The numbers are in, and according to a news release from the Durango Area Association of Realtors, home sales in La Plata County in the first quarter of 2014 reflect a slight decline from the same quarter last year.
“But the first thing to recognize was last year was a banner first quarter,” said Don Ricedorff, a broker with The Wells Group in Durango.
For the first three months of the year, the median price of county homes actually decreased 0.64 percent, from $304,900 to $302,949 compared with the same period in 2013. Also for the first quarter, 166 homes sold compared with 189 during the same period in 2013. In 2012, 161 homes sold in the first quarter.
Within Durango city limits, the number of homes sold did increase – more than 18 percent – from 33 to 39, as did the median cost, up $35,000, which is a 10.6 percent increase from the previous year, from $330,000 to $365,000.
“We do see median price increasing,” Ricedorff said. “It’s increasing heavier in price ranges with a shortage of inventory.”
Durango in-town condominium sales took a hit, sinking from 31 sold in 2013 to 18 this quarter, almost a 42 percent drop.
According to the Durango Area Association of Realtor’s report, several factors could be to blame for the quarter’s decrease in condo sales, namely the available inventory to meet the demand, a rise in interest rates that allow homebuyers to complete loans and last fall’s government shutdown.
Ricedorff said it’s the inventory that’s a clear issue.
“We’ve got some issues with the inventory and levels of homes available on the market,” he said, “especially in town and some of the neighborhoods close to town, and especially those under $500,000.
“In many areas of the county,” he said, “and in many price ranges, we have plenty of inventory, so it’s really just a segment, if you will.”
Residential land in the county has seen a price drop – a 12 percent drop – and with that, sales have shot up nearly 38 percent.
But it is fair to say 2013’s first quarter was a uncommonly strong, Ricedorff said, and it was only January and February that were slightly down.
“We’re dead even in March,” he said, “so it looks like the spring market has recovered.”
When compared with homes sold in March last year to this year, both saw an even 70 total sales.
“The number of contracts looks pretty strong for April and May,” he said. “I’m not 100 percent convinced that things aren’t a little bit slower than last year, but we’re still running a really strong real estate market.”