As 2021 approaches, county's real estate agents see solid demand with less inventory

Matt Hollinshead
Farmington Daily Times
This one-story home, located at 607 Ashurst Drive in Farmington, is among the hundreds of San Juan County properties listed as "for sale" as of Monday, Dec. 7, 2020.

FARMINGTON — Due to the tumult and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors, 2020 has been interesting for San Juan County's real estate agents.

Many of them managed to sell some homes as New Mexico entered the latest surge in virus cases this fall, including clientele coming in from out-of-state. But they also noticed more people are being more cautious with their plans to move in or out.

“I think people are staying put and waiting for things to get better,” said Kara Wood, owner of Kirtland Realty.

Current situation

Allen Elmore of Real Estate PROS in Farmington said he's noticed fewer people are selling their homes in 2020, but homes themselves are being sold quicker once they're on the market.

Elmore said he attributes the latter to lower interest rates, adding it's ranging from 2.50% to 2.75% so far this month.

“When times are tough, they lower interest rates… I think that’s something we’re going to see for a while,” Elmore said.

Barry Digman of Keller Williams Realty in Farmington said lower interest rates are helpful for buyers, but added those buyers also must have good credit.

Digman also said If one's thinking about buying a home, they must work with a mortgage officer at a bank and pre-qualify for a mortgage ahead of time.

Kirtland Realty owner Kara Wood, second to the left, and associate broker Karen Deloss cut the ribbon during a July 18, 2015 ribbon-cutting ceremony for Kirtland Realty in Kirtland.

Digman said Keller Williams' sales last month were only down 6.8%, but he sold at the same rate he achieved in Nov. 2019 with less inventory.

“We had a very good year in 2020, despite everything,” Digman said.

According to the San Juan County Board of Realtors' Multiple Listing Service report online, 103 residential units out of 343 listings were sold in October, and those properties only spent an average of 67 days on the market. The average October sale price was $218,445, and the median sale price was $199,900.

In October 2019, 73 residential units out of 542 listings were sold, and they spent an average of 116 days on the market. The average October 2019 sale price was $207,606, and the median sale price was $183,000.

In November 2019, 86 residential units out of 498 listings were sold, which spent an average of 91 days on the market. The average November 2019 sale price was $192,743, and the median sale price was $179,500. 

The SJC Board of Realtors will release its November 2020 sales data on Thursday.

Demand's been fairly steady

In the previous two months, Digman said he sold two homes to Farmington natives who moved back home after residing in the Denver area. 

Elmore, who just entered the real industry field on Oct. 1, said he sold five properties in November, including to one buyer from California and one buyer from Hawaii.

Wood said she sold 12 properties in the previous two months. And although it didn't work out, Wood also said she came close to selling another home to an Arizona family.

Otherwise, Wood said moderately-priced homes in the Kirtland area have sold well the last few months and are in demand.

“Housing has been stable,” Wood said.

Timing, for better or worse

Elmore said now’s a good time to sell a home because no one’s doing it. Elmore also said now is a time to be patient and be ready to buy the right home, adding a down payment should be set up and a financing plan should be in place.

While some buyers are capitalizing on the lower interest rates, Wood said others are waiting for a more prosperous economy to materialize so they can qualify for a mortgage.

Elmore said some people are waiting for the holiday season, COVID-19 and the 2020 election cycle to settle down before selling their homes, but he expects the number of properties for sale to go up.

“The demand is steady… The value of homes is driven by that… It’s hard to foretell what the future’s going to bring because of COVID-19,” Elmore said.

Living in San Juan County

Elmore said the draw for potential buyers includes the weather, outdoor recreation and Farmington becoming an ideal retirement location.

“We do have a lot of going for us for a little town,” Elmore said.

Aside from being a good retirement and outdoor recreation area, Digman said people from other states will appreciate San Juan County because they won't have to deal with long commutes seen in larger urban settings.

But there's more than just the amenities and simpler way of life.

“I think people feel safer in a small town,” Wood said.

All three expect things to pick up as winter transitions to spring.

"Going forward, it looks like a healthy market in San Juan county,” Digman said. “Hopefully, we get this pandemic reined in a little bit, people just calm down and are able to make these big decisions without too much angst."

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577, and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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