Signs of stabilization appeared in the September home sales report from the Denver Metro Association of Realtors as prices started to tick back up, as did the number of homes available for sale and the time it took to sell them.

There were 3,971 active listings at the end of September, according to the Market Trends report released Tuesday. That’s a 10.9% increase from the number available in August, but still down 25.1% from the number of homes for sale in September 2020.

The average sales prices for both condominiums and detached single-family homes climbed to $618,293, up almost 1% from August’s $613,546. In September of 2020, it stood at $597,867. The highest average price hit in June at $640,478.

Easing the bidding wars common this spring, the average days on market rose to 13 days, up from the 11-day average in August but still down markedly from September 2020’s 19-day average.

“Although each new listing might not be selling in the blink of an eye like they were last spring, serious competition remains each weekend for the nicest new listing on the block,” according to the report.

Andrew Abrams, chair of the association's Market Trends Committee, compared metro Denver’s real estate market to a game of pin the tail on the donkey: “You know the pieces of the equation and use your intuition , but ultimately you are going in blind. The market has felt like this for the last year and a half.”

Fewer homes hit the market, as evidenced by number of closed properties, which were down 12.8% from August and down 19.3% year-over-year. That led to “another month of competition for buyers,” Abrams said in the report.

The hottest market, except below $99,000, was for homes in the $300,000-$399,000 range with just a half-month of inventory available in September. There were 218 closed last month in that range, which the association calls the “Classic Market.”

Median days on the market for homes in this price range are just four days, and the close-price-to-list-price ratio is 103.7%.

“The reduction of Classic Market new listings is most pronounced for detached properties, with 5,535 fewer new listings year-to-date than in 2020,” said William Maline, Market Trends committee member and Realtor, in the report.

“Frustration, fatigue and burnout (on all sides) are unfortunately commonplace within this category,” Maline said. “My message to clients I work with in this price range who have decided to ‘wait it out’ or ‘wait for a market crash’ is that I think this is unlikely to happen. Why? Again, I’m no economist but from everyday market experience, I can confidently say that there is no shortage of highly capable buyers looking to purchase in the Classic Market. … Unless our region sees a mass exodus of people and/or jobs, I don’t foresee there being any shortage of willing and capable buyers.”

The report covers the 11-county metro Denver market, including Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Elbert, Gilpin, Jefferson and Park.