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Real estate agents across Colorado are hoping the chill in the state’s housing market comes from the wintry weather and not the start of a longer market slowdown.
Single-family home sales across the state were down 3.9% in February from a year ago, according to Colorado Association of Realtors data. They were down 5.1% in January and February combined.
In Pueblo County, the drop was steeper. Single-family home sales were down 24% last month from February 2018. They were down 15% for January and February combined.
Other metro areas reported slowdowns for the first two months of the year: Grand Junction, down 18.4%; Boulder-Longmont, down 17.9%; Fort Collins-Loveland, down 11.2%; Greeley, down 4.8%; and Denver County, down 3.3%.
The report came a day after the state Department of Labor said revised federal employment data for 2018 showed Colorado’s job growth slowed starting last summer and the jobless rate rose to 3.7% as of January, the highest in nearly four years. Pueblo County’s jobless rate was up to 6.3% and local job growth was essentially flat for a second straight year.
For now, economists think the trends reflect a normal cooling following years of robust job and housing market gains. They point to measures such as still-rising wages and a high level of workforce participation as signs Colorado’s economy is strong.
Many of the state’s housing markets first showed signs of slowing last fall due in part to home affordability and low inventories of available homes.
Still, the recent blasts of cold and snow around the state aren’t helping, analysts suspect. “With cold, wet conditions and record snowfall wreaking havoc across the state, Colorado’s local housing markets are experiencing a mixed-bag of results,” the Realtors group said.
“Early spring season expectations (are) tempered by below normal temperatures and higher than normal snowfall in markets statewide.”
Remax Puebo West agent Dave Anderson, who is president of the Pueblo Association of Realtors, said that locally the low inventory of existing homes for sale is a bigger factor than weather. New home construction also has leveled off in recent months, he noted.
“Showings are down a bit, mostly impacted by the continued low inventory. While inventory got to a high point in the (third quarter of) 2018, it has been dropping ever since,” he said in a statement.
In February, there was an estimated 1.9-month supply of homes on the Pueblo County market, little changed from a year ago, according to the Colorado Association of Realtors data. A three- to six-month supply is considered a balanced market, the industry says.
Homes available locally are generally higher priced with fewer entry-level or small, older, less-expensive homes in the mix. Reflective of the shift, Pueblo County’s median sales price for a single-family home rose to $206,250 in February, up 8.6% in a year, and the average sales prices was up to $213,244, an increase of 13.8% in a year.
The number of days a home spent on the market slowed only slightly to an average of 84 days, up from 73 days a year ago, according to the statewide group’s data.
Prices for townhouses and condos also continue to rise with both the median and average selling price now up to about $181,000, about a 10 percent increase from a year ago, according to the data.
Home prices in Pueblo remain a bargain in comparison to other parts of the Front Range. In many northern Front Range counties, the median sales price now runs from $350,000 to more than $400,000. In the Colorado Springs area, the media price was $315,00 in February, up 7.6% in a year.
Tribune Content Agency