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Denver-area May home sales up 9% from April, down 15% from 201008 Jun

Sales of single-family homes and condominiums in metro Denver were up in May from the prior month but down from a year ago, according to Metrolist Inc. data released Wednesday.

The sale of 3,723 properties in May is 9 percent higher than April sales figures, but off 15 percent from last year.

The average sales price was up 3 percent from April, to $257,177, and 4 percent higher than May 2010.

Properties spent more time on the market – 109 days – in May, which is 43 percent longer than it took to make a sale a year ago.

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Why It’s Time To Buy06 Jun

Back in June 2006, when the housing market peaked, the prospect of a five-year national housing bust seemed unimaginable to most people. And yet here we are, with the latest Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller index showing that prices hit new bear-market lows, falling back to 2002 levels nationally and to 1990s levels in some battered regions.

Despite all the gloom, however, there are growing indications that it is a good time to buy. Mortgage rates, which fell to 4.55% for the week ending June 2, according to Freddie Mac, are near 50-year lows. Homes have become more affordable than they have been in years: According to Moody’s Analytics, the ratio of home prices to income is now 20.9% lower than the 15-year average through 2010, and 12.5% lower than the 1989-2004 average. A historic glut of homes, meanwhile, has created a buyer’s market: There were about 15 million vacant homes in the U.S. last year, according to John Burns Real Estate ConsultingInc.—some 3.1 million more than normal.

Such conditions might not last long. Moody’s Analytics predicts that the number of distressed sales will begin to fall in 2013, and that prices will begin to edge upward then. Home building is at a virtual standstill, so the supply overhang isn’t likely to get much worse. Meanwhile, demographic indicators such as “household formation”—the number of new households each year—are on the rise, and promise to take a bite out of the glut in coming years.

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Home bidding wars erupting22 May

Kim Duty and her husband, Steve, three years ago moved to Denver from the Washington, D.C.  area, arguably the hottest real estate market in the country. At first, they were in no hurry to buy. And as a vice president of communications for the National Multi Housing Council – a trade group that represents apartment owners, managers, developers lenders and service providers – she knows better than most people all of the arguments for renting instead of buying.

But she also knew where rents were going – up – and since they really like Denver and wanted to put down roots, they decided it was time to sign on the dotted line.

“Ironically, the first home we bid on, we lost in a bidding war,” Duty said, adding that is the type of thing one would expect in the market they moved from, not in Denver, where sales activity remains soft by historical standards.

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Denver-area homes for sale below average in April18 May

The number of homes for sale in the metro Denver area market climbed slightly from March to April, but stayed below average, according to one analyst.

There were 19,553 homes for sale during April, up 1 percent from March, according to Metrolist Inc.

“It’s surprising the inventory is that low,” said Gary Bauer, an independent Littleton-based real estate broker and Metrolist analyst. “April has always been higher.”

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Denver area home sales picked up in April, but selling prices fell18 May

New figures showing a 7 percent increase in Denver metro home sales in April over March didn’t surprise analysts who said the peak home-sales season is approaching.

There were 3,429 homes and condos put under contract in April, up from 3,209 in March, according to data released Monday by Metrolist. Selling prices declined.

The number of homes placed under contract in April was down 18 percent from April 2010, when homebuyers were rushing to take advantage of an $8,000 tax credit.

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Improving job market ignites sharp rise in apartment rents05 May

Apartment rents are rising at their fastest pace in years as the U.S. economy creates jobs and spurs demand for rental housing.

Nationwide, rents started edging up last year after several years of little growth or even declines, market researcher Reis says. It predicts apartment rents will jump 4.3% this year, marking the biggest annual increase in four years. MPF Research, which also monitors apartment rents, expects them to rise more than 5% this year, says Greg Willett, MPF Research vice president.

Job growth is driving much of the increase. As more people get jobs, people who doubled up in homes during the recession, especially younger workers, move out on their own, says Ryan Severino, Reis senior economist. Many of those workers are choosing to rent rather than to buy, because of dropping U.S. home values and tight lending standards that make it harder to buy homes, Severino says.

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Why 2011 May Be the End of the Housing Crash28 Feb

here might finally be some good news this year about the nation’s dismal housing market. Or, at least, the bad news could stop.

Either way, it will be welcome relief for current homeowners as well as for potential real-estate investors. Reasons to be optimistic have been sadly lacking since the housing bubble burst in 2006.

For sure, last week we learned the widely watched S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index fell 1% in December, its fifth straight decline. The index tracks 20 major markets.

But that figure belies real reasons to be optimistic, according to some experts. If they are right, it might make sense to jump into real estate. The trick is avoiding getting burned again, and it doesn’t necessarily mean owning a home.

First, let’s recap the economic signs a bottom is close.

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Real-estate company to open offices in Centennial19 Jan

Real-estate website is opening an office next month in Centennial, where it plans to employ 100 people.

Trulia is leasing 16,000 square feet of space in Waterpark at Briarwood II, 10771 E. Easter Ave. in Centennial, company spokesman Ken Shuman said. The office will open next month with 25 employees and quickly ramp up to 100 workers. There will be positions in customer service, sales and human resources.

The office will be the third for Trulia. In addition to its San Francisco headquarters, the company has an office in New York. The company describes itself as being focused on giving buyers, sellers and renters tools to help them find the right home. The site includes property listings and market information.

“We have 200 people now,” Shuman said. “Hiring another 100 is a pretty big expansion for us.”

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Denver’s drop no bubble14 Jan

You can fly from Denver to either Las Vegas or Phoenix in less than two hours, and be in metropolitan areas where the housing bubble didn’t just burst, but exploded.

Although Denver, like the rest of the county, has yet to fully recover from the first nationwide housing downturn since the Great Depression, a national report released on Tuesday illustrates that Denver has not been hammered as hard as many other cities once flying high on home prices in the stratosphere, before plummeting to earth equally as fast and hard.

Denver is only one of two of the 20 metropolitan statistical areas tracked by the closely watched S&P/Case-Shiller report that is down less than 10 percent from its peak.

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Lots of alleys, lots of practicality in Denver-area suburbs28 Dec

The suburbs are getting a taste of the city as several Denver-area builders develop single-family homes on alley-loaded lots. Such lots allow builders to tuck garages behind houses, leaving the front free for porches and other design features.

A few years ago, the most successful new housing developments in metro Denver offering homes on alley lots were at infill locations such as Stapleton and Lowry.

Builders rarely constructed single-family homes on alley lots in the suburbs, preferring front-loaded lots where they could offer traditional floor plans, said Mike Rinner, executive vice president of The Genesis Group, an Englewood-based market research and analysis firm.

At least four companies are building alley-loaded projects in the suburbs, including Upland Park in The Meadows by Richmond American Homes, Spaces at the Ranch by Shea Homes, Idyllwilde by KB Home, and Tuscany Trails by Standard Pacific.

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