Doug Van Etten
Grand Junction Free Press Real Estate Columnist

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February 7, 2013
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REAL ESTATE: Winter has been good for local real estate

Sometimes I think there are too many statisticians, analysts and prognosticators in our modern world. We look at numbers related to every aspect of life, broken down into how many of this or that happened last year but also, how many happened in the past five minutes.

OK, so here is my breakdown ... of the real estate facts and figures for the Grand Valley so far in 2013. How about this:

As of Feb. 1, there are 633 single-family homes for sale from Loma and Mack to Whitewater and Palisade. For sale prices range from $12,500 to $2.5 million. You can imagine that high-priced homes skew the average price, which is $277,116. Looked at maybe more realistically, the median price or midpoint of an ordered list, is $214,900.

As we all know, a seller of a house, pickup truck, used cement mixer or any other item, can ask whatever price they want. The prices of homes for sale can only begin to be seen in perspective when we also look at prices of those homes that are "under contract" and those "sold" in the past six months.

The homes that are under contract, for the most part, have had purchase offers written on them in the past few days to a month or two, the time it usually takes to get a sale closed. From a low listed price of $38,000 to a high of $1.38 million, there are 296 single-family homes under contract. For those who think real estate does not sell during the holiday season or the cold first months of the year, you may now want to revise that thinking. Nearly 300 people in our little valley wrote acceptable purchase offers during those months. And, to reinforce that paradigm shift about real estate selling this time of year, 128 home purchases closed for average and median of $175,598 and $165,625.

Of those sales that closed, there are two interesting prices to look at together: The list price at the time of sale and the agreed upon purchase price. That second price is the value buyer and seller have agreed on for the property. Average and median list prices were $180,000 and $169,900 while the agreed upon values were $175,598 and $165,625. One way to look at those prices then is to note how close a seller's asking price had to be to the final sales price to get a buyer to come to terms on a contract. Those numbers divide out to 97% and 98%.

There is a lesson for home sellers in those two numbers above - 97 or 98% of your list price is what you received from a buyer when that buyer determined your house was priced competitively with other houses they were looking at, online or by walking through. For example: You put your house up for sale at $132,000. It did not sell after a while on the market so you brought the asking price down to $125,000; and eventually when it was priced at $110,000 you and a buyer agreed on a purchase price of $107,800, or 98% of your asking price.

One other factoid that comes up often in party conversation is foreclosures. In January, 39 HUD or bank-owned properties (REO) were for sale, for 6.2% of the total housing inventory - 6.4% of the 296 properties under contract were HUD or REO. And, of the sales that closed, a scant 2.3% were foreclosures, 3 of the 128.

Numbers, numbers, numbers. It is said that home purchases are emotional decisions but since I have never seen a way to quantify emotions, I've reported to you on the numbers. Look at your own numbers, have the mortgage company run your credit report and get out there to let the emotions run wild joining the many who are buying Grand Valley real estate, in the winter.

Doug Van Etten is an associate broker with Keller Williams Colorado West Realty and is also the founder/organizer of the Real Estate Investors Network (REIN). Van Etten has been helping homebuyers, sellers and investors with their real estate needs since 1992. Contact Van Etten at or 970-433-4312. For information on the REIN,

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The Post Independent Updated Feb 7, 2013 02:39PM Published Feb 7, 2013 02:38PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.