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Denver Holds Doubledigit Home Price Gains At End Of 2015
By Aldo Svaldi
The Denver Post 2/23/16
Metro Denver led the nation's major cities for the fastest rate of home price appreciation for six months and held the second spot an additional four months.
But as 2015 came to a close, Denver had dropped to third, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices for December.
Home prices in the Denver index rose 10.2 percent from December 2014 to December 2015, compared with a 5.4 percent gain measured nationally. Portland, Ore., saw an 11.5 percent surge, while San Francisco came in second at 10.3 percent.
In January 2015, Denver claimed the lead for the strongest annual rate of annual home price appreciation among the 20 metro areas that Case-Shiller tracks, before dropping behind San Francisco in February and March.
Strong household formations, a lack of homes for sale and lagging new home construction combined to create a frenzied market in Denver, which retook and held the lead for home price gains from April to August.
But by the fall, Denver's housing market started to show signs of getting winded. San Francisco took the lead in September and October, before a surging Portland moved ahead of everyone in the final two months of the year.
Denver's home price index showed its strongest stretch of gains last year since an even stronger run between February 1999 and August 2001. Back then, strong hiring in technology and telecommunications, combined with easier mortgage lending standards, drove up home values at an annual rate of 13.4 percent each month on average.
Averaging the annual increases across all 12 months, Denver managed to eke out San Francisco with 10.2 percent appreciation versus 10.18 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis.
Denver's streak of home price gains on the Case-Shiller index now stands at 48 months. But more modest month-over-month gains could push the rate of increase back into the single-digits.
"Prospective homebuyers are having trouble keeping up with price increases that outpace inflation and average wage growth," noted Quicken Loans vice president Bill Banfield.
Still, Banfield predicts Western states could maintain sustained home price gains given that buyers continue to outnumber the homes available for purchase.
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