Downvalley real estate humming; sales strong for homes priced at less than $500,000 | VailDaily.com

Downvalley real estate humming; sales strong for homes priced at less than $500,000

EAGLE COUNTY — The Vail Valley is known for its high-priced real estate. But the real action is at the lower end of the market.

The local real estate market had a particularly active month in May. That's according to data provided by Land Title Guarantee Co., which uses sales data recorded at the Eagle County Clerk & Recorder's Office.

As is usually the case, sales in Eagle and Gypsum made up a good portion of May's transactions — 37 percent of all sales.

The units moving most rapidly are those priced at $500,000 or less, and that movement can be quick.

“You can buy for less than you can rent. ... And the lack of rental inventory is driving those quick sales under $500,000.”Ellen Smith-EatonLocal Realtor

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Ellen Smith-Eaton, who has had her own brokerage in the valley since 1997, said she recently listed a unit at the Sunridge Condos in Avon. It was under contract before the end of the day.

Smith-Eaton said she believes many first-time buyers are taking the plunge into ownership due to ever-increasing rent costs.

"You can buy for less than you can rent," Smith-Eaton said. "And the lack of rental inventory is driving those quick sales under $500,000."

MORE INVENTORY

Homes are selling quickly, but not in one day, in other parts of the market, too. Smith-Eaton lives in Edwards' Homestead neighborhood and said a home on her block recently went under contract in 14 days. Another nearby home, priced at $1.4 million, was under contract 15 days after it was listed.

And after a few years of widespread Realtor complaints about a lack of inventory on the market, more homes are coming into the county's Multiple Listing Service.

"We're starting to see a lot more in the listings," Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties broker Larry Agneberg said.

Agneberg added that a number of sellers will pull their homes from the market around the end of ski season, then list them again toward the Fourth of July.

That's been happening this year, he said.

Smith-Eaton said she's noticed the influx, too, with 18 new listings hitting the service June 28, and another two dozen the following day.

PRICED TO MOVE

The result, Agneberg said, is that he and other brokers are "nicely busy" right now. Still, he added, how quickly a home sells still boils down to price.

"If something is priced right, it's going to sell — there's a buyer out there," he said. "But there are still listings where buyers and sellers haven't seen eye to eye."

In the lower valley, that price point is $500,000 and below. Agneberg said the price point is a little higher in Edwards, where homes priced around the $600,000 to $800,000 range are moving quickly.

Agneberg said people seem willing to drive a bit in exchange for finding homes they like.

"They can get more for their money — we're seeing that a lot these days," Agneberg said. "Some properties in Vail are suffering a little. They're priced higher, and buyers are saying we can get more for our money (down valley)."

EASIER TO GET LOANS

And while the valley's housing stock is tight right now, Eaton-Smith said there are units available and lending standards have relaxed somewhat from the tight-money days early in this decade.

"People can buy homes for (no money) down," Smith-Eaton said. "Even if they can't get zero down, there's so many ways to get into a home."

While the local market has gradually returned to health, it's come a long way back from the years between 2009 and 2012.

Brent Smith is the general manager of the Keller Williams Real Estate operation in Eagle County. Smith has only been on the job for a few months, but, of course, has access to data from those years.

The Keller Williams offices in Eagle County sold 38 units in all of 2012, with a dollar value of $16.5 million. Through June 29, that company has closed 52 deals in 2016, with a dollar value of $26.4 million.

That's progress.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, smiller@vaildaily.com and @scottnmiller.

By the numbers

178: Completed real estate transactions in May.

67: Transactions in Eagle and Gypsum.

56 percent: Percentage of transactions priced at $500,000 or less.

$8.35 million: Highest-priced sale in May, in Bachelor Gulch.

Source: Land Title Guarantee Company.