Real estate in full bloom

Local real estate agent Jillian Smith places a for-sale sign in front of one of her listings. According to Smith, the housing market in Johnson County has been strong in early 2019.

It’s springtime in Johnson County – the snow is melting, the flowers are blooming and the houses are selling.

“In some of the larger markets, houses sell all year round, but in the Johnson County area, realtors do the bulk of their business between April 1 and August 31,” local real estate agent Jillian Smith said. “That’s when we see the majority of buyers ready to make a decision. So we certainly expect things to start picking up here in the next few weeks.”

The spring season looks to continue a season of growth in the local market, Smith said. So far in 2019, 37 houses have sold for an average market price of $286,000, Smith said. This is up from the first four months of 2018, when 28 homes were sold for an average price of $213,000.

“When you look over the trends from 2016 on, you will see that the average list price has gone up while the number of properties on the market has gone down,” Smith said. “It all comes down to supply and demand. The houses that are on the market are selling fast, which is driving the increase in the list price.”

Smith said the fastest selling houses have had a price point between $250,000 and $350,000 and have three bedrooms or fewer and anywhere from 5 to 10 acres of land

Smith said that several factors are driving the boom in Johnson County’s market. One is that nearby counties such as Sheridan County have run out of affordable inventory, which is pushing shoppers into Johnson County.

“Some of those city dwellers are seeing that we have a great location with affordable housing and they see the real value of that,” Smith said. “So a lot of our growth is coming from outside of the county and even out of state.”

Another factor driving the strong market is affordable mortgage interest rates, Smith said.

“At a rate of 5%, it seems really approachable to a lot of people across the country to consider buying a home,” Smith said. “At the same time, rental rates across the nation are going up, and people are asking, ‘If I’m paying $1,200 a month in rent, what could I get if I spent the same amount on a mortgage?’”

Smith, who is a licensed real estate broker in both Wyoming and Colorado, said the housing market boom isn’t unique to Johnson County or Wyoming and it seems likely to continue into the foreseeable future.

“It is a great time for the seller to come to the market,” Smith said. “There is a large population of buyers looking, and we’re looking to have a really strong summer season.”

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