Grand County housing sales chug through COVID-19 shutdown; agents say demand remains strong

Despite the COVID-19 shutdowns, Grand County real estate agents are reporting only a slight slowdown in the local housing market.

Since Gov. Jared Polis issued a statewide stay at home order, local real estate agents say the biggest change in business has been they are no longer conducting in-person showings. However, the interest in Grand County’s real estate remains.

“It’s not as bad as it would seem,” Tim Myers, chair of the Grand County Board of Realtors and an agent at Byers Peak Realty, said of the coronavirus’ effects on the market. “We have seen some properties come back … but not like I would have thought.”

Myers has only experienced a few cases where buyers could no longer afford a purchase because of unemployment or lost hours. Otherwise, he said, the demand still exists.

“New listings have slowed down, but we still have properties coming on,” Myers said. “Buyers, from what I can tell online and in the number of phone calls I’m getting, are very active … I think once we get past this we’ll have good demand.”

Carrie George, of Keller Williams Realty, agreed with Myers’ assessment, noting that people are still active, even if they are taking more time than usual to make big decisions.

“I have heard many refer to this time as the ‘Great Pause,’ and that is what is happening in the real estate market as well,” George said. “Buyers still want to buy and sellers still want to sell, but they are waiting for the coast to be clear.”

Real estate by the numbers…

$376,596 – average condo or townhome sales price YTD

$864,295 – average single family home sales price YTD

142 – days on market for condos YTD

153 – days on market for single family homes YTD

Data from the Grand County Board of Realtors supports the agents’ experience so far. For single family units, the number of days on market has increased 10% compared to last year. Condos and townhomes have seen an increase of 95% in the number of days on the market.

New listings for single family homes and condos are down 18-20% compared to last year. Myers noted that April is usually a busy month for new listings because it marks the end of ski season, and he expects the shutdown to cut into those numbers.

“April’s been the hotspot, so that’s probably going to be affected a little bit, but there’s demand for sure,” he said.

On the other side of things, only slightly fewer properties have been closed on this year compared to last year, Myers said. Both he and George still say Grand County is a seller’s market. Housing prices haven’t dropped, and lower interest and mortgage rates could help sales.

“The current conditions are not a repeat of the housing crash of 2008,” George said. “COVID-19 hit our country during one of the strongest economies in a generation … The real estate market (was) very active leading up to the shutdown.”

Due to the strong marker earlier this year, lower rates and continued interest from buyers and sellers, both she and Myers are optimistic the market will pick back up again quickly.

“We’re in a resort area, so a lot of our buyers are pretty solid financially,” Myers agreed. “The market is pretty supported at this time.”

As for advice the agents would give buyers and sellers, both emphasized that now is the time to prepare. George suggested that sellers work on repairs or improvements while potential buyers should be consulting lenders. Myers noted that lenders’ requirements regarding employment may have changed and encouraged buyers to reach out to them directly during this time.

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