REAL ESTATE: The Riley Report
Hello from the land of Pagosa!
Little by little, our country and Pagosa Springs are returning to normal. With more and more people getting vaccinated, the masks come off and anxiety levels drop. Hopefully more of the undecided population will get their vaccines soon. Hopefully this summer will be like the good old days with a 4th of July parade, county fair and lots of festivals.
So far our spring weather has been drier than we had hoped. It was also very windy which evaporated much of the humidity we received this winter. The snowpack in the mountains is currently at 50% of the median for this time of year.
In the city, one of the biggest issues we face is vacation rentals. We have a serious shortage of affordable housing for the workforce in our region. One of my workers currently lives in his truck in the national forest. In recent years, many long term rentals have been converted to short term rentals. We have a lot of seasonal residents who have bought their home or condo and rented it out in order to subsidize their costs. This is especially prevalent in the condo and townhouse market.
This lifestyle conflicts with many homeowners who don’t want a flow of visitors to their backyard. Some subdivisions have enacted deed restrictions eliminating short-term rentals. In a recent busy meeting, county commissioners enacted a series of reforms to vacation rental licensing and regulation. I think we haven’t finished dealing with this issue yet. If you have any comments, contact your county commissioner.
Now for the latest real estate news. Like a falling snowball, the real estate market is only gaining momentum. Total sales more than doubled last year to + 113%. Home sales are up 46%. Condo sales are up slightly at + 15%, but that’s only because of the lack of inventory. There are only two condos currently available on the market. Land sales are skyrocketing. We had 243 this year compared to 170 last year at this time. Small lots under 1/2 acre are up 435%. The one- to three-acre lots, which are typically found in Aspen Springs, are up 112%. The three to five acre lots are up 330%. The message seems to be if you can’t buy a house or a condo due to a lack of supply, buy a lot!
If this lack of inventory persists, it will eventually slow down this snowball. But for now, the market is still very hot and pending sales are out of the ordinary.
Interest rates are still great, but they are starting to go up a bit. A 30 year fixed rate mortgage is currently 3.0% and a 15 year mortgage is 2.25%. The costs of building materials are almost double what they were last year, so the cost of new construction is prohibitive for many people.
Summer is fast approaching. Hope everyone stays safe and hope to see you soon in the beautiful Pagosa Springs!
Pagosa Springs real estate agent Lee Riley has consistently been one of the area’s best-selling real estate agents in recent years and offers a wide selection of real estate facts and information on his website at ISellPagosa.com