Real estate market still sizzling |

Real estate market still sizzling

Cliff Thompson

EAGLE COUNTY – Just when you thought local real estate sales activity couldn’t get much hotter November’s sales turned the thermostat up another notch.That month’s sales volume – $216.1 million – is the second largest on record. Activity for just the last 11 months has already set a new annual record of $1.945 billion on 2,999 transactions. The previous record, $1.7 billion, was set in 2000. War, terrorism, recession and other factors caused real estate activity across the county to dip to $1.4 billion in 2002. Next to tourism, real estate and related businesses are the second largest industry in the county.A combination of factors has kept real estate hot since August 2003. Continued low interest rates are allowing renters to become owners and are allowing sellers to purchase larger properties. That trend is providing continued momentum to the market.”It’s a trickle-up. When more people get into entry-level residences the people selling are able to move up,” said Michael Slevin of Prudential Gore Range Properties. “Everyone is upgrading their residences.”More trendsThe national economy continues to brighten but the Jekyll-and-Hyde stock market has not and that has driven people to invest in property, real estate professionals said.Adding more momentum is a tightening supply of properties for sale. It has diminished nearly 40 percent to about 750 properties. As that supply shrinks, prices have risen. The average sales price for property sold in November in Eagle County topped $764,000. That’s up more than 20 percent from last November’s $627,000.Sales of entry-level properties, those priced at under $500,000, was the busiest market segment with 141 transactions totaling $42.48 million. That was 57 percent of all transactions. The next largest sales total occurred in the $500,000 to $1 million market segment with 53 transactions and $35.7 million in sales.Activity at the other end of the economic spectrum included the sale of a $5.5 million single-family residence at the Diamond Star ranch east of Eagle, the sale of a $4.9 million single-family home in Beaver Creek and a $4.49 million residence in Cordillera.Both Slevin and Slifer, Smith & Frampton’s Jim Flaum said they see the boom continuing through the ski season and beyond.”As long as the economy continues to grow and the geopolitical arena remains somewhat stable there aren’t any large indicators that we will slow down,” Slevin said, adding that the boom is “virtually unprecedented.”Flaum said the boom is being aided by a demographic trend. “Baby boomers are buying vacation homes at premier locations around the world,” Flaum said. Flaum expects the buying trend to continue for at least the next eight years as the baby boom generation continues to flex its economic muscle, he said.Vail deja vuBoth envision the $1 billion revitalization occurring in Vail Village and Lionshead over the next five years to cause the Vail market to heat up, too.”The focus has been on Beaver Creek, Bachelor Gulch and Arrowhead,” Slevin said. “Now, for the first time in 20 years, it will be on Vail.”Vail Resorts, which is calling its $500 million of development Vail’s “New Dawn,” announced it will be developing a luxury, 39-room RockResorts hotel in Lionshead and 70 luxury residences, commercial space and a skating rink over the next two years.December’s sales should show a huge bump over last year’s total of $185 million because they will contain the $32.75 million sale of 6,000 acres surrounding Gilman to Florida developer Bobby Ginn, announced earlier this month. Ginn hinted that he is looking at developing a private ski area and golf course community on the land formerly owned by the New Jersey Zinc Mine.Staff Writer Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 450, or cthompson@vaildaily.comVail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism