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Douglas County Market Insights

for the month of November 2015

I don’t know about you, but for myself, as a young child there developed an association of Fall with a distinct “smell” in the air. If you aren’t paying attention, chances are you’ll miss it entirely and end up grumbling about all the leaves on the ground! Instead, savor a full appreciation of the grandeur of the never changing cycle of constant change.

Those leaves, taking leave of their rightful place on the branch of each tree, loudly proclaim in their autumn death-spiral the living proof of Spring’s future promise.

Could you see it if I told you that real estate is a bit like that? The bittersweet sadness of one soul leaving a home, for whatever the reason may be, juxtaposed by the joy of another experiencing that first flush of excitement as they contemplate the future promise it holds for their life.

They‘ll be as anxious as you would be to stamp your personal style on those walls and floors and fixtures as you fill the home with your own dearly held memories. The cycle will repeat itself over and over again, almost endlessly. Well, only if the house was built with natural stone or maybe receives extraordinary maintenance for a very long time. Otherwise, at some point, those building materials will wear out and then a scrape and rebuild is the only viable option left!

Speaking of which, new home builders are beginning to release a lot more spec sale inventory and that is surely going to ease those inventory restrictions experienced in many areas.

Meanwhile, we’ll be keeping tabs to see if the 4.7% jump in median home sales prices nationally will significantly impact the inventories in the marketplace locally. There are a few analysts declaring the tide has turned toward a buyer’s market. The month-to-month numbers would seem to indicate that; but other factors — again, that constant low inventory that barely budges, mixed with a slight uptick in prices, tossed together with a steady consumer demand — leaves it a toss-up as to which type of market we could really declare right now.

Perhaps we can concede that buyers are enjoying slightly more favorable conditions, thanks to continuing low interest rates in mortgage packages. But sellers have the advantage of high consumer demand and rising home prices in their favor. Either way, it looks like we head into the fourth quarter with a very different kind of market than we are used to seeing over the recent past.

Colorado is still leading the nation as No. 1 in terms of real estate activity, and we can see that, especially here in Douglas County where days on market are among the lowest at an average of 32 during the month of October.

October sales figures taken on their own may not look very encouraging, but year-over-year we are still experiencing very nice increases in almost all categories.

Active listings of 827 were up in October while 341 sales is indicative of that month-to-month decrease. The year-over-year is a decrease, as well, from the 364 sold in October 2014.

The local market continues to defy the forecasts of top economists who keep forecasting declines in home prices, evidenced by an increased median price of $379,000, reflecting a rise over the 2014 median price at this time of $334,000. Luxury home prices have fallen slightly, while homes in the $250 - $350 range mostly saw price rises. Condominiums in the high-end range also saw a big jump in sales for October.

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