Could Denver’s raging housing market finally be chilling out a little?

Prices are still super high — but not as high as some realtors predicted.

An apartment building near Cheesman Park. May 7, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

An apartment building near Cheesman Park. May 7, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

kyle harris

For a decade, the City of Denver was growing. More people were moving in than out. Home prices were rising. Landlords were jacking up rent. Every month, the city’s real estate market seemed to be breaking records for just how much profit a homeowner or landlord could reap from people needing shelter. Buyers were competing with deep-pocketed investors. For those wanna-be homeowners who couldn’t get an offer accepted by a seller, things were bleak.

The Colorado Association of Realtors predicted the average house price in Denver would hit $1 million by Memorial Day. It didn’t. Over a month later, the group is telling a different story: The market has chilled out — for now.

“Recent changes to lending have turned the market in Denver to a time of rest and recuperation for the first time in recent memory,” said realtor Matthew Leprino, in a statement from the association. “Homes on market last the weekend, buyers are able to contemplate their moves before acting, and in many instances, pricing strategies for sellers no longer contemplate a flurry of offers.”

Record lows in inventory appear to be in the rearview mirror in the City of Denver.

There were 861 houses on the market in 2021, according to the association’s numbers. In 2022, there were 859. The decrease is nominal.

In the entire Denver metro area, from May to June, the number of homes available rose 44 percent between May and June, according to the group.

Prices are still high, though the rise has slowed.

The average price for a house is currently $912,861 — not the $1 million the association imagined before Memorial Day. That number was always PR showmanship, since an average is not the best way to measure home prices in a market. That approach gives disproportionate weight to extreme highs and lows.

A median — or the middle number — is a better tool for understanding how much homes cost. The median price for a condo or townhouse in Denver is up 11.6 percent to $480,000, and for a house, it’s up 12.3 percent to $730,000, according to the association’s data.

The month of June saw the lowest number of sold homes in the past six years, Leprino said.

“As fears of inflationary pressures reach households through the grocery store and gas pump, home buyers have adopted a more cautious attitude,” said Douglas County realtor Cooper Thayer in a statement.

Does this shift in the market mean balance has been restored and things are finally predictable? Not necessarily.

Leprino’s advice: “Let’s simply take it day by day.”

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