By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
The heat wave that Wyoming experienced last weekend was one for the record books. But Wyoming’s real estate market is even hotter.
Not only were single-family home prices up 8.4% in 2020’s fourth quarter over the previous year but new construction prices are up a whopping 21.5% according to the Wyoming Economic Summary report.
The surge in pricing — and many local realtors are saying that 2021’s prices are even higher — is due to high demand and a lack of inventory.
Dominic Valdez, a real estate agent in Cheyenne, told Cowboy State Daily that competition for homes in many parts of the state is “intense.”
He said as of Wednesday there are 66 homes for sale in Cheyenne. The average is usually between 400 and 500.
“It’s ridiculous and it’s not just Wyoming. It’s all across the country,” Valdez said. “High demand and low inventory is really pushing prices up.”
Valdez said many of the new buyers are from outside of Wyoming, coming from areas including Colorado, California, and New York.
At many price points, he said, new construction is the route buyers are taking, but it can take 10 to 12 months to complete a home.
“The builders are going as fast and as hard as they can,” he said. “But there is a shortage of skilled laborers — plumbers, electricians, roofers, framers, and sheet rockers.”
Valdez said the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors credits the economic downturn a decade ago for the lack of inventory.
“The recession put so many builders out of business and the builders that survived cut back on their production considerably,” Valdez said.
“The whole time we were trying to recover [from the recession], kids were graduating from college and entering the workforce. The buyers were still being produced but the inventory was not,” he said.
Valdez said prospective buyers should try to qualify for the highest price point they can, as prices won’t be going down.
“It’s still a good time to buy as interest rates are still historically low,” he said. “It’s tough on buyers but if you can get it, the way we are appreciating, you will end up ahead of the game in two, three, five years down the road.”
Buyers should expect to get beat out on offers as the demand is high, but Valdez said not to get discouraged and “keep on trying.”
Max Minnick, president of Wyoming Realtors, told The Center Square that the real estate market is affecting all areas of Wyoming.
“We have a lot of people coming in from out of state right now, getting away from the bigger cities and into the Wyoming way of life,” Minnick said.