Eagle County real estate in ‘peak season’
November 22, 2013
EAGLE COUNTY — If you think you're seeing more homes than usual advertised for sale this summer, you're right, for a couple of reasons.
The first reason there were more than 10 pages of homes for sale advertised in this newspaper's July 19 edition is the season. While the Vail Valley is a winter playground, summer is prime time for marketing homes for sale.
"The season traditionally peaks in July and August," Prudential Colorado Properties managing broker Michael Slevin said, adding that most sales are made, if not closed, between July and August. Homes show well in the summer, Slevin said, given the abundance and multiple shades of greenery in the valley.
"This is when the valley really shines," he said. "It's a great time to market a property."
“People are still looking for value. They want to make sure they’ve made a good purchase.”
Craig Denton, Ascent Sotheby’s International Real Estate
That's the conventional wisdom in the business. Shawna Toper, the vice president of marketing and online media for Slifer Smith & Frampton, the valley's biggest real estate company, said the company provides marketing help for its brokers to advertise during the summer.
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That help extends from photo ads to promoting open houses and is intended to get brokers and buyers together.
Open houses are a "great way" for buyers and brokers to meet, Toper said, and those open houses this year seem to be generating a good bit of interest from one end of the valley to the other.
The other reason it looks like there are more houses on the market is because there really are more houses on the market.
Local real estate brokers for the past several months have been bemoaning the lack of homes for sale, but that trend has reversed somewhat for the summer. A recent email newsletter from Prudential Colorado Properties broker Larry Agneberg notes that the number of homes on the market has increased for the past 10 weeks.
The newsletter, which uses information from the Vail Board of Realtors and other sources, adds that both sales and "dollar volume" — the sale price of property — have increased in the western part of the valley, where homes are usually priced at $500,000 or below.
Those homes make up the bulk of all sales and accounted for right at half of all sales through the end of May, the last month for which statistics are available.
More homes are being listed both because of the season and because the market — especially the $500,000 and less market — may finally have hit some sort of balance between buyers and sellers, Slevin said.
Mortgage interest rates remain "historically low," Slevin said, and there seem to be plenty of buyers in the $500,000 and less price range.
Toper said her company has seen several homes in the $500,000 and below range in Eagle go under contract just days after they were listed.
But Craig Denton, a broker in the Vail office of Ascent Sotheby's International Real Estate, said the higher end of the market is a different story.
"We may be low on inventory under $750,000, but not in the luxury market," Denton said.
Denton said the high end of the market is softer than it was in 2012, something reflected in dollar volume. Agneberg's newsletter reports that sales in the resort areas are about even with last year's figures, but dollar volume is off about 20 percent from last year.
"People are still looking for value," Denton said. "They want to make sure they've made a good purchase."
Just as important, Denton said, is the fact that luxury buyers don't have to buy anything. They can rent, or stay in hotels, until they find the right deal.
That said, Denton said he and his company are having a pretty good year.
"We've got a lot of motivated sellers," he said. Still, there isn't as much forced selling — due to foreclosure or other financial trauma — as there used to be, Slevin said.
The bottom line, aside from location, is price.
"If you price it right, you'll sell," Denton said.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2939 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.