Denver is suffering from the same housing malady as much of the nation: Too few listings.
Sales of single-family homes and condominiums in the city improved last year, but just barely—up 1 percent from 2013. The market did see an unexpected sales ramp-up toward the end of the year, but that could translate to problems for the spring market.
"We have seen an extremely competitive market even in the winter months. It's very rare in Denver at the end of the year not to see an increase in inventory because there are usually fewer sales," said Larry Hotz, a Denver area real estate agent with the Kentwood Company. "This does not bode well for the spring in terms of the inventory, because increasing demand in the spring will need to be offset by a dramatic increase in listings."
The median sale price of a Denver home in 2014, $274,900, was 8.2 percent higher than in 2013. The year ended with just over 5,300 active listings, the lowest inventory in more than a decade.
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The decline in inventory is exacerbated by ever-growing demand, as Denver becomes a hot spot for corporate regional headquarters. The metropolitan area is among the top 10 fastest-growing metros in the nation, according to a new ranking this month by Forbes.
Charles Schwab just built a regional campus in the Denver area, moving in 4,000 jobs from out of state. Keurig and Trulia are among others recently announcing major moves to the area.
"More folks move in than move out, and they can't build homes fast enough. Most of them are too far from town," Hotz said, referring to area home builders.