Colorado Springs ranked seventh in the nation with a 14.4% year-over-year increase in home prices during the first quarter, according to a new National Association of Realtors report. 

Colorado Springs lived up to its billing as one of the nation’s top housing markets in the months before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The median sales price of existing homes in the Springs during the first quarter shot up by 14.4% on a year-over-year basis, the seventh-biggest percentage gain in appreciation among the 181 metro areas included in a new National Association of Realtors report .

By comparison, median prices rose 7.7% on a nationwide basis, the report showed.

“We’re twice as strong as the USA,” veteran real estate agent Harry Salzman of ERA Shields Real Estate and Salzman Real Estate Services said of Colorado Springs’ housing market.

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Other takeaways from the National Association of Realtors report include:

• Colorado Springs’ first-quarter median sales price of $339,100 ranked the city as the 26th most expensive market among the 181 metro areas.

• Denver-Aurora-Lakewood saw a 6.1% gain in the first quarter, which boosted its median price to $473,800, or 12th highest in the report. Boulder’s 3.1% increase pushed its median to $622,600, the sixth priciest.

• Topeka, Kan., topped metro areas in the report with an 18.3% year-over-year jump in first quarter prices; Bowling Green, Ky., was at the bottom, with a 2.7% drop.

• San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, in the Silicon Valley area of Northern California, checked in at No. 1 with a median sales price of $1.35 million in the first quarter. Decatur, in central Illinois, ranked last with a median of $80,300.

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The rankings by the National Association of Realtors follow a report by online real estate service provider Realtors.com that listed Colorado Springs as the nation’s No. 1 housing market in March. And in February, a Federal Housing Finance Agency report said the percentage gain in Springs prices ranked as the second highest nationwide during the fourth quarter of last year.

Whether Colorado Springs and other cities continue to see strong housing gains in the wake of the pandemic’s economic fallout — including millions of job losses — remains to be seen.

In comments that accompanied the National Association of Realtors report, the group’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, said a shortage of homes for sale nationwide, a strong demand and low mortgage rates combined to send prices soaring.

“The first quarter price jumps mostly reflect conditions prior to the coronavirus outbreak and show the strength of the housing demand prior to the pandemic,” Yun said. “Even now, due to very limited listings, home prices are showing no signs of buckling.”

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Yun added, however, that fast-rising home prices aren’t healthy at a time when the economy is hurting.

“Supply is extremely limited, and there are simply not as many homes for sale to meet the demand among potential buyers,” he said. “More supply and more listings are needed to provide a faster recovery for the economy.”

In Colorado Springs, Salzman said he expects prices to continue to rise, although not necessarily at the rate seen in the first quarter. The increase could be closer to 9% to 11%.

The Springs still has several positives going for it — including a quality education system and strong political leadership — that make it a desirable place to live, especially for people weary of living in large metro areas and want to relocate, Salzman said.

“Anything can happen, statistically wise, by the end of May, maybe the end of June, because of what we’re going through,” Salzman said. “But ... no matter what it is, in a relative sense, I feel Colorado Springs is going to be way ahead of most communities.”

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