March 2, 2017
Colorado Springs' red-hot housing market is becoming its own worst enemy.
Area home sales fell last month for the first time in about 2½ years - but not because of a softer market. Instead, too few homes are available to satisfy the demands of buyers, and sales dropped as a result, some local real estate experts say.
Springs-area home sales totaled 800 in February, an 8 percent decline from the same month last year, a new report from the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors shows. It was the first year-over-year drop in sales since July 2014.
The supply of homes available for sale in February totaled just 1,342, down nearly one-fourth from a year earlier. It was the second smallest inventory total for any month in more than 20 years.
"When you see a (sales) decline, it's tied in no small part to the fact that you can't sell them if they're not on the market," said Kevin Patterson, owner of The Patterson Group in Colorado Springs.
Said Bill Hurt, owner of ERA Shields Real Estate: "There are buyers lined up, ready to buy, if we could just find stuff for them to buy."
In fact, the market is saturated with buyers, Hurt said. Married couples with growing families and employees with promotions or new jobs are among the increasing pool of buyers, he said. And low mortgage rates and a stronger economy are helping to stoke demand, real estate industry members have said.
But not enough homeowners are selling, in part, because they don't want to move unless they know they can find another place to live, Patterson said.
"If you're not sure you can find something that is equal to or better than yours, then you may be hesitant to put yours on the market, particularly if things are selling quickly," he said.
The upside to the tight market: Sellers are asking for, and getting, higher prices.
The average price for homes sold in February climbed to a record high of $301,385, an 11.5 percent year-over-year increase, the Realtors Association report showed.
Average prices, however, can be skewed by a few very high or very low sales, and many real estate experts prefer to focus on the median or mid-point of all sale prices. February's median price rose to $255,000, up 6.3 percent over the same month last year.
Median and average prices now have risen for 27 straight months on a year-over-year basis.