Real estate still on a roll |

Real estate still on a roll

Cliff Thompson
Preston Utley/Vail DailyReal estate sales were up for the month of April.

EAGLE COUNTY – If you’ve ever been to Vail on a busy weekend during peak ski season you know how close to impossible it can be to find a parking spot within walking distance of the slopes.Parking spaces are such hot items that people are willing to write large checks to reserve a space of their own. When Vail Resorts began selling underground parking spaces last month at the Founder’s Parking Garage in the village, the 100 spaces last month quickly sold out for a cool $10 million.That’s an example of how much demand there is for real estate in resort areas as more and more people seem to want a piece of the mountains, brokers say,For the last 22 months real estate sales in Eagle County has been setting records. That’s causing supply of homes to dwindle and prices to escalate sharply.It’s a market like no other in the last 25 years, said veteran broker Jim McVey of Slifer, Smith & Frampton, who has been here since 1980.”I have not seen a scarcity of product like this,” he said. “I’ve seen other great markets, but this one surpasses them all.”

Demand is such that prices for two- and three-bedroom properties in residential communities are skyrocketing. McVey said he knows of one property in Edwards that sold a year ago for just over $250,000, and this year sold for more than $400,000.”There are so many people coming into the valley right now,” said Michael Slevin of Prudential Gore Range Properties. “There’s a limited supply on the market and it goes so quickly.”Part of the demand stems from baby boomers flexing their economic muscle, McVey said. “There’s a huge transfer of wealth from one generation to another now,” he said. “People would rather invest in real estate and enjoy it instead of investing in the stock market.”An influx of well-heeled retirees is creating the equivalent of a waiting line at the door of sellers with multiple full-price purchase offers for properties.

Slim inventoryA list of properties for sale kept by the Vail Board of Realtors Friday shows 647, with 74 of those coming from a newly-built Gypsum-area condominium project. That’s about half the number of properties there were at this time last year – and disproportionate to the 700 real estate brokers in the county.”It’s challenging to find properties to sell,” said Slevin. “There’s so much competition for properties.”It’s also putting more economic pressure on less-than well-heeled locals, McVey said.”It’s becoming increasingly challenging for locals to make enough money to live here,” he said. The smoking-hot real estate market is not isolated to Eagle County. Owning a resort property anywhere in the globe is now becoming the trend, McVey said.

“It’s not unique to us,” he said. “If you go to Naples, Fla. you can pay the same as you do here and go to California and pay even more.”But it’s not just second- and third-home purchasers that are fueling demand. Low mortgage interest rates continue to fuel demand from first-time home buyers, Slevin said.”You’re able to purchase a home now for less than or equal to what you’re paying in rent,” he said, adding that there now is a tighter supply of rental properties, too. “There’s such a limited supply that it’s making it tough on buyers right now.”Staff Writer Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 450, or, Colorado

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