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Housing prices continue to increase across Garfield County

One indicator of what’s currently happening with the Roaring Fork Valley housing market isn’t necessarily refined to pristine Rocky Mountain oases overlooking Mt. Sopris.

Look westward toward Parachute and Battlement Mesa. Over the past two years, average prices for single-family homes have upticked by more than $100,000, according to local realty agents. What used to hover around the $200,000 range has now surged to the upper echelons of the $300,000 range.

“The price range people can buy, there’s nothing out in this area for them to buy,” Rifle’s Bay Equity Senior Loan Officer Shannon Stowe said. “It’s crazy.”



In other words, market trends continue to go up. Stowe speculated that historically low interest rates, COVID-19-induced cabin fever and political uncertainty have manufactured “the perfect storm.”

Though one size doesn’t fit all, the average interest rate for clients being refinanced by Bay Equity has seen a 1% to 1.5% drop. Depending on the loan’s term length, Stowe said she’s typically now refinancing clients at 2.625 % to 3%.



SINGLE FAMILY HOMES

December 2019

• New listings: 49

• Sold listings: 64

• Median sales price: $472,500

• Average sales price: $600,156

• Percent of list price received: 97.2%

• Days on market until sale: 93

• Inventory of homes for sale: 231

• Months supply of inventory: 3.6

December 2020

• New listings: 52

• Sold listings: 79

• Median sales price: $536,700

• Average sales price: $766,183

• Percent of list price received: 98.2%

• Days on market until sale: 45

• Inventory of homes for sale: 131

• Months supply of inventory: 1.7

CONDOS, TOWNHOUSES

December 2019

• New listings: 19

• Sold listings: 24

• Median sales price: $252,000

• Average sales price: $333,850

• Percent of list price received: 98.3%

• Days on market until sale: 63

• Inventory of homes for sale: 79

• Months supply of inventory: 2.7

December 2020

• New listings: 36

• Sold listings: 18

• Median sales price: $226,000

• Average sales price: $254,611

• Percent of list price received: 98.2%

• Days on market until sale: 67

• Inventory of homes for sale: 84

• Months supply of inventory: 3.1

Across the Valley, the number of prospective buyers looking to upgrade to four-bedroom homes, as well as first time home buyers seeking 2-to-3 bedroom homes, have doubled for Bay Equity, Stowe said. This means Garfield County’s housing economic ecosystem continues to ride through various challenges.

Oil and gas activity in the Battlement Mesa area saw Texas-based Terra Energy Partners LLC, which acquired Ursa Resources, announce they would not pursue additional drilling. Meanwhile, the county itself has seen overall revenue drops generated by extractive services — millions.

Then there’s COVID-19 and the Colorado-backed dial metric limiting most businesses across the county.

“It’s been kind of crazy,” Stowe said. “We thought it would slow up due to Ursa downsizing and some of our oil and gas going away, but we’re still going strong. We’re still seeing home sales. What I’m hearing from realtors, too — same with my clients — there’s just not enough on the market.”

Throughout the county, year-to-year comparisons show substantial increases. According to data from the Colorado Association of Realtors, median sales prices are up 13.% from 2019. Meanwhile, average sales prices have increased a cool 27.7% over the past year.

Want to buy a single-family home in the Valley? If you’re lucky, chances are you’ll encounter a median sales price $536,700 or an average sales price of $766,183. In addition, with demand as high as it is, mixed with limited availability, a dream home’s only on the market give or take 45 days — an average down 48 days since 2019.

Prices for condos and townhouses, however, have seen a downward trend over the past two years. Average sales have decreased from 2019’s $333,850 to 2020’s $254,611.

Mikaela Cain, a realtor with Glenwood Springs-based Vicki Lee Green Realtors, said the local housing market is “at an all-time high.”

“Inventory’s low, prices are high,” she said. “It’s still a seller’s market. Interest rates are really low right now, we’re seeing a lot of buyers but we’re just not seeing a ton of inventory, which is pretty common for wintertime. But come spring, the trend is, we’re just going to keep increasing price-wise and value-wise.”

The cycle is no secret.

With Denver recently ranked as one the top moved-to cities in the U.S. and the rest of the Front Range seeing a high influx of out-of-staters moving in, Colorado urbanites are seeking refuge in the mountains. In addition, there are still scores of residents moving in from more unaffordable states trying to escape even higher tax rates than Colorado.

“We haven’t seen prices like this in our area, ever,” Cain said. “Especially Glenwood Springs, you really can’t find any home less than half a million for a single family. It’s just not out there, so the market is really high, even during a global pandemic.”

Amid this surge, Garfield County’s 2019 total inventory went from 231 to 131 in 2020.

“I mean, obviously homes are going on the market every day, but again with the amount of so many buyers and not enough homes, Cain said. “It’s almost overwhelming the amount of people coming in to buy a home right off the bat.”

That means it’s a time to sell and a time to buy, Cain said.

“Get prequalified right from the get go, just so that once that’s done we can hit the ground running,” Cain said. “And it’s really something we use around here — ‘put your running shoes on.’ Once it’s game time and a house comes on (the market), we are in that house as soon as we can get in it.”

Rodrigo Obreque, owner of Glenwood Springs-based Modern Finishes LLC, represents another industry that’s benefiting from this avalanche of market factors. The proprietor of a company that provides residential and commercial concrete repair and additional interior services said he’s seen about 50% increase in overall business in recent memory.

With everyone seemingly having money and time, business is the best Obreque has “seen in years.”

“I don’t think anybody’s worried about COVID, or whether we have Trump or Biden. People are either ignoring it or playing stupid,” he said.

Right now, including Obreque, Modern Finishes has three skilled employees. However, Obreque said he is looking to hire two more people and plans to hire an additional 2 to 3 workers on top of that over the next 6-8 months.

“The housing in Aspen, Snowmass have been filling so fast,” he said. “Same with the Basalt area and all the way down Valley. There’s really no stop to it. There’s a housing shortage in our area. I know there are individual real estate agents that are reaching out personally to contractors to see if people are wanting to sell.”

“There’s houses being built but I’m assuming they are all presold,” Obreque added. “And so all these real estate agents that don’t have the luck of working with contractors are maybe feeling the crunch, with no houses on the market.”

When asked how to describe the current health of the market, Stowe agreed, “It’s hot.”

“I wouldn’t say booming because we’re not getting a lot on the market,” she said. “But it’s active.”

rerku@postindependent.com


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