A for-sale sign stands outside a home in southeast Denver last week. Jack O’Connor, of the Prestige Real Estate Group, is optimistic about the local housing market. "Denver is the third-least affected market by the downturn, after Charlotte and Dallas," he said.
By John Rebchook, November 26, 2008, Rocky Mountain News

Home values in the Denver area dipped 5.4 percent in the year ending in September, far better than the 17.4 percent drop for the 20 cities tracked in the closely monitored S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices released on Tuesday.

"I think Denver is going to lead (the nation) out of the doldrums," said Jack O’Connor, principal of the Prestige Real Estate Group in Denver.

"Sure, the markets are off," O’Connor said. "But Denver is the third-least affected market by the downturn, after Charlotte and Dallas. I think that Case-Shiller is absolutely positive for Denver, but it doesn’t even take into consideration our falling inventory."

Prices are at levels not seen since the first quarter of 2004.

Karl Case, an economics professor at Wellesley College and co-creator of the Case-Shiller index, said he expects delinquencies and foreclosures to rise as unemployment increases, further pressuring the housing market.

The nation’s unemployment rate is at 6.5 percent, a 14-year high, and is expected to climb higher.

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