EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado - The Vail Valley's real estate market continued to improve in June, in both number of transactions and sales price.The latest report from Land Title Guarantee Company shows June sales up 43 percent over sales from June of 2011. The 692 completed sales through the end of June is the best six-month total since 2008.The value of those transactions was up over the previous year, too. Through the first six months of 2012, the value of those sales was $662.7 million, a better total than last year.While property values have declined across the valley in the last four years - in degrees from "yikes!" to "$%#!!" - the June report shows values may be coming back, a little, and in some areas.Prices per square foot have increased an average of 13 percent this year for single-family homes, and 2 percent for condos and townhomes.But Craig Denton of Ascent Sotheby's International Realty in Vail said looking at average numbers can be misleading.And looking at Land Title's breakdown, there's a huge spread in the change in per-square-foot values, from a 76 percent rise in single-family property in the Lake Creek/Squaw Creek area to a 43 percent drop for multi-family units in Gypsum.Denton said values can vary widely even in relatively small areas, with factors including whether the home is brand-new and if the seller is trying to complete a "short" sale - a sale negotiated with a lender for less than is owed on a unit.But part of the change in values is due to old-fashioned supply and demand.Rick Beveridge, owner of Beveridge Real Estate in Eagle, said there's currently a shortage downvalley of single-family homes priced at $400,000 or less. By the same token, there's still a good bit of inventory in townhomes and condos, Beveridge said.Laurie Slaughter of Prudential Colorado Properties' Gypsum office, said there are more townhome and condo owners in foreclosure or short sale situations, plus the fact that it's harder to land financing for condo units than single-family homes right now.Despite the still-depressed prices for some units, sales of bank-owned or foreclosed units will frequently draw multiple bidders. But those sales are just 21 percent of the total, and bidders aren't driving prices appreciably higher on those distressed units to drive the averages up by very much.Denton, who's been in the Vail real estate business for about 40 years, said prices are finally starting to stabilize, despite the small average increases. "People are seeing the value in the market," Denton said. That's true even in the realm of expensive real estate in Vail Village, where the average transaction price in June was more than $4.3 million."When something is priced well, it's going to sell," he said.The same is true downvalley, too, where first-time buyers are getting into the market again."People who grew up here are able to buy their first homes now," Beveridge said. "That's great to see."Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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