DENVER (KDVR) — Homebuyers in the Denver metro should be prepared to plunk down one of the nation’s highest amounts for the first years of homeownership.
Colorado’s housing market had been rising for years before kicking into warp speed during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic as wealthy coastal transplants sought more living space and recreation opportunities. Home values launched into the stratosphere as housing stock plummeted and buyers entered bidding wars over Denver-area real estate.
Costs grew even more as the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates in early 2022 to tame national inflation. With both mortgage rates and Denver-area housing values at record highs, a new buyer in the metro would pay nearly $200,000 in the first year of homeownership alone, according to a SmartAsset study.
Average rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the U.S. have risen higher and faster than they have in 40 years, ending a decade-long streak of historically low rates.
In the week of Sept. 29, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.7%, more than double the rate from the first week of August. Mortgage rates have not been so high since 2007, as the nation was entering the housing market-driven Great Recession.
The median sales price for a single-family home in the Denver housing market was $620,000 in September, down from highs in the spring but stuck above $600,000 since February.
Assuming a 20% down payment and average closing costs, a Denver-area homebuyer will pay $173,137 in the first year of homeownership alone.
This makes Denver the 10th least affordable city for first-year homeownership among large U.S. cities. Other real estate hotspots and historically unaffordable coastal metros such as Austin, Boston, New York City and California coastal hubs would be more expensive for first-year homebuyers, while middle American cities such as Indianapolis or Columbus would be less expensive.