A new report shows Colorado Springs home prices remain among the nation’s most expensive, which some local real estate agents worry is hurting the city’s reputation as an affordable place to live.
The median price of single-family homes that sold in Colorado Springs during the fourth quarter of 2019 rose to $322,200, a 5% increase over the same quarter a year earlier, according to a National Association of Realtors report released this week.
While the year-over-year percentage gain was relatively modest compared with other metro areas, the Springs’ median price ranked the city as the 26th most expensive out of 180 markets with home price data shown in the report.
The median home price tallied by the National Association of Realtors in the fourth quarter was lower than in the latest Pikes Peak Association of Realtors report, which showed that homes hit a record high median price of $336,795 in January.
“I don’t like it,” Joe Clement, broker/owner of Re/Max Properties in Colorado Springs, said of the price shown in the national report. “One of the things we were always able to do is brag about how we rank in the cost-of-living indexes as being very affordable as far as everything — housing, groceries, gas, whatever was in that formula. Now, we’re climbing up the ladder. It’s not what we need to be doing.”
Boulder’s fourth-quarter median price of $630,400 increased 6.4% on a year-over-year basis and was the sixth-highest among metro areas in the National Association of Realtors report. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood saw its median increase by 4.5% to $458,000, which was the 11th priciest.
Among cities sometimes compared to Colorado Springs in terms of population or that compete with the Springs for jobs and employers, Austin-Round Rock, Texas, ranked just ahead of the Springs as the 25th most expensive with a fourth-quarter median price of $329,400. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale’s median of $295,400 ranked 39th in the report; the metro area of Omaha, Neb., and Council Bluffs, Iowa, was at $199,000 and ranked 107th; Oklahoma City, Okla., had a median of $158,600 and ranked 143rd; and Wichita, Kan.’s median of $156,800 came in at 145th.
A shortage of homes for sale has vexed the local market for the last few years; it’s a problem faced by many cities, Clement said.
As the economy has improved and mortgage rates have fallen, the demand for housing has ramped up. But the supply also has tightened, as many homeowners hold onto their properties for fear they won’t find another home to buy if they sell theirs.
The result: Prices have soared.
Another problem: Many builders say rising labor and material costs, combined with a lack of developed home sites upon which to build, are driving up their costs and that selling homes for less than $400,000 is next to impossibe, Clement said.
The supply-and-demand imbalance has been good for sellers, many of whom field multiple offers that often come in above the asking price. But many buyers wind up searching for weeks or longer to find a home they can afford in a neighborhood in which they want live.
On Wednesday, the Colorado Springs multiple listing service showed 1,222 homes for sale, Clement said. But of that number, probably only 700 to 800 were existing homes and the rest are homes being sold by builders, he said.
Not only can’t buyers find homes, but some of the thousands of local real estate agents don’t have houses to market, Clement said.
“It’s thin pickings,” he said. “I don’t like it. It’s not fun for us, because we have to battle to get a home for somebody, and then you do it three or four times with the same person, you don’t make an income and you’ve got a very frustrated buyer who says, ‘you know I’m just going to go rent or something.’ It’s just not good ... I feel sorry for the homebuyer.”