2020 Is Looking Scarce For Denver’s Housing Market

Jim Hill/CPR News
A home with a sign advertising it is “for sale” also has another sign that is familiar for buyers in the hot Denver market: “under contract.” December closed with the lowest number of active listings Denver has ever seen.

Metro Denver’s housing market was a mixed bag in 2019.

For one, 58,404 homes sold in the Denver area last year. That’s the second-highest number ever, according to the Metro Denver Association of Realtors. 2017 holds the top spot with 59,207 closings.

Jill Shafer, the association’s chair, said more homes up for grabs in late 2018 led to a rise in sales last year.

“There were choices for people, so they were buying,” Shafer said. “I think when there are choices, people buy, and when there's not, prices just keep going up and people get frustrated because of our lack of affordability."

But on the other hand, housing availability fell 28 percent from last November to December — a much larger decrease than usual for end-of-year. That's because more people are staying in Denver instead of selling their homes and moving away, Shafer said. Year-to-date, there was a 10 percent drop in available housing.

The metro area will likely see a housing shortage over the next few months, Shafer said.

And to top it off, homes in metro Denver are staying on the market longer. Even with the shortage, buyers are getting more picky, Schafer said.

"It used to be a couple years ago that you'd put a house on the market up Thursday, get multiple offers, make a decision on Sunday, the sellers could come back from the mountains on Monday and they'd be fine,” she said.

Now homes are staying on the market for an average of 41 days.