April 2010 Newsletter
I’m excited to report some positive news for a change. Our frozen real estate market shows hints of thawing along with the snow. We are certainly not out of the woods yet, but I have several surprisingly good statistics to share.
The headline number is a 95% increase in year-to-date home sales compared to the same period last year. We are running nearly double of last year’s pace, we are ahead of the 2008 pace, and we are only one sale behind the pace set in 2007. The condo market is up 75% over last year, and we’ve even had a few sales in the $200K+ range. Sales in this price range were completely non-existent at this time last year.
While not quite as exciting, but still positive, vacant land sales are up 36% over last year. This is certainly an improvement, but it is hard not to compare this year’s numbers with the blistering pace set in the boom years of 2005 and 2006. Those heady days are long gone, and I do not expect them to come back any time soon. I choose to focus on the fact that for now, things seem to be improving, as you can see in the following chart:
Bank repos continue to be a dominant force in our market. While they represent only 7% of the residential real estate listings, they comprise 28% of the sales this year. Even those properties which are not bank repos must be priced like bank repos in order to remain competitive. We still have a large inventory, and it is growing every week as it always does this time of year. If you have a home or property to sell, you absolutely must be priced toward the “bargain” end of the spectrum, or you likely won’t get many showings. Sales numbers are improving, but being a seller is still a tough proposition.
I’d like to close with a few caveats. The first quarter is traditionally a very slow time for Pagosa real estate. Even though we’re showing some positive numbers, we’re dealing with a pretty small sample size. Also, I should note that 2009 was a really lousy year for Pagosa real estate. All together, we’re up 78% over last year at this time, but after a year like last year, there isn’t much room to go anywhere but up.
I look forward to the 2010 “selling season.” We will soon see whether or not this statistical recovery has legs. I’m hoping that these positive numbers are a sign of things to come, and not just statistical noise during a slow time of year.
Everybody keep your fingers crossed!
Finally, I’d like to remind everyone that the clock is ticking on the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit and additional tax credit for move-up buyers. In order to qualify for either credit, you must be under contract by April 30th. Mortgage rates are headed back up again, and buying a house is currently more expensive than it was two weeks ago. If you’re in the market for a home, the time to act is now, not later.