There’s lies, lies, and statistics, or so the saying, popularly if erroneously attributed to Mark Twain, goes.

What is meant by this is, of course, that statistics can be easily manipulated to advocate or counter a specific argument or point of view.

It also means that, taken out of context, statistics can provide a distorted view of reality.

As we look back over the Chaffee County real estate market for 2020, it is worth keeping this in mind.

One aspect of the 2020 market that is not disputed by the statistics is that demand for real estate remained strong, and prices continued to increase over previous years.

At both ends of the county, the percentage of pending, closed and new listings were remarkably similar, as were the increases in the median closed prices.

One factor that must be kept in mind when considering these figures, however, is the relatively small sample size.

While 684 new listings, 643 pending listings and 619 closed listings might seem like large numbers, in statistical terms, this is still a relatively small sample size, and one or two large or really small transactions can have a disproportionate effect on the overall trend.

One statistic that did surprise me personally was the increase, albeit relatively modest, in the number of new listings over previous years.

At the front line of the real estate market, the year 2020 has seemed to be one in which new listings were down on previous years, whereas in fact they increased.

What has contributed to this impression of a decline in the availability of new listings has been the significant, and proportionally larger, increase in buyers as opposed to sellers.

Perhaps one other anomaly in the numbers is the increase, albeit slight, in the number of median days in MLS.

Conventional wisdom would seem to imply that in a hot market with significant buyer presence, properties would be on the market for less, not more, time.

Once again, this is perhaps explained by the relatively small sample size, where a handful of properties that took an extended amount of time to close can skew the overall picture.

With much uncertainty in the road ahead, it will be interesting to keep an eye on this year’s statistics as they come through and see what type of picture they paint for 2021.

Mellsop is a realtor with Pinon Real Estate Group and a former fishing guide.

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