SmartAsset

Are you thinking about buying a house? Right here in Las Animas County is the place to purchase a home according to a recent study by financial technology company SmartAsset. Owning rental property in Trinidad can also be a good thing according to local real estate agent Shannon Rogan.

A recent study by SmartAsset claimed Las Animas County to be the best place in Colorado for homeownership. The financial technology company measured median monthly rent for a three-bedroom home in each county as well as buying a home with an annual 30-year fixed mortgage, an annual interest rate of 4.5 percent, closing costs of $2,000, and a down payment of 20 percent.

They then calculate the breakeven point in the buy versus rent decision. That is, when the total costs of renting become greater than the total costs of buying. Counties with the shortest time needed to break even are what SmartAsset deemed “the best places to own a home.”

In the study, Colorado’s average monthly mortgage payment came out to $1,742. Comparatively, Las Animas County averaged $1,062 a month, with an average monthly rent of $1,194 slightly higher than mortgage and an average home price of $250,196.

Shannon Rogan, a local real estate agent said she agreed with the studies findings and thinks the study’s average home price for the county may even be a little high.

“In my opinion it’s less than that,” Rogan said. “We do have our in-town houses and out-of-town houses like those in Santa Fe Trail Ranch that are custom homes on 35 acres with city water that drive up our median price that are not as common as the sales of in-town homes.”

In her professional experience, she says this is likely because of a number of factors from no high-paying industries to support higher mortgages to a market that tends toward rentals, driving up demand and thus, prices.

“Our home prices tend to be a little bit lower here because we don’t have the same job market,” said Rogan. “We don’t have a lot of industries that pay a lot of money.

“This has always been a good place to own rentals because of the college,” Rogan explained, “and in the summer we had a lot of people that were coming from Texas that wanted short-term rentals that could stay here. So it’s kind of always been a good rental market. Then with the introduction of the marijuana industry it has brought the introduction of all those workers that don’t necessarily want to purchase a home here, whether it’s because their job is temporary or they just don’t quite make enough money to purchase a home.”

This study being done prior to the difficulties arising with the pandemic, it brought to question whether this might change the outcome of the study in any way, or to the overall market in Las Animas County. To this, Rogan expressed she believed the market would ultimately be fine, especially as more businesses begin to explore more work-at-home and telecommuting options.

“I actually think that our market will do pretty well over the next couple of months,” said Rogan, “because people that have the opportunity to retire will be coming here and as things evolve and more people are able to work at home, it will make Trinidad even more appealing to those people that can kind of pick and choose and have a lower cost of living.”

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