Eagle County real estate market ready to set another sales record

Sales volume hit $3 billion for a second straight year

This home on Vail’s Beaver Dam Road is on the market for $23.9 million.
Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate/courtesy photo

It’s show of hands time: How many thought there was no way Eagle County could have consecutive real estate sales volume years of more than $3 billion?

Well, that’s happened.

The latest data from Land Title Guarantee Co. shows that year-to-date real estate sales volume exceeded $3.4 billion by the end of October. That makes it likely that the county’s real estate market will set a new annual record.

Much of the activity, at least regarding dollar volume, is coming from the upper reaches of the market.

Matt Fitzgerald, the Vail Valley market president for Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, said there were a number of sales exceeding $5 million in October. Slifer Smith & Frampton brokers have a pending sale for more $20 million on Booth Creek Drive in Vail. The firm also posted a $16 million sale in Bachelor Gulch and recently closed a deal for a residence at the Four Seasons in Vail that brought more than $3,400 per square foot.

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That strength in the market’s upper reaches hasn’t been seen in some time, Fitzgerald said. Conversely, there have been fewer sales of units priced at $1 million or less.

Few units for sale

But even with expensive sales booming, there simply aren’t many units for sale right now.

The Eagle County Multiple Listing Service book has roughly 200 listings at the moment. There are about 750 “primary” broker members of the Vail Board of Realtors. Those are people whose main business comes in the county.

Suzi Apple, owner of Gateway Real Estate, reported she’s had one of the busiest years of her career in 2021.

On the other hand, “Normally, I’d have 25 listings and two buyers,” Apple said. “Now I have two listings and 25 buyers.”

Mike Budd of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties noted that there are currently only about 20 listings in Eagle and Gypsum together. There are fewer than 10 current listings in Cordillera, Arrowhead and Singletree.

For the better part of a decade Cordillera had 50 or more active listings at any time, he added.

Demand is also driving new construction.

Fitzgerald said the current market is “very supportive” of new construction, adding he expects “robust absorption” of those units.

The rush on expensive real estate has been an eye-opener for longtime broker Budd.

‘Off the charts’ activity

He noted there are usually 35 to 55 annual sales of homes priced at more than $5 million, calling the current trend “off the charts.”

Budd said those sales are being driven by a combination of low interest rates, people still looking to move out of urban areas, and the fact that a number of people have a lot of cash right now due to a surging stock market and other factors.

Those sales are remarkable, but October’s numbers show local buyers accounting for a shrinking share of the the market.

Local buyers usually account for about half, or a bit more, of all sales. For 2021 through October, locals made up 46% of all buyers. In October, that number dipped to 37%, with buyers from the Front Range and out of state accounting for 63% of all buyers.

“Our price range is basically diminishing the local resident market,” Budd said.

Budd added that he expects demand to remain high, a sentiment Apple echoed.

“Drama” elsewhere in the country makes the Vail Valley an appealing location, Apple said. Blue skies, clean air and a broad range of recreation opportunities make the valley an in-demand location, she added.

“Of course (the current activity) will stop, but I don’t see it stopping for a while,” Apple said.

Budd has a slightly different view. Demand will probably remain strong, as will prices, he said.

But, he added, “without tripling the existing active inventory,” the current trends can’t continue.

By the numbers

37%: Local home buyers in October.

40%: October home buyers from outside Colorado.

21: October sales of $5 million or more.

42: October sales between $2 million and $5 million

Source: Land Title Guarantee Company

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