Real estate sales slow, still on record pace | AspenTimes.com

Real estate sales slow, still on record pace

PITKIN COUNTY ” Pitkin County’s real estate market remained ahead of last year’s record pace despite slower sales in August, according to an analysis by Land Title Guarantee Co.

The dollar volume of sales in August fell 11.35 percent compared to August 2006, the report said. Sales totaled $204.48 million in August this year compared to $230.67 million last year.

Land Title Guarantee Co. does a monthly analysis of deeds of sales recorded at the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s Office. That encompasses sales of everything from McMansions to deed-restricted condominiums.

Sales in July were up by nearly 4 percent, when measured by dollar volume. Sales were off 50 percent in June, although that was skewed by a mammoth $48.5 million sale in June 2006.

When looking at the year to date, 2007 is setting a record pace. The dollar volume in Pitkin County was $1.79 billion for the year through August compared to $1.64 billion at the same point in 2006, Land Title Guarantee Co.’s report showed. This year is ahead of last year by 9 percent.

Last year was a record in Pitkin County, when total sales reached $2.64 billion.

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The big question is whether the record pace can be maintained throughout the rest of 2007 or if slower sales in August are a sign of the market’s direction. Real estate agents consistently have said that a lack of inventory would eventually cool the Roaring Fork Valley market.

For the year to date, the number of real estate sales transactions is down nearly 31 percent compared to last year. Through August, there were 876 transactions in Pitkin County this year compared to 1,262 at the same point last year.

In August, the number of transactions fell 29 percent.

The hot downvalley market also cooled in August. The dollar volume was up only 2.1 percent in August compared to the same month last year, Land Title Guarantee Co.’s report showed. There was double-digit growth for six of the eight months this year.

Real estate sales to date in Garfield County are up 30 percent from 2006. The dollar volume is $826.66 million through August compared to $636.43 million last year.

However, the number of real estate transactions in Garfield County dropped for the first time this year in August. They were down 21 percent from 318 last year to 252 this year for the month. For the year-to-date, transactions in Garfield County remain 8 percent ahead of the 2006 pace, according to Land Title Guarantee Co.

Appreciation has been strong in Garfield County. The average sale price for single-family homes soared to $440,000 this year compared to $391,500 last year, the report showed.