Skip to main content

Happy 2023 western Colorado! My name is Jay Canode. I’m a realtor based in Paonia where I’ve lived with my wife and son since 2006. I’ll be sharing a “real estate round up” here in the pages of The Shopper from time to time, where you can expect my opinions on where the real estate market might be going, but more accurately – where it’s been!

This time of year, I begin to dream of desert camping trips to the canyon and plateau country of western Colorado and eastern Utah. Won’t be long now before twinges of spring start to shed some warmth in our gorgeous desert mesas and canyons. Speaking of plateaus! There’s a great theme (and segue) to sum up western Colorado real estate in 2022!

If we look at the areas where the Shopper is distributed, Montrose and Delta counties, 2022 was a year of leveling off home prices. Since 2017 we have seen a steady march in escalating sales prices on the Western Slope. In January 2017 the average price of a single-family home was ~$175k in both counties. Fast forward to early summer 2022 and we may have seen a local apex for a while. Delta County saw a June median sales price of $395k while Montrose saw around $450k. Countywide we saw a 64% increase of active listings in December 2022 versus December 2021 and an average of 40% fewer sold listings. Could these numbers suggest the beginning of a cool down in property values? The local trend certainly would help confirm the nationwide market trend. For 124 consecutive months, spanning the bottom of the previous bust in February 2012 to the top of the pandemic housing boom in June 2022, the seasonally adjusted Case-Shiller National Home Price Index reported positive home price growth. Now we’re in a new streak: four consecutive months of U.S. home price declines.

But keep in mind the numbers above are countywide average statistics. Our region still has some outlying “micro markets” that are seemingly bucking the larger suggested trend. Head into our area valleys and mesas and we see a different picture. Median sold prices in the North Fork valley, for instance maxed out at nearly $600k in June, cooled a bit in the fall, and then continued to escalate with Dec 2022 prices besting December 2021 by 27%. Interestingly, new December listings in the North Fork are at a five-year low for the North Fork but active listings are 48% higher than this time last year. Cedaredge and the surrounding vicinity have also exhibited a similar trend.

The statistics suggest that would-be sellers are apprehensive regarding the overall economic outlook in the U.S. Inflation is up, stock market down, housing tight and expensive, interest rates up, and recession incoming; all these factors are contributing to a slowdown in new listings AND new buyers. At the same time, we are seeing more price reductions for property that is lingering on the market, especially within various town limits on the Western Slope. I get the idea that some people are expecting this perceived bubble in real estate values to burst soon. I personally do not think it’s a bubble. It’s supply and demand-market driven. In my opinion 2023 will favor buyers more than it has in the past two years but I wouldn’t expect any huge moves or discounts, especially on the Western Slope. With the popularity of work from home and our excellent access to broadband I do expect a continued “tight” market around here. Phoenix and Las Vegas? Maybe not so much!

Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings and feel free to drop me a note with any questions about Western Slope real estate.

Jay is a broker associate with ReMax Mountain West. He can be reached at [email protected].