December 2013 Pagosa Springs Real Estate Newsletter
Winter is upon us. The good news is we’ve got a bunch of snow up in the mountains. As of today, the snowpack is at 150% of average. This should keep all the skiers and snowmobilers happy. We got a pretty good dump here in town last night as well.
I called the Chamber of Commerce to see how Thanksgiving business was. They told me it was pretty average. The Piedra Road improvement project is finished for the year, but they still have some work to do when things thaw out this spring.
I’m not aware of any new rumors around town, so let’s cut to the chase. The real estate market is flat. We’re down 1% in overall sales compared to last year, and the residential market is down 4%. One bright spot for homes is the $250,000 to $400,000 price range, which is up quite a bit. This range has also seen the greatest increase in inventory, so people have a lot of choices, and many of them are taking advantage of those choices. Regarding condos, the under-$100,000 price range is down 50% compared to last year. This is not caused by a lack of interested buyers, but rather by a lack of inventory. In vacant land, small lots in Pagosa Lakes and Aspen Springs are doing well, but the rest of the numbers are weak.
Although the overall number of sales remains flat, the dollar volume numbers are up slightly. The total value of property sold is up about 5% compared to last year at this time. There are two factors contributing to this increase. One is a slight shift in the type of property being sold. As more high-end properties sell, the median price is pushed up. Second, there has been a small amount of actual price appreciation in some market segments.
One other piece of decent news came from the Building Department. I spoke with them the other day, and we’ve had 59 permits for new homes issued this year, compared with 49 last year. Total building permits are at 242 versus 202 last year. The people at the Building Department told me we’re seeing more spec homes this year, and they are all across the board from high-end luxury homes to entry-level homes for first-time home buyers.
If anyone out there is in the market for a great vacation home, I’ve got a fully furnished townhome on the golf course that would be a great fit. It’s got vaulted ceilings, a rock fireplace, a big view, and it would make a good short-term rental when you aren’t in town. I had a contract on it until just a few days ago. The deal came apart, and now the property is back on the market. Click Here to learn more.
In banking news, there will be some new mortgage regulations coming online in January. The rules are part of the Dodd-Frank financial bill which was passed in response to the financial crisis and housing meltdown. The rules are meant to promote “safe” mortgages which borrowers have the ability to repay. These “safe” mortgages are called qualified mortgages, and about 95 percent of the loans out there already meet the new standard. Certain groups of borrows may see a difference, especially borrowers looking for larger mortgages. More exotic products like interest-only loans and balloon payment loans may become more difficult to find. Opinions differ, and it remains to be seen how much effect these new rules will have out there in the real world. If you’d like to learn more about this issue, check out this story in the New York Times.
Finally, I’d like to thank all of our troops serving overseas. Many of them won’t be home for the holidays, and I am grateful for their service.