Housing market indicators remain positive for Routt County

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— The anecdotal and data-driven evidence for the return of Routt County’s housing market continues to pile up.

Yampa Valley Data Partners reports that the sell through rate was 2.6 percent for October. The sell through rate is calculated by dividing the number of homes that sold in a month by the total number on the market for the same month.

According to Yampa Valley Data Partners, when that rate is higher than 2.5 percent for 12 to 18 months, residential construction activity typically will pick up.

October was the third month in a row that the rate has been higher than 2.5 percent.

The uptick in the sell through rate could have other effects on Routt County’s housing market, said Scott Ford, a data analyst with Yampa Valley Data Partners. Prices likely will start to rise, affecting the number of sales. Rising prices also might entice people who had been waiting to sell their homes to enter the market.

And for those of us who live in Routt County — buying homes or not — life must be looking a little rosier.

While retail sales compared to last year stayed steady, food and beverage sales in August saw an 8 percent increase over last year, which largely is driven by residents feeling more confident in dining out and less by increased visitor traffic, according to Yampa Valley Data Partners.

Yampa Valley Data Partners’ news about the coal industry also is positive.

While many coal-producing areas are seeing declines because of lower prices for energy alternatives, Northwest Colorado’s four mines produced almost half of Colorado’s coal in August.

And with the Sage Creek mine ramping up, coal industry employment is up 10 percent in Routt County.

Factors such as the proximity of coal-fired power stations and the high-energy density of area coal help to bolster the industry here.

However, well production in Routt and Moffat counties fell.

“It is highly likely that some of the wells are being taken out of production because of the decline in the commodity price for natural gas,” states the Yampa Valley Data Partners report.

Overall, Ford said, Routt County is in a good place. Rarefied air ever, he said.

Typically, Routt County grows by the migration of affluent households to the area after recessions, Ford said. That helps housing, retail and other areas of the economy as overall income — and largely labor force income — in Routt County grows.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com

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