Busy sales follow slow start to the year
By Collin McRann
Published: Thursday, September 12, 2013 6:26 PM CDT
After a slower than average start to the year, real estate sales picked up in a big way in August.
Through the first seven months of the year, the number of sales was down around 13 percent from 2012 while the dollar volume of sales was down 10 percent, according to numbers compiled by Telluride Consulting. But August brought a major boost; the number of sales for the month was up 23 percent from August of 2012 while the dollar volume was up 56 percent. With the August activity, the number of sales for the year is now down only 7 percent from last year and the dollar volume is back to even.
Local realtors are optimistic that things could pick up again in September, but say it’s too early to predict.
According to Judi Kiernan, who owns Telluride Consulting, the August numbers were a big boost for the year.
“One month can make a huge difference because we are such a small market and the news [about August] is a big contrast to July,” Kiernan said, but added that “one month does not a trend make.
“I don’t think there’s actually a reason, I think it’s as random as last month’s poor performance,” she said.
In all, 48 sales were made in August, up from 38 last year and it was best August since 2007. The dollar volume of the sales totaled $46.9 million, up from $30.1 million in August of 2012. It came on the heels of a poorly performing July, which saw 27 sales, down from 34 in July of 2012. The dollar volume for the month was down 43 percent compared with July of 2012, meanwhile.
Kiernan said about $10 million of the August sales came from condominiums in Mountain Village and another $6.5 million came from land transfers in Telluride.
In Telluride three significant separate land transfers were from Telluride Zoline Properties to the Telluride Transfer Company. The properties are located in what is known as the four corners neighborhood of town, which includes the property south of Village Market across the street.
Real estate broker George Harvey agreed with Kiernan that he would like to see three to four months of strong sales before drawing any conclusions. But he said the poor sales in July included everything from residential homes to condominiums and commercial properties in both Mountain Village and Telluride.
In July, Mountain Village saw the biggest decline, but with August’s numbers, things are looking better for the town.
Another real estate broker, Dirk de Pagter, said September through October is traditionally a strong selling period.
De Pagter also said he thinks a more accurate picture of the market for the year will emerge by mid-October.
Last year was a good year for local real estate as dollar volume was up between 20 and 30 percent over 2011 and the number of sales was also up between 15 and 20 percent. So far, according to Telluride Consulting, total real estate sales in the area for the year through July are 255 units sold; last year at the same time it was 275.
Three areas broadly define local real estate, Harvey said: Telluride, Mountain Village and surrounding areas in the county such as the mesas and other subdivisions.
“The old town of Telluride is a limited product. It is surrounded on four sides where there can’t be any development, so in a certain sense it’s a very predictable market,” Harvey said. “Then you’ve got the Town of Mountain Village which is spread out more, with bigger homes, more condominiums, more vacant lots and land — a completely different product. But right now Mountain Village has a little too much inventory, it’s going to take some time to absorb that for prices to rebound in my opinion.”
Harvey said he has seen the cycle of local real estate go up and down before. He said other resort markets in Colorado such as Aspen, Vail and Steamboat have all been performing better than Telluride this year. But he thinks it is a good time to be a buyer with everything that’s on the market.
“[The numbers are] a good sign, and we would love it to be a good trend, but the good news is it’s the best August we’ve had since the huge spike in 2007,” Kiernan said.