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2020 Year End Summary for La Plata County and Looking Forward Into 2021 Main Photo

2020 Year End Summary for La Plata County and Looking Forward Into 2021

What Happened in the Market?
Posted: January 22, 2021 by Heather Erb

Year-end MLS statistics for La Plata County were just released, and as with many areas across Colorado, Durango and La Plata County had an extremely strong year overall. When we look back on 2020, real estate was off to a strong start before COVID-19 arrived at our doorsteps. Sales stalled during the Stay-At-Home Order, then off to the races we went. 

The market trends we saw were: an exceptionally high number of both residential and land sales, extremely low mortgage interest rates, and record low inventory to choose from. We saw many competing offer situations in a strong seller’s market, and prices therefore climbed. The highest increase in sales was seen in the luxury, resort, and land segments.

Let’s expand. How extreme were the numbers? 

Luxury residential 1M sales were up 100%. 1-9.9 acre land sales were up 67%. Resort single family sales were up 120%. The current residential inventory of homes currently for sale is down 51% from  January 2020.

Why was inventory down? 

Some homeowners may have decided against selling due to COVID-related homeschooling and family responsibilities. Enticed by record-low mortgage rates, some homeowners decided to refinance and stay put. Others could not find a suitable replacement home due to low inventory. What then happened were more buyers competing for fewer listings leading to multiple offers, higher prices, and land becoming increasingly desirable to buyers who could not find a home that worked for them. Can you believe-rates in July dipped below 3% for the first time in fifty years!

Why us? 

Durango and the surrounding areas of La Plata County are seen by out-of-area buyers as highly coveted for its stable yet remote feel and attractive urban center.  Our remote “vibe”, a large regional health care facility, and local airport tend to win when buyers re-evaluate life choices, as they have doing been during the COVID-19 crisis. We also had accelerated life plans influencing buying decisions- “I was thinking of moving in five years, why not now?”. Out-of-area buyers generally make up approximately 1/4 of our sales (the rest are local purchasers). 

What will 2021 bring? 

This year is off to a good start. Per Bob Allen with Allen and Associates, the first week of January sales in the county were up 231% over 2020, even with little inventory. In national news, we hear a great deal about those in forbearance (late on mortgage payments) in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. We don’t think this will cause a large effect.  Nationally, 38.2% of homeowners own their homes free and clear. Of those which have mortgages, the average equity homeowners own is $194,000. This is a very different situation than what we saw in the mortgage crisis of 2008. 

If you are thinking about moving, NOW is the time to list to take advantage of the low rates and high demand. Buyers are actively looking for homes.  Competition is lower in the winter months, which may be in your favor as we do think inventory will start rising in 2021. Be proactive if you’re thinking of waiting until spring to list your house and call me today. 

Stats through Durango Area Association of Realtors, Keeping Current Matters Bob Allen/Allen and Associates, and CREN MLS. 


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