home sales totaled 9,398, up 22 percent from the same period last year.

Three out of every four homes that were sold in October were priced at $300,000 or less, continuing a trend over many months in which lower-priced homes drove buying and selling activity. Higher-end homes - $400,000 and up - accounted for 10.5 percent of sales last month, compared with 9.8 percent in the same month last year.

The median price - or mid-point - of homes that sold last month climbed 3 percent to $218,000 when compared with prices of homes sold in October 2012. Prices have risen for each of the last 20 months.

Local real estate agents had credited historically low mortgage rates for jump-starting home sales; 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged well below 4 percent for much of 2012 and the first few months of 2013, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.

When mortgage rates crept past 4 percent this summer, some real estate industry experts worried that rising home-buying costs would stall the market's momentum. Some experts also worried that Department of Defense cuts would slow the economy of the Pikes Peak region, which is heavily dependent on the military.

But neither federal cuts nor higher rates have significantly slowed buying and selling up to now, based on the Realtors Association numbers. Long-term mortgage rates averaged 4.16 percent nationally Thursday, up slightly from 4.10 percent a week ago, a Freddie Mac report showed.

Meanwhile, the supply of homes listed for sale totaled 3,913 in October, up 11.4 percent from a year ago, but down from the highs of 5,000 to 7,000 a month at the height of the economic downturn between 2007 and 2009. Listings are closely watched by real estate agents. When monthly supplies topped 5,000 five to six years ago, prices fell. But when the market improved in early 2012, a tight supply of homes drove up prices for sellers. Buyers, however, were left with fewer choices.

The Realtors Association report records home sales whose transactions are handled by its members and doesn't include sales recorded by individual owners. Most home sales included in the October report took place in El Paso and Teller counties, with a handful taking place in Douglas, Elbert, Pueblo and other Front Range counties.


Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228 Twitter @richladen

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