2002 stats show sales increase

Total volume lags behind 2000 but up 3.6 percent from 2001

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— Dollars generated from real estate sales were up 3.6 percent in 2002, and the number of sales increased a little less than 1 percent.

The year-end numbers taken from the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors' multiple listing service were better than most Realtors expected in a year that brought economic decline, wildfire, droughts and even grasshoppers.

"I think the feeling was that it would be smaller, 2002 would be smaller than 2001," Board of Realtors Vice President Doug Labor said. "Statistically, it came out a little bit better."

Total sales volume jumped from $297 million to $307.7 million and the number of transactions increased from 919 to 927.

The total sales volume in 2002 was still 18 percent less than what was sold in 2000, but 2 percent more than four years ago.

The Board of Realtors' statistics are taken from all transactions in the multiple listing service and could include some properties outside of Routt County.

Even though dollar volume increased, Labor said, a trend of sellers being increasingly willing to negotiate prices continued. In 2000, closing prices were, on average, 2 percent less than what was listed, in 2001 average final sale prices were 4 percent less and in 2002 average final sale prices were 6 percent less than asking price.

"One of the reasons why we were able to hold on this year, sellers were cognizant that the market maybe was not as strong as it was in the past," Labor said. "They were more negotiable in the prices."

Of single-family homes, multifamily homes and land, only multifamily homes increased in both dollar volume and number of transactions. The number of multifamily homes -- which includes duplexes, town homes and condominiums -- increased by 8.3 percent. The sales volume generated from those sales jumped 16.5 percent from 2001.

High-end condos made a marked jump in popularity. For the first time, condo sales pushed the million-dollar mark, and multifamily homes priced at $800,000 or more increased by 160 percent. In 2002, 14 condos sold for more than $1 million. All but one were part of The Antlers at Christie Base, the city's first exclusive, high-end condo project.

In 2002, 26 multifamily homes sold for more than $800,000. In 2001, 10 condos cost more than $800,000, but none were more than $1 million. In 2000 and 1999, no condos were more than $800,000.

The million-dollar market for single-family homes was also strong last year and saw a 54 percent increase. In 2002, 17 single-family homes were sold for more than $1 million, compared to 11 in 2001. In 2000, 24 single-family homes sold for more than $1 million and in 1999 13 homes sold in that price range.

"Second-home owners, it might be that perhaps that sector of economy really hasn't been impacted as much," Labor said.

While the high-end home market grew, the number of affordable homes on the market declined. Single-family homes costing less than $250,000 had the most significant drop, with a 30 percent decrease. Just 69 homes were sold for less than $250,000 in 2002, compared to 98 in 2001.

Part of the reason for the decrease in the $250,000-and-less market is the lack of availability, Labor said. Right now, no houses are listed for less than $250,000 within the city limits and he said the majority of the houses that are listed for less than $250,000 are in Oak Creek or Moffat County.

The median sales price for a single-family home jumped more than 11 percent. In 2001, the median price was $292,000. Last year, it was $325,000.

The number of single-family homes selling for $250,000 to $1 million varied little from 2001. More homes sold in $250,000-to-$500,000 price range than in any other price range. In 2002, 117 were sold in that price range; in 2001, 115 homes; and in 2000, 119 homes.

"It shows this part of the market really isn't volatile," Labor said.

In land sales, the number of residential lots actually increased by 6 percent to 176. Dollars generated increased by 20 percent to $31,326,135.

But land in acreage decreased across the board. The amount of transactions in 2002, 48, was 23.8 percent less than 2001 and 56 percent less than 2000.

"It kind of looks like the number of land sales have gone down over the last couple of years," Labor said.

"I'd like to find out if it was because the amount of land available or was available for sale is less, which I have a feeling could be the case."

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