October sees big drop in Garfield County real estate | PostIndependent.com

October sees big drop in Garfield County real estate

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GARFIELD COUNTY, Colorado ” Cheryl Chandler of Cheryl and Co. Real Estate in Rifle knows that Garfield County hasn’t been a buyer’s market for nearly four years.

But the days of sellers being able to rid themselves of a property in just a few days, without having to do much more than list the property, has most likely come to an end.

“Those 15-day turnarounds are turning into 35- or 45-day turnarounds,” Chandler said.

But Garfield County has been a Realtor’s dream the past four years.

“It was so good you didn’t have to work, you just sold real estate,” Chandler said. “Now you have to go back to really selling real estate.”

And she isn’t exaggerating.

According to the monthly market analysis compiled by Land Title Guarantee Co., October posted the largest drop this year in transactions and total dollar volume for all types of transfers in Garfield County. Total transactions fell 58 percent from 228 to 95, while total dollar volume dropped 66 percent, from $104 million to $35 million, compared to October 2007.

Garfield County to date transactions for 2008 sit at 1,425, which is lower than the 1,567 transactions for the same period in 2003, the earliest year covered by the analysis.

According to Chandler, who’s been selling real estate in Garfield County since the early 1980s, October has always been the highest month for closings, but not this year.

Glenn Ault, real estate broker for Aspen Sotheby’s in Rifle, said it’s been a very tough year for Realtors who had gotten used to the hot market.

“It’s a little drastic when it drops off that fast,” Ault said. “Things were going really strong and then one day, it seemed like, no one was buying anything.”

Ault said that it’s hard to convince buyers that Garfield County is still a good market.

“Our biggest battle is convincing people that they can still buy a house,” Ault said. “The media has convinced them they can’t get a loan.”

However, that is not true, according to Ault and Chandler. They agreed that while it may be more difficult for someone to find lending, it is still available.

“It’s a great market for buyers,” Chandler said. “If you’ve got good credit, the banks are lending.”

Ault said that as far as business goes, the real estate market in Garfield County is still strong, it’s just returning to reasonable levels.

“The whole market has dropped, and we are back to a pretty normal market, like we were years ago,” Ault said. “The number of transactions is all over the board, and the market is going through a readjustment.”

Ault said that when things were hot, it was not uncommon for a house to appreciate $100,000 in a single year. But he attributed that to a lack of inventory and the most recent boom of gas industry impacting the market.

“In reality, we are coming back, leveling out, to where we should be,” Ault said.

Contact John Gardner: 384-9114


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