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Realtors expect a strong finish to the year

JOHN GARDNERGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Garfield County is well on its way to topping $1.04 billion in total real estate sales for 2006. Realistically, it may have surpassed that figure already.According to Land Title Guarantee Co.’s monthly report, through September Garfield County saw more than $920 million in total year-to-date sales, a 26 percent increase over the same period last year. However, that drastic increase in dollar volume doesn’t reflect the shallow 4 percent increase in year-to-date transactions, up from 2,141 to 2,233.September 2007 had a total of $94 million in total sales alone, up only 3 percent from September of 2006 while the number of transactions for the month was down a staggering 20 percent. Eight of the nine months through September had total sales of more than $90 million; four of those reached more than $100 million and two of those were more than $120 million. February was the lowest month of the year with a little less than $54 million in total sales.In past years, October has tended to be a slower month in terms of sales and volume coming after the hotter summer months.”We are noticing the market soften a little bit,” said Tonya Nieslanik, co-owner and broker of Vicki Lee Green Realtors in Glenwood Springs.But with October 2006 reaching $85 million in sales, that makes last year’s overall record sales not far out of reach this year. Typically, home sales tend to soften in the fall according to data from Land Title, but that’s not been the case this year according to Realtor Michael Dunn with Bray and Co. Real Estate in Glenwood Springs.”In October we saw things pick up,” Dunn said. “I’ve seen more people in general interested in buying in September and October.”Land Title won’t have the October numbers until the end of November, but all indications say the $1 billion mark should happen before December. “We are definitely there,” said Land Title’s director of marketing Liz Lippitt. “I would expect that we have hit it already. If not in October then in November for sure.”Nieslanik said that October and November are usually stronger sales months for her, and she expects to have a strong finish on the year.”The fall can be a good market for us,” Nieslanik said. “The kids are back in school, and people are looking for a home before the holidays.”Nieslanik said recently she’s witnessed the valley’s market shifting from a seller’s to a buyer’s market.”We’re seeing a change in the amount of time it’s taking for homes to sell,” Nieslanik said. “Where we were seeing a house turn in 30 days, now it’s taking 60 days or more depending on how it’s priced.”Dunn said it’s a matter of perspective if it was becoming a buyer’s market or not.”We aren’t seeing the decreases in prices that are associated with a buyer’s market,” Dunn said. “But there is more inventory available, giving buyers more options to choose from.”Contact John Gardner: 384-9114jgardner@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO


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