Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Pikes Peak area home sales at 6-year high

by SUZANNE Evans suzanne.evans@gazette.com - Published: June 4, 2013

In a sign of a continued recovery in the area's housing market, sales of single-family homes in May hit 1,114, the first time monthly sales have topped 1,000 since July 2007.

The Pikes Peak Association of Realtors' monthly report also showed that sales prices remain on the rise.

"The home market is improving," said Joe Clement, broker owner of Re/Max Properties Inc. "Builders are doing better, everything's better."

The report for May also shows that:

- Sales increased by 20.4 percent from May 2012, while listings increased by only 16.2 percent, indicating that a higher proportion of newly listed homes were sold.

-The median price, or midpoint, of homes sold in May 2013 was $215,250, up by 2.5 percent from May 2012 and 0.2 percent from April.

- Homes that sold were on the market for an average of 67 days, down from 86 days the same month last year, and down from a recent peak of 101 in January 2012.

- A total of 4,233 homes were sold from January to May 2013, a 23.8 percent increase from the same period in 2012. The average price of homes sold between January and May increased 7.6 percent from the same period last year.

"The economy is improving and people have a better, confident feeling about the economy," said Hank Poburka, chairman of the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors. "People are now convinced that the market has bottomed out and they want to be part of it now as the market starts to go up.

"They think the housing market will continue for the foreseeable future so people are changing their investments from stocks to real estate."

During the last week of May, interest rates rose to an average of 3.7 percent on government loans and 4.1 percent on conventional loans - still low, but higher than the past few months.

Housing market activity increases every summer because of the school year ending, more families moving and military rotations. Historically, the market becomes more active between May and October.

Clement and Poburka expect the market to continue its recovery, though not as dramatically as it has the past few months.

"Two things we have here that's different from other cities: Unemployment is over 8 percent, and we have furloughs and other military cuts," Clement said. "Are you going to buy a house or a car or something big when you're furloughed four days a month?

"Big cities are really experiencing hot markets," Clement added. "I don't consider us hot. We're better, but we're not hot."

Poburka said he expects activity to level off in the winter, and revive in the spring of 2014, depending on the economy.

Both expect prices to keep climbing, though not drastically, because buyer demand is outstripping the inventory of houses for sale.

"The demand will continue to be higher and to outpace the actual inventory," Poburka added. "I expect that possibly for the next one to two years. I don't see any real stability. That will continue the rise in prices."

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