Real estate dollar volume surpasses '05

Countywide sales top $1 billion

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— The real estate industry in Routt County blew through the billion dollar threshold for the first time ever in November.

Bruce Carta of Land Title Guaranty Company in Steamboat Springs said unusually high dollar volumes for November helped push total dollar volumes to $1.023 billion as of Nov. 30. His source is data maintaineded by the Routt County Clerk and Recorder's Office.

The old record was $885.8 million in transactions recorded through 12 months in 2005.

November typically ranks in the bottom half of the 12 calendar months in terms of real estate dollar volume. However, November 2006 claimed the late lead for the year with more than $138.54 million. The month received a boost from big sales in all categories, Carta said, including the $19 million closing of One Steamboat Place and the $5 million purchase of a five-acre rural home lot at Marabou.

In contrast, November 2005 saw $75.7 million in sales in Routt County, Carta said. He's curious to see what happens this month. Last year saw $56.2 million in real estate closing in December. Like November it's not a typically busy month, but any announcement of a sale of the Steamboat Ski Area and/or Ski Time Square Enterprises-the Sheraton Steamboat Resort, could spur acitivity among holiday skiers, he suggested.

"There was a lot of high-dollar property moved in November," Carta said. "There are a lot of people who have money right now."

The dollar volume of real estate transactions in the Steamboat Springs Multiple Listing Service is 13 percent ahead of last year at this time and has surpassed the 2005 total of $606 million. The discrepancy between Carta's figures and MLS figures are explained by the fact that not all transactions involve a Realtor.

Sales that came through the MLS for 2006 reached $645 million on Dec. 5. That compares to $569 million on the same date in 2005. When 2005 came to a close, the total for real estate transaction had reached $606 million.

Last year's total was helped by the closing of the Alpine Mountain Ranch property for $19 million, Doug Labor of Buyers Resource Real Estate said. This year's total has been boosted by a couple of large ranch sales reaching seven and eight figures, he added. He is the official keeper of the stats for the MLS.

When regarded in terms of numbers of transactions, this year's activity is only slightly ahead of last year. In 2006, the MLS has recorded 1,531 transactions, Labor said. As of Dec. 5, 2005, 1,526 transactions had been recorded.

"I'm actually surprised that we're ahead of last year in transactions just because our average inventory has been lower," Labor said.

He's confident that the lack of inventory in building lots and entry-level housing has kept the Steamboat market from achieving higher numbers. There are would-be buyers who cannot or will not pay the price of admission in the local market within the category that meets their needs, he said.

"I just met with a client who first contacted me a year ago," Labor said. "He could pay up to $200,000 and we had a number of options at that time. He's looking for a condo to use as a short-term resort rental. All I could show him was one studio unit and a one-bedroom condo (in the price range up to $200,000)."

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