A record-setting spring and summer for local home prices have given way to a record-setting autumn.
The median price of single-family homes sold in the Colorado Springs area during October climbed to $335,000, a nearly 10% year-over-year increase and eclipsing the previous record high of $332,000 in July, according to a new Pikes Peak Association of Realtors report. Record highs also were set in April, May and June.
Home sales and prices typically peak in the spring and summer; many families move once their kids finish school and the demand for housing spikes.
But Colorado Springs’ housing market, which national publications have rated as one of the country’s hottest, has shown no signs of slowing as the calendar has flipped over to fall.
“You never see the record for the year being set in October, and yet here we are,” Rick Van Wieren, a real estate agent with Re/Max Properties in Colorado Springs, said of last month’s median price. “The high-water mark forever and for the year are in October. That’s definitely a sign of a strong market.”
Supply and demand forces continue to influence prices, Van Wieren said.
Housing inventories have been at historically low levels for months as many potential sellers choose to hold onto their homes for fear of not being able to find another one to buy.
October was no different. The supply of homes for sale last month totaled just 1,940, down 18.3% from October 2018, the Realtors Association report shows. In past Octobers, the supply of homes for sale often topped 3,000 and even 4,000.
“We have 444 fewer homes for sale right now than we had last year at this time,” Van Wieren said. “That is a lot of houses. That’s a big deal.”
And based on the pace of recent home sales and last month’s listings, there was just a 1.3-month supply of homes available in October, according to the Realtors Association report.
While supplies are tight, demand remains strong.
Long-term mortgage rates that have dropped below 4% for 30-year, fixed-rate loans in recent months are attracting buyers, Van Wieren said. At the same, the area’s economy is strong and September’s unemployment rate of 3.2% was at a two-year low, boosting homebuyers’ confidence.
“Everybody’s got a job that wants a job, pretty much at this point,” Van Wieren said.
Another trend Van Wieren has noticed, and one that area residents have seen in the past: out-of-staters who move to Colorado from high-tax, highly regulated areas are helping to drive the demand for housing. A similar influx of newcomers took place during the early 1990s when Californians flooded into Colorado.
“They’re people who are basically coming from areas, generally the coasts, where the mindset of tax-and-spend has gotten so far out of control that people don’t feel like they want to live in that environment any more,” he said. “And they’re looking for places like Colorado where there is still pushback on tax increases.”
In October, home sales totaled 1,448, a 9.7% year-over-year increase, the Realtors Association report shows. The median number of days that homes spent on the market in October was 12, meaning that half of the 1,448 homes sold last month were gone in 12 days or less, Van Wieren said.
“That’s a lot of homes that went under contract kind of quick,” he said.
Through the first 10 months of 2019, sales totaled 13,625, a 1.6% increase over the same period last year, according to the Realtors Association.
Demand for housing shows no signs of letting up, Van Wieren added. More than 2,100 homes were under contract in October, according to the Realtors Association report, which means they’ll close over the next several weeks.
Home sales would be even higher if there were more homes available in the neighborhood of $300,000, he said.
“We’ve got buyers that are constantly coming to our website that are looking for homes here, and they just don’t count enough homes to be looking at, and they disappear so quick,” Van Wieren said.