An annual report compiled by Heritage Title Company shows the number of real estate transactions in Delta County increased 12 percent in 2012. A total of 626 sales took place during the year, compared to 558 in 2011.
In dollar volume, real estate sales totaled $100 million, a 9 percent decrease from $108.5 million in 2011.
The report attributes the decrease in dollar volume to a drop in high dollar transactions. In 2011, there were nine sales over the $1 million mark, compared to just five in 2012.
"The 2012 real estate market was encouraging, but has a way to go before reaching pre-recession levels," observed Tamra Smith of Heritage Title Company.
The sale of foreclosures accounted for 30 percent of all sales in 2012. The 185 sales outpaced the 154 foreclosed sales recorded in 2011 (28 percent of the market).
"There are a lot of foreclosures that have not hit the market yet," said Nancy Wood of RE/MAX Mountain West. "Because of new government regulations on lenders, foreclosures were stagnant for a period of time. They stood in the bank's vault, so to speak, because the banks weren't sure how to proceed. Now that 'shadow inventory' is starting to hit the market."
Foreclosure filings in Delta County increased 21 percent from 202 in 2011 to 244 in 2012. The number of completed foreclosures decreased 18 percent to 158 in 2012, compared to 192 completed in 2011.
Foreclosures are just one factor keeping home prices lower than they have been in years, but prices seem to have bottomed out and are now holding stable.
"Sellers are more realistic than they were a year or two ago when they were resisting the drop in prices," Bob Lario of RE/MAX Mountain West said. "Sellers are pricing more realistically and buyers have become aware that the market is probably not going to get any better so waiting may not be a great strategy. In fact, it's as good as it's going to get."
Wood agrees. "It was such an extreme buyers' market for a while that the buyers would immediately want to take a large chunk off the price." Now homes are priced more realistically, so lowballing is not the best strategy, she said.
Because property is starting to move in other areas of the state and the country, Lario said he's finally starting to work with people desiring to relocate to Delta County. "We noticed in the second half of 2012 we were getting more customers coming in to buy who have their homes elsewhere under contract," he said.
Lario says he's fielding more inquiries about houses in the upper end ($250,000 and up), as well as farms, ranches, orchards and vineyards. Some are investors who are looking for others to operate the farm or ranch, but Lario recently sold a couple of orchards to people from the Front Range who plan to put their own sweat equity into the operations.
Looking back, Lario says the real estate market appears to have hit bottom in 2011. Although values are "trolling along the bottom" he agrees prices have stabilized.
In the six-county region which includes Delta, Hinsdale, Mesa, Montrose, Pitkin and Rio Blanco counties, the Colorado Association of REALTORS® (CAR) reports median prices increased just over 10 percent and days on the market dropped 7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Overall, CAR reports, Colorado continues to see a recovery from its low point four years ago.blog comments powered by Disqus