Real estate cost more in 03 |

Real estate cost more in 03

Kara WilliamsSpecial to the Post Independent

Housing prices across Garfield County continued to rise in 2003, but overall real estate activity fell compared to 2002, according to the Glenwood Springs Association of Realtors year-end report.An exception was the Parachute/Battlement Mesa area, where the number of home sales increased and average sale prices dropped.Commuters seeking less expensive real estate and the draw of families to the Battlement Mesa community may have influenced the increase of home sales in the Parachute area, according to Bob Rensberry of Rifle Realty. The folks working for the oil and gas industry are also staying and living in the area, said Rensberry.Total dollar volume of sold Garfield County real estate, including residential, commercial and land, fell 8 percent from 2002.Year-end total sales volume in 2003 was $280 million. In 2002 it was $305 million.The total number of sales fell 10 percent, from 1,279 in 2002 to 1,152 in 2003.In residential sales, the average price for a home on the market in Garfield County at the end of 2003 was $437,000. At the same time in 2002, it was $427,000.The Board of Realtors year-end reports from 2002 and 2003 show the following comparisons in overall residential sales. The area includes the town listed and surrounding areas using the same zip code: Carbondale area: 148 sales for an average price of $435,000 in 2003, compared to 167 sales for an average price of $409,000 in 2002. Glenwood Springs area: 219 sales for an average price of $289,000 in 2003, compared to 244 sales for an average price of $264,000 in 2002. New Castle area: 117 sales for an average price of $244,000 in 2003, compared to 129 sales for an average price of $224,000 in 2002. Rifle/Silt area: 243 sales for an average price of $219,000 in 2003, compared to 280 sales for an average price of $193,000 in 2002. Parachute/Battlement Mesa area: 97 sales for an average price of $151,000 in 2003, compared to 82 sales for an average price of $168,000 in 2002.Housing prices continue to escalate, but not to the degree they did before the 9-11 attacks, according to Michelle James, co-owner/broker at Vicki Lee Green Realtors in Glenwood Springs. Theres an oversupply of inventory, said James. Its a buyers market.James said that once residential sales catch up to the oversupply in 2004, she predicted homes may again appreciate to the level of what it used to be.Jerome Sarge Whalen, a broker associate at Mason & Morse Real Estate in Carbondale, blames the war in Iraq for declining home sales last year.There was nothing happening in the first quarter. Then there was the build-up of the war, said Whalen. After the main strike of the war ended, sales took off, but not enough to match the final sales numbers in 2002, Whalen said.Whalen says real estate activity should pick up this year.Interest rates are great, said Whalen. The phone is starting to ring a bit more.James concurred: Were shocked, looking at activity in January this year compared to last year. Weve got lots of showings and contracts. Were off to a great start.Other highlights from the associations 2003 year-end report include: The highest average price of a house sold was a four-bedroom or larger unit in Carbondale for $584,000. The lowest average price of a house sold was a two-bedroom or smaller unit in Parachute for $122,000. The fastest-moving homes were in New Castle, with 162 average days on the market. The slowest-moving homes were in Parachute, with 211 average days on the market.Contact Kara Williams: 945-8515, ext.

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