Home sales in the Colorado Springs area fell last month for the first time in nearly a year and a half, although prices continued to climb, according to a report Tuesday by the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors.
Single-family home sales totaled 709 in November, down 4.3 percent from the same month last year, the association's report showed. It was the first decline in year-over-year sales since June 2012.
Through the first 11 months of the year, however, home sales totaled 10,106, an increase of almost 20 percent from the same period in 2012.
Rising interest rates over the past few months might have finally caught up with the local market and resulted in the decline, said Jack Beuse, a broker associate with Paradigm Real Estate in Colorado Springs and the association's new board chairman. Thirty-year, fixed-rate mortgages climbed above 4 percent around mid-year after several months in the neighborhood of 3.5 percent.
Going forward, Beuse said the pace of home sales might soften somewhat and adjust to a more normal cycle - with some ups and downs. The area needs to add more jobs to support the housing market, he said.
"Eighteen months we've had increases," he said. "It can't keep going like that."
In any case, Beuse said he doesn't see the November decline as the start of a downward trend in sales.
"I think we're going in the right direction still, even if we had a little blip. And I think this was a little blip."
Meanwhile, the median price of homes that sold in November rose by 8.4 percent to $220,000 when compared with the same month last year, the report showed. The median is the mid-point of all sale prices.
Home prices have risen for 21 consecutive months.
The inventory of homes listed for sale was 3,679 in November, a 10.7 percent increase over the same month last year.
The monthly supply of homes for sale had been well above 5,000 - and sometimes surpassed 6,000 - for many months during the height or the recession. But inventories have tightened in recent years, boosting prices for sellers, but creating a problem for buyers because they have fewer homes from which to choose.
The Realtors Association report includes only transactions handled by real estate agents who are members of the organization; it doesn't include sales recorded by individual owners.
Most home sales in the report typically take place in El Paso and Teller counties, with a handful taking place in other Front Range counties.
Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228
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