On the Market: County January sales dollars off 7.5 percent

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— The number of real estate sales in Routt County in January was up 25 percent to 136, according to Bruce Carta, of Land Title Guarantee Co., yet overall dollar volume was down 7.52 percent to $46 million.

Likely contributors were the 12 bank-owned sales in January totaling $5.28 million for an average of $440,392.

The number of homes that sold for $1 million or more was 11, the same number as for January 2010. The number of homes that sold for less than $500,000 grew to 18 from 11 in the first month of 2010.

Carta tracked nine sales that cracked the $1.5 million level including an Edgemont condo at $3.22 million that sold for $826 per square foot. Next on the list was a new five-bedroom home in The Sanctuary. At $2.94 million, it sold for $465 per square foot.

An atypically large home in The Porches of Steamboat sold for $2.46 million. At 3,476 square feet, it sold for $708 per square foot.

Another new construction sale in The Sanctuary came in at $341 per square foot for the 5,716-square-foot, five-bedroom, 5 1/2 bath home.

Other’s on Carta’s list included: Dakota Ridge, $1.9 million; One Steamboat Place, $1.8 million; The Sanc­tuary, $1.7 million; the entire Lake Village subdivision in Hayden, $1.65 million; and a home on Bradley Ranch Road for $1.65 million.

9 home sales in January were priced below $200K

Of the 35 homes that sold in Routt County in January, nearly one-third, or 11, sold for more than $1 million. Of the total, eight were between $1 million and $2 million.

Carta said nine homes representing 26 percent of homes that sold in January were priced below $200,000. Another six homes were priced between $200,000 and $300,000.

Average mortgage rate slips below 4.9 percent

The Associated Press

The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage dropped this week, following lower yields on Treasury bonds.

Freddie Mac reported Thurs­day that the average rate on the 30-year loan slipped to 4.87 percent from 4.95 percent. It hit a 40-year low of 4.17 percent in November.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed home loan fell to 4.15 percent from 4.22 percent. It reached 3.57 percent in November, the lowest level on records dating back to 1991.

Mortgage rates tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. Investors are putting more money into Treasuries, concerned that Libya’s uprising will keep oil prices higher than $100 a barrel and hurt consumer spending. That has lowered those yields.

Low mortgage rates haven’t been enough to boost housing. Fewer homebuyers signed contracts to purchase homes in January, the second straight month of waning demand, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday.

High unemployment and strict lending requirements have kept many people from buying homes. And a record number of foreclosures are forcing home prices down, making other potential buyers fearful that the market has yet to hit bottom. Most economists don’t expect home values to bottom out until midyear.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac collects rates from lenders across the country Monday through Wednesday of each week. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a day.

The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 3.72 percent from 3.8 percent. The five-year hit 3.25 percent last month, the lowest rate on records dating back to January 2005.

The average rate on one-year adjustable-rate home loans edged up to 3.23 percent from 3.40 percent.

The rates do not include add-on fees, known as points. One point is equal to 1 percent of the total loan amount. The average fee for the 30-year fixed loan and 15-year fixed loan in Freddie Mac’s survey was 0.7 points. The average fee for the five-year ARM and the 1-year ARM was 0.6 point.

Pending home sales were off moderately in January

Pending home sales eased moderately in January for the second straight month, but remain 20.6 percent above the cyclical low last June, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator, declined 2.8 percent to 88.9 based on contracts signed in January from a downwardly revised 91.5 in December. The index is 1.5 percent below the 90.3 level in January 2010 when a tax credit stimulus was in place. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, points to the broader trend. “The housing market is healing with sales fluctuating at times, depending on the flow of distressed properties coming on the market,” he said.

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