Gunnison resident Jesse Duft and his new fiancée spent two years looking to buy a home. Several times, they found a place they liked only to have the seller accept another offer.
In fact, on more than one occasion, within days of a property going on the market, the couple found themselves among multiple buyers vying for the purchase.
Most recently, Duft learned of a threebedroom condominium from a friend. He acted fast, viewing the property, presenting his pre-approval letter from a lender and making an offer within hours of it hitting the market.
“We put an offer in before my fiancée even had a chance to look at it,” said Duft. “I loved the place and my dad checked it out for me. Having someone look at it with you that you trust helps.”
Duft’s offer was one of four. Luckily, the first offer fell through, and Duft’s was accepted. He’s now a proud property owner.
But Duft’s experience is not unique in the Gunnison Valley, as indicated by declining “days on the market” (DOM) for some properties. The number of days a property is on the market is often an indicator of the overall speed sales are made. It’s generally measured by the number of days between when a property is listed and when it goes under contract with a buyer.
Single-family residences within the City of Gunnison appear to be the hot commodity — with an average DOM figure less than half of what it was five years ago. The DOM for Gunnison homes was 228 in 2013, dropping to 104 in 2018 — the most recent available figures.
Crested Butte South has a similar story with an average DOM for single-family residences dropping from 192 in 2013 to 143 last year. The DOM for homes in Crested Butte declined by 30 days in the last five years. Mt. Crested Butte fell by 24 days, and homes in the unincorporated county near Gunnison were down five days during the same time period.
The only exception to declining numbers for single-family residences was the rural area surrounding Crested Butte, where average DOM rose by 60 days.
Condominiums and townhomes also are selling more quickly in Crested Butte, Crested Butte South, Mt. Crested Butte and Gunnison with significant drops in DOM. However, average DOM for condos and townhomes in rural Crested Butte and rural Gunnison saw increases.
Brieonna Aljets, chief executive officer for Gunnison-Crested Butte Association of Realtors, said the rise in DOM may not truly represent trends in sales activity.
“There are some places where there was an increase (in DOM) that doesn’t fit with the rest of the overall market,” Aljets wrote in an e-mail. “This could be because there were a couple of listings that sat on the market for over three years and pull that number up. Some areas only sell seven to 10 properties in a oneyear time span, so a high number of DOMs for one property can change the average.”
Still, real estate agent Brian Cooper has few properties that are not under contract. He offered some insight about the rate at which properties are selling — including price and the amount of inventory. In Crested Butte, Cooper opined that the high price of homes within town limits has led to more days on the market. Sellers are sitting on their prices for longer, confident they will get what they’re asking.
By comparison, prices in Gunnison are lower, Cooper said, and the market moves yearround rather than seasonally as it once did. However, he cautioned, as prices increase, the number of days it takes to sell a home will lengthen.
“December was active — snow did not impact it at all,” said Cooper. “But prices are getting to a point where days on market may go up.”
Cooper said condos and townhomes in Gunnison appear to be selling quickly for several reasons. First, with the build out of the Van Tuyl subdivision, there’s more inventory available for purchase. And a high number of relatively quick sales of those properties has reduced the average DOM.
Also, such properties have become the new “first home” for families rather than a traditional, free-standing, single-family structure — such is the case for Duft.
Additionally, townhomes are attractive to second-home buyers who want low maintenance year-round. They also make good investment properties for those looking to operate shortterm rentals, Cooper said.
In a market in which sales happen within days of a property listing, Duft advises home shoppers to be prepared. Get pre-approved, figure out a good down payment and view the property with someone you trust, he said.
“At closing, I felt like it was all moving so fast after I signed all those papers,” said Duft. “I’m glad we did it. It’s only going to pay off from here.”
(Chris Rourke can be contacted at 970.641.1414 or at firstname.lastname@example.org .)