Home sales continue streak in 2004 | VailDaily.com

Home sales continue streak in 2004

Cliff Thompson

January residential real estate sales created another record total and brings to six the consecutive number of months that real estate sales in the county have surpassed those posted in the last three years.

There was $119.1 million in sales last month on 157 transactions, with nearly three quarters of the buying occurring in what’s considered entry-level housing because it’s priced at $500,000 or less. Thirteen percent of the transactions involved properties priced at $1 million and greater, representing 39 percent of the dollar volume.

A Bachelor Gulch home priced at $9.5 million sold, but that’s not a record. In 2001, there were two Vail properties sold for $14.3 and $13.5 million. Since then, there have been four separate transactions at $8 million, according to statistics from Land Title Guarantee, which compiles local real estate statistics.

Sales of properties priced in the middle of the pack, $500,000 to $1 million, totaled nine, or just 5 percent of the transactions.

REMAX broker-owner Bill Wilto said he believes there’s a shortage of properties priced at $600,000 and less.

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“It’s tough to find a nice property under $600,000,” he said. “There just isn’t much out there now. There’s a shortage of inventory.”

Last January, during the depths of the recession and the height of the pre-war jitters, sales totaled just $74.9 million. But eight months later, in August, with war worries behind and signs that the national economy was rebounding, people began to buy and there is ample evidence of pent-up demand. By December buyers set a record with $185 million in purchases.

Continuing low interest rates make buying a home an attractive alternative to renting, real estate professionals say.

The rebound in real estate sales in the second half of 2003 mirrored the rise of the stock market which now is at 10,600. Last year there was $1.47 billion in sales on 2,597 transactions.

To date the largest dollar and transaction year on record was 2000 when there was $1.7 billion in sales on 2,672 transactions. In 2002 there was $1.5 billion in sales and 2,597 transactions..

Wilto said based on the contracts his office has, he’s expecting February and March sales to continue to be strong. And Led Gardner from Sonnenalp Real Estate said he’s expecting residential sales to continue to surge through the ski season.

“A highlight this month was the recent closing of the 10,000-acre Castle Peak Ranch in Eagle, which sold for $23 million,” Gardner said. “Five residential properties located in Beaver Creek and Bachelor Gulch with listing prices exceeding $5 million have been placed under contract in February, and we are only half way through the month.”-

Cliff Thompson can be contacted via e-mail at cthompson@vaildaily.com or by calling 949-0555 ext. 450.

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