The Denver home price index measured an 8.4 percent annual gain in February, up from a 7.6 percent increase in January and a 7.4 percent increase in December. The February pace tied with Detroit for fourth highest and was behind only Seattle, Las Vegas, and San Fransisco, which all saw double digit gains. Nationally, home prices are up 6.3 percent.
David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices said in the report that home prices nationally have risen for the past 70 months, with the average annual gain at 6 percent.
Cheryl Young, an economist with Trulia, said Denver is seeing a pace of hiring that is 2.5 times faster than the country as a whole, which is driving demand for housing. But a lack of homes for sale is causing first-time buyers to hit a brick wall.
The inventory for starter homes is down 26.7 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier. That has pushed prices for the lowest-cost tier of homes in metro Denver up 14.9 percent the past year.
The average interest rate on a conventional 30-year fixed-rate home loan is 4.55 to 5.0%. In addition, home loans are getting easier to get. Home buyers who qualified for conventional loans had an average FICO credit score of 763 in 2012, according to Ellie Mae.
But by 2015, that had fallen to 754, which is where it sat for all of 2017. It was 751 in February of 2018.
The average FICO score for homeowners who refinanced through a conventional loan fell from 748 at the end of 2012 to 730 at the end of 2017. In February 2018, it was 729.
Those are exactly the kinds of Colorado trends that help borrowers land the loans they need.
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