Real estate boom continues in August |

Real estate boom continues in August

Cliff Thompson
NWS Bachelor Gulch SM 9-22 Shane Macaomber/ The construction of this home overlooking the Vail Valley is one of the many being built in Bachelor Gulch, Wednesday in Beaver Creek.

EAGLE COUNTY – August’s real estate sales totals in Eagle County hearken back to the good old days of 2000 when things looked like they couldn’t get much hotter.Record sales totaled nearly $204 million on 324 transactions, which brings the year-to-date sales totals to $1.28 billion and moves the total to within striking distance of the record $1.7 billion in 2000. This follows a record July where $188 million of real estate was sold. August was the 13th consecutive month where sales exceeded last year’s totals. There were $122.6 million in sales in August 2003.The reason for the increases: People who sat on the sidelines through the economic uncertainty, war and terrorism are now writing checks to buy real estate here. Real estate brokers like Led Gardner of Sonnenalp Real Estate say the boom isn’t just isolated to Eagle County. It’s happening at high-end resorts around the globe, he said.”Luxury buyers seem to have decided that resort real estate is as good a spot as any in which to spend their money,” he said. “High-end buyers who have been sitting on the sidelines are now coming out in force.”

That sentiment and the escalating prices has driven the price of the average real estate purchase to $639,600.Nearly half of the dollars spent on real estate in August – $103.5 million on 35 transactions – went toward properties priced at $1 million or more. Two of those – a $9.5 million home at Bachelor Gulch and a $6.8 million home in Arrowhead – topped the sales lists.But continued low interest rates have also caused a boom in sales of entry-level housing. In Eagle County that means property priced at $500,000 and less. There were 187 sales in that category. As has been the case for most of the year, sales of mid-range homes – priced from $500,000 to $1 million – lagged a bit with just 50 sales, or 15 percent of the transactions.With four months remaining in 2004, the breakdown in what has been purchased year-to-date shows 323 properties were sold that were priced at $1 million or more while 462 priced at $500,000 to $1 million were sold. And 1,230 transactions involved property priced at $500,000 or less. The balance of the sales activity, $44.3 million consisted of undeveloped land and commercial real estate sales.

All that activity is also having a spin-off affect, one veteran real estate broker said.Bob West, who has spent the last 27 years selling real estate, said he’s seeing more interest from a group of people conspicuous by their absence over the last few years – real estate developers, particularly those interested in Avon.”There’s a number of people who have come around and are interested,” West said. “It’s about to happen. You’re going to see a tremendous amount of development happening in Avon.”Selling streakYear to date sales: $1.28 billion323 sales of property priced at $1 million or more

462 sales or property priced at $500,000 to $1 million1,230 sales of property priced at $500,000 or lessAverage sales price of property sold in August: $638,600Staff Writer Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 450, or cthompson@vaildaily.comVail, Colorado

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