The charts below will not surprise any of us who have been witnessing the Denver real estate market over the past 2½ years. They do, however, document the death rattle of the seller’s market, which was killed by the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee, whose dramatic increases in the Federal Funds Rate were reflected in the amazingly quick increases in mortgage interest rates.
NOTE: The MLS charts above were created on REcolorado.com, limiting data to listings within an 18-mile radius of downtown Denver. That covers the entire Denver Metro area roughly within the C470/E470 beltway, but does not reach to the City of Boulder.
Back in January, when the 30-year fixed mortgage rate was just above 3%, it was hard to imagine that before year’s end the rate would be over 7%. The rates started rising in January, but they didn’t break above 4% until about the time that the FOMC started its aggressive rate increases.
(As a layman, I’ve never quite understood how inflating the cost of money is the best strategy for reducing inflation of everything else. And haven’t we noticed that that strategy hasn’t really worked yet? Some food for thought….)
Looking now at the three MLS charts, you can see that the number of sold listings exceeded the number of active listings throughout most the pandemic but sharply diverged starting around the time the FOMC rate increases began in mid-April.
The number of new listings saw no dramatic changes over previous years, but the number of listings that expired without selling was 3.24 times as high in October as it was in April of this year. Many of those new listings have sat on the MLS, as shown in the median days in MLS, which quadrupled from 4 to 16 days from April to October.
What may surprise observers is that the median sold price fell as little as it did from April to October. It is still higher than it was in January of this year when that 30-year fixed interest rate was about 3%.
What lies ahead? Homes are still selling, and buyers still need to buy, leading me to believe that we’ll see a “normal” market soon. Stay tuned!