TELLURIDE – The real estate market in San Miguel County continues to show signs of improvement.
Real estate sales in the first quarter of 2014 set a six-year record, with 106 sales totaling $94.2 million – a 22 percent increase in total sales and a 47 percent increase in dollar value, according to data compiled by Judi Kiernan of Telluride Consulting.
If sales and values stay consistent, 2014 is on pace to match total sales and volume from 2013, which saw 410 sales totaling $342 million.
But even if the number of homes sold this year matches the last, the amount of money they sold for would, on average, still amount to less than half the total of 2007, according to data compiled by the Harvey Group.
But that’s not a concern for Telluride realtor George Harvey.
“We’re all happy we’ve improved in the last two to three years,” he said, “But we’ve got a while to get back to the volume we use to be at… I think we can be really happy when we reach $500 million in sales. My guess is it will take two years to return to a robust real estate market that we can feel good about.”
But Harvey is pleased to see sales and volume increase, and views the continuing decline of the county’s foreclosure rate as a positive indication of where the market is heading.
Only seven homeowners filed foreclosures on their properties during the first quarter of the year, half the number compared to this time last year, said county trustee Jan Stout.
The county’s foreclosure rate has been falling since it peaked in 2010, when 108 foreclosures were filed – an historic high. The rate has slowed since then, dropping 60 percent between 2012 and 2013.
The declining rate, Harvey said, has helped stabilize prices, attracting more prospective homebuyers.
“This is the exact same trend that’s continuing in other resort markets in Colorado,” he said. “All of them last year had about half of the number of foreclosures as there were in 2012.”
Rising prices, better sales and fewer foreclosures make Alpine Bank Vice President Todd Baize more willing to lend to home buyers.
“We’re seeing greater demand for lending services in San Miguel County,” he said, “Alpine Bank in the Town of Telluride has experienced growth in the loan portfolio starting in 2012, and has been improving since then. I see more price stability in the overall market, and increasing prices in certain segments, which makes me feel more comfortable as a lender.”
Baize remembers when the market was at its worst point during the recession. “I know I enjoy my job much more now than I did during that period of time,” he said.
Baize saw the bank’s loan portfolio decline in 2009 and 2011, a reflection, he said, of what was happening in San Miguel County: “Those were rough years, as they were for many businesses.”