Montezuma County home sales slipped last year, but prices rose about 5 percent because of a decreased inventory of homes, according to the Four Corners Board of Realtors.
The Cortez-based board’s data showed that 327 houses were sold in the county in 2016, a 1.5 percent decrease from the 332 sold in 2015. The average sale price was $213,843, up 5 percent from the previous year.
Only 571 new listings were added to the county market in 2016 – a 2.6 percent decrease from 2015 – and the average number of active listings available throughout the year was down 8 percent.
Brenda Bates, president of the Four Corners Board of Realtors, attributed the sales decline in part to a downturn in available jobs, mainly in the oil and gas industry. The decrease in the number of listings, she added, helped drive prices higher.
“I don’t think people are moving around as much,” Bates said.
Despite the increase in prices, houses spent less time on the market in 2016. Properties spent an average of 164 days on the market before selling, compared with 186 days in 2015, a decline of 11.8 percent.
Bates said it’s not unusual for houses to spend a long time on the market in Montezuma County. County homes, especially those in rural areas, are often custom-built, rather than the “cookie-cutter houses” found in larger cities, which can make them harder to sell, she said.
“There are some properties that are just so unique that it takes a special buyer for them,” Bates said.
Around the regionCountywide, the market showed a range of average selling prices, from a low in Dove Creek to a high in Mancos.
The cheapest place to move in Montezuma County last year was Dove Creek, where the average price of a home was $101,500. The most expensive was Mancos, where the average was $303,078.Only Dolores saw an increase in the number of home sales in 2016 – up 11.9 percent compared with 2015 – even as average prices increased 11.2 percent.Two properties in the area sold for $1 million or more last year, which Bates said is normal.What’s ahead?Local real estate agents remain optimistic about 2017, but opinions about the impact of the 2016 election are mixed.
Denise Unrein of the Four Corners Board of Realtors said she believes President Donald Trump will bring more jobs to the area and increase the demand for housing.
But Carol Click of RE/MAX Mesa Verde Realty said the decline in sales might continue because of buyers’ uncertainty about the new administration.
“I hope I’m wrong, but I think ... people are going to adjust. They’re going to see what’s going to happen,” she said. “I think they’re going to be more cautious this year than last.”
JoAnn Cauley of Century 21 West Slope Realty was encouraged by an increasing number of first-time homebuyers in a market known for attracting retirees.
But despite the market’s uncertainty and last year’s rising prices, Bates pointed to interest rates, saying that “it’s still a great time to buy” in Montezuma County.
“You can still get a loan for 4 percent (interest) or less, which is a great deal,” she said.
Unrein agreed, and added that costs aren’t the only reason people move to Montezuma County.
“The climate’s great,” she said. “It’s awesome.”