Dolores home sales slow

Home sales up past three years, but 2014 gets off to a slow start

Cortez Journal/Jim Mimiaga New residential construction goes up near Dolores. Since 2010 the real-estate market has rebounded in Dolores.

The Dolores real estate market has enjoyed an economic upswing since 2010, but the jury is still out for 2014 sales.

Foreclosure sales, a hot market in Durango, and easier lending qualifications for mortgages have helped Dolores rebound from the 2008 market crash, said Pete Singleton, a broker with Four Corners Properties.

"I'd say in 2013 we were back to top sales, but 2014 is still in limbo," he said. "I'm optimistic about a lot of walk-in traffic this year, and July, August, and September are typically strong months."

Good prices and interest rates between 4 percent and 4.5 percent have led to a buyers market, he said. Most of the homes selling in Dolores range from $150,000 to $200,000.

Of the 26 homes on the Dolores market, three are priced under $80,000; five are priced between $118,000 and $149,000; eight are between $160,000 and $195,000; five are between $219,000 and $259,000; and five are priced more than $325,000.

The lowest-priced home is listed at $65,000, and the highest at $4.6 million.

The market revival began showing up in 2010, Singleton said.

That year, Dolores realtors sold five homes totaling $841,900. In 2011, they sold seven homes worth $901,900. In 2012, sales of 15 homes totaled $2,035,500. And 2013, brought in $1,866,800 from 11 home sales.

"Foreclosure sales spiked the market in 2012," Singleton said.

In 2014, three homes have sold in Dolores, a slower pace than previous years.

Dolores, Mancos, and Cortez, benefit from a robust real-estate market in Durango, Singleton said. So far in 2014, real-estate sales in La Plata county totals $240 million, compared to $35 million in Montezuma County, according to real-estate data.

"I see that as a precursor to an improving market in Dolores," Singleton said. "As inventories get low in Durango, people begin looking at towns a little further out."

Most of the building permits issued out of Dolores Town Hall are for remodels, repairs, or additions, said town clerk Ann Swope.

"New home construction is relatively flat," she said. "But we are seeing some commercial growth."

Since 2010, two new homes have been built in Dolores, one valued at $85,000 and the other at $289,000. Other major new construction was a town shop ($640,000), the Dolores State Bank building ($1.1 million), and a new liquor store ($329,000).

At least one project was killed by the 2008 real-estate crash and nationwide financial crisis, Swope said. A townhouse project near the pre-school failed because financing qualifications suddenly became too onerous.

In the last few years, the total value of construction projects in Dolores has fluctuated.

In 2010, the year the new bank and new shop was built, total construction value Dolores was reported at $1.9 million. In 2011 it dropped to $187,345, stayed at $181,174 for 2012, then rebounded to $1 million in 2013, the year a new home and liquor store was built.

So far in 2014 the value of construction is at $32,000 for one addition.

"For residential, there is room for growth, commercial, not so much," Swope said. "Downtown is pretty much filled in. If we were to expand, we would have to annex, but the infrastructure costs for additional services make that not financially feasible."

For builder Michael Green, of Dolores, the local boom in the oil-and-gas industry could spur additional development and demand for more housing.

"I predict there will be a ten-year window of increased residential construction as the industry ramps up," he said. "An already tight rental market will raise rents as demand rises. That triggers new home construction when workers say I can pay less if I finance my own home."