Home sales in Montezuma County rose in November compared to last year, with foreclosures impacting the market.
According to the Four Corners Board of Realtors Association, November home sales topped 23 in 2010 compared with 15 in November 2009. Home sales for October were 21 in both 2010 and 2009.
We seem to have more buyers circulating this year even though its usually a slower time of year, said Mindy Rosenbaugh, the Four Corners Board of Realtors president. The big drive is the interest rates are still so attractive, and of course, its a buyers market. There is a lot of inventory for them to choose from. Rosenbaugh said anything under $200,000 has been selling.
Nationally, the number of people who signed contracts to buy homes rose 10.4 percent in October, producing a positive trend since bottoming in June, according to the National Association of Realtors.
NAR, Americas largest trade association, represents 1.1 million members involved in residential and commercial real estate industries. The associations Pending Home Sales Index is based on pending sales of existing homes when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed. The sale is usually finalized within one or two months of signing, according to NAR.
We are also seeing an increase in homes that are being offered in a short-sale situation, Rosenbaugh said. A short sale is when the lender is willing to discount the loan and take less than what is owed against the property to forgo the foreclosure process.
Ken Williamson, a broker associate with RE/MAX Mesa Verde Realty, said he has seen an increase in foreclosure sales.
I handle quite a few foreclosures, and I would say there has been more activity in the last couple months, Williamson said. Were actually getting them under contract and closing. There are quite a few foreclosures on the market and quite a few in the county in the process of being foreclosed.
Montezuma County Public Trustee Sherry Dyess, who handles all Montezuma County foreclosures, said in November the office opened 11 foreclosures and deeded seven. In October, 15 foreclosures were opened with six going to sale, and September saw 14 opened and 10 deeded.
Were showing 137 for the total number for the year so far, and thats not that many more than last years 133 (for all of 2009), but we still have the rest of December to go, she said. But it seems like theyve slowed down just a little bit in the last two weeks.
Williamson said the benefit of buying a foreclosure is they sell below market value, but there are drawbacks as well.
If they are on the market for an extended period of time, were seeing they are putting them up for auction, he said. If they dont sell at auction then they come back, and you can get an even better deal. The big drawback is the bank sells them as is.
Williamson said he sees the people gravitating towards the lower priced, good deals, but buyers still have another hurdle before signing on the dotted line.
The hardest part in the real estate industry right now is the lending, he said. Its tough for people (to qualify) to buy houses right now.
Rosenbaugh said the increase of home sales should continue.
As long as the interest rates stay low and remain steady, everything should keep trending up, Rosenbaugh said. If we get an increase in the interest rates, or they start rising, then with each increase it shrinks the buyers market.