Home sales

A home under construction sits for sale in the Banning Lewis Ranch development on the east side of Colorado Springs.

The number of Colorado Springs-area homes for sale climbed to a two-year high last month, a sign that buyers finally might be in a better position in a housing market that’s favored sellers for the last few years, some real estate agents say.

In August, 2,416 single-family and patio homes were listed for sale, a nearly 6 percent increase over the same month last year and the highest number since 2,443 homes were for sale in September 2016, according to a report this week by the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors.

Monthly supplies in the Colorado Springs area, like other parts of the country, have slid for roughly the last 2½ years as an improved economy, more jobs and historically low mortgage rates stoked demand for homes. January and February listings this year in Colorado Springs dwindled to levels not seen in at least two decades, Realtors Association data show.

The tight supply is one factor that’s helped drive up housing costs, real estate agents have said. The median price — or midpoint — of homes sold in August increased 11.4 percent to $315,000 on a year-over-year basis. Median prices have been rising steadily since 2015 and setting record highs along the way, including a mark of $324,750 in June.

At the same time, the shortage of homes has contributed to a decline in sales over the last several months, some agents have said; too few homes have meant buyers couldn’t find what they wanted, and so they held onto their existing homes or continued to live in rental properties, which slowed sales.

In August, area home sales totaled 1,529, down almost 8 percent from a year ago and the sixth straight year-over-year decline, the Realtors Association report showed.

In the first eight months of the year, sales totaled 10,824, a 1.1 percent decline over the same period last year. Up until August, year-to-date sales had been outpacing those of 2017.

Homes also stayed on the market for an average of 26 days in August, an increase of two days from a year ago, according to the Realtors Association report.

The market, however, still favors sellers, said Bruce Betts, broker/owner of Re/Max Advantage in Colorado Springs. Jobs are plentiful, and the unemployment rate is low, while the current supply of homes for sale is at about 1.5 months.

Still, an uptick in inventories will create a more level playing field for buyers — giving them more choices and even allowing them to contemplate a purchase over a few days instead of engaging in bidding wars, Betts said.

“Buyers will be in a better position if they have more inventory to choose from and they don’t have to worry about getting beat out by eight other buyers attempting to put an offer in on the same property,” he said.

Because of the strong local economy, demand for housing should continue — especially in the $250,000-and-under price range that’s highly sought after, he said.

Housing costs also are likely to continue rising, but sellers must be careful to avoid seeking unrealistic prices, Betts said.

The Realtors Association report tallies transactions reported by real estate agents who are members of the group and excludes homes sold by owners.

In August, nearly 90 percent of home sales took place in El Paso County, with additional transactions being recorded in other Front Range counties.

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