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ARCHIVED  October 1, 1997

Estes Park housing market experiencing more listings

Families, professionals discovering lure of mountains

ESTES PARK — Nestled up against Rocky Mountain National Park and offering affordable mountain living, Estes Park continues to enjoy a healthy market in residential real estate.
According to the Estes Park Board of Realtors, 102 residential properties were sold through the end of August. This pace is just behind the 116 properties sold during the same period in 1996. The average price for residential properties was up — $201,537 for 1997 vs. $191,735 for 1996.
Rita Kurelia, the group˜s executive officer, said these numbers represent about 95 percent of the residential real estate transactions in the Estes Park area and do not include privately sold properties.
In addition to sales of existing residential properties, 39 of 159 building permits issued by the Town of Estes Park this year are for new single-family homes, condominium and apartment projects. Fifty-seven permits were issued for new residential construction through all of 1996.
Although late summer traditionally sees more properties going on the market, Kurelia said there are more residential listings — 444 — this year than in the past six years. However, she added that those properties are on the market for a shorter period of time — 153 days vs. 178 in 1996.
"There is more on the market right now," she said. "It˜s turned into a buyer˜s market."
Kurelia said vacant lots for building are still in high demand, and properties under $100,000 are harder to find, although they often come with certain challenges.
"Under that price you have to start asking if there is water or electricity," she said.
Peggy Lynch, an agent and broker in Estes Park, agreed, saying that while mountain property is increasingly harder to find, there are several residential developments that are drawing customers.
"They may want a mountain lifestyle," she said, "but they may have to settle for a condo in the heart of the Estes Valley."
Among the residential projects cited by Lynch are Arapaho Estates, Ranch Meadow, The Reserve and Gray Fox. These developments still have unsold units ranging from $150,000 to $200,000. She added that condominiums are selling much faster than single-family homes.
Lynch, who came to Estes Park in 1985, said the boom in the local real-estate market can be traced to improvements made in the local infrastructure about five years ago. She said that when U S West upgraded the telephone lines, eliminating party lines, Estes Park suddenly became more attractive to people looking for a mountain lifestyle.
"That made a big change," she said.
This, she added, changed the image of Estes Park from a retirement and tourist community to one that was attractive to young families and lone-eagle professionals.
In addition to communications upgrades, Lynch said real-estate prices in the area compare favorably with Front Range communities and are drawing people who commute to work in the Denver metro area.
"We˜ve got the beauty and affordability of housing," she said, "compared to Boulder and Fort Collins."
Playing up the natural beauty of the area, continued improvements, and favorable financing, both Kurelia and Lynch said there are no signs the demand for residential properties will slow down.
"There is a lot of good land out there," Kurelia said.
Lynch said, "I feel for the next five years we˜re going to have growth."

Families, professionals discovering lure of mountains

ESTES PARK — Nestled up against Rocky Mountain National Park and offering affordable mountain living, Estes Park continues to enjoy a healthy market in residential real estate.
According to the Estes Park Board of Realtors, 102 residential properties were sold through the end of August. This pace is just behind the 116 properties sold during the same period in 1996. The average price for residential properties was up — $201,537 for 1997 vs. $191,735 for 1996.
Rita Kurelia, the group˜s executive officer, said these numbers represent about 95 percent of the residential real estate transactions…

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