The Denver area’s luxury-housing market declined in number of resales and selling price in October year over year, partly because homeowners in that price range haven’t been able to benefit from federal homebuyer tax incentives.

Sales of existing homes in the $1 million-plus price range dropped 15 percent in October, to 44 homes, from 52 for the same month of 2008, according to the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage of Colorado’s Denver Metro Area Luxury Home Report, released Monday. Coldwell Banker’s data came from metro Denver’s Metrolist Inc. multiple listing service (MLS).

October high-end home sales were down from 46 in September of this year.

Existing home sales, or resales, are those of homes that have been sold at least once before.

Median selling price decreased 8.5 percent to $1.22 million last month from $1.33 million year over year. The October sales price was down 16.5 percent, from $1.47 million in September of this year.

Median selling price is the midpoint between highest and lowest sales prices. Some real estate professionals consider median a truer measure of price than average because it’s not skewed by highest and lowest prices.

Sellers of luxury homes received 88 percent of their asking price on average in October, compared to 92 percent for the same month in 2008. Home sellers got 87 percent of asking price in September of this year.

“The high-end market continues to try to find its footing, as much of the activity in housing is still in the entry-level market,” Chris Mygatt, president of Coldwell Banker in Denver, said in a statement. “Distressed property sales and the first-time homebuyer tax credit have kept the mix of sales at the lower price ranges in many areas.”

Sellers and buyers of higher-priced homes haven’t benefitted from the first-time homebuyer tax credit generally because they’re not interested in living in lower-priced homes, and/or couldn’t meet the income and homeownership requirements. (Housing investors don’t qualify for the credit.)

This year’s first-time homebuyer tax credit allowed buyers who hadn’t owned a home in the last three years to get a tax credit of as much as $8,000 for buying a home.

The tax credit, which was to have expired Monday, was recently extended, and another homebuyer tax credit was added by the U.S. Congress.

In addition to the first-time homebuyer credit, there’s now a tax credit of as much as $6,500 for repeat homebuyers who have owned a home for the last five years. The credits expire April 30, 2010, and home sales must close by June 30.

Income limits for credit users range from $125,000 for individuals to $245,000 for joint filers.

Other October data regarding sales of luxury homes:

• It took longer to sell a house in October of this year — 130 days — than it did in October 2008, when it took 84 days.

• The priciest sale of the month was a three-bedroom, three-bath house in Boulder that sold for $2.4 million.

• Denver had the most $1 million-plus sales with 11, followed by Boulder with eight.

Total metrowide October resales were down 7.6 percent year over year to 3,958, from 4,282 in October 2008. Sales last month were up 2.9 percent from September resales, partly because buyers wanted to take advantage of the first-time homebuyer tax credit before what was to have been its Nov. 30 expiration.


Compiled by Paula Moore | | Paula's blog: