Strong Vail Valley real estate crimped by lack of inventory in all areas
By the numbers
$154.6 million: Value of Eagle County real estate sales in January 2017.
$138.2 million: Value of Eagle County real estate sales in January 2018.
$23 million: Closed sale of a Vail home in January 2017.
78 percent: January real estate sales of $1 million or less.
Sources: Land Title Guarantee Co., Slifer Smith & Frampton
EAGLE COUNTY — In an area like the Vail Valley, one sale can sometimes alter the whole county’s numbers. That seemed to happen in January.
According to the latest data from Land Title Guarantee Co., January was a little different than most months.
There were significantly more transactions in January than the same period in 2017 — 143 this year and 122 in 2017. But the value of those transactions dipped by about $16 million.
That doesn’t mean prices have declined — far from it. And Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate Vice President Shawna Topor noted that January 2017 saw a $23 million sale on Rockledge Road in Vail. Occasional sales of that size — or larger — can skew a month’s numbers.
On the other hand, Onie Bolduc, a broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties, said his company has seen a bit of a slowdown in the market for high-end properties.
“Second-home owners seem to be deciding to wait a little bit and see how (the nation’s economy) plays out,” Bolduc said.
But high-end real estate seems to be selling. Topor said Slifer Smith & Frampton recently closed a deal in The Lion condos in Lionshead for a record price for that area — more than $3,000 per square foot.
Bolduc noted that the consumer confidence index is strong right now, as are other economic indicators.
And, after a slowish start to the winter season, Bolduc said his firm’s recent sales activity has been strong. And, he added, the market for homes below $800,000 or so is strong.
“When you compare the first two months in 2017 and 2018, lots of people are going under contract,” Bolduc said. And, he said, the western part of the valley is also strong.
As has been the case for a while, the problem is inventory, Topor said.
Topor lives in the Village Homes neighborhood at Eagle Ranch. She was there for the economic downturn that hit in about 2009. In 2010, the streets in the Village Homes are were dotted with for-sale signs. Today, she said, there are two homes for sale. In all, there are just 22 active listings in Eagle Ranch, from condos to spec homes.
Topor said her firm at the beginning of every month looks at the valley’s Multiple Listing Service to count active listings. At the beginning of March, there were just 905 active listings, for both homes and land. That’s the lowest March 1 number in a decade.
“It’s difficult for people to find what they’re looking for,” Topor said.
In Vail, Topor said one agent has six potential buyers having trouble looking for homes.
“The buyers are there,” Topor said. “Inventory will help.”
Help on the way?
Some help may be on the horizon.
Topor said developers are “coming out of the woodwork,” asking about both large and small projects.
In Eagle, Bure Baukol Capital Partners have proposed a project to build hundreds of rental units on the west side of town just south of U.S. Highway 6.
While Topor said now’s a great time to list a home, she acknowledged that the lack of inventory makes it hard to sell a home and stay in the valley.
“We’ve had people where their (purchase) deals have fallen apart and they’ve had to pull out of their own (sale) contracts,” she said.
But the units for sale — especially those priced at $500,000 or less — are moving quickly.
Topor said one of the Village Homes units that came on the market recently has already seen offers.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, email@example.com or @scottnmiller.
In terms of area, it’s the county’s smallest conservation deal ever. In terms of location, it’s one of the county’s rarest acquisitions.