DENVER (CBS4) – It’s a seller’s market across the Denver metro area right now. That’s because home prices are on the rise.

Inventory is driving the market. One home in Lakewood went under contract in only three days.

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Robert Strong has seen first hand that the housing market is turning around.

“I have definitely noticing an uptick in home values, as well as my own. I’m always monitoring the value of my home,” said Strong, who is looking for a new home this month with Andrew Nagel of ReMax of Cherry Creek.

The Denver area real estate statistics show the average price in December 2011 was just over $275,000. In December 2012 it was about $315,000. That’s a 14.5 percent increase.

“I knew we would have year-over-year appreciation but I didn’t think it would be 14 percent for our whole metro area,” Nagel told CBS4.

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Right now there are 35 percent fewer homes on the market than there were this time last year. And last year inventory was low, too.

One segment of the market — the Cherry Creek and Washington park area — has seen an average price increase of 30 percent year to year. Nagel said that might be a bit unhealthy, because a run-up in housing prices could lead to a decrease in demand and a sharp drop in prices.

The advice for buyers right now would be to shop smart — sellers seem to be in control.

“Our spring season is normally the April, May, June time frame, but it seems that everything has gotten pushed up now into January, February and March,” Nagel said.

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