Eagle County real estate market is still rolling

First quarter numbers setting new records

The Stockton Group of Compass Real Estate has only a few current listings, including this home at 781 Potato Patch Drive in Vail.
The Stockton Group/Special to the Vail Daily.

Eagle County’s rip-roaring real estate market continued its momentum through the first quarter of 2021.

The first quarter numbers are impressive. Through the first three months of this year, there were 545 transactions with a value of more than $760 million. And, for the first time, March saw more out-of-state buyers (85) than those with Eagle County addresses (83). For the year through March 31, local buyers still make up the biggest share of buyers, at 42%. But through the first quarter, out-of-state buyers now account for the second-largest portion of all sales, at 35%.

According to the latest data from Land Title Guarantee Company, many of those out-of-state buyers came from Texas or Florida.

Tye Stockton of Compass Real Estate said many of those buyers have made “lifestyle decisions” in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, unrest in many major cities and other factors.

“The one thing we all care about is our family’s safety,” Stockton said, adding that he saw similar behavior in the months following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

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Is this sustainable?

But, Stockton added, he doesn’t believe the current market activity is sustainable. Real estate is a cyclical business, he said, adding he believes the local market probably won’t cross the $3 billion threshold as it did in 2020.

Inventory is one of the major stumbling blocks to another record year in 2021.

Stockton said his team at this time in 2020 was representing 46 listings. That number has about a dozen now, a level Stockton hasn’t seen since the early days of the national economic slump that hit the valley in 2008.

Other longtime brokers think there might be another record, or close to it, in the current market.

Matt Fitzgerald, Eagle Valley President of Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, said inventory is “starting to flow” into the market. And, he added, it looks as if interest rates will remain low for the foreseeable future. In addition, many investors are seeing big gains in the nation’s stock exchanges.

Then there’s Eagle County’s desirability as a place to live. That, combined with the ability to work remotely, is driving continued demand.

Stockton said he expects the valley will remain a desirable place to live and play.

Michael Slevin is the owner and president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties. Slevin said he expects market norms to have more impact in the coming months, adding he expects a “very active” summer across the market.

Slevin noted “an absolute swell” of buyers looking to make a lifestyle change and the means to move fueled much of the action in the higher end of the market.

Inventory: It’s complicated

Slevin added that any discussion of inventory is complicated by the fact so many homes sell so quickly — some before hitting the local Multiple Listing Service.

Success in the market, for buyers, sellers and brokers, has required a new way of thinking, Slevin noted.

“You’re having to counsel sellers, and it’s the same with buyers,” Slevin said.

Dan Fitchett, the managing broker for LIV Sotheby’s International Realty in Eagle County, said the pandemic has brought “one of the biggest social transformations in our history. People are thinking about their lives differently than they used to.”

Part of that transformation involves work and commerce, Fitchett said. But, he added, that transformation extends to lifestyle, business operations, and thinking more about today than what might happen in five or 10 years.

As people’s lives have changed, whether due to kids, jobs or health considerations, many of those people want to move.

Like Slevin, Fitchett said he believes inventory numbers can be somewhat deceiving.

“Listings aren’t at the same levels, but (homes) under contract are, and so are closings,” Fitchett said.

That shift requires new thinking, and buyers, sellers and brokers who keep up are those who succeed.

“We’ve got to be different, and you can’t miss a step,” Fitchett said. That’s about more than just price, he added. The “first quarter of the first page” sets the price, Fitchett said. “The quality of the offer is about what’s beyond the price.”

By the numbers

545: Real estate transactions in the first three months of 2021

$760.4 million: Value of those transactions.

18: March sales in Vail Village, with a value of $47.3 million.

7: March sales of homes priced at $5 million or more.

Source: Land Title Guarantee Company.

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