Fabulous February for real estate market

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Wow. Despite the weather, February was another great month for the Colorado Springs housing market. There are positive numbers all across the board.

Local residential real estate prices have now increased for 12 straight months on a year-over-year basis, indicating a greatly increased consumer confidence in home buying.

To illustrate that, here are some highlights of the February 2013 Pikes Peak Association of Realtors (PPAR) Report for Single Family/Patio Homes (year-over-year comparing February 2012 to February 2013):

Number of sales: 664, up 29.2 percent.

Average sales price: $227,357, up 4.6 percent.

Median sales price: $199,000, up 12.6 percent.

Inventory of active listings: 3,035, down 5.9 percent.

It’s definitely worth noting that the average selling price of a listing received 98 percent of the listing price. Also, the average number of days a house is on the market is shortening and foreclosure rates are on the decline.

What does that mean to you? These numbers demonstrate that now is the time to buy. If you wait, your housing cost will probably be higher. Or you could end up in a position where the home you want has already received multiple offers, which could hurt your chances of success in the purchase.

This also means that if you are looking to sell and trade up, you are looking at better returns overall as your home is probably worth more today than a year ago. So it is a great time to upgrade and take advantage of today’s low mortgage rates.

Also, Colorado ranks No. 2 in an annual quality-of-life survey. Those of us who live here already know this, but now it’s official. In the 2012 annual Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, Colorado ranked behind only Hawaii. This survey is based on residents’ responses about physical health, happiness, job satisfaction and other factors that affect quality of life.

Colorado has consistently ranked in the top 10 every year from 2008 to 2012. According to the report, residents of these states tend to have lower rates of obesity and fewer medical problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease or chronic pain. They also report enjoying their jobs more, have lower rates of smoking and exercise more than residents in the lower ranked states.

We have seen stories from various sources indicating how good the residential real estate market is nationwide, and while we are ahead of most national statistics locally, it’s always a good sign when the market picks up nationally.

According to rismedia.com, “February’s U.S. home prices signal a solid start to spring buying.” While February’s yearly growth of 6.1 percent is encouraging, Dr. Alex Villacorta, director of research and analytics at Clear Capitol, reminds us that “this rate is measured against the market’s bottom, which we reported in our March 2012 Market Report.”

RealtorMag and Housingwire both cited another showing of home prices surging: “CoreLogic’s home price index shows that prices nationwide in January rose 9.7 percent year-over-year, posting their largest percentage increase since April 2006. Capital Economics researchers say “This is set to be another tear-away year for housing recovery” since “house prices rose strongly at the start of 2013 and are likely to perform well across the year as a whole.”

Also, inmanNEWS reports that Americans “continued to view housing as a relative bright spot in the economy, even as their sentiment towards the broader economy and household finances limped along,” according to Fannie Mae’s February 2013 National Housing Survey.

The survey also found that “Americans who believe home prices will increase over the next year and home price expectations for 2013 both hit their highest levels since the survey’s inception in June 2010. The 48 percent of respondents who believe home prices will go up in the next 12 months was also a survey high. The share of respondents who said that if they were moving, they would buy rather than rent, increased by 2 percentage points to 67 percent. Nearly half of those surveyed — 45 percent — think mortgage rates will go up.”

And Ivy Zelman was on CNBC last week saying, “We’re in a nirvana for housing. I’m the most bullish I’ve ever been.”

Again, what all this means is exactly what I’ve been saying for the past year. Now is the time to sell and trade up or invest.

Harry A. Salzman is the broker/owner of Salzman Real Estate Services Ltd. Contact him at 598-3200 or Harry@HarrySalzman.com.