OVERVIEW: Real estate sales activity in La Plata County in 2019 was remarkably similar overall to 2018 (less than 1% change), with some notable differences in certain segments of the market. 2018 was a year of record drought and the 416 Fire closed major businesses for summer months with about $135 million in estimated damage. 2019 had record snowpack, with a sluggish first six months (rising interest rates), followed by a burst of activity and a strong finish by end of year (falling interest rates). Climate factors such as drought, fire, and snow greatly affect our local economy and real estate activity in Southwest Colorado.
The highest reported price for a single-family home was $6,535,000 and the lowest price was $63,000 in La Plata County in 2019.
DURANGO IN-TOWN: shows a median price increase of about 4% overall, consisting mostly of single family home sales, and condos/townhome sales which were about even with 2018. However, the number of single family sales in town was down 8.3% while condos and townhomes were down 6.4%.
DURANGO COUNTRY HOME: sales were almost identical to 2018, with a slightly lower median price. The number of homes sold in this category was exactly the same at 355 in both 2019 and 2018.
BAYFIELD: is a market to watch, with an increase in all categories (except land). Bayfield in-town residential sales doubled, with the median price up by 4.4% to $334,000. Bayfield affordability may be attracting some buyers from Durango. Bayfield Country Homes sales also saw a median price increase of 8.6% with the number of sales up 4.5%.
DURANGO MOUNTAIN HOMES: in the Resort category experienced a solid year. The median price of condo and townhomes increased 25%, and the number of sales were up 16% from 2018. Single family home prices were up 7% from 2018, but the number of sales were down 23%. Sales in the resort area are often influenced by fluctuating availability of properties on the market.
VACANT LAND SALES ARE SOFT: market priced existing homes and the high cost of new construction have impacted land sales. For example, 1-10 acres in La Plata County brought 22.4% fewer buyers and a median price reduction of 8.8% in 2019.
INTEREST RATES: were significantly lower in late 2019, which can make an important positive difference for buyers affected by La Plata County’s cost of home ownership. The interest rates are currently at 3.6% for 30-year fixed.
FORECAST FOR 2020: buyers have become more discerning with their offer price in light of news articles talking about a softening market, while sellers still feel their values are high and they should be able to command top dollar. Interestingly, both sides have a valid argument, and we move forward to negotiate and find a middle ground.
With a healthy economy, robust employment, favorable interest rates, and a massive generation of people in prime home-buying years, there’s good reason to think the housing market will stay active in 2020! The national economistsare not predicting any recession for 2020 unless something unpredictable happens with the global or local economy, or political scene.