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Denver housing market report shows stability for current homeowners, opportunity for first-time buyers

Seller concessions allow first-time buyers to dive in despite sky high interest rates
U.S. cities where housing markets are growing fastest
Posted at 5:45 PM, Oct 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-20 01:13:29-04

DENVER — The September housing report for metro Denver reflects good news for both homeowners and homebuyers.

While closings are down 20%, home values remain very stable at a median home price of $585,000 in metro Denver, according to the Denver Metro Association of Realtors (DMAR).

“Values are important to homeowners and there is a lot of stability in the market,” said realtor Joy Dysart with HomeSmart.

The report also indicates there is only 10 weeks of inventory on the market.

“And that’s what’s keeping values up. And that’s good – overall – for homeowners here,” Dysart said. “The average home is on the market just 15 days. And anything listed from $200,000 to $500,000 – if priced right – it’s gone in a weekend.”

And many real estate experts say even though interest rates are just under 9%, seller concessions often allow buyers to negotiate with sellers in order to buy down the interest.

“They buy down the interest rates and they have a payment that’s much more attainable and manageable in their budget,” Dysart said.

Kelly Fogel is a senior loan officer for HDS mortgage and told Denver7 Thursday a buy down is fairly standard right now and allows buyers to put money in an ‘escrow’ account of sorts, much like your taxes and insurance, and then use that as a subsidy to buy down the rate.

“So, we have a one year buy down, a two year buy down and a three year,” Fogel said. “And what that means is, if you do a one year, the first year of your mortgage is 1% lower. A two year is 2% lower the first year and 1% lower the second year. And then there’s the three year, which starts at 3% lower.”

For example, on a $500,000 loan, a seller concession of $24,000 over three years could buy your $3,665 monthly payment down to $2,681 the first year, $2,994 the second year and $3,323 the third year.

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Thanasi Fkiaras is a first-time homebuyer who isn’t letting interest rates deter his dream.

“Nah, I ain’t scared,” Fkiaras joked. “I come from a family that bought at 19% in the ‘80’s, so I kind of keep that in mind.”

Fkiaras is looking for a fixer-upper that gives him a little more flexibility.

“Places that are livable, but maybe need updating,” Fkiaras said. “My strategy is – get in when I can and I’ll just refi later,” Fkiaras said.

Dysart, the realtor with HomeSmart, told Denver7 though, that sellers are still more in the driver's seat — “but the buyers are definitely inching up.”

As for the available inventory, Fkiaras didn’t find that off-putting.

“I will say I’m pretty happy with the selection,” Fkiaras said. “I thought it would be a lot worse.”

As for sellers, Dysart said one of the reasons inventory remains low is a phenomenon known as "the golden handcuffs."

“The golden handcuffs are so true today,” Dysart said. “That’s a current homeowner with a good interest rate who wants to move, maybe for their job or to be closer to family, but can’t because they don’t want to lose their current interest rate.”

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