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The Colorado housing market is in the midst of a big shift in 2023. The state’s best places to live still offer loads of reasons to plant permanent roots, including college-town charm in Fort Collins and big-city opportunities in Denver. As is the case all over the country, higher mortgage rates are making buyers rethink their plans, and sellers are reevaluating whether now is the right time to make a move.
Colorado housing market trends and stats
According to data from the Colorado Association of Realtors (CAR), the state’s median sale price for a single-family home in January 2023 was $520,000. That’s the exact same median price as in January of 2022 — but the homes are taking significantly longer to sell. The typical home now spends 60 days on the market, a sizable increase from the 35-day timeframe in 2022.
There are quite a few more homes available, too: Inventory has increased by more than 68 percent, according to CAR. The increase in homes for sale helps the market feel less overwhelming for buyers — and less profitable for sellers. However, Colorado still doesn’t have enough homes for sale to meet buyer demand. Currently, there is a 1.5-month supply, a far cry from the five to six months of inventory that typically defines a balanced market.
Buying a home in Colorado
If you’re trying to figure out how much you can spend to buy a house in Colorado, the answer depends on where in the state you’re hoping to live. For example, the median price of a single-family home in Boulder County was more than $762,000 in January, per CAR data. Head south to El Paso County, home to Colorado Springs, and the median was a much more manageable $445,000.
Across the state, the average down payment in 2022 was around $83,000. However, don’t let that sum scare you off; if you have excellent credit, you may be able to make a down payment of 3 percent of a home’s purchase price. Keep in mind, though, that the less you put down upfront, the more you’ll pay in interest. Plus, if you aren’t able to put down 20 percent, you’ll need to pay private mortgage insurance. Use Bankrate’s new-home calculator to get a sense of how much you can afford to spend.
It’s important to think beyond your upfront payment and closing costs, though. Be sure to consider all the costs of homeownership to get a sense of how property taxes, insurance coverage and homeowners association dues will impact your budget. And don’t forget about ongoing maintenance costs.
Given all that, should you even buy a house? You might consider continuing to pay your landlord instead of paying off a mortgage. Rent varies across Colorado, but the typical renter in Denver pays around $2,000 each month, according to data from Rent Cafe. That’s $24,000 a year, with no equity in exchange. If you have excellent credit, cash saved for a down payment and plans to stay in your current location for a while (ideally, at least five years), you’re likely better off buying.
Selling a home in Colorado
If you’re thinking about selling your house in Colorado, remember that it takes money to make money. There are quite a few costs associated with selling a house, including real estate commission fees, prorated property taxes and more. In Colorado, sellers also typically pick up the tab for a title insurance policy for the new owner. On a $500,000 sale, the seller would typically pay around $1,575 for a new policy.
So, should you sell your house now or wait for a bit? The answer ultimately comes down to your finances and your plan for what’s next. The Colorado housing market is leveling off, so if you’re ready to relocate, there’s no sense in waiting longer in the hopes of seeing your property value increase. And if you’re in a bigger city, a college town or a popular ski destination, you might want to talk to a real estate expert to see what kind of rental income you could make from the property before you decide to sell.
Colorado housing market predictions
Like many sought-after hotspots of the last few years, Colorado’s home prices surged on what felt like the trajectory of a rocket. That kind of path can’t continue forever — particularly now that mortgage rates are much higher than they were throughout 2021 and the first half of 2022. While prices may dip a bit lower than current levels, they won’t plummet; Colorado’s housing inventory is still simply too low.
For buyers who can afford the mortgage rates (or better yet, pay in all cash), 2023 is a time to use your leverage. Don’t be afraid to make an offer under asking price, and don’t be afraid to request concessions to see if a seller is motivated enough to cover a portion of your closing costs.
For sellers who are ready to move, make sure you gauge the pulse of your local market. For example, at the beginning of the year, sellers in Adams and Arapahoe Counties were greeted with a glut of inventory that led to a 5 percent drop in prices. In Larimer County, though, competition was still fierce, with open houses attracting massive crowds of buyers. Work with your agent to understand what’s happening in your neighborhood, not just in the state overall.
Finding a local real estate agent
As the housing market in Colorado continues to change, finding a good real estate agent is essential for both sides of the negotiation table. For buyers, an agent can help you avoid common mistakes, such as rushing to make an immediate offer before shopping around and overpaying for a home. Realtors are also crucial for sellers, helping identify minor repairs that can boost the home’s value and determining the perfect time and price to list.
Home prices in the state are actually pretty flat. In fact, according to the Colorado Association of Realtors, the median sale price for a single-family home in January 2023 was identical to the median a year earlier: $520,000.
There is no law that you have to hire a real estate agent to buy or sell a home in Colorado. However, the guidance of a licensed real estate expert can be invaluable when trying to navigate the housing market here. Realtors buy and sell homes every day, so it’s wise to have an experienced local agent negotiating on your behalf.
The median sale price of a single-family home in Colorado was $520,000 in January 2023, according to data from the Colorado Association of Realtors. The median for a condo or a townhome, though, was significantly lower: $400,000.
If you’re on a tight budget, there are plenty of places in Colorado where you can be close to the mountains without a sky-high mortgage payment. For example, according to Redfin market data, Grand Junction, Loveland, Greeley and Pueblo are all more affordable than Denver.