Denver Home Prices Fall to Lowest Since 2001


Denver-region homes sold at the slowest pace for a November in at least a decade, while the median sale price dipped below $200,000 for the first time since fall 2001, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 3,253 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the Denver-Aurora metro area in November. That was down 36% from 5,085 in October and down 17.2% from 3,931 in November 2007, according to MDA DataQuick.The San Diego-based firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.

The 3,253 new and resale homes sold in November marked the lowest total for any November since at least 1998, when DataQuick's complete (all home types) statistics begin for the Denver region. However, it's mainly the result of the dearth of new-home sales, which were at a record-low 396 in November, down 52% from a year ago. Sales of existing single-family homes fell just 6.8% from last year.

The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos combined in November was $192,500. That was down 4.2% from $200,900 in October and down 14.6% from $225,304 in November 2007. November's median was 22.2% lower than the peak $247,569 median of June 2006, and was the lowest for any month since October 2001, when the median was $199,770.

Another price gauge - the median price paid per square foot for resale single-family (detached) houses - fell to $128 in November, down 12.2% from a year ago and down 23.1% from the $166 peak last reached in June 2006.

In neighboring Boulder County, total November sales fell to 258, down 41.2% from October and down 32.1% from a year ago. The median sale price dropped to $280,000, down 7.3% from a year ago and 15.2% below the peak $330,000 median in September 2006.

Across the West, the median sale price - the point where half of the homes sold for more and half for less - has declined for reasons that go beyond the drop in home values. For example, more of today's sales involve foreclosures, which tend to be concentrated in more affordable communities and sell at a discount. Also, the August 2007 credit crunch made larger "jumbo" mortgages more expensive and harder to obtain, which has led to slower sales in higher-priced neighborhoods. (A dropoff in high-end sales can tug down the median.)

Foreclosure resales - homes resold in November that had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months - accounted for about 47% of all Denver-area resales in November. That's in line with levels seen in many other Western markets. In Boulder County, foreclosure resales represented about 16% of all November resales.

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