Denver metro among worst US housing markets

Inventory, affordability plagues buyers
(Photo: Roschetzky Photography, BigStock)

The Denver Metro area is one of the most difficult housing markets in the country, according to a report by SmartAsset. The personal finance website conducted an analysis of housing data from the Census Bureau and Zillow, and ranked metros based on their affordability, inventory and pricing.

The Denver-Aurora-Lakewood area was the 10th most difficult place to buy a home, the report found.

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“The area does not perform particularly well when it comes to affordability and pricing,” according to SmartAsset. “The down payment-to-income ratio is 1.02, the 11th-highest in our study. Furthermore, the median price cut is 1.94%, the eighth-lowest overall.”

Median home prices in the Denver Metro were up more than 23% in May, according to the Denver Metro Association of Realtors, with a median close price of $585,000. There were 1,640 active listings, a 64% decrease from the prior year, but up over 46% from April. DMAR’s report covers a significantly larger area than the one examined by SmartAsset.

There were few surprises in the list. Most of the metros in the top 10 are in the West, especially California. The San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad are was the worst market for homebuyers, followed by Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim and Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom.

In Washington, homes have a median value of $503,000 compared to a median household income of just $94,000 in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area. Salt Lake City ranked in the bottom 20 metros for all three study metrics.

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Two California metros— San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara—tied for the sixth most difficult market, while Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro on the border of Oregon and Washington took eighth place.

Inventory and affordability put the Washington. D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria area in the bottom third of housing markets, SmartAsset found, with just 81 homes for every 10,000 households and a down payment-to-income ratio of 0.84.

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Around the country, the median home price has risen by over 17%, SmartAsset found, while inventory has fallen by over 28%. “Though low mortgage rates mean that many purchasers will spend less in interest over the course of their mortgage, home prices have risen and housing inventory has dropped,” according to the report.

Danielle Andrus

Danielle Andrus is the managing editor of Colorado Builder. She can be reached at [email protected].

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