Median home prices in La Plata County have increased each quarter for the last year, a positive sign for the area’s real estate market, which last saw an annual increase in median home price in 2006.
Home prices in the county from March through June were up 9 percent compared with the second quarter of 2012, according to quarterly statistics from the Durango Area Association of Realtors. Median sale price during the first two quarters of this year also was up 9 percent, to $315,000, compared with the first half of 2012.
The number of homes sold in the county has seen impressive growth as well according to a few indicators.
First, Durango-area agents have sold 32 percent more homes in the first six months of the year than during the same time period last year and 52 percent more homes than were sold in the first half of 2010. Looking at the number of homes sold in the second quarter alone, La Plata County sales numbers soared above state and regional averages. The number of homes sold here increased 45 percent compared with the second quarter of last year versus a 16 percent increase across the state and 22 percent increase in the southwest, according to numbers collected by the Colorado Association of Realtors.
Meanwhile, Montezuma County saw home sales remain flat compared with the second quarter of last year, and Archuleta County saw a 1 percent decrease in the number of homes sold.
Condos in the Durango mountain area were the only sector where median price decreased compared with last year. The median price of those condos in the first half of the year fell 57 percent compared to the same period last year. Durango mountain-area condo prices have been on the decline since about 2006, said Chris Bettin, a managing broker at Durango Mountain Realty.
“We think we’re bottomed out in terms of where price is,” Bettin said.
The downward trend continued this spring as agents sold a higher number of lower-priced condos, bringing the median price down to $67,500. Many of the listed condo properties priced between $50,000 and $75,000 are located in Tamarron, Bettin said.
Realtors also have noticed that the 1 percent increase in mortgage interest rates since May has started to affect home sales. The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage jumped to 4.51 percent from 3.62 percent two months ago, according to HSH.com. A 1 percent increase in rates generally decreases a homebuyer’s buying power by 10 percent, said Tina Miely, a broker with Coldwell Banker. She said a few contracts have fallen through because interest rate increases priced people out of a home.