MONTROSE-As an artist, Lynn Vogel is known for bringing together various materials to create breathtaking and individual sculptures in non-traditional mediums.  As a small business owner, putting pieces of a statistical puzzle together to create a picture has also been a passion for Vogel, the force behind Comparable Sales Research for 25 years.

“I love puzzles, and this is the ultimate puzzle,” said Vogel. “What do the numbers tell us?”

Though she is well known as a weaver and artist, it was while working for an appraiser many years ago that Vogel started her research business. “He was looking to make some changes, and there was some pressure for research,” Vogel said. “So I sat down with a number of local appraisers, and came up with a strategy.”

Today, Vogel’s clients include not only appraisers, but realtors, bankers, and buyers and sellers of real estate.

“I just worked with a couple who had a little house they wanted to sell,” she said. “We sat down and did an analysis of sales in their area, and the price range they would be looking at.

“I think that house sold in a week,” she said.

Areas in the City that are currently selling well include Cobble Creek, American Village, and Ravenscrest, she noted. The largest recent sale within City limits was a home on 3.6 acres that sold for $739,725. However, it was the core City that also took the greatest hit during the economic downturn, Vogel said.

“Downtown had the highest foreclosure rates,” she said. “Because of the size and the price, many of the homes Downtown are starter homes.”

Though many home sales are to newcomers who are drawn to the Montrose area for retirement considerations or to be closer to family members, people who already live in the area buy and sell homes too, Vogel said.

“They may want to buy up, or buy down because the kids have grown and they no longer need the space,” she said. “They may move down from the mountain communities because there is less snow here, or to be closer to care facilities. Some people who have lived in the country for a while just want to move to town.”

Montrose took a hit during the recession, Vogel noted, in part because of the numbers of platted, residential lots available for sale. “That’s bad because it means there is too much inventory,” she said, noting that an excess of speculative development was an issue nationwide in the mid 2000’s. Also contributing to the economic collapse were foreclosures, Montrose City Planner Garry Baker said.

“When there tons of bank-owned lots on the market, it brings the prices down on everything,” Baker said, noting that the market responded by producing fewer spec homes. Today, foreclosures have slowed, available platted residential lots have decreased to the point that new ones are again being created, and building permits are up over last year.

“We’re definitely seeing more interest and activity here,” he said. “People are coming in and investing, which is shared all around—it’s so great.”

And while the era of palatial single family homes is by no means over, many consumers are opting for simpler homes and lifestyles today, Baker said.

“Builders are trying to appeal to different market niches,” he said. “There is more activity with patio homes, for example. Many people are buying homes on smaller lots, to have a smaller yard to care for.”

Montrose as a community is healthy, Lynn Vogel agreed. Single home sales within Montrose County are rose by 13 percent between April 1-June 30, 2015 compared to April 1-June 30, 2014, she said.

In the City of Montrose single family home sales rose 8.6 percent during that same time frame, Vogel noted.

“That’s a really good growth rate, and it is sustainable,” she said.

Within the “core” City area, from North 9th to South 12th streets and West of the Railroad tracks to the Uncompahgre River and east to San Juan Avenue, 40 of 207 sales between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2015 were in the $35,000 to $213,000 price range, according to Vogel’s statistics. Between Jan. 1 and June 30 2014, 34 of 189 sales in the core City were in the $30,000 to $215,000 price range.