Colorado Springs housing prices continue to rise, national report says

Shops in University Village Colorado are pictured on Tuesday, December 29, 2015. Nearly four years ago, the city's Urban Renewal Authority defaulted on bonds issued for North Nevada upgrades as part of the North Nevada urban renewal project. University Village Colorado was part of this project, and these stores are generating sales and property tax revenues being used to pay off the North Nevada bonds. Photo by Stacie Scott, The Gazette

Colorado Springs' home values are on the rise, according to a new report by Zillow, the Seattle-based online home-appraisal site.

But some local real estate agents wonder if Zillow's numbers are shortchanging the Springs.

A Zillow report this week estimated that median single-family home values in Colorado Springs rose to $225,400 in November, up 4.4 percent over the same month last year.

When condominiums are added to the mix, the median home value in the Springs during November was $221,800, a 4.7 percent year-over-year increase, the Zillow report showed.

Zillow's numbers are estimates of home values, based on its research of public sources in cities and metro-areas nationwide.

"It sounds low to me," said Rick Van Wieren, a real estate agent with Re/Max Properties who charts local prices and other housing statistics on his website.

The Pikes Peak Association of Realtors releases its own monthly report on Colorado Springs-area housing trends. In November, the median sales price for area homes rose to $237,500, a 9.6 percent jump over the same month in 2014, according to the Realtors Association.

The median price of condos, which are listed separately in the association's report, climbed to $155,450 in November, a 14.1 percent year-over-year increase.

A tight supply of homes for sale and a steady demand have been major factors in driving up prices beyond what Zillow has reported, Van Wieren said.

In November, the Realtors Association report showed 2,627 homes were listed for sale locally; monthly inventories have plunged from the recessionary years, when they routinely topped 5,000 and 6,000. In December, Van Wieren estimates there were only about 2,200 homes listed for sale.

"It's scary-low inventory," he said.

Heading into 2016, home values should continue to appreciate, Van Wieren said. The local population is growing; more retirees are moving to the area; and employers appear to be adding jobs, he said.

Prices will slow only if there are multiple major hits to the local economy, Van Wieren added.

Otherwise, he said, "there's just a lot of things there that continue to spell more appreciation."

By comparison, Denver's home values in November rose 15.5 percent over the same month the previous year, the Zillow report showed.

Double-digit increases are nice, Van Wieren said, but local real estate agents routinely say they're happy with single-digit returns because they're more sustainable over time. Bigger increases mean a market has further to fall if the economy stumbles.

"It is definitely preferable," Van Wieren said. "We really don't want to get into an out-of-control situation."

Zillow's report this week also estimated the total value of Colorado Springs residences - including single-family homes and condominiums - rose to $55 billion at the end of 2015, a 3.2 percent increase over 2014.


Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228

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