The metro Denver housing market flip-flopped in 2022, and the playing field was “level” for buyers

Homes are staying on the market much longer, according to a new report from the Denver Metro Association of Realtors.
2 min. read
Modular houses in Green Valley Ranch, September 22, 2022. Kyle Harris / Denverite

After years of growth, Denver's real estate market saw massive changes in 2022.

At the beginning of the year, the market was raging. Interest rates were low. Homes were being sold nearly as fast as they were listed. Home viewings were like shark feedings, and people were fighting to gobble up whatever they could find. For average buyers, unable to offer no-cap deals, finding a place to buy was tough. Negotiating for perks was rarely an option.

By April, the market was cooling off and mid-year, the Federal Reserve started hiking interest rates to curb inflation -- rising above 7% for the first time since 2002. Homes started sitting on the market longer. Meaningful negotiations between buyers and sellers for repairs and price resumed. And prices largely flatlined, as people began wondering whether the gains seen in recent years were part of a bubble that was about to pop.

But nothing's popped yet.

Amanda Snitker, the vice-chair of the Denver Metro Association of Realtors, described 2022 as "a year to level the playing field," in the realtor trade organization's annual report.

According to the association's data, which looks at 11  counties in the metro area, including Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Elbert, Gilpin, Jefferson and Park counties, there were 4,757 listings at the end of December -- more than 222% than there were at the end of 2021. That number includes both detached single-family homes and attached units like condos and duplexes.

Just 2,720 homes closed -- which was down more than 43% from this time last year. And on average, homes were sitting on the market for 43 days -- nearly 139% higher than last year.

From one month to the next, prices have been dropping.

"The median sales price for detached homes in December was $600,000, down 2.44 percent from November and 0.01 percent from December 2021," Snitker wrote. "The attached homes also showed a month-over-month decline from $410,000 in November 2022 to $405,000 in December."

But year-over-year, the median sold price for attached homes jumped 5.74% to $405,000 over 2022. That's a $35,000 drop from when the market peaked in April at $440,000 for attached homes.

The metro area still doesn't have a buyers' market. But it's getting closer. And people looking for homes aren't rushing.

"The inventory has gradually increased throughout the year, resulting in homes staying on the market longer before going under contract, not necessarily more sellers entering the market," Snitker said.

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