|A sign, above, alerts passersby
on County Road 250 to a home for sale. Despite last summer’s
fires and what may appear to be a proliferation of real
estate signs, below, local realtors say residents of the
burn areas are staying put and that numbers of homes on
the market are on par with last year./Top photo by Todd
Newcomer/bottom photo by Jennifer Reeder.
When driving around areas affected
by last summer’s Missionary Ridge Fire and seeing the
proliferation of “for sale” signs, it’s easy
to conclude that homeowners have had it with fires and mud and
are moving to greener pastures.
But apparently, they’re not.
Lonnie Rush, a Bayfield Realtor who works in the Vallecito
area, said the number of homes for sale is “par for the
course” in an area with so many second homes and retirees.
“None of them want to go through it again, but they’re
not selling their properties,” Rush said. “I’m
trying to think of one person who’s listing their house
because of the fires, and I can’t think of a single one.”
John Wells, owner of the Wells Group in Durango, said that
on Monday, 46 Vallecito residences were for sale, which is on
a par with last year. From last June to the present, 19 homes
in Vallecito have sold, as opposed to 28 homes during the same
period the year before.
“There’s less impact (from the fire) than you’d
think,” Wells said.
He added that it is more difficult to give exact numbers for
the burn area on East Animas Road, but that there are a number
of homes listed around Stevens Creek that may be challenging
to sell because of uncontrollable factors such as mudslides
and debris flow.
Doug Allen, a 24-year Vallecito resident and broker associate
with Bayfield Realty, said that the number of homes being rebuilt
in the burn area is encouraging.
“Overall, real estate was probably better than I expected,”
he said. “There are quite a few homes about to be built,
or just built (recently).”
He remarked that he even knows of one couple with property
in an area that burned that found a bright side, saying, “They
told me the fire created a million dollar view for them.”
Jerry McCoy, Vallecito branch office broker for Coldwell Banker,
notes a similar trend and is remaining positive. He said he
knows residents who “haven’t budged a bit”
and also say their views are better.
“We hope it will green up,” McCoy said. “We’re
He added that he thinks there is enough snowpack to fill the
reservoir, and that last summer was the lowest he’s seen
it in the 20 years he’s lived in Vallecito. Nevertheless,
he said he does have some concerns.
“God controls the water coming in, and she hasn’t
been doing a very good job lately,” he said with a laugh.
McCoy said there has been some drop in prices, especially in
areas scorched by the fire, but nothing dramatic. In fact, according
to Wells, the median price for a home in the Vallecito area
is $179,000, up $10,000 from a year ago.
“I’ve had people coming here from out of state
looking for the fire sale, and I can’t help them,”