Regions Bank sold a four-bedroom luxury condominium in the Highmark this week for $765,000. The same unit, comprising 1,921 square feet, sold for $1.21 million in February 2008. Although the bank-owned property was steeply discounted, its sale price was far lower than the average of $204,200 for 15 bank-owned properties in Routt County that sold in March.

Photo by Tom Ross

Regions Bank sold a four-bedroom luxury condominium in the Highmark this week for $765,000. The same unit, comprising 1,921 square feet, sold for $1.21 million in February 2008. Although the bank-owned property was steeply discounted, its sale price was far lower than the average of $204,200 for 15 bank-owned properties in Routt County that sold in March.

Bank-owned sales up in Routt County

County sees 39 lender property sales through end of March

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— Coleman Cook, of Colorado Group Realty, stayed home for spring break and got some work done.

“It was quiet but a very effective and busy week,” Cook said. “I had a closing on Tuesday and a closing on Wednesday, and I have another three scheduled in the next 30 days with another bank-owned property about to go under contract,” Cook said. “Of the five closings, four were bank-owned.”

The March market report released by Land Title Guarantee Co. on Thursday paints a statistical picture of the influence of bank-owned home sales on the Routt County real estate market.

The number of all transactions in Routt County is up 22.76 percent through the first quarter of the year, yet dollar volume is off 24.34 percent. The sale of properties taken over by lenders help explain the fact that unit volume and dollar volume seem to be going in opposite directions

There had been 39 bank-owned sales in Routt County through the end of March. And this year, 57 homes have sold for less than $300,000. Thirty of them for less than $200,000.

March 2011 saw 15 banks sales totaling $3.06 million compared with three bank sales in March 2010 totaling $1.32 million. That brings the value of bank-owned sales in the county through the end of the first quarter to $9.11 million.

There were 12 bank-owned sales in January with a combined value of $5.28 million and 12 more in February with a combined value of $3.83 million.

The three March 2010 bank-owned sales do not represent a large sample, still, the average price of bank-owned sales slid from $439,333 that month to $204,193 in March of this year. February’s average priced changed from $1.25 million for four sales in February 2010 to $319,858 for the dozen sales in February this year.

The average sale price of bank-owned homes here in January was $440,392. January 2010 figures were not recorded in the report.

Cook said, realistically, that he expects to see the Routt County market continue to work through distressed properties for at least another year but that he feels confident they are being absorbed at a pace faster than new notices of foreclosure filings are arriving at the Routt County Courthouse.

“We just have to get through these bank-owned properties before our market can do anything significant in terms of a recovery,” Cook said.

Cook, his father, Jim Cook, and Colorado Group Realtor Kelly Becker, have a listing contract for Wells Fargo’s bank-owned properties in the area through a company called Premier Assets Services.

The downward trending prices for bank-owned properties here are related to banks’ determination to move forward, Cook said.

“Banks are able to be a lot more aggressive on price than private owners,” he said. “Banks have a price they want to get, but they don’t have the same bottom line as an individual owner. They just want to get them off their books.”

For all of their bank-owned properties, Cook said, they are required to submit a detailed report every 30 days including comparable sales in the market.

“The report is usually followed by a price reduction,” Cook said. If there are showings but no offers, the banks are quick to catch on to that and lower the asking price until it triggers offers. And increasingly, there are multiple offers, Cook added.

7-figure sales still flourish

Despite the influence of bank-owned properties in the Routt County market, million dollar-plus homes continue to sell.

Six homes had sold for more than $2 million through the end of March, and 18 had sold for more than $1 million.

Unofficially, another nine million-dollar properties sold in April.

The million dollar-plus homes accounted for more than $26.3 million, representing 27 percent of the first quarter total of $95 million. That $95 million compares unfavorably with last year’s total of $125.7 million recorded through the end of March 2010, according to figures gleaned from county records by Land Title. And that’s where bank-owned sales come in.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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