February 2014 Pagosa Springs Real Estate Newsletter
I just returned from a CRS conference in San Diego. For those of you who don’t know, CRS stands for Certified Residential Specialist, and it represents the top 4% of all the Realtors in the country. The conference was an enlightening time for me. I brought back some great ideas to improve my business. The number one item on my list is to do more with online videos. I hope to have some new videos available to you later in the year.
After six weeks of gorgeous, spring-like weather, the snow has returned to Pagosa country. Wolf Creek is reporting two feet of new snow in the last couple days, and it is supposed to keep snowing for the rest of the week. After lagging briefly due to the dry weather, Wolf Creek has now reclaimed its title of “The Most Snow in Colorado.” The snowpack in our area has climbed back up to a healthier 89% of average.
The early indication from the stats is that we are having a positive start to the new year. We had 13 homes close in January, compared with 8 in January 2013. We also had 11 vacant land deals close already; last year we had just 3. Pending sales are down slightly compared to last year, so it’s possible that we just had some closings delayed over Christmas and into the New Year. Only time will tell.
One issue affecting the market is the recent correction in the stock market. The Dow Jones is down 7% since the start of the year. The silver lining is that when the stock market falls, interest rates usually fall as well. Rates have now dropped to 4.375% for a 30-year fixed mortgage. About a year ago, the rates went as low as 3.375%, but this is still a great rate in the grand scheme of things.
I’ve made a small change to the stats starting this year. I’m going to start tracking vacant land inventory by breaking it down into categories. Before, I had always lumped all of the vacant land inventory together into one category.
I’d like to show you some inventory numbers that I don’t usually include in my stats. I include the current inventory numbers every month, but maybe you’d like to know what happens to the inventory between last month and this month.
You’ll see that the inventory numbers fell significantly this month. Most of this activity is due to expired listings. This is a cyclical pattern that happens every year. A lot of listing contracts are set to expire on January 1st by default. This year we had over 100 listings expire on New Years Day. These listings won’t be gone for long. Most of them will start to come back on the market when the snow melts. By April, the numbers will be climbing quickly, and by June we’ll be back up near the peak inventory for the year.
One piece of exciting news is I just bought a home to flip. Right now, it’s got blue bathroom fixtures, popcorn ceilings, and pink walls. But it won’t look that way for long! The home is sitting on top of a hill with views for miles and miles. I’m going to work on it through the winter, and I expect to have it back on the market this spring. It’s going to be a jewel by the time I’m done with it!
In closing, I’d like to address the state of limbo currently surrounding the downtown visitor’s center. Due to budget issues among the Chamber of Commerce, the Town Council, and the Town Tourism Committee, it’s possible that the visitor’s center will be moved away from its downtown location to some new location, possibly near the old City Market building. In my opinion, this is a bad idea. I have talked to all three County Commissioners, and they are all against the move. 95% of the people I have talked to are against the move as well. I encourage everyone to get involved and speak to someone at the Town or the Chamber. There must be some way we can resolve this issue and keep the visitor’s center where it will provide the best benefit to everyone, visitors and locals alike.