Home buyers seem to be coming out in force with the warmer weather, as the number of existing homes sold in greater Denver last month jumped 44 percent over February, according to Metrolist Inc. data released Monday.
In March, 3,209 homes sold and 3,571 were placed under contract. While the resales rose significantly from 2,229 in February, the number of standard homes and residential condominiums placed under contract fell 3 percent from February’s 3,693, the data shows.
Both numbers were down for the same months in 2010, but an analyst said that’s largely because of a buying frenzy spurred by the federal government’s $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit and $6,500 credit for existing homeowners, which expired April 30, 2010.
“The Denver market is normalizing,” said Gary Bauer, an independent Littleton-based real estate broker and Metrolist analyst.
In addition to the monthly data Bauer released, Metrolist on Monday released numbers for the first quarter.
The average price for a single family, either home or condominium, rose from $222,246 at the end of the first quarter in 2009 to $248,363 in 2011. Bauer attributed that to the inventory of foreclosure homes, or short sells, dwindling.
“The next generation of distressed properties are in the $200,000 to $400,000 range, so prices are going up,” Bauer said.
The unsold-home inventory stood at 19,320 units in March, up 3 percent from February and down 6 percent from March 2010’s 20,574.
Those properties’ days on the market have increased from 105 after the first quarter in 2009, to 121 year-to-date in 2011.
“Mortgage interest rates are still affordable, but the process from qualification to closing is much more onerous,” Bauer said, noting the era of 30-day closings is long gone.
Overall, Bauer said the growth in the market is encouraging.
“We are now showing a nice, reasonable appreciation,” he said. “The number of under-contracts is coming back. The closings are coming back. The average and median prices are improving. Will we ever get to the double-digit [appreciation] growth we saw in 2000 and 2001? I doubt it. But we should get back to the normal market appreciation of 5 percent a year.”
Metrolist Inc. of Greenwood Village is metro Denver’s Multiple Listing Service, a data base of home sales activity for real estate professionals.
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