Real estate in the Purgatory area is experiencing a delayed renaissance after taking a hit during the 2008 Great Recession.
Since 2017, new construction has become a more common sight in the north Animas Valley.
“The recession of 2008 really hit Durango in 2009 and was deeper and more severe than anyone expected,” said Gary Derck, CEO of Mountainsprings and former CEO of Purgatory Resort. Derck has been involved in development of residential properties around the resort since his departure from Purgatory.
He added: “The base village weathered the recession better than many other ski resorts. You don’t see half-finished structures on the mountain. That’s never good to have.”
In 2009, only nine single-family homes with a total sales value of $6.95 million were sold in the Purgatory resort area, according to statistics from the Durango Area Association of Realtors. In 2018, 26 homes sold with a total value of $26.11 million.
“We haven’t seen this level of construction since 2008,” she said.
Around Purgatory, Derck said only 15 of 90 lots remain unsold in Engineer Village. In Tacoma Village, he said only three of 35 lots remain unsold. He expects all lots to be sold in the next couple of years.
“If you drove it, it would look like more lots are available,” he said. “Build-out will take a while. Some people have bought lots, but it takes a while to build.”
Purgatory Village is mostly condominiums and townhomes around the resort, but four lots are available in Double Diamond, the only single-family home subdivision with ski-in, ski-out access.
Grayrock Village, which has 120 total units slated for single-family homes and townhomes, has yet to be developed.
Jaime Marquez, a broker with Durango Mountain Realty, said eight three-bedroom, 2½-bath townhomes in Tacoma Vista will begin construction by a builder from Scottsdale, Arizona – providing a sign of rebounding confidence that the time is right to add to the residential stock near the resort.
In addition, she said land is under contract for development of 14 additional ski-in, ski-out townhomes near the Bunny Hill.
Real estate in Purgatory is relatively affordable compared with other Colorado ski resorts, Marquez said, with a studio condominium selling for as low as $110,000.
Derck said three primary feeder markets supply demand for Purgatory-area real estate, which serves largely as second homes and as vacation rentals:
Locals purchase real estate as an investment and for income.People in the regional drive market – Phoenix, Albuquerque and Texas – buy second homes to beat the heat and to provide income as vacation rentals.Destination owners, who fly in to reach their vacation properties, buy second homes as a mountain getaway.In Tamarron, after years of remodeling that began in 2014 and an improvement in amenities offered through the Glacier Club, average sale prices for townhomes are rising, Houston said.
After Tamarron owners agreed to renovate exteriors in 2014, and special assessments from $11,000 to $29,000 were charged to pay for the work, it caused a glut of units on the market as owners sought to sell ahead of the remodeling assessment.
Tamarron, which has 379 condominiums and townhomes, has also revamped its relationship with the Glacier Club, with residents gaining the ability to purchase an $80 monthly social membership that provides access to 36 holes of golf and tennis facilities at the club.
In addition, the Glacier Club has gutted and rebuilt its southern portion of Tamarron Lodge, which used to hold Hamilton’s Chop House, and has put in a new fitness center. Also, near Tamarron Lodge, Glacier Club has built the Valley Clubhouse, which provides a venue for meetings, events and weddings and includes the Mine Shaft restaurant.
The improvements to facades at Tamarron, which was built in 1974, the additional amenities through the Glacier Club and the addition of the clubhouse now are boosting demand for Tamarron townhomes, Houston said.
At one time, rental properties at Tamarron could be expected to cover homeowners association fees and maintenance costs, but now, Houston said, “people can do better than just covering their expenses.”