February 2016 Pagosa Springs Real Estate Newsletter
Well, winter is half over. December was very snowy, January had almost no snow, and now it is dumping on us again in February. I got almost a foot of snow at my house in the past couple of days, and Wolf Creek is reporting 40 inches of new snow from the last storm. Our winter carnival, called Winterfest, is coming up February 6 and 7. Events include a hot air balloon rally and a Penguin Plunge in the San Juan River. This is the first time in several years that we’ve had enough snow to play in at Winterfest.
As for other local news, I recently attended a meeting about the new downtown project called the “Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership.” The GGP is an education tax-deductible 501(c)(3) dedicated to beautifying and vitalizing downtown Pagosa Springs. The Partnership is working to build three 42-foot diameter greenhouses located downtown next to the County Courthouse adjacent to the San Juan Riverwalk. The facility will also include a small amphitheater designed for the arts, musical performances, and fitness activities.
So far, most of the utilities and infrastructure are in. The domes will be heated using geothermal water from our hot spring. The foundation for the first greenhouse has been poured. The goal is for the first greenhouse to be completed this spring. The initial dome will be focused on education and will be a great tool for our local schools. The second dome will be open to public use, so both individuals and organizations will be able to use the space to grow their own plants. The third is geared toward innovation and technology.
The total budget for the project is $900,000. The group has already raised $600,000 from grants and local government contributions. The remaining $300,000 will have to come from individual contributions and more grants. The final completion date will depend on how quickly the funds can be raised.
Donations to the nonprofit GGP are fully tax-deductible on one’s federal and Colorado taxes. The GGP is a Colorado Enterprise Zone project, meaning that donations of $250 or higher receive an extra 25% tax deduction in Colorado. If you’ve got $300,000 to spare and you could use a break on your taxes, this could be a great opportunity for you! I encourage everyone to check out PagosaGreen.org, and of course all donations are appreciated, big or small.
I met the organization’s Sally High at the meeting, and you are welcome to give her a call if you’d like to get involved. You can reach her at 970-799-1693. The Geothermal Greenhouse Project is going to be a great asset to our community and will be a nice feature in the downtown park system along the river.
Another piece of good news is that local sales tax revenue was way up in 2015. This is a sign that our economy was strong last year. Having these extra funds allows us to take on extra projects in the future.
As I look into my crystal ball, I am hopeful that 2016 will be as good as last year was. There are a few clouds on the horizon that could affect our local economy. Low gas prices are great, but Texas and Oklahoma are hurting due to the recent fall in oil prices. This is where a lot of our local business comes from. The world economy is sketchy as well, and the stock market took a big plunge earlier this year. I am cautiously optimistic that everything will turn out well this year. We’ll have to wait and see.
Here is the latest real estate news. The January stats were almost exactly the same as January 2015. We sold one less property this year than last. The pending sales are virtually the same as well. There are 59 deals under contract today, and last year at this time we had 58.
The big news is inventory of homes and condos is way down. This will help increase prices. Interest rates are still at historic lows and have been hovering around 4%. The negative impact of low inventory is that we don’t have as much to sell. This may cause a slowdown in the number of sales.
Usually I recommend to my home sellers that they put their properties on the market in mid-March. This year, I think now is the time to act in order to take advantage of less competition.
On a personal note, Laurie and I are headed to Orlando for the 2016 CRS Convention. CRS stands for Certified Residential Specialist, and represents the top 4% of Realtors in the world. This is an opportunity for me to learn all the new stuff that’s going on in the marketplace. This allows me to help my customers and clients in the future. I’m excited to get out of the snow as well! It’s a tough pill to swallow, I know, but Laurie and I will just have to do our best. Hopefully I will come back refreshed.