Denver – America’s Second Worst-Selling Housing Market

Just last June, Forbes Magazine ranked Denver as America’s best city to purchase a home (article).  The article noted an average 5.7% increase in Price Per Square Foot in Denver, between February and March 2009.  Only ten months after Forbes published the article, April 5th, 2010’s edition, the magazine reversed directions and ranked Denver as America’s second Worst-Selling Housing Markets (article).

The recession hit Denver later, and only in the past year have real estate sales slowed and inventory begun to pile up. The number of unsold homes rose 27% year-over-year, and sale prices were flat, pushing the city up to the No. 2 spot [of worst selling markets].

The article explains the calculations behind the rankings, which are less than clear and based on Zillow’s numbers.  

The cities were ranked according to the biggest inventory increases and biggest drop in home sale numbers between the fourth quarter of 2008 and the fourth quarter of 2009. Those two metrics were then averaged for each city to determine our top 10.

Looking just at last month’s figures from Metrolist you see that prices and number of transactions are up, and inventory is down compared to March 2009 for both condos and single family homes.  On average, prices are up 7.1%, transactions are up 12.35% and inventory is down 2.9% over last year’s March.

While “America’s Worst-Selling Housing Markets” makes for a sensational title that will sell lots of magazines, the reality is that Denver’s market has been comparatively good and continually improving.  The disconnect between this article and the reality on the ground is so egregious that Mayor Hickenlooper is demanding that the magazine explain their numbers.

Francesca Levy, the author of the article, has since back-peddled her spin admitting:
By many measures, as you know, the Denver market is doing quite well, and certainly it’s doing well relative to other metros. But this story was based on a fairly narrow set of metrics

In fairness to Denver, Forbes could at least re-title their article “America’s Worst-Selling Housing Markets Based on a Narrow Set of  Metrics”

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