Denver market slows, local sales don’t | AspenTimes.com

Denver market slows, local sales don’t

The Associated Press

Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” While housing sales in Pitkin and Garfield counties continue at a feverish pace, there are fresh indications the housing market has grown more sluggish in metropolitan Denver and parts of Weld County, new reports show.

Real estate agents blame persistent problems on aggressive lending practices that can lead to foreclosures, rising interest rates and other economic factors weighing on the pocketbook such as gasoline prices.

One indication is declining sales. In the first nine months of the year, new-home sales in metropolitan Denver dropped nearly 20 percent and existing-home sales were down 9.5 percent from a comparable period in 2005, according to the Genesis Group, a real estate consulting firm.

A second indication is inventory: The number of homes for sale in the metro area totaled 28,216 in the third quarter, up from 24,812 in the third quarter of 2005, the report said.

New-home sales were down 3.4 percent in southern Weld County and 41 percent in the Windsor-Severance area, Genesis reported.

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A third indication was new-home contracts: Nearly three out of 10 new-home contracts in the metro area were canceled in the third quarter compared with one out of five during the third quarter of 2005.

Dave Bracht, a division president for Neumann Homes, said potential buyers are having trouble selling existing homes or obtaining financing, which is leading to higher contract cancellation rates.

There were 14,164 foreclosures in the seven-county metro area in the first three quarters of the year, a 34.2 percent increase over the same period in 2005.

There were pockets of strength in Western Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley, where real estate sales in Aspen and Pitkin County totaled nearly $290 million in October compared with $214.5 million in October 2005, Land Title Guarantee Co. reported.

Pitkin County real estate sales for the first 10 months totaled $2.16 billion, 15 percent more than the comparable period of 2005, the company said. Sales in the county were a record $2.24 billion last year.

Garfield County real estate sales totaled nearly $86 million last month, up from $77 million in October 2005, the company said. In the first 10 months, sales were $812 million, compared with a record $856 million in all of 2005.