Price trend indicates a buyer's market

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— Realtors are watching as prices are adjusting downward in what has become a buyers market here.

Ed Reed of Steamboat Real Estate said local Realtors get together every Tuesday morning and compare notes at the meeting of the Steamboat Springs Multiple Listing Service. The local market is currently looking for the correct level, he said and the price trend is down.

It isn't uncommon for $10,000 to be trimmed from the price of a home. Reed said he showed a home in Heritage Park, in West of Steamboat, over the weekend. His clients are moving here from New Mexico and definitely in the market for pa home. A couple days after he showed the house, Reed said the listing broker called to let him know the price had been rimmed by $10,000 and he was curious to know if the prospective buyers had serious interest. The owners have another home under contract, and are motivated sellers, Reed added.

Despite eroding consumer confidence in a recessionary economy undercut even further by acts of terrorism, some properties are selling.

"I listed a Timber Run condominium and it went under contract within two weeks at close to the asking price," Reed said Wednesday. The unit was one of eight on the market in that project, but not the least expensive at $181,500, Reed said. However, it was in the best condition of the eight.

Reed isn't certain, but he expects the buyers to use the condominium as a second home and as an investment.

Reed has three other properties currently listed in what would represent the lower end of the market as it was known for the past 12 months. He has a three-bedroom mobile home in West Acres listed at $39,900, a two-bedroom Whistler Townhome for $126,000 and a 4-bedroom modular home in heritage park for $239,5000 (not the same home mentioned previously in this article). All of those prices pre-date Sept. 11.

Reed said the Heritage Park home shows well, and people like it, but it's close to U.S. 40 and that deters some would-be buyers. At about 1,600 square feet, it still needs a garage added onto it, Reed said.

The Whistler project, built in the early 80s, has gradually shifted away form short-term rentals until it is now about 80 percent occupied by owners or long-term renters, Reed said.

"They're very livable as a starter home for a couple or even a family with one child," Reed said.

A little higher up in price range, Reed said he is aware of one local spec home that had previously been listed at $379,000 and now is available at $319,000.

Reed said that in a flat real estate market, every buyer and every seller has a different story that is influencing their decision. People hose wealth is tied up in the stock market, or those who feel their jobs are in jeopardy, are understandably in a holding pattern. Some buyers need a home before the holidays, and that will motivate them, he said. Other prospective buyers may be waiting for prices to bottom out, Reed said, but, "a waiting game is always a losing game."

Reed believes it doesn't make sense to be over anxious about purchasing a home and fearing that had you waited three months, you might have saved $5,000 or $10,0000, because the opposite can also happen.

"Once you buy it, it doesn't matter anymore," Reed said, as long as you can afford the monthly payments. Because in the long run, the home will appreciate.

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