Area real estate activity up through summer

John Stroud
Post Independent Staff

August was the second strongest month of the year so far for residential real estate sales in the area from Aspen to Parachute, with 137 sales recorded for the month and a total of 885 homes sold to date, according to the latest Market Trends report compiled by Stewart Title Co.

The year-to-date figure for residential sales represents a 2 percent increase over the same eight-month period of 2012.

In the month-to-month comparison for this year, only May surpassed August with 140 sales, according to the Market Trends report released Tuesday.

An additional 169 houses were added to the area’s inventory in August, which brought the year-to-date average to 1.5 listings for each sale. As of the end of August, there were 1,360 homes on the market in the combined Roaring Fork Valley and Garfield County region.

“The absorption rate, a measurement of time required to exhaust all existing residential inventory at the current pace of sales, dropped below 10 months in August,” Joe Carpenter of Market Trends LLC said in a written commentary included with the report.

It’s only the second time in the last five years that the absorption rate fell to less than 10 months, he said.

For Glenwood Springs alone, there were 17 home sales in August. That was up from 15 in July but down from this year’s monthly high of 21 in June and down from 21 sales in August 2012.

Year-to-date, there have been 123 home sales in Glenwood Springs, which is down from 137 through the first eight months of 2012, according to the report.

Western Garfield County sales, including the towns of New Castle, Silt, Rifle and Parachute, are also lagging some compared to last year, with 276 residential sales through August. Last year, there were 309 sales through eight months for that area.

“Though painfully slow, the housing market continues to seek balance between supply and demand,” Carpenter observed.

The number of homes currently on the market pales in comparison to the peak of 2,304 in July 2009, which represented a 40-month supply.

“Several factors are converging to indicate that further inventory decline is likely,” Carpenter said. “While new foreclosure filings have declined significantly, the lingering effects of the bank-owned real estate continues to suppress prices.

“Unless compelled to do so, most sellers will wait to recover lost equity before listing their property,” he said. “Secondly, there continues to be a dearth of new construction.”

Meanwhile, Land Title Guarantee Co.’s Garfield County real estate market analysis shows total sales were up 8 percent in July, and for the year to date are up 4 percent compared to 2012.

July sales dollars totaled nearly $39.5 million on 105 transactions from Carbondale to Parachute. Through seven months of the year, sales totaled slightly less than $202.4 million, for an increase in dollar volume of 2 percent over last year, according to the Land Title report, which also came out this week.

Carbondale led the county in transactions during July with a total of 33 worth $13.9 million in sales, followed by Glenwood Springs with 21 ($8.3 million), Rifle, 20 ($3.5 million), New Castle, 10 ($3.7 million), Silt, 10 ($1.8 million), and Parachute, four ($4.4 million).

Rural Garfield County had three sales worth $3.8 million, and the unincorporated community of Battlement Mesa had two sales worth $228,900.

Bank sales resulting from foreclosures were steady for the month, with a total of 15 sales for $2.5 million.

Through July, there had been 135 bank sales in Garfield County totaling $29 million, according to the Land Title report.

The average price for a single family home sold through July was $300,367, a decrease of 10 percent from 2012.

A profile of home buyers in Garfield County this reveals that 32 percent were local, 12 percent were from out of state, and 5 percent have been from Colorado’s Front Range.

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