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Colorado housing market becoming more buyer-friendly

After two years of chaos in the real estate market, buyers and sellers are starting to see a shift to something more… normal.

LOVELAND, Colo. — Lacey Vesper is under contract to buy a house in Loveland, Colorado. 

She closes on the sale of her current home this week, and expects to close on the new home about a week later.

“I needed something that was move-in ready and I got it,” she said. “It’s across the street from a great K-8 school, and I have a 2-year-old son, so I’m looking forward to that and we can hit the ground running.”

Vesper’s experience this summer is night-and-day different from the experience of many other buyers the past two years.

“It took us about 2 days to find the home I needed. Just a handful of homes we did look at,” she said. It was really easy to find some that were in the price range this time, and they had sat [on the market] for a little bit as well, maybe even had a little bit of a drop in prices.”

Vesper is going to pay nearly the same price as the listing price.

She did not have to offer or pay appraisal gap coverage.

She did not have to waive a home inspection.

And her purchase is contingent on the sale of her current home.

“It does feel less crazy, and it feels like, as an everyday, individual buyer – you have more of a chance now,” she said.

“That was a contract we haven’t seen in a really, really long time and – it was refreshing,” said Kelly Moye, Vesper’s realtor and also spokesperson for the Colorado Association of Realtors.

“She really had the ability to feel protected, as a buyer, throughout the process.”

The past two years have been unpredictable, at times, and very challenging for buyers. Home prices soared, competition increased, and buyers offered concessions that not only stretched budgets, but often put them at great risk to secure a home.

But with rising interest rates, the market is turning.

“it really all started in April, when rates when from 4-5% in a week. That was the moment the shift started,” Moye said. “Within days we started to see offer deadlines come out of broker remarks, things shifted and changed. Then we started seeing price reductions – [properties sat] on market a little longer than anticipated.”

She continued:

“Those price reductions changed the entire direction of the market, because it changes the momentum. It feels, to the buyers, that they have power now, or at least more of it. And if also feels more balanced.”

According to CAR’s latest statistics:

  • Single family homes in Denver County are sitting on the market longer – about 18 days this month, compared to 11 in August 2021.
  • Last August, single family homes in Denver County sold for 102.4% of list price, compared to 99.1% this August.
  • In August 2022, Denver County has 1.4 months of inventory for single family homes – compared to 0.9 months of inventory last August.
  • The median sales price of a single family home in Denver County was $655,000 in August 2022, up from $626,000 last August.

“Appreciation is still happening, it’s just happening at a slower pace,” Moye said.

The Denver Metro Association of Realtors also shared updated statistics, reflecting data from 11 counties around the metro:

  • The median price of a detached home in August was $645,000, up from $581,000 last August.
  • The number of active lists (inventory) has increased 93% from this time last year.
  • Homes are sitting on the market longer: 19 days in August 2022, compared to 11 in August 2021.

Timing worked in Lacey Vesper’s favor.

“I’m fortunate that I could wait it out because… [at the] beginning of this year there’s just no hope, no chance for me,” she said.

“Even in the last six months I’ve seen drastic changes in the market whereas at the beginning of this year, I didn't stand a chance. There’s no way it would have happened for me earlier this year like it did now.”

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