Some Vail Valley neighborhoods now a sellers’ home market
EAGLE COUNTY — The days of balance are over in the local real estate market — at least in some neighborhoods.
For some time now, people in the local real estate business have talked about a good balance in the market between buyers and sellers, with homes selling at or near their asking prices.
In a recent report, the Vail Board of Realtors stated that the market for homes priced below $600,000 has officially moved in favor of sellers.
Rick Beveridge of Eagle-based Vail Valley Real Estate said he’s seen the shift. Beveridge said he recently showed a home up Eby Creek, north of Eagle. There were two other brokers, with clients in tow, lined up after that visit. Beveridge said he’s seen the same thing happen a couple of other times.
The market for homes in that price range is also hot enough that buyers are signing contracts for units that aren’t yet finished.
The Creekside Lofts townhomes on the west end of Eagle off of U.S. Highway 6 are still in the framing stage. It’s going to be a few months until the units are ready to be occupied.
Two of those units are already under contract.
The imbalance between supply and demand is especially acute for homes priced at $400,000 or less. Only four such units are for sale in Eagle right now, with a few more in Gypsum and Dotsero.
“There’s an abundance of buyers out there,” Beveridge said.
According to Board of Realtors’ data, there’s a less than two months’ supply of homes priced at $350,000 or less. For homes priced between $350,000 and $600,000, the supply is less than four months. Those numbers are based on the number of listings, and the number of transactions for the most recent month.
Overall in the Vail Valley, there’s a roughly nine-month supply of homes for sale.
While Beveridge said homes in the affordable price range are often going under contract in a matter of days or weeks, it can take longer to sell a higher-priced unit.
Vail Board of Realtors President Kyle Denton said while the high-end market has been strong so far this year, it can take some time to find the right buyers for those units.
“Once you’re into the higher price points, especially second homes, it’s a fight for quality,” Denton said. “If it’s not there, a buyer will just wait.”
The most expensive home sold in the valley this year is a slopeside unit on Vail’s Forest Road. That home closed in January for about $23 million, but the home was on the market for about two years, and the price did drop a bit between it’s original listing and its sale.
That home was ready to occupy. Other homes that may need work to some extent can sit even longer, Denton said.
“There are those (buyers) willing to take on projects,” Denton said. But most, even in the lower end of the market, would rather buy a place that doesn’t need work before move-in day.
With strong demand in the lower end of the market, Beveridge said he’s seeing more new construction. But there still isn’t the building frenzy seen in the first half of the 2000s.
“Material costs are still very high,” Beveridge said, adding that it’s hard for a private developer to bring homes to market at $500,000 or less.
“I think municipalities are starting to realize that if they want to see more affordable (homes), they have to give some breaks on parking and that sort of thing,” he said. And, he added, a project just came through the Eagle Planning and Zoning Commission that received some easing of town regulations.
With strong demand across the local market, is there a danger that a bubble is starting to inflate?
Denton said the market’s fundamentals are strong at the moment, with qualified buyers putting decent down payments into units. And, in the wake of the collapse of the mortgage-lending market in 2007 and 2008, buyers have to be well-qualified to sign a mortgage loan.
“The market is not being driven by easy money,” Denton said. “It’s being fueled by lack of supply, and demand continues to grow.”
Beveridge said one of his biggest concerns right now is that home prices are rising past the point of affordability for many buyers.
“I like to see locals being able to buy homes,” Beveridge said. “It’s a little nervous to me.”
On the other hand, he added, the market seems strong at the moment, and construction companies are busy.
“Overall, in our area (Eagle and Gypsum), people are moving here,” Beveridge said. “It’s good to see.”
With a key water deal denied, the Battle Mountain developer and the town of Minturn are planning to meet next week to discuss the future of the Bolts Lake property.