Want to become a homeowner in Colorado Springs? Get in line; the city has the most competitive homebuying market in the country, according to National Association of Realtors findings.

An association report that compared numbers of homebuyers with numbers of homeowners in nearly 400 metro areas found that Colorado Springs ranks No. 1 in the nation for the highest concentration of people looking to purchase a home — 11.1%.

The report, based on U.S. Census Bureau data, was last updated two weeks ago; it focused on the homebuying characteristics of owners who moved into houses within the last year, according to the association.

Trailing Colorado Springs in the nation’s top five markets with the highest concentrations of homebuyers were Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev., 10.8%; Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., 10.6%; Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz., 10%; and Provo-Orem, Utah, 9.8%.

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Not only does Colorado Springs have a high concentration of buyers, it also ranks down the list of metro areas with homes available for purchase.

A companion report by the Realtors Association — also based on census data and home selling patterns — shows the Las Vegas area has the highest concentration of likely home sellers at 21.1%. In the Springs, however, the concentration of sellers was much lower at 13.3%.

The reports verify market conditions that buyers and real estate agents have confronted over the last few years: a shortage of homes — especially in the more affordable, $300,000-and-under price range — has led to stiff competition as the Springs economy has surged and demand for housing has soared.

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“If you’re a homeowner, you’re thrilled, you’re happy, you’re not moving, you have a big smile on your face and life’s wonderful,” said Harry Salzman, a longtime real estate agent with Salzman Real Estate Services and ERA Shields Real Estate.

“On the other hand, if you want to trade up, you’re relocating here, you’d like to have a choice of homes to compare and to buy one, you don’t have many choices today,” he said.

The highly competitive market, Salzman said, often leads to deep disappointment among individuals and families who can’t find the house they want to buy despite months of looking.

“When I sit down with a prospective buyer, what’s so different is that I’ve got to explain, ‘Let me tell you what you might go through, with multiple offers and you might not get No. 1 or you might not get No. 2,’” Salzman said. “The stress on people is just bad. And I feel sorry for them, but what can we do about it?”

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One benefit to the housing industry of the competition: when buyers can’t find a home on the resale market, many turn to new homes, which has boosted the fortunes of builders, Salzman said.

The demand for housing also has driven up home prices in Colorado Springs.

A separate National Association of Realtors report released Thursday shows that the Springs’ median home price during the third quarter climbed to $327,400, a 3.7% increase over the same period last year.

Salzman, however, says the housing appreciation gain shown in the national report is on the low side.

A report this week from the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors showed the median home price in the Springs area rose by nearly 10% in October to a record high of $335,000. The local report, which comes out monthly and includes home sales in outlying areas beyond the Springs’ city limits, is more accurate, Salzman said.

“I think that’s much more valid,” he said.

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