The improving Colorado Springs-area housing market showed no signs of slowing last month, as home sales soared and prices jumped to their highest levels in six years.
Local single-family home sales totaled 1,104 in June, a 30.5 percent increase over the same month last year and the highest number of home sales for any June since 2007, according to a report by the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors.
For the first half of 2013, single-family home sales totaled 5,336, a 25.1 percent increase over the same period last year, the association's report said. It was the market's best first-half performance in terms of sales since 2006.
Of homes that sold last month, the median - or mid-point - of all sale prices was $225,000, a 6.5 percent year-over-year increase and the highest median price for any month since $227,000 in July 2007.
"It's looking pretty good," said Jack Beuse of Paradigm Real Estate in Colorado Springs, who will become the Realtor Association's board chairman later this year. "Average sales price is up. Median sales price (is up). The number of sales are really looking good."
The supply of homes listed for sale totaled 3,868 in June, up 4.4 percent from a year ago, the Realtors Association report showed.
It's the second straight month that the supply has risen, a sign that more home sellers might be jumping into the market.
Yet, the inventory of homes for sale remained tight compared with listings from mid-2006 through fall 2011. That's when a poor economy slowed home sales and drove up the number of financially troubled properties flooding the market; monthly home listings routinely numbered 4,000 to 6,000 in the Colorado Springs area during that period and even topped 7,000 for a couple of months.
With the inventory of homes remaining relatively low, Beuse said he expects prices will continue to rise.
"If you don't have a lot of inventory, supply and demand will continue to drive prices," he said.
But will rising mortgage rates temper that demand?
Thirty-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.29 percent nationally during the last week, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Wednesday. That's down from 4.46 percent from the previous week, yet many people had grown accustomed to long-term rates of less than 4 percent; they were as low as 3.35 percent in early May.
Meanwhile, the Mortgage Bankers Association's said Wednesday that mortgage applications nationally fell 11.7 percent during the week ending June 28, when compared with the previous week.
Beuse said he doubts the recent rise in mortgage rates will deter buying and selling. Buyers, he said, will get accustomed to slightly higher rates.
"It's an excellent rate. It's not 18 percent, is it?" Beuse said of rates about 30 years ago, which remained in double digits for most of the 1980s. "If you look back historically, rates go up and down, and the market still continues."
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