Area real estate sales more robust than state average in 2003

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The Craig area fared better in the real estate market than other areas in Colorado in 2003, and this January, a traditionally slow month in real estate, has been better than average, local real estate agents say.

While most regions in Colorado experienced a drop in sales between 2002 and 2003, sales in the Craig area market increased by 2 percent, Sari Cobb, president of the Craig Association of Realtors, said.

Moreover, the market has been strong this January. Generally, sales decline after the holiday season, and local real estate firms see few if any new listings, Cobb said.

Currently, 100 houses are available in the Craig area. The average selling price for a 3-bedroom home is $135,000 to $145,000.

Single family homes, priced from $100,000 to $145,000, are selling with the most success, Cobb said. Many buyers are shopping for homes that come with acreage.

A decline in sales starts for homes priced from $145,000 to $200,000, and Cobb described the market for homes priced more than $200,000 as "very lethargic."

It's a good time to buy because interest rates are so low, said Christine Adams, a real estate agent at Western United Reality. Mortgage rates were at 5.6 to 6 percent interest as of Thursday. Interest rates for 15-year mortgages ranged 4.6 to 5 percent.

"The lower the rates, the more house you can buy," said Mary Lou Wisdom, a real estate agent at Country Living Realty. The federal government may raise those rates by the end of summer, so now is the time to buy, she said.

The current market is "real steady," Wisdom added. "It's not a real buyer's market or seller's market, and that's good for the economy."

Cobb said the market in investment properties has been very active. Investors are buying duplexes, and three and four-tenant homes to rent out. But the commercial property market is extremely slow.

Burk Wynkoop put his family's four-bedroom house of 30 years on the market the week of Christmas. Priced at $177,000, Wynkoop said he has shown the house four or five times, but didn't know if that was a sign of high interest or not, since he hadn't sold a house for three decades.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at rgebhart@craigdailypress.com.

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