Third-quarter real estate sales ahead of 2001

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— Year-to-date sales released by the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors show dollar volume is ahead of last year.

The Realtors' Multiple Listing Service reported $213 million in real estate sales for Routt County at the end of the third quarter. The total include sales of single-family homes, condos, townhomes and land and acreage. That is $20.6 million more than the third quarter last year. Both years are down compared to 2000, which had $247 million by the end of the third quarter.

Not only was more money generated through these residential sales, Routt County had more units sell in 2002. Units that have sold in 2002 are at 657 compared to 647 in 2001. In 2000, one of Steamboat's best real estate years, 777 units sold.

Remax Realtor John Worden was surprised by this year's strong third quarter numbers.

"Things are not at the same level as 1999 or 2000, but maybe that is a good thing," Worden said. "Numbers are fairly healthy, properties are definitely still selling, just not at that fevered pace or frenzy."

Worden, who is a director with the Colorado Association of Realtors, said empirical evidence has October looking busier than July or August, traditionally the two busiest months in Steamboat real estate.

And he predicts sales to be strong through the fourth quarter. He sees historically low interest rates and a slowly returning confidence to Wall Street maintaining the momentum in the real estate market.

Low interest rates and a shaky economy had Realtors predicting the middle-range market would be the hardest hit in 2002. They predicted the low-end market would still perform well as wage earners, who are not heavily invested in the stock market, took advantage of low interest rates to buy homes. They also predicted the very high-end market, where homebuyers' overall wealth is not dramatically altered by a dipping stock market, remaining steady.

The largest jump in unit sales has come from condos and townhomes in the $200,000 to $400,000 price range. So far, 2002 has brought in 117 sales compared to 88 in 2001 and 98 in 2000.

The numbers in the third

quarter remain fairly true to predictions for the high-end market. Single-family homes that have sold at more than $800,000 increased from 15 in 2001 to 23 in 2002. Land and acreage units that have sold for more than $400,000 increased from 19 in 2001 to 29 in 2002.

High-end condos, those more than $400,000, did not increase over last year as 47 have been sold this year, three more than the year before. But the top price for a condo has dramatically increased since 2000. This year the highest price was $1.27 million and in 2001 it was $849,000.

Worden said individual condo projects could skew the total dollar value. He pointed to the Antlers at Christie Base, which ranges in price from $900,000 to $1.27 million. He said the 15 condos that were sold this year had a large part to do with the $14 million jump in total condo and town home sales.

The low-end market took a hit in every category. Only 115 single-family homes priced at less than $400,000 have sold this year. That is compared to 140 sold at this time the year before. Single family homes between $200,000 and $400,000 also decreased by four from the year before with just 36 selling.

Among condos less than $200,000, 120 have sold this year compared to 130 in 2001 and 152 in 2000. Land and acreage less than $200,000 has also gone down. So far in 2002, 127 units were sold compared to 132 in 2001.

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