[October 2020 | By Ninah Hunter, Real Estate Editor]
If you’ve been paying any attention to current real estate news, you must know it is a strong seller’s market right now, especially in more populous metropolitan areas, such as New York, Los Angeles, and Denver. We are, definitely, experiencing it here on the Colorado Western Slope, as well. So, what is fueling this hot seller’s market?
The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has definitely impacted people’s lives and the real estate market. People are fleeing the more highly populated areas that have experienced the highest rates of infection and death. The benefits of living in a city, like plentiful and near-by restaurants, pubs, music, theater, and other cultural and professional sporting events, no longer exist due to all the shut-downs. The risk of getting sick now outweighs those eliminated benefits.
People leaving the cities seek smaller, healthier, towns that offer other aspects of quality of life, like beautiful scenery, nature, clean air, clear skies, and opportunities for outdoor activities, like hiking, biking, boating, fishing, hunting, and bird and wildlife watching, all of which can be done alone or in small groups and at no cost. Fortunately or unfortunately—depending on how you look at it—the small towns of the Western Slope offer many of those benefits.
Historically, most people have lived in the same town where they worked. Now they live even closer to work, at home! Workers are realizing they can, in fact, conduct business remotely and productively from home, eliminating the daily commute to an office. Children are also at home attending school remotely. School proximity may, thus, become less a reason to stay in the neighborhood. [See related articles.]
Working or attending classes remotely in smaller towns and communities previously was not possible due to the lack of fast reliable internet and telecommunications systems. Even before the pandemic, this was a must-have for more and more of my prospective buyers.
Rural areas are currently experiencing rapid develop and expansion of fiber-optics. The Ridgway area is a good example of this expansion as clearnetworx moves quickly on its construction of fiber zones from Delta and Montrose to Ouray, and Ridgway to Norwood and Telluride. This will, undoubtedly, attract more remote workers from pandemic-distressed metropolitan areas.
Housing Inventory Shortage
Supply and demand is also at work in Western Slope communities, especially in mountain towns like Ridgway, Ouray, and Telluride. There has been little new home construction in these areas due to lack of affordable land for developers, construction financing constraints, and higher construction costs. New housing development, in general, was forestalled nationwide during the recession and really never picked up at pre-recession pace on the Western Slope.
This combo of inventory shortage plus higher demand from metro-fleeing buyers has caused the rather significant rise in home prices. Sellers are expecting and getting offers at asking price, or more. It is not uncommon for a desirable, competitively-priced home to elicit multiple, simultaneous offers.