The average price for a single-family home in Durango rose to $604,210 in the third quarter of 2019, up from $492,392 in the same quarter of 2018.
But the number is a bit deceiving, according to at least one real-estate broker.
Heather Erb, broker with Coldwell Banker Heritage House Realtors, said the 23% jump in the average price of a house from the same quarter in 2018 comes as a number of homes in Edgemont Ranch and Twin Buttes, two high-end subdivision, come into heavy build-out, and she expects the average price to decline once those subdivisions’ lots are developed.
“The average price depends partially on what’s selling, and right now Edgemont and Twin Buttes are adding product, and the inventory of existing product is relatively stagnant,” she said.
The most accurate way to determine the strength of the housing market is to look at an individual house’s sale prices through time rather than looking at average prices, Erb said.
“You should be looking at comparable sales,” she said. “I live in a 1950s house in Crestview. That house might have declined in value over the last 12 months. You wouldn’t see that looking at the average price.
Legacy homes are going up in value, too, Erb said, but that more than likely stems from additions and remodels.
“People have added bedrooms, remodeled kitchens and bathrooms, popped the top and added $200,000 to the value of their homes,” she said.
Max Hutcheson, a broker with the Wells Group, says he doesn’t expect the increasing rise in average and median prices in Durango to last even to the end of the year. The median price for a single-family house in the third quarter of 2019 in Durango was $523,500, up from $454,250 in the same quarter in 2018.
“I think we’re going to see a correction in the median and average prices by the end of the year,” he said. “Houses have been priced on the aggressive end of the spectrum, and if you look, you’ll see the number of sales are declining over time. We’re probably losing buyers.”
Hutcheson foresees a lowering of house prices that haven’t sold as the prime sales season ends and cooler weather dissuades buyers from checking out the market.
Bayfield’s average in-town single-family house price rose to $331,716 for the third quarter, up from $311,875 in the same quarter in 2018. Nevertheless, Hutcheson said Durango’s neighbor still offers a more affordable locale for home buyers looking to move to La Plata County.
“Prices are going up in Bayfield, but in comparison to Durango, it still offers houses with an average and median price that’s $150,000 less expensive than Durango.”
Hutcheson said he expected new subdivisions to be coming online in Bayfield in 2020, and that will add more inventory to the market next year, keeping the area a vibrant alternative for more affordable housing than Durango.
Similarly, Hutcheson sees strong sales in the condo/townhome market in Durango as another example of a strong demand to buy in Durango for $450,000 or less.
The average price for a condo/townhome in Durango for the third quarter was $352,534 up from $342,336 in the same quarter in 2018. Total sales of 76 condos and townhomes in the quarter were the highest in the third quarter going back at least as far as 2006.
“The strong number of sales – they surpassed the number of single-family sales – shows the price point is attractive and affordable, at least for Durango. They are appreciating, but not as fast as single-family homes,” he said.
firstname.lastname@example.orgAn earlier version of this story gave an incorrect brokerage for where Heather Erb works.