The real life story that never broke the news channels, but hit small towns in a wave. As we are wrapping up our 2020 year in Durango,Colorado I cannot help but reflect on what the Coronavirus did for small towns and specifically in relation to real estate.
We own a small clothing company downtown Durango, which is located about thirty minutes from the border of New Mexico, six hours from Denver, and surrounded with major mountain ranges. Our town is rustic with a steam engine and tourism being the main driving force for tourism and revenue is solely comprised based off tourism. When I heard we were going to be shut down, my knees felt weak. We cannot survive without tourism. And, as 2020 is wrapping up our t-shirt shop will not survive. We rely on the tourism and dining to be sustainable.
What did survive, thrive, and shattered records was the real estate market. Which the main question that runs through my mind is “how are so many people who are unemployed still able to purchase homes?” But, that is a different story.
We have finished this year in La Plata county up 54% from 2019 with the average sales price up 19% with almost 1,000 homes sold with a population of 56,000 people. Durango does not have a lot in regards to work force. We do not have large corporate companies, I was encouraged to ask each of my clients why the moved to Durango, Colorado and this is what they said.
They are tired of being in large cities where everyone is on top of each other.
When Coronavirus hit they realized they had nothing to do outside.
They wanted their kids to be able to enjoy the outdoors.
Big city safety was concerning for them.
On average each of my clients either took a early retirement, or their jobs went completely online with no need for them to stay where they were working.
75% of my clients were cash buyers, and even with me telling them our prices were higher than previous years but our interest rates were low, they still chose cash options and did not mind paying higher prices.
Average purchase time use to be six months. People would come and visit than buy when they got back to their towns. This year, they were purchasing while visiting or sight unseen via zoom calls and facetime. The previous years people were looking for second homes, smaller lots, and less maintenance. Clients changed their perspective to an average of one acre, and at least three bedrooms.
We love living in our bubble in a small town, and have been so thankful to be able to help so many people find a home secluded in the mountains. Will this trend continue in 2021? My projection is — yes. The need for mental health outside, the wants for safety and freedom, I believe will continue for years to come. The rumor around these small parts, people are going to simply not have any inventory to choose from.