Colorado Springs home sales and prices continue to rise in September

A home for sale on East Platte Ave. Thursday, April 28, 2016. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

The supply of Colorado Springs-area homes for sale remained historically low last month, and finding a house in cheaper price ranges continues to be especially tough.

Single-family home listings totaled 1,461 in March, a 6.6 percent increase over the same month last year, according to the latest report by the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors.

Despite that year-over-year gain, last month’s supply was much lower than the typical March inventory, which usually tops 3,000 and 4,000 homes, based on Realtors Association data over the past quarter century.

Based on the inventory of homes available and recent sales trends, only a 1.2-month supply of homes was available in March, according to the association’s report.

The result: Buyers are finding far fewer choices than in years past. That tight supply, along with a strong demand being stroked by an improved economy, have sent prices climbing.

The median price of single-family homes sold in March rose 5 percent on a year-over-year basis to $315,000, meaning half of all properties sold last month fetched a price that was higher than the median and the other half went for less, the Realtors Association report shows. Median prices now have risen every month on a year-over-year basis since December 2014.

But finding median-priced homes can be a struggle.

Monday, the supply of homes priced at $315,000 and below totaled just 295 in the Multiple Listing Service area tracked by the Realtors Association data, said Rick Van Wieren, a real estate agent with Re/Max Properties in Colorado Springs. El Paso and Teller counties make up most of the MLS area.

In El Paso County on Monday, the number of $315,000-and-under homes for sale totaled only 201, Van Wieren said. In Colorado Springs, just 152 homes were listed at or below the median.

And when lower priced homes go on the market, they’re snatched up in hours — literally.

Last week, Van Wieren represented a seller in the Woodmen Hills area in unincorporated Falcon, northeast of Colorado Springs. The house was listed for sale at 11 a.m. April 1, he said. By 1 p.m. that day, prospective buyers had scheduled three showings. At 7 p.m., the seller had three offers, all of which were above the asking price of $350,000.

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“It’s super tight, and it’s going to put pressure on prices,” Van Wieren said of lower-priced home supplies. “Because the only way that some of these people are going to get a house is if they just decide to spend more.”

Many owners are holding on to their homes and not listing them for sale for fear they won’t be able to find another house to buy, some real estate industry experts have said.

Other owners have a low mortgage rate and worry they won’t get a comparable rate if they sell their home and take out a new loan.

Yet a recent interest rate tumble could encourage more owners to sell if they become convinced they now can afford the borrowing costs associated with a purchase or a refinancing, Van Wieren said.

Thirty-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.08 percent last week nationwide, down from almost 5 percent six months ago, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.

“If you want to make a move, this is a good time to do it,” Van Wieren said. “Yours is worth a lot more, and you can still get that good interest rate on the next house.”

Other highlights of the Realtors Association report for March include:

• Home sales in March totaled 1,224, a 0.6 percent decline from the same month last year. Year-over-year sales now have fallen each month since January 2018.

• Through the first quarter of 2019, home sales totaled 3,048, down 2.1 percent from the same period in 2018.

• In March, homes spent an average of 36 days on the market before selling, eight days longer than the same month last year.

“It’s super tight, and it’s going to put pressure on prices. Because the only way that some of these people are going to get a house is if they just decide to spend more.” Rick Van Wieren, real estate agent with Re/Max Properties