Eagle County, national real estate market improving
November 22, 2013
EAGLE COUNTY — More locals bought homes in April than anyone else, says the latest real estate report from a local title company.
Land Title Guarantee Co.'s monthly market analysis says real estate transactions during April were up 19 percent over April 2012.
The Eagle and Gypsum markets have seen significant improvement, stemming from the classic law of supply and demand.
"We're experiencing a low supply and high demand market. More people are able to qualify to buy because of the low interest rates," said Laurie Slaughter, a Realtor with Prudential Colorado Properties. "Buyers are seeing the interest rates beginning to tick up a little bit. Coupled with the lack of inventory, that has us seeing people moving quickly when something comes on the market."
The lower valley was hammered when the real estate market tanked in 2008. Some sellers are staying put, waiting for the market to catch up to them.
"On the sellers side, many people are still under water. Prices have improved, but not improved enough for some sellers to break even," Slaughter said.
As buyers begin to re-enter the market, they're snapping up inventory.
"We've never seen inventory this low," Slaughter said.
On Monday, only 20 residential properties were listed in Gypsum.
"We're seeing homes under $300,000 going under contract in less than a week," Slaughter said.
Construction is also beginning to stir down valley. In 2010, the Pauls Corporation bought 100 lots in Sky Legend above the Gypsum Creek golf course, and is building a few at a time.
"It started slowly, but they sold quickly," said Bill Holm, a Realtor with the Pauls Corporation.
The Pauls Corporation also bought all of Stratton Flats and this year dug eight foundations. Five are already under contract, Holm said.
"We're seeking lots of pre-construction contracts and we haven't seen that since 2005," Holm said. "Stratton Flats is on fire because the locals are looking for a quality product they can afford."
Stratton Flats homes are currently priced between $240,000 and $280,000, Holm said.
Theelke's Land Title data found that April's gains follow a slight tumble in March for gross dollar volume.
Among the highlights:
• 28 percent of all transactions year-to-date have taken place in Eagle and Gypsum.
• Vail Village has been active with 20 sales year-to-date totaling more than $68 million, 18 percent of the total market's sales volume.
• 49 percent of all transactions have sold for less than $500,000.
• Commercial sales have accounted for 31 of the total number of transactions, 7 percent year-to-date.
• 52 percent of all Eagle County buyers this year already live in Eagle County.
• The highest priced transaction in April was a $6.3 million home in Vail Village, selling at $2,353 per square foot.
• The overall average price per square foot year to date for multi-family homes in Eagle County is up 21 percent to $550.
• There were 23 bank sales in April and 73 year-to-date through April.
The improving local news reflects the real estate market across the country, says the National Association of Realtors.
Nationwide, existing-home sales rose in April but remain below underlying demand because of limited inventory and tight credit, according to the National Association of Realtors. All regions across the country are showing gains from a year ago.
"The robust housing market recovery is occurring in spite of tight access to credit and limited inventory," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist with the National Association of Realtors.
Buyer traffic is stronger than a year ago, but sales are running only about 10 percent higher, Yun said.
"It has become quite clear that the only way to tame price growth to a manageable, healthy pace is higher levels of new home construction," Yun said.
Existing-home sales nationally are at the highest pace since November 2009 when the market spiked to 5.44 million in response to the home buyer tax credit.
Total sales have been above year-ago levels for 22 consecutive months, while prices show 14 consecutive months of year-over-year price increases.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935, and firstname.lastname@example.org