Damn its Hot! But the Real Estate Market is Hotter.

Its official friends. Summer is here and we’ve had a pretty darn long run of scorching days in the North Fork Valley. Coincidentally we have now reached and surpassed the scorching property values seen at the top of 2008 housing bubble! Are we now in another bubble? I won’t touch that question with a 10 foot fruit picker! As a 10 year resident of Paonia and a realtor, I have mixed feelings about where our real estate market is heading. My wife and I relocated here after an extensive search of potential spots in the Southwest U.S.. What we found here was undeniably the best value for the lifestyle we were searching for, a small, friendly mountain town with lots of water and low enough in elevation to experience and participate in a sustainable lifestyle where food can be grown. I like to refer to it as the “Mayberry of Colorado”. But are the quaint porch swinging days of Mayberry numbered?

Today I believe the North Fork Valley still offers value and offers a wonderful lifestyle but property prices are increasing rapidly. Fueled by the sizzling real estate market of Denver and the Front Range, local housing prices have taken some pretty dramatic jumps in the past 6 months and buyers are not balking. The allure of a semi- rural lifestyle in a beautiful, quiet, creative community at relatively affordable price is strong! In small communities with limited means this can create problems. This subject has been covered extensively in recent years in Colorado. Housing prices surpass income levels of the people inhabiting them leaving its teachers, service and blue collar workers, farmers and civil servants in a pinch. Instead of being able to reside in the communities in which they work and contribute to the quality of a healthy community, they are forced “down valley” or out of the region altogether. In Paonia and surrounding communities its a bit different…for now. The North Fork isn’t a big tourist draw nor does it have much in the way of blue collar jobs anymore. . There are literally a couple of small hotels and B&B’s, and a small handful of restaurants. Our community is unique however. We are in the midst of a “new economy” fueled in large part by net-commuting and folks who don’t necessarily rely on the immediate community for their livelihoods.. We are well endowed with ultra creative citizens who wear many hats to make ends meet.  But low overhead is the key to making this lifestyle work. Until recently one didn’t have to make a lot of money to live comfortably in the North Fork Valley. But housing prices, the highest expense for most folks in America, have a huge impact on the “health” of a community. Old shabby rentals are purchased, flipped for as much profit as possible, and usually exit the rental market either as full time or part time homes due to Airbnb. Retirees looking to find warmer winters down south are looking to cash in on their nests. As property changes hands for ever increasing amounts soon our community starts to take on an exclusive atmosphere where only certain demographics can afford to live here.

I’m sure it seems strange for you, dear reader, that a Realtor in the North Fork such as myself is discussing this subject! I am positioned to profit directly from the changes I speak of. To be honest part of me is torn to be participating in this culture shift. Really though is there anyone or thing to blame? I certainly can’t blame my clients or hold them in contempt for what is happening. Over the past year I have seen time and time again sellers overriding the comparative market analysis prepared for them by veteran realtors in the North Fork Valley in favor of their own much higher price tags. With the nature of our recent low inventory and high demand many times sellers are receiving these higher prices! (Price your home TOO high however and it can become stigmatized and shelved, remaining on the market for years.)  Beginning in the early 70’s housing values in the U.S started to take a noticeable steep upward curve. We have started to treat our real property like a savings/retirement account or even a lottery ticket. Many have gotten filthy rich from real estate and many (see housing bubble 2008) have lost everything. Shows like “Flip this House’ add “Flip or Flop” bolster the culture of cashing in on the housing market. Its an honest living and keeps people working albeit not too reliably.

In an area like the North Fork Valley development has already reached maximum penetration for the most part. We aren’t going  to be seeing any 50 lot subdivisions built any time soon. The demand isn’t there nor is there enough water to supply new housing. For the time being as long as buyers continue to look at this valley with goo-goo eyes (and why shouldn’t they?!) without enough cute little bungalows to meet demand we will continue to see an increase in people priced out of the area. We are in the midst of a culture shift which has its negatives and positives. The frenzy has just begun here and there are still great deals on real estate to be had.  All I can really suggest is to get to know your neighbor whether they just moved in or have lived there for 50 years. If you happen to find out they’re thinking of retiring and leaving the area tell them to give me a call! Free comparative market analyses for all!

Jay Canode is a realtor, multi-media producer, dad, husband, volkswagen caretaker, and resident of Paonia, Colorado.  He is the administrator of NorthForkNutshell.com

North Fork Valley Getaway Spring 2017

Living in western Colorado is like living in the middle of everywhere! A 3-4 hour drive in any direction can result in practically anything a human heart desires (short of an ocean that is). The urban experience in Denver, alpine high country of several exotic flavors, ski towns that are full of themselves as well as their less pretentious brethren, and to the west awaits the luxurious desert and pyschic void of southeast Utah, which is the subject of this particular pile of phrases and photographs.

Come April in Colorado my family starts yearning for the warm breezes that tend to swirl around red rock, exquisite deep canyons, the calls of the desert wren, the scent of juniper trees, and the vibrant blossoms of cacti and globe mallow. Fortunately for us there is Utah’s Canyon Country. Herein however, lies a seasonal problem; Utah canyon country, the national parks, and Moab and the mind blowing natural attractions are an absolute zoo this time of year. With the notoriously fickle but mostly mild weather of March-May everyone and their mom has their sites set on southeast Utah,  Its Disneyland in the desert. But what follows is a secret loophole! I usually am not one to reveal these types of secrets in a public forum but I am fairly confident that you will probably never try to do what our party of 14 did this year. Its too tough, too rough, too much planning, and plenty of room for failure and chaos.

I picked a place I had heard of for many years but never had the proper vehicle make the voyage. After acquiring a 4 Wheel Drive Toyota truck last fall and stuffing it with a offroad camper shell I was itching to break it in the rig.  I chose the White Rim trail, a bucket list overland wilderness adventure trip within the boundaries of the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park. Sounds dreamy doesn’t it? Well it is/was. 100 miles of backcountry travel over a rough road originally carved out during the Uranium Boom of the 1950’s. Severely exposed, rutted, and rocky, the road doesn’t allow for much beyond 10mph in a loaded pickup truck. Bicycle or motorcycle travel are  far more suitable methods to traverse this epic route. In fact these days most folks who travel this route pedal on 2 wheels as part of organized tours that are vehicle supported. Our group of 14 all had bicycles except little Ari who was just taking her first steps! There were 3 vehicles (the limit for our back country permit) and we all took turns driving and pedaling the Sag-wagons as we referred to them.

Rather than a word based account of our adventure I’m opting for the photographic evidence. I’m a far better photographer than I am writer anyway! I will tell you however the steps involved to plan this trip. Exactly 4 months and 1 minute before the first day you want to ca

Looking South West off the edge of Island in the Sky

The boys and the rig. White Rim trail.

Sunrise @ Airport Camp.

Edan. Long Canyon behind.

Quick brisk dunk for the boys. Colorado River side ride.

Out the backdoor of the rig. Murphy Hogback Camp

Veranda @ Murphy Hogback

Buds in the Backcountry.

Here comes the Sun! Spring 2017 North Fork Real Estate Update

The other morning as I was dropping my son off at the bus stop I heard “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles and it literally brought me to tears. It seems seasonal affective disorder has finally caught up with me. The forecast for this week touts a warming trend to result in “seasonal temperatures” and I’ll take it. But this morning it was blistery cold with a penetrating wind and more fresh snow on the ground. In Paonia and the North Fork Valley its been a grey, wet, season but luckily for me and my S.A.D. the dog days of winter have been BUSY at the RE/MAX office in downtown Paonia. A contingent of potential new neighbors; friendly, progressive, and enthusiastic folk, continue to hungrily circle Paonia and the North Fork Valley. Everyone seems eager for a change of lifestyle and look to take advantage of our reasonable property costs and undeniably sublime quality of life.

Real estate prices have continue to march upward slowly but steadily over the past several years. Check out the graph spanning 11 years below and compare the  “Housing Bubble” of 2007 with our current situation.

The early 2k’s were seeing $40k average property value increases in a SINGLE year! Compare that to the steady, moderate increases over the past 5 years. Gains of around $8k over the past couple years look as if they should continue through 2017. Inventory of single family homes in Paonia have fallen well behind demand and it continues to be a strong sellers market and a VERY competitive environment for buyers.

As an example of the type of folks interested in North Fork, the other day I showed property to an MD licensed in 37 states!  A family practitioner who practices telemedicine, this person requires a robust broadband internet connection and was very glad to learn of the addition of #Elevate fiber in Paonia. The proximity of this service currently relegates this person to property in and around town but that’s just fine because another requirement is to be able to walk or ride a bike to downtown Paonia. I can’t tell you how many buyers are desiring this ability.  (Hint to town and county planners, we need more trails connecting our communities to each other, our rivers, and our mountains!!!) This person was very excited about our little “Colorado Mayberry” and hinted that she is scouting the area for several other friends also looking to settle in the North Fork as well. Good news! Change is inevitable and I believe the cultural shift we are seeing in Paonia is not a bad thing. While many believe the decline of coal jobs is the death knell for our community, I believe the future is bright. While it is a shame when people lose their livelihood I believe the North Fork Valley is resilient and offers more than just jobs in extraction industries. People WANT to be in Paonia. The type of people interested in coming here seem to be creative in their approaches to “making a living” and tend to operate and think outside the box. Or in the case of the “e-doctor” I showed property,  our new ultra high speed  #Elevate internet connection is enabling telecommuting!

As I’ve mentioned in several previous blog posts here in the Nutshell, it remains a great time to list your property with a local Realtor. Be sure to consider the advice of a Realtor with regard to the value of your property. This is a key factor in selling your property quickly in the hot real estate market we are seeing. It may be tempting to price property above market value but there are a host of pitfalls that can result from this. Feel free to call me anytime to schedule a free property valuation or just talk about whats going on with real estate in the North Fork!

Happy Spring everyone! Here comes the sun!

 

House for Sale. What House for Sale!??

The North Fork Valley is on the map. How did it get there? Well that’s pretty obvious, it couldn’t stay a secret forever. We regularly appear in “Top” destination lists. Whether it be best places for fall color in Colorado, best throwback towns in America (Paonia), or best hippie towns(Paonia), word is out that we live in a special place. People who have intentions to relocate have the North Fork in their sites and there has been quite the feeding frenzy locally, especially the town of Paonia, for housing both to rent and purchase. It continues to be a sellers real estate market and this fall competition has been fierce, at least compared to the past 8 years or so. Simply put there are more buyers than sellers.

So whats happening here? Aside from this being a great place to live, (never mind real job prospects!) Denver the #3 housing market in America  is just a quick drive over the continental divide and is definitely influencing housing in our valley. According to Zillow the median home value for homes in Denver is $355,800, (up 10% from last year) and rent in Denver is averaging just under $2000 a month. Denver is booming for better or worse and many see the North Fork as not only a great value but a definite step up in lifestyle. With the average time for a house on the market in Denver at a mere 11 days, the lure of cashing out quick and heading to the hills of the Western Slope where your housing dollar goes much further is tantalizing!

For the first time since the housing boom of the early 2000’s multiple offers are being considered in our market, with some properties (especially homes under $200k) seeing less than one day on the market. To deal with high demand I have advice for buyers and sellers in order to compete in this competitive environment.

For buyers time is of the essence. If you see something you like make an offer immediately! Making an offer does not lock you in to a purchase. During the due diligence portions of the contract period you can find out about the flaws, shortcomings or whatever you would like to call it and cancel the contract if it the deal doesn’t suit you. Once its under contract you can calm down a little, step back, and really scrutinize the property. When making an offer, realize in a competitive market, lowball offers aren’t going to fly. Negotiations are still taking place, just know that selling prices are inching up towards asking prices as this market continues.

It is a great time to put your property on the market and If you are considering selling your home or land contact a real estate professional! Just because your neighbor sold their house in 3 days for a boatload of money doesn’t necessarily mean you can do the same. Overpricing your property is the sure path to NOT selling your property in a timely manner or at all for that matter. Nothing’s worse than finally making the decision to sell your home only to have a For Sale sign in the yard for 2 years. By hiring a licensed agent we can help sell your home quickly and for the optimum price according to the current market. Aside from expediting and maximizing the process real estate agents also help minimize worry and confusion. We realtors sometimes get a bad rap and there is always a bad seed in a bunch, but realize we work hard for a living and do not get paid at all for much of the exhaustive legwork we do. Not only that we are part of the community and add our hard earned dollars back into the local economy.

If you have questions on what your home or property may be worth please give me a call for a free consultation.

P.S.!!! Dont forget the comment period for the BLM’s Resource management Plan ends November 1st! Make your voice heard! Please submit comments by email to uformp@blm.go or by mail to the BLM, Uncompahgre Field Office, 2465 S. Townsend Ave., Montrose, CO 81401.

Good luck out there!

 

August 2016 Real Estate Trends in the North Fork Valley

I’ve been doing business in our fair valley with some great folks over the past month! Long time locals settling in and putting down roots, expats returning to town after realizing just how wonderful this place is (!) and newcomers “just passing through” who have fallen in love and have decided not to leave. Its an exciting time in the North Fork Valley. Palpable change is in the air with regard to the seasons as well as culturally. There are people literally camped out waiting in the wings in this valley waiting to pounce on their North Fork Valley dream property! Properties under $200k in Paonia are sometimes seeing just a few days on the market before being snatched up and sold prices are inching closer to asking prices.  If you are considering selling your property it continues to be a great time to sell as the August stats will tell.

A quick bit of advice…its the “cute” homes that tend to sell quickly and get more showings. If you are ready to sell your property consider giving it a facelift! You’re moving anyway right? So now’s as great a time as ever to de-clutter your house and load up the truck for a trip to the dump or local thrift store. Mow the lawn, pull the weeds, maybe a fresh coat of paint….these things are cheap to do and make such a big difference when selling a home.

Now with the stats! The month of August saw twice as many new properties on the market compared to August of 2015. Even so, inventory of available homes on the market remains low and continues to drop down 24% from August 2015. There 125 homes on the market last month compared with 141 in August of 2015. Median and average sale prices continue to rise in the North Fork Valley with a 6.7% and 2.5% increase from last year. Currently the average price for a house in the North Fork is $242,294. Actual sales price continues to close in on asking price with a nearly 3% increase year to date. For August actual sales prices were at 95% of asking. The number of days homes remain on the market was high for August. Meaning that a lot of homes that have languished on the market finally sold last month. Year to date days on the market for homes continues its decline to an average of 195 days on the market, a 6% decrease.

So far September seems to be seeing a continued uptick in real estate activity in the North Fork. It certainly seems busy around the RE/MAX Mountain west office in Paonia this month! If you have questions on other areas in Delta county or would like to know what your property may be worth in the current “sellers market” please feel free to contact me. Fall is beginning and its a magical time in our land of milk and honey! Get out and enjoy it! Soon the intimate dark days of winter will be upon us and you will find me daydreaming of the Yucatan Peninsula or perhaps just a trip to Tucson to see my Mom.

CONTACT

Jay Canode
Broker Associate
RE/MAX Mountain West
Paonia, Colorado
(970)799-8918
jaycanode@hotmail.com