Colorado Springs housing market could have been even better in 2019

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Colorado Springs-area homes sold at a near-record clip last year, while prices soared to a series of all-time highs.

A good year for the single-family housing market in 2019? No doubt.

But it could have been even better, said Brian Maecker of Remax Advantage in Colorado Springs, lamenting a tight inventory of homes for sale. "If we had more houses to sell, the numbers would have blown everything off the charts."

Single-family home sales totaled 16,060 in 2019, which trailed only the 16,337 homes sold in 2017, a Pikes Peak Association of Realtors report shows. A strong economy, rising consumer confidence and low mortgage rates combined to help drive the demand for housing in the Springs market, Maecker said.

At the same time, median prices set records in five out of the 12 months last year, including the high-water mark of $335,000 in October. December's median -- the midpoint of sale prices -- was $329,990, which was the highest for any December.

But an exceptionally tight supply of homes for sale continued to hold back the market, Maecker said.

In December, just 1,302 homes were listed for sale in the Springs area, down nearly 23% on a year-over-year basis and the equivalent of just a one-month supply, based on the recent pace of sales, the Realtors Association report shows.

Inventories declined starting in May and continued to fall each month on a year-over-year basis through the remainder of 2019.

"If there were 300 or 400 more houses (listed), there would have been 300 or 400 more sales," Maecker said.

The strong market is good for sellers, who often command top dollar for their properties.

But it's tough on buyers, who sometimes find themselves in competitive and stressful bidding wars, especially for homes in the $300,000-and-under neighborhood. The housing market desperately needs more affordable homes in that price range, Maecker said.

Don't expect much change in the housing market in 2020, he said.

The Springs continues to grow, and new stores, restaurants, hotels and the like in places such as InterQuest on the north side serve as a showcase for the city's healthy economy, Maecker said.

"It's just crazy up there," he said.

Tourism, the military and other segments of the economy also are strong, he said.

One thing to watch for in 2020: a slowdown in home purchases late in the year because of uncertainty over the presidential election, Maecker said.

"Every four years, we can count on it," he said. "You can set a clock by it. No matter who's in charge, no matter who's in favor, no matter who's whatever. Pretty much August, September, October, everybody's focused on that and the 'what ifs' -- if this person gets it or that person gets it.

"All the 'what ifs' start kicking in and everybody kind of holds," Maecker added.

"Then they wait and see, about a month after the election, they realize nothing really changed and then we start taking off again."

Tribune Content Agency