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Denver home prices improve in June

Denver home prices rose 4 percent in June compared to the same period a year ago, according to a report released today.

That lands it 4th in the rankings of 20 housing markets surveyed in the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.

“I’m extremely happy that even though we dropped one position, we’re still up in the top five,” said independent housing analyst Gary Bauer. “It just shows the strength of the Denver market. Denver was the first to go into this economic recession and we’re the first to come out and we’re holding our own.”

Nationally, home prices were up 0.5 percent in June, with only six cities showing declines. Atlanta was down 12.1 percent; Chicago, 1.7 percent; Las Vegas, 1.8 percent; Las Angeles, 0.6 percent; New York, 2.1 percent; and San Diego, 0.2 percent.




Whole Foods wants to open store in downtown Denver

Whole Foods is scouting downtown Denver for a new location.

But finding a site that works economically and has ample parking is challenging, said Phil Hicks of David Hicks Lampert who is working with the company.

“Downtown is tough,” Hicks said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do yet.”

Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods plans open nearly 100 stores over the next three years. Over the long term, it plans to triple its store count to 1,000, according to its third-quarter filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It also is considering expanding in Canada and the United Kingdom.

There currently are no major grocery stores in Denver’s central business district. The closest is a King Soopers at 13th and Krameria streets.

Denver developer Randy Nichols recently reached an agreement with Kroger to open a King Soopers Fresh Fare store at the apartment project he is planning at Chestnut and 20th streets. He said he expects to break ground on the project in October.

“King Soopers Fresh Fare will come whether Whole Foods does or not,” Nichols said. “King Soopers is not particularly concerned about the presence of Whole Foods.”




New-home sales on the rise

Rising sales of new homes indicate consumers are more confident in the housing market.

Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 3.6 percent nationally in July to an annually adjusted rate of 372,000 units, according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

The three-month moving average of new-home sales has been rising consistently since September, said David Crow, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders.

“Today’s good report is the latest indicator of a gradual, upward trend that we expect to continue through the remainder of this year,” Crowe said. “However, the fact that the inventory of new homes for sale reached an all-time low in July is a worrisome signal that ongoing, unnecessarily tight credit conditions are keeping builders from being able to replenish supplies as consumer demand improves.”

Regionally, the Northeast posted the biggest gain in new-home sales with a 76.5 percent increase from July. The Midwest posted a 7.7 percent gain, while the South and the West recorded declines of 1.6 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.