Eagle County real estate market is showing resiliency as inventory rises
Available homes, pending sales, and dollar volume are all higher than a year ago at this time, demonstrating resiliency in the market despite stubbornly elevated mortgage rates. This activity is a clear indication of high demand for homes across the Vail Valley and buyers understanding that while at a perceived “high,” mortgage rates are in a window of normalcy and still below historic average rates.
Resort activity continues to help buoy overall dollar volume and we are experiencing many owners/sellers not leaving the valley, but hoping to find larger, newer, and different homes and locations in the resorts. The fall months, while typically quieter, present good opportunities for sellers as they will likely have less competition than in the summer months. The next few months also give buyers less competition for coveted homes and more opportunity to purchase before ski season commences.
In the local market, there is still some stagnation. Owners who have low-interest rates are hesitant to list their homes. Buyers are also impacted by higher interest rates and prices, impacting what they can now afford.
There is a new block of “shadow inventory” where we know owners holding low rates want to sell but are reluctant to make a move until rates come down to a level that creates more inventory. In fact, despite the headlines of “low inventory,” across all areas and price points, there are many more owners interested in selling than on the market.
So, while not formally on the market, don’t let the perception that there is “nothing available” deter your home-buying interest here in the Vail Valley and Eagle County. Technology tools, resources, and extensive databases to which many brokers have access can help uncover opportunities not readily available to the public.
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Mark Weinreich, a broker associate with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties’ Beaver Creek in the Villa Montane office, notes that for the resort and luxury market, there are more choices. Good properties priced to fair market value are still selling quickly.
“We have two luxury properties in Beaver Creek and Cordillera that went under contract in less than one week and commanded top dollar,” Weinreich said. “The key is they were priced right based on condition, location, and amenities. The demand is still there, so interested buyers need to be ready to go.”
For those buyers wondering if they should hold out, Weinreich contends that the chances of there being more opportunity at lower prices, if they wait, is not likely based on current trends.
“Trying to time the real estate market is like trying to predict the stock market, and in all reality, a home will likely be more expensive than less expensive. The vast majority of the deals are cash buyers who are ready to invest in real estate so they can enjoy the lifestyle and create family memories,” Weinreich said.
On the seller side, the question also comes up around timing the market. Too late, sell now, or hold out?
“By all indications, we have likely reached the height of the market,” Weinreich said. “That being said, homes that are priced to market value based on condition, features, and location are still commanding top dollar. Given the demand, there is some opportunity for sellers to explore the market — depending on their sense of urgency — and willingness to let buyers sniff it out. If it’s not priced right, homes will sit. Sellers that aren’t getting sales quickly are most likely overpriced. Buyers aren’t willing to overpay.”
Scooter Slaughter, a broker associate with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties’ Gypsum office, agrees that it continues to be a strong market for sellers when they list their properties at the right price. Those who do are going under contract fairly quickly.
According to Slaughter, some downvalley properties are accumulating more days on the market from a year to 18 months ago due to several factors. These include list prices above market value and an unwillingness from sellers to reduce based on feedback from showings or lack of showings. Secondly, more inventory during this summer’s selling season is giving savvy buyers more options than in the past couple of years.
“In almost all of my recent conversations with past and current clients, the question of interest rates comes up and how it is affecting the real estate market,” Slaughter said. “The rates can hinder a qualified buyer’s purchasing power and maximum price they can qualify for.”
While this is a subject on top of many buyers’ minds, it doesn’t seem to be pulling the market and values down. This is because those who really need or want to buy a home in the area and who have the financial means are making it work.
“Savvy buyers with the financial means realize they can refinance if and when the rates come down,” Slaughter said. “Even though prices have leveled off, rental prices have increased, and buyers are realizing that they could be paying a monthly mortgage and growing their own nest egg vs. paying rent.”
Michael Slevin is the president and owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties, started by his father, John, 52 years ago. The company has grown to 12 offices in 10 communities, spanning from Grand and Eagle Counties to the Western Slope.