Metro Denver ended March 2021 with just 1,654 active listings on the market and an average sale price of $663,749. That’s for a metropolitan area of approximately 3 million residents.
The Fort Collins market was down in new listings 16.4% YOY from Feb 2020 to Feb 2021 (therefore pre-COVID shut down.) Median days on market in Denver is … 4! Those are the days listing brokers need to sift through 35+ offers and create spreadsheets for sellers to evaluate.
When the supply of houses for sale is as low as it is today, buyers are left struggling to find homes to purchase. Competition among purchasers is fierce and some bidding wars are legendary. Sometimes buyers only have 15 minutes in a house and then need to decide whether to purchase the biggest investment of their lifetimes.
Thus, home prices are rising rapidly, and sellers are negotiating hard to meet their ideal terms. Buyers are faced with impossible choices like waiving home inspections and putting more money down to guarantee a sale even if an appraisal comes in lower than the purchase price.
Where Are the Sellers?
Homebuilders can’t build fast enough and they’re experiencing severe constraints on their supply chains, which increases prices and slows construction. Many resale homeowners are fearful, and that fear is motivating them to stay put. Last year it was fear of COVID. This year it’s the fear of not finding a suitable replacement home, the fear of entering a bidding war.
We must figure out ways to encourage homeowners to become sellers or many buyers will come off the field. The potential of rising rates in future months will certainly chill demand somewhat. What if there was a way to increase homeowners’ desire to sell, therefore improving supply? Would a government tax credit help? Could a waiver of capital gains tax exempting those with more than $250,000/$500,000 in proceeds help spur the supply side? Now is the time for our industry and our policy-makers to get creative in solving for the massive supply/demand imbalance.
All along the Front Range of Colorado, there are many buyers who are ready, willing, and able to purchase a home. Low mortgage rates and a year filled with reevaluation have prompted many people to think differently about where they live. Our housing supply is not keeping up with the extraordinary demand. It’s a tremendously advantageous time to be a seller if you’re game.
Written by Gretchen Rosenberg, President and CEO of Kentwood Real Estate