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Area real estate sales show gains

The Pagosa Springs Area Association of Realtors (PSAAR) released its most recent sales and listings statistics last week, reflecting increased market activity through the second quarter — and first half — of 2010.

From April 1 through June 30 of this year, 54 recorded sales of site-built single-family homes showed an 80-percent increase over the same period last year (30 similar sales). While still lagging far behind the second-quarter totals seen in 2005 and 2006, this year’s transactions actually topped those of 2008 by nearly 13 percent, or six sales, while barely missing the 2007 tally by a single sale.

Considering all types of residential sales, including site-built, townhome/condominium, manufactured and modular homes, 2010 second-quarter sales outpaced those of 2009 by 22 sales, reflecting a healthy 55-percent gain in a year’s time. Of the 62 total residential sales recorded during this year’s second quarter, seven were either condos or townhomes, and one was a manufactured or modular home.

Through the first half of this year, PSAAR Realtors and agents sold 94 Archuleta County site-built homes, compared to just 51 in the first six months of 2009. Reflecting an 84-percent climb in closed sales, this year’s total dollar volume (through June 30) equaled $25.66 million — virtually double that of last year, in just site-built home sales.

From the beginning of 2010 to the end of June, agents sold 111 residential homes of all types, compared to 66 in the same timeframe a year ago. With this year’s closings climbing 68 percent over 2009, the 2010 total dollar volume fell slightly short of $28 million, or $13.6 million more than that of last year. Of the 111 homes sold this year, 39 (or 35 percent) were “bank owned.”

This year’s land sales (of all types) also increased over last, though its overall activity was no match for total home sales. Nonetheless, 47 unimproved properties changed hands between Jan. 1 and June 30, compared to just 40 over the same duration a year ago.

Among vacant lots less than half-an-acre in size, just 12 sold between last Jan. 1 and the end of June, while only seven changed hands through the first half of 2009.

While this year’s real estate sales are up from a year ago, so are some active listings. By the eighth day of this month, 727 residential properties were included in the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS), compared to 644 at the same time last year. By that date, the 2010 median list price was $289,900.

Total land listings (of all types), on the other hand, numbered 130 less than a year ago, with 910 listed on the MLS earlier this month. Among those catalogued, 788 were residential properties with a median asking price of $78,500.

Meanwhile, the Archuleta County Department of Community Development issued 19 residential building permits during the first half of 2010, compared with 18 in the same timeframe last year. The department issued just one commercial permit in 2010, compared to three in the first six months of 2009. Though totals were nearly equal, both trailed far behind the three previous years.

While the PSAAR statistics clearly point to an upturn in this year’s county residential real estate market, they don’t offer much insight as to the specific nature of homes listed, or the size-range of lots included in today’s listings. Too, they contain only Archuleta County properties sold or listed by PSAAR members, while excluding all listings by Realtors from outside the county, as well as all “for sale by owner” properties.

Regardless, local agents feel now is a good time to purchase real estate, and they may be right. With low interest rates and a lot of inventory to choose from, buyers should be able to negotiate reasonable contract prices.