Routt County real estate market sees improvement in February

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— The real estate market in Routt County continues to lag national trends, showing an uptick in February sales and continued interest from cash buyers.

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Nationally, the housing market has been described as shifting from low prices and investment purchases to increasing prices and more buyers who intend to live in the home.

Along with a cold winter, that shift has been cited as part of the reason behind lagging existing home sales and pending home sales for February.

But despite December 2013 and January showing significant drops compared to the previous year, Routt County saw its best February in five years, according to a report from Land Title Guarantee Co.

The dollar volume and number of transactions for February were significant improvements over January and the previous year, with $38,764,000 in sales representing a 26 percent increase against February 2013.

That’s still more than 35 percent off the February 2008 sales volume but represents a positive departure from the continuing national slide.

In past years, the number of transactions typically dropped off from January to February. The 98 transactions recorded this past February represent a 4 percent increase over the same month in 2013 and a 42 percent uptick compared to January’s 68 transactions.

Although there has been some upward pressure on prices in recent months, mainly for single-family homes, it’s not clear that investors have exited the market.

In February, 58 percent of transactions were cash at closing, which is the highest share in the past six months.

About 30 percent of the residential transactions for 2014 thus far have been sales below $200,000. In 2013, the $300,001 to $500,000 range ended with the largest share of the market at a quarter of all sales.

Bank sales were slightly higher with six in February compared to three in January, but overall, foreclosures in Routt County continue to trend down.

Year-to-date dollar volume and transaction numbers are behind 2013 thus far because of January’s weak results. Sales are 9 percent down year to date, and transactions are about 14 percent down.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206, email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @MLSchrantz

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