May 2014 Pagosa Springs Real Estate Newsletter
April, also known as mud season, has come and gone with little fanfare. There was less mud than usual since we had a dry spring. There wasn’t much snow down low to melt. I hope that May will bring us a little extra moisture.
The real estate market is soft so far this year. Residential sales are down 14% compared to this time last year. Overall sales numbers are still up thanks to the large number of small lots being sold in Aspen Springs and Pagosa Lakes. Buyers are flocking to this market because that is where the good values are. Prices are very low, and many people are taking advantage of the opportunity. Pending sales are down slightly. Unless there is a big surge in new contracts very soon, May will be a down month as well.
This is the time of year where we get a ton of new listings. Some are sellers coming back to the market after taking their property off the market for the winter. The rest are a new crop of sellers entering the market for the first time. Overall inventory will peak in about a month. This will be the best time for buyers to see the greatest number of choices before the properties get picked over through the summer. Prices are generally inflated this time of year, as everyone is optimistic.
If you look closely, you’ll see that vacant land inventory actually went down this month. This is very unusual in April, and there are a couple of contributing factors. One factor is that vacant land is selling more than usual. Another larger factor is that some big blocks of bank-owned vacant lots were either pulled from the market or allowed to expire in April. These properties are not really gone, and I’m sure that we’ll see them turn up again soon.
Building permit numbers are flat for new residential construction. However, there is a big surge in remodel permits. I think that quite a few people are doing fix and flip projects like I am doing in Meadows.
Regarding non-real estate issues, the Tractor Supply store is about to open across from the fairgrounds on Highway 84. The re-paving project on Piedra Road is about to start up again for the summer. This project is going to make one of the busiest roads in the county a lot more pleasant to drive. There is nothing new to report about the Wal-Mart project. I talked to the Town Manager, and he told me that there have been no recent developments.
The most exciting news is regarding the Chamber of Commerce Visitor’s Center. Three or four weeks ago, the outlook was bleak. The Visitor’s Center was going to move into the mostly-vacant commercial block near the old City Market building. A small group of local business people including Jeff Greer, J.R. Ford, and myself got involved. We spoke at a Town Council meeting and asked the Council to wait until after the spring election to make a final decision.
We had a lot of public support behind us, and we got our wish. The decision was delayed, the election was held, and now we have quite a few new faces in place. Donnie Volger is the new mayor, Cindi Galabota is the new executive director at the Chamber, and the Town Tourism Committee has hired JaNae Christians. We’ve been working on mediating a better solution for the Visitor’s Center. Cindy and JaNae have come up with a plan that would allow the Chamber and the Town Tourism Committee to share the facility by the river. I think this plan should make sense for everybody in the long run.
Negotiations around this new plan are ongoing. There was a meeting Tuesday night to discuss the options, and we are all still in the process of trying to make things work. If you are concerned about this issue, please continue to be a squeaky wheel. Contact the Town Council, the Chamber of Commerce, or Mayor Volger to let them know that we want the Visitor’s Center to stay where it is!