Wednesday, January 24, 2007

MERCY: Representatives of Mercy Housing, Mercy Regional Medical Center and other involved dignitaries held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday to celebrate the Pinon Terrace affordable rental housing project adjacent to the new hospital in Grandview. Pinon terrace will be built on a 4 acre parcel donated by Mercy and will provide housing for 66 families. Dick Banks is the CEO of Mercy Housing, a national organization founded by Sisters of Mercy, who also founded Durango's hospital of the same name. Banks said most of the families who will live in Pinon Terrace will have annual incomes in the $15,000 range, which is even below the 60 percent of median income required to qualify for affordable housing. Pinion Terrace should be completed by the end of the summer.

If you have questions about Durango real estate or our area in general, please call (800) 834-8445 or visit our websites and

Thursday, January 11, 2007

FORECAST: After bottoming in the fourth quarter of 2006, existing home sales nationally are expected to gradual rise through 2007 and into 2008 according to the latest forecast by the National Association of Realtors.

David Lereah, NAR's chief economist, said annual totals for existing-home sales will be fairly comparable between 2006 and 2007. " We have to keep in mind that we were still in boom conditions during the first quarter of 2006 with a high sales volume and double-digit price appreciation," he said. "We are starting 2007 from a relatively low point, so even with a gradual improvement in sales it'll be pretty much a wash in terms of annual totals. The good news is that the steady improvement in sales will support price appreciation moving forward."

Even better news is that, as existing-home sales improve in the major markets, our Durango real estate economy can only get stronger. We have numerous clients ready and anxious to purchase a home in the Durango / La Plata County area just as soon as they are able to sell their existing residence.

Stay abreast with the Durango real estate market on our websites and

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

RADON: Radon is an odorless, radioactive gas resulting from the natural decay of uranium. Uranium occurs in rock (particularly granite), soil and water. The gas is dispersed into the air outdoors but is suctioned into closed buildings and homes the same way air seeps in. It enters a home through concrete and miniscule cracks in foundation floors or walls, through hollow walls and openings around floor drains, pipes and sump pumps. It also enters in the water, particularly a well-water source.

The better insulated the home, the more the radon seeps in, is trapped and builds up to toxic levels. The amount of radon in the soil is determined by the geology under and near the home. Colorado homes are ranked at high risk for radon by the EPA.

Testing for radon is simple and inexpensive. The short term test involves hanging a postcard size envelope in a designated area for 3 to 5 days; then seal and mail. Results are sent to you within a week. Mitigation is recommended if the level is greater than 4. Elevated levels of radon in homes is documented as the number 2 cause of lung cancer. If you don't know the level in your home, we recommend a short term test.

Monday, January 01, 2007

WATER: Unable to persuade the city of Durango to reduce the amount of water it wants for a kayak course on the Animas River, the Southwestern Water Conservation District moved last week to acquire water rights itself.

By a 5-1 vote, the district board members authorized its attorney and engineer to ask for 30,000 acre feet of water annually to satisfy the needs of users upstream who don't have court decreed water rights , as well as to meet future demands.

About 20,000 acre feet presently are used annually by those upstream who already have court ordered water rights.

Water rights in southwest Colorado are a contentious issue. A number of entities, including public and private groups, filed statements of opposition after Durango filed its application in February. It was hoped that negotiations between the district and the city would make a scheduled court trial in May unnecessary. The water district's action apparently is in self defense.

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