Metro Denver housing market: Buyers and sellers both show hesitancy

The law of supply and demand isn’t really working.

Homes in Green Valley Ranch. Dec. 14, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Homes in Green Valley Ranch. Dec. 14, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Donna Bryson. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Fewer homes for sale often means higher prices, and metro Denver had a lot fewer for sale at the end of November.

But housing prices increased less than 1 percent between October and November, the Denver Metro Association of Realtors said in its latest monthly survey of the market.

The number of homes listed for sale dropped just over 18 percent between October to November, to 6,988, in the 11-county region. A typical inventory decrease for that period is 8.1 percent. The median home price inched up less than 1 percent to $422,000 from October to November.

“The natural law of supply and demand isn’t working right now,” said Nicole Rueth, a member of the association’s market trends committee and a Denver-area branch manager for Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. “It’s not fully impacting pricing the way you typically think it should,” she said.

Sellers are holding off on putting their current homes on the market until they findtheir next home at an affordable price, Rueth said.

“So there’s no houses to buy. So they sit and wait.”

Buyers also were looking for affordability, she said.

The number of homes sold was down more than 20 percent, to 3,935. Homes were taking longer to sell and sellers weren’t quite getting all they asked.

Rueth said homes priced below the median were selling well, to first-time buyers and downsizing households. Investors were also buying homes priced below the median and renting them, willing to hold onto them long term while awaiting appreciation, she said.

Rueth added political uncertainty and questions about what that uncertainty might mean for the economy may also be leading sellers to sit on their homes.

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