DURANGO, Colo. (KREX) — Welcome to Durango, a mountain town with 18,000 people. Skiing Purgatory Mountain paired with spectacular views, the newly renovated Hot Springs, and a rich history still shining through the town draws tourists from all over the world.

But for residents trying to make a living, life isn’t always as bright underneath the surface.

Micah Owen with R1 Colorado tells me each part of the town has its own culture and price, especially regarding the housing market.

But Owen says costs outside of town are a little bit lower. Micah tells me the average cost of a single-family home here in the city of Durango is about $750,000. Now, if you go about 15 to 18 miles away to the city of Bayfield, the price drops significantly, with the average cost sitting around $550,000.

Micah says one of the biggest obstacles, especially for first-time homeowners, is the rise in interest rates. He adds just a few years ago, buyers got a 2.5% interest rate. Now, it’s almost quadrupled to 8%.

He says interest rates were expected to drop at the end of the year, but they haven’t quite yet.

In terms of housing availability, he says construction is constant, but the true source of the lack of housing is homeowners with lower rates who won’t sell for fear of losing their locked-in interest rate.

Homeowners also get nervous to sell when the listed price for their house isn’t as much as they thought it would be.

So, what makes a house worth its listed price? Micah tells me location is the biggest factor, followed by size of the lot, size of the house, and water amenities including irrigation/well water.

Another popular option across the western slope is renting, but Micah warns – with renting…you’ll lose money.

Searching for the right place at the right price can take a lot of time and research, but with so many amenities, from skiing to the hot springs in Durango, it may be worth the effort.