There’s no relief for buyers on extended homebuying journeys. Home prices continue upwards and as struggling buyers grow fearful of being priced out further, burnout has begun to set in—if it had not already. Agents are feeling the same, with one broker telling the Denver Post the experience is “exhausting.” Even missing an email for showings resulted in missed opportunities due to a rule some Denver sellers are enacting: no showing appointment, no opportunity to bid. Historically, inventory numbers per month averaged between 14,000 and 15,000, but that now hovers at a mere 2,000.
Mark Diaz and Cindy Clark placed bids on three different homes this year and have lost every time. With each loss, the couple’s frustration at trying to navigate a housing market that no longer makes sense to them only deepens.
“It is a tough time to be doing this. There were times that Cindy and I thought let’s just take a break and a step back. Let’s take a trip to Mexico instead or buy a truck,” Diaz said of their hunt for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom home with a nice kitchen.
The couple, who live with Clark’s mother, had zeroed in on a condo in Heather Ridge South that they viewed as underpriced at $364,000. They bid $415,000, a hefty premium, and enough they thought to keep them ahead of the competition, Clark said. They still lost.
“We have always come in second or third,” said Diaz. “The market has gone crazy, people have been bidding 20% or 25% over the asking price.”
Van Lewis, a broker associate with RE/MAX Alliance in Aurora who is working with Diaz and Clark, said in his 45 years in the business he has never seen a housing market as manic as this years. Managing the expectations, disappointments and morale of buyers in a market where the odds are hugely stacked against them has become one of the toughest parts of his job. And unless agents get a buyer into a home, they don’t get paid, raising their frustration level as well.
“It’s nothing short of exhausting,” Lewis said. “Reality dictates going 15% or more (above list) for really good listings, but is the buyer qualified for that?”
Buyers face three huge hurdles in the current market, agents said. Although the housing market has been tight for several years now in metro Denver, scarcity is at levels never seen before and pushing the median price of homes sold above 20% a year. That is making buyers even more anxious to get in before they get priced out.