After a long, historically dry, smokey, and uncomfortable summer in western Colorado autumn has roared in like a lion! It seems we went from hot to cold in a matter of days and the high country has already received a nice dose of moisture in the form of rain and then snow. Hallelueuia! (Lets hope it keeps on coming!) My family and I loaded up the family truckster and took a nice respite to Box Canyon Lodge in Ouray just as the temperatures plummeted. This made for excellent hotspringing weather. We took a drive up the Camp Bird road and were turned back by slushy, snowy road conditions as flakes fell and coated the golden leaves that were still on the aspens and cottonwoods. My snow slut friends have been posting faceshots of opening day at Wolf Creek ski area in the south San Juans (Jealous). Here’s to a great start to a snowy Colorado winter!
Much like the welcome cool fall temperatures have descended on the Western Slope, so too it seems we are experiencing a potential cool down in the hot real estate market. Beyond the data which I will share, rumblings in our office meetings at RE/MAX Mountain West in Paonia indicate multiple price drops in recent weeks, fewer new listings on the market, and reduced buyer activity. Are we transitioning from a hot seller’s market to more of a buyers market as we approach the 2018 midterm elections and winter? It would seem that way, especially if one takes into account the fact that Denver’s market, also a driver of the North Fork Valley real estate sales as of late, is also cooling off. Here’s a good spot for my disclaimer! All predictions herein are my opinion of course but all data and statistics are more or less accurate. Feel free to call B.S. next year if my predictions fall flat!
Comparing August 1st thru October 17th between 2017 and 2018 (about the last 75 days) median home sale prices are down 11% from $275k to $247k in the North Fork Valley market. Similarly the number of new listings in this time period is also down around 10%. Sales volume is down slightly as well. Usually when we see a decrease in home prices we also see an INCREASE in inventory. That is not the case currently. In general we always see a bit of slow down coming into winter but when we compare the past 2 years a downward trend does emerge. Personally, I believe the current volatile political climate along with a precarious stock market have people hunkering down to see whats going to happen with the midterm elections. This means less people pulling up roots (and selling their homes) and more people pinching pennies with regards to real estate purchases. The stock market is way up but word on the street is a correction is nigh! Here is a recent article bolstering my slowdown claims. Remember Our market in the North Fork tends to follow national trends… albeit with some lag time.
What does this mean for buyers and sellers? Well if you have been sitting on your property in anticipation that 6 months from now it will be worth another $25k I would rethink that logic. Mind you I am no prognosticator with a crystal ball but I do believe the party has to end sometime with regards to our obvious seller’s market and steep price increases of the past 36 months. What I see is a bit of leveling off with no signs of another price run up.Thinking of selling? Do it now.
If I were in the position to sell I would do it ASAP and follow the advice of a professional Realtor who would provide me a full market analysis. Many times with regards to our current market climate sellers get caught on the wrong side of the bell curve by thinking they can get more for their property than the market will bare. Meanwhile the market starts to drop out from under them leaving them with an overpriced property that can languish on the market for years. 2016-2018 was an eye opening time! The Median sales price for a home in the North Fork was $189,500 in 2016 $215K in 2017, and since Jan 1st 2018 that number is $245K. For property sold within Paonia zipcode those numbers are even more starkly contrasted. Median sales price in 2017 was $180k, $200k in 2017, and $261k year to date! I would take caution in over-speculation of the value of your property as we approach 2019.
For buyers the news is somewhat better in that prices are cooling off in the North Fork Valley. Only somewhat because the lack of inventory continues to be an issue…especially inventory of property that does not require substantial renovations and updates. From my observations the type of buyers coming to western Colorado from the Front Range do not want to buy projects unless the price is a bargain. For non-cash buyers interest rates continue to inch up but remain tolerable when compared to rates of 30 years ago! (A 30 year mortgage in 1990 had an interest rate of 10.13%!)
Many people believe winter to be a poor time to put real estate on the market but locally demand remains pretty high as long as you adhere to current trends. Those trends are indicating we have reached or are reaching a plateau. 2019 is going to be an interesting year! Buckle up…interesting times ahead!
Oh…and don’t forget to VOTE!