Housing sales continue red-hot pace | VailDaily.com

Housing sales continue red-hot pace

Daily file photoReal estate sales continue at a near-record pace, as buyers become more confident in the relative strength of the national and regional economies.

Eagle County’s residential real estate sales finished the year on the same torrid pace set in August as recession and war-worried 2003 ended nearly even with 2002’s sales totals.

The turnaround last year is like a tale of two seasons, as economic recovery began and war tensions subsided. When that happened, transactions began.

December’s sales of $185 million” a one-month record ” boosted the annual sales total to $1.47 billion, just 2 percent behind 2003’s $1.5 billion. The number of transactions in December, 288, was 11 percent ahead of last December. The annual total of transactions in 2003 was 2,597, second only to the total tallied in the all-time boom year of 2000 when there was 2,672. Unlike 2000, the majority of sales were resales of existing property.

Sales activity during the first seven months of 2003, and particularly leading up to and immediately following the outbreak of hostilities in Iraq, was at one point, 17 percent less than 2002’s level. That changed when sales surged in August, statistics compiled by Land Title Guarantee Company show. Those sales mirror the rise of the stock market which crossed the 10,0000 mark earlier this year and now sits at nearly 10,600.

Statistics compiled by Led Gardner of Sonnenalp Real Estate show the surge in sales was significant. Since August, there were $791 million in sales and 1,371 transactions. Those totals surpass the same time frame in the benchmark year of 2000, he said.

December totals were punctuated by sales of large and extreme top-end properties like an $8.3 million sale at Vail’s Spraddle Creek, a $5.6 million property in Beaver Creek’s Bachelor Gulch and the $10. 8 million sale of the Lodge at Cordillera.

“The high end of our market is largely driven by how buyers feel at a particular moment,” said Gardner. “Now whether they can afford a property or not. If economic prospects are bright, and attractive inventory is available buyers in this niche are more inclined to move forward with their purchase decisions.”

Nearly half of December’s sales totals, $90.38 million, came from the 30 transactions on property priced at $1 million and up. Entry-level housing priced at less than $291,565 contributed four and one-half times that number of transactions, and totaled $40.5 million. Housing priced at $500,000 and less totaled two-thirds of all sales transactions and 28 percent of the dollar volume.

Depending on what definition of “mid-range” you use, housing priced from $500,000 to $1 million totaled 38 sales and $26.8 million.

The average sales price of improved residential property in December was $680,405.

Gardner said he expects the resurgence in sales activity to continue into 2004.

“The combination of favorable economic conditions, a strong and active real estate market and ample inventory will help ensure that the new year will enjoy a strong start and that we can expect continued success in 2004,” he said.

2003 in review

On any given day in 2003, an average of more than 40 million in real estate was bought and sold in Eagle County.

Entry level housing, that priced at $500,000 and less, created the greatest number of transactions in 2003 “1,862, or nearly 72 percent of all transactions.

Property priced at $500,000 to $1 million provided the least number of transactions “233, or just under 9 percent of the transaction total while properties priced at $1 million and above provided 502 transactions or 19 percent of the total.

From a dollar-volume standpoint entry-level housing contributed $638.22 million or 43 percent of the dollar volume while property priced from $500,000 to $1 million contributed 164.56 million or 11 percent and properties priced at $1 million and up provided 46 percent of the dollar volume.

The $1.471 billion posted in 2003 is the third largest residential property sales total since 2000’s 1.7 billion and 2002’s 1.5 billion.

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