Broker: Vail Valley real estate slower, but still ‘good’ |

Broker: Vail Valley real estate slower, but still ‘good’

Scott N. Miller
Vail, CO, Colorado

VAIL ” Tighter credit and a slowing economy have slowed real estate sales across the region this year. But, while sales volume is down everywhere, the average price of homes in Garfield and Summit counties is still on the rise.

Those numbers were displayed on a giant screen at last week’s Mountain Real Estate Update in Vail. The seminar, sponsored by the Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business, brought together several movers and shakers from the real estate business in Eagle, Summit, Grand, Garfield and Pitkin counties. They all reported that sales are down this year.

Part of the problem with this year’s numbers is last year.

“We’re still tracking well compared to 2006, but 2007 was just nuts,” said Randall Hannaway, a broker from Steamboat Springs.

Joan Harned, a broker at the Keller Williams office in Eagle and a longtime veteran of the mountain real estate business, agreed.

“Now we just have a good market, not a great one,” she said.

Still, transaction numbers are down, and down dramatically, from the all-time highs seen in the last few years. And, while brokers have said throughout the year that selling prices have been holding steady, the per-sale average price dropped in the second quarter of this year in Pitkin and Eagle counties, home to the highest-priced real estate in the region.

Second-quarter values were up in Garfield County, fully in the clutches of a real estate boom fueled by the oil and gas industry. They were also up in Summit and Grand counties.

The average prices were up even as those counties had big listing books of property for sale.

But there are still buyers, many of whom are from other countries.

Sandye Whitaker, a broker with Aspen Associates Realty Group, said the Pitkin County market is seeing a lot of Russian buyers these days, and they have bunches of money.

“There are 40 billionaires who have a home interest in Pitkin County,” Whitaker said. “We’re seeing a trend toward the uber-wealthy buyer.”

Daniel Johnson, a broker with Re/Max Properties of Summit County, said that area isn’t seeing the uber-wealthy, since Kremmling has the closest airport to any of Summit’s ski slopes.

“But our owners are shifting away from Front Range to international buyers,” Johnson


In Eagle County, Harned said there have been nearly 149 price changes on listed properties over the last few months. Of those, 143 adjusted down.

Still, Harned said, there were 776 sales in Eagle County in the first six months of this year.

“Buyers still want to be here,” Harned said. “People have been waiting for the prices to level off.

“We’re busy,” Harned added. “If you have knowledge and are willing to help a client, you’ll be fine.”

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or

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