March 15, 2012 (Shirley Allen)

Monthly sales of new and resale homes in the Denver area followed seasonal trends and declined as expected in January but were still at their highest level for that month in four years according to the latest data released from DataQuick.

A total of 2,467 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the Denver-Aurora metro area in January. Sales were 27.7 percent lower than in December but were still 4.4 percent higher than in January of 2011.

Home sales in the region typically decline 21.8 percent between December and January and were 31.6 percent lower than the average number of homes typically sold during the month. Despite the decline in sales in January, it was still the best tally for that month since 2008.

Cash buyers accounted for 28.0 percent of the purchases in January, which was up from 26.6 percent in December but down from 31.2 percent a year earlier. The record for cash purchases was in February 2011, when 32.1 percent of the sales were for cash.

The median price that cash buyers paid for their homes in January was $159,000, up 7.2 percent from December and 20.5 percent from a year ago.

Absentee buyers, usually investors and vacation home buyers, accounted for 27.9 percent of all the homes sold in January, up from 26.7 percent in December. The median price they paid for their purchases was $141,500, up 1.1 percent from December and 8.8 percent from a year earlier. The record amount of purchases made by absentee buyers was 28.4 percent in February of 2011.

The overall median price paid for new and resale homes and condos in January was $205,000, down 2.4 percent from December but up 1.1 percent from January of last year. It was the first time since June of last year that home prices improved year-over-year.

January’s median price is 17.2 percent below the peak median price of $247,569 in June 2006.

Short sales accounted for an estimated 12.2 percent of total re-sales, up from 11.1 percent the previous month and 10.4 percent a year ago.

Tags: existing home sales, Denver, distressed properties, resale homes, condos, cash buyers, investors, median price