May 2016 Pagosa Springs Real Estate Newsletter
May Day – another snow day in Pagosa. The weather this winter has been a roller coaster ride. We had lots of snow early in the year, which was good for the holiday season. Then January through March was sunny and mild. April showers brought a ton of moisture. The grass is very green, and the flowers are popping up all over. Snowpack in the mountains is at 85% of median. This is probably enough snow to give us a good rafting season, and hopefully we can avoid major fires this summer.
Now for the news around town. Last month I spoke about the 5th Street Bridge, although I think I called it the 6th Street Bridge, which was incorrect. Here is the latest on the controversy, as I understand it. The developers and the Town have decided to cooperate to split the cost of a traffic study which will determine whether we need a bridge in the first place, and if it is needed, how soon it should go in. For a lot of naysayers, the question is not only whether there is a need for a bridge, but whether it should go in now or wait many years down the road. The traffic study aims to answer both of those questions.
I recently had an opportunity to talk to Jack Searle, who is one of the three developers involved. The developers’ main concern is to gain some certainty about what the Town is going to do. If the bridge is a no-go, then the footprint for the development will most likely have to change. I personally don’t like the idea of kicking the can down the road. Doing the bridge now will cost less than if we wait. Also, the development will be better executed if we put the bridge in now.
The big question is, “Who pays the bill?” What is equitable to all parties involved: the Town, the developers, and the taxpayers?
Now for real estate news. Residential sales are completely flat compared with 2015. Closed sales so far this year are 77 homes and 14 townhomes, which is within a hair of the exact same numbers as last year at this time. The positive aspect is that residential inventory is down 22%. On the other side of the coin, buyers don’t have many choices regarding which property to buy, especially in the lower price ranges.
The two sectors which were most improved were vacant land and commercial. Vacant land sales were up 27% with the biggest increase in the three-to-six acre category. We sold 19 this year compared to 8 last year. On the commercial end of things, we sold 14 properties compared to 5 last year for a whopping increase of 180%. I’m not sure why we had such a big surge, which occurred mostly in the month of April, but that’s a good sign for the economy.
The builders continue to stay very busy. All the contractors I talk to have a lot of work. Construction permits are up significantly, with 30 new home permits issued so far this year compared with 20 at this time last year.
Everyone is gearing up for the big summer rush which will begin in a couple of short weeks. If you make your home somewhere else in the world, I invite you to come visit us in Pagosa Country this summer!