Mike on America

Durango: The New Hot Spot of Real Estate

Rocky Mountains

When you live on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, and you watch your local weatherman in cities and towns like Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, his butt always covers the Southwestern corner of the state. Ask him to move. Because behind his derriere is Durango, and one of 'the' newest real estate investment 'hot' spots in the country.

Yes, yes--real estate, housing sales, to coin a phrase--'sucks' right now. But in the real estate game ALL real estate is local, and investing in real estate is really investing in the future--not the now.

One of those 'futures' is in the Durango area. A town of 15,000 or so in the city limits, 35,000 or so in the surrounding area--Durango is one of those places, to quote Will Rogers, 'that is tough to get to, and proud of it.' Established in the late 1800's--it's been a stable, Western, community 'under the radar' of most Colorado visitors. Why go to Durango, when you can visit Aspen, or Telluride--you know, where you can bump into Tom and Penelope on the street.

But suppose you don't want to? Suppose you have, oh, 500 million bucks or more in your portfolio and you're looking to 'chill out'--be a 'real' person--someplace everybody knows your name, but doesn't care about the size of your wallet.


Or at least that's what Rip Pratt of French & Co. out of Vero Beach Florida is counting on. Actually they're already seeing it. Very high net worth folks buying into a limited supply of land in the Durango area. Pratt's outfit owns 600 acres--and there aren't allot available thanks to conservation easements and national forest land--and is shepherding his clients/investors through the process of either turning the property into profits in resale--or in simply buying it and building something on it. That 5 million dollar lot we stood on over looking the most unbelievable scene of natural beauty nearly sold itself.

There is pressure on the low end market in Durango like there is everywhere else---and the high end stuff isn't flying off the shelf--BUT--sales on that high end are steady--very steady--with an eye to what the market will be like in two or three years. That's what investing is all about. And Durango is reaping the benefits--or those that are investing there now hope so.

Next time you watch your local weather guy--ask him to move his butt--who knows what you'll find behind it?

Questions?  Comments?  mikeonamerica@nbcuni.com