Eagle Co. real estate sets $3 billion record | VailDaily.com

Eagle Co. real estate sets $3 billion record

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Amid nationwide reports of a crumbling housing market, Eagle County reported a record year for real estate.

The county saw $2.96 billion in sales for the year, besting 2005’s record of $2.8 billion, according to statistics compiled by Land Title Guarantee Company in Eagle.

It was the high-end properties ” $2 million and more ” that drove the market to a record year. Those properties made up 48 percent of the sales in 2007, compared to 39 percent in 2006.

Led Gardner, owner of Led Gardner and Associates Real Estate, said the record comes as no surprise to him.

“For those for us who work here, especially in high-end market, those numbers have been up almost all year long,” he said.

High-end markets have been relatively unscathed by the nationwide housing troubles, Gardner said.

“Negative headlines are what sell newspapers,” he said. “Even with all the record foreclosures, it’s still a minute portion of the overall national real-estate market.”

However, on the low end of the market, there were fewer sales. For properties under $500,000, there were 696 sales in 2007, down from 1,086 in 2006.

Ed Swinford, a Realtor with Slifer Smith and Frampton who has sold property here for more than 30 years, said the reason might be that it became more difficult to get mortgages.

“I don’t think properties were necessarily priced out of market as much has it was ability to get the affordable financing, to be approved for financing,” he said.

Signs of a recession have some worried that real-estate sales could tail off in the next year. But Swinford said he thinks the market will remain stable. Still, if the recession is big enough, the Vail Valley will feel it, too, he said.

“If it is prolonged enough and deep enough, yes,” he said. “We are not immune. We have clients that will make that statement, ‘I think the Vail Valley is immune to the recession.’ No, we’re not.”

Second-home buyers will continue to be attracted to the amenities of the area, Swinford said.

“It’s great skiing,” he said. “Really great climate. There’s the feeling of the small, quiet areas and the beauty of the surroundings.”

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.

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