Housing price increases continue unabated | PostIndependent.com

Housing price increases continue unabated

Housing prices across Garfield County continued to rise in 2002 except in the Carbondale area, but overall real estate activity fell during the year, according to the Glenwood Springs Association of Realtors year-end report.Total dollar volume of Garfield County real estate sales, including residential, commercial and farm land, fell 25 percent compared to 2001. The 2002 year-end total was $663 million, compared to $894 million in 2001.Residential sales accounted for 57 percent of the total dollar volume.The number of sales fell by 16 percent, from 2,015 in 2001 to 1,690 in 2002.Home sales prices rose by an overall average of 27 percent, reflecting more sales in the high-end market.The average overall selling price for a single-family home was $367,000 in 2001. That climbed to $468,000 in 2002. The biggest jumps came in selling prices for large homes with four or more bedrooms, where the average price rose from $443,000 in 2001 to $644,000 in 2002. Average prices for three-bedroom homes rose from $296,000 in 2001 to $407,000 in 2002, and average prices for one- and two-bedroom homes rose from $197,000 in 2001 to $221,000 in 2002.Prices are also skewed from the east end of the county to the west, continuing the trend for pricey upvalley real estate.In 2002, Carbondale area housing prices on average were $144,000 higher than Glenwood Springs area prices.Mike Kennedy, owner of RE/MAX Mountain West in Carbondale, said high-priced houses in Aspen Glen and on Missouri Heights can skew the Carbondale area numbers and make it appear that housing on average is significantly higher. Comments from two real estate brokers bear this out.”Existing houses in Crystal Village are selling for $275,000 to $310,000,” said managing broker Chuck Katz at the Carbondale Mason & Morse office.Richard Montrose, manager/broker at the Glenwood Springs Mason & Morse office, said 56 single-family residences sold inside the Glenwood Springs city limits in 2002, for an average price of $318,000.Montrose said several factors combine to create an average price hike of $41,000 for the entire Glenwood Springs area market in 2002 compared to 2001. Retirees continue to move to the Glenwood Springs area, which increases prices. A pair of new condominium projects sold briskly in 2001 and 2002. When those units were sold, buyers who missed out were forced to look for more expensive properties.”Those condominiums really gave the market a bump,” Montrose said.Housing continues to be less expensive in the west end of Garfield County, where the prices of raw land are lower, leading to migration of residents within the county. “I was in a restaurant in Rifle the other day, and half the people I knew were from Carbondale,” Katz said.Rifle Realty owner April Hardy said other downvalley buyers are workers who commute to Aspen or Vail, and can’t afford to live in those communities. Hardy said those buyers are aided by loans that in many cases require virtually no down payment.With more buyers, western Garfield County home prices continue to increase.Hardy said 2003 is already looking good for her firm. “It’s been doing real well for us,” Hardy said. “We’ve been steady. There are a lot of buyers out there and they are just starting to look.”Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534lburton@postindependent.comPrice, volume breakdown by townThe Glenwood Springs Association of Realtors year-end reports from 2001 and 2002 show the following comparisons in overall home sales. The “area” includes the town listed and surrounding rural areas using the same Zip code.-Carbondale area: 167 sales, for an average price of $409,000 in 2002, compared to 231 sales for an average price of $427,000 in 2001.-Glenwood Springs area: 244 sales, at an average price of $264,000 in 2002, compared to 257 sales for an average price of $223,000 in 2001.-New Castle area: 129 sales, for an average price of $224,000 in 2002, compared to 130 sales for an average price of $207,000 in 2001.-Rifle/Silt area: 280 sales for an average price of $196,000 in 2002, compared to 272 sales for an average price of $169,000 in 2001.-Parachute/Battlement Mesa area: 82 sales for an average price of $169,000 in 2002, compared to 84 sales for an average price of $154,000 in 2001.

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