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Denver’s 2019 real estate forecast looks good for buyers

After years of rising home prices in an increasingly competitive market, recent data shows the local real estate landscape is starting to even out.

Will 2019 be the year you finally find (and get!) your Denver dream home? According to recently released numbers from the Denver Metro Association of Realtors, the chances are better than they’ve been in a while. The metro-area’s hot housing market has definitely cooled, so much so that in the suburbs, the luxury sector has officially become a buyer’s market—which is what happens when inventory exceeds six months of supply.

According to the DMAR Market Trends December report, overall housing inventory in November 2018 was 46.76 percent higher than in November 2017. “Currently, in the luxury market [anything priced above $1 million], we’re seeing 7.22 months of inventory,” says Jill Schafer, DMAR Market Trends committee chair and an agent with Kentwood Cherry Creek. As a result, “especially in the suburbs, it’s becoming harder to sell a home over $1 million.”

Not so in central Denver, however, which remains a seller’s market for properties priced over $1 million. “To be in the central city—Denver’s premier neighborhoods—people know they still have to pay a premium,” Schafer says.

Outside the luxury market, we’re seeing more sluggish sales going into the new year. DMAR’s latest snapshot shows a 17.27 percent drop in sales between October 2018 and November 2018, making this November’s number of transactions the lowest in the past three years. A seasonal slowdown is typical, Schafer says, but in terms of prices, “we’re still higher year over year.” The average sold price of a single-family home was $505,990 in November 2018, up 5.41 percent from November 2017. “I expect to see prices continue to go up,” Schafer says, “just not crazy double digits. I think we’ll be in a healthier 6 to 8 percent range.”

From Schafer’s perspective, this rebalancing is having a positive impact on real-estate transactions. In recent weeks, she has even seen sellers taking contingency contracts (agreements that allow a buyer to back out of a sale if their own house doesn’t sell). “Anecdotally, I would say that buyers are less panicked,” she says. “Some of the crazy stuff we’ve seen is calming down. Sellers are still getting good prices, but buyers aren’t feeling like they have to put all their chips on the table.”

Thinking of buying or selling in the new year? Schafer suggests getting prepared for an early start: “We used to see things pick up in the spring, but now, once the Super Bowl is done, I start getting calls from buyers and sellers looking to get a jump on things.”

Even in the midst of a cool down, Denver’s housing market still promises to keep us on our toes.

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