Eagle County real estate market set to top $4 billion for ‘21 | VailDaily.com

Eagle County real estate market set to top $4 billion for ‘21

Even with rising prices, more sales in ‘21 than 2020

This home near the Vail Golf Course is on the market for $16.95 million, and is listed by Catherine Jones Coburn of Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate.
Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate/Courtesy photo

Eagle County’s red-hot real estate market is poised to set another record in 2021.

The latest data from Land Title Guarantee Company — which covers the year through Nov. 30 — shows sales volume of nearly $3.9 billion. That already far exceeds the 2020 figure of just less than $3.5 billion. Transactions for 2021 through 11 months already exceed the 2020 full-year mark.

Full-year numbers are nearly certain to push those figures even higher.

About a year ago, a number of people in the real estate business wondered how the county’s real estate market could duplicate the 2020 performance.

But Dan Fitchett suspected the roaring market that ended 2020 would continue.

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Fitchett, the president of Colorado Resort Markets for LIV Sotheby’s International Realty, said the trends at work a year ago showed promise for another big year.

Fitchett noted that the LIV Sotheby’s in 2021 had eight brokers record $100 million or more in sales. That’s a lot.

A fast-changing environment

But, he added, there’s starting to be some separation between top brokers these days. The ones moving ahead are those adapting to new technology and ways of reaching potential buyers.

“It’s changing so fast,” Fitchett said, adding that buyers come into the market far more educated than they once did.

This home on Eby Creek Mesa near Eagle is listed by Slifer Smith & Frampton’s Griffin, Cryer Burgund team for $3.445 million.
Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate/Courtesy photo

Craig Denton of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties has been in the local real estate business more than 40 years. Denton said even with changes in the business, the basics are much the same.

“When you find (a listing), you hope you’re the first one in,” Denton said. The business is a little different in how listings are presented and brought to market, he added.

Buyers will always be out there, Denton said. Some, though, either don’t act or wait too long.

Fitchett said he was talking recently to a broker who said one client wished he’d bought six months ago.

Prices are higher now. And inventory is lower.

Matt Fitzgerald, the Eagle County market president for Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, said the market at the start of 2021 had about a four-month supply of homes for sale. The year ended with just more than a month’s supply.

The lack of inventory and increasing prices are particularly squeezing people at the lower end of the market. Fitchett noted that one of his Vail Valley brokers has a resume that includes a stint as a bartender. That’s created a big contact list.

That broker “has at least a half-dozen people at any time,” that would buy a place if one was available, Fitchett said.

That broker ends up selling a lot of homes that never make it to the county’s Multiple Listing Service. A lot of homes go on the market, under contract and make it to sale without many people knowing about it.

But the biggest part of the valley’s dollar volume comes from luxury homes. Many of those people simply wire money to sellers.

Fitzgerald noted his form recently had an “off market” sale of $12.1 million on Gore Creek Place in Vail. But, he added, homes in the market’s upper reaches still require marketing. Only so many people can buy a $20 million property.

Little help for inventory

The valley’s inventory crunch isn’t likely to ease soon. There are a number of properties aimed at luxury buyers, but Fitzgerald said building and materials costs are increasing along with prices of existing homes.

Denton said he expects prices to continue to rise, but probably not at the pace seen in the past year or so.

Longtime Vail broker Ron Byrne of Ron Byrne and Associates said he isn’t sure everything in the market’s upper reaches will continue to appreciate.

Byrne said a “quality property” will probably move. But an old property with “futuristic prices” will probably sit for some time.

While the past two years have been record-setters, Byrne said the lack of inventory makes another $4 billion year unlikely.

Still, Fitchett said the basics of the Vail Valley’s desirability remain. While inventory is low, “I’m seeing a lot of stuff being bought and sold,” he said.

By the numbers

$3.89 billion: Eagle County 2021 real estate sales volume through Nov. 30.

$3.49 billion: Eagle County 2020 full-year sales volume.

2,581: Eagle County 2021 real estate transactions through Nov. 30.

2,572: Eagle County 2020 full-year transactions.

Source: Land Title Guarantee Company.

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