Prices may be rising, but other numbers indicate a cooling Denver housing market

Homes in Green Valley Ranch, Oct. 18, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Homes in Green Valley Ranch, Oct. 18, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Donna Bryson. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Prices — and, yes, they’re still rising — get a lot of attention.

But Denver real estate agents are looking at other numbers that tell them our hot housing market may be cooling.

RE/MAX, in its most recent monthly housing report, found home sale closings in September were down about 27 percent from the previous month and down more than 19 percent from September 2017. Sales also were down nationally, but by a not-as-steep 11.6 percent over a year ago.

Denver RE/MAX agent Kerron Stokes said it’s part of a “market normalization” he’s been seeing since April.

Median home prices have been outstripping median income, which “has to express itself in the market somewhere,” Stokes said.

Patricia Silverstein, president and chief economist of Development Research Partners, said a number of reasons could be in play, including a rise in mortgage interest rates and a slowing of Denver’s population boom. While homes were still appreciating, she said, “sellers may need to adjust their expectations a little bit.”

TRELORA Real Estate CEO and founder Joshua Hunt is looking at more recent figures than those in the RE/MAX report. As of Monday morning, he said, 2,392 homes had sold this month in the 10-county Denver metro area. In his opinion, it was unlikely more than 4,000 homes will be sold this month. The last time fewer than 4,000 Denver-area homes were sold was in October of 2012, Hunt said.

Buyers are shy of bidding wars and increased inventory means they can take time to shop around, realtors said.

“The market has slowed. The question is whether it’s temporary,” Hunt said. “We’re just going to start to see a more balanced market. It’s a healthier market that’s more sustainable for everyone.”

The median sales price of a Denver home, meanwhile, was $395,000, 6.4 percent more than last year and also ahead of the national median of $241,000, according to the RE/MAX report. Tony Carnesi, CEO of Keller Williams Denver Tech Center, said when the October numbers come in, we may see a price decrease.

Carnesi has seen at least a quarter of sellers drop asking prices over the last seven weeks.

“A lot of our inventory is overpriced,” he said.

RE/MAX’s Stokes said he did not expect prices to fall, in part because pent-up demand remains significant. But he said sellers were decreasing asking prices. And Denver houses were spending longer on the market at 29 days, up 16 percent over last year, according to the RE/MAX report.