Home prices blossom in much of county

Lynn BurtonPost Independent Staff

Residential real estate prices rose in four of six Garfield County Zip code areas the first three months of 2003, compared to 2002, according to the Glenwood Springs Association of Realtors.The average sales price of a New Castle residence edged out Glenwood Springs by $1,012, as the average sales price of Glenwood Springs homes fell by $13,000.”New Castle has a lot of new product,” said association board member Shannon Kyle, in explaining the sales price differential. “New houses cost more.”Countywide from January through March, the average sales price for a residence, which includes single-family homes, condominiums and townhomes, was $258,652.The average selling price in Parachute/Battlement Mesa was lowest at $153,906, down from $169,000 in 2002, with 15 units sold. The highest average selling price was in Carbondale at $414,047, up from $409,000 in 2002, with 24 units sold.Average sales prices for other Garfield County areas are as follows:-Glenwood Springs – $250,952 with 29 units sold, down from $264,000 in 2002.-New Castle – $251,964 with 24 units sold, up from $224,000 in 2002.-Rifle and Silt – $217,385 with 43 units sold, up from $196,000 in 2002.For the first three months of the year, the association tallied 135 residential sales in Garfield County, excluding homes sold by owners rather than through real estate agents.The total dollar amount was $34.9 million.For its quarterly sales report, the association divided home sales into three categories: two bedrooms or less, three bedrooms, and four or more bedrooms.In the two- and three-bedroom categories, the price differential between New Castle and Glenwood Springs was even greater than the overall average sales price.In New Castle, two- and three-bedroom residences sold on average for $252,785, compared to $213,940 in Glenwood Springs. Kyle doesn’t necessarily expect the price difference to continue through the year.”Glenwood hasn’t started to pop,” she said.Kyle said the residential real estate market is making a comeback after last year’s sluggish performance. “Last year was slower,” she said. “This year, things are starting to settle down.”Important factors for increased sales include more inventory for buyers to choose from and continued low interest rates.”Interest rates are still great,” Kyle said. “There’s no reason not buy a house.”Jaye Anderson, a loan officer at Mesa National Bank, said mortgage interest rates range from 5.75 percent for a 30-year, fixed rate mortgage with no points or origination fee, to 3.875 percent for an adjustable rate mortgage.The monthly payments on a $250,000, 5.75 percent, 30-year fixed rate mortgage would be $1,458, not including insurance or property taxes, Anderson said.Kyle said it’s too early to make real estate predictions for the rest of the year.”We don’t know the impacts from the war. We’ll have to wait for the first six months to see how it goes, but we’re slowly becoming more comfortable this year than we were last year,” she said.Other highlights from the association’s report include:-The lowest average sales price was $114,800 for a two-bedroom or smaller unit in Parachute.-The highest average sales price was $559,214 for a four-bedroom or larger unit in Carbondale.-The average sales price for a three-bedroom unit in Glenwood Springs was $237,251.Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext.

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