Springs homes selling at fastest rate in years

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If someone puts a home on the market today, chances are good it’ll sell within two months.

As of June 30, single-family homes spent an average of 62 days on the market, the lowest number since June 2006, when the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors started keeping records.

The total number of active listings is extremely low at 3,450, said Fred Crowley, associate director of the Southern Colorado Economic Forum. He compared that number with around 6,000 active listings in June 2010.

“The available homes for sale has decreased 40 percent over three years ago,” Crowley said. “These numbers are just mind-boggling.”

A total of 1,114 homes sold in May, an increase of 20.4 percent over the 925 homes sold in May 2012. The momentum continued in June as 1,104 homes sold, compared with 846 in June 2012, an increase of 30.5 percent, said Joe Clement of RE/MAX Properties.

From January through May of 2012, 3,420 homes sold, compared with 4,233 this year, an increase of 23.8 percent, according to figures from the PPAR.

Monthly inventory levels are at the lowest point since August 2005, which means one thing to Realtors.

“It’s a healthy market,” said Eric Estrada, director of business development for ERA Shields Real Estate. “And it seems to be getting healthier.”

According to figures provided by Estrada, 20 ERA Shields homes in the $400,000-to-$424,999 range sold at an average of 55 days on the market. Homes in the $250,000-to-$274,999 range sold at a quick clip of 65 days average on the market.

In the city’s northeast sector, 93 homes were on the market only 34 days on average before being sold, said Harry Salzman of Salzman Real Estate Services. In Old Colorado City, 22 homes, with a median price of $160,000, sold after an average of 36 days on the market, Salzman added.

In the northwest area of Colorado Springs, 29 homes were on the market for an average of 43 days before selling. Those homes had a median price of $319,680, Salzman said. In the Powers Boulevard area, 112 homes sold with a median price of $221,448, also on the market for an average of 43 days.

“It’s a reflection of what’s going on in the economy,” said Crowley. “The economy is consistently showing signs of improvement.

“People are more confident; they’re beginning to buy homes they’ve been putting off for years.”

“We’re on a wild ride,” said Sylvia Jennings, Realtor with the Peak Dream Group at Prudential Rocky Mountain Realtors. “Buyers recognize that the market is now in recovery and in order to take advantage of the prices, this is the time.”

Buying vs. renting

The Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires left almost 900 families looking for housing, and that only increased pricing pressures on rental markets, resale homes and new home construction, Crowley added.

The market has changed to a cycle for more first-time or trade-up buyers, said Salzman. The average rental price for a house today might be only slightly higher than buying a house, he said.

For example, a $185,000 house might rent for $1,250 to $1,300 today, he said. A first-time buyer may see payments of $1,150 to $1,200 per month. Then, when adding in the tax deduction for mortgage interest paid, “the net cost is about $1,000 a month,” Salzman said.

“A lot of people who have got the credit worthiness, they’ve figured it out,” Salzman said. “It’s a lot less expensive today to buy a house than to rent.

“The real point here, no matter your price range, we’ve got an appreciating housing market today, across the board.”

People are buying homes with their parents in mind, said Jennings.

“Multi-generations are looking for housing together,” middle-aged persons looking at housing that also will meet the need of their elderly parents, Jennings said.

“This is the best time for selling that I’ve ever seen,” Jennings said. “The local economy is finally showing measurable signs of improvement.”

‘Distressed’ properties

“We’re not out of the woods yet on short-sales and foreclosures,” Clement said. “There’s still people who bought too much house who are still losing their homes.”

Of the 1,104 homes sold in June, 12.9 percent, or 142, were “distressed,” which means they were bank-owned or the owners owed more than the home was worth. That number compares with distressed sales of 11.5 percent of homes sold in June 2012 and 15.5 percent sold in June 2011, Clement said.

“I tell our people we need to have cautious optimism,” Clement said. “We need stronger employment. We need stronger diversity in our workforce.”

Townhouse Apartments complex sells

The 54-unit Townhouse Apartments at 3125 E. Fountain Blvd. sold last week for $2.55 million, said broker Doug Carter.

The building had been owned by the Cowan Family Partnership under the trustees Anthony P. and Leila Cowan. The Cowans purchased the property in 1996 for $2.3 million, according to records from the El Paso County Assessor.

The two- and three-bedroom apartments are two-story units with full basements. They rent from $720 to $825, Carter said.

“The interiors are in very good condition,” Carter said. “This was a pretty solid property. Townhome rental communities are really rare in this town.”

This was the 12th Colorado Springs apartment sale in 2013, Carter said.

The city’s current average apartment occupancy rate is 94 percent, as reported by Apartment Insights.

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    July 18, 2013 at 2:09 am