Low inventory for homes across all of Colorado in December

Real Estate

Low inventory for homes across all of Colorado in December

Metro Denver wasn’t the only housing market in Colorado that saw the cupboards empty and buyers starved as 2020 came to a close. It pretty much happened across most of the state, according to statistics released by the Colorado Association of Realtors.

Statewide, the number of active single-family listings fell to 6,081 in December, a 60% decline from a year earlier, while the inventory of condos and townhomes dropped 52% over the year to 2,685. Effectively, there were fewer than 9,000 homes and condos available to buyers at the end of December, and that is in a state with 5.8 million people.

In El Paso County, home to Colorado Springs, there were only 555 single-family properties available last month compared to 1,365 in December 2019, a nearly 60% decline. Supply shortages helped push the median price of a home sold to $380,000, a 15.2% increase on the year and it shrunk the average days a listing to sell from 33 to 17.

“2020 will go down as the most unpredictable year many of us have ever experienced,” said Colorado Springs-area Realtor Patrick Muldoon in comments accompanying the report.

In Larimer County, including Fort Collins, the inventory of single-family homes fell from 985 to 414, a decline of 58% from December to December. Although the inventory tightened a similar percentage amount as it did in Colorado Springs, median price gains were tamer, going up only 4.6%, or from $425,550 to $445,000.

“Record numbers of transactions were completed for the year with effectively nine-and-a-half months to sell them. Brokers, lenders, appraisers, inspectors, title insurers, contractors all made up for slowed times of March, April and May by doing more business in 2020 than 2019,” said Fort Collins Realtor Chris Hardy in his comments.

Over in Mesa County, the inventory of single-family homes for sale dropped to 304 last month versus 621 the prior December, a 51% decline. The median sales price rose 12.3%, crossing the $300,000 threshold to $306,000.

Driven by demand from out-of-state buyers trying to escape large cities or seeking a place to work remotely, demand for homes also surged in the mountain resort counties.

In Summit County, the median sales price of a single-family home sold rose 28.2% to $1.29 million, while the inventory of homes dropped 56.6% to 96. Inventory declines were even steeper for condos and townhomes, which saw a 64% drop in year-over-year inventory, from 577 to 208. Median price gains were not as strong at 6.4%.

Inventories of residential properties for sale were also down about 60% or more in Eagle, Routt, La Plata and Grand counties.

At least four months of supply is needed for a balanced market, but there was just over a three week supply of single-family homes and a 1.1-month supply of condos and townhomes. It is pretty much a seller’s market across most of Colorado.

And yet there is a sense among some agents that the rest of the economy can’t suffer like it has without the housing market paying a price. The good times may not last.

“The shaking of the economic tree has not shaken real estate yet. But its roots are beginning to lose grip as the rest of the U.S. industries show staggering losses. There are only so many months in front of us where the news will continue to be like this for housing if the other news in all other sectors is poor,” Muldoon cautioned.