A house sits for sale on West Nambe Street on Monday in Farmington.
A house sits for sale on West Nambe Street on Monday in Farmington. (Augusta Liddic/The Daily Times)

FARMINGTON — Home sales in San Juan County fell by about 4 percent for the first six months of 2013 amid signs buyers were waiting for good deals.

Homes sold in June for a median price of $188,000, the highest monthly mark since a year earlier when the median price was $193,000. Listings spent an average of 103 days on the market, up from 74 in June 2012.

Theresa McBee, president of the San Juan County Board of Realtors, described a buyer's market.

"If the prices of the listings are priced to coincide with the market, you're going to get buyers that are going to buy," she said. "If the sellers think they can sell their home higher than what the market's bearing, they're going to sit."

In the first six months of 2013, 331 homes sold, down from 344 for the first half of 2012. The data counts homes sold by Realtors in San Juan County.

"It's been a little slow, but we're still doing fine," McBee said.

McBee attributed the slow sales in part to rising interest rates. After historically low rates in recent years, a 30-year fixed mortgage now carries about 4.5 percent interest.

Board of Realtors data also shows a growing glut of homes on the market.

There were 607 active listings and 161 new listings in San Juan County in June. That was the most since August 2011, and up from 562 active listings and 140 new listings in June 2012.

Nationally, home prices have rebounded. The 20-city Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed prices rose 12 percent for the 12 months ending in April.

Separately on Monday, a river advocacy group called Protect the Flows released a report illuminating the impact of low flow levels of the Colorado River on real estate prices. The group surveyed real estate agents and appraisers in Farmington as well as Aspen, Colo., Grand County, Colo., and Sedona, Ariz. -- all communities near the Colorado River or its tributaries.

Protect the Flows said riverfront properties would drop in value by an average of 9.5 percent if river flows decline as predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

The group said homes with a riverfront view are 11 percent more valuable than comparable homes with no river view, and homes with river frontage are 25 percent pricier than homes with no river frontage.

Protect the Flows called for measures to reduce demand in the Colorado River basin, such as conservation programs in urban areas, implementing more efficient practices on farms and instituting more flexible water sharing agreements to match supply and demand.

Chuck Slothower covers business for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4638 and cslothower@daily-times.com. Follow him @Dtchuck on Twitter.