Axios Denver

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Today's newsletter is 464 words — a 2-minute read.

1 big thing: ğŸŽ Home for the holidays

Illustration of a house wrapped with a bow.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

It was a bad year to be a buyer, but the tail end of 2023 might hold a bright spot for Denver house hunters.

Why it matters: With still-high mortgage rates, home shoppers are desperate for even a little more buying power.

What's happening: There's less competition among buyers right now — thanks to mortgage rates and the typical holiday season demand dip — which leaves some room for buyers to negotiate better deals.

What they're saying: Sellers on the market over the holidays "don't want to be," Denver-based agent Kelly Moye tells Axios.

Zoom in: Buyers are able to negotiate on price right now, and sellers are throwing in other concessions, like mortgage rate buydowns, too.

  • In the last three months, all of Moye's buyers have scored a mortgage rate below 7% thanks to buydowns.
  • Builders are also offering similar concessions on new homes, Moye says.

Yes, but: Affordability and inventory issues still persist, Moye says. And if your must-have list is super specific, you might struggle to find a match.

  • Of note: Moye has noticed more listings hitting the market north of Denver — especially Broomfield, Erie and Thornton.

Zoom out: More than 1 in 3 U.S. sellers gave concessions — like cash for repairs or closing costs — to buyers, according to a new Redfin report.

What's happening: Most sellers — sitting on record-low mortgage rates — are only moving if they have to. Desperate to close the deal, they might throw in cash for repairs, closing costs or mortgage rate buydowns, per Redfin.

  • Some sellers will pay cash toward a temporary lower mortgage rate for the buyer instead of reducing the asking price, mortgage lender Donny Kirby tells Axios.
  • It helps make "the payment palatable in the first couple of years," and most buyers are betting they can refinance later, he says.

The bottom line: Desperate sellers and minimal competition help give buyers a little more power this winter.

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2. Charted: Monthly mortgage payments

Data: Freddie Mac fixed-rate mortgage calculator; Note: 30-year fixed-rate mortgage; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Freddie Mac fixed-rate mortgage calculator; Note: 30-year fixed-rate mortgage; Chart: Axios Visuals

After peaking above 8%, mortgage rates have fallen closer to 7% over the last month.

The big picture: A 1 percentage point drop in mortgage rates doesn't have a huge impact on a new homebuyer's monthly payment. But even a slight dip was enough to get some buyers off the sidelines.

State of play: A $600,000 home costs roughly $1,500 more per month than it did two years ago — not including taxes, fees or PMI.

Go deeper: How to interpret mortgage rates you see in headlines

3. ğŸŽ¥ 2023 real estate review

Animated illustration of a floating key rotating to reveal a question mark.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Readers, we want to know your biggest takeaways from this year in real estate.

  • If you had to write a headline summarizing the 2023 real estate market, what would it be?
  • What did your year in housing look like?

Email [email protected] or hit reply with your name and hometown. We might feature your insights in an upcoming newsletter.

Our picks:

ğŸŽ„ Bri is obsessing over nostalgic Christmas decor.

🌟 Sami is voting in this year's Goodreads Choice Awards. (She picked "Shark Heart.")

Thanks to our editor Ashley May and copy editor Bill Kole.