An uprecedented year for Vail Valley real estate
Takeaways for buyers and sellers from the 2020 market report
On Real Estate
Before the pandemic emerged in the United States, we knew living in the Vail Valley was special and unique. Our four-season valley thrives on recreation, adventure, and community.
What we realized in the spring and summer was just how much individuals and families valued the lifestyle locals, returning guests, and second-home owners have grown to appreciate. The wave of new residents and those looking to make the valley their more permanent home was palpable and evidenced by the real estate sales numbers in 2020.
A headline worthy $3 billion in sales is a record for any year. Drilling down, our residential unit sales topped 1,700, 24% above last year’s levels. Residential dollar volume exceeded 2019 by 52%. Lofty numbers.
While the holidays are typically a slower time of year, Q4 numbers produced a record number of sales, with single family and duplex home sales up 67.25% and condos and townhomes up 92.89% percent over the same period in 2019. While inventory is still lagging behind sales, Q4 did show increases over 2019, with listings up 4% for single family homes/duplexes and 7.044% for condos/townhomes. The biggest impact on inventory continued to be heightened buyer demand, which was up 74% between Thanksgiving through the New Year over the same 2019 holiday period.
Sellers continued to benefit from high buyer demand, with average list price up 8.43% and average sales price up 10.51% percent for Q4. Year-over-year totals jumped 19.86% for average list price and 21.04% for average sales price. Coinciding with heightened buyer demand, the number of days on the market continued to drop, down an average of 11.2% to 111 days from 2019 Q4 levels, bringing the annual average to 123 days for 2020.
According to Rick Messmer, managing broker for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties’ Eagle Ranch office, 2020 was a truly unprecedented year and Q4 followed suit.
All property types, from existing to new and custom homes were, for the most part, selling in less than one week and often times in hours. Land listings also saw a big increase in interest through the year. “We experienced bidding wars on “well-priced dirt” in Eagle Ranch as well as the new Stratton Flats Townhomes in Gypsum, which sold out within days of release and won’t be delivered until mid-to-late summer 2021,” said Messmer.
“Like all of Eagle County, inventory remains a dominant issue for 2021 and momentum seems to be continuing,” said Messmer. “Buyer interest remains at an all-time high. Just this week, in less than 24 hours, there were multiple offers for a $1M+ home in Eagle Ranch,” he added.
Kyle Denton, broker associate for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties and member of The Denton Advisory Group, echoed that Vail and Beaver Creek experienced unprecedented prices and sales in 2020.
“While sales far exceeded 2019 levels, there are still some great opportunities and price points in certain neighborhoods for the high-end buyer,” Denton said. “In Vail Village and Lionshead alone there are currently 22 single family and duplex homes on the market. While these homes start at $5.9 million, for this type of buyer, there are some excellent opportunities. Similar to the rest of Eagle County, Edwards to East Vail, which typically offer a greater range of homes and prices under $2M, inventory is extremely low. It is one of the critical issues for 2021.”
What it means for buyers
Denton and Messmer both agree that building a relationship with a qualified broker who is well versed in a neighborhood of choice is key. Whether it is Vail and Beaver Creek, one of the neighboring communities or down valley, the market is hot.
“There may be more homes on the market in the higher end price points, but these are typically ones that require the right buyer at the right time due to their unique features, location and amenities,” Denton said.
“A knowledgeable broker has the kind of established relationships and resources to receive notices of homes coming to market before they are listed,” added Messmer.
And both advise that if not a cash offer, buyers should also make sure they have financing and pre-approvals in place in advance so when the right property comes along they can write the offer.
What it means for sellers
“There really is no better time to sell given the current market and historically low interest rates,” Messmer said. “Some hesitancy among sellers, which I hear often, is if they sell, where can they buy and can they afford to buy? While there really isn’t any opportunity to buy high and sell low, when people sell high and buy high they actually win. They get the home they never thought they could own.”
In terms of pricing, Messmer and Denton agree to watch over pricing.
“Buyers are still smart,” Denton said. “One caveat for the resort market is there may be some opportunity to push price based on location and other competing inventory. But be cautious. We are seeing some homes that aren’t priced correctly and sitting on the market longer than they should in the current climate.”
Denton stressed that one of the most important factors is to be clear on goals.
“Is it to put a number on a home and hope that the right buyer comes along or take advantage of current market conditions not knowing what the future holds?” he said. “Understanding buyer demographics and current market trends specific to the individual property will help bring some clarity to the previous question and help better achieve a seller’s goals.”
Although the new year is a traditionally slower time for Vail Valley and downvalleey real estate transactions, 2020 taught us that norms are on the sidelines and sellers remain faced with little competition in the market. The strong buyer market is expected to continue, slowed only by inventory levels, which will remain a key factor for how numbers will look in 2021.
For additional market trends and information, including Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties offices, brokers and listings, visit http://www.bhhscoloradoproperties.com or call 970-329-2482.
Michael Slevin is the president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties.