GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - Real estate sales activity in Garfield County was on pace to finish 2012 on a positive note, based on transactions through the month of November.
According to the monthly transactions report for Garfield County prepared by Land Title Guarantee Co. of Glenwood Springs, through November there were 1,112 transactions for a 34 percent increase year-to-date over 2011.
Total dollars from countywide sales for the 11-month period was just over $348 million, for an increase of 35 percent compared to the same period in 2011.
Although numbers were not yet available through December, Land Title's Tammy Sommerfeld said the trend appeared to be holding through the final month of the year.
Real estate activity in the county, including dollar volume and transaction totals, surpassed totals for each of the previous three years as of the end of October, she said.
For local real estate professionals, however, the numbers are a mixed bag.
Though sales volume was up during 2012, the dollar amount for traditional sales, excluding bank sales and short sales related to foreclosures, was down for the year, said Danette Dickey, who is the 2013 chair for the Glenwood Springs Association of Realtors.
"That's good in the sense that the absorption rate goes down," she said. "We are seeing a lot of buyers in the $90,000 to $200,000 range, but inventory is low. Anything in that price range disappears pretty fast, which drives overall prices up a little more.
"The good news is we are helping first-time homebuyers get into houses that they probably couldn't afford before," Dickey said.
In November alone, according to the latest activity report, there were 109 transactions in Garfield County totaling $32.7 million. The biggest sale for the month was a $2.15 million sale of a single-family house in the Roaring Fork Mesa neighborhood at Aspen Glen outside Carbondale.
The Glenwood Springs area led the county in November transactions with 27 totaling $9.2 million, followed by Carbondale with 24 transactions totaling $11.9 million and Rifle with 17 transactions totaling $3.7 million.
Year to date, the average single-family home sales price in Garfield County was $335,200. That's an 8 percent increase over all of 2011, according to the November report.
Bank sales related to foreclosures continue to account for 31 percent of total transactions and 18 percent of dollar volume through November. Through 11 months of the year, there were 349 bank sales totaling $62 million.
That's up from the 2011 numbers, when bank sales accounted for 295 transactions through 11 months for $53 million. That figure represented 21 percent of transactions and 35 percent of the sales volume for 2011.
Still, foreclosure filings for 2012 were down somewhat from 2011, according to Garfield County Public Trustee Bob Slade.
The county recorded 534 foreclosure filings in 2012, which was down from the more than 600 that had been projected for the year based on recent trends, Slade said. The county had a record 701 foreclosure filings in 2011 and 644 in 2010.
"So far in 2013, we're already on about the same pace [as 2012]," Slade said.