Residential propertyboom continues

Cliff Thompson

Sales of exclusive high-end residential properties in Eagle County drove April real estate sales totals to their highest level since the boom of 1999.”The high-end is really starting to rumble back to life,” said Led Gardner of Sonnenalp Real Estate in Vail.Sale of properties priced at $1 million and above accounted for 52.8 percent of the $137 million in sales in April. By contrast, there were $91.8 million in sales last April and the record for the month, set in 2001, is $155 million.”A year ago there was virtually zero showing activity of high-end properties,” Gardner said. “This year we’ve had the busiest off-season I can ever remember.”It’s the ninth consecutive month of near record-setting sales activity. This surge follows 18 months of soft sales activity blamed on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the lingering business recession. The resurgence in residential property sales is proof-positive to some real estate professionals that the economy is shaking off its lethargy.Based on contracts and showing activity in April and May, Realtors like REMAX’s Bill Wilto think the trend may continue. “June is shaping up to be a really big month for us,” he said.Forty-five properties priced at $1 million or better were sold in April, with the highest single sales price – $6.1 million – logged in the sale of a new, 6,600 square-foot home in Bachelor Gulch.Much of the demand for the high-end properties is coming from the New York City and Los Angeles markets, which are “smoking hot,” said Gardner.Low interest rates continue to fuel the residential sales boom at all levels. In Eagle County, the sales of entry-level housing – priced at $500,000 or less – continued its strong sales run. Nearly Two-thirds of 220 the properties sold in April -143 – were entry-level. They accounted for 23 percent of April’s dollar volume. The least active part of the real estate market came in the mid-range homes -those priced at $500 to $1 million. Those properties accounted for 25 percent of the dollar volume and 25 percent of the transaction total for the month.The sales total for the first four months of 2004 is $555.7 million. At the current pace the sales total for the year could total $1.66 billion, just a hair beneath the all-time record of $1.7 billion set in 2000. Last year residential property sales totaled $1.4 billion, or approximately $3.9 million a day. So far this year the daily total is averaging $4.5 million.Cliff Thompson can be contacted via e-mail at or by calling 949-0555 ext. 450.

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