Home sales strong at $800,000 and less
By the numbers
$8.475 million: Most expensive Eagle County home sale in April.
19 percent: April real estate buyers located on the Front Range.
47 percent: April real estate buyers located in Eagle County.
77 percent: April sales priced at $1 million or less.
Source: Land Title Guarantee Co.
EAGLE COUNTY — After a slowish start to the year, the county’s real estate market seems to have rebounded. But more sales are generating dollar volume roughly equivalent to numbers recorded in 2015.
According to the most recent data from Land Title Guarantee Co., transactions were fairly strong compared to 2015, but dollar volume slumped. April’s dollar volume exceeded that for the same period in 2015, with four fewer transactions.
MORE INVENTORY NEEDED
Vail Board of Realtors Chairman Kyle Denton said the strength of the market this year has been in the under-$800,000 price range.
Denton said there’s a lot of activity in that part of the market, but, as has been the case for some time, not much inventory.
There’s some activity on the new construction front. A partnership is developing the Aspen Ridge neighborhood in Gypsum, part of the Buckhorn Valley subdivision. That project alone could add roughly 120 single-family and duplex units to the town.
“Gypsum is the one town with developments still to be finished,” broker Laurie Slaughter said. Slaughter, a broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Mountain Real Estate, is a longtime veteran of the downvalley real estate market. She said that while the summer has started off slowly — May tends to keep families busy with school stuff, she said — Slaughter said she expects a busy summer.
“We might not be as busy as last year,” Slaughter said. “We may not see as many multiple offers, just because there’s more on the market right now.”
But Denton, Slaughter and Jim Flaum, the managing partner of Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, all agreed that the market right now seems to be pretty balanced.
“It’s not really a buyer’s market or a seller’s market,” Denton said.
That balance means property isn’t on the market for very long. According to data from the Vail Board of Realtors, there were 131 May residential sales out of the Multiple Listing Service — which covers most, but not all, residential transactions. Of those sales, 56 came within 30 days of being listed. Most of those sales were for 95 percent or more of the original asking price.
That balance, and still-low mortgage interest rates, are driving a strong market for local buyers.
“The turnout of local buyers is the strongest I can remember in my time here,” Flaum said.
UNCERTAINTY DRIVING SALES
Part of that market strength is uncertainty about the future, Flaum said. It’s hard to tell just when interest rates might go up, and it doesn’t take much of a boost in mortgage interest rates to put a home out of reach of a buyer.
There’s other uncertainty at work, too, from financial markets that dropped in the year’s first weeks to the collapse in the price of oil late in 2015 to the uncertainty of who might be the next U.S. President.
Those questions may be leaving buyers of higher-priced homes on the sidelines.
“A lot of buyers are in a wait-and-see mood,” Flaum said. “Since a lot of these buyers are looking for a second, third or fourth home, they can wait.”
HIGH-END SALES SLOW
The sluggishness in the high-end market — homes priced at $5 million or more — isn’t unique to the Vail Valley. The Vail Board of Realtors has data from similar groups around the state, and Denton said he’s seen softness in other resort markets, too.
“We’re just not seeing the same type of (high-end) numbers we’ve seen in the past couple of years,” Denton said.
The result, at least for now, is that it’s going to take more transactions for dollar volume to keep pace with 2015’s numbers. That’s going to require homes on the market priced where buyers can act.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, email@example.com and @scottnmiller.
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