Colorado Springs-area home prices soared to a second consecutive record high last month, as a steady demand on the part of buyers and a dearth of properties for sale helped to send housing costs higher.
"Low inventory really is the key driver in all of this," said Chris Lutyen, managing broker for the Springs office of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. "We have buyers every single day looking for properties, and so the demand is very strong. There's only so much to look at out there."
A stronger local economy and falling mortgage rates are stoking demand for homes, and sellers are getting top dollar. That's good for the housing market and a big turnaround from the Great Recession years.
But the market has its problems, too. The inventory shortfall can be tough on homebuyers, especially those who are just starting out and can't find a home they can afford, said Brian Maecker, a real estate agent with Re/Max Advantage in Colorado Springs.
"It is still really hard for first-time buyers to get into the market, especially $300,000 and below," Maecker said. "The reason that the median (price) keeps going up is because of the lack of lower-priced homes … It used to be the market started at $100,000-$150,000. Now, it doesn't start until about $200,000-$250,000. There's really no such thing as a low-end market anymore."
According to the latest report by the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors:
• In May, the median price — or midpoint — of homes sold during the month rose to $329,250, a 3.8% year-over-year gain and eclipsing April's record of $328,000. Local prices have risen each month since December 2014 as the housing market has gained steam in post-Great Recession years.
• Home sales totaled 1,564 in May, a 0.3% dip from the same month a year earlier. Through the first five months of 2019, sales totaled 5,932, down 0.6% from the same period in 2018.
• Last month, 1,849 homes were listed for sale, a nearly 2% year-over-year decline and the first inventory drop since April 2018. By comparison, May inventories typically topped 3,000 and 4,000 homes in the years before the Great Recession.
Maecker expects no changes in the market during the second half of 2019. Colorado Springs is getting its share of new jobs. And mortgage rates tumbled again Thursday, averaging 3.82% nationwide for a 30-year, fixed-rate loan — a nearly two-year low, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.
"I'm optimistic the market will stay pretty healthy," Maecker said.