DENVER – A middle school teacher and her husband have spent the last several months trying to buy a home in Denver, only to be repeatedly outbid by fellow house hunters.
The Colorado native is interested in moving back to the neighborhood where she grew up, after living in San Jose, California for three years.
But while she's been away, Denver's housing market has lost its balance.
“We wanted to move back because there was no way we were ever going to be able to afford a house out there,” Bettina Garcia said. “And we tried to move back home before the same problem took place here.”
Garcia said it’s hard to wrap her mind around how popular the Denver area has become, and feels like she might be pushed out of where she grew up.
“We started in December,” Garcia said. “We’ve probably looked at over 50 homes. We’ve put in offers for three. We’ve been outbid each time.”
Garcia works for School District 27J in Brighton and plans to start a new job with Denver Public Schools in the fall.
She and her husband, Mike Brown, would like to be in their new home before the next school year starts.
“I don’t like commuting 20 miles to get to work,” Garcia said. “I don’t want to live in my car. I want to be in my house with my family.”
The couple Wednesday afternoon looked at a house for sale near Federal and Interstate 70.
“We’re in a neighborhood called Berkeley, which is a very popular trendy spot,” said RE/MAX broker Kelly Moye. “I would say one of the top five hottest in town.”
The modest brick home was priced at $399,000, with two bedrooms, one bath, 850 square feet, a two-car garage and a fenced backyard.
Berkeley is the neighborhood where Garcia grew up and where her parents still own a home.
During their search for a home, Garcia’s parents are letting their daughter and her husband stay with them, rent-free.
But the young couple is still eager to buy.
The median sales price of a single-family home in Denver County jumped 11.7 percent over the last year, according to the Colorado Association of Realtors.
“The average sales price for a single-family house in Denver right now is $455,000,” Moye said. “What we’re seeing is they’re listed on a Thursday, and they’re sold by Monday with multiple offers.”
Garcia and Brown have ventured outside of Denver to find a home.
They bid $20,000 over the asking price for a home in Wheat Ridge and still didn’t get it.
“I try to be 50-50 about it,” Garcia said. “Like 50 percent of my heart is in it, and 50 percent looks at the flaws because realistically, we probably won’t get it because of a better offer.”
Moye said there are just too few houses for sale in Metro Denver.
“Eventually our real estate will get so expensive that people will choose to live elsewhere, and that will change the supply and demand and the pricing will change,” Moye said. “But, it doesn’t seem like that is anywhere in the very near future.”
Garcia said she will keep looking, but worries about more competition among buyers over the warmer months of the year.
“It really does suck to have to go through that every time,” Garcia said. “And I’m happy for whoever ends up with that house because they’ve probably been trying just as long, if not longer than us. So, good for them for getting that house, but also it discourages us from putting in an offer again.”