(CHEYENNE) HOME SALES (copy)
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Colorado Springs-area home sales rose to a record high last month, after the market started off “really slow this year,” said Joe Clement, broker and owner of Re/Max Properties.

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Colorado Springs-area home prices rose to a record high in April — good news for sellers who can command top dollar for their homes, but gut-wrenching for buyers as the cost of housing gets more and more expensive.

The local market “started off really slow this year,” said Joe Clement, broker/owner of Re/Max Properties. “Once February hit, we just really started cranking, and we’ve been cranking ever since. It’s just been very busy and very, very exciting, but yet frustrating.”

A new report from the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors shows:

• The median price of single-family homes sold in April climbed to $328,000, a 7.5 percent increase over the same month last year and surpassing the previous record high of $324,750 in June 2018. Median prices have risen each month since December 2014; the median is the mid-point, with half of all sale prices in April coming in below $328,000 and the other half above. Data in the association’s April report covers home sales that took place mostly in El Paso and Teller counties.

• Average sale prices also set a record high of $371,752 last month, a 6.6 percent year-over-year increase and beating the old record of $361,499 set last June. Real estate experts, however, consider the average to be less reliable because it can be skewed by a few very low or very high figures.

• Home sales totaled 1,320 in April, up 2.6 percent from the same month last year and the first year-over-year increase in sales since February 2018. Through the first four months of 2019, sales totaled 4,368, a scant 0.7 percent decline from the same period last year.

• The inventory of homes for sale totaled 1,572 last month, up 3.2 percent from April 2018. Although the supply has been on the rise for each of the last 10 months, it nevertheless remains historically low. Based on the pace of recent sales and the number of homes available, April’s inventory amounted to a 1.2-month supply of homes for sale.

A healthy local economy and a tight supply of properties for sale have combined to drive up housing costs, Clement said. The solid economy means demand is on the upswing; more people are working and are confident enough in their job security to buy a home.

But when they go house hunting, buyers find fewer homes available, especially at prices under $400,000, Clement said. May 6, for example, just under 700 homes listed for sale were priced at $399,000 and below in the Colorado Springs area, he said, citing Multiple Listing Service statistics compiled by his office.

“Not enough, not enough,” Clement said.

The tight inventory sets off a scramble for homes, leading to multiple offers that often exceed a seller’s asking price and driving up costs, he said.

“It’s still very frustrating for a lot of our buyers. They’re just not finding what they want, and when they find it, they’ve got to fight for it.”

Occasionally, the battle even involves more expensive houses, Clement said. His office recently had dueling offers for a home priced at more than $900,000.

“Which is crazy,” he said. “We don’t usually have that.”

An ongoing problem for the market: Many homeowners fear they won’t be able to find another home if they sell theirs, causing them to hold onto their houses and contributing to the shortage of homes.

“People are skittish, nervous, about listing their homes because they keep looking at all the different websites and seeing that there’s not a ton (of homes) for them to go to,” Clement said. “A lot of people don’t want to get into a bidding war. So they don’t want to take the chance of putting theirs out there on the open market unless they know for sure where they’re going.”

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