1st-quarter market sends mixed signals in Routt

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— Of the 66 real estate transactions recorded in Routt County in January, 14 were bank sales, according to research by Land Title Guarantee Co.

At first glance, January’s transaction volume is less than half of the 136 transactions recorded in January 2011. However, Land Title’s Stan Urban said in a written report that the 2011 numbers were inflated by timeshare transactions, which are not as active here now as they were a year ago.

The average price of those 14 bank-owned sales in January was $168,493, suggesting most of the properties were at the lower end of the housing market. Records at the Routt County Clerk and Recorder’s Office show that in the two-day stretch from Feb. 29 to March 1, Fannie Mae alone sold four homes in four parts of the county at prices ranging from $35,350 to $50,000, including two single-family homes. The combined sales value of the four properties was only $172,925.

The 66 deals that closed in the first month of the year represent the lowest single-month total since July 2009, when there were just 44 closings. July typically is one of the busier months of the year.

The 14 bank sales accounted for $2.36 million of January’s total dollar volume of $42.6 mil-

lion.

Records at the Routt County Treasurer’s Office show that as of March 1, four properties had been sold through property auctions this year, and 17 properties have been deeded back to banks. Records also show that since the first of the year, 46 properties have entered the foreclosure process.

History suggests that a share of those foreclosure filings will be resolved before the property is sold to a third party or deeded back to the holder of the debt.

Treasurer Jeanne Whiddon said that although two months can’t be called a trend, the combined January/February numbers represent a calming of the inflow of foreclosure filings compared to the same period last year.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Whiddon said.

As they did in 2011, when 172 homes that sold for less than $200,000 represented 29 percent of transaction volume, those entry-level houses were strong in the first month of 2012. Fifteen homes that sold for less than $200,000 accounted for 38 percent of the 39 total homes that sold in January 2012. And when the 10 homes that sold for between $200,000 and $300,000 are factored in, they accounted for 64 percent of the action.

The influence that the most expensive homes currently have on gross dollar volume is apparent when one considers the two homes that sold for more than

$1 million in January.

In that month, there was one sale for $1.24 million and a second for $3.48 million. The combined total of $4.72 million was 31 percent of the $15.3 million in gross home sales volume in January.

However, $3 million-plus sales are relatively rare in this market — of the 78 million-dollar home sales in all of 2011, just four sold for more than $3 million. Million-dollar home sales represented 45 percent of housing dollar volume in 2011.

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

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