Thursday, April 15, 2010


"The truth?  You can't handle the truth!!"
       - Jack Nicholson, as Colonel Nathan Jessup, in "A Few Good Men" has caused a mini-riot inside the Denver real estate community with an online article posted last week entitled "America's Worst Selling Housing Markets," in which Denver was rated as the second worst place to sell a home in the country, behind only Milwaukee.

The article, originally published on April 5, had this to say: “Before 2009, if any market seemed to be free from the rest of the country’s housing woes, it was (Denver). But the city’s fortunes seem to have shifted: The recession hit Denver later, and only in the past year have sales slowed and inventory begun to pile up.”

And the report, which it said was based on information from the National Association of Realtors, and Moody’s, went on to say that “Denver doesn’t come to mind as a housing-crisis hot spot, but the city that once looked like it would escape the housing bust unscathed now shows signs of strain. More than 42,000 homes are on the market in the metro area, 27% more than last year.” (emphasis added)

It's the last sentence that has thrown everyone into a fit. 

As of March 31, the Denver MLS shows 20,030 homes currently for sale.  That number includes condos and single family homes and covers the Denver MSA from Castle Rock to Longmont.  That's a 2.9% DECREASE from one year ago and a 21.5% DECREASE from March of 2008.

Many agents, including myself, have fired off notes to Forbes asking where this data came from (I'm still waiting for someone to get back to me).  My assertion is that Forbes simply screwed up.

Late last year, the Denver MLS switched over to a new system called "Prime Access".  One result of that migration - Denver agents can now check inventory statewide, instead of just in the seven county Denver statistical MSA.  If you look at the current statewide inventory of homes, the number of homes for sale is around 37,000, which is close to Forbes' magic number of 42,000.

Maybe that's where they goofed.

The bottom line is that the Forbes article needs to be corrected.  It's not just a little wrong, it's 100% wrong.  I would not say our market is thriving (except at the entry level), but it certainly is not the second worst market in the country. 

Step up, Forbes, and admit you got it wrong.