Recently I got a chuckle out of a meme posted on Fb with the heading: “If 2020 Was A Beer” above a photo of a glass, with one inch of beer and five inches of foam. While much of the economy (local, state and national) has taken it on the chin this spring, the housing market is a notable exception. According to the National Association of Realtors, April’s existing home sales fell by 17% but the median price rose to $286,800. The Colorado Associations’ website tells a similar story of slightly diminished sales volume but still rising prices due to low inventory, and so it goes here too in the North Fork valley and Delta county.
Although the ‘stay-at-home order’ put a damper on the demand side of the market equation, it also kept potential new listings from coming on the market – further reducing an already slim inventory. January – April sales in Delta county totaled $42.6 million, a 6% increase over the same period last year and the North Fork saw a 22% increase – pushing the median up 13% to $255,000. Meanwhile, the inventory of homes available for sale fell by 4% So, what about May? As of the 23rd there were 80 homes under contract in Delta county with 25 in the North Fork, 33 in Delta, and 22 in Surface Creek (ranging from $80,000 to just under $800,000) worth a total of $24 million – which pencils out to an average of $300K each. Those are robust figures by any measure, let alone while folks aren’t getting out much.
As I touched on last month, the law of supply and demand has not yet been repealed. Looking at the local supply, there are currently 26 properties for sale in the North Fork for less than $315,000 (an arbitrary cut-off of affordable). Of those, three are homes in Paonia’s Silver Leaf Co-housing development (each being 900+sqft of gorgeousness surrounded by common elements including solar PV, community house, and parking… but aren’t for everyone), four are offered as “to be built” homes in the North Ridge Meadows development in Hotchkiss (which is the only place around you can get a new home – as long as you can wait for it to be built), and one is a yurt on 40 dry acres in Crawford (not exactly a dream-home). That leaves 18 ‘regular’ listings, of which the least expensive one that I’d consider ‘move-in ready’ is a nicely remodeled mobile home in Paonia for $219,000. Those are some slim pickin’s.
Vacant land sales are also off to a good start this year, up 24%, to $4.5 million total – split pretty evenly among the three geographic areas of the county. But with land subdivision / development having been stalled-out for the better part of a decade, finding a nice parcel to build on isn’t easy either. I’ve heard that while we, as a country, have been sidelined by COVID, HomeDepot and Lowes are doing a bang-up business. Good times or bad, people love their homes, want to improve them, nest, and feel safe.