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Housing market recovering in Colo. Springs

By Bill Radford
The (Colorado Springs) Gazette

COLORADO SPRINGS (AP) A long-awaited turnaround in the housing market seems firmly in place in Colorado Springs and other metro areas of the Intermountain West, but a meaningful jobs recovery has yet to take hold, according to a report by the Brookings Institution.

The Mountain Monitor, a quarterly report produced by the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Brookings Institution and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, studies economic factors in 10 large metropolitan areas in Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. The latest report, released last week and covering the third quarter of 2012, finds the region taking the lead in the nation housing recovery: Home prices increased in all of the 10 metros and all at a faster rate than the national average.

According to a report released early this month by the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors, the median price of Colorado Springs-area home sales in November rose to $203,000, a 9.7 percent year-over-year increase. Homes prices have risen for nine consecutive months on a year-over-year basis.

While the housing picture is consistently brighter throughout the region, job growth varied substantially among the Mountain metros in the third quarter. Phoenix led the region and the nation with job growth of 0.8 percent during the quarter, while Colorado Springs was among areas that saw employment decline.

Colorado Springs was the only Mountain metro in the study other than Las Vegas where the unemployment rate stood higher than the national rate in September; the Colorado Springs unemployment rate that month was 9.3 percent, compared to 7.8 percent nationally. During the course of the economic recovery, unemployment rates have fallen the quickest from their peaks in Arizona and Utah metros and have been the slowest to decline in Colorado, the Mountain Monitor found.

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