Recovering from the local impact of the 2008 housing crisis, the steady increase in Salida and Chaffee County home and real estate sales continued throughout 2014.

Dropping from 1,017 real estate transactions county-wide in 2007 to 444 by 2010, real estate sales have been slowly on the rise, bringing that number to 745 in 2014, according to data from Central Colorado Title & Escrow.

“It was our best year since 2007,” said Hayden Melsop of Pinon Real Estate Group. “But we’re still nowhere near the 2007 peak on the county level.”

From 2013, Chaffee County saw a 13-percent increase in revenue and a 17-percent increase in number of transactions in 2014.

Kevan Lyons, of Realtors of Central Colorado, said 377 homes were sold in Chaffee County including the municipalities in 2014. Those homes spent an average of 181 days on the market.

That’s up slightly from 2013 when 336 homes, which spent an average of 224 days on the market, were sold.

For the Salida area, a Multiple Listing Service report shows 160 homes sold in 2014, and on average those homes spent 167 days on the market. The average list price for those homes was $311,016, and on average they sold for $298,661 – 96 percent of their listing price.

In 2010, when the housing market in the area bottomed out, only 110 homes were sold in the Salida area, and homes spent an average of 229 days on the market before being sold.

The number of newly constructed homes in Chaffee County, however, hasn’t seen a straightforward trend of growth: 194 were completed in 2007, the number hovers mostly between 80 and 100 in following years and ends at 113 completions in 2014.

“Most builders tell me they’ve been busy lately,” said Melsop. Salida has low inventory at the moment with more buyers than sellers.

In recent years, people who haven’t been able to find homes to buy have been purchasing lots and building new homes.

The cost of building a new home may even be comparable with purchasing an existing structure, Melsop said. But many people will be put off because they’re unfamiliar with the building process, and to many it will simply be easier to buy a home that’s already built.

But the advantage is that you get a new home as opposed to buying an older place that you may need to sink money into for upgrades. The space inside an older home is often chopped up, as opposed to the open spaces of modern kitchens, for example, said Melsop.

Considering the need for upgrades, a buyer might even get off cheaper building a new place.

Subdivisions, like Trailside Estates and Cottonwood Green, are booming. Melsop said lots at Crestone Mesa in particular are being “snatched up like hotcakes.” And those lots have only been on the market since the beginning of the year.

People are often looking for a place closer to downtown, but those subdivisions still keep you quite close.

Buyers want to be close enough for a quick bike ride into town or to the grocery store, Melsop said. “So, hats off to the city’s work on the trail plan. Even the people living at Starbuck have an easy ride into town without having to go all the way out to the highway.”

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