No records, but Colorado Springs home prices continued to climb

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Colorado Springs’ four-month streak of record-setting home prices was snapped in August, but local buyers still are paying more for housing than last year, a new Pikes Peak Association of Realtors report shows.

The median price of single-family homes sold last month rose to $330,000, a 4.8% increase over August 2018, according to the report.

Median prices had set record highs each month beginning in April and topped out at $332,000 in July; they’ve also risen every month on a year-over-year basis since December 2014.

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A strong demand for homes and a tight housing supply continue to drive up prices, local real estate agents have said. And mortgage rates that now have fallen to near three-year lows — along with a healthy economy and solid job growth — are helping to stoke buyer demand, they say.

Other highlights of the Realtors Association report show:

— Home sales in August totaled 1,542, a 0.9% increase over the same month last year. Through the first eight months of this year, sales totaled 10,785, down 0.4% on a year-over-year basis.

— Homes spent an average of 22 days on the market before selling in August, down from 26 days during the same month a year ago.

— Just 2,194 homes were listed for sale in August, down 9.2% from the same month a year earlier. August supplies routinely topped 3,000 and 4,000 over several years before the Great Recession.

Overall, the Colorado Springs-area housing market remains one of the strongest in the nation and the demand for homes isn’t just limited to lower price ranges, said Michael Labout, a real estate agent with ERA Shields Real Estate.

“It’s not necessarily just the $200,000 to $300,000 range,” he said. “We’re seeing good activity across the board, at least I am.”

Bruce Betts, broker/owner of Remax Advantage in the Springs, said homes are selling well up to about $700,000.

Labout and Betts credit falling mortgage rates as a big factor in keeping buyers interested. On Thursday, fixed-rate loans averaged 3.56% nationally, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.

When interest rates drop, more people feel encouraged to buy and stand a better chance of being able to afford higher prices that sellers are commanding, Labout and Betts said.

“Buyers are super sensitive to that now because (asking) prices are so much higher,” Betts said of lower mortgage rates.

Even as sales and prices are on the rise, inventory remains a vexing problem for the market.

Based on the number of homes listed for sale Wednesday of this week, and the pace of sales over the previous 90 days, there was less than a one-month supply of houses on the market in El Paso County priced from $300,000 to $350,000, according to figures compiled by Remax Advantage.

Homeowners’ fears that they won’t find a comparable house to purchase at an affordable price remains one of the biggest reasons that many people aren’t listing their properties for sale, which is keeping inventory low, Betts said.

Despite the tight inventory, Labout said he expects the housing market to remain strong over the final four months of the year, other than a traditional slowdown in activity that takes place in the fall.

“We’re in a place that people want to live,” Labout said, ticking off the area’s climate, strong employment and other pluses that have earned Colorado Springs a rating from U.S. News & World Report as the nation’s most desirable place.

“And once they come here, they don’t necessarily want to leave. I’ve had several people, I’ve just listed their properties within the last couple weeks that are moving for family reasons. But they’re not happy about it.”

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