Denver’s Real Estate Market Top in the Nation

Home For Sale Real Estate Sign in Front of Beautiful New House.
Denver and its suburbs of Lakewood and Aurora comprise the hottest housing market in the nation currently, according to a Realtor.com analysis of May data.

Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke and team attempted to rank cities taking into account factors important to both buyers and sellers. They used the number of views per listing on the Realtor.com website as a proxy for demand, with the median age of inventory indicating supply.

Colorado was represented twice on the resulting top-20 list released June 1, with Boulder coming in 13th. Denver was also the top market in April; Boulder jumped from 17th place over the past month. Denver was able to shave six full days off its median listing age in May even as views went up by 7%, indicating it has the fastest-moving housing inventory in the country.

California is dominating the national market overall, claiming half the spots on the list (San Francisco, 2; San Jose, 3; Vallejo, 5; Santa Cruz, 7; Santa Rosa, 8; San Diego, 11; Sacramento, 12; Los Angeles, 15; Oxnard, 17; and Stockton, 20).

In most of the top-ranked markets, job growth has been intimately tied to the growth of the housing market. Colorado’s performance is probably due to its diversified job market, which has allowed it to withstand the dips in the oil industry that have hit other markets much harder.

Housing supply is limited in most of the country right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s a seller’s market everywhere. Homes are selling for above their asking prices in less than a third of the housing markets in the U.S., according to recent data from analytics company RealtyTrac, and a full 60% are seeing homes selling below their asking prices. About 14% of U.S. markets are selling homes for around their market value.

Of course, pricing is a complex issue that takes into account factors too complex for broader analyses to include. More than half of buyers, around 54%, will pay more for a house with hardwood floors in it, for example. But taken together, all the data indicate that the housing market is slowly recovering despite skittish younger buyers being hesitant to sink all their money into homeownership following the burst of the housing bubble and the financial crisis.

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